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San Francisco, USA

 

Learning to Quit

I have been an avid learner of MOOC courses since this format debut in 2012. It is often said, despite the large number of people signed up, most did not complete the course, that is if they started at all. Few turned in home work or did any required work. Even fewer went through tests and exams. At the end no more than 5% of students would have completed all lectures, home works and exams.

I am in those 5% who made earnest effort in every class. I submitted all work on time, participated in discussions, and generally did well in exams. A good number of the classes I signed up are hard core courses that demand substantial amount of work, include a lot of technical effort like programming and mathematics. I took pride in accomplishing them.

I didn't stop myself at one course at a time. There were so many interesting subjects I often found myself going for two or three courses at the same time. How did I juggle a full time job, parenting two children, and working three courses I didn't know. (Watching lecture videos at 1.5x to 2x speed helped) The effort I have put in I am confident it is enough to earn a bachelor degree or two master degree.

But recently I have let up in my pursuit of MOOC. The number of course I have attended has gone down substantially. I have gone between weeks or months without any classes. There are a variety of reasons but I am not interested to inquire for now.

Mostly recently I have signed to a supply chain management class from MIT. I don't need to use this at work or in practice. But it sounds cool. And it uses mathematical tools like probabilities and calculus. I am interest to see how to apply them for real world problems. It was kind of fun to see the approach to make the best of a supply chain in face of uncertain demand. But now I am two third into the course, I have gotten the main idea. But I also have gotten tire of getting solutions by plugging numbers into formulas. I was busy and the course got tedious. So I did what I have not done before. I decided to quit. I think I have learned enough and it does not worth my effort to do every single exercise there. I have learned it is right for me to quit.

I still skim through the weekly lectures. I watch the introduction and the key points at the end without bother with the tedious work that make up the bulk of the lectures. I have learned that this is the best strategy for me to gain exposure to the subject without bog down by the details. Striving is good. But so is quitting sometimes.

2017.03.22 comments

 

Duck Pond It Is Not

Duck Pond It Is Not

I swear this is not a lake. Look at the tree stumps. They used to be a shaded parkland where we can sit to watch the kids play. Rain runoff has filled up this part of the park, turning it into a swamp. Now ducks have discovered it. They are quite at home in this new pond.

2017.03.06 comments

 

Golden Gate park Half Marathon

So I completed my first half marathon yesterday from the Golden Gate park, along with other 5,000 participants. I got a blister a few days before the race. And I was anxiously checking an impending storm forecast to hit on the day. None of this has affected it. It was a fabulous day. The weather was great the energy was superb. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Was it about the journey or the destination? Perhaps it was just the moment. About two third of the way, we descended from the park to the Ocean Beach. The runners were spread out on the wide Great Highway. By that time the lead runner has already reached the finish line. I was still going strong. Running along the Pacific Ocean, the surf was hitting the beach incessantly. The white noise from the waves were all I can hear. The sky was covered with ripple of cloud, where the sun was trying to breaking through. It was hours before the storm was to hit. I kept running and running and felt elated from the movement under the open sky.

2017.02.06 comments

 

Sundance notes 4

I had an awesome last day in Sundance, watching three award winning films back to back.

Tarik Saleh's The Nile Hilton Incident is an Egyptian film noir. Cop Noredin was investigating a murdered in an hotel. It quickly became complicated when it implicated an important businessman and politician in the country. The corrupted police office made sure it was a no go. All people involved, from a pimp to innocent witness found their life in danger. This tense thriller happened in the backdrop of turmoil of Arab spring in Cairo.

I probably wouldn't have picked up Dan Sickles's Dina by myself. But it turned out to be a sweet documentary about two a middle aged couple. Both of them are poor and have some degree of developmental disability. The crew followed them when the decided to get engaged and later married. Two unsexy middle aged people is not going to be very photogenic on screen. Still it is inspiring to see how they deal with life and their marital issues.

I Dont Feel At Home In This World Anymore
I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore

The Grand Jury Prize went to Macon Blair's I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. It is an absolutely brilliant film. Nurse Ruth already had a bad day. Then she came home and found it burglarized. When police did not act on the information she found, she went with her quirky neighbor to retrieve the stolen objects on their own. The result is an unpredictable adventure that is at the same time hilarious and brutal. Macon is a genius in the style of Quentin Tarantino. This is my top film from the festival.

2017.01.29 comments

 

Sundance notes 1

Really excited to be in the Sundance festival for the first time. I saw some good movies and met a bunch of people. Here are some of my notes

Sundance 2017
Sundance 2017

The first event I've attended was a writer's panel. There were a number of accomplished writers and directors. One of them was Gina Brice-Bythewood, whose film "Beyond the lights" is one of my recent favorite. The theme was writing TV episodes. For the longest time I have not paid much attention to TV. I thought they were lesser work compare to feature film and they were low quality stuff for mass consumption. But some writers actually prefer that because they are in longer format and have more space for character development and creativity. This reminds me I have really enjoyed some European TV series like "Borgen" and "The best of youth" greatly. From now on I should seek out TV drama more.

One of the panelist Marti Noxon noted a dysfunctional family background is a fertile source of inspiration. She made a good point in a clip of a martial squabble with a lot of tension.

In the evening I got a free ticket for Novitiate, about a young woman want to devote her life to become a nun in a convent. I am really a fan of Christian theology. I thought I will hate the movie. Instead the movie gave me insight into their state of mind. The young ladies were turning their back to ordinary life for their ideal, to live their entire life devote to Jesus. To be accepted by the convent they have to live their life according to strict order and traditions.

Interestingly I resonated with them to some extend. I have elected to join a Buddhist Monastery for a week. We actually shared quite a few things. We arose by early morning bell at 4 or 5 to start religious practice. There were a lot of attention for a period of silence for inner reflection. There are ritual that might seem odd, but you practice without question nevertheless just because it is an institution evolve over hundreds of years.

And for these young women, there were also normal human feeling, one that is completely counter to the order of the convent that have no way to express and have great difficulty to handle at all.

2017.01.28 comments

 

Presidio Run

Today I made another long run in Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. There are so many wonderful sights on way, it is just magical! I ran by Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line. I love love love this sinuous log line emerged in the forest! Then it was the Yoda statue. Fans have setup a impromptu memorial for the just departed Carrie Fisher by the fountain. From there it headed down to the beautiful lagoon at the Palace of the Fine Arts. Then the open air by the shoreline in Crissy Field. Then climbed up the giant bridge structure and crossed the water of the beautiful bay. It returned by the scenic cliff side trail on the Pacific coast. Finally back to the wood to another sculpture of Andy Goldsworthy - the Spire. The 10.5 miles loop has to be one of the best trail in the world!

Tribute to Carrie Fisher
May the peace be with you
Fans pay tribute to Carrie Fisher

It rained though. The half Marathon I am training for is in February. So there is a chance it might rain that day as it is in the rainy season. I might as well get some practice now. Fortunately it was only some scatter showers. There were muddy puddles to jump through and misty spray hit us on the bridge by passing trucks. But there was also some clear sky that was just so gorgeous to see.

There were some hills at the end. I could still run. But climbing hills of any grade became a challenge. I worried I might hurt my ankle if I pushed for it. So I walked most of the slopes instead. This is the longest run I have done thus far. I was pretty drained but in high spirit after this great run.

2017.01.02 comments

 

Book Reading Log

Recently I have noticed I was reading five books at the same time. So I decided to track how I was doing with them. Everyday I logged down the pages I have read. After one and half month, the progress is shown in the chart below.

Book Reading Log 2016
Book Reading Log 2016

In this period I have completed six books and started four. Right now there are three books in flight. This is very solid progress. In the entire years of 2016, it looks like I have read 20 books. Notice some lines in the chart shoot straight up while others are flatter. The rocket like lines are library books that I often have to complete in three weeks of loan period!

The other question arises. Why don't I read one book at a time instead of moving on multiple books? This is a good question. I think I might suffer from some ADHD problem and multi-task too much. Let's see if I can change that.

2016.12.26 comments

 

Nine Lakes of The Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park is beloved of its museums, sports fields, lawns and forests. Not as well known is that it is dotted with a string of lakes. In all I have counted nine lakes of significant size. I have decided to visit them all today in my run. Each of them was pictured below.

Elk Glen Lake

The first one was Elk Glen Lake. It was looking good in the afternoon light.

Metson Lake

The smallish Metson Lake along Middle Drive.

Mallard lake

You might have driven past Mallard lake without noticing this brown body of water.

South Lake

South Lake, the first of three in the Chain of Lakes.

Middle Lake

Middle Lake was choked by reeds.

North Lake

North Lake, it looks best in the morning fog.

Spreckels Lake

Spreckels Lake is popular for model boats. There wasn't any today though.

Lloyd Lake

Lloyd Lake, I love its exquisite portal.

Stow Lake

The largest and the most well known is the Stow lake on the East side.

Above is my route of about 8 miles hitting each lake in the Golden Gate Park.

2016.12.25 comments

 

Midday Adventure

After lunch, I went to Tilly's coffee shop, one of my favorite spot in the neighborhood. The atmosphere in the Sunday afternoon was very relaxing. I sat next to a young couple who were studying with their computer. Most other people, there were a few older ones, were just sitting and passing time. I was supposed to work on the homework assignment for my writing class tomorrow. Instead I found myself browsing on the computer, reading news, and commenting on Internet forum. Before long I have emptied my drink. I was disappointed that I still have not written a single word. Resigned, I packed up and headed to grocery shopping before returning home. [more...]

2016.12.19 comments

 

Frost in SF

Frosty car Frosty car

What the heck? I don't expect these frost in San Francisco. [more...]

2016.12.18 comments

 

Tipped Uber Driver

After using Uber for three years, this is the first time I have tipped a driver. I was making a trip from Berkeley to San Francisco. The quote was ten dollars for UberPOOL or twenty something for a regular Uber. I didn't understand how the pool fare can be less than half of the full fare. But it sounded like an easy choice for me. Just the bridge toll would have been five dollars, which I wasn't even charged for after I reviewed my bill. [more...]

2016.11.30 comments

 

Golden Gate Bridge Run

My 8 mile run to Golden Gate Bridge and back today. It is a gorgeous route with some hills in Presidio. Add another 7 miles round trip of bike ride from my home to the starting point. [more...]

2016.11.25 comments

 

Elon Musk wants to die on Mars

This issue's National Geographic is about Mars exploration. Elon Musk himself is advancing the effort with his company SpaceX. He reportedly said he wants to die on Mars. [more...]

2016.11.20 comments

 

Cheers City Car Share

Anyone remember these green Volkswagen Beetle? Back in 2001 City Car Share began one of the first car sharing operation in United States, starting with a fleet of green Beetles. People paid an annual fee so that they can rent the car by hour, picking up and returning to a designated spot. I have joined in 2004, just as they were phrasing out the green Beetles and replacing them with a wide selection of cars. Let me tell you the Volkswagen Beetle is a terrible car. There was a good reason that this iconic fleet didn't last. [more...]

2016.11.19 comments

 

System and compressed memory high CPU usage [solved]

A few months ago I have a upgraded to new laptop Lenovo T450s with Windows 10. Usually after a new years, the old computer feels old and slow and a new computer gives you an instant boost. It did not work out so well this time. The shiny new laptop actually feels lot more sluggish than my old one??? [more...]

2016.11.04 comments

 

City By The Bay

After roaming on the road for 15 hours and reached four different states, we were at the end of our journey. The bus came out of the tunnel, riding high on the bridge deck overlooking the blue water below. The skyline of San Francisco has emerged in front of us. People brought out their cameras to snap pictures. I was excited to show off famous landmarks to the international tourists on board, "this is the famous prison island Alcatraz, that is the ferry building, ..." The silhouette of Golden Gate Bridge was in the background, wearing a sheer layer of fog at the time. The weather was perfect. Above of us was blue sky and below was glittering sea. Seeing the high rises on the shore has brought out a sense of excitement in us. [more...]

2016.10.16 comments

 

City By The Bay

City By The Bay

2016.10.09 comments

 

Climate change law has reshaped California in 10 years

10 years after then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the climate change bill AB32, SF Chronicle has published an article to review the progress. Renewable energy has make a remarkable stride in the last decade. Mostly boosted by solar and wind, they have doubled the contribution to about a quarter of the power mix. They have delivered all their promises and then more. [more...]

2016.10.01 comments

 

My Appearance in a Giants Game

Boat in Giants Game

I went for rowing this Tuesday. We rowed into McCovey Cove while a Giants games was going on. The camera man took interest in our boat and put us on the screen in the ball park. I was behind the steer man in this picture, at the second oar on the left. It was a fun sport and I got a good workout that night. [more...]

2016.09.29 comments

 

The Electric Man

I have had this cargo bike for two years. It seats two kids on the back easily. When I was initially offered an electric drive option I have declined because it doubles the price. I managed to haul them around in the neighborhood, crawling up hills when I have to, all on the power of my own legs. I was so good I wouldn't need electric assistance. [more...]

2016.09.18 comments

 

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Trump-Russia ties: Senate pledges thorough inquiry (30 Mar 2017)

 

Insurer Lloyd's of London confirms new Brussels subsidiary (30 Mar 2017)

 

Ivanka Trump to be assistant to US president (30 Mar 2017)

 

'Exploding' soup dumpling video angers Asian foodies (30 Mar 2017)

 

Brexit: UK to set out plans to replace all EU laws (30 Mar 2017)

 

Turkey: Euphrates Shield campaign in Syria 'ended' (30 Mar 2017)

 

PwC keeps Oscars despite best film blunder (30 Mar 2017)

 

North Carolina 'bathroom' law: Deal reached on repeal (30 Mar 2017)

 

Trump to meet China's Xi in Florida next week (30 Mar 2017)

 

Italian police in Venice arrest three Jihadists (30 Mar 2017)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Bay Area News (7 Jan 2012)

 

City Insider (11 Feb 2012)

 

Crime Scene (13 Feb 2012)

 

C.W Newius Column (10 Jan 2012)

 

C.W. Nevius Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

Education News (10 Jan 2012)

 

KALW (11 Feb 2012)

 

Matier and Ross Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

Bill to let bars serve alcohol until 4 a.m. advances (29 Mar 2017)

 

Pinterest seeks new ad revenue sources ahead of possible IPO (29 Mar 2017)

 

Westinghouse files for bankruptcy (29 Mar 2017)

 

Man sentenced in iPhone frauds (29 Mar 2017)

 

PG&E agrees to .5m penalty in San Bruno fallout; bills to drop (29 Mar 2017)

 

Top General Says Human Rights Shouldn't Hold Up U.S. Arms Sales (29 Mar 2017)

more »

 


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