Words are never ‘only words’; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do. -Slavoj Žižek

I’m a believer in the power of words. Words are what connect us to others and make us human. When I refer to “words” I’m using it as a proxy for “communication.” Without any mode of communication, our ideas are locked within the confines of our minds. So words express a functional value to humans, but they also present a cathartic release in emotions. Words carry a much heavier weight in value than they may suggest. So when I hear people saying, “It’s just words” or “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me,” I wince the slightest bit. Žižek’s quote strikes me at the core of my beliefs: words matter.

It is this belief that has motivated me to create this blog that you are reading. My ability to communicate my ideas and emotions is not perfect - no one’s is - so this gives me the opportunity to reflect on and refine my writing - and on a larger scale - my thoughts. Here are my main reasons for creating this blog:

  1. Become a better writer. I have a tendency to use more words than I need. I want to become more efficient with my writing so that each word is more impactful.
  2. Storing my thoughts. I think it’d be nice to have a place where I can look back and see how I’ve evolved in my thought processes.
  3. Showcasing interesting projects. With the extra time I’ve had due to the pandemic, I’ve began picking up more side projects. I want to use this blog to document these projects in one collective space.

Why not use a written journal? Or why not use Medium or another prebuilt website?

Having a blog uniquely allows others to check out my work. I think its valuable to think other people are reading this blog, because I will be more concerned about the quality of the content I release. (I still have a journal for unrefined thoughts though!) By no means am I expecting anyone to actually read my work (though I’m hopeful that out of 7 billion and counting people, maybe a few will).

I chose to build my blog from scratch for two reasons. First, I wanted to be in control of my content. Hosting it on another website puts a middleman between my ideas and my content. This does make for more work for me, but I see that as an advantage, because I learned a decent amount about Jekyll while building this website. Second, I wanted to create more interactive experiences for my blogs. The custom interactive experiences I have in mind are for sure impossible on websites like Medium.

This leads me into the goals of this blog. This is different than the reasons for the blog I described above which mainly apply to me, whereas the goals of the blog might be of more use to you, as a reader.

  1. Develop interactive experiences. I want this blog to be more than just text; this blog should incorporate posts that users can engage with. For example, check out this article on gerrymandering from FiveThirtyEight (my favorite news website!) It provides an elegant explanation of gerrymandering through beautiful graphics. While this article is not definitionally interactive, it showcases what I mean when I use the term. Other websites that I admire and seek to emulate are The Pudding (recently found out about this from a friend), which shows off what it calls are “visual essays” and Distill, which has polished, interactive, peer-reviewed articles on machine learning.
  2. Discuss refined thoughts. This is where the title comes in. Some blogs believe in having raw views into one’s life, but this blog will be a little different in that it is refined. What this means is that I want this blog to be high-quality. I’ll follow along the belief in quality>quantity, meaning when you read an article from here, it should be worth your time.
  3. Explore specific, interesting topics. One of my favorite Youtubers is CGP Grey because he hones in on niche topics but explodes the topic, telling compelling narratives. This video is an excellent example of what I’m aiming for (except in written form).

With that being said, here are some blog post ideas I have on my to-do list:

  1. How I built HelioHex: a highly-configurable, modular, hexagon-based lighting system that syncs to music among other things.
  2. Why I overhauled this website and how I did it.
  3. My tech setup - what I use for developing and why.
  4. The evolution of my logo.

If any of these sound interesting, please sign up below to get email updates when I put out a new blog post. I will only send emails when there are new posts.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to learn a little bit more about me, you can go here. Hopefully, you’ll stick around for the journey.

Signing off,