Simon Z

Ask me anything   "Keep moving forward."

My name is Simon. I blog about finding purpose, lifehacking productivity and self-improvement, social inequality, food, dance, and the amazing people in my life. It's all a bit random but you might find something interesting along the way. :)

Personal Goal: The 4 things we should say more often to live happier lives:
  1. Thank you
  2. I'm sorry
  3. Forgive me
  4. I love you

My Tags:

Eargasm, thanks to the roomie.

— 4 days ago
#eargasm  #music  #the chainsmokers  #kanye  #instant party  #soundcloud 
Lilith:so what's the Levenstein edit distance between you and me?
Simon:only 10 space deletions. Let's make it none.
— 5 days ago with 1 note
#me  #programming  #coding  #algorithms  #levenstein  #edit  #distance  #edit distance 

I’ve put in over 30 hours into this one homework alone. I slept one hour yesterday and only a few per night for the past four days. Also, looking at my work retrospectively, I feel like machine learning should fulfill a foreign language requirement, with all of these matrix calculus and probability terms spread out everywhere.

— 6 days ago with 3 notes
#me  #photos  #strugglebus  #struggles  #math  #machine learning  #homework  #classes  #CS  #computer science 
The Serious Eats Field Guide to Chinese Pastries →


— 1 week ago with 2 notes
#bao  #chinese pastries  #food  #links  #readings  #articles  #pastries  #chinese  #bakery  #bake  #baking 
"Home is where you exhale."
Passed on from Jake from the Jewish Queer Sukkot Dinner
— 1 week ago with 3 notes
#quotes  #me  #Jewish  #Sukkot  #home  #exhale 
Lifetip: Do some research before catching up with someone.

So this is a first-world problem that I’ve struggled with a lot in college, where there are tons of amazing people around me that I don’t want to fall out of touch with. Often, I pass by someone on my way to class that I haven’t seen in weeks and we inevitably have the “dude, we need to catch up” banter. After my first year of college, I decided to say what I mean (it becomes a really unsettling ritual to bump into someone and say “omg, we should totes catch up” and not follow through (kind of like, how we Americans greet each other with “how are you?” but the expectation is to say “fine, thanks” and move on).

Anyway, I’ve been catching up with a lot of people this quarter and have seen another slightly irksome trend: lots of variations of asking “what’s going on?” I was at a meal last Monday and was literally asked 3 different variations of this when the conversation lulled (the poor girl doesn’t do well with conversational lulls, which took me a while to adjust to and appreciate as well). The problem that I have with this phrase is that it’s a hugely open-ended question that leaves the person being asked with no real direction to go. I normally either mention a topic that I think is really relevant to our friendship or give 3 bullet points from 3 different parts of my life, so the other person can choose what direction the conversation goes (see, I’m so accommodating). However, to avoid this, I have a proposal to make all conversations infinitely better: research the person you’re about to catch up with. In this day of social media, there’s no excuse not to skim Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, whatever (just don’t spend more than 5 minutes total, or else you’re a creeper). Pick a few points that are either (1) interesting or (2) relevant to something you’re doing or able to help with. That way, you don’t throw a curve ball with “so, how would you succinctly summarize every aspect of your life into a 15 second statement that is more interesting than ‘it’s going well… how about you?’ are you?

In the business world, I’ve been taught to do the same for networking, out of respect for the person that you’re about to meet and out of respect for the short amount of time that the person has given you. These conditions are the same for close (or distant) friends: you should hopefully respect them and, if you’re meeting with them because you haven’t seen them in a while, you know that your time with them is rare and should be worth enough to you to spend a few minutes to make it a good conversation.

— 1 week ago with 1 note
#me  #thoughts  #personal  #business  #friendship  #conversations  #tips  #life  #lifetip  #life tips  #protips  #pro tips  #catching up  #friends 
17 Ways You're Eating Breakfast Wrong →

Wow — most of these are actually genius.

— 1 week ago
#food  #me  #cooking  #breakfast  #links  #articles  #readings  #cosmopolitan  #eating 





The Pirates Official Posters

What is this glorious looking glory.


Pirates (2014 film)

Set in the early Joseon Dynasty, a group led by a female pirate and another group led by a male bandit are on a mission to hunt down a whale that swallowed the royal seal bestowed on Joseon from China.

Yay representation of female leaders!

(via j0nawithazero)

— 1 week ago with 58948 notes
#reblog  #pirates  #movie  #cant wait 
Insomnia (Explained)

It’s 1:02am and I pulled a 36-hour all-nighter yesterday. I’m surprised that I can’t sleep but now understand insomnia a bit more. The primary reason that I have it when (at least when I’m at school) is because I know that I have things that are still undone (assignments, applications, etc.) that my subconscious feels that I should be doing. It’s especially clear to me that this happens when I’m doing work before bed and almost never happens to me when I don’t. Tonight, I was grading assignments (I only finished 10 of 24) before I put my laptop away and headed to bed and am now unable to sleep. A few days ago, I spent a few nights where I would either be out with friends or just back from exercise and came home, showered, and went to bed with no problems. I previously thought that my insomnia was due to an overactive mind, but that’s not necessarily true in my case. I sometimes have my best sleep thinking about hypothetical situations and thinking about the future. I think that my inability to sleep is due to the uncomfortable nagging feeling of knowing that there are things that are still undone (even if they are due in a few weeks).

Last Spring, I got a prescription for sleeping pills and I’ve only ever taken 2: one for my flight to China and one in the first few weeks of this quarter. They aren’t very effective for me at the recommended dosage but I don’t want to consistently use them, let alone up the dosage. I think I’m closer to understanding my own insomnia and won’t need a quick-fix like sleeping pills to help with it.

— 1 week ago with 1 note
#me  #insomnia  #personal  #explanations  #work  #due  #assignments  #school  #grading  #all-nighter 

First all-nighter of this quarter was yesterday night. Slept 1.5 hours in 36 hours.

I’m now grading assignments for the class that I’m TAing. Code is really hard to read when you’re sleep-deprived :(

— 1 week ago
#me  #all-nighter  #grading  #ta  #quarter system  #sleep  #college 

"What you will realize is that you have greatness within you. What you will realize is that you are more powerful than you could ever imagine. What you will realize is that you are greater than your circumstances."

-Les Brown (Motivational Speech Atlanta)


— 1 week ago
#music  #me  #adrian strom  #greatness  #motivation  #soundcloud 
It’s 3:30pm and I’m watching the lunar eclipse. Such a YOLO last quarter at Stanford.

It’s 3:30pm and I’m watching the lunar eclipse. Such a YOLO last quarter at Stanford.

— 1 week ago with 1 note
#YOLO  #lunar  #moon  #eclipse  #lunar eclipse  #stanford 
The 5 "Bones" of Characterization →


So in my English class we’ve been talking about the different elements of different parts of a story. My professor referred to the elements of characterization as bones. I don’t know why, but that’s just what he did.

He’s talked about these 5 “bones” a few times already…

— 2 weeks ago with 784 notes
#writing  #characters  #character building  #reblog  #creative writing 
Anonymous asked: Are you familiar with the upcoming Disney animation, Big Hero 6? I'm not acquainted with the original Marvel comics, but from what I saw from the trailers so far it seems pretty decent on its representation of japanese american characters (except maybe the overused genius asian sterotype). I have high hopes for this movie, but I'm also prepared for a possible disappointment. What are your thoughts on the movie?




Fred Zilla was originally supposed to be of Ainu descent.

This is Fred in the comics:


And this is how Fred looks now:


Wasabi no Ginger was originally supposed to be Japanese (not necessarily stated from what I’ve searched but it appears to be quite obvious that he is).

This is how he looked in the comics:


And this is how he looks now:


(And yes this is wrong because you just can’t go around erasing POC with other POC.)

This is how Honey Lemon looked in the comics:


Her real name btw, is Miyazaki Aiko and her hair isn’t even naturally blonde.

And oh look, here’s Rapunzel:


So that’s 3 out of the 5 original Asian characters that pretty much got erased which leaves Hiro and Gogo Tomago (sorry but I’m gonna ignore Tadashi as a main character).

Hiro is Japanese and white and Gogo Tomago is Japanese and what makes them look soooo different from each other? Hiro has wide eyes and Gogo Tomago has slanted ones. Like no really. THAT’S how they let you know he was also white. Because he has big eyes.

And the thing to top it all off is that the city is named San Fransokyo. San Fransokyo? Really? Like they really couldn’t just let Asian Americans be, you know, Asian and American. At the same time. Because apparently that doesn’t exist. They had to “other” the city in order to make sense of it all, and that’s some bullshit right there.

I understand if you’re Asian American, that this is in some ways something really big because it’s like blatant representation of us (and not super vague like with Russell in UP) but at the same time, it’s still pretty shitty. This is not to say absolutely don’t watch it, but take this movie more as a small stepping stone to more (and hopefully better) representation of us rather than a huge leap towards something greater.



Representation (kind of)

— 2 weeks ago with 849 notes
#Asian  #Asian American  #issues  #representation  #reblog