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.

1217

Well, it’s been a year since. I’ve found myself to be noticeably more emotional this past year (though perhaps not outwardly). I don’t consider that a bad thing, but here’s an emotional post for ya.

A year ago, things were pretty sucky. Despite that, I continue to have so much to be thankful for that in reflection of everything that’s happened, I consider myself extremely blessed. As I’ve previously mentioned, I view Mozilla as kind of a symbol of all the love and support I got during a dark time in my life. He was kind of a poetic gift to myself to cap off a depressing time with something positive. Maybe that’s cheesy, I don’t care. =) Sometimes you don’t see or value the gems in your life as much when everything’s peachy. My friends and family were awesome for us and whenever I have a quiet time to contemplate everything’s that’s happened, I can’t help but come out of it with a kind of solemn happiness. So, in that spirit, I’m going to cap off this dark anniversary by talking about the ladies in my life, my mother and sisters.

Before I get to my family, a quick shout out to Nancy because she’s like the big sister I don’t have and a year ago she gave me a perfect hug right when I needed it and I’ll never forget that. All of my friends were great during that time, but since Nancy’s the girl of “the group” she tends to be my emotional vent more often than not. Maybe next time I’ll talk about what my guy friends did, because they were definitely there for me too.

So… I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to buy my mom a car a few years back. She gave me no sense of obligation to do so, but it just kind of made sense. I got her a new RAV4 and while presenting it to her, she mentioned how she’s wanted a car like it so she could carry kids to/from church, and other ways she could serve others. The things that make her happy allow her to love and serve others even better and that’s why she’s awesome and we love her.

RAV4

This is a picture of Oriana at her baptism back in 2007:

She made everyone cry

I’m pretty sure this was shortly after she mentioned our mom. I’m also pretty sure that before she finished her sentence, there was not a dry eye anywhere in the room. I’m not a good enough writer to even get close to describing how powerful I found this moment, but I hope you can get a glimpse of the love my mom’s given us in our lives by knowing that a young high schooler brought a room full of people to tears by barely conveying the words “mom” and “love.” Everyone who knows my mom knows that she’s a bottomless pit of love. She’s one of the biggest reasons I believe there’s a God. The love she’s given me and my siblings, not to mention the other people she’s positively touched, is too powerful, too beautiful, to merely be a result of chemistry and physics. I would not be where I am today, or the person I am today, if she wasn’t in my life. Her love gives me a glimpse of Love, and I couldn’t ask for a better reason to have faith. I’m so blessed to have her as my mom, it’s almost not even fair. ;)

Olivia is, as my mom says, “the spicy one.” As siblings two years apart, I’m sure we went through the typical love/hate relationship that many go through. I’m happy that that flip flopping ended up on the love side though. =p Olivia’s certainly the more extroverted of us, but I like to think we balance each other out pretty well. She gave me the worst present I’ve ever gotten - a sheet of half-used stickers. Her fear of E.T. allowed me to pay her back well enough though when I bought a plush toy of him off eBay and put him in the hallway facing her room. =)

We’ve both grown to be foodies, and it’s fun to enjoy and share awesome food experiences we’ve had. We also both enjoy ruining Oriana’s food. I fulfill my quota of making her angry every so often, I’m sure, but I know we love each other and it makes me happy to think about growing up together and perhaps someday in the future, having larger family reunions where I can have my kids torment hers.

My mom says that I never hit Olivia, although I do remember one time when I punched her in the head. That said, she was wearing a karate helmet, so maybe that doesn’t count? =p Instead, I resorted to psychological warfare and just annoyed her like crazy, which you can even see in this video of us fighting at a young age:

Once, I made her so angry she kicked a shoe at me. I dodged it and she ended up breaking a window. My mom didn’t punish her though, cause I guess she understood how annoying brothers can be. =) I have a lot of memories of Olivia, and I’m happy I do. She’s been my sister since as far as my memory goes back and I wouldn’t have it any other way. <3

Oriana is my baby sister, eight years younger than me. Given the large age difference, we never really fought, but we also didn’t really play with each other as much as she and Olivia did (expected, I suppose). I annoyed Olivia a lot to get even, but I do it to Oriana just for fun. ;) I once walked in her room as she was reading and just let drool fall out of my mouth onto her leg. She gave me a quite satisfying yell when she realized what was going on.

I remember trying to make her stop crying as a baby, and trying to change her diaper with Olivia. Now, she’s about to turn 21 next month and that’s crazy. Oriana likes to gives me hugs, and I appreciate that because I like hugs, but I don’t often initiate. She lives with me now as she’s going to school at UT, which is pretty cool even though most of the time we just sit quietly. We’re the introverts, so I think we understand each other there. =)

She gives me good fodder for my videos, like this one:

I hope she knows I tease her to show my love, which I guess means I love her a lot.

Uh huh. Life's like this.

Life sometimes sucks, but I’m glad I went through it with these women and I was there for them and they were there for me.

<3

SF

BV flew me out to San Fran this past week to spend some time with my BV West brethren. I didn’t do anything too crazy, but there was a mall and lots of food options around where I was (4th, between Mission and Market). Made me realize how much I like big cities and being able to walk/mass-transit my way everywhere. I walked over to the mall across the street and saw Cloud Atlas (not very good), and bought some clothes since I packed particularly light.

I have a special relationship with SF since I was born there and visited so often. I guess having that deeper history makes me wonder what my life would be like had I decided to go to UC Berkeley instead of UT Austin (which was my middle school plan). I can think of a whole crazy butterfly effect on my current life since I likely would have stayed in the bay area after graduation. What company would I have been working at? One of the hot startups of the past decade? Would I be married? Homeless? =p Where would my Austin friends be without me? How has my existence impacted their lives? Imagining an entirely different timeline post-2001 is kind of crazy. Would I be a significantly different person?

I have the itch to leave Austin sometimes, and though avoiding poop on the street on my daily commute is a mighty tempting proposition, I’ve yet to make the leap of taking off to one of the big cities I find attractive (SF/NYC). I suppose I still have too much in Austin to keep me around and vacationing suffices for now… ;)

Ultimately, I’m blessed with the life I have and certainly don’t regret going to UT, but it’s fun to think of alternate realities sometimes, eh?