costco + ippudo

Psalm 118:24: "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"

  • K indie artists: ALEPH, Black skirts, 10cm, dasutt, 92914, 1415
  • my plant with the pink edges is called a peperonia jelly plant
  • watched I Was An MIT Educated Neurosurgeon Now I'm Unemployed And Alone In The Mountains How Did I Get Here?
    • a hospital's goal is to make money, so they convince you of treatments (surgery, meds) that don't address the underlying issue.
    • he found common factors of people who healed: had healthy diets (low salt diet) (plant based), sweat and exercised, went to saunas. avoid smoking and overdrinking. had a meaningful community. good sleep. low stress
  • opt-in vs opt-out for organ donation, people are less likely to opt-out because of status quo bias, default, choice architect, nudging human behaviour in policy making and experiments.
  • I'm a costco member now
  • so nice to meet up with old friends in sf and walk around in SF to continue conversations
  • was in the most chaotic and messy mcd in my life at Market St, there were homeless, normies, 4 kids with bikes, i was leaning against the wall listening to clario and I felt so estranged, sf can really make you feel alone if you're not with other similar people, and it's unnerving being out alone at night.

Notes from Max Greenwald of Warmly (Deep End ODF episode)

the Early founder Bermuda triangle

  • idea and vision
  • Cofounder
  • Money

When things get hard, you will fall back on doing things that feel accomplishable

Which sounds more fun?

Building the new feature than you can finish by tomorrow morning or pounding the pavement for hours on linkedin setting up user research where people will tell you why they hate your idea

Be aware of things that gives you energy and makes you feel accomplished and push away from them when you find yourself trending towards them when the going gets tough.


stats quiz, scale ai

  • quiz
    • Spent 45 minutes reviewing and checking answers repeatedly
    • questions i keep asking myself:
      • Where could I have made a mistake in this question?
      • Is this answer actually correct?
      • Could it be a different answer?
      • Can this answer be verified?
    • i need to view quizzes and exams in a different way to make it less pressuring, i also need to study more efficiently
  • Notes from Experiments Book
    • Psychology vs. Economics Rules
      • should your experiment be psychological or economical?
      • psych: Difficulty navigating a website on first try = design flaw
      • econ: Wait until several interactions to decide if new design is easy or hard. the small blip of users leaving initially is inconsequential
    • Heuristics
      • Availability heuristics: Assessing frequency or probability based on readily available memory.
      • Representativeness heuristics: Making judgments based on previously formed stereotypes.
    • Framing
      • Gain frame vs. loss frame.
      • Risk averse vs. risk seeking.
    • Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)
      • Randomized control trials for effective evaluations of development policies.
      • Example: Does giving new textbooks to schools in Kenya improve educational outcomes?
      • Cross-sectional correlation can be misleading (e.g., schools with textbooks may have access to good teachers and better parents).
    • Investing in Student Health and Facilities
      • Reduce poverty by ensuring policy is informed by scientific evidence, primarily through field experiments.
    • importance of policy making
      • Organ donation: Only one third of people get organs out of 100k; this policy issue is a matter of life and death.
  • Scale AI
    • Spacious and modern office at 650 Townsend, 600k sq ft.
    • Hoping to see Alexandr; crazy that he started the company at a young age (19?).
    • Feeling too insecure to talk to anyone there.
  • Tesla
    • Realizing past work was messy and incoherent.
    • Need to structure a story for interviews.


anxious at sfpl chinatown

  • wow orthoworks is great i’m surprised a bigger orthodontist chain charges lower, which I guess makes sense, independent dentists have to charge higher to pay for the equipments, i always though it was the other way around
  • the iTero scanner is so cool, the one in Ames was so tedious and uncomfortable
  • those flower looking plants are called Echeveria
  • 4 for $20 mix and match at Safeway jackson st, cashback + no flies + no ordering in cantonese, my cashier was cantonese tho
  • Cold Nights by Ba Jin is so sad, the ending where the wife comes back and realizes the ex-husband is dead and it ends with her walking in the cold at night. the letter she wrote to him was so human, so raw and real, i like reading letters. We need to bring back the art of writing long letters
  • sfpl is so cool, i can borrow 100 physical items and putting for free up to $2
  • finally get to have art as therapy in my hands
  • almost got a panic attack in the library, spent 5 hours here mostly studying and reviewing that it was diminishing returns
  • I could technically have a mini library at home if i borrowed a ton of books
  • Library is only 9 min away so it’s convenient
  • I like that they have magazines too , going to read the New Yorker more
  • Its a blessing to have friends to call while walking
  • So worried for the first quiz, more than I’ve been for finals at Iowa, feeling like i can’t trust myself, where is my faith?


wifi, miso, stats

got Wi-Fi today. cooked miso soup for the first time here. glass containers are here. small round plastic containers for nuts and cooking condiments are here. our trader joe's grocery bags are here. one step at a time. I want to start building. I want to make full use of my time here in SF. I want to meet people, learn from them and start building something useful, something valuable. I wanna get into SPC and YC. I want the O1 visa.

I want to work on fun side projects that get me out of bed, fired up, coding it non-stop. I don't want to be stressed out about quizzes or exams. I wanna be stressed out about whether I can get users, whether I have PMF, whether I'm working on the right idea. I don't wanna stress out about a few points that I lose on a quiz and whether my grades will be good enough. I don't want to be taking classes for the sake of classes. I want to learn for the sake of learning, to see my classes as an opportunity to go back to the basics to make sure I have the fundamentals and not as boring and tedious requirements that have no value to my future because I can just use ChatGPT to do most of the things in the future. I want to enjoy my time as a student after this is just gonna be work, I want to learn to live a little, and not be bogged down on the tiny details, optimizing towards the wrong thing, playing the wrong games.

It's hard to bring myself to study in SF because it to me was always a place of experimentation, of building, of excitement and creation. And these classes require me to go into the zone of doing a lot of practices that I feel like don't add value. But one thing about these exams is it made me realize that my flow of thinking is really flawed. I reach for the simpler and erroneous solutions really quickly and I don't spend time thinking through a problem. My brain is lazy. So I guess there's actually value in these quiz and exams. It makes me spend more time thinking about making sure that I learn how to notice patterns, how to apply prior knowledge onto a new problem and how to be more accurate and specific in my logic and thinking so I just have to work harder in terms of understanding and applying.

I really like it when I get DM's from people on Twitter I think one of the joys of my life is when I have messages from internet strangers, people who I've never met and probably will never meet in real life. I like building an audience. I like to have a public presence, running experiments and creating artifacts. I like to provide value through writing or through code. But I still have so much to learn. I have a long way to go. I still don't know what I want, but I guess there's no rush to figure that out.


first quiz

getting easy questions wrong in arguably the easiest quiz I'll ever have in this program injected so much self doubt into my bloodstream that I immediately felt so alienated from everyone else who had no issues at all. i started to catastrophize, jumping from one worry to another in a never-ending domino effect. i never truly missed home until today, it wasn't the homeless nor the smell, nor the lack of structure and support system, it was the simple 16 question 22 minutes quiz and red boxes that made all the pieces fall, it shattered my worldview, robbed me of my confidence, the optimism and conviction, and replaced the glamor and sparkly of the city, with the gloom and misery. it made me notice all the sad things about the city, the minimum wage workers, the drug addicts and homeless, the empty stores. i lost my footing, i kept going in circles, wondering about why this happened, why it affects me so much, what this means from here, how this sets the tone of how i should focus in the future, what change i have to make, what expectations i should hold, and the attitude i should have towards the examinations. i started getting worried about the headaches i have, possible due to accutane, about my theoretically sufficient sleep that never seems to give me the energy i need, and about the future. it made me worry about not being able to handle the pressure, the expectations, and life in general.

the worries

  • 6kfor18months,6k for 18 months, 3k initial payment, this is so much money
  • should i get dental insurance? is it even worth it? do i actually save? how to find the cheapest but not sacrifice quality?
  • how do not fumble in future quizzes and exams so I won't get bad grades and fail to get good practicums
  • how to study well, but not too much? how can i prepare just enough? i felt doubt in my answers, so maybe that's the sign. i have to study to the point where i have confidence in my answers
  • how to cope with setbacks and unmet expectations and disappointments in a way that is constructive and productive
  • how to deal with the headaches? how to get better sleep?

some wins and reminders of the bigger picture

  • i get to be in SF!!!
  • this is what i wanted, i am living the dream, and i have to live up to it
  • don't expect it to be easy or straightforward, it is supposed to be hard, you're supposed to fail and fall down, make mistakes, it's all part of the dance
  • quizzes and exams don't define me, i am more than my grades
  • i visited a dentist and she was very nice and friendly, now i have an option for braces
  • i get to do this cool program with a bunch of cool individuals and learn stuff that I won't have the motivation to learn myself
  • i have korean and japanese and chinese grocery stores to explore and try out recipes
  • i get to live with W and do stuff with him
  • i have a father who is supporting me financially
  • i have my mom i can talk to about my problems


church, tables, chicken

some bible verses from church

  • Proverbs 30:8: "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread
  • Luke 6:24-25: "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep."
  • Proverbs 23:4-5 "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."

a few more verses from twitter about sorrow

Hebrews 12:11: No discipline seems to bring joy at the time, but only sorrow. Later, though, it produces fruit, the peaceful fruit of righteousness, for those who are trained by it.

Psalm 126: those who sow in tears will reap in joy

bought tables from a harvard cs student building a meal planning app: intent. tried it and it seems well built, lots of onboarding questions to personalize it for you.

went from shopping packaged chicken and salmon at Aldi's to fishing out dollars and coins from my pocket to shop in wet and chaotic chinese grocery stores where prices fluctuate based on the competition and the owners and shoppers yell in cantonese.

finally found chicken thighs in J&L Vegi Supermarket for 1.19/lbs. i think they're cheaper than Aldi, but less sanitary for sure. also more bones

thoughts from studying

Is comprehension speed innate or trained. can i train myself to absorb and understand faster? My brain seems to be slow. like i know i can be faster, or I have the memory of being faster, and i can feel something blocking me but i can't remove it. it's there, somewhere, lingering.

I wish i could sync apple notes with my blog so I don’t have to transfer these into vscode and commit and push.


japantown, mtn view, pleasanton

  • Katsura Garden has nice plants, i will be back again one day to acquire one and name it Feathers McGraw
  • was supposed to go to a hackathon in menlo park but it's way too far
  • Nijiya Market is a packed j market with lots of sales and MISO PASTE! It has finally been added to my inventory
  • Caltrain down to Mt view was so hot and two groups of people were so loud and annoying
  • played bingo for the first time in Konko church of SF
  • read about experiments, book of daniel was the first ever experiment which is cool, the israelites (including Daniel I assume) were more fit with vegetable sand water only, than the prisoners on the royal feast, how do I not know about this story?
  • mountain view is so nice
  • Therapy Stores in castro st has lots of good books
  • first time in a Model Y
  • Curry Leaves Bistro in Pleasanton, noodles were overwhelmingly spicy
  • Choose pleasanton bart drop off, not Pleasanton/Dublin bart station for Google maps

from I Didn't Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt by Madeleine Dore

even if you didn't do the thing today, find something to enjoy

  • enjoy the failures and mistakes–they're a sign we're trying
  • enjoy the unknown–it's where we discover something new
  • enjoy the rest, the boredom, the empty moments–that's where we find insight
  • enjoy the busy, too–that's where we can find momentum
  • enjoy the rut–that's where we can discover a new path
  • enjoy the wobble–that's where we find the variances that light us up
  • enjoy the learning–it's where we can never fail
  • enjoy the limitations–it's where we find awe and creativity
  • enjoy the choices we make as well as the plans that change–they're often the making of our lives
  • enjoy the comparisons with another–it's where we find our secret joy
  • enjoy the questions–because life would be dreary if we had all the answers
  • enjoy the doing–because the joy is in the doing, not the done
  • enjoy the incomplete–because that means there's more to come
  • enjoy the moments–if we tend to them, if we get the good out of every bit of them, what a life we'll have created


who i am

  • called so many dentist today, 3 consultations next week
  • did intros at a group lunch, heres what i said but perfected after a day of it playing in my head
  • Hi everyone, my name is Benedict and you can call me Ben. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I always wanted to come to the US to achieve the typical American dream. I wanted to work in companies like Google or Apple and maybe start my own company one day. so I decided to do this program where i finished two years of college in Malaysia and then transfer to the US. I went to Iowa State university. It’s a peaceful college town, but can get a little bit too boring and it’s also very very cold in the winters. I was lucky enough to spend two summers in the bay area. I realized I loved the Bay Area so much. I felt like I belonged and I got to meet so many interesting and cool people and went to a lot of fun events. I felt very inspired and optimistic here. And ever since then I missed I wanted to come back. When I graduated, unfortunately because of the job market and health issues I decided to go back home. I took a six month break and the break was much needed. It helped me spend more time with my family, we travelled around Asia. I got to try out photography, made a fun little vlog, spent more time sketching, read a few books. I’m very glad I get be in this program. It's really exciting to be meeting people from different backgrounds. I get to go to a ton of events, putting myself out there, increasing my surface area of luck. I hope I can continue doing this for the time being, and stay here this time. A meaningful place for me is home, it's where I grew up, where my family is, it's where i'm most comfortable and myself.
  • i love chinatown, feels like home


arize AI

  • so many errands to run, amazon things, hotel booking cancellation, dentist search, mobile phone plan, so adult things to deal with
  • Need to find a good podcast for walking to school
  • Need to remind myself I’m in SF and I study here and live here now. Ben 1 year ago would freak out.
  • classmate asks me and I can’t even figure out as well, im such a failure
  • realizing how much free time I used to have, I miss days where I can do just one thing. Now its like 10 micro things in a day
  • Will things slow down when I start working? When priorities starts to narrow down? When my goals start to be more defined?
  • I’m definitely lacking sleep, i yawn almost every 5 minutes in class
  • arize ai shack 15, crazy that im back after a year
  • regret not talking to anyone and just getting free merch and food. also hard to network if im just a student here, i guess i need to build more, and build something worth talking about?
  • Rooftops for calls are perfect if it wasn’t so windy
  • I actually have 0 time for anything other than school and meal prep and walking and going to events now, the opportunity cost is high. Which event to go? What side project to focus on? When to do this homework? When to review that class? When to make time for social? Transportation eats up a lot of time.
  • can’t believe i spent 3 hours doing homework
  • So much pressure being around smarter people, which was the ideal environment to grow, i guess i wasn't prepared about how uncomfortable and distressing it can be. I guess its because im in school, and it can be zero sum, sma
  • i need to go to bed earlier


cloudfare hack

  • a great start to my day, wish all days could start this way
  • climbing down the fire escape is so scary
  • got to see M again in person after almost a year
  • need to learn how to order and buy groceries in canto
  • so hard to find rice
  • finally found rice at Ming Lee trading
  • I need a trader joe grocery bag
  • how am i getting heartburn from walking fast
  • had no choice but to eat a slice of pizza, i'm worried about the effects now
  • prompt engineering challenge was pretty fun
  • spell it to me, pronounce it
  • the more people you know at networking events, the less you network, the less useful they are
  • also feeling like they're not as useful if you haven't built anything yet
  • exhausting day, probably the most tiring was doing combinatorics
  • how to balance school and building and writing
  • facing decision paralysis every single day


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