Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions 2016

Posted on 01 January, 2016 in Uncategorized

Last year I had some New Year’s Resolutions (link), some of which I didn’t complete (bummer, but that’s okay). Here are a few goals I have for this year:

  • Running
    In 2015, I ran a total of 450 miles (treadmill, street & trail). I would like to keep this up, so I’m hoping to be able to run a minimum of 500 miles, at least half of which will be on the street & trail. Last year I didn’t know that I can log treadmill running separately in Endomondo, so for half of the year I logged treadmill running as regular running.
    My running log can be found here.
    EOY Update: I ran a total of 531.85 miles last year, and probably could have hit the 550 mark had it not been for the accident in December.
  • Looking fit by May 7th 
    For Sarah’s wedding.  This sounds more vague than I wanted it to be. In general, I’m hoping to get stronger and more toned. It’s hard to have a definite measure for this though.
    EOY Update: I feel like I’ve completed this, but again, I should have picked a way to measure this. I feel like I could do more pushups now, and I’ve started using the barbells for squats. Maybe next year I’ll aim for one (or a few!) chin-ups, and squatting a bit above my bodyweight.
  • Reading
    This is a repeat from last year. I’m hoping to read at least 5 decent, quality books this year. I think it will help if I already have books to read in mind, so I’m going to list out potential books. Book recommendations are much appreciated.
    List of books:
    – Bitter in the Mouth – Monique Truong: CHECKED
    – Việt Nam Sử Lược: CHECKED
    – Các Triều Đại Việt Nam
    – The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz: CHECKED
    – Happiness by Design – Paul Dolan
    – Mieng ngon Ha Noi – Vu Bang: CHECKED
    – Mieng la Mien Nam – Vu Bang
    – Thuong Nho Muoi Hai – Vu Bang
    – Sherlock Holmes: Reread.

  • Limited late night snacks
    This is pretty much inspired by The Biker. He mentioned to me this resolution he did a few years back when he wouldn’t eat after 10pm. Several times I’ve noticed that I snack even when I’m not hungry, and even though my snacking isn’t so unhealthy, it’s not really a good thing either. My goal is to only snack on vegetables, fruit, or yogurt after 10pm. The amount of snacking should be small and reasonable – I don’t have specific weight limitations or anything, but snacking on twenty clementines will be a no-no.
    EOY Update: This is another not very clear resolution which I easily forget about.
  • Races
    I did a few races in 2015 and I would like to continue. I’m hoping to train and race a 10k, as well as run a 5k under 27 minutes.
    EOY Update: I totally forgot about this resolution. I don’t think I ran any 5k or 10k. I did run an 8k in May, and did not run faster than the year before lol – it was way more humid than I expected, even at 7:30AM. I did run my own half distance (register for a half and had problems picking up the race packet) and finished in ~ 2:17. Would have taken me longer on the real course since it’s way hillier than the trail.

“Oh, the places you’ll go”

Posted on 24 October, 2015 in Uncategorized

In September, the Biker wrote a blog post, tallying up the places he’s lived ever since. I thought it would be interesting to do a similar one for myself, and here it is:

Ben Chuong Duong, Quan 1, SaigonJanuary 20th, 1988May 1999Birth- end of elementary school
Le Lai, Quan Tan Binh, SaigonMay 1999 January 11th, 2005More growing up time... until I went study abroad
Vacaville, CAJanuary 11th, 2005October, 2005Living with the Heydenberks
Napa, CA October 2005November 2005Living with the Oberting temporarily.
Sonoma, CANovember 2005June 2006Living with Joan.
Davis, CAJune 2006August 2008Community college years (and two years of commuting two hours one way every day...)
South Hadley, MAAugust 2008December 2010Finishing college
Pomona, CADecember 2010August 2011Staying with my sisters
Amherst, MAAugust 2011May 2013Graduate school
Durham, NCAugust 2013October 2015More graduate school
Carlisle, PA3 sessions of CTY in 2012 and 2013, roughly 70 days.

Obviously I spent the most time at the place where I grew up. Until now, that house is still a place I hold very dear in my heart, with lots and lots of memories even though I was just a child back then. I can’t recall every single details of those memories, but their impression on me is very strong. My parents have long rented out the entire house to someone else, but I still try to swing by that house whenever I’m back in Vietnam to visit :).

New Year’s Resolution 2015

Posted on 02 January, 2015 in Uncategorized

I usually never have a New Year’s Resolution, but the Biker has been keeping that tradition for at least a few years. So I decided to try it out this year:

  • Running
    In 2014, I ran a total of 314.7 miles (mostly on the treadmill). I would like to keep this up, so I’m hoping to be able to run a minimum of 350 miles.
    Update on May 19th: I’ve run 174 miles so far, and it has been 139 days into the year, so I’m pretty good with the schedule.
    Update on October 23rd: I’ve completed this since late August, but forgot to update it here. As of October 23rd, I’ve run 392 miles both on the treadmill and streets. I’m still trying to run regularly, but it definitely is harder now that I’m done with the resolution.
    Update on January 1st, 2016: Ran 450 miles total.
  • Squatting
    Minimum: 300 squats a week. It can be any variations of squats, with or without weights.
    Update on May 19th: This is a failure, due to two reasons: 1. I’m horrible at keeping track of this. Several times I forgot to note down how many I’ve done, so the data isn’t reliable at all. 2. Sometimes my knees don’t like squatting too much (yes, yes, I know, probably it’s due to poor form… but I’ve had minor knees problem before, so I’m going to play the safe card and stop squatting when it starts to feel funny).
  • Reading
    I noticed that I’ve read less and less over the year, which is pretty sad considering how much I read as a child. Last year I only remember reading The Fault In Our Stars, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage, and Gone Girl. I started but never managed to finish Dan Brown’s Inferno. For this coming year, I’m setting a minimum of 5 books.
    Update on January 1st, 2016:
    – The Shepherd – Ethan Cross
    – The First Patient – Michael Palmer
    – The Wonderful Adventure of Nils – Selma Lagerlof
    – The Girl Who Played Go – Shan Sa (*)
    – Chuyện tình New York – Hà Kin (*)
    The Girl Who Played Go and The Wonderful Adventure of Nils are repeats – I read them before. However, I read TWAN so long ago that I don’t remember anything, so I think it counts as a new book. Chuyện tình New York is a questionable item too. I don’t think I did very well at this resolution. There are a few books I’ve been working on, including a quick summary of Vietnam’s history, and the book “Bitter in the Mouth” by Monique Truong, but I’m not even close to be done.
  • Drink only 12 times
    This is pretty much inspired by The Biker. He successfully did this in 2012, and decides to recycle this in 2015. One time of drinking is defined as a 12-hour period after I take the first sip of alcohol.
    1. January 31st: Daniela’s farewell party
    2. February 8th: Dinner at Minh & Mai’s
    3. April 30th: Post-project celebration with Victor and Mike.
    4. June 6th: Matt’s wedding
    5. September  26th: Erin’s wedding
    6. 26 November — Thanksgiving
    7. 27 November — Painting with wine
    8. 24 December — Christmas eve with the grandparents
    9. 25 December — Christmas night while Tyler was over
    10. 27 December — Orndorff Christmas party
    11. 28 December — Crab party
    12. 31 December — New Year’s Eve with Joshy

    I’m glad I was able to finish it. It was mainly just to challenge myself, so, congratulations self! Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to lower my alcohol intolerance. I don’t think I’ll repeat this one though. I feel like I’m generally already not a big drinker, and this sometimes limits the fun hanging out times with friends.

  • Blogging at least once a month
    I didn’t write much last year and would like to improve on that. One post a month is a realistic goal I can keep, I think.
    Update on January 1st, 2016: This is a slight fail. I thought I blogged 12 times, but I just counted and it was only 11. One thing that happened several times is that I had a thought brewing, wrote a few lines about it, but I talked to someone and somehow didn’t feel like putting it into words anymore.