[Day 20] Sudden review

Been busy for a last few days. However, this is not what I want to talk about. Just a moment ago, I had a chance to be alone with an old acquaintance. I knew her around this time last year, not that well but we were friendly to each other. I’m not sure the exact dates, but she became stranger to me, not saying hi when we passed each other like usual. The conversation today goes like this.

_ Hi, J 

_ Hi

10 secs of silence…

_ Hey J, did I do anything wrong to you? 

_ No

_ I just have this feeling, that I might have did something wrong to you. It’s for a while now, and it seems like you try you avoid me. So I tried to figure out what I have done. 

_ It’s not what you did, Phuc. It’s something you said that kinda rude. 

_ What did you say again? ( I honestly did not hear clearly)

_ It’s something you said that were rude. I have to work. 

The conversation ended there. This is not the first time it has happened though. A month ago, another Vietnamese acquaintance of mine said the exact same thing to me.

_ You know, I’m not feeling comfortable with the way you speak. 

_ What do you mean by the way I speak? Can you give me an example? I don’t really understand it. ( I really want to understand, at least an example would help much) 

And that’s the whole conversation. I did not pay much attention back there. Even until now, I don’t know how I can change. But one problem is getting clearer, my way of speaking might offend some people without my awareness. It has manifested not one, but many times without or without my knowledge. I’m not considerate enough. People usually don’t remember about the details of their bad experience, especially the conversation. They just keep the bad impression in their mind and try their best to stay away from them.

One cause that I can think of is that I assume everybody to have the same filter like I am. I might be protected from some words while other don’t. I can even be wrong about my own protection. I thought I have no trouble with people saying ” Fuck you” to me without bad intention. It happened a few days ago. I still notice a rise of anger within myself when listening to those words, even I know that it is said without any harm. If even I felt anger when one of my closest friend said it to me, why would I be surprised if some people were offended by what I’ve said?

Moral of the story: Try to stay away from bad kind of being funny. Avoid using bad words. Be aware to respect people and show that to them at all times.



[Day 16] Fear and racism in Amrica

Today, I have quite a conversation with a friend. She is mixed. Her mother is white and her father is black. Her grandfather is kind of a leader of the KKK, a white supremacy group so it was a little bit of intense from mother’s side relative growing up. She was too white to be black and too black to be white so it’s kinda hard to find her own group. She is now afraid of the ride of neo-nazi and white supremacist in America. Stereotypes is harmful. I told her what my take about this matter. I told her that we would be on a constant struggle to fight ignorance. Our ancestors had sacrificed many things so we can have a world like we live right now, abd maybe this is the fight of our generations. I believe those people just need opportunities to have more exposure. It’s our instinct to stay within our box, to like what is familiar to us, to hang around ppl that looks like us. I don’t have solutions ready, but I believe in the goodness of the majority. I believe the majority of Americans believes in equality, that they don’t consider themselves better than others just because of their skin. Try to understand the enemy and make them our friend should be the goal that we aim for.

[Day 15] A lot to be done

Learn and also stress out quite a bit today. Except for Physics class, all of the other class seems not to be easy. However, it also equals fun and challenging, which is fun :)) .  My schedule become extremely busy, with all of the tutor and preceptor work. I also have to develop a proposal for Undergraduate Research before next Tuesday. My former boss just emailed me to tell he got something for me to do this trimester.  Everything is moving in the right direction and I’m super exciting about it. Being busy is a bless.

[Day 14] Preceptor

Today is the first time I precept a Calculus class. The students, mostly freshmen are so nice. They worked diligently, some called me Sir when I help them, and some thanked me after the class. It’s kinda funny for this particular class because they have class with me before their professor. Some even mistaken me with the professor at first, which is not a bad thing. Look forward to my another class on next Monday, and this class next Tuesday. So much fun teaching 🙂

[Day 13] Eclipse day

Exciting day with the full solar eclipse. The shadow looks different. The sky gets dark and the sun looks like a burning eclipsed moon. In America, ppl are getting incredibly crazy about this event. NASA is taking this rare event to get close to the public and promote its image. That also apply to the whole scientific community, especially astronomers. Mercer did a good job in hosting a viewing event in its own plaza as well as sending team to more ideal location to record this event. Good stuff!

Things that I did today that might need to be reviewed later:

+ Lending 10$ for an acquaintances that I don’t have much knowledge of ( She asked for 20$ and told me that she has experienced hard time)

Things that I did good today:

+ Wake up early, do mediation, eat breakfast, prepare meal for the day and did the work-out

+ Response calmly to a professors when she made a mistake that she was not aware of. Not pointing out blame and work to the solutions.  She is extremely nice.

Things that might cause my failure in this trimester:

  1. Oversleep, which can partly cause by going to sleep late, or just lazy
  2. Forget appointments. Lots of meetings and classes with different locations to keep track of.
  3. Being late. Lots of factors can contribute to this.
  4. Not prepared for preceptor’s session. Forget the session. Forget to print the materials. Forget how to solve a particular problems.
  5. Getting behind on school work. Being arrogant of self’s ability and miss crucial points which can lead to bad grades.
  6. Not allocating enough time to learn Deep Learning ( or machine learning).
  7. Eating bad or expensive stuff. Home is not located on campus so I will be more tempting to eat crap food or buying food on campus, which is somewhat expensive.


[Day 11] Opening day

Today has been fun. Good work-out when moving stuff for freshmen. Talking and dancing with ppl. It’s nice to see old friends and new faces. Smile a lot. Mercer is really good and making their students feel like they’re at home. I’m back in love with my uni. What a good and effective business strategy! Making your payers in love with you.

Got training with fellow tutors. We’ve learned about ethics, safety and discuss about tutoring methods. They’ve mentioned about active shooters, which is a lone person who carry firearms to shoot ppl. The priority should be “Run, hide, fight”. Run to open ground as fast as you can. Watch your phone for alerts and updates. If can’t run, turn off the light, create blockade to the door. In worst can, fight. Reinforcement would come soon, so avoid fighting as much as possible.

[Day 8] Willpower

Little things that can increase willpower (based on Kelly McGonigal talk at Google )

  1. Sleep more. Meditate and work-out on the regular basis.
  2. Think more about failure than success. Think about way how you can fail your goal. In fact, if you feel you’re getting progress, you’re more likely to drop.
  3. Eat more plants and fruit.
  4. Think about your future self. Write a letter from your future self to your current self
  5. Practicing mindfulness. Craving comes and go. This too shall pass. Try to feel the feeling and the urge to procrastinate/ do necessary things will pass.

Interesting facts: How long you hold your breath can be a good indication of how likely will you choose the easy way over the hard one. It’s called resistance test.

While I was typing this, Kelly shows me her 5 points. Here’s the the real 5 things that can increase your will-power (I might go too much into details and maybe my perception about it is different?)

  1. Train your will power physiology ( I think it apply to mediation, work-out, and resistance training)
  2. Forgive yourself ( I actually forgot this point)
  3. Make friends with your future self (same with my point 3, just shorter)
  4. Predict your failure (same my point 2)
  5. Surf the urge (same with my point 5, just shorter)

On the side story, today I’ve learned about how to make videos than can record the screen and webcam at the same time. Used a software call OBS studio.Spend a few hours trying to record the first lesson. Turns out that I have both less and more problems than I thought. Repeating words is not such a big problems but recording a video without making mistakes for a period becomes a real pain in the ass.

[Day 7] Difference in USA. Note in loneliness and communication.

Few brief observations/thoughts while driving car about America that I found much different from where I come from(Viet Nam, and somewhat New Zealand)

  1. Car culture. People spend a crazy amount behind the wheels and stuck in traffic everyday.
  2. Having a car is crucial. If you don’t have one, you’re basically disable.
  3. Everything is big and so far away, which directly increase driving time.
  4. Obesity is really a big problem. Overweight ppl are everywhere.
  5. Muscular and good-looking ppl are everywhere, too.
  6. No racism here, but I’ve heard from a black friend that when you drive to a new place and see a lot white pedestrians, it is a good neighborhood. Many people are obsessed in finding the imagined intent without acknowledging that is merely an observation, or fact.
  7. Americans are price-sensitive.
  8. Insurance is expensive. Only a few satisfy with their insurance’s rate.

Extra at the end of the day. I noticed that all day long I have been talking with myself while doing other stuff such as programming, or cooking. At night, I just lie down and open a YouTube video without watching it. I realise what I’ve done is trying to replicate a conversation by either using my own voice or the voice from my smartphone. I am in need of connecting to others, and without a real conversation all day long, my sub-conscious mind urge my to create a replica of it. I have not practicing mindfulness well I guess.

On another side note, I’ve just watched 2 videos from the channel “The school of life”. The first one talks about how communicating with children that you have not known before is the ultimate test of your social skills and the second one proves that the difference between an interesting person and the boring one is the courage and ability to convey one’s feeling, experience and opinions to others. I find both arguments quite convincing. In my first class of Creative Writing course, my instructor said that everyone of us has something to write. If I am 25 years old, it means I have at least 15 years of writing material waiting to be put on paper. The thing we lack is the courage to tell our stories to the world and the inability to transfer our perceptions into others by words. Everybody have their own filters, and if we are not aware of the differences between ours and theirs, we would indeed end up boring persons.

“If” by Ruthyard Kipling ( Tiếng Việt ở sau)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

By Ruthyard Kipling




Nếu con có thể giữ được cái đầu lạnh khi mà tất cả

Đều đánh mất mình và đổ lỗi cho con,

Nếu con có thể tin tưởng bản thân khi tất cả đều nghi ngờ

Nhưng vẫn chừa chỗ cho sự nghi ngờ ấy,

Nếu con có thể chờ mà không mệt bởi sự chờ đợi

Cũng như khi bị lừa dối, đừng quan tâm đến sự lừa dối,

Cũng như khi bị ghét bỏ, đừng để thù hận lên ngôi,

Và cũng đừng mặc đẹp quá, hay nói chuyện ra vẻ sõi đời. 


Nếu con có thể mơ – nhưng không tạo những giấc mơ mà con đã khuất phục,

Nếu con có thể nghĩ – nhưng không tạo những suy nghĩ mà con đang nhắm về,

Nếu con có thể dối diện với Huy Hoàng và Thảm Họa

Và đối xử với chúng như nhau,

Nếu con có thể chịu dựng được những sự thật mà con đã nói

bị chụp mũ bởi người khác để bẫy những kẻ khờ,

Hoặc nhìn những thứ mà con hy sinh cả đời vì, sụp đổ,

Và tiến lên và xây lại chúng bằng những dụng cụ đã hao mòn. 


Nếu con có thể lấy tất cả chiến thằng của mình

Và đặt cược chúng vào một lần thành-hay-bại,

Và thua, và khởi đầu lại

Và không hé một lời về chuyện đã xảy ra, 

Nếu con có thể bắt buộc trái tim và khí lực và gân cốt của mình

Để phục vụ con dù chúng đã biến mất từ lâu,

Và trụ lại cho đến khi con không còn gì

Ngoại trừ Ý chí vẫn thầm thì “Cố lên!”


Nếu con có thể nói với đám đông mà vẫn giữ được mình, 

Hay đi với những vị vua – mà không mất sự nhạy cảm,

Nếu mà cả kẻ thù hay tri kỷ đều không thể tổn thương con;

Nếu tất cả đều dựa vào con, nhưng không ai quá nhiều,

Nếu con có thể lấp đầy một phút không tha thứ

Với sáu mươi giây của một cuộc chạy đường dài,

Con là hiện thân của Trái Đất và tất cả những gì trong nó,

Và – hơn tất cả – con là một người đàn ông, con trai của ta.


Viết vởi Rudyard Kipling.  


My poems


My black bike

I have two big circles and I am straight.

Those circles are soft sometimes but I’m always as hard as a steel gate.

People touch my bone, and then they touch my circles.

Touch it, touch it, feel my power.

Black, black, I’m proud these are all dark black.

Mysterious, manly, inviting like a guy with six-packs.

I run like a war horse, move swiftly like a whirlwind.

Girls surround me, admiring “What a majestic thing!”

But sometimes, when my circles are down, I’m like a gun with no rounds.

A proud soldier who got shot in the middle of the battleground.

Then I was taken to a beautiful woman.

Can you blow these up for me, please?

And now I’m feeling ready for another round.



The beast

We are scary.

I am scary.

A brute hide underneath human skin.

A clawless animal full of beastly thirst.

Hi, how are you doing?

Would that be enough to cover

my desire to bite, to consume, to devour, to tear you apart?

Oh, you’re busy? How about tomorrow night?

Would my voice betray me so much?

Has it already revealed

that I want to touch you

with my hands, my fingers, my nose, my head, my lips, my tongue, my everything?

I’m sorry.

I am not.

Take me. Take me. Take me.

I would be a rouge, a knave, a miscreant, a dog, a piece of meat. I don’t care.

Enslave me. Torture me. Kill me.

Would it make any differences?


But that will only be the start of my howling night.


How to code like a real programmer

First step: Plug the computer in,

and don’t forget to connect the screen.

Then you have to push the power button gently

but strong enough until it opens properly.

With luck, something might appear.

The texts, the symbols, arise from the darkest sphere.

Don’t be frightened, don’t be afraid.

But just in case,

this black magic scares the shit out of you,

give it your best kick and everything will be okay.


My little sis

She smiles

like an angel,

trying to hide her witty witty mind, which made me laugh every now and then.

She is holding a toy, as joyful as

every little baby would be.

She is wearing a red dress,

never knows she will be obsessed with them

until she turns ten.

There is me, on the right

wearing a shirt that I wish I didn’t have –

a cute Kitty cat smiles with me,

saying “Hey, I’m good on boys, too”.