Thursday, March 9, 2017

Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that.

This came about when I about to ride my bike to the university, in a crisp California coastal sunny morning, listening to the podcasting of "meaning of time" by a Stanford prof, contemplating what is "the nature of innovation" and what can be the best joke today in my class later.

In many ways, I am in a place and time that is as close to heaven as humanly can be.  Healthy and caring family, more than enough income, comfortable home, secure and respected job, interesting and engaging projects, every possible material thing I need.  Wine, cheese, steak, grape, beach, music, parties, tennis, biking, clean air, nice temperature.

I decided to reply,

"Living the dreams, baby! Living the dreams!"

Well, sooner or later I will start a company, a movement, a revolution and make the living hell of it :)

But now,  living the dreams, baby!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hard work makes me happy

It's a crisp Carmel morning.  Have to wake up earlier to have a video conference with students in the service learning class. Many projects are inspiring - helping the inmate to learn technology, for example.

After the meeting, moved quickly to reply a few emails. Then playing the music of the theme from the King's Speech.  Organized my study room, clean up some old files.  The inspiring music, the quick and hard work, the cold sunshine through the curtain.  All made me happy.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Brand new year and crumbling body

It is the Chinese new year.  Many fun things - party at Kryztof's place and plenty of great wine, Startup weekend is very successful - several Cannabis businesses and office sharing (akin to AirBnB) are promising, play many hours of tennis - which bring me a lot of enjoyment and sorrow.

My body is falling apart, especially the right knee - which is shattered in 1997 a bad ski jump, and my right shoulder, which is badly hurt in 1992, in a chilly morning that I practice too many tennis serve.  Or both were already damaged when I had the motorcycle accident in Taipei in 1984.  I asked the doctors many times, but there is no solution.  Even a knee replacement is not a good option.

I can barely raise my right arm now, my serves are weak, while I can still win matches, it is all with careful placement instead of power.  Very sad.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflection upon 2016

It is not a great year, not bad either.  There are triumph and headaches galore.

I always tell my students, DD and JJ that reflection is the best way to learn, I should do that too -

Kids are doing well 
JJ got into Cal, one of her top choices.  We were very excited even though there was a chance to go to Stanford or Harvard, we did not hire a consultant or went to special prep classes.
JJ got many recognitions and scholarship, able to drive her to campus and visit the interesting city of Berkeley is a special treat for us.  She is still struggling with which major to go, political science was her love but might not link to a career well unless she goes to grad school.
DD is doing fine, maintaining a 4.0, he is trying harder but not to the level that can make him compete with the best in the world.

Health is not great
My right knee starts to hurt more often, the old ski injury is coming back.  I can't run or walk more than two hours without feeling the pain, the weather is too cold to bike comfortably.  And too much good food in Taiwan made me feel bloated and frustrating. 

Career is going fine
Back the classroom pleases me.  Able to grow the CS Online program is also very exciting and rewarding.  The politics wear me down, however.  People's envy is toxic in a group.  Helped the HengDa group to acquire Mt Sierra College, an 18-month long journey.  Got a little bit of consulting fee at the end but have to turn down the president's job, the condition is not ideal.  But I am glad that it is done.  I learn a lot from the process.
Preparing a book on innovation - this could be my parting project at CSUMB and a stepping stone for next move.  While many of the classmates are retiring, which startles me, I am planning the next 20 years.  Probably more balanced between work and leisure - I was never that big on leisure since I try to find projects that are enjoyable.  But travel more, visit parents more, enjoy more music and arts, might be in the picture.

Finance is OK but risky
Got locked up in VAL, too risky.  Sold the Seaside house for a good price, enough to fund all JJ and DD's tuition. That comforts me.  The Pacific St project troubles me, the financing was not ideal, so I will have to look for other opportunities.

Spirit is not high
I had a hard time adjusting to DD and JJ growing independent, while I am happy with them, I don't know how much I should direct their study or lives. They are too young to be left alone completely, so I feel I am locked in a small space, don't want to leave but can't do much for them.
Maybe I should practice meditation more.  I tried a few times and it does help.

I set up the 2016 goals of
- health - lose weight
- book - innovation
- writing - blogs

I guess I have to continue those.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Computer Architecture - a very dry lecture on parallel processing

Today I covered the last chapter of the textbook of 337 computer architecture.  It is so dry and tedious and irrelevant that half of my brain and half of the class are sleeping.  Not the best experience and not the best use of our time.  I should have assign reading assignment, plus a few OK video clips.

It is a challenge to teach the computer architecture class, especially the pure hardware parts, it is probably important to computer engineers, who try to eke out the last drop of performance from the CPU hardware, but for software developers, which most of the students are planning to be, the hardware issue is hidden and not very interesting. Need architects to know the chemistry of concrete?  Not sure.

I pride myself giving interesting, engaging, relevant lectures.  But today's is not.

Time is brutal - the only minor remedy is memory

It all passed on.  The busy days, the relaxing days, triumphant ones, defeated ones.
The veteran's day weekend. Very relax but also cause a sense of unfulfilling.
The 2016 election of Trump is a hot topic around the world.  Spent Friday just reading and viewing news and analysis from the US and from Taiwan and China.  Not much is done but the mood is not peaceful.

People demand changes, that is the nature of human being.  That spur the first group of modern human stepped out of Africa thousands of years ago, it also made Trump and Tsai the president.  Even they are doing OK, the instinct tells them "out of Africa", give it a try, something different might be better.

Doing mundane things mostly - Tennis with Lian Pine in High meadow on Friday, practice what is very important in volley but never have a good habit - split steps and step into the shot, still need to practice since I can't single tennis much because of the right knee hurt after an hour.

Bought a foam based matress for DD on Friday afternoon.  I am surprised that foam based ones are now very prevalent.  It's a good idea, it is much lighter, compact and probably more environment-friendly.

Saturday was a bit more interesting.  Met Susu and Ni Zhang to discuss business connecting Chinese investment in Silicon Valley.  Both of them are sharp, maybe good partners in the future.  Went to meet with Stanford professor Edison Tse, who run Chinese executive development for the school of management and engineering.  Who is somewhat famous in China because of a few books on "Eastern Style" innovation.

Writing books about innovation might be something that I have to soon.

Watched "Midnight Diner", a lovely show about love and hope in a tiny Japanese late night diner. Very sweet.

I have decided a few year back that Sunday should be blank and reserved for the kids, but they rarely want to go out with me since their teen age years.  Did not do much in the Sunday afternoon, as planned, but that emptiness made me anxious.  Sigh.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bye bye big land cruiser

The land cruiser arrived early 2000, before DD was born. It stayed with us for over 16 years, close to 200k miles. Camping, moving, hiking, long road trips, it brought us to ocean, cities, desert, mountains faithfully. 

We are glad the family receive it is passionate about mountain biking, the land cruiser will go to many more adventures with the young boy. 

Bye bye land cruiser. We appreciate your service, we will remember you. 

Things that make me happy

Waking up seeing the morning sun makes the pine tree glow makes me happy. 

kids play "colorful clouds" on the living room Steinway for fun makes me happy. 

Losing 7-figure in stock market but can still sleepy soundly make me happy. 

Students winning competition makes me happy. 

Counting my blessings makes me really happy. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Monterey Bay Sustainable Manifesto 2012 - found an interesting old doc I wrote

Businesses, local governments,  non-profits, education and research institutes and communities of greater Monterey Bay region have come together and declare the support of the

Monterey Bay Sustainable Manifesto

We have decided to work closely together to take better care of the environments, the nature resources, residents and visitors of Greater Monterey Bay Region.

To make Monterey Bay the best place to live, work and visit for the generations to come, we recognize that being sustainable has to be a central theme of every effort. We understand sometimes we are the problem, we know changing our own practices are challenging, we are working hard together to be part of the solution.

We believe through innovation, education and collaboration, sustainability is achievable and will contribute to long term economic success.  We have started the effort and we are looking for more people concerned with the region’s future to join us.

Furthermore, we believe sustainability is crucial for Hospitality Industry: Monterey Bay is our community that we share with visitors from around the world. As the international standards for event planning are being created to support sustainability, we recognize that such standards enrich both the economic and environmental viability of the Monterey Bay area as a destination that promotes our hospitality industry. We believe that supporting our hospitality industry is everyone’s business that will require cooperative initiatives, creative collaboration, and ongoing dialog. We, therefore, commit to supporting this continuing endeavor.

Eric Y. Tao, Ph.D. - 2012, Carmel

Monday, April 11, 2016

Long drive with Yuan to San Diego and Piano competition

Right after the last rehearsal for the piano competition, I picked up Yuan and start the long drive to visit UCSD.  Yuan drove the first leg, in the dusk and light rain.  She was cheerful when we pull into the best burrito shop in King city.  She spoke with the shop keeper in Spanish.  Against my best judgement, I ordered a huge super burrito with a extra sweet hochata.

We left the King City around 7:30PM, arrive around mid night to the Taiwanese shop in Irvine for a light supper as a reward. Yuan talked about in the trip, I enjoyed it, probably the last few trips I could spend time with her alone.  She has the who day visit planned out, I was happy that she has a goal and a plan.

Arrived at UCSD around 8:30AM as planned on Sat.  The warren college presentation is great.  I believe it is a good idea to have a smaller, social oriented colleges in a huge university.  Other presentation, such as one by economic department, which has the worse dept building I'd seen, and the parents conference, was, as I expected from a public university, mediocre.

Had an another burrito in Warren college restaurant, under the sun and overlooking the canyon, we are lucky the looming el nino storm was delayed.

One the way back, we visit Script college where Yuan got a very generous scholarship, the girl's only private school is rustic and beautiful, feel like Carmel.   But Yuan wants the environment that is richer and more bustling, since she has spent years in the quaint Carmel.

We dropped by the dealer ship to check out a Lx570, the Lexus version of Land Cruiser.  Our trusted land cruiser is over 20 years old and served us well.  It is time for her to retire.

Yuan was quite excited to drive back from L.A., specially during the storm, the rain drops seemed like shooting stars in the high beam.  A great trip, especially she go a few hundred miles of experience.

Fang and Yuan participated the Monterey Bay Piano Competition, Yuan has pick pieces that are too easy so we know there is little chance of winning. Fang played brilliantly, but the competition is severe, the winners did performed better so even though we were disappointed, but the results are accepted.

I felt drained after the long SD drive and the competition and did not do much in the weekend.  I felt bad that I took on many projects be could force myself to put in extra time during the weekend to work on those.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Butterfly in the storm

Butterfly in the Storm
- short poem

They instill the believe in the young us
Having passion and patient
Sky is the limit where all promises and bliss met
We try, strive and persist
Flipping our used to be fragile now frail wings

Oh how we've tried
Believe the tears and sweat would build a ladder to the sky
Before long we would rest on the clouds of eternal happiness

But we are just butterflies in the storm
With strong believe
We are just butterflies in the storm
With frail wings
We are just butterflies in the storm

Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that. ...