Kenny Peng Liu

My personal notes for navigating the modern world.

I don't have to condone it to understand it.

- Deray McKesson

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

- Beverly Sills

...a fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.

- George Smiley (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Steve Albini On Royalties

I've been a fan of Steve Albini's ethos (and a lot of his music and production) for years. I just listened to Marc Maron's WTF interview with him. He's a super sharp, experienced and sensible man. (No suprise.) The following quote was instructive for me: (To note: he produced one of Nirvana's records and refers to it in the quote)

There’s a fundamental thing that I’ve noticed about the music scene which is that whenever anyone wants to be paid a percentage — for whatever it is, management, booking agent, promoter, whatever — whenever somebody wants to be paid a percentage of what would otherwise be your income, that person is being overpaid. I feel like not participating in that system makes it easier for me to get to sleep, and also means that the differential — the money that would otherwise have gone to me — that’s going to the band. And I feel good about that. I feel good about knowing that the members of Nirvana, for example, are a couple million dollars richer as individuals. It’s their music, it’s their record. They deserve that money. They made those records, and they lived that experience. It’s not like I’m hurting; I can still make rent. I just keep doing my job and I keep getting paid…

Other people maybe have not realized that they’re exploiting other people. It’s easy to either feign ignorance or prefer ignorance in a situation like that.

I intuit that this observation is fair, and could apply in most any other creative field, where artistic vision and commerce have to tangle.

You've never met the loneliest person.

- The Internet (via Reddit:DatOneAsain)

You are asking me how a watch works... just watch the time.

- Alejandro (From Sicario)

Democracy As Analogy

A quick brain dump. I might expand it later...

While democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile.
-Madeleine Albright

...I wonder where this quality of democracy is analogous to other systems (in natural science or otherwise.) The extreme ends (here, long run stability and short run fragility) are opposites in character.

To Note:

  • The famous(?) quotation is taken from a speech given at University of Gdansk, Poland in 2000. I've seen it quoted from time to time, but not actually in context. What's she actually talking about in the speech?

  • The question in bold above could be reflected off of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's concepts in Antifragile. I audiobooked it a few years I really have no idea what that book is about. It does have 'fragile' in the title though.

What a great paragraph

If you don’t take Swift seriously, you don’t take contemporary music seriously. With the (arguable) exceptions of Kanye West and Beyoncé Knowles, she is the most significant pop artist of the modern age. The scale of her commercial supremacy defies parallel—she’s sold 1 million albums in a week three times, during an era when most major artists are thrilled to move 500,000 albums in a year. If a record as comparatively dominant as 1989 had actually existed in the year 1989, it would have surpassed the sales of Thriller. There is no demographic she does not tap into, which is obviously rare. But what’s even more atypical is how that ubiquity is critically received. Swift gets excellent reviews, particularly from the most significant arbiters of taste. (A 2011 New Yorker piece conceded that Swift’s reviews are “almost uniformly positive.”) She has never gratuitously sexualized her image and seems pathologically averse to controversy. There’s simply no antecedent for this kind of career: a cross-genre, youth-oriented, critically acclaimed colossus based entirely on the intuitive songwriting merits of a single female artist. It’s as if mid-period Garth Brooks was also early Liz Phair, minus the hat and the swearing. As a phenomenon, it’s absolutely new.

Chuck Klosterman from Taylor Swift on People Who Call Her “Calculating”

What the [radical] loser is obsessed with is a comparison that never works in his favour.

- Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Colin Powell's 13 Rules

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose: you may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

A Reading List to Work From

Get ready to scroll. This will be a very long post.

The Q&A brilliance of the internet, Quora, has the following reading list for the question "What are some books that expand your mind?"

There are over 250 books in the list. Based on the strength of Quora's technology and audience, any one of them will be well worth the effort. ...You've got to wonder how insightful a person would be if they were to have read each and every one of these...

Start Ups/Business:

Philosophy, Psychology and Spirituality





Evolution, Science, and Medicine




Theater and Film




Logic and Problem Solving


Other / Not Yet Categorized

  • (empty)

The Holy Quran The Holy Qur'an: English Translation, Commentary and Notes with Full Arabic Text (English and Arabic Edition): Abdullah Yusuf Ali: 9788171510283: Books


SCAMPER Technique for Creative Problem Solving:

S -substitute
C -combine
A -adapt
M -modify
P -put to another use
E -eliminate
R -reverse1

Take the idea on the table and apply one of the approaches in the acronym to create a variation. A more thorough explanation of the technique can be found here: link

(developed by Bob Eberle, an educational administrator)

  1. Reminsiscent of Jacobi's maxim: Invert, always invert (“man muss immer umkehren”)

Tookah the Dog (& Parvo)

The cat’s back in the house. A cardinal quality of house cats are their reflexive gloat. I’ve never understood why people take care of these things. They’re the ‘mean girls’ of the house pet kingdom. Nothing you do will serve them entirely, and you compulsively keep trying to win their approval but can’t say why.

Dogs on the other hand…

My eyes burn as I type this. I’ve just finished bleaching the floors and all the surfaces throughout the house. It’s wafting onto my skin and eyes. Since Sunday night, Tookah’s anus has been leaking a watery diarrhea throughout the house; about 1/3 cup an hour. The inner yard has a steady layer too. There are flies. I’ll have to spray the paths down with bleach and water.

What was misdiagnosed by an overworked vet as roundworms on Monday turned out to be the dog disease “Parvo” (or Canine parvovirus) on Tuesday. A virus that attacks white blood cells and tears away at the intestinal lining. It causes it’s host to vomit and shit non stop. When vomit and shit run out, it turns into dry heaving and blood leaking. Some think it’s a mutation of a cat disease. Cats.

(btw, humans can’t get it. We’ve got plenty of other diseases of our own.)

In three days, Tookah has lost a little more than 4 lbs of her body weight, 10 percent. Could you imagine losing 10 percent of your bodyweight in three days. I’d set out pool-side immediately: beach bod.

Anyways. Since Sunday, I’ve done nothing but tend to this damn dog. Cleaning up diarrhea. Forcefeeding it medication it didn’t need. Dancing around to cheer it up. Cleaning up vomit. And once, waiting in the 24 hour vet clinic (for 5 hours) til 3 in the morning. I just met it 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t even answer to its (incredible) name.

The vet bill after all the required 24 hour overnight observations for treatment will probably add up to 8,000 bucks. So far, it’s about $2,300. An expensive date either way.

I had planned to shirk work and throw a daytime BBQ on Thursday for the non office-job crowd. It was gonna be GRAND. We were gonna DRINK. We were gonna PEE IN THE YARD. We were gonna set off ILLEGAL FIREWORKS. There were gonna be promiscuous FLOOSIES. The president was gonna come by and HONOR ME (for nothing in particular). But most importantly, SMOKED BRISKET.

Now all I have is a neglected thread of emails and readings. And this whiny feral fucking cat meowing, “How’s that bitch now. Hahahha. Feed me. Feed me. Humans suck. Feed me.”

Damascus 2010

Found from Daily Overview:

Damascus is the capital and second largest city in Syria. It is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, with its earliest settlement in approximately 6300 BC. This photograph was captured in March of 2010, one year before the outbreak of the civil war that continues to plague the country.

Damascus 2010

Brands are all about trust. That trust is built in drops and lost in buckets.

- Kevin Plank