Update – Waxing nostalgic + Traveling in Calgary / Bay Area / Seattle

With all those Quora posts I made, I feel like I haven’t done a real actual update on my life in a while so I’ll do one now.

This year has been more or less an even less exciting version of last year (which was already pretty non exciting). COVID19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world – even after a lot of people getting fully vaccinated (I got fully vaccinated just last month) the Delta variant and other variants keep spreading and it’s hard to tell when things will ever get back to normal.

Since last year I was unable to use my gym and pool in my condo so I have been gaining a bit of weight (now at 160lbs!) and I have a bit of belly fat now so I definitely need to get back to working out regularly again soon. It’s hard to believe that I was just 135lbs back when I was living in Korea 5 years ago.

Speaking of which, wow. 5 years goes by so fast. Seems almost like a dream that I was living in SF and living in Korea. 

Taken Jul 4, 2013

The above picture feels like a different time and age. Taken roughly 8 years ago, it brings me back to a time when I was living in San Francisco, had my own apartment overlooking Alcatraz, and routinely hosted house parties where beautiful international Korean girls would come hang out. Yes, that seems crazy to me now.

Korea life 2015
March 2015

The above picture as well, brings me back to a time when I was living in Korea, a country with an amazing nightlife culture, where I was meeting different people, going to different parties and events almost every day. Working remotely and making essentially the same salary I am now AND I was renting out my SF apartment for even more money at the time. Wow. Over 6 years ago. I can’t believe I did that.

All this feels very nostalgic, and I’ve been thinking more about the past for the last 1.5 years because the present was so depressing, lonely and gloomy. I no longer had an apartment in SF. I was scammed of my life savings. All my international friends I made back then are all now either married and non responsive or lost contact with them. I can no longer travel freely, as Korea has banned Canadians from tourism since Apr 2020 and even going to the US requires a negative COVID test, booking expensive accommodations and jumping through a lot of hoops now. 

I need to constantly remind myself that yes, there was once a time where I lived in Korea freely, where I didn’t have to wear masks all the time, where the world wasn’t some dystopian environment, where I had a lot of friends to meet, and where I actually lived in the US and had my very own place that I could stay at anytime. I took it all for granted.

I’ve been in a long distance relationship with my Korean gf for almost 2 years now. I haven’t seen her since Jan 2020 when she last visited Canada. Now neither of us can see each other due to the travel restrictions so we’ve been apart for over 1.5 years now. I really really hope that Korea will lift the travel restrictions against Canadians and let me travel and see my gf again. I really feel bad for her that she’s had to wait this long, and I really can’t believe that I took going to Korea for granted like this. Back in 2019, I didn’t appreciate going there enough. I had an amazing time back then, and I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to some of my friends there, who now I lost contact with, and I feel a deep sense of sadness knowing that I won’t  be able to see them again, and I totally took the ability to meet them and to just live in Korea as a tourist for granted. I should have appreciated it more and cherished it more back in 2019.

So I finally got to visit my brother and my dad in Calgary and we spent a little less than a week together, we went to Banff to go hiking and canoeing and rafting and that was all really fun. 

The part I was pissed off about near the end of the trip was me and my  brother decided to play a game together and of course I wanted to record the game for Youtube and for my own records, but yet again something went wrong just like it always does when I play with my brother. In addition to recording the game using the laptop microphone (which isnt very good), I decided to use my phone to record our voices in for better sound quality and guess what? my phone’s microphone just decided to screw up RIGHT WHEN I recorded our gameplay session. Like seriously, it was working the whole day but right before we started gaming, the Pixel 4 (the phone I used) decided to bug out and the microphone stopped working and I didnt know about it until I called my gf and she said I cant hear you and thats when I realize the Pixel 4 had a bug that randomly disabled the mic. literally right before I gamed with my brother. How annoying is that? So yeah I got pissed about that. Just for reference here are all the times my game recordings screwed up before:

-Dec 2016 – me and my buddy played a game of Unreal Tournament 4 and it was a great session, except the XSplit gamecaster software that my Alienware 15 R3 I was using at the time for SOME reason decided to disable the microphone by default in the settings, and I didn’t check it before recording. So the recording ended up being just the video footage with no audio, which made the recording  totally useless. 

-Jul 2017 – me and my buddy playing Unreal Tournament 3 together, but that game the in game volume is so loud by default even when I set the in game volume down to its lowest, it still overpowers any of our voices, so those recordings basically you can’t hear any of our voices

-Oct 2017 – me and my brother played a game of Marine Arena (Starcraft 2) together, but I didn’t think to use a phone to record our voices separately, and only used the laptop mic to record us, except my brother is sitting across the room, so that footage you can barely hear my brother’s voice

-Dec 2018 – me and my brother played a game of Left 4 Dead 2 together, and I set the in game volume to 70%, and also I used the laptop mic to record us (see a pattern here? never use the laptop mic) and of course the mic was too weak to pick up my brother’s voice, and just like Unreal Tournament 3, Left 4 Dead 2’s in game sound is  incredibly loud and pretty much drowned out all our voices but especially my brother’s voice so you can’t hear him at all 

-Feb 2020 – me and my brother played a game of Star Wars Battlefront 2 together – but for SOME reason XSplit Gamecaster didn’t record the video footage – it only recorded a black screen. This has never happened before when I used XSplit and I got so pissed about it I contacted XSplit support and they said it might be because I was using a previous version of XSplit. Anyways, that footage is totally messed since its just a black screen and I only have the audio of our voices which doesn’t really do much if the video footage isn’t there. 

-May 2020 – the BEST VRChat session I ever had, I went to a lot of different worlds, saw many cool avatars, actually TALKED to people in that session, and culminated in one of the funniest moments ever which was when there was this guy with a giant anime girl avatar wearing only a bathing suit and heels, and he got other people to copy his avatar and was able to carry them on his shoulder and with his hands, and eventually I copied the avatar too and we ended up making a huge tower of stacked giant anime girls one on top of the other, it was one of the most funniest and incredible moments I had in VRChat out of all my sessions and guess what? The video got corrupted when I transferred it to my NAS. I was able to recover the video footage but the audio stream is permanently damaged and was unable to be recovered. So sad…

-Aug 2020 – I did a podcast with my friend Patrick in the US (who rarely likes to be on camera) and it lasted over 2 hours. This file too, got corrupted when I transferred it to my NAS and I was only able to recover 7 minutes of it. Thankfully, I had the audio recorded on my phone separately, but most of the video footage of us talking together was lost.

-Aug 2021 – and of course, when me and my brother played GTA 5 together, I recorded our voices separately using my phone AND my laptop mic, and the phone recording messed up because my phone has a bug where the mic becomes randomly disabled. So all I have is the footage with my laptop mic, which you can barely hear my brother on since he’s across the room when we played. 

So yeah it seems like EVERY time I try to play a game with my brother, SOMETHING gets fucked up. Just had to rant about that.

And now, I am finally able to travel back to the US – the first time since last Aug 2020 – and I am finally able to see my friends again since it’s been roughly a year since I last saw them. First I had to be fully vaccinated (I have been since last month) and I had to take a negative COVID test before going there. The negative COVID test costs $100 USD so it was quite a bit. Then I had to deal with the hassle of submitting multiple forms pre-flight. So it’s definitely more of a pain now.

I first arrived in Seattle because one of my good friends lived there. The hostel experience I had was definitely one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. I’ve stayed in hostels many times before – Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gyeongju, Jeju, Prague, Budapest, Croatia, Istanbul, Serbia, Bosnia, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Kyoto, LA, I’ve been to a lot. This was probably the worst experience yet. there was some late 40s or early 50s man who shared the 4 bed dorm with me (and yes I had to go with a shared room cause everything else in Seattle was $100+ a night and this was $40 a night). The guy had almost no sense of courtesy and manners for other people in the same space. One night I was woken up by an extremely loud fart and then by sounds of porn coming from his phone. Yes he never used headphones! Despite me being in the same room and I was trying to get to sleep! this happened at around 6AM in the morning. And the next night was even worse because the guy got extremely sick and started making disgusting noises and coughing all the time. In addition to playing loud podcasts on his phone and farting loudly a lot. I got woken up at 3:30AM one night by his sickly disgusting noises and farts and decided I couldn’t take it anymore and asked the staff to change rooms. The guy was still allowed to stay in his room despite me saying how sick he was and I had to basically avoid him for the next 4 days as he was constantly in the hallway and in the kitchen and was basically a walking plague. 

Next the flight I had to take to San Francisco was at 6AM (which means I had to get to the airport at 5AM) and the checkin time for my AirBNB wasn’t until 3 PM so I had a lot of time to kill in the airport so I took the time to take a small nap and finish editing my basketball Youtube video. 

Just a side note of the worst flight related experiences.
In Oct 2015 when I was in Vienna, the cab driver who was supposed to take me to the Vienna airport couldn’t speak any English only German, so it took a while for me to get him to take me to the airport, and by then I only had an hour or so until the flight left. So I waited in line to get my boarding pass. But for some reason there was an issue with the seat I was assigned so I had to wait in ANOTHER line just to resolve the seat issue. I have no idea why I had to go to another line just for this. So after I waited in that line, I was told I had to go BACK to the first line with the resolved seat issue to finally get my boarding pass. Of course by this time, it was too late to make my flight and I already missed it. Why the Vienna airport was structured this way I’ll never know but they made me wait in 3 different lines to get my boarding pass and I had to re-book the flight to Croatia because of it.
In Oct 2015 I was in Istanbul on the last leg of my Eastern Europe trip. I had a flight back to San Francisco the next day and I usually used my iPhone for my alarms to wake me up for the flights but this time I decided to use my iPad to do it for a different experience. the iPad was synced to the hostel wifi so I thought it had the correct local time. Wrong. The iPad apparently was one hour ahead of the local time and I was woken up one hour later than I was supposed to. So of course by the time I got to the airport, I was too late to make my flight and had to re-book it. All because my iPad stupidly did not sync up with the local time correctly. The next flight was the next day so I ended up sleeping in the Istanbul Airport for a day. That was not the most fun experience.
In Apr 2016 I had a flight from SF to Tokyo but left my apartment and forgot to take my keys with me which also had the RSA generator I needed to login to the VPN for my work company. Of course I needed that to work, so I kept calling my friend (who was my tenant at the time) but he wouldn’t pick up so I ended up spending the night outside my apartment and re-booking the flight to Tokyo and paying a massive fee for it.

So yeah, I’ve had a lot of bad flight experiences. And now I was about to have my first bad Airbnb experience too. I had used Airbnb multiple times too – in Vancouver, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Osaka, LA, Hong Kong, I’ve used Airbnbs many times but this was one of the worst. I booked the Airbnb 5 weeks ahead of my trip. Then 1 week before my stay, the host told me he was cancelling the reservation because he never got a response about my vaccination status. This was the first message I received from the host, so I said it wasn’t fair to me and uploaded proof of my vaccination and threatened to report him to Airbnb. He finally relented and let me stay after all but then gave me a warning that there might not be electricity for a day because of electricians doing work on the house. It was already too late for me to cancel and switch Airbnbs else I would have to pay more money or find some place far away as all the Airbnbs were fairly booked for this time, so I said it was ok. When I arrived, the wife actually told me that it would not be just a day and it would be for the ENTIRE 2 weeks that the electrician was going to work on the house and I wouldn’t be able to stay during the daytime. In addition, there’s no WIFI in the house while they are working there. This was a shock to me as I needed to be in the house to work remotely obviously. And there was no good cafes or wifi spots around the area. The McDonalds was closed for remodeling and the Starbucks closed at an absurdly early time of 3:30PM, the other cafes downtown all have issues – either closing too early (one of them closed at 1:30PM!) or not having any electrical outlets. The ONE good cafe (Philz) I found in the area which had both an outlet and good wifi and had a not absurdly early closing time closed literally the day after I found it. So ridiculous. So I had not many good options to work and it was totally unexpected. Why did the host tell me it was only going to be for one day if it was actually for 2 weeks? And why did they even list it on the market? I should ask for a partial refund here. It’s not fair to me as I should have been able to book another place but didn’t have a choice now but to stay in this one. 

So yeah, that’s my life for now. And yes I do need ANOTHER negative Covid19 test before I go back to Canada. Just great. 

Oh, and no news from the law firms working on the QuadrigaCX case. The entire year we haven’t got any updates yet. Disgusting. This is what we call justice eh? Takes years and years for the court to give us back a sliver of the money that we lost? Awful

On top of that, I lost my $250 Gentle Monster sunglasses that I had bought back in Korea in 2019, forcing me to buy another pair costing me another $270. On top of that, my work Macbook’s battery decided to go into ‘service battery’ mode meaning it will only charge intermittently. Of course it has to happen while I’m traveling. On top of that the price of BTC and ETH all went up over 10%+ right after I sold it, of course. FML.

Oh yeah and not only did I lose my $250 sunglasses but literally a week later after I got my replacement sunglasses, I lost THE REPLACEMENT too!! OMG… how could I be so forgetful?? I left it at a golfing center and my friend even pointed it out and I STILL managed to forget it when I left.. gahhhh. So yeah, now I have to get yet ANOTHER $270 replacement! That’s TWO expensive sunglasses lost in the span of less than 2 weeks. crazy.