February’s loved things

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Looking back at the past month and things I’ve enjoyed, and such. Happy March. I think I need someone to be proud of me or I will probably combust. Twenty-one is inevitable and I have never felt so, so alone.


Bangkok Art Book Fair

I am so so in love with the Bangkok Art Book Fair’s Co-op site, set in this most lovely serif + gradient pink that reminds me of my first ever fansite coded thirteen years ago.

Jin-Woo Choi

A historian who has designed a very spatial, networked blog borne out of desire to explore systematic training in archival has ended up crafting one of the most genuine, lovely means of curating a repository of academic discovery.


Design: The Invention of Desire - Sara Pena

Design: The Invention of Desire, by Jessica Helfand

“This is what it means to be alive—to witness visually and respond
viscerally to something…”

And of course, Helfand very next says that the eyes are only the first line of defense. Everything afterwards demands greater scrutiny. The ethical parameters, morals, and wider ramifications that we then put out into the world after the pleasure of seeing. Helfand’s design theories reflect both what the younger designer in me and the one decades from now would love to hear. This book also propelled me to think deeper about design education and its accessibility, both in the world-class education I’m receiving as a Yale student (who still is a little unsatisfied by the undergraduate technology & art programs) and the education I hope to carve out for thousands at home with Developh. She writes: “design will not matter as long as design education is stalled in the nineteenth-century academic deep-freeze model of the atelier.” At the same time, my longtime approach to technology as an act in need of “incubation”, or one that can be realized with funding and the right amount of mentorship without the space and avenue for thought is truly a farce. How can a field so impassioned be so easily reductive? Helfand addresses these many thoughts, validating these fears and navigating everything from design and play to blaming a mass shooting (where she describes the college student as …”deeply troubled”) on the existence of social media before making a point towards variables vs constants in the context of type and grids. (Later on she shits on the rainbow Facebook profiles that people swap to in support of gay marriage, and a bit on video game addiction and self-aggrandizement as lossy markers of passion.) While there are some questionable comparisons, this was a lovely one to read with the Ethical Design Club at Developh.

(Also see my 2021 Reading List)


Film Review: All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

A Bjork-like, ethereal pop ideal looms in the background of a dark, twisted adolescence, mostly on bullying. I’ve replayed this movie so many times that it started to lose meaning, and last month I rewatched it, as if for the first time my feelings flushed and I could barely process it. I can’t ever look back towards my teen years without the glaring trauma waiting to be decompressed, forgiven, or buried. I wonder if this is the same for all of us.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion | Madoka magica, Puella magi madoka  magica, Magi

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part III: Rebellion

Three years since Manila. Before the movie’s climax, Homura holds the false Madoka, trapped in her labyrinth tightly. Is it fair for a teenage girl to give her life for the universe and bear the sins of us all? Is it worth destroying the universe for her happiness, no matter how cursory it may be?


D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L by Panchiko

I’m so late, but there’s something incredibly magical about a band discovered through a rotten tape of their 2000 album singing about a Studio Ghibli movie seen at 7, then never again until your twenties. When I was introduced to Panchiko by their background, how could I not feel it all through that lens of re-discovery? How many times have I had to piece together blurred memories of Ghibli films, now having them at the tip of my tongue but choosing to bury them – afraid of what I will recall…

(also the Panchiko discord is filled with like 14-year-olds and yeah i’m definitely late and i’m not sure if i’m allowed to feel this hit by an album, but fuck it, it really was so ahead of its time)

Maple by Wyatt Smith

The Pull by The Microphones

I saw your earthling body wrapped in wool… also, this in stereo is otherworldly – then the drums come in. See:


Reading Time: 4 minutes

Today I release another game. We’re nearing three years since I’ve been home to the Philippines. Now, I’m far removed from the long comforts & routines I’ve come to know: 3AM masses before Christmas eve, Sunday mass with my thighs sticking themselves to plastic chairs under the 35C heat, picking high school crushes from the crowd amongst 1,000 other students on sports bleachers for First Friday Mass.

Play Bisita on Itch.io: https://chi.itch.io/bisita

Bisita is an interactive fiction “tour” and recollection of eighteen years of my life in the Philippines – the only intensely Catholic nation in Asia – and the devotion and routine that surrounded the Holy Week practice of the Seven Churches Visitation.

From sunrise to sundown, we’d walk or commute from church to church to pray the fourteen Stations of the Cross. This project was prompted by my Interactive Design Class, taught by Rosa McElheny. Here are some examples of “tours” on Are.na that we were looking at and thinking about while creating the piece.

(Spoilers below)

  • The experience is an Interactive Fiction-like piece, consisting of over 250 pages and 100 images (lifted from Google Street View). 
  • In between “memories” and recollections are little Javascript minigames that make use of default input fields and interactions, from simply searching for links to areas revealed only when resizing the browser, items hidden in source code, to ticking off monotonous boxes. Every click and interaction increases a step count, an indicator of distance… a timer constantly ticks down –- only reflecting the true amount of time left when about fifty seconds are left.
  • The most defining thing about the experience is that it’s not designed to be completable. When the timer ticks down, an end screen plays and you’re prompted to repeat again… With each replay, you speed through content you’ve already passed by quicker, as each step of the ritual loses meaning.
  • But if the user breaks the game / hijacks the window and in turn, the routine, you arrive to see all the spaces you’ve reached in a stained glass window-like view of each station. (As pictured in the cover of the post.)


  • This is likely the first release of Bisita. I still need to fix the language and poems on certain pages – a lot of them were written in a kind of rushed manner as I built the project and assembled the images and spaces together.
  • I want to make each “replay” more rewarding and sickening. I try to make use of or respect default HTML element styling as much as possible, so what would it look like if each visited link was left in its active blue/visited purple state on the nth replay?
  • There’s definitely a lot of influence here from escape the room style games and internet puzzles. Notpron by David Münnich as the most notable one (looking through old Notpron walkthroughs, dead links and all, is still one of my favorite activities). Aside from Münnich, I have definitely been replaying a lot of Increpare, particularly the HTML5 ones (he has great Twitch streams, by the way). Particular favorites are The Transgression and the recent Heaven on Earth.

After version 1

After sharing this with software-for-people.net – I’m interested in adding an element of seasonality to the experience. What if it’s only completable during Holy Week, and outside, the timer makes it so that you truly can’t get through the experience? What if Bisita was presented with accompanying materials, such as a zine or a video? There’s many compositions and poems that can be drawn here that we can make more use of. Some of the levels are really difficult and only solvable if you look through the source code (this is in the non-source code levels). What if people make walkthroughs? How does that change the practice?

And most of all, the experience was one that should be shared. So here it is.

Driving up

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today, my body flew, a limbless machine across the east coast of America. We drove up to New Jersey. I haven’t stepped around Yale or the tri-state area since last May. I will turn twenty-one and legal and become nothing special really again this coming May, a gift that only grants me easier access to alcohol in exchange for all my achievements seeming shittier. It’s been ages since I felt like anything in my life had been anything but a thing of perpetual stillness. Suddenly, America was rushing at me inwards, swallowing an unlived life whole. This must have been retribution for a year of acquiesce –– a year is a year, the greatest sin of my being allowing myself to measure it as such. Nothing in language alone can contain this feeling: being given a new world and life and still refusing to step on it miles later, watching the cranes dock and flutter and live and die on a rooftop and refusing to partake in anything of it, or of letting the muck stain on a plastic, foldable Muji mirror fester and wait for weeks while still using it and wincing every day. I’m mastering a new world around slowness praying that the temporal can pretend to be eternal, ignoring that minute measure of time was pernicious and subtle until every point in the galaxy combusted into something completely unrecognizable –– like how we drove over Capitol Hill and a relative I haven’t seen in three years lifted her phone and said nothing and took blurry iPhone-car window photos of it as if there was something to celebrate and that it was not on fire and revolt a little over a month ago. If I look at a photo of a dead body again and again I will be less angry and I will think nothing of it. Maybe she reacted that way to the Capitol.

My moral judgment these days is utterly shit. The speed at which I interact with people in-person is another thing that is utterly shit. I mean that when someone asks me a question, it feels like I process everything in much slower motion than I do when reading everything else. My mind is an instantaneous machine (this is why I have no head voice), but stoic whenever I face the infinite variables of face-to-face interaction. Perhaps I have forgotten how to read the sky. The room, the light, the tone of voice, the way people look down on me, recounting things in the past without having everything preplanned and familiar –– I freeze. There’s no interface to draw from but the millions of patterns and histories nascent in a moment, reverent to all a minutia’s past. I’m burying the memories of the present as we speak. If I spoke at the speed of our mini-van coasting up to Jersey I would maybe have a chance at salvation. Right now, I am nothing. Maybe I should pretend to speak a foreign language (or just speak the foreign language I know how to speak), or continue to feign that I’m too good for anyone so nobody has to talk to me and realize how heavy, slow, and burdensome it is to share moments with me.

In 0C I recorded my voice memos in a packed New Jersey parking lot in the middle of the night. I speak to cloudless sky, a coast of smog, discarded masks, and barely extant masonry – the families and people cooped up behind faux firepits and living off hotpots and Aroma Housewares. Lone being pressed to the tapping of feet. I’m obsessed right now with the forms of audio and text, translating one to the other, an impossible task that only ever passes but astounds; the same way that my interspeak will always just be passing and that I have shed the only form of language and identity that makes me who I am. Saying sorry for barely being able to speak on the street haunts me in nowhere New Jersey five years after the fact more than it did when I was clueless at home.

My relatives are sleeping in the Airbnb, their feet poking out of the covers and the white noise of the heater a hollow sign of human life.

Best 100+ Cloud Pictures [HQ] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Recently ordered a Shure MV88 to make more field recordings. Recovered a guide to clouds a few editions away from one gifted to my by one of my best friends a decade or so ago.