Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Types of of Rotors and Brake Pads

  • Rotors - Main job is to disperse heat. Material doesn't seem to matter as much as design
    • Blanks
    • Cross-drilled
      • Drill holes increase liklihood of cracking
      • Pretty much useless now, only good for looks
    • Slotted
    • Slotted and cross-drilled
      • Drilled part is still mainly for looks
    • Directional or uni-directional vanes
      • Even if it's a blank rotor, the vanes can be directional (so watch out whether it's on the left or right wheel)
  • Pads - Stops the car, materials actually seems to matter
    • Semi-metallic
    • Ceramic
      • More expensive
      • Less dust
      • Less initial bite

After spending 10+ hours reading up on different brakes for my car, I decided to go with cheap Pep Boys ProStop Rotors, Akebono ceramic front pads and ProStop ceramic rear pads.
I currently have Brembos and Stoptechs- all brembos on the front, stoptech pads in the back. (But StopTechs are dusty as hell.) I used to think I'd never take my car to Pep Boys, but I've changed.

I don't launch the car, track, or auto-cross it. I don't need to be buying racing parts my whole life. I just need working brakes on a daily driver. I've gone 60,000miles on my current brakes. In hindsight, I did not need to buy this fast of a car, though I only have good feelings towards it. I'll drive slowly and safely. ProStop rotors claims to follow OE for iron thickness, vane pattern, vane count, etc. I hope the ProStops work.

Some reading:
"Ur going to get haters for sure. I cant tell the difference in day to day driving and i used to have brembo slotted rotors and hawk ceramic pads. If you track the car then i would consider another option just to be safe. Check the diy section"

Long explaination of braking systems:

Some dude took Pep Boys ProStop pads to the track:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Grandparents, forever

I spent time with my grandparents yesterday. Just eating meals and sitting in our backyard (which is a really awesome backyard.)

My grandparents keep talking about the past and a lot of it is gossip, like about who owed them money from 20 years ago. A lot of it is also stories about me that I've heard time and time again. I keep wanting to tell them to stop gossipping about the past, that it's not emotionally healthy, and to look towards the future and have hope in it. But I realize that might not work for old people. What keeps me going is hope in the future, but I don't know how old people can have this...This aritcle explains about how young people look forward to change, while old people look for reminders of the past:

Another frustration is departing. My grandpa is starting to say again "after this upcoming vacation together and you move, who knows when I can see you again". He is hinting at death, and it hurts, and there is nothing I can do about it, except spend as much time with him as possible. 

There are moments when he pesters me so much about eating food or clothes to wear that I think to myself, "I can't wait to get away". But there are many more moments when I am sitting with my grandparents, and they are laughing and smiling, or I am just watching them go about their day and I can't help notice their frailness, and I can't help but think how much I'll miss them when they're not around.

Yesterday afternoon, my grandparents went back in after sitting in the backyard together. I remained outside to jump rope a bit before joining them for dinner. As I was jump roping in the southern california sunset, I was thinking about all this and I imagined what it would be like when they're not around. And how painful that would be. And why is life so finite, and death so distinct, and irreversible, and impassable. It's so frustrating.

It makes me wonder if I should just continue to be around them as much as possible whenever I'm not working, and maybe not even move away. But that won't make me most happy, and that's not what they'd really want. Since I'm currently not working, I get to be around them quite a bit, but even despite how sweet these moments are, it's not sustainable. I don't get as much work done, and I'm not as focused because they'll call me downstairs to eat or to talk. They keep mentioning how much they'll miss me when I move away, but if I stay, that's not reality, and that's not how children grow up. Children leave parents. That's life. Staying would hinder my growth, and that's ultimately not what they'd want.

I sometimes fear that every moment I spend with my grandparents will be the last of its kind. I want to stay around my grandparents whenever they talk about how much they're going to miss me. But I wouldn't be living to my fullest if I stayed around. It's what's gotta be done.

Emily Dickinson describes it well:
My life closed twice before its close— 
It yet remains to see 
If Immortality unveil 
A third event to me 

So huge, so hopeless to conceive 
As these that twice befell. 
Parting is all we know of heaven, 
And all we need of hell.

(On a side note, It also occurred to me that if I was a Christian, I can try to prevent this so that I can see my grandparents again in the future. That is, if i was a Christian and I evangelize to my grandparents and get them to also become Christians. But that doesn't appeal to me. Because that would mean I would have to sit there and tell them that they've sinned and they're actually "evil" and "sinners", and that they need to repent and seek Jesus. They are in their own minds good people. In the minds of most humans, they are also good people. I think my grandparents are quite proud, and that can be seen through their boasting about how frugal they are, and how difficult their past was, and how they're always grabbing for the crappiest remaining dish/food/vegetable on the table and mentioning it. Those behaviors of theirs do indeed annoy me.

Pride is a very toxic substance, I struggled with pride before when I used to call myself Christian, and I still struggle with it and face its toxic consequences even now, as a non-Christian. I remember Christian sermons that mentioned how there is a pervading pride and wickedness in man (and there is surely in myself too). But those sort of sermons now piss me off. God created us and allowed us to be "sinners", and I don't want to convince my grandparents that it is somehow their fault and that they need to repent. It's not their fault.)

Monday, August 8, 2016

What I Learned about Discipline that Changed My Life

The most life changing thing I learned this year is that discipline is a habit, a muscle that needs to be trained.

Like all life lessons, I didn't magically hear this and understand it. But I learned it through numerous failures and broken promises to myself. I internalized it and think about it multiple times a day in order to motivate myself to act upon it to try to be productive instead of waste precious time.

What I did before that didn't work
Trying to focus for hours at a time and telling myself to not leave the office until I finished task x.
This previously resulted in:
  • Unable to focus for that long
  • Unable to deliver according to my deadlines at work
  • Unproductive at work, felt guilty for only working 3 of those hours a day, despite forcing myself to sit there for 8 hours, then would force myself to sit there for another 3 hours in hopes that my focus would come around and I'd be able to complete the task. That rarely happened, and I would go home with the task unfinished and late
  • I thought I needed to quit and try to be productive on my own on projects that I was passionate about. I was still unproductive and only maybe productive 2hrs out of 17 hours awake

My mindset before
I thought:
  • I had a mental block that prevented me from not procrastinating
  • My job was the problem, and that was what was causing me to miss deadlines.
  • I hadn't found my passion yet and that was why I couldn't zone in on my work
  • My personality meant that I wasn't meant for certain types of work, even though I liked specific aspects of it.
  • Maybe I had the lazy gene

The Ah-ha
And I realized that despite being passionate about these projects, I was still unproductive. The problem wasn't the work, the problem was my lack of discipline.

My friend Jake called me to discuss how I was doing.
He mentioned that there were three types of people in life:
1) People who don't have a strong goal/vision/aspiration
2) People who have goals, but don't do anything about
3) People who have goals, and will do whatever it takes to accomplish it

I saw that I was the 2nd type. I asked jake how do i get from a wisher to a do-er (someone who'll do whatever it takes to make his wish come true).
He said he's not sure, and he mentioned a particular Jim Rohn video that he has been telling me to watch for over two years. For over two years, I said I'd watch it but I never did. Jake mentioned even if he tells 100 people to watch it, maybe only 10% will watch it, 90% won't, and he wasn't sure what set the 10% apart from the 90%, because it was such a simple small act.
The jump from unsuccessful to successful is chasmic, but watching that video vs not watching that video isn't. But it's as if just from watching it, I could be on my way to putting myself in the 10% of successful people group.

He was suggesting for me to watch that video again, and it starts with small intangible steps like reading self help books and wanting to change.

I became defensive, and mentioned maybe it's in my genes to be lazy.
Jake asked what I was thinking about in my recent blog post about me stereotyping and being racist.
I said there were studies that showed there was a lazy gene or violence gene, and maybe certain people have more of those genes.
He said so-what if that's true. Do I have any proof of this.
I didn't. But I was trying to defend my laziness and lack of productivity by saying maybe it's impossible for me to become productive.

He said it was hard for him to become productive too, but it was a personal choice, a habit that needed to be worked out. This was in line with a book I had read recently but wasn't putting into action: The Slight Edge. The book talked about daily habits and disciplines and how that snowballs into huge success or huge failure over time.

At this point Jake had to get onto a bus and said he'd call me back. During that moment of waiting I recognized that:
  • I was using fate/genes/depression as an excuse to make myself feel better about why I didn't work hard today
  • My subconsciousness would also use that as an excuse so that I wouldn't have to work hard tomorrow
  • But this thinking process that makes me feel better about my failures today by blaming fate and not taking responsibility will actually continue to set me up for failures tomorrow
  • It's not boolean. It's never just on or off
  • It's a distribution. and because it's a distribution, you can get yourself to one side of the curve

Even the article said that for those who have the laziness or violence gene, the environment matters a lot, in fact, the environment "turns on" the gene.

Jake called back and asked what good does knowing your genetic disadvantages do for you?

I said knowing your genetic predisposition lets you know what your advantages and disadvantages might be, so that you can maximize your talents and make use of your strategic advantages.

My whole life, I've been trying to find with certainty my "strategic advantage" and what I was uniquely good at. But at that moment I also realized: forget strategic advantages.

Don't let trying to find that paralyze you. Just try hard. Try very hard. You don't know if you're genetically predispositioned to fail at that yet.

You worry about going down the wrong path, a path that's not your genetic/strategic advantage, but if it's true that you're going down a wrong path, then you should try to get down that wrong path as quickly as possible. Genetics matters less than we think it does.

What I Learned from talking to Jake
Decide what I want to do
Decide if it's do-able
Then do it.
NBA star. (No, I genetically don't have the height)
Entrepreneur. (Not sure if I'm genetically too lazy, but it doesn't matter, I'm still going to try. It's not time for me to throw in the towel yet.)
You can still try in the NBA example too.

So, do I give in to my "fate"? Or do I try to change my fate?
Do I claim that my fate is laziness and give up? Or do I change it.
It's ok. It's not too late. There is still time to change, starting now.
If I give up and live mediocrity, I will regret it.

I realized what I kept explaining as an inability to focus or be disciplined - what I explained as a result of not being interested in work because the work was uninteresting to me, was maybe simply a lack of discipline on my part. Bad habits.

What I do now
Trying to focus for 25 minutes at a time, with 10 minute breaks, resulting in 6 hours of productivity a day.
This will gradually increase to 45 minutes at a time, resulting in 10 hours of productivity a day.
Stop googling the shit out of irrelevant facts and ADHD issues

Why mindset matters
I didn't even really talk about discipline forming habits here, but more about mindset.
Mindset results in thoughts, thoughts result in actions, actions result in habits, and habits result in character.
Before, I was trying to be productive without the belief that it was a habit that could be improved.
My belief was that i was unproductive because the work sucked.
Now my belief is that I was unproductive because it was a bad habit. And habits can be changed.

How this came about:
I could not have learned this if I continued to stay at my old job. I needed to quit and try to be productive on my own on projects I was passionate about. And I realized that despite being passionate about these projects, I was still unproductive. The problem wasn't the work, the problem was my lack of discipline.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Alaska Cruise Glacier Differences

College Fjord - near Prince William Sound, can be done from Anchorage
Glacier Bay - Classic must see, but similar to College Fjord
Hubbard Glacier - huge ass glacier, bigger than glacier bay, but can't get as close
Tracy Arm Fjord, aka Sawyer - Fjord, near Juneau

Glacier Bay and College Fjords are similar

Pro tip:
Norwegian does Glacier Bay and Hubbard on the northbound itinerary only, and Princess only do both on the southbound itineraries.

Monday, July 25, 2016

I am racist

Well, partly, because I partially fit the definition of racist: a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

I don't believe one race is superior to another in all areas of life, but only some areas. Black people are better at sports. Asians are better at math.

Just as maybe there is a gene for homosexuality, maybe there's a gene for laziness: Being lazy could be genetic say scientists
Laziness then probably leads to less education, more poverty, and therefore, more crime. Heck, maybe there's a gene for violent crime: Two genes linked with violent crime - BBC News

Maybe, just maybe, it’s in black and latino genes to be more predispositioned towards laziness or crime, whereas it’s in the asians genes to be more predispositioned to be passive, silent, short, have smaller pensises, and unable to get pussy, but also work hard, and not commit violent crimes. What's worse? Being un-fuckable, or being lazy? (Fuck, as of writing this, I think I'm both.)
Yes, I'm saying AllLivesMatter in light of BlackLivesMatter because black people do commit more crimes and a police officer is more likely to die when the suspect is black as opposed of any other race: FactCheck: do black Americans commit more crime?
Yes, I'm complaining and whining about being asian and short and single all my life,
Yes, I know I need to stop whining about it,
No, I'm not going into the streets to protest about why women won't date me,
True, my pain is nothing compared to that of a bullet wound or losing a loved one,
But yes, it is pain nonetheless,
No, I'm not giving up and going into a forest to cut off my penis and commit seppuku just because I can't get laid: Don't Kill Yourself Because You Can't Get A Girlfriend

I'm going to work my ass off to become a better me, and fight whatever predisposition my genes gave me that I don't like. I'm going to work twice as hard to be successful.

And black people need to do the same to get out of poverty. And sometimes that hard work does come in the form of protesting to change the system. Because yes, the system is fucked up. The entire system. It seems like white people got the best genes and they were able to imperialize and conquer and enslave the entire world (and they're still doing it), but they've kinda stopped, so there's hope. But they also have it bad because they're prone to sunburn and skin cancer. And all that just means we have to work harder.
In the end, we all have to work to better ourselves.
Unless you have the lazy gene. Then you just have to work extra hard.

Life is fucking unfair. For everyone.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What I learned today from googling about Sunnis vs Shiites

  • Sunnis
    • After Prophet Muhammad died, Sunnis wanted to vote for successor
    • Place their hands on their stomachs when they pray
    • Account for 85% of the world's muslims
    • "Centralized" in Saudi Arabia

  • Shiites (Shia = Noun, Shiite = Adjective)
    • After Prophet Muhammad died, Shiites wanted to follow bloodline
    • Place their hands at their sides when they pray
    • Account for 15% of the world's muslims
    • "Centralized" in Iran
  • There are Sunni vs Shiite mosques, but it is hard to tell visually
  • ISIS is Sunni

  • Some good links:
    • Different between:
    • About Saudia Arabia:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thoughts and Notes about Kyrgyzstan

I like this country, especially the capital, Bishkek.

General feelings:
-The statues are really cool. Badass warriors on horses. Not the lovey-dovey junk that's littered all over Paris. Similar to some areas of prague. (applies more-so to bishkek than to osh, since Osh doesn't have much of anything)

-Children play on the streets and in playgrounds, even if only on dirt or cement fields. They play, they yell, they laugh, and I hear them from my 4th story soviet style apartment hostel. BMX bikers and skate boarders do tricks and jump off the staircases of national monuments and opera houses. Seeing these things gives me hope. Freedom of expression exists.

-The women are the most beautiful I've seen in the world
There are very few overweight women. They all look fit and in shape. They range from appearing as completely caucasian (like blond hair, blue eyes, German), to completely eastern asian (like chinese/japanese/korean), and everything in between (but more asian looking ones than caucasian looking ones). Despite 90% of the population being muslim, people are dressed in a very western fashion. Women here reveal as much skins as women in the US.
I'm sure the guys are beautiful too, but I haven't been paying too much attention to them. A lot of them are like taller, manlier, buffer versions of east asians. They do pullups and dips on the old USSR styled children playgrounds that have a lot of monkey bars with worn out paint.

-There aren't hawkers everywhere asking you if you need a taxi ride. There are taxis, but they don't all rush up to you 5 people at once, asking you where you want to go next (Maybe only when you get off the airport, but not all over the city like the Siem Reap or Phnom Penh)
-There's very little littering on the ground. Unlike western china (Where everyone, from the buddhist monks to the taxi drivers, will litter. The monk was sitting on the ground and reading scripture and praying under a statue while it was raining, and I ducked under the statue near him in order to shelter from the rain. We smiled at each other and nodded. After a while, he finished reading, pulled out what looked like a twizzler sort of candy bar, ate it, and threw the wrapper on the ground, on the grass, and walked on. As for taxi drivers, they just roll down the window and throw out trash. But here in Kyrgyzstan, I have not seen such behavior.)
-Cars actually stop for you when you cross the street, almost like the United States. Nowhere in China does this occur
-The internet is good enough for stream youtube at 720p, and google and facebook are not blocked like it is in China.

-Perhaps it's because of Ramadan that things are open late (since many restaurants are closed during the day since many people are fasting), but at night, there are people on the streets and stores and shops are open, even at midnight. I read from online numerous warnings about how it's unsafe for tourists and foreigners to go out at night, due to pickpockets. But I felt it was alright... China has a weird unspoken curfew system, where it gets very dark and deserted late at night, even in cities like shanghai.

Authorities and corruption
-Though I haven't experienced this yet, the cops are crooked, similar to many other countries. I sort of experienced this in Cambodia, where I was overcharged an extra $5 for a visa from the immigration officer. And I kept arguing with him about why. It's funny, because in any developed nation, I would not be arguing with an officer.

-Kyrgyzstan place is poor and GDP is low. A taxi from Osh to Bishkek, a 12 hour ride, only costs around 1000SOM per person. (Around $15). This is ridiculous, because the gas costs about 2500SOM to 3000SOM (about $45 USD). So the taxi driver only made $15 to $20 that day for 12 hours of driving. And that's not even considering the cost of maintenance or cost of the car.
When I look at the GDP per capita though, it almost makes sense. Kyrgyzstan has a GDP per capita of $1200. That is really low. (The US's is around $50,000). So if this driver in Kyrgyzstan makes $15 per day and works 300 days per year... that's about it that's like $4500, then minus the cost of maintenance and the car... he might even be making more that the national average of $1200.
-A low GDP also means things are quite affordable for foreigners. A burger is usually $1 (65 SOM). Veal was $8.

The cars are also from all over the world, like as if this country has no emission policy of its own, and it just imports cars from anywhere that is cheap. Because there are cars with steering wheels on the right side, even though the country drives on the right side of the road. I wonder if that is a sign of how poor this place is. That they'll take cars from any country, regardless of whether they're left or right handed steering wheel. This scares me in terms of safety and visibility while driving. But people seem to be able to live with it.
Public transportation seems to be lacking. There are no subways and not many real "buses". There are marshrutkas (shared taxi minivans that travel specific routes and have bus stops).
Bus taxis are cheap. 1km seems to negotiable for 40 to 50 SOM (e.g. around $0.75). So it'd be about $1 per mile.

The city of Osh
-Not much to do. There are like 5 touristy things to do: 1 mountain, 2 museums, and a yurt. Can all be done in 6 hours.

The city of Bishkek
-Lots of cool squares, parks, monuments, and museums. Can be seen in 10 or 12 hours.