2015 – getting old but staying young

I almost forgot to write my yearly update until one of my friends reminded me so here we are. Let’s start with the big events followed by reflections:

  • I was promoted at work. I’m close to another promotion (hopefully becoming a debug engineer which would mean my goal is achieved a year late).
  • I got a new car – just upgraded my red 2011 GTI to a white 2015 GTI, haha.
  • I separated from my long-term girlfriend Kathy.
  • I went on a 2 week trip through Europe with friends.
  • I got a motorcycle: 2005 Yamaha R6, Raven Edition.
  • I realized the importance of friends and family.

My career at Microsoft is going swimmingly. I’ve become a senior engineer and a technical resource for others to rely on. I’ve started thinking in a one-to-many fashion – what training can I create, what tools would make people’s lives easier, what processes can I help optimize to further the business. There’s not much else to say except there’s a great deal between me and the company: they compensate me well for what I do and I am challenged at a sustainable rate. Seriously, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, the ship is rolling forward with a lot of great changes and it’s exciting to work here even though I’ve been in the same “department” for years.

I got a new car initially because Kathy only wanted to learn automatic. It was also a good excuse to upgrade. Here’s a picture:

I love the GTI series – the performance, the class, the handling, and the styling. The square LED headlights are unique and it drives like a refined brawler (in sports mode). The tech is nice but the system is underpowered (slow bootup). Definitely makes sense that it won 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

I separated from Kathy because our compatibility level simply was not high enough. I did not see marriage in our future so it was best to not waste each other’s time any further. I might have talked about this concept of compatibility levels before but I truly believe in it. You set your compatibility threshold (settling level, basically) and if you stumble upon someone who meets it, you might pair up for life. Love is complicated and whatnot, but it comes down to: if you’re willing to work for it, the classic life partner model is a very stable and successful one. Everyone’s threshold is different but just remember that you may not find a suitable partner if you set it too high. I mean, there could be one out there but unless you travel often and meet a lot of people, you might not find it. I really dislike the notion that you are waiting for love. You have to go out there and find it.

The two-week trip through Europe was a whirlwind. We hit Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, Munich, Berlin, and Reykjavik. Great memories were made, our view of different cultures and people was expanded, and bonds of friendship tightened. My friend A-hing has hours of GoPro footage that he needs to compile into a scrapbook video / highlight reel… it’s been months A-hing!! :)

I got a motorcycle because it was on my bucket list and I needed a new hobby with some risk as I had turned newly single. It also satisfied my need for manual gear shifting. Here’s a picture:

2005 Yamaha R6

I’ve only dropped the bike once so far – I think it was the second day I had it or something. It’s been fairly smooth sailing since then. I ride with all the gear, all the time (ATGATT) because it’s stupid not to. You’re putting yourself at a lot of risk because you’re so exposed without a safety cage so you might as well take the protection that could save your life. My parents had no say in the matter but they were surprisingly quick to accept it.

Now for the last bullet point: friends and family. There are 2 ideas anchoring this latest revelation – not really even a revelation but a reinforcement of what is supposed to be common wisdom – that friends and family are really important. First, we have Dunbar’s number which basically states we can only maintain 100-200 stable relationships. Second is a recent blog post The Tail End by writer Tim Urban.

I’m not saying I’m going to die soon. In fact, I’d love to live to 100 so I can declare, “I’m a centenarian, bitches!” followed promptly by an overdose of heroin because I’m sure I would have lived enough life by then. I’m 27 years old. I spent 4.5 years in Charlotte away from some of my closest friends and family. I made great new friends and learned a lot along the way. I have no regrets about my life path. But I do get homesick. I still call Boston my true home because I’ve spent most of my life there and it’s where all my immediate family live. In fact, I’m typing this blog post at my friends’ apartment while on a workcation for the holidays in Boston. I don’t have any awesome quotes to close out with but just the idea that you should really enjoy your time with people on this earth because you don’t know when you’ll lose access to them.

Useful DOTA 2 Commands and Key Bindings

You want to create this file if it doesn’t already exist: %programfiles(x86)%\Steam\steamapps\common\dota 2 beta\dota\cfg\autoexec.cfg

Inside it, put this:

// Enables console (without it popping up on game start).
con_enable 1

// Disable camera zoom.
dota_camera_disable_zoom 1

// Display and position net_graph
net_graph 1
net_graphproportionalfont 0
net_graphinsetbottom 437
net_graphinsetleft 80

// Force right click deny.
dota_force_right_click_attack 1

dota_disable_range_finder 0

// You'll have to hit this key to re-exec this script to override the GUI bindings after connecting to a game.
bind "F8" "exec autoexec.cfg"

// Set max fps for 144hz monitor.
fps_max 144

// Notify user of this script's execution.
echo "==== AutoExec.cfg Executed ===="

More Life Reflection on my 21st Birthday

so i’m sitting here watching my suitemates play Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. this game is great. it’s changed my life quite a bit. ever since it came out, i … i’m just kidding. but this game is serious fun.

i’m 21 years old now. everyone thinks of it as joining the drinking club, but i think it’s more than that. at the risk of sounding pretentious, i think of turning 21 as joining society for real. in all aspects of my life, i’m picking up responsibility and i’m okay with that. i’m growing more confident in my abilities and realizing where i fit into the big jigsaw puzzle of life. in my last post, i talked about goals, ones which i still aim for. however, in this post, i’ll elaborate on the one about not failing college.

i always say things like “i’m a bad student” or “i just don’t like studying.” to an extent, it is true – i’m more of a learn by action rather than reading. recently, i just find myself turned off from computer science more and more. it’s getting harder and i know i’m not putting forth the effort to learn it. i took a silly online myers-briggs personality indicator test and it told me i’m a very organized semi-leader. i thought about this result and realized it’s pretty accurate. i thought about how i chose to stick to majoring in computer science rather than switch into Management of Information Systems (MIS). my brother essentially said “MIS is pussyshit” so i decided to tough it out. i followed my brother into computer science because we both grew up playing with computers, but now i’m starting to see the difference between us. he’s just better at math than i am and compsci fits him more. i can do a good amount of programming, but it’s just not my true strength. i’m not meant to be a straight-up engineer. i should choose something more suitable to my personality so i should switch into MIS. i’m okay with being the compsci dropout. the problem of actually switching is that i only have 3 semesters at BU left. i’d be willing to stay an extra semester if required though. i’m sure i’m not the only one that has had a late revelation like this. this situation will work itself out – my mom says i’m lucky, haha.