Weeknotes 12

Table of Contents

    This website

    Media diary filters

    At long last, I got around to adding filters to my watchlist and reading list. They’re never going to be as flexible or data-rich as Letterboxd or Goodreads, but I enjoy this bit of extra control. I’ll have to add similar filters to my games list as well, and probably make use of a more sophisticated tagging system.

    Filters by favourite, category, and rating, styled as UI pills.
    watchlist filters
    Filters for fiction, non-fiction, comics, and manga.
    reading list filters—i don't rate my books frequently enough to add rating filters

    Thinky thots

    I’ve been mulling over what to do with my homepage—it’s been a year since I made it, so it’s overdue for an update, but I like my comic concept quite a bit, though not the execution anymore (it’s obviously very rough), but I don’t necessarily want to redo it, but every other idea feels like a let down, and I’m stuck on other comic ideas…idk. I’m overthinking it. I’m hoping lightning will just strike me and give me a cool and beautiful idea.

    A two panel comic, taken from my homepage: 1. I'm simply staring into space. 2. I make a 'hmm' gesture.
    looking at me homepage


    I started working on a photos 2024 page, but then got stuck.

    Work in progress page titled ‘Photos 2024,’ showing one entry for Mar 11 with four photos.
    work in progress
    • My previous photo pages was good for posting individual photos, but this time I want some way of grouping them together (e.g. all photos from a certain day)
    • It would be nice to have a way of embedding a certain entry in a blog post—e.g. embed the four photos above in this blog post, since they fall under the idea of my March recap
    • At that point, should photo posts just be—blog posts? As part of my main feed? I guess I’ve lost interest in high-volume, low-quality photo posting. There’s too much friction so I don’t want to do it.
    • I’m unsure of why I want this to exist and how to go about it. Need to keep thinking about it.

    Task list

    I wrote out the things I want to do on my site, so I stop forgetting, like optimizing my images, adding filters to things, and reinventing other websites.

    Wishful thinking

    an aside: I daydream about attending some kind of week-long retreat with other nerds to sprint through some big personal website project. A week, because that’s probably how much time I’d be willing to take off of work and also the limit of my introversion; local, because travel and accommodation costs are expensive; the, uh, intersection of art and technology™ niche because that’s where I sit and I’m not good at either of the two individually, but can cobble something together with both. Kind of like Recurse Centre, except not in NYC and not for programmers.

    someone please start this and @ me. I need to be peer pressured into finishing my projects.

    Internet reading

    • Academish Voice by Ink & Switch – I love a good technical writing guide.
    • Behind F1’s Velvet Curtain by Kate Wagner for Road & Track (archived link) – I don’t Formula 1 or do cars, but this was interesting. Wagner talks about the sheer amount of wealth and the engineering involved, among other things.

      But when time comes for the sprint to begin, team members move in perfect coordination, synchronized. They have stances and footwork. This is most true of the pit crew and the astonishing speed at which they travel through space as one organism, totally practiced in set plays of their own. This was beautiful to watch in real life.

    • Case Study: lynnandtonic.com 2023 refresh by Lynn Fisher – Lynn’s website redesigns are singular, and this is such a great writeup of how she made her latest one. This is the type of SVG manipulation I want to do—so inspiring.
    • e?xpress by Katherine Yang – I love documentation and I don’t really get most of this (it is, ah, programming), but I love the vibes, and Katherine’s poetic work is so good.
    • Elizabeth Goodspeed on the delicate art of nostalgia in branding for It’s Nice That – brand design is not my passion so I learn so much from everything that Elizabeth Goodspeed writes.
    • I archived my tweets by Lynn Fisher – another Lynn Fisher post; I want to get around to archiving my tweets as well and this is a nice reference.
    • The joy of incremental website improvements by capjamesg — lovely and true.

      Thus is the personal website. It can grow over time, if you want. Or it can be static. It’s up to you. Most importantly, aim to have fun. Be whimsical. Push the boundaries of the web. Use your site as your creative outlet.

    • Making Films and Making Websites by Jim Nielsen – this is such an interesting analogy. He compares screenplays to UI mockups.

      Nolan: writing words on paper (screenplay) in service of making a series of images people experience (a film).

      Me: designing visuals in Figma (mocks) in service of making interactive software people experience (a website).

      • Related: I also read this interesting post about why screenplays are formatted the way they are
      • Coincidentally, I read a couple of short film screenplays recently for work. Maybe I should go learn a thing or two about filmmaking, if only to better understand the collaborative process.



    Lately, I’ve taken to using my laptop while sitting on the floor in front of the TV, while YouTube videos play in the background. This is just somehow cozier than sitting on the couch itself.

    My latest YouTube rotation is:

    Ink sketch of the musician Vaundy


    I haven’t been gaming much this month. I barely touched Destiny, outside of getting destroyed in competitive PVP in pursuit of Cool Weapon Drop.

    • I tried Lethal Company—I was cajoled into buying this by a friend who clearly did not know about my non-existent tolerance for horror—don’t look up anything about it, he said, thanks—so playing this was an great exercise in Being Brave. Admittedly, we did easy things and nothing truly scary ever happened, but I was on edge the entire time. I would like to get better with horror though (there are too many interesting creepy games I want to eventually play), so I’ll begrudgingly keep trying this until it either becomes too much or I become beautiful and strong.
    • I’ve started a new Stardew Valley farm, because of the 1.6 update. This time, I want to try to be more chill about it, instead of minmaxing.
    • I bought SUMMERHOUSE, and it’s relaxing and cute.
    Game screenshot: A simple house decorated with doors and windows, surrounded by trees and various decor like plants, signs, and textures. It's built in front of some water. In the background is a mountain. It's pixel art and the style is cute.
    build idyllic houses…mmm wish I lived here

    Real life

    I am an exceedingly boring person who spends way too much time at home, and there was this weird week this month where I went out several times and even put on Outfits to do so.

    Sketches of myself: wearing a long coat and pants; a cap, big scarf, and short coat; cropped pants and plain top, holding coffee. All outfits are black. Overlapping sketches show closeups like jewelry and clothing details.
    commemorating the fits

    I attended two events:

    Type Brigade

    By chance, I discovered that Type Brigade, a local typography event, was having its revival. I was going down a rabbit hole of seeking out design events to attend in Vancouver, which led to me logging into meetup.com for the first time in years, in which I learned that Type Brigade was returning after four years and having an event in like, two days. What a coincidence!

    • Franco Jonas talked about his typography work
    • Lisa Taniguchi talked about transforming her lettering work into a font—emphasizing how a font is a system, unlike lettering.

    Pop Politics

    I trekked all the way to campus to attend a talk by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which was a fun time. He talked about, you know—writing to offend everyone, the world-changing power of literary criticism, history, the war, Hollywood, and so on. All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.

    I didn’t take notes, but here are some disjointed ones anyway, based on my faulty memory:

    • the idea of narrative scarcity—Asian-Americans don’t have many stories about them in Hollywood, so the ones that do exist have the burden of representation. Crazy Rich Asians has to be more than a romcom, it has to represent Asian people; a romcom about white people is simply a romcom about white people.
    • you have one trauma to write about; it’s what people expect of you. Nguyen is, understandably, tired of writing about the war, and said he’d like to write something else after he’s done the third (!) book in the series.
    • Hollywood as the ministry of propaganda. Watching Apocalypse Now as a turning point: Nguyen sympathized with the American protagonists up until the point where they kill Vietnamese civilians.
    • President Jimmy Carter called it a war of ‘mutual destruction’—as if the tens of thousands of American lives is equal to the millions of Vietnamese killed and displaced, the spillover into Cambodia and subsequent Khmer Rouge genocide. It’s not equal.
    • Nguyen joked about writing The Sympathizer to offend everyone. He upped it in the sequel—‘who else can I offend?’—in which the answer was: the French. (in his opinion, the French have been treated too kindly in the memory of their colonialism.)
    • there was a question about whether Nguyen adjusts his talks based on his audience (such as, a liberal vs conservative audience); he answered no, what use is a principle if you don’t adhere to it all the time? that’s not a principle. If he says the United States is a country built on colonialism and genocide, he says that everywhere and doesn’t qualify it to make it more palatable. (not that that is a controversial statement, lol)
    • the HBO show sounds like it’s going to be very good. He highlights that we’re about to spend several hours watching a majority-Vietnamese cast (yeah, yeah, Robert Downey Jr. is also there, whatever), which is unheard of in Hollywood. We’re going to see Hoa Xuande on screen all the time. How revolutionary.

    Other ordinary things

    I went to a teppanyaki restaurant for the first time (fun!), made tiramisu (and am now eating it too quickly), tried some of those Japanese instant coffee powders (interesting!), and enjoyed balmy 15ºC temperatures (get fucked, seasonal affective disorder!!!). The days are getting longer. I’m writing/editing this as I drink coffee, which is extremely ordinary but still wonderful. I’m on day one of a four-day long weekend. The day is bright and full of possibilities.

    This April, I would like to make a good attempt at PleinAirpril, an art challenge to do a plein air painting every day. I have the time and the energy to try this. I haven’t made any progress on my 2024 creative goals, and I want to change that.