Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In search of See-ming Lee / SML Research

In the early 2007, I started seeing a psychiatrist because I noted that I am experiencing extreme depression where I did not see the point of living anymore.

In one of my early sessions, my psychiatrist asked me a question: "Tell me, who is See-ming Lee? What is he like?" I generally have a good answer for most questions, and if I don't, I know that I can get a fairly good answer just by Googling and spending some time analyzing it to death. But for this question, I don't have an answer. I also cannot Google myself to find out who I am.

SML Research: Phase 1: Site Redesign

I noticed that I learn a lot about people when I look at their resume, so I looked at my own site, and I don't see a whole lot written about me.

My site used to be dominated by a big flash movie with the latest experiments I was working on when I tweaked my animation engine (you can see the residue of those on my mirrored servers at and, but I noted that it doesn't really give much information about me—maybe because I really don't know me and so all I can do is stick a big piece of graphics onto it with all these data for projects that I work on and make it look like some kind of web site.

As such, I killed it. Instead, I decided to changed it to be text only as you see now. Now with all these space, I started inserting my interests. I spend every night at home thinking about what I am interested in people when I meet them and I put them all there. My quirks, my interests, my anything. I also marked some items as being special as I noted that I just have way too much interests: ultimately I discovered that basically I am interested in everything that I don't yet fully grasp... and that's a lot.

SML Research: Phase 2: Blogging

My company started having a private blog and I was interested in much of the ideas floating on it, and I wanted to be part of the system, so I started blogging. I thought of having my own blog, and then I discovered that I actually already own a blog, but that I don't really use it. It's very personal and I learned a lot about myself from this digital diaries of me ranting or praising about things that came my way back in 2004 and 2005. I noted who my inspirational sources are, and who were always there for me. I decided that maybe a good way to learn about myself is to actually jot down my thoughts so I remember them.

This is why I started blogging fanatically. I blog, because I want to remember. I also need data from myself so I can scrutinize and understand myself. My psychiatrist also gave me an ADD diagnosis, and I noted just how forgetful I am. I noted how quickly I have forgotten about people's kindness, and which is why I also started a separate blog just to host my thank you notes. So I will remember, because if I do not note them, I am certain that I will forget.

SML Research: Phase 3: Analytics

Shortly after, I discovered when browsing other people's bookmarks that I can get a fairly good idea of what that person's interests are by sorting their tags by the frequency. From that they on, I started becoming a tag fanatic. I want to know what I like, and there is no better way of knowing that unless I start to analyze myself. Sorting my results on by tag frequency today, I noted that I am interested in:

  1. design
  2. interesting
  3. See-ming-Lee
  4. reference
  5. inspiration
  6. people
  7. photography
  8. technology
  9. Google
  10. blog
  11. IconNicholson
  12. art
  13. Flickr
  14. search
  15. tools
  16. visualization
  17. news
  18. video
  19. business
  20. marketing

This list fluctuates over time, so I also started doing screenshots of what I like to see how it fluctuates over time. If I remember correctly, before I was aware that I can analyze people using their feed, the ranking used to be 1. design, 2. visualization 3. photography. In fact, since I worked on a presentation on 2006-10-27, I noted that I am interested in API, Design, DesignTheory, Flash, googleMaps, Ideas, InfoVis, Math, MusicProduction, Photography, Programming, References and Searches because I used to bundle them and I have a screenshot for that day: & the culture of tagging: 3 of 18: bookmarks: model / 2006-10-27 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Unfortunately, I think that once the subject (me) become alerted of this, the research environment is no longer controlled, as I have a tendancy to bookmark things that *I* want myself to be, so this analytics system no longer work for me. That's the end of Phase 3.

SML Research: Phase 4: LibraryThing

In the midst of my presentation, I discovered a site called LibraryThing, which is essentially a personal library system which allows you to tag ad sort your library. Using the same experience I received from, I thought, well, maybe I should look into my library and figure out what I read instead. Afterall, I paid for this books so it must speak to the things I really care about and will spend money for them.

I didn't take an earlier screenshot, but I have not added a lot of books since earlier, so here's a screenshot taken just now:

LibraryThing: See-ming Lee: Tag Cloud / 2007-11-27 / SML Screenshots (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Like the tagging system, however, I noted that I will also tend to tag things based on how *I* see the book as being about, and as such may not be very accurate. This is why I found the LibraryThing Tag Mirror to be so useful.

I blogged about this a few months ago (SML Pro Blog: Tag Mirror = Your Books in the Eyes of Others) and it really open my eyes on what I was really reading:

LibraryThing Tag Mirror / 2007-08-26T09:04-05:00 / SML Screenshot (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

SML Research: Phase 5: Domain Names

So why all these domain names? Domain names, as I put it in an earlier post, are my one-line poetry, they are my thoughts and ideas condensed into a short URL, a phrase which has special meaning to me that I can cherish. They cost money and I have to pay an annual fee to them so they are all the more selective to me. I would probably not have bought many books that I have bought if I knew that I have to keep on paying a fee just to read them.

Over time, my shopaholic site kicked in and now I just have way too many domain names. I'm going to drop most of them, but I enjoy the short period of time when all of them mean something to me: most of them might be meaningless to you, but everyone of them comes with a reason. The SEO effect is a side-effect which I discovered accidentally.

I know it's difficult to imagine that Dead Yard has any meaning, but it means something to me. For one, I noted that I am no longer doing much photography about that subject matter anymore, and I started taking photographs that celebrate life.

I also use my domain names to go to specific tags, so I can find them, and so I can figure out how many times I have written about a particular topic. For example, the whole point of all these madness roots from the fact that I didn't want to live anymore, and I noted over time just how much I have written about life, because I am trying to remind myself that life is important, that life should be cherished. Comparitively, while I have an interest in finance, I don't seem to have much material devoted to them, so I will probably keep SML Life and drop SML Finance when it comes to renewal for next year.

Until next time

And that's it for now folks. My psychiatrist asked me that same question of who I am again this Monday. I still cannot quite answer the question fully, but from all the branding effort, blogging, tagging, and flickr'ing activities, I now have a little bit of clue. I think that life is important to me, and that, for me, is a breakthrough.

SML Copyright Notice
©2007 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Life Blog / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

SML Data Removal

To my utter shock and disappointment, I discovered today a possible reason why people don't want to be indexed by my data.

Contrary to what I thought previously, that people just wish to be anonymous, it occurs to me that perhaps the real reason people wish that I don't use their real name in my blogs or my post, is that they just don't want to be associated with me.

As according to an email from my sister, I am "dysfunctional". I am not sure how, but I have a hunch it's because I'm gay, and no one want that keyword associated with them when they are straight.

If I'm so bad, don't ask me to design your next resume. Ugh.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Uncovered Treasures / 20070925.850SD.IS.0756 / SML

SML Flickr: Uncovered Treasures / 20070925.850SD.IS.0756 / SML

SML Thank You

I lost everything after Miguel drinks. Then last Monday, a woman named Lori Casey, an investment banker called me and let me know that she has found it inside a cab. I am constantly amazed at the amazing things people are doing everyday—which is why I have a blog devoted just for thank you notes (

Here’s a photo of every single gadgets uncovered in that bag, not a penny was lost:

This photo has notes. Go to photo page on my Flickr stream and move your mouse over the photo to see them.

SML Copyright Notice

Copyright 2007 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Life Blog / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

John-Paul Morgan / Rated: 2375 / 20071003.SD850IS.0769 / SML

SML Flickr: John-Paul Morgan / Rated: 2375 / 20071003.SD850IS.0769 / SML

Washington Square, NYC

I went to the park and played chess with this guy during my lunch break.

His name is John-Paul Morgan, a chess coach who is rated at 2375. He coaches chess for $40 per hour. I don't have his email but you should be able to find him either at the park or at the Chess Shop on Thompson St.

Personally I'm a fan of Chess Forum so I will just play in the park. :)

SML Copyright Notice
©2007 See-ming Lee / SML Flickr / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

SML Copyright Notice

Copyright 2007 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Life Blog / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

Chess = Game of Life / 20071002.SD850IS.0766 / SML

SML Flickr: Chess = Game of Life / 20071002.SD850IS.0766 / SML

Post-game dream note
+ Lucid dreaming
+ Pattern recognition
+ Explore the unnoticeable

SML Copyright Notice
©2007 See-ming Lee / SML Flickr / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

SML Copyright Notice

Copyright 2007 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Life Blog / SML Universe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blogging about life + everything else

I am working to port most of my ideologies to my everything blog, SML Pro Blog

I haven't decided whether to remove existing entries after they have been ported over, as it silently documents the days before my re-establishment. For nostalgic reasons, I probably will let them stay. I will continue to write on this blog where my entries are not suitable for general consumption.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friends and family

I have been through a whole lot last year. 2006 is officially the most miserable year of my life. If we can chart our life in a Cartesian graph, with x = time and y = (-1, 1) to signify absolute negative to absolute positive, I hope that last year remains to be my life's absolute minimum.

While I enjoy the happy times (>0), I do think that it is important to have frustrating times (<0). Without the down points, one could not possibly appreciate the many wonderful things in life that we take for granted.

If I draw another graph, with x = the y-axis of my Life graph, y = number of friends, the resulting graph looks like a Bell curve. When I am at my lowest point, most people drift away, until finally there remains only my family and one handful of folks who are my friends. Similarly, one gains many friends as life become positive, but as one drifts towards fantastically happy times, one also gains many enemies, and as such y would also tends towards 0.

If we consider the ratio of number of friends / time, we have the rate of friend acquaitance, and at least for myself, that's the happiest of all times. Mapping this, it appears that the sweet spot would be around -0.3.

Nerd point aside, we find something equally interesting. To find one's closest friend, either fuck up your life, or become extremely successful. You can immediately identify who's friend and who's foe. Obviously, you cannot control your life (as you are not a controlled subject). However, examining one's history, on the other hand, will allow you to discover.

While I have been in very desperate moments, I am grateful that I have identified my friends. They have been there to support me in every way possible. I am also deeply grateful to those who have the patience to work with me. I don't know how I could have gone through all these without them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Coming Out

About sixteen to seventeen years ago, when I was fourteen, I came out to my parents that I am gay. About six to seven years ago, during the years of my early adulthood, I came out to my co-workers that I am a designer who uses a PC. Until this day, I do not have the nerve to tell a single person at an AIGA event that I have never bought a Mac in my life.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Went nuts

Logic system went nuts on monday.

At least, normal logic system went nuts on monday.

I think that I got back to normal right now. At least, I have invited an ex-lover of mine to step back into my life to verify that I was nuts on Monday. I called my ex-lover today to negate a theory I had on Monday. The test goes like this: if he agrees with my sister, which negates my theory, and that based on evidence that supports my believes on Monday, he should not negate my theory, then it implies that since he and my sister both negate my theory, my theory must not be true. Hence, I must be crazy to think that my theory holds. Thus, my theory does not hold.

For now, only my ex-lover knows 10% of what my theory is about. But since everyone I know who has encountered my theory thought that I went nuts, I am so far certain that I must be nuts. As such, I guess, I am dissing my theory for now.

I would like to thank Derek for this. He is nut enough to come over and help me with this. I need to remind myself to write a song called "Perfect" for him. To be clear here, it's the word that he would never use. He taught me about the idea of being non-absolute. Perhaps, the song ought to be called "absolute," but that sounds like some kind of vodka campaign, and i know that he'd prefer Stolichnaya.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


To be certain that I am not crazy and imagining things, I started sampling myself two weeks ago. I bought a Sony MZ-M200 MiniDisc player and press Record when I start my day of work. I am very glad to know that I am not crazy, and most definitely am not paranoid. WIHWWIH (What I heard was what I heard). Best-spent 350.00 this year.

Interestingly, this MiniDisc player also helped me with one aspect that I didn't realize before. It sounds like (pun intended) that when people don't understand what I am talking about, they have absolute right to not understand. Because I don't know WTF I was talking about either.

It appears that although I can organize (and thus edit) my paragraphs, the '(pause) I have seven points to make. One, ...' gene from my Dad has not been transferred. If the idea that the better gene will always win out, then this suggests two things: 1. This theory is wrong; or 2. This skill is not necessarily a good skill. This is interesting. Both ought to be explored.

It appears that I have side-tracked.

Back to sampling. Sampling is great. It allows you to record a ton of amazing materials. Things that just went by. Things that you so wish you could have a record of--for example, that horse-like laughter--but never had the opportunity to got recorded in this case. Going through a day of materials seem like a lot at first, but visually looking for peaks in Sony Sound Forge is so easy. The fact that verison 8 now allows for scripting made this even easier.

I also couldn't help but notice just how noisy the a/c is in the office. Setting the noise gate at -18db still doesn't get rid of the hum. But perhaps that has to do with M-200's auto leveling. Perhaps I should bring my sound meter to work to verify instead.

I suddenly understand why people subject themselves to be videotaped on the Web. While I'm not gutsy like they are, I am certainly considering videotaping myself. Anyhow, the point is, sampling is good. Good for personal improvement, good for fueling audio production, good for sanity check. Good for life.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Manhattan Bridge HDR

Ah, but Google, you are so kind.

Searching on Manhattan Bridge HDR on Google today puts my Flickr photo on the first result. No wonder this photo is getting a huge bump on the number of views recently.


Three weeks ago, I committed suicide. OK, that's not exactly true. I seriously considered suicide. No, that's not exactly true either. I seriously looked at different methodologies to make a suicide attempt painless with guaranteed success.

I have considered options before, but I never researched and Googled possible avenues. I didn't do it for two reasons. One, I still haven't manage a perfect way to die that is painless and with higher than 99% of success rate. But to get out of research mode, was because at the time I was working on my Bloomingdales project and I don't want to be known at my funeral as the person who did not finish my project. Or worse, that no one attended my funeral because I didn't finish that project. That'd be bad.

So it looks like that I have just found a way to avoid committing suicide. As long as I stay busy with work, I won't do it. Ah, but I only work on projects that's award worthy. Well, if not award worthy, at least press worthy. Projects like the Bloomingdales installation does not get awards. Innovation is about setting categories that won't reside in award categories, right? This reminds me that there were so many times that when the award submission time comes, I cannot find a suitable category for my projects. Maybe that's a good sign.

Just remembered, Bloomies project also got a mention on a Red Herring article today. That's awesome. Please keep on feeding my mental happiness. I'll need it.

I beat last year

Ah, it looks like that I beat last year. I wrote a new entry within less than a year. ten months this time. that's good.