Everything around looks
So normal
Nothing out of the blue;
Nothing here does,
Except perhaps you

It’s hard to notice
When everything around
You seek
But it’s a little hard,
Out of shape
On two hours of sleep.

I’m genuinely on two hours of sleep. I was at a hackathon all weekend, and when school, travel and travel costs all add up, you have to give it your all!
And so I think I may have slept a little between 4:30 and 5:30. Maybe.

Totally worth it!

The best part about hackathons is the total exploration. You often end up staying overnight in a single building designated as a coding area. Even if it’s a building you’re quite familiar with, there’s nothing a whole night there can’t teach you that you already knew from spending two hours a week in lecture there. You find new cozy hacking/study spots and if you’re home, you have a alternative to the old stuffy library for the rest of your education!

For me, this time it was about exploring (infiltrating?) a new (rival?) school’s comp sci base: I was up in Montreal! (The commute did not agree with me however!)

I’d like to walk here more often. Would you? The seamless coexistence of old and modern architecture make for a very interesting picture—and is quite similar to Toronto’s case.

I snuck out on my short break and walked around some really stunning architecture. I wish I’d had more time to explore the city, but my lack of time was a whole other story!
It’s a story that probably deserves its own post: the travel post with some bonus theatrical thrills, because believe you me a sleep-deprived kid mostly confined to the insides of a computer science department building, can still get into fixes.

Hackathons are also a great way to make new friends! Even if it is at your own school or university, spending twenty four hours debugging and crying over your own bad coding habits with someone else is sure to earn you a new friend, one who always knows the pain of getting 178 nested errors only to follow them to the first instance of where thing started going wrong and for your error message to make absolutely no sense to anyone. They’ve seen you there before, in the wee hours of the morning.

Another super cool part of the exploration that goes on at hackathons is obviously, an exploration into the world of computer science, and all its wonderful skills! Most people end up learning something new at a hackathon, maybe because what you’d like to make uses a platform you’ve never used before, or if you’re playing around with totally new, shiny, cool hardware and writing code to talk to it: I will never tire of being amazed at how we bounce electricity around to get a cool chip-spider or whatever’s new in the hardware lab, to talk to your computer and do whatever you command it to do (as long as there are no bugs, of course!)

I gave InVision the ditch and tried out some prototyping on Figma this time, and my word, Figma is advanced. It looks to simple to begin with, but you can use it to come within inches of having the appearance of decently sophisticated code usable by neat UI.

I do want to make another one of those process boards series I made for another prototyping project that was quite close to my heart… and I will, on the other blog that’s supposed to have my art/design stuff in one place! In the meanwhile, you’re welcome to play around with the app from this morning that I wish I’d coded and not just prototyped… Figma genuinely can make stuff look real good!

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 10.30.29 PM
Knock yourselves out. Don’t doubt that my exhausted ass will be anticipating you every tap with manic glee that only comes with excessive hours of prototyping in a day that manifest in the form of unnatural attachment to a sequence of light bulbs going off on an LCD monitor.


You were expecting comics, weren’t you? I have many, but I call this a social experiment.
Isn’t the very essence of a comic but the excitement, the suspense, the thrill by the time you reach the last panel?

Well, just a drawing can sort of do that, only it’s sort of only one panel and no words.

But I’m not making excuses to show off my pretty dragon.


Or maybe I just am.

Would you agree that there’s action writ large over this one panelled, unintentionally worded but actually wordless comic, with the dragon’s paw (paw?) raised, poised to make a big move, those wings, ready to expand and fly, the fire already escaping those ready nostrils, those eyes, looking right at you?

Don’t you think there’s drama in here, leaving you wondering, “what next?!” Isn’t there suspense in the fact that you’ll never know what happens next because there is no second panel??

Isn’t there extreme thrill in seeing that I can finally draw a dragon properly??
… oh, hi mum.

Anyway, you got a few panels less than you’d bargained for. I hope a pretty dragon makes up for that.

I hope you’re convinced. Have a nice day.


It’s that rare sort of day

When the sky’s 67% blue

More than a wisp of light in the sky

And winds raging at 32

We call it good weather these days, folks:

Don’t settle for less!

Lower your expectations,

And today’s been the best!

But I digress; the sun’s out, it’s so quiet

And calm and maybe even a hint warm

And of course, I also have a truckload 

Of studies taking me by storm

A quiet place, headphones, 

Math textbook, lots of light 

And a booster dose of motivation’s all I 

Need in my life

So of course I picked today

To be feeling extra sleep deprived

Of course today I feel obliged 

To run away from all my responsibilities in life

And so with my nose stuck in the air

With lots of work and none a care

I do hereby out loud declare:

Goodbye suckers, I’m off to bed. 

Canuck Reflections

Right, so I tried following the design principles and completely missed it this time: the edge of the knife could end up pulling your attention out of the picture. Don’t go away yet!

This is what happens when I’m not paying attention at 10 in the morning.

I was sitting for breakfast with my eye on the clock and my mind in my psychology class, for which I was only minutes away from being late.

Nothing new, nothing to panic about, really. I should be used to this by now.

But by this time, the syrup had spread all over my plate and had become a golden mirror.

Looking down at it though, something struck me: just look at this picture.

Pancakes, maple syrup, and a reflection of a maple tree from outside the window, all in a single frame. Does it get more Canadian than this?

(‘No hockey sticks nearby’ would be a good point to make, in all fairness.)

So I decided to strain the limits of my gallery’s storage and am plaguing your reader feeds again.

Have a nice day!

Hide And Seek


It’s been raining all day. After a pretty uncharacteristically and suspiciously sunny Tuesday, the skies have shown their true colours today: grey.

I don’t know if we should be worried about incoming alien attacks in the near future, because that right there is the clouds having basically eaten the CN tower.

I don’t know of an attack on anything more Canadian than that.

Except maybe the winter and poutine. (But you’re expected to eat that, aren’t you? Yes, well, you’re right, not me, but other people in general.)

I don’t know really. Maybe I’ll be that person who teams up with the aliens just because they seem cool. At any rate, I’m not particularly worried about an alien attack. (No, it’s not true that I’ve been preparing for one for years, what gives you that impression?)

I’m just honestly kind of pleased with the picture. The tree provides a nice frame in a contrasting colour that would make design rule purists real happy. That frame is also the only way you’d know what actually the subject of my photograph is!

If you do really want to see a jaded, cloudy CN tower though, I may have a little something for you.

There. Now can we get a smile on this gloomy day already?

Still can’t wait for this week to end, because I’m going home!

And The Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown

Last afternoon, I passed a masterpiece on the street that took me to the conclusion that nature is basically Banksy: a tree that had, until just a day before yesterday been green, had begun to turn orange and red, only at the very top, in a most delightful way. Nature does her art in the dead of night anonymously. [I blogged about it too, right here: Fresh From The Canvas]

The tree is right outside our physics building.
The physics building has three entrances, so this tree is sort of my landmark for getting home, because I have an overbearing tendency to get lost around campus. Half the places I know the way to, I know because I found them when I got lost. So I’m the disorganised tour guide and this tree is my landmark for getting home alive with my brain distorted by special relativity. (If I can run fast enough for time to slow down, will the distance I have to walk to get home in the freezing cold decrease? [When something’s close to the speed of light, the time in its reference frame slows down, or dilates, and the distance in its reference frame contracts. Wish me luck on that midterm.]
Here’s a helpful hint to the answer: I’m currently ducking to avoid people I know from the basketball team. I can’t run to save my life.)

The tree my guiding light? How poetic.

Either way, I passed it again today, of course. I was in a good mood, and feeling pretty generous, decided to give you all an update on the art installation’s progress.


Sure there’s progress. As an art student who has spent five hours drawing a single character’s face, I can confirm it takes a while. (What’s that? I’m covering up for my inabilities? How very dare you.
But then again, you may just be right. Fractionally.)

And my being in that good mood had everything to do with busting out of a three-hour long physics lab an hour earlier than usual, with completed work for once, and being off until Tuesday because this Thanksgiving, I actually have something to be really thankful for: the Thanksgiving holiday! (As I may have mentioned a hundred times already on this blog, I am not, and may never, be ready for this midterm.)

It wasn’t just me though. My entire lab group was pretty happy.

This happy:

The significance of that about-to-be-wiped-off smile is entirely philosophical and beyond the scope of this blogpost. Grab a hot coffee and come talk to me for more information. I hope you like theatre.

Anyway, an early happy thanksgiving to you all! My priority this weekend is to sleep and sort out this mess that is my academic life.

In the meanwhile, here’s some eye candy for y’all. (Thanks for putting up with me and my big mouth.)


Happy fall, y’all!

PS: if you like the title of this post, you’ll love this:

Fresh From The Canvas


This tree probably looked a little different a day ago. Nature’s begun working her magic. It’s still a half-finished job, but in terms of quality, her half-assed job is probably still better looking than anything I can put all week into.

As an art student (yeah, yeah, whatever, ex-art student, I’m not listening!), what I find incredible is just how easily the greens blend into reds.

On paper and in theory, red and green are stark opposites: on the opposite ends of the colour wheel. They’re complementary colours, the kind that you’d use when you want an element of your piece to stand out loud and be noticed.


But here, the colours seem to just softly blend into one another with no fuss. Green slowly turns orange as orange turns pink and deepens to red right the up the tip of its head.

Anyway, fall is beginning to show itself, and today isn’t cloudy. In fact, it isn’t even freezing (blame the wind). Reason enough for me to say, happy fall, y’all!

Yes, I realise I’m a nature obsessed freak. Deal with it. The good news may just be, with my midterms coming up next week, I probably won’t bother you for a while after. Enjoy the peace then… before I start bombarding this blog with every speck of dust I call a snowflake.

I Did Not Sign Up For This

This is not what I saw myself doing when I signed up for this.

About two years ago, I put one tentative foot in front of the other and pretended to set out to become a design student with a C++ textbook in my closet. I moved a foot forward, shuffled a few feet back and learnt on the way, of all things, that I, as I had expected, would never become a fashion designer. I mean, I can barely keep my human sketches respectfully clothed, and the ol’ tried and tested tee and jeans they wear is beginning to fester.

Unsurprisingly, every human figure I draw and get bored with eventually turns into a superhero. When it’s not a dragon. And clothed in spandex (not the dragon).

I knew it was visual/communication design for me. If I didn’t see myself dying of poverty (what was that C++ textbook for, after all?), I saw myself at least doing cool Hollywood stuff or basically doing this:

Okay, it is definitely a tad bit ambitious to say I saw myself working with my favourite band, mostly because I really wouldn’t be working at all; I’d be drifting through a dream and thinking about how the latest music video on Muse’s website would actually depend on me and be influenced and shaped by my style of art, and basically spending all day trying to (unsuccessfully? heartbreaker) somehow compare guitar notes with Matt Bellamy and go home at night under some happy delusion that Matt’s going to rub off on me and I’ll be writing riffs as good as Muse soon. Any time now. Reading’s just a few good songs away.

Wait, I got carried away, didn’t I… what’s that? You’re telling me you have no idea how and why I began talking about some life goal of being a musician and headlining Reading festival’s main stage and I was in fact talking about making a career in… of all things, design? Really? Give me a second to scroll up and get some context…

Okay, right, the design student working in communication. (Hey, it’s good to dream!)
So, I had fantasised about working in the music industry with bands and artists on video effects or album art or posters [I SAID I COULD DREAM], I had anticipated maybe working on effects or in films, or  in animation (though I wouldn’t really have wanted to), and I had feared ending up working on freaking adverts. (And subsequently mentally threatening everyday to quit and follow the footsteps of Wally Wood)

A poor man’s Wallace, please? Maybe?

But I had never imagined finding myself in this situation.



I’m drawing biology diagrams. I’m not even a biology student. I’ve reached a point where I don’t even know what I’m drawing. All I know is that it looks like benzenes. I miss shitposting about chemistry, honestly.
But I haven’t done any bio in years. I feel dumb. I’m drawing these for my little sister. Four years littler, mind you.
How that girl talked me into doing this, I’ll never know.

But if you need me, I’ll just be sitting in the corner with that C++ textbook trying to convince myself I know something. Oh, and watching an old live performance of Muse from 2000 at Eurockéennes under the covers.

(No, I didn’t just make the last bit up at random. I’m talking about this lovely. What about the first bit? I honestly don’t know.)

Conspiracies in Colour

As a student of design, one of my primary jobs is to look for conspiracy theories where there may be none.
I’d even say, one that eats up the largest share of my “work” time.

Now everyone who knows me has to admit that if there’s one area I am particularly weak, it is fashion.

So let’s delve into its intricacies!
I suppose this is kind of influenced, for sure. Mum finally hauled my ass to the parlour today. I need a haircut. Even I can’t brush them anymore. I gave up a week ago.
And now I’m sitting with what would look in a black-and-white picture like my hair was on fire, because the horrified staff told me my hair needed instant moisture treatment, or something else similar.
They didn’t wait for me to tell them that there’s probably chlorine in it too, that explains it, in fact, but oh well.
Here it sit with my hair up in smoke.
I suppose it happens.

Now, since I mentioned design is half about conspiracy theories, I could also suspect that they were putting my head inside some sort of brainwashing device.
You see, I know what happened to Bucky Barnes!

But anyway, in design, it is always said that your work represents you.
The colours, the shape, the font, particularly in logos.
Hidden messages are a part of this, and of the whole ‘conspiracy theory hunt’.
Look for the arrow in the FedEx logo, representing speed of delivery. (You may beg to differ, but not here. Let ‘em rip in the comments, if you want.)

Do you see the arrow between E and x?

[I will deviate for a minute, I have an observation: what if the steam flowing out of here contains my memories?!]

The yellow colour that Fanta employs, representing youthfulness.

All you’ll ever need.

You’ll find it in posters too. The metallic look for sophistication, the colours, background colours and the schemes between the two, the kerning (spacing between the letters): for example, a poster for the movie Gravity was ironically heavily kerned—the letters seemed to be floating away from each other.

Colour schemes

[sidenote: does steaming it off and then washing it count as brainwashing?
If you must do it, do it painlessly; I’m seriously glad you honoured my request for absolutely ice-cold water. It’s true, I’m actually from Antarctica. Or maybe from the fires of hell, because that cold can’t touch me.
Either that, or I’m so super-cold that the ice fits my personality.

What? It’s called image building; I’m building you an image with words.
It’s design.
Back to where we were.]

Similarly, you can apply the same fundamentals to yourself to let the world know what you want them to think of you, or in other words, the planet before Facebook.

People might wear colours they feel “suit their personality”, might do their hair a certain way, carry something that “complements their personality”.
Now, I don’t follow this example much myself.
I get up in a rush, half sleepy and late, I put on whatever I can pull out of my cupboard and put neon socks under it. As long as it keeps off smelly feet, I’ll pair pink shoes with bright green socks. Don’t judge.
As for the accessories, I’m mostly just knocking people over with a guitar. And no longer have time to brush my hair.
Guess it defines me.

But thankfully, everyone on this planet isn’t me.
Some people really follow the principles of design, even with their own selves as their canvases.
Symmetry, minimalism with the hair, focal points on the face, straight and curved lines (with verticals demanding respect, horizontals for stability, slopes for growth/optimism, curves for fluidity, perhaps accepting change easily?
(– the cabbie thanks you.))
A little additional gen on the focal points— points are one of the most powerful elements of design, simply because points or their larger variants circles, catch your attention, and keep it there, not really allowing you to move on. It explains why traffic lights are circular. Why coins may catch your attention. Why people are almost always drawn towards the eyes, why eye contact is so hard to maintain, and why people bother making it up so much.
Although I’ll admit I still can’t really grasp why they bother making it up so damned much. Butterfly eyes? Come on. You’re weakening the power of the point, the eye!
But that’s just me.

My sister and I had a little chat on hair colouring.
She’s been telling me I should try streaking my hair.
Technically speaking, I wonder what that signifies? As a design student, I reiterate, my job’s to sniff out conspiracy theories, where there aren’t any.
Wait till I get put “Detective” on my résumé.

Perhaps it employs the standard meanings of colours.
Red for intensity, blue, sort of out of the blue, purple for… I forget, royalty? Prince was a big time user of purples. (The White Stripes too, had built a sort of image for themselves with their exclusive usage of reds.) Oranges, perhaps for spontaneity, what with the youthful representation doing its thing.
Gold for… I dunno, telling people you’re still a kid? It is the only colour allowed in schools (it took me by surprise that they were officially approved at all, but it definitely explained its ubiquity!)

I disagree with streaks. If I analyse it as a designer, it’s so indecisive. It’s like you can’t make up your mind. It’s like dipping your toe in the water. I say, swim or go home! (… maybe I’m a little biased here because of people who randomly stand in the middle of the pool trying to make up their minds as to whether the water is too cold or not— and then, bam! Apologies to follow. I ought to do a full post on them, sometimes it’s hilarious!)
I’d say pick a colour, then dye your hair, or don’t do it at all.

Speaking of colours and indecision, one of the hairdressers has alternating horizontal streaks of blue and gold/yellow. What is that supposed to tell me? To be honest, the first thing that comes to my mind is a peacock.
What? It’s visual imagery. The poets love you.

Besides, with my hair normally looking like a bird’s nest, I dunno… call me a bird, I fly, I’m free, I’m going south. That’s only just my general curve!

Well, so it ends. I’m done, I’m incognito/unrecognisable again, because apparently it takes a long time for people to adjust and recognise me after a haircut, but you know my bio; incognito works well for me!

If this post turned out a little jumbled, let’s just use the rules of expression and say that this defines me and all that coverup, I’ll just say it’s my first time. I tried!