Update: I went snowboarding again

As in title

I went snowboarding last weekend again, and I finished my first homerun in Squaw and Alpine (not that it deserves any sincere “Congratulations!” but I was super excited about it). I can somehow switch between toe-side and heel-side now but only when the slope is not a 60 degree angle. I tried to switch on such a slope in Squaw and landed on my breasts……… not that I care about my already sad feminine curves. It really hurts, now that I look back I am pretty sure that I landed at at least 18-19 mph on an accelerating snowboard. For three days I couldn’t do yoga or any form of activities that require deep breath because it hurt. But now I (think I) am fine.

btw, when I crushed myself into snow and couldn’t talk or breath for like a whole 10 seconds, the only thing on my mind was “good job, now I can finally experience the whole DSP deal” but now it seems like I am destined to take my finals per usual.

weather in berkeley has been awesome these days. Summer finally arrives although I don’t know how long it will stay. Today I had one acai bowl with wheatgrass shots and the cashier kept checking with me if I actually wanted my wheatgrass in my acai bowl.

“It tastes like grass, you know.”

“yes.”

“Do you want it on the side then?”

“No, please just put it in my acai bowl.” (At this point the cashier already gave up.)

I love summer weathers in berkeley. This is perfect weather for dead week. Although I did want to have huge watermelons as I did back home, and I can’t wait to finish two of my three summer classes and go back home and eat watermelons with spoons.

 

Updates: I am feeling lucky

It’s been a long time since my last update. Again, I failed my resolution to write an update every week. Sometimes I wondered if laziness is the ultimate explanation for failing to fulfill my expectations every time, but then I realized that laziness was a symptom, caused by different motives every time. In this particular scenario of me not writing timely blog posts, I guess it’s because I didn’t put writing blog posts high on my to-do list. It’s all about priority, as they said.

Speaking of priorities, I registered for San Francisco Half Marathon on July 23rd!!! I actually registered one last year but due to various circumstances I wasn’t able to attend. However, I will be able to attend this year’s SF Half Marathon. I deliberately selected the route which passes the Golden Gate bridge. My graduating friend Hongling told me that it’s a great view, although I was concerned if I could see anything 5 am in SF’s signature foggy morning. I bought a bart transportation ticket so that I could get pick up at MacArthur station 4:30am on the marathon day. Another option would be to stay overnight in SF and go to start line at around 5:30am in the morning. I will see if I can find anyone to go to SF with me or otherwise I can just use the transportation ticket.

My last (and first) half marathon in Yosemite was great, although it costed me two months to get back on plastic track and started real running again. Currently I am trying to incorporate more strength training into my schedule because I read online that core strength is essential for running. Last year I just let myself run 10 km, without time limit, each day as long as my ankles didn’t hurt. I thought it’s more important to get the feeling of running instead of actually being too technical about everything at the beginning, which I still cared a lot about. But my experience in Yosemite has shown that I am still a rather young and naive runner on the road. I’ve seen so many mature (or at least more mature) runner than I am who take running much more seriously than I do. I want to run seriously but I don’t want to trade my pleasure from running for that. Thus I was debating on training methods and then I had a rather… tight schedule. And so I was like: well, might as well just train more in the gym and try out what google says. Although I do try to run 3 to 4 times per week, the rest of the days I train in gym.

I bought a package of protein breakfast cereal home. It tastes really good, really sweet with only 4g sugar. Most of the sweetness comes from artificial sweetness things I guess (which I read online it’s not all that healthy… but whatever I am one of the dumb consumers who actually enjoy being rigged off by two-sided labels. And it has tons of protein)

I started a vegetarian diet last December. I am actually surprised by myself: I thought I couldn’t sustain after two days. But then I have to thank vegan and vegetarian restaurants around Berkeley. Also, my friends and family have been real supportive in my diet. I just finished dinner with my roommates (graduating and I am sad). I am always grateful for the fact that they completely respect my diet choices: I have my vegetables, they have their chicken (which looks sooo good. ) I realize that I probably can’t be an authentic vegetarian in that I will always have my feelings for meat. I grew up eating meats and vegetables at a rather sensible portion. It’s only after I came to US I started to eat way too much meat. I can’t blame US eating culture for this. I was dealing with all kinds of issues from school and personal life, eat healthy and at the right portion wasn’t my first priority. I wanted to incorporate more vegetables in my life, that’s why I asked myself to eat vegetarian for a week in the beginning. To be honest, I have no trust in that I can be vegetarian for life. Life is long, and I am young. But I do like the feeling of knowing that I have enough vegetables and fruits each day.

Last last weekend I went to Chicago (actually Purdue) to visit my cousins and my lovely niece. They oftentimes joked about living in the “rural” area but I actually felt like they live such an ideal life. I guess one doesn’t need to live in between the city lights and car horns to be happy. Plus, the stars are so pretty at Purdue. On our way from Chicago to Purdue, we saw a huge huge moon ascending from the horizon: this is the first time that I’ve seen a moon coming up like the sun. We passed this field of windmill and I thought it’s a herd of Ohmu as in the Miyazaki film “Nausicaa of the valley of the wind”. (I tried to insert pictures of Ohmu here as reference, but then Google only showed me gross pics with weird angles of Ohmu. They actually look pretty in the film) We talked a lot about all kinds of things, including the constellations. I felt extremely lucky to have family near me to spend time with.

The next day I stayed home, had really really delicious rice cakes from Xiamen. I was taken really good care of lol and my niece only got cuter. She rode her little pink bike everywhere and it’s so much fun to see her “park” her little bike. She looked like a little adult. We went to watch a robot show in Purdue University. In the end, a former drummer who lost his right arm in a car accident got a robotic arm that could work with the rest of his body. He said that he was able to hit the drum at a much higher speed than any human being on the planet. I guess this was a great example of how people should work with robots. Then again, in digression, I always felt like robots could only be robots in that they would never develop human emotions like love, hatred, etc and etc. I mean, if human beings can’t figure out the evolution of emotions, how can they create emotions on a bunch of steel?

The third day we went to a child museum in Indianapolis. I love love the little handmade rooms. (alert: many many many pictures starting from here)

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(look at the frame, it is the size of a normal family photo frame. The furnitures are tiny fairy sizes. But look at the details, amazing!)

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( I love the harp, and the tiny pictures)

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(This is a reading room (?) and the bench (?) looks so … hard… to lie on. But everything is so detailed and placed elegantly.)

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(The circus presentation.)

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(why did I take this picture… ?)

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(I wonder, what’s the fabric of the suit. Also, this is so “circus” in that it has a bizarre feeling with it.)

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(This dress is for those crazy brave rope walking ladies. )

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(And I am delighted as well. in 2017)

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(So delighted I had to take a second picture of it. I swear I tried to take detailed pictures of each individuals on the carousel, but my camera wouldn’t do it justice.)

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(glass art, again, camera doesn’t do it justice. Do you know how they implement it? they first build the structure, basically the round supporting piece in the middle, then randomly using artsy instinct to put on the rest colorful glass pieces on the supporting piece. I read it on the notice board. There was also a notice board about how they cleaned it. I didn’t spend time reading it. Now I felt so regret! Please I need to know how they clean this thing! )

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( Chicago Willis Tower, on the professional-international-many flags-huge globe-basically tourists stop side)

 

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(This is kind of a depressing picture to look at.)

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(Chicago skyline, taken at 106 floor )

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(Again, depressing to look at. Or maybe I just have acrophobia.)

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(Definitely acrophobia. )

And that’s my Purdue/Chicago trip!! Also, great foods every day made me super happy and piggy. My flight back to SF got delayed for 3 hours but it was ok. (Sincere Advice: please don’t fly United again future me.)

Oh I almost forgot! Last last last weekend we went to snowboard in Tahoe!! Here comes the pics.

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(left to right: Lulu, Hongling, me)

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(In case you didn’t get how cool I am)

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(picture at the front door of literally the worst Japanese restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life. Speaking of Monopolization in snow resorts.)

I think my life is updated now. I just finished my Political Science midterm today and I have another midterm next week, and the week after, and the week after. I hope I can push through, although I know I am probably the luckiest person walking on planet now. I am starting to get this “I am feeling lucky” feeling much more often these days. Not because I am actually very lucky, but because compared to last semester anything, even if it’s midterms or deadlines, would make me feel extremely lucky to be studying in Berkeley now.

I decided my classes and learnt about Democracy…

Things happened in Berkeley this past week.

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(To all the people who are confused/ambivalent/worried/gloating…thousand kinds of responses, I believe that the majority of Berkeley students protest peacefully. )

Having said that, I finally decided my class schedule this semester!!! I am excited because I always find it extremely hard to have my classes set before the first month at school ends. I am super lucky this semester. Here are my classes:

PoliSci2: Introduction to Comparative Politics (I put this class at the first place for specific reasons! I will write more details about it in the following blog post.)

IAS45: World History

IAS106: Intermediate Microeconomics

Decal: Symbols of China (I admit, I took this class simply because I lack two units to be qualified as a full-time student, yet I have way too much reading to finish for the other three classes. Thus I choose this decal… simply because I don’t want to put into any effort outside of the three main classes I mentioned above, and I don’t want to get into trouble with my school. But after the first session, which is surprisingly informative, like I leant that the 户口 house registration system in China actually started around Qing dynasty, which is 200 some years BCE! During our discussion, one of my classmates said that he regarded house registration system as “domestic passport”, which I found it quite an interesting definition/metaphor. We also talked about the importance of the house registration system. Most of my classmates found it quite a nuisance but I guess its existence is originated from the fact that in China Land Ownership is only 100 years, or at least that’s what I was told, thus it’s a little bit confusing for the government sometimes, to keep track of who actually lives in one place or another. But that’s my interpretation and might be wrong.)

Ok! Let’s talk about PoliSci2.

I didn’t want to take PS2 initially. I was planning on taking PE100, another class from the political economy department. But then  I tried PE100 for one week, and found out that the reading assignments were just way too much to handle for me. Now I realized that I should only blame myself for not being able to handle all the readings, but I guessed if there was one thing that I learnt from being kicked out of school once *that’s another time’s story, quite interesting actually* is that I never, never, never want to push myself again. Not that I find “push” myself a negative term, it’s only that I realized that I could be really stubborn sometimes, more that way if I have inputted/sacrificed a lot of my time and energy into certain project. I sometimes lost track of my ability and practical possibility to actually success in the course. Anyways, I think maybe I should choose another class, not something too lighter in reading load because I do want to learn how to read before entering upper division poli-related classes, but also not something too heavy like PE100.

The reason that I was pumped about the class was mainly because of my GSI. Now, I realized that this statement sounded superficial but please hear me out. On our first session, my GSI instructed us to play a game called “Principle and Agents”. Basically the rule is that: in a country, a principle is someone like president/prime minster, he or she might not be excellent in economics and thus he or she appoints someone to be the Chancellor, in charge of Money, which, in this game, is the agent. Now, the agent will always want to achieve higher interest rate, while the principle will always try to limit interest rate. The game is all about how an agent can persuade/lie/trick/whateverheorshedoes/makethe principle to accept the interest rate that the agent has on his or her mind.

Something like that. I’ve never played any games like this. Although my discussion with my partner is quite concise, because both of us didn’t quite understand what the game was all about at the point (lol) but it was quite amazing to see the results after everyone finished their games. I tricked my Principle to believe that 8.7 is the interest rate I am heading towards. Thus my Principle proposed 7.7, I accepted, while the true target interest rate is 6.7. This means that I was able to obtain an interest rate that was one percentage higher than expected. Is this good? I have no idea. To be honest, the game happened way too fast.

We played another game on week 2 (this week)’s session, it’s called(?) war or trade, basically it’s another version of the Prisoners’ dilemma.

Other than  the section, the lectures are interesting, so far. I found it a little bit amusing (although I really shouldn’t) how my professor talked about China in such an ambivalent way. What we learnt, in lecture and in readings, in short, is that Authoritarianism is more prone to disastrous developmental outcomes than Democracy. But when talking about China, I can see that the professor was baffled: yes, China is authoritarianism without question, yet its economic growth is without question as well. So how should one react to China? Our first two weeks we touched on microfoundations (philosophical chit-chats on what people seek in life) and in my opinion, an rather idealistic/unearthly definition of democracy. What we are taught in class is that Democracy have to be free election + conditions such as free speech/assembly/media to support transparent information flow that lays the foundation of a free and open election. However, I find transparency a nearly impossible concept in human society: not only in politics, only robots can be transparent, desires/power/material/community/etc and etc always motivates people to only distribute information beneficial to them. Whether or not we will like to distribute information in a way that are also beneficial to other people is unknown but definitely, I find transparency an unreal concept.

But I guess if we are going to discuss the many flaws (hehe) of democracy next week, I can learn more about democracy (in a western prospective) next week. Also, I find it funny (again, I really shouldn’t) that professor is criticizing China on its propaganda. I mean, isn’t it common knowledge that one of the best jobs of politicians all over the world is to make propaganda for whatever reason? Maybe it depends on the perspective, but I often felt like politicians only fed people what they wanted.  It’s part of their job, part of the reasons they got elected/selected on the first place, isn’t it?

But again, I am only week 2 into Political Science. Things are getting fun!

For my PoliEcon classes, I do learn a lot as well. We are still covering ancient civilizations now but I learnt a lot about religion and history. One thing to keep in mind is that religion is never the same thing as what people do with it. Also, I find it interesting that different professors always have different emphasizes on the same class. Last semester I was trying (but failed due to the long long long waitlist) to get into the same class taught by a different professor, he was brilliant, but he didn’t talk about religion as much as my professor this semester.

Maybe it’s because I have always liked humanity courses more compared to math/science classes, I find all of my professors/gsis brilliant and much much smarter than I am.

I guess this is it for now. I will/want to make myself write an update every week. Next week we are going to Tahoe to celebrate Lulu’s 21st birthday (woohoo snowboarding karaoke dancing night!) Next next week I am flying to Chicago. So honestly, I really need to keep up with my work this week and next week, otherwise I will find myself dead in midterm seasons, which are coming very very soon.