I walked 50km today… let’s talk about that!

Well, “today” in quotation marks because I’m pre-writing and scheduling this post on the day I’m doing HKU’s Trail Walker Challenge, where I will be walking 50km with a bunch of people.

Since the event starts at 8:00am and I need to get there by 7 ish I won’t have time to write anything in the morning.

Nor will I have time to write anything in the evening because it takes anywhere from 8 hours to 16 hours to complete (so we will finish sometime between 4:00pm to 12:00am).

For those of you who think thats a pretty long time for that distance, may I remind you that:

  1. We aren’t marathon runners who can do 42km in like 2 hours.
  2. It’s on pretty hilly terrain since it is along a nature reserve, not flat ground like in official races where they close off roads for the event.
  3. Part of the event is navigating the path and enjoying the view along the way.
  4. Most of us (including me) have never walked that much in one go before. Like I play Quidditch and have done some 10k’s in the past (with an okay time of 1 hour 16 minutes), so I’m not hopelessly unathletic, but I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete by any stretch of the imagination
  5. We are walking not running this. Just making this clear, it’s a trail walker event, not a trail sprint.
  6. It’s not a race, it’s a test of endurance. We aren’t there to be the fastest, we are there to (hopefully) say “I did it!” at the end.

So…why did I join this event?

Well, past me at the time of sign ups thought it would be a great idea – I mean how hard could it be, it’s just walking?

Past me at the time of recieving the email about the trail thinks that signing up was a terrible terrible idea and really wishes

The me who is about to start the race is either chatting with her friends (since you need to be in a team of four people) or freaking the f- out. One of those two options.

Most likely, again I have no clue, never done it before!


Some general information about where I’ll be walking, in case future people thinking about joining would also like to know what they are getting themselves into:

(keep in mind that the info may change from year to year and these are just to give a general idea of the event – and also to pad this out for the word count :P)

– The trail we are walking goes from Big Wave Bay to HKU, with 10 stages and 9 checkpoints (for safety reasons, water bottle refills/to get a banana and to make sure no one cheats or takes a shortcut)

The stages are as follows:

-Starting the crazy path @ 8 am in Big Water Bay-

1. BWB to Tai Tam Gap – 3.5 km

2. TTG to To Tai Wei – 5 km

3. TTW to Tai Tam Road – 7.5 km

4. TTR to Mount Butler – 4.5 km

5. Mt. B to Wong Nai Cheung Gap – 4 km

6. WNCG to Aberdeen Reservoir Road – 7.5 km

7. ARR to Peel Rise – 6.5 km

8. PR to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir – 4.5 km

9. PFLR to Lugard Road – 5 km

10. LR to the University of Hong Kong – 2 km

-Free buffet dinner/midnight snack at the end, whooop!-

For the lost who don’t have the time to google maps the whole trail (since I don’t have the express permission from the General Education people to post the maps + there are photos of people in it), the trail takes us:

  • From the Bay through Pottinger Gap or Ma Tong Au (so named because it is the vally near Pottinger Peak)
  • Along Shek O Country Park – past Mt. Collinson, Wan Cham Sham (Sham is mountain in Cantonese) and Sheck O Peak.
    • Aka the “Dragon’s Back” path to normal hikers, since the mountains make it look like the back of a dragon I guess?
  • Past Ngan Hang, Tung Ah Pui, Tung Ah and Lan Nai Wan Villages, oh and Obelisk Hill
  • Around Tai Tam Mound into Tai Tam Country Park (+ TT reservoir)
  • Along the HK Park View trail, past Jardine’s Lookout toward Wong Nai Cheung Gap
    • This is really cool part of Hong Kong from a historical perspective if you are interested in the final few days of the Battle of Hong Kong, which I could probably also write an entire post about given I wrote a 4,000 word Extend Essay on it for IB (got an A for it) and took a university course concerning the Second World War in Asia & the Pacific (A as well). But I digress…
  • Between Mt. Nicholson and Shousan Hill, then past Mt. Cameron – all of which is in Aberdeen Country Park
  • Around Tim Wan Shan (still in Aberdeen Country park)
  • Around Mt. Kellett to Po Fu Lam Country Park
    • Sensing a pattern here? That’s because Hong Kong is really hilly with about 75% of it acting as the city’s “green lung” (40% country parks +35% agricultural/private rural area) – This makes the ecologist in me very happy.
    • Unfortunatly it also means nearly 8 million people squeezed into 15% of its land (10% is urban parks, roads, government facilities etc), which makes the person who lives super far from HKU due to housing prices not that happy. But back to the trail I’m walking.
  • Passing near Victoria Peak
    • I am prediting in advance that this will suck, since it is one of the last few bit of the trail and it is a pretty steep mountian. View should be amazing though
  • Through Lung Fu Shan Park
    • which makes me really excited 1) cus it’s a pretty cool park that I’ve done quite a bit of field work in,  2) it should be all down hill from the peak + it ends just behind graduate house  3) it is the shortest section to walk!

So yeah… Again, not really sure how this will go but should be fun! Our plan is to finish before 10pm. Will write about it later!

-Rebecca

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So about Nanowrimo…

Right, sorry for going radio silent so soon after the start of Nanowrimo (except for the post yesterday, which as you can tell I finished today then back posted it). According to the normal Nano pace, I should be at just over 23,000 words right now.

I am at about half that, which isn’t too bad in my mind.

Especially since I’ve just been slammed with a whole bunch of homework and deadlines all of a sudden and couldn’t keep up with blogging.

(My word count has been going up because I have been counting project work into my word count)

A few quick updates and random thoughts before I have to go back with writing stuff again:

  • A scheduled post is coming this Friday, as I will be away doing trail walker (more about that in the post) – If you are an HKU student and not doing so, Pride is also happening on that day, so be sure to show up and say hi to the Quidditch team from me!
  • Making entomological labels is so finicky. Not just because of the amount of information you need to put on a piece of paper only a few cms wide, but making sure all the information is correct, and ID-ing insects, which is MUCH harder than apps and guidebooks would like you to believe.
    • On the plus side, I’ve gotten better at pinning, so that’s super cool and a useful skill to have. Also, a classmate found an ant species only recorded like 2x before in HK, so that’s pretty freaking awesome, GO SCIENCE! – plus there was a fascinating, exciting mite living on the ant’s eggs as well!
  • Really need to start revision because we are T-30 days for a lot of my exams at the moment…
  • Still working on blog comments, though have been a lot slower at getting them out than expected. I’ve sent an email to the coordinator for a short break so I can focus on the more crucial academic stuff.
  • Leeds application stuff in picking up as I have to go get a bunch of things done super quickly (everything from housing to visas to credit transfers etc.). Can’t believe how soon it is till I’m studying abroad… I’m simultaneously super excited and super freaked out at the same time
  • Need to think about updating my twitter in the future to be more professional, since a lot of ecology people use twitter and my current one is… well let’s just say I made it when I was 14 and the last time I tweeted was during the 2016 election… yup
    • Of course, that is more of a back burner thing since at the moment since it has an indefinite deadline of sometime between now and when I graduate university

That’s all for now!

-Rebecca

Nanowri-uh-o ~ Day #2

Short update today since I’ve had a long school day today and am going to be helping out with HKU’s info day tomorrow.

Today I’ve been catching up on the student blogging challenge commenting, since I am a bit behind on them. So cool to see all these different bloggers from around the world being creative with the blogging medium! (They are also much more consistant with posting than I have lol)

I’ve got quite a bit to do over the weekend, as I need to catch up on some of my homework and upcoming projects. In particular, there are a couple of field courses coming up that I need to read about as well as a debate for a history class I have on Drugs and Alcohol in Colonial Asia from 1750-2000.

Only need to type about 500 words today since my commentating is about 1000 words more or less (I tend to leave pretty long comments).

Still will be a bit short though as I need to prep for other things.

It will be my first time helping out with info day with the Faculty of Science, as I’m helped out before as a Student Ambassador with the Equal Opportunity Unit (handing out fliers and attracting people to our booth for hot chocolate & souvineers). It was quite a bit of fun last year, so we will see what this year brings!

I’m stationed at P4 for one of the talks tomorrow. Not quite sure where that is (since I missed the briefing due to a lab) so I’ll probably get there a bit early so I can catch up on stuff.

Literally as I typed this sentence out, I noticed there is a little word counter on the bottom right had side of the text box area… why have I not noticed this sooner? Since I’ve been copying and pasting my stuff over to an external word counter to verify how many words have been typed…

I seriously need like a tutorial for wordpress since I keep missing little things like this until I do Nanowrimo or Daily Post challenges. I think the last time I did something similar, I learned about tagging my posts so that people can actually find them in the first place.

So according to the counter, I’m at about 380 words (assuming it is accurate). I’m probably going to type up to 420 words at most, then end this post off.

Why?

  1. Because my favorite number is 42 (Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anyone?)
  2. As previously mentioned, I can’t spend that long typing today
  3. Like my cold turkey post from yesterday has shown, when I start making lists with no substance, I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes for things to write about

So I’m just going to quit this post now while I’m still ahead. Until tomorrow!

-Rebecca

P.s. Oh shoot, I need a title for this thing… Quick! Think of an awful Nanowrimo pun that sums up how I feel about the challenge so far!

 

Journey into the Mind of Someone Who Added an Extra Zero on Cold Turkey Writer – Day #1

This was written a few weeks ago, but with added info of the context behind it being written today for Nanowrimo. Basically, the bits in quotations were written earlier, I’m just counting the new stuff

So if you are anything like me you have a problem writing and getting stuff on paper.

Not like coming up with words to write, more like you feel as though you have no idea how to get started and the blinking cursor just makes you want to turn off the computer in despair before you get started.

Of course, this means you have downloaded your fair share of productivity helping apps, computer software and other miscellaneous methods to try and convince yourself that a little pain and bordom now is much better than the tired all nighter you will need to pulll to get your assignments done.

Not finished or polished off.

Done.

As in I just barely squeeked over the word count but close enough I don’t have time to edit before I need to run off and print the dang thing.

Most of the time, the downloading is an excuse to procrastinate more on that assignment you have due. It also has the added bonus of being just productive enough where you feel like you did something but not strenous enought where it is a pain to do.

But every once in a blue moon you stumble accross something that actually works, like legit helps you to focus, hunker down and just get to work typing away like your life depends on it.

For me, that app is cold turkey writer. (the app I’m using during Nanowrimo as well!)

Basically, the thing shuts down your computer until you hit a certian word count or time, before it will unlock and let you use your computer again without restrictions.

Oh and it doesn’t have spell check or that annoying AF blinking cursor taunting you. Just mocking you for not typing more….

In short, your computer goes full on into type writter mode. No side bars, no white list, no “logging onto google to do a bit of research and oops I’m now binge watching the entire avatar the last airbender series again while looking up things to do in Reckvick… Ryecavik… Rykavich…. The capital of Iceland and oh by the way i haven’t touched that book in 6 days” (which is spelled reykjavikbtw)

Bit extreme? Maybe yeah.

Effective? Oh heck yeah.

So while it is a useful program, it only works well if you treat it with respect… what do I mean by that? Well, read on ladies and gentlemen!

Here is the story of the time I f-ed up using it a few weeks ago. Enjoy my misfortune I guess 😛


So I screwered up majorly using cold turkey writer

Not that the system failed or anythign, far from it.

I actually have written more than I expected. like a good 10x the amount I set out to do (you can see where this is going can you…)

Context: I was writing a popular science article-esque blog post for a class on insect ecology, and had left it til 2 days before it was due instead of working on it during reading week… yup… nothing generates inspiration like last minute panic!

I sat down for a short writing session of just 500 words. Should take me a couple of minutes max right?

I accidently typed in 5,000…

And then clicked the button of no return, which just so happens to cover the little bit where the number is typed in…

Basically, my 1,000 word project is done, and I’ve typed the phrase “The quick fox jumped over the lazy dog” so many times (its a quick and easy phrase for me to type) that I’m about to go insane. I’ve switched to All work and no play makes jack a dull boy but after a while it just loses its subtle charm and stuff.

so now I’m going all meta talking about me stuck in this app for now in the hope that it will make a good post or something in the future… and just padding my word count.

The first thing I do as a prisoner of my computer, slavinng away typing as fast as my brain can think and my fingers can move? Describing/complaining about my situation

They really should have a bold lettered you are about to commit to like xyz letters, are you super duper sure or did you like me accidently hit an extra zero and are now regretting your life choices deeply.

Basicically instead of my new laptop I have an expensive 21st century typewritter! whoop!

except without the special dingy thing or anything that makes typing on a typewriter somewhat enjoyable. you know like the clicky bell thing or the slidding mechanism (I would look up the official name but again you know, I’m stuck with this stupid computer at the time being… Like I mean at least with the modern computer there is like a delete button which asaves on the whole needing whiterout or correction tape thing, but that isn’t really helping in my situation at the momen

Note that while there are some made up words in there, it is more or less coherent and any weird spelling or typos can be justified due to my situation. It gets worse suprisingly quickly.

List o mundo time now I guess IDK just yeah come one this is stupid, I wish there was an exit button option for the olrd turkey writer, I mean I guess there is the fact that it would sorta destroy the purpous of the whole thing but at the same time like this js jist crazy man

Let us start with 3 cus why not?

3. right now I’ve gotten to lets say about 55% of the bar filled up so I guess I have several thousand workds at the moment, of which only 1000 are my actual essya

4. this would be really good for the whole nanowrimo thing ut given how busy i am these days heck no am i writting 2,000 words well 2,667 words a day after ive spent forwver working this on like thjust ugg

5. i guess this is how writters write, just word vomit on a page over and over until they edit the stuff out at the end, i should try writting a novel….
no that is just crazy idk like i have zero writting expereince etc

6. why the heck am i numbering these things its not like the numbers od anything and just are padding words out

The typing slips as it dawns on me that I have a bunch of words left to go…  I realize that deleting words will just prolong my crazy suffering so start leaving the terrible typos in.

how the frik are there still words on this right now like im pretty sure i have typed over 1000 words from the lsat tiem i checked, then again my ee was like 4000 and that just took legitimatly forwver to finish but finish i did

I start not captializing things now as I realize that that takes a few milliseconds of time that could be spent typing. Yes, that’s how desperate I became at that moment just to get my computer unlocked.

A turing point happens as I go off to another class.

test if this disappears I am screwed….

Since it was my first time using the app, I didn’t know what would happen if the computer went into screensaver mode and shut itself off to save battery. So I left a test before I went off.

If I returned and I didn’t see those words, the shut off quit the app and all the work I did on my project would be gone. If I still saw them…

so it didn’t disappear like I first thought, even thought my computure turned itself off brilliant!

I was still stuck in a particular brand of writer purgatory… great!

I then try to get clever and find topics to type about (since my phone is unlocked and I can access the internet unrestricted through it. I try my hand at transcribing… which goes as well as you would expect

its not that i didn;t have a healthy respect for the classics the classics

okaky so I suck at transcripbugn just realize how quick people read well speak compared to houw quickly people type currently listening to austin mcconnel video on silent films which is pretty good you should like check it out and stuff lets see what else can talk about as i killltime and my fingers writting away on this thingy

It’s around this point I’m concerned about the specs for my computer….

I wonder if keyborads have like absolut typing thing like how many times you can jam the keys o a keyboard until it just like fails on you like just falls appart

then again people don’t well the english lang doesn’t use each letter as many times in a sentence or in the lang as others, so i guess the e would lose its springyn edd the quickest. Then again tlike just vowels in general would prob die. I thing the leas dy one is the esc key cus when is the last time poeple use it well actuall the print screen button would prob lose aka come last as well

This madness goes on for a couple more paragraphs before I start noticing something… the clicky noise of key on a key board is slightly addicting…

So uhh… I go off the deep end a bit. Lets play a spontaneous game of guess the song!

just keep typing just keep typing, what do we do we type type type

do we dooo do we doooo do do doooo di di du di dooooo di dooooooo di dooooooooo whooosh

dum dum da da dum dum da di dooooo doooo do di dooo dooooo di da do di da do di da do diiii doooo di da diiiii doooo di da dum du dum di dum dum da di

de da di du da di du dummm de da di du da di da dummmm

da da da dummmmmm da da da dummmmm da da da dummmmm da da da diiiiii

bu dida bum dida bum dida dum do do do do di do do do do do do doo di du dudu

do di do di do da du di duuummm do do di duuuum do do di duuuuum

If you guessed the following:

Finding Nemo (Dory’s just keep swimming), Doctor Who theme song, Game of Thrones, Uptown Funk, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in C minor, Bach’s Suite No. 2 Badinerie, Beethoven’s Für Elise

If so: You win.. nothing!

This is just a blog post, I don’t have prizes on offer.

Back to the train wreck, I then switch up the language cus all the English is getting a bit sore on the eyes, if you can even call what I typed English any more. Cue the German!

Hallo leute! Ich bin Rebecca und ich komme aus den USA, aber habe seit 8 Jahren in Hong Kong gelebt und studiert. Ich bin 20 Jahre alt und lerne sehr gerne Deutsch (auch wenn mein eigentliches Deutsch ziemlich schlecht ist). Willkommen in meinem interessanten Blog!

Yeah, it’s pretty bad. But I haven’t been learning it for that long… so hey, I tried my best!

Wrap this post up since it is getting a bit unwieldy. But for the curious basically the last bit of the entire thing is just me going like this:

qwe rty uio pas dfg hjk lzx cvb nmq qaz wsx edc rfv tgb yhn ujm ik, olp poiuytre kgd zxcvbn tg tyh uj ik f eyk fiyiy hasdf adsf asf asdfas dfasdf asfd af asfd sfa fasa sfdasd hpuh iuhiubpu h iqiuhiub uu pb fjqknf nnn ioeh;b

This goes on for a bit, then it goes to the next day where more of the same continues until I FINALLY MANAGE TO UNLOCK MY COMPUTER!


So yeah, that is why you should always check the number you key in before activating Cold Turkey Writer.

Or you know just use the timed version 😛

– Rebecca

P.s. And before you ask why I didn’t just copy and paste something over and over again… the app disables that as well… they really did think of everything!

Back for Nanowrimo… sorta

Hey, so it’s that time of year again where I make a huge commitment toward blog posting that I later decide is a terrible, terrible idea!

YAY!! /s

So for the unaware, Nanowrimo stands for “National Novel Writing Month” where crazy people decide to write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.

Which comes to 1,667 words a day.

Yup.

This is actually a thing that people do.

Key point here being that its quantitiy over quality aka just type away and edit in December.

So essentially Cold Turkey writer but without accidentally locking your screen because you typed an extra zero into the word goal… (a story for another time that I’ll probably talk about when I’m scraping the bottom of the preverbial idea barrel)

Except given my previous failures and because I have school assignments due in the month so I’ve modified the challenge slightly.

Instead of working toward a fiction novel, I just post a ton on this blog + I also count all the words I write for assignments and the like.

So instead of an insanely long, single story, I’m going to be posting unconnected short things.

Note that the 1,667 words is a guideline/target so some of these posts will be a lot shorter if I have a busy day and don’t have the time to write more – but I still need to make it up at a later date.

So yeah, here goes nothing!

-Rebecca

I’m Late. Here’s why. (Spoilers: it’s not very interesting…)

I’ve been meaning to post more frequently, but instead over 2 weeks have gone by and… nothing.

Like actually – capital N – Nothing.

Sorry about that, I’ve been using my reading week (so the week before midterm exams at HKU), to catch up with some academic stuff. And also de-stress by procrastinating on other things.

Yup, I’m in my 3rd year and still can’t get it in my head that a bit of work now means less panic-filled, sleepless, deadline-fighting nights later…

Great job at setting a example, Rebecca.

Also I’ve been dealing with some technical troubles (mainly that I accidently dropped my new phone in a puddle and have been freaking out trying to get my photos off of it when it keeps glitching on me)

Pro tip for future me: MAKE BACKUPS OF STUFF! (like for EVERYTHING)

So what else have I been up to recently?

  • Insect collecting around Hong Kong (for my insect ecology class)
  • Volunteering as a commentator with the Student Blog Challenge
Student Blogging Challenge Commenter
You should see a badge here. If not, I’ve messed up somehow….
  • Chatting with some of my secondary school friends
  • Reading books – atm I’m rereading The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
  • Catching back up with diary writing
    • and now having to make-up a few blog posts due to the afformentioned lack of posts without a good reason
  • Revising for classes
  • Watching German movies (more about that later…)

So yeah, I should post more so that these weekly posts don’t just become ever growing bullet point lists of “random-things-I-would-write-more-about-but-can’t-because-of-how-much-stuff-there-is-to-say”.

I’ll try to get a few of those on the list but again, dealing with cellphone death at the moment so a bit preoccupied.

Until next time,

-Rebecca

p.s. Also, the big one which I somehow left off, EXCHANGE PLANNING. Holy F- I am less than 3 months away from that trip, yikes!

On School Life & the Supreme Court – a quick update

Remember how at the end of summer I was super gung-ho about posting a “Learn->study->explain” post each week?

Well, I think the fact that I haven’t posted a single one yet 3 weeks into term shows you how much of a flop that whole plan was.

Why haven’t I posted one yet?

  1. I’m not really sure how to word the thing without basically retyping out all my notes, which won’t exactly help me memorize the content (there is a reason I always handwrite my notes in class). Also, there might be the issue of inadvertently violating the copyright of the class material.
  2. I’m wasting my down time right now because my brain is still in vacation mode – what with the typhoon 2 weeks ago, Mid Autumn festival off last week and National day today
  3. It’s hard to organize the thing, since a lot of the content that stretches over several lectures

So instead of just typing out all my notes, I’m going to write a weekly reflection thing similar to what I did when doing CAS. What I mean by that is I will record hours spent on the material and rate how productive I was in each aspect.

In other news…

I’ve been spending some of my free time listening to the Christine Blasey Ford & Brett Kavanaugh testimony. It’s 10 hours long, but I feel as though I need to watch the whole thing, instead of just watching short clips of it.

There have been moments in my life where I feel as though I am part of history in the making.

Up until now, the short list of events consists of mainly the 2008 & 2016 elections, Snowden protests, and the Occupy Central/ Umbrella Revolution. This hearing is now on that list.

Because it marks a watershed moment in how we as not just Americans, but people as a whole, view issues related to sexual assault.

Because it shows how politicians are increasingly choosing their party over the people they represent.

Because it demonstrates a sea-change of people pointing to an issue and bringing it out into the light.

I am also a bit disturbed.

At how quickly seemingly bipartisan issues become politicized in today’s political climate.

At how fast outrage is generated in the masses through social media or traditional news organizations.

At what this means for the future of my country and its people.

I don’t know what the future brings, I can only state my thoughts and hope for the best.

Despite living in Hong Kong for so long, I still consider myself an American, specifically a Texan.

It’s where I was born.

It’s where I grew up and spent most my life.

It’s where I think of when you ask about my “hometown”.

I guess I feel so invested in this because while the decisions made don’t directly impact my day to day life here in HK, the implications have started to shift the way I view the USA I grew up to love.

Perhaps this is a bit too on the nose and patriotic for most of my audience, but I believe that the USA can be – and is at its heart – better than it is at the moment.

So I urge you, if you haven’t already – Register to Vote!

I’ve made a blog post in the past on how to do so in less than 20 minutes, so you have no excuse not to (well unless you aren’t eligable to). Whether you are voting in state, absentee or are an overseas citizen, I’ve got you covered.

Check it out here!

And…

Thank you Christine Blasey Ford & all of the other women who have come out with their stories.

Your bravery inspires us all.

-Rebecca