Confessions of a researchaholic

July 10, 2024

DMV visit

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:17 pm
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As most people do, I tried to avoid visiting DMVs as much as possible. But I had to today after my last visit more than two decades ago (when getting my driver’s license).

Even though I still spent more than an hour for the whole process, the experience turned out to be more positive than I anticipated. The receptionist was very pleasant and smiling all the time, and the agent who handled my case was very efficient.
A DMV reflects America quite well: diverse, chaotic, and somehow still mostly functional.

I believe (or at least hope) that my experience would apply to anyone who has followed the online preparation process before their physical visit.

And while waiting, I managed to draw a few sketches from my observations of folks around me (and there would be no shortage of all kinds of people inside a DMV as you can imagine).

July 9, 2024

Sprinkler-induced rainbow

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 6:15 pm
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It was quite pleasant to feel the sprinkler and see the rainbow it induced during a heat wave. From the captured photo I tried to convey the heat and color at the moment with a generative video.

July 7, 2024

Focus time during shutdowns

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:34 pm
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Adobe has week-long (or longer) shutdowns around early July and late December every year, which are often good opportunities for traveling (e.g., vacations, family visits, or conferences).
To me these are also often golden opportunities for focused work, such as reading papers, thinking about research problems, and conducting exploratory experiments, which are often hard to come by during the regular work days with frequent distractions (often fulfilling coworkers’ requests).
I have found such focus time incredibly productive and satisfying, and wonder if I could continue the effect outside shutdowns by trying to reduce distractions, at least those self-induced.

May 24, 2024

Leg cramp exercise dream

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:49 pm
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I dreamed about doing some footwork exercises on early morning in May 23 2024 and ended up waking up with a severe leg cramp.

May 6, 2024


Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 7:37 pm
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She bought some ice cream and ate it in front of a grand view behind the Ferry Building on a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon, and somehow I felt a bit impatient at the moment.
I realized what I had missed the next day and captured my feelings into this imaginative vector drawing.

Life is too short and time does not flow back; I should be more patient and present to enjoy every moment.

April 28, 2024

Cotton candy grapes

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:43 am
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This is my attempt to visualize the taste upon the first bite of these grapes.

April 5, 2024


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:38 pm
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This “creative entity” has an impressive Behance portfolio and messaged me to connect.
We had an half-hour Zoom call on Friday afternoon, during which he remains anonymous and faceless.
From his voice I can figure out that he is a young European male whose is on an early stage of architecture design day job.

February 25, 2024

Missed opportunity

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:45 pm
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When I boarded Caltrain 313 at San Jose on Thursday February 22, 2024, I saw a guy deep in sleep with his head resting on the window. The face constituted an excellent drawing subject but I decided to finish my dinner first. Then the train conductor came to check tickets, and the guy had none and was asked to leave the train at the next stop.

Afterwards I did a quick sketch from visual impression and produced a variation via image-2-image diffusion. Neither could catch the original face which I could better capture on spot.

February 21, 2024

Visualizing dreams

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 6:19 pm
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One main reason that I would like to be able to draw is to share what I saw in my dreams which tend to be vivid and unusual. This is difficult enough due to both the required skills and the ephemeral nature of dreams. But how about visualizing other people’s dreams based on their descriptions?

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