Whew

Well, 2022 has been a year of settling in with change. Moving to Seattle has given me many “firsts” - first time moving to a new city, first time in a long time of living alone, first time voting outside of Texas, etc. etc.

Before I get into anything else, I’ll start out with a set of videos starting with my actual move from last October:

After that, I spent most of the winter/holidays alone (intentionally, since I did a lot of travel before the move), but I met some new friends and we had a wonderful New Year:

March and April were busy with back to back visits from friends and family:

Which is also when I unfortunately finally got Covid and had to skip out on some further trips/events. But, I managed to survive!

I’m looking into taking some time off of work this summer with plans TBD. I feel like life in America/the world right now is just filled with back to back traumatic events and we’re all gaslighting ourselves into somehow still being productive and moving forward.

In many ways, I feel like America is moving backwards and that’s tough to see from someone who grew up with seemingly unstoppable progress. I know I took that for granted now and I’ve typically been an optimistic, but it’s hard for me not to be pessimistic about the country since 2016.

In contrast to so much of what’s happening elsewhere, my personal life has been going well, which brings on some amount of guilt and feelings of helplessness. I’m hoping I can resolve a lot of that positively in the coming months/years. There’s still a lot I’m thankful for and potentials I’m excited about, so we’ll see…

❤️

2020

Since 2016, I’ve had the juxtaposition of many aspects of my personal life going rather well, but watching the nation around me succumb to the whims of a maniacal TV host. I will not enumerate the atrocities of the Trump administration or the multitudes of lies and character failings of this self-obsessed psychopath now, but I do want to reflect on these past few years and this election.

2016 and the following years were a wake-up call to me that progress is not guaranteed and the America I thought I knew did not exist. Perhaps most disappointing, I saw the complete failure and hypocrisy of the American Christian culture that I was immersed in through many of my adolescent years. Say what you will about picking the lesser evil in 2016, that’s no excuse to double down on supporting a blatantly evil man as it became increasingly apparent there would be no surprising positive changes in character. The campaigning and businessman Trump was not simply an act.

Regardless of how the election went, we’re barreling into further disaster. COVID infections are back on the exponential growth and this administration has literally given up attempting to contain it. We may very well be past being able to at all. The stock market seemingly isn’t aware we’re in a pandemic killing 9/11s worth of Americans every few days. It along with the economy in general are a ticking time bomb.

This election brings relief. At least we’ll have an Executive willing to govern instead of just shooting for TV ratings, but 2021 will not be instantly rosy or easy either. Biden/Harris is inheriting such an utter mess.

I had hoped 2016 was a fluke and surely Americans would realize their mistake. Perhaps the America I thought I knew was there, but just slipped a bit? I couldn’t fathom how a significant number of Americans could see these last four years and decide that, yes, now I will go out and vote for this man. Trump ultimately obtained record numbers of votes. The Republican party came away virtually unscathed in their complicity. 2016 was not just an accident and election night was heartbreaking in its lack of an immediate repudiation.

I went to DC in 2017 to protest the inauguration and to be on the right side of history. Someone had this poster and it still resonates with me.

As the disappointment of having to be dragged through a nail-biter of an election due to a broken system fades, I have to acknowledge that millions more Americans voted against Trump than for. There are incredibly heroic efforts of many Americans to resist this heinous administration resulting in dramatic shifts in states like Georgia. Despite the failures and ineptitudes of the Democratic party, we beat the fucker and come January, he’ll be leaving the White House like it or not. We’ve got our FIRST WOMAN VP! First black VP! First Asian VP! There is hope to be had here.

I’ve realized that the America I thought I knew was a fantasy. But, there are still inspirational heroes here and many of them already knew my America wasn’t reality and fought to make her better anyways. If they haven’t given up, my privileged ass certainly has no excuse to either.

<3

Becoming

I just finished watching Becoming, a documentary about Michelle Obama’s recent book tour. It really puts the feels on ya.

Regardless of whether you agree with the policies of various leadership, it’s really hard to deal with the juxtoposition of someone so poised and strong yet loving with leaders who are so blatantly dishonest, arrogant and spiteful. We took a huge downgrade and I hope we manage to course correct, at least a bit, this year.

Similarly, it’s been odd handling personal success contrasted to general calamity in the world right now and with America showcasing a complete lack of competency and leadership at its highest levels. We have 9/11 numbers of deaths every other day due to COVID-19 in the US right now and we have officials shrugging about that and claiming that more lives lost is an acceptable cost of business. “All lives matter” huh?

Even though he broke my Taytay mug, I’ve been committed to helping Sam develop his King TISA brand and created some mugs for his side business of wedding people.

A few weeks ago, before all the COVID-19 terribleness, Viraj invited a bunch of to Houston with no specified reason. We figured there’d be a big announcement like maybe an upcoming little Viraj or something, but no, it was nothing. I suppose it was nice to have done that before having the option taken away, but man, what a cocktease.

In other news, right before everything started to shutdown, we got a bunch of solar panels installed and activated. You can see our power generation on this public report page.

Well, here’s hoping for a better 2021.

Hello, 2017

Hi, 2017! You sure are kinda terrible, but thankfully not entirely so. I figured I couldn’t let it go two years before I blogged… though maybe I should just let 2017 fly by… ;)

So I guess I’ve done quite a bit since I watched BvS, haha. I’m just not going to bother talking about it though cause that’s too much effort. =)

So onto recent news, I hit my two year anniversary at Stripe recently! Yay!

I got this sweet tattoo:

Companion cube!

It’s a companion cube from Portal in angel form. The design comes from the Preservation of Mass achievement icon which had the cube and the wings in black & white. I colored the heart in pink and then added the halo. When I showed my artist the design, she immediately said “oh cool! a portal cube!” so that was a good sign. =) I’ve wanted a tattoo for a while but didn’t come up with a design I really liked until recently. My ideal requirements were pink, nerdy and simple. I used to want to get a Kirby which mostly fits those requirements, but I’d be too much of a poser since I haven’t actually played any Kirby games (Smash doesn’t count). I spent some time coming up with more ideas and came up with this! I’m really pleased with the results.

In other news, I also just got back from The International in Seattle. I hadn’t played/watched Dota2 is years, so I was a bit worried I wouldn’t have any idea what was going on, but I actually quite enjoyed the games I watched. My favorite was whenever Earthshaker was chosen and shown on the augmented reality screen, the crowd would clap along with him. It’s so silly, I loved it every time.

Lol, people clapping with the earthshaker

A post shared by Oliver Wong (@owiber) on

Alright, I’m out! Maybe I’ll see you again in 2017, or maybe we’ll all be dead. ~ TOODLES ~

Batman v Superman

Batman v Superman wasn’t terrible, but it’s such a shame that so many golden opportunies were missed. It was a splattering of scenes with half-baked explanations to connect the dots between the scenes. We need stronger reasons for our heroes to be fighting than them just not being willing to talk to each other. Here’s how BvS could have been better:

Bad: weak reasons for Superman v Batman fight, lack of internal conflict.

They built up the courtroom scene pretty well as a way to blame Superman, but then immediately threw it away as news crews reported it was a suicide bomb. How do the taunting notes to Bruce even make sense here? Superman so quickly falling into the “kill Batman” plan is not very Superman. He can do whatever he wants, what makes him interesting is that he constantly has to limit himself because he has a moral compass to keep him in check. Making him so easily decide to trade Batman for Martha betrays the strength of Superman’s character and him being more than just muscle.

Better: Lex should build up much more animosity towards Superman, Superman shouldn’t simply decide to fight Batman.

Lex frames Superman for multiple attrocities and does major character assassination. Everyone thinks Superman is out of control and they’re scared. Someone needs to stop him. This fuels Batman’s rage (no need for the silly taunting checks which don’t even really make sense) and he begins his kryptonite battle plan. Superman struggles with his inability to save those that Lex is killing, everyone hating him, whether or not it’s all worth it. Should he just leave the humans be?

The courtroom scene happens and everyone thinks Superman killed everyone. Batman engages Superman at this point. They fight with crowds watching, news crews circling them in helicopters. Batman furiously attacks, Superman defends, trying to convince Batman he’s innocent. The crowds cheer on Batman, they hate Superman. Batman triggers a trap and shoots some kryptonite towards Superman, but there’s some collateral damage. Superman doesn’t sidestep the incoming kryptonite and instead saves the people put in harm’s way by Batman. The kryptonite pierces Superman’s lower abdomen and he drops to his knees. We see angry humans all around and watching on TV - they chant for Superman’s death. Batman lifts Superman by his neck, ready to stab him with the kryptonite spear with rage in his eyes as his gaze pans to the group Superman just saved. This group looks on with sadness knowing they would be dead had it not been for Superman. Batman hesitates, his grip loosens and Superman quickly repels himself away and vanishes into the sky. Lex is furious Batman didn’t finish the job.

Superman goes into isolation as he heals and decides that maybe he should just leave the humans be. Lex works on Doomsday, knowing that Superman is still out there. Batman starts hacking into LexCorp as he starts to suspect Lex is not what he seems. Perhaps some opportunity for corporate Wayne Enterprises vs LexCorp stuff here. Maybe have WW partner with Bruce here for her own motives, but then they both discover each other’s secret identities. Bruce tries to convince WW to help him take down Lex, but she decides to go back in hiding. Batman breaks into LexCorp (this fight scene replaces the saving Martha one), but he’s ultimately too late. Doomsday wakes up, almost kills Batman but WW had a change of heart and hops in and saves him. Much destruction, yadda yadda, Superman sees/hears and decides he can’t not help and joins the fight…

Bad: Doomsday fight was an unintelligent slugfest.

Our heroes haven’t worked together before and aren’t used to teaming with others, but they’re smart and should quickly adapt, although perhaps not perfectly. In the movie, this fight was basically just Batman running away, and Superman getting thrown around. Wonder Woman was mostly awesome, but they didn’t work together all that well or fight very intelligently.

Better: a preview of Justice League teamwork during Doomsday fight.

Have all the heroes struggle against Doomsday. They can barely touch him and he’s causing lots of death all around him. The heroes go into death prevention mode and try to save as many people as possible. Batman is using all his toys to try to distract Doomsday, WW and Superman are trying to slow him down as much as possible while also swooping up people and sending them to safety. They land some blows, but Doomsday doesn’t seem to be slowing down while they are gradually being beaten to death. Doomsday eye beams at a family running to safety but WW throws her shield to intercept it, leaving her vulnerable. Superman flies under a collapsing building and holds it up as Doomsday rushes towards him. Wonder Woman lassos one fist preventing a blow, but Doomsday pummels Superman with other as Batman is trying to evacuate the building. Superman holds but coughs up blood.

Batman yells out that the kryptonite spear is the only way to stop him. Superman and WW are barely holding their own together against Doomsday, but Batman can’t get to the spear quick enough. Superman tells WW to get the spear since he can’t for obvious reasons. There’s a brief hesitation from WW since she knows Superman is outmatched alone, but then a silent acknowledgement that this is their best shot. She flies off as Superman engages Doomsday one on one. He fights valiantly but is obviously losing. Doomsday smashes Superman into the ground, and turns to Batman who’s been rescuing other humans. With his full attention, Batman is eventually pinned and about to be killed when Superman rushes back into the fight and absorbs the killing blow. He latches onto Doomsday’s back trying to restrain him as WW returns with the spear. Doomsday starts to eye beam and it’s the end of MoS over again, but this time a disabled Batman is about to be in the beam’s path. WW has no clean shot, but Superman commands her to attack. She throws the spear and Superman twists, positioning Doomsday in the spear’s path. It pierces both of them, and Doomsday and Superman collapse…

Awkward Turtle 1

I’ve decided to start a series of “Awkward Turtle” posts where I discuss moments in time where young Oliver was perhaps not the really cool dude you all know today.

I recalled this particular memory in the shower this morning, somewhat randomly. When I was in middle school, I was fairly snappy in math class and would generally be the first to finish any assignments in class. Middle schoolers are the meanest, and like many others, I was looking for a way to fit in. I accepted the role of “nerdy little asian kid” and went with it. I was a decent school boy, so fitting this profile was something I could succeed at.

One day, a girl in class finished her assignment first and turned it in. Acting on impulse, perhaps worried of losing my adolescent identity, I blurted out “wow, you finished before me?!” I was immediately met with silence from the class and realized I had made an ass of myself. This is when I was given a lesson in smart not equating to likable.

Now, I chuckle at young Oliver since he deserved it and you get this first awkward turtle story.

On Presidents and Net Neutrality

I wouldn’t say I’m strongly affiliated with either political party, but I believe each party/candidate’s view on net neutrality (NN) can be a proxy as to what kind of leader they’d be.

While legit reasons exist, none of the top Republican candidates oppose NN for those reasons. They all give arguments that are either incredibly disingenuous or show a huge lack of understanding.

  • Trump: “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target the conservative media.”
  • Cruz: “In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices.”
  • Carson: “We need to be exploring ways to allow people to do what they want to do. They’ve been doing it for years, so why should we now impose a layer of government control.”
  • Rubio: “It is one of our people’s greatest treasures, which is why it belongs in the hands of our people, not our government.”
  • Bush: “The idea of regulating access to the Internet with a 1934 law is one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard. … It’s not going to be good for consumers. It’s certainly not going to be good for innovation.”

Rubio is maybe close to a legit reason (or at least it’s pleasant rhetoric), but consumers have little power in markets with little choice and NN is meant to limit the abuse monopolistic ISPs may inflict.

Lying to push an agenda is terrible, but coming out in opposition of something without even understanding it is not an attribute I look for in my next president either. Most of the leading GOP candidates tout NN as anti-consumer and as some form of “big government trying to control the internet.” Since it’s actually pretty pro-consumer in that it prevents large ISPs from holding the internet hostage, I find the GOP spin incredibly deceitful. It’s even more depressingly ironic that many of these same candidates are pressing tech companies to provide backdoors into their encryption, which is far more “controlling of the internet.”

So, that makes the upcoming election relatively easy for me. I don’t want a president that has so apparently sold themselves out to Comcast or are foolish enough to believe their lies for free. That strikes out every Republican hopeful (though honestly reasons to do so are not otherwise lacking).

All that said, while I’m skeptical he’d be able to accomplish everything he’s pushing and I don’t know if I’m completely bought into all his ideas, I’d love to see what a Bernie Sanders could do in office.

Disney

So I was talking about this with a friend and decided I’d dust off ol’ blog to potentially hit a broader audience.

Is there anyone out there that also sees the Disney logo and doesn’t immediately recognize the first letter as a D?

Disney_Logo

So when I see the Disney logo, I have to very consciously shift my focus to see the letter D. I have a hypothesis that maybe this is because I knew of and recognized the Disney logo before I knew how to read and the whole thing turned into a symbol for me during a time when I primarily identified the logo/word by the bottom left part of the D (the part that kind of loops, which is not a very typical D). Honestly, I don’t think it was until late elementary school or middle school that I even realized it was supposed to be a D and not just some made up symbol.

To better visualize what I’m talking about, this is kind of what I initially see:

Disney_Logo2

Versus:

Disney_Logo3

So… anyone else out there have this too? =)

I also have a story about my nerdy self in middle school to blog about, but I’ll save that for another time.

Flame Bait

Alright, for better or worse, here’s my opinion on all the crazy. I may be wildly inaccurate on information that leads me to these opinions, so if you have points you think I should be aware of, don’t hesitate to enlighten me. =)

HB2 - it seems to me that if this bill went through and led to no clinic closures, no one would have an issue. Is that correct? On paper, the bill is focused on improving the quality of care and making it safer for women, or that’s the claim as I understand it. The issue is that this is seen as an underhanded way of closing down a majority of clinics because most of them will be unable to meet the bar set forth in the bill, right? I suppose my thoughts then are:


  • How accurate is it that a majority of clinics will close down?


    • For example, how influenced by profit are these clinics? Are they incentivized to claim they’ll be forced to close?

    • Even if the ones do close down, is it unlikely that new ones open that do sufficiently meet the bill’s requirements?

    • The math must be doable… has someone calculated the financial feasibility of running a clinic while abiding by the bill’s requirements?


  • Which specific aspects of the bill are unreasonable? IMO, it seems that at least some of them are fine.

This bill’s gotten a lot of media/social attention by pulling in “women’s rights” into it and if it’s in fact true that the bar set in this bill leaves it financially impossible to offer appropriate services to women in need, then I don’t doubt that it ends up achieving something counter to what it’s supposed to on paper, and that would be bad. I’m not entirely sure if I’m convinced this bill is ALL bad though, but I can definitely see how it could be if it does in fact lead to an increase in illegal abortions from potentially dangerous sources. I feel like a lot of people jumped on the “protecting women’s rights” bandwagon (which is not a bad thing), but I’m curious… is there a version of this bill that would be deemed “good?” Certainly there’s a set of abortion sources that are currently illegal and dangerous and should remain that way. Or are there people out there who feel like even those should be legal in the name of “rights” and “choice?”

Zimmerman/Martin - Zimmerman’s verifiable actions (those backed up by his call to the police and eye witness accounts), though potentially deemed unwise, are reasonable for someone to take, especially given the history of crime in the area and that he was head of the neighborhood watch. Neither Zimmerman nor Martin did anything legally wrong until someone made the first move to assault the other. The evidence seems to shift against Martin at this point, but it doesn’t seem like anyone knows who “threw the first punch” conclusively. At the very least, there is not sufficient evidence to counter Zimmerman’s claims and his account of what happens seems at the very least plausible. It very well could be that he got away with cold-blooded murder, but “innocent until proven guilty” is what we generally run with over here. I don’t think anyone can reasonably say he was proven guilty with the evidence on the table. I also think this case is more racially charged than it needs to be and the media has made Zimmerman out to be more “racist” than the facts seem to indicate.

Snowden - Doesn’t seem so bad.

February!

Happy post-Valentine’s Day, yos! All you single people complaining, just shut your yappers and do something productive. ;)

Hopefully this isn’t the only post I end up making this month, but I’m finding it hard to come up with topics I can talk about here.

I ended up buying some MJNA stock a little while back and it’s been doing well. I didn’t really buy enough to make any significant dent one way or the other, but it’s fun to say I’ve made money buying/sell marijuana. =p

Beautiful Creatures came out recently and Oriana has been driving me crazy just begging me to take her. Something about a yearning in her loins or something. So weird. Yesterday, I caught her combing her hair looking at yourself in the mirror whispering “you’re a beautiful creature.” I may have to give in and take her or I may find myself asleep forever.*

My Volt has been pretty satisfactory so far. The air dam at the front of the car is super low to the ground and it scrapes every so often whenever I go through various inclines. Supposedly it’s built to withstand that type of thing and it’s expected, but it’s mildy annoying. The central panel controls are also annoying, most of them not being actual buttons. That said, I have yet to visit a gas station after going over 1200 miles (I still have about half a tank left). It’s not really fair, but looking at gas alone, I’ve probably done something like 280MPG. ;) I did end up doing the calculation for how much fully charging the car costs, and during this time of the year it’s about $0.65, which gets me about 37 miles. So if I do the miles per dollar calculation, it’s probably something in the ballpark of 36 miles per $1. FYI, during the summer, I expect a full charge to be about $1. Honestly, I’m not sure if it makes sense to buy the Volt purely based on the travel cost savings, but it’s a fun metric to look at.

*-This is basically all a lie.