reflections on being old(er)

one covid+ roommate

and graduating later

it’s fall which seems like a time for reflection

i wonder when my dreams went from changing the world and dreaming about a better future

to wanting to publish in conferences and hoping to get interviews at big companies to make money to feel like i’m not just … behind on being an adult

the feeling of the wild (east) of the open-source hardware movement, and education at scale, to a desire to hear back from recruiters and hiring managers, to wishing i’d gotten a reasonable job and stockpiled money, worrying about the economy and about myself and about the world

what happened?

after graduating undergrad, starting my own company was what gave me back my confidence

what’s to give me back my confidence after graduating? i thought graduating would give me confidence. instead i look at jobs that i think i could do well in, and they ask for publications in venues i never got to, and i just feel


it’s an internal thing i’m sure, but it’s hard to not think about it all. to think about progress. when there are wars erupting, previously stable areas destabilizing, climate change, us-china relations so strained, global economies drifting apart, and here i am, a mote of dust in the midst of it all. what does it mean to dream of change? where can i immigrate to, in order to dream of a better future? who do i get to dream with?

diary: somehow i’m graduating; and misc. arts and crafts

guess i’m graduating in two months? if i get my work done? but i feel so burnt out about it, which is confusing. i think i should feel happy and productive. i’m not sure what’s going on. i guess i don’t have anything to look forward to, really, after ward. no happy post doc, job, vacation, etc. awaits me. (but shouldn’t i find happiness where i am?)

have you ever picked up serial crafts to avoid thinking about work, because

embroidered cat brooch

first i tried embroidery, there’s a ~$16 embroider-patch-cat kit online. i liked it a lot actually! it has a video of the full process (20 mins) on youtube and on amazon.

how does it turn into a brooch?

after embroidering, you cut it and the back piece out. then you sew / glue on the pin to the back piece. then hem the two together (watch the video — turns out you use a running stitch to get the two pieces aligned, then go back with a x2 thread to hem so it looks neater). (I left a little gap and put in some stuffing to make it plush).

lessons learned:

  • where to place stitches? i imagine where i’d make a line if i was coloring it in with a gel pen, to mimic the direction of the cat’s fur
  • watch very carefully at the beginning that pull the thread all the way through — i could make a snarl in 10 seconds / two pulls through the cloth, that would take 5 mins to undo. frustration
  • Re the hem of the cat: “hemming is easy right, just keep looping it back and forth a lot” “wait i should fill in this spot” “wait now the threads are crossed” “mother of pearl wtf happened”
  • to separate the embroidery floss, which has 6 strands, into individual strands (most of it is done with a single strand, looped around the needle so it’s two strands going through the fabric) — can start separating from the center and pull through
  • can use wax (or soap) to make separating earlier / get some of the loose fuzz gone

so much regret, so quickly (thread tangles)

then i tried cross stitch

there’s a ~$10 pusheen kit online

it’s oddly addicting. just filling it in one square at a time.

with a side of paint-by-numbers

you get the wood frames, which have a bit of gold, and have outlines milled out. and one brush (I supplemented my own). and all the colors, and some instructions.

projects blog (nouyang)