2014 – a year of change and growth

let’s start with my goals from last year and see where i stand:

  • i did buy a townhome and i’m loving it
  • Kathy did move in with me and we have a dog named Remy
  • Queen City Thunder did not make it to regionals but we made a good attempt considering our region was the most competitive it’s ever been
  • i don’t have a six pack. in fact, my annual Microsoft health screening says i’ve gotten a bit less healthy ;(
  • avoided getting a blister this past summer
  • i did get promoted at work. i had my best review since starting at Microsoft and i’m really enjoying my work. i’m working hard in hopes of getting 2 more promotions before the end of the fiscal year.

i started working on my first real coding project. you can find all the details at https://github.com/maxxwizard/inhouseBot. i’ve never felt the desire or motivation to code for fun or have a hobby project until recently. your brain changes immensely over the years so for all those who feel like they haven’t hit their stride or found their calling (e.g. me in college), stay positive and don’t be an asshole – your time to shine will come if you stay grateful, humble, and somewhat hungry (for life/success).

life is really stable nowadays so i do get antsy. it’s good that i live with a bunch of roommates and a girlfriend because there’s always something to do and people to hang out with. also, charting out future goals gives me something to strive for:

  • finish this inhouseBot by Thanksgiving 2014
  • escalation engineer [debugging code] by end of FY15
  • principal engineer or executive by the time i’m 30 years old
  • at least $3M when i retire at 65

2013 – My Yearly Blog Post

i realized it’s been over a year since i’ve written a blog post so i thought i’d put out an update on my life. it’s interesting going back and reading some of your old written works because it’s always like: “did i write this?”

so where am i in life right now? i’m working at Microsoft as a support engineer for Exchange. it’s a great opportunity and job. there is so much luck behind how i ended up here that the story seems a bit far fetched in retrospect. it was really tough at first – having to move away from a girlfriend and family – but i’ve put down some roots in Charlotte and it’s been great.

there’s one more year of waiting for Kathy, my girlfriend of over 2 years, because she’s about to be a senior in college. we’ve been through quite a lot and while perhaps i don’t enjoy admitting it (due to some “flaw” in my personality where displaying PDA makes you seem weak), i love her dearly for all that she’s done for me and continues to do.

at work, they’ve recently switched my specialization. for the techies out there, i used to support on-premises Exchange installations but now i support cloud Exchange (aka Exchange Online aka Office 365). there was the usual month of discomfort at having to try really hard to catch up to where the other support engineers were at. it’s especially difficult when you consider that you didn’t start out as an industry hire yet you’re supposed to match them. as the proverb goes though: “no pain, no gain.” i feel confident that in the next year, i’m going to have a lot of opportunities open up for me simply due to the amount of work experience and Exchange knowledge i’ve gained. it’s going to be an exciting time…

which is not to say that every day isn’t exciting. they say that one of the best ways to become happy is to be appreciative. waking up everyday with a job, family, and health is more than enough for me. i know people who aspire to get on the covers of magazines or change the world, and sometimes i feel selfish that my aspirations aren’t as high – that i should be contributing to society more. i want to say that as long as i’m not being a detriment to society, then that’s good enough? :)

so back to the topic at hand… a snapshot of my current life. i guess we can talk about Charlotte a little bit. i’ve grown to love this city. i’m really glad my friend Amy gave me that final persuasive nudge and told me to accept the job offer from Microsoft. changing cities really gives you perspective. others find it when they study abroad or work abroad. it’s amazing that just moving within a country will be enough. as cliche as it sounds, there’s so many new people to meet, places to see, things to do. but most of all, the people. if i had to compare Boston to Charlotte, the most prominent difference is that there’s a community down here. maybe it’s because there’s less people and you feel more responsible to them and the land we live on. maybe it’s because everyone seems genuinely more hospitable and friendly. right now, i’m lucky to be able to afford monthly trips to Boston to visit my girlfriend, friends, and family back in Boston. constantly seeing those 2 worlds and how they sometimes interact is great… most of the time.

what’s the future hold? well, i guess i could list out some of my goals and see if i end up hitting them.

  • i buy a house since the market is allegedly real cheap
  • Kathy moves in with me
  • my club ultimate team, Queen City Thunder, makes top 8 at regionals
  • i get a six-pack
  • i don’t get a blister ever again from the scorching weather of the South
  • i get promoted at work
  • i stumble upon a fortune and buy a Hello Kitty lambo before Zhen can gift me one
  • i continue to keep my health and happiness

see you next year.

The Hidden Price of Education

as you get more educated, you start to see the world in more clarity. but at what price? the side effect of gaining knowledge seems to be that you also gain apathy.

for me, it seems that as you ascend the education ladder, or rather the pyramid, you have less and less people to communicate with. as your knowledge of the world increases, you actually start to feel disillusioned. once you start gaining insights on how things and people work, everything becomes less mysterious, less interesting. though that kind of seems like what we humans do – pry and prod until we’re no longer curious. when it comes to people, we experiment with each other, study the effects, and form theories – so everyone does psychology. i’m not saying we’ll ever get to a point where we can predict each other – or at least, i think a professor once said it’s impossible due to the random nature of electrons – but i suppose we can start guessing people’s behaviors better. that must be where this whole idea of wisdom comes from – live a long life and you’ll start to know and understand the patterns. or become a psychologist and try to gain as much insight as you can.

so what was the inspiration for this post? the realization that i have started viewing people more and more like computer systems: a sophisticated machine that reacts to interrupts (emails, wall posts, text messages, etc.). a friend that majors in psychology says he also can’t help but view people through the lens of some psychoanalysis. but i suppose it’s all okay – just drink real hard and you won’t have enough brainpower to view anyone through any lens, hahaha.

We’re all crazy, seriously.

so here’s where i drop some pseudo-intellectual knowledge based off my measly 21 years on this earth, 3 of which were spent in an overpriced university. feel free to flame me.

i was talking to my friend. she, like many girls, loves to date assholes. well, for her, it’s not so bad since she’s still on her first asshole. anyways, i told her she’s crazy just like all the other girls out there. she claims she’s not. then i decided to change my claim: everyone is crazy. and here’s why…

i think we all tether on insanity. you hear about such things as people going insane or having a breakdown, etc. the human brain is great and can endure a lot of things, but it obviously has a limit. everyone has random thoughts – everyone dreams at night – these random mashups of our life experience and knowledge is what makes us human and can inspire us, or can make us do terrible things. my personal opinion is that everyone is capable of atrocities – it is the natural savage in us – society has contained it because it is beneficial. but if we are stripped of everything, we can lose our sanity.

so back to the crazy girls – and crazy everybodies. if i were to get paralyzed, i’d probably get depressed and maybe just off myself. or perhaps someone were to murder my entire family in front of me. would i lose my sanity? would i go on a murderous rampage of vengeance? let’s take it to a lesser extreme. a smart girl is highly competitive in academics. she gets shafted by her friend somehow – like her friend sabotages her application to university. would she murder her friend? would she contemplate it? the thought probably crosses her mind. she thinks about it and using her society-instilled values, she passes judgment on the action/thought.

so what i’m trying to say is – we’re all crazy because we all have the seed of chaos – the innate savage – inside of us. i suppose, people are crazy to different extents, or rather, their stability – their mental wall – varies in strength. and once you know someone long enough, you can judge where this wall stands in relation to others and might even place concrete examples on it. of course, many people will not reveal their inner crazy – i mean, society tells you to hide it. so now you’re wondering: what random thoughts pass through my head? wouldn’t you like to know? :)

The Religion of Love

It seems like I’ve grown so… peaceful. I feel like a hippie. I enjoy biking around because to enjoy the weather and the motion. The other day, I even felt like doing volunteer work. It was quite an odd feeling. What is new in my life that is causing this change? Maybe it’s just all the little things that add up.

I’ve been seeing the best in the people… or rather, I forgive them for the things they’ve done or do. I’m not saying some people are emotionally or psychologically doomed, but I accept people for their shortcomings. I suppose I should be careful not to pity people or be condescending else it would be interpreted the wrong way.


I need to read more books because I’m losing my vocabulary, or rather, my ability to piece together eloquent sentences. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve stopped mid-sentence, trying to look for the word that conveys my thoughts most accurately and succinctly. Probably should stop drinking so much? Haha.


I’ve found that I’ve gotten more annoyed by some people, even close ones. My patience is not there, but I think it’s partially from work. I’m by no means unhappy, but working 7 hours a day programming can take its toll on your patience. There are ups and downs. I was frustrated for a whole day trying to debug some shitty code. I decided to scrap the entire module that was written by someone else and write it again, borrowing ideas but implementing it in a vastly more efficient and legible way. I slaved away for a couple of days and I’m nearing completion now. The sense of accomplishment you get when you finish a big piece of code or even a novel piece of code is amazing. But back to the point: programming every day can take its toll. You’ve spent all your patience debugging code. Today, I literally started laughing while coding. I just saw a bunch of “ifs” on my screen and somehow thought it was funny what I was doing… the very concept of programming, creating a maze of logic for a computer to iterate through.


One of the things on my mind recently is the fact that people stay in shitty relationships. Humans live according to their culture. Everything has to be taken into context. But take the context of the modern day idea of romantic love, the desire to be lifelong companions with someone else. For some, it is as if we subscribe to the religion of love. That’s why you hear people say “I [don’t] believe in true love.” Those who know me know that I am not a fan of religion – the idea of having blind faith in an idea or person. I’m a programmer – I try to think logically about most issues. Sure, I’ve been stung by this thing they’ve called “love.” It’s an emotion that most sane people feel at least some time in their life. Obviously, this struggle with romantic love affects everyone. You usually hear about the pain that comes with it: sleepless nights, crying, the numbing pain that grips you. However, these ideas are given to us by the media. Literally, I’ve been brainwashed [or programmed, haha] into being a hopeless romantic. It’s become a drug. It’s like a guilty pleasure, watching a tear-jerking romance movie. It’s an inconvenience when it hurts, but it’s great when it’s working out. I suppose you could consider it another form of entertainment. Get a boyfriend or girlfriend so you can pass your time with them.

Anyways, back to the point. Why is it that I hear about people complaining about the shitty relationships they are in, yet they refuse to end it? I would like to think i’m a socially acclimated person, and I know that the stories they are telling me are grounds for termination of the relationship. Yet it doesn’t happen. But I suppose this is where it vagues. I haven’t ever been in a long term relationship. I can tell them to break it off, but would I have the emotional strength to do so myself? The closest I’ve ever gotten to true love, it was severed from me. I clung on for as long as I could. I couldn’t let go. Back to the silly idea of how I [and many others] subscribe to the religion of love.

And now I will end this fairly long post with this video I enjoyed courtesy of my Facebook feed… a video of dark humor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUhCKFNuj3Q

Excited for Spring/Summer

winter is nearly over. that means better weather, better conditions for playing ultimate. the first tournament of the spring is this coming weekend. i have really high hopes for BU this year – we will definitely make regionals. getting edged out by BC last year was one of the most disappointing losses ever. we’ll be sure to punish them this year for it, haha.

life is going well. i got a job lined up for this summer at Verndale again. it seems like ever since i started web development, i’ve slowly fallen deeper into the rabbit hole. not too long ago, i was messing around with an HTML page with a CSS stylesheet attached. now, i’m working on web applications to be used by hundreds of strangers all over the world. it’s stressful trying to learn new technologies in order to achieve your goals, but there’s a sweet satisfaction each time you reach a milestone.

so much is going on in my life that i feel like i should be able to write pages about it, but my mind is surprisingly blank. oh well, time to go play Starcraft 2. i deserve it after the 6+ hours i input in my CS460 project, right?

Hello World!

e-props to anyone that recognizes the nerdy reference.

there’s not much to write about nowadays. winter break is nearly over – it’s been a good one. i think i got all my laziness out so i’m ready to spring back into college. i wasted a bunch of time watching this korean drama during break named “boys over flowers.”

it wasn’t a great drama, but i felt like it reminded me of who i was at heart: a gay guy. haha, just kidding. but i felt my personality soften as i watched the drama. at the risk of saying too much on a public blog, it finally allowed me to forgive that girl that broke my heart. the majority of dramas are about pain, but after the pain, there’s always relief and possibly some insight/change. i mean, you exercise through pain to get a stronger/better body. the [emotional] heart’s the same way. you break it a couple of times, and once it heals, you’ll come out the other side stronger.

anyways, enough about sappy love shit. let’s talk about ambition. where am i on my goals?

  • school – i am excited about my upcoming class schedule: sociology, history of graphic design, advanced software systems, and intro to databases. since i’m interested in all my classes, surely i won’t fail! haha. i also got a B last semester in my (hard) Algorithms course so i am again motivated to continue my life as a CS major.
  • pool – i’m probably going to hit the pool hall way less this semester. it’s not really a priority, and from what my near-pro friend Bochen says, it’s lonely/boring at the top. like i’ve said before, the fun is in the challenging climb upwards (my rehashing of the phrase “it’s not the destination, but the journey”).
  • work – i have 2 jobs, one at CFAITO and one at 829 Studios. i’m going to be splitting my time between them this next semester. it’s going to be really challenging, but if i manage to juggle everything, my knowledge of web development is going to leap forward.
  • snowboarding – i actually learned to ski, but it’s no where near as fun as snowboarding. i haven’t gone as much as i’d like, but that will change in the coming months. boxes and rails, here i come.
  • finances – this is actually a new aspect of my life that i need to monitor. aside from spreading myself thin, all my activities are really adding up. ever since i turned 21, my alcohol bill has skyrocketed. this is not good. i’m going to try to cut back on unnecessary spending, especially on food. that extra dessert or drink not only costs money, but it’s just more calories that i have to burn off later at the gym or at practice.
  • ultimate – i need to get in even better shape. i’ve reached a plateau because i am not putting forth the effort to exercise more regularly. the tournament is less than a month away and i need to be in the best condition i can be in so i can support my team. this is most likely going to be BU’s most competitive season in many years and i definitely don’t want my fitness to be the reason for a loss.

i should talk about family, but this post is getting long [and i’m getting lazy] so i’ll leave that topic for next time.

My Early New Year’s Resolutions

i had been veering off the path recently and i needed to re-evaluate my priorities in life so as to not fail. i started a new job as a programmer at 829 LLC. i’m in it more for the experience than the money because my finances are pretty stable, but my big wage was a great incentive to get me on board. however, now my schedule is even more packed. i’m looking at an additional 10 hours of work a week on top of my 10 hours of work-study, but maybe i can still manage. without further ado, my goals:

  • captain of BU men’s ultimate frisbee team next year – this goal is very achievable. i’ve been working hard at ultimate ever since i came to BU. i started off as an unathletic and inexperienced player, having no prior sports experience other than martial arts. i would like to think that i’ve progressed since i play more than 2 points a game nowadays.
  • manager at CFA ITO (work-study job) – this goal is also very achievable. i’ve worked here ever since i’ve gotten to BU. the job has been a good learning experience because i’ve constantly been challenged. it was the first job that forced me to work 100% at all times, which has shaped my work ethic into something reasonable. i feel attached because i just know the organization and the people so well (relative to previous/other jobs). the pay could be better, but in this economy, i’ll take it.
  • continue web development next summer – sooner or later, i will have to choose between verndale or 829 LLC as my summer job. we’ll have to see how this run with 829 LLC goes, but i’m sure i’ll be happy with my choice either way because i’ll be getting paid well to do rewarding and exciting work.
  • be a decent pool player by end of academic year – i’ve been hitting BU central’s pool hall pretty hard for the past month. everyone pretty much knows me as a regular there. i purchased my own cue stick (mcdermott m72e for $135 off ebay) and i think i need to step it up to the next level. i’m going to start reading and watching learning materials, as well as practicing instead of just playing pool. by the end of the school year, hopefully i’ll be able to run a table from the break most of the time.
  • don’t fail school – a seemingly silly goal, but i find myself not paying attention to my academics as much as i should be. i mean, i pay quite a bit of money to attend college and i shouldn’t slut around so much, but i have poor self-control and this results in poor grades. i’ve pretty much decided what i want to do when i graduate: desktop and/or web programming. it’ll be more along the lines of practical application rather than technical/theoretical because frankly, i’m not that great at math and by extension, computer science. this means i just need to focus on the classes that matter and skim by in the classes that don’t relate so much. a bad strategy for my GPA for sure, but i’m just a realist (or maybe that’s just my excuse for sucking in classes).
  • learn some tricks in snowboarding – maybe too early, but with this upcoming season, i want to improve my skills on the slopes. last year, i could do some big boxes and rails and small jumps, but i want to double that this year. i want to be doing bigger jumps, smaller boxes and rails, and maybe even a 360. maybe it’s my competitiveness, but i just think that part of the enjoyment of an activity is the challenge it provides. that’s why i just love trying new things and seeing if i can improve at it really quickly.

anyways, have to wake up early tomorrow (or today, rather) and listen to a semi-boring lecture on probability and computing (CS237). it’s my worst class currently and i was going to drop it, but i decided to just stick it out and try to barely pass. hooray for mediocrity!

The joy of life.

i’ve been busy ever since starting college again. i’m trying hard at everything and it’s definitely fun, but i am lacking pure free time – or as i would call it, “slutting around” time. but a friend wanted me to update my blog with my “excellent” writing – HA! – so here goes.

today’s topic of discussion is the broadest possible: life. life is wonderful, life is great, life is what you make of it. all these phrases may be cliche, but i am totally agree with them. perhaps it’s the happiness talking, but i am just overall content with my life. i mean, i live in a pretty select tier of society. i don’t have much to bitch about minus my dreadful homework and stressful tests, but even that is petty. i’m not starving or dying from sickness or worrying about my next rent payment.

so i should just make a list of things that make my day fan-fucking-tastic:

  • music – i’m taking a music appreciation class this semester and it’s slowly changing how i view my music. i’m interested enough to possibly pick up an instrument – if i can somehow fit it into my schedule… anyways, music is great. everyone has their own personal collection that they treasure. if you do not, you are missing out on so much. i know that when i accidentally deleted my mp3 collection, i nearly cried. good thing i’m a nerd and i was able to extract my collection back from my iPod. today, i listened to one of my songs [the 5th dimension – aquarius/let the sunshine in] again and it was just SO good through my audio setup. i could hear the 3 different singers positioned apart. i could hear the trumpet on one side and guitars on the other. great sounding music is just so wonderful.
  • love – i’m not talking about romantic BF/GF/SO love. just love for your fellow human being in general. life is worth living because of everyone around you. to be honest, my biggest fear is loneliness. if i were to wake up the last person alive on the Earth, i very well might just commit suicide. hanging out with friends, having a family to fall back on, overcoming challenges with fellow classmates, working with great people, meeting other interesting people throughout my daily life – it’s just great.
  • change – to observe change is beautiful. i’m pretty sure most normal people will agree that the classic image of the seasons changing is just amazing. like the seasons, i’ve changed dramatically. today at dinner, my suitemates and i talked about childhood. it’s a rather long time ago, but i will never forget all the phases. i used to be a depressed and troubled kid. i battled through bullying and depression – got into a bunch of trouble through all public school years – screwed around in high school classes. then came college and i needed a path in life. my brother had already set a template so i decided to follow him into compsci. even so, the classes aren’t what changed me the most. my work-study job, my internships, my extracurriculars were the catalyst. i saw my future and started getting my act together. i’m still on the path to success (and baller status! haha) so we’ll see where this takes me.

it’s getting late and i should be getting some sleep so i will end this post here. there’s plenty of other things in life to enjoy, but i just wanted to share a little bit of my view on life.

Summer is ending.

my internship here at Verndale is ending. it’s been quite a ride – i felt like i’ve learned a lot about web development in the past 2.5 months. my performance was overall positive, which is good. i got to work on 2 major projects, which was great. i felt trusted and challenged. i’d definitely come back next summer, but i’ll be seeking a wage increase for sure, haha.

school is starting up again. i decided that this year, i would stop being lazy in all aspects of life. i’m going to try harder at school, at ultimate frisbee, and anything i tackled. my personality’s always been competitive and determined, but i still slipped up sometimes, especially with regards with academics. this summer’s internship reinvigorated my desire to study computer science, my drive to become a better programmer, my greed for more knowledge. on my plate for the fall semester are 3 compsci classes (programming languages, intro to algorithms, probability in computing) and 1 BS class (music appreciation). definitely excited.

i can’t wait to move into my single at StuVi 2 too. i’m living with 7 other peeps. our suite’s living room is going to be pimped out – i’m providing the TV and sound system most likely. hopefully i won’t get too distracted.

i’m going to go watch District 9 today. there’s rave reviews and ratings about it – and it’s a scifi flick – so why not? speaking of which, i’ve been watching a lot of TV and movies recently. i don’t feel compelled to play any video games any more. i’m sure it’ll change up sooner or later. i just have these cycles where i happen to like one thing for a while… but eventually it changes. it’s just odd launching up a game and not feeling any desire to play.