Confessions of a researchaholic

June 14, 2019

MAGA hatter

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:57 pm

A guy sat at the cafe table next to mine, wearing a red MAGA (make America great again) hat.
I was thinking if he was looking for a fight or something. After taking off his hat and put it on the table, I saw a lonely old face. He was completely left alone before slowly walking off.

June 11, 2019

Ex-NVIDIAN dinner

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:17 am

The dinner conversation with a bunch of former NVIDIA employees reminded me of many top folks I have closely worked with there, such as Erik Lindholm, Walt Donovan, Henry Moreton, Alex Minkin, and John Danskin.
Only one of them was a manager at that time, and they wielded power through their knowledge in GPU architecture instead of corporate hierarchy.

I aspire to have their style in mentoring future generations of graphics researchers.

June 8, 2019

Meet me half way

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:48 pm
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Excerpt from How to Look: Art Comics by Ad Reinhardt

Viewer: ha-ha what does this represent?
Painting: what do you represent?

An abstract painting will react to you if you react to it.
You get from it what you bring to it.
It will meet you halfway but no further.
It is alive if you are.
It represents something and so do you.
You, sir, are a space, too.

Realistic paintings tell you exactly what they are, while abstract paintings invite you to think.
This applies to not only paintings but also other things, such as books and people.

May 15, 2019

Too late to learn?

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:20 pm
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Today during a computer eye break I went to a high school art show hold inside the company. Some of the works are impressive, especially given that they were made by high school students.

I skipped almost all my art and music classes as a kid as I thought they were useless. Experimental results indicated that drawing is not too late to pick up later, even though I wish I could have spent more time on music and physical training earlier in my life.

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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May 10, 2019

Constructive versus positive opinions

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:59 pm
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When people express opinions about what I am doing, I find it very helpful to just focus on the parts that can constructively propel me forward and just ignore the rest which just cause positive or negative emotions.

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Vector draw over a photo

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April 13, 2019


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:50 am

A few years back I was having a hard time deciding between two job offers from institutions X and Y. After joining Y, I found out that the hiring manager in X left, which, if I had joined, might have succeeded the position. I kept on thinking this is the first (and only) career mistake I have made, until I heard recently that the positions in X are funded temporarily and are being slashed.

April 12, 2019

Digital artist

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:13 am
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A guy boarded at the Palo Alto Caltrain station and sat in the line of sight between me and my drawing subject a few rows away. After being assured that I was not drawing him and excited about our common profession in digital art, he enthused his experience about being one of the first artists using Photoshop and other tools, nearby art gallery sponsorship, etc.

After disembarking the train, I finished the original drawing from memory (notice the inconsistent perspectives and such).

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

A post shared by Kublai (@kub1ai) on

View this post on Instagram

Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

A post shared by Kublai (@kub1ai) on

April 2, 2019

Employee experience

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:26 pm

During my lunch people watching in the sandwich place, the lady waiting for her food across from the table started to chat with me.
She was entirely smooth in starting the conversation (along the line of: your lunchbox looks cool) and talking about other topics like office location and work division. She is part of employee experience which explains her style and skill. All I needed to do was to ask her the same questions.


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:42 am

“Hate traps us by binding us too tightly to our adversary.” – Milan Kundera

I guess this is another way to say “don’t get mad, get even.”

March 31, 2019


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:48 pm

I was in a meeting with a colleague and an immigration lawyer a few days ago. I was prepared to argue for a difficult case, but found the lawyer surprisingly receptive. She spoke tersely and stopped frequently to ask for any questions or feedbacks.

EQ gradually outweighs IQ in determining career success when one becomes more senior. Maybe that explains why that lawyer is a partner already, and behaved quite differently from a more junior lawyer previously handling the same case.

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