Updates MWF

Intro to Family History

looking back and looking forward

He who does not look back from where he came will never reach his destination. Traditional Filipino proverb

Stories that Resonate

I've always been interested in family history. It's something that is uniquely my own. Many people try to find their identity in a subculture like goth, hippies, bikers... and all the power to them! And part of that desire to join that subculture is to be able to say, "I own this. This is mine and no one else's." For me, that is how I see family history. This is something that is mine. Uniquely mine, and it is something that no one can take away from me. A legacy comprised of stories. An inheritance of beliefs, hopes, and dreams.

And these stories resonate with me. Just imagining the story of my parents has had such an impact on how I view myself and approach life. Lovers from two cultures. The battle of hatred, racism, and tradition against the trueness of love. Elopement. Migration. A foreigner in a land of opportunity. The American dream.

Expanding outwards and considering the stories of the past four generations, we have even more stories of death and loss, rising above poverty, sexual sin, visions of the dead, multigenerational curses, ancestral homes, illegitimate children, wresling crocodiles (I'm not making this up), broken promises, forgiveness and reconciliation, miracles.

These stories are all here, right now, like low hanging fruit. If only there was someone to ask the right questions and to listen. If only there was someone who loved [writing stories]() and [lists](). Oh wait! That's me!

However, this project is a major undertaking and is under quite a time crunch. My relatives are dying left and right. On average, around one relative every two years. So, I don't have the luxury of setting this project aside for a later time. Either I do it now, or it is lost forever.

Honestly, I'm not sure how to approach this project. It's so largely dependent on the willingness of others to open up to me, and at most, its reception has recieved, at most, mild approval.


This was not the first time I tried starting this project. I tried to start this project a decade ago but received unexpected backlach. The social pressures have not decreased since then, but rather, I've recently gained more of a backbone.


While talking to my aunt, I told her that I was interested in getting the true story. Yes, I wanted to write about the virtues of my grandfather, but just as importantly, I wanted to describe his flaws as well. I don't want to write an advertisemnet showing how 'perfect' my family is. It's unrealistic and superficial and boring.

I understand her perspective though. She felt as if I was trying desecrating the legacy of my grandfather. He's already dead, so why revisit old wounds? Also, a lot of these issues and problems I'm researching about are still being experienced and felt today. Resentment about the actions or inactions of my grandfather's and/or great-grandfather's generation are still inset in family members' hearts.

As a result, I've decided to keep the majority of these stories private, and only when they die will I share it with others. Yes, I know the moral implications of what I am saying. Yes, these are not my stories to tell. Yes, it's a little insensitive to discuss delicate and personal stories without their consent. Yes, I will be directly going against the wishes of a large majority of family members. But for the sake of future generations, I don't mind breaking a tradition or two. Let me be the one to bear that guilt and to suffer the consequences.

Festering Wound

There's a belief in my family. which goes something like this, "Whatever happens in my generation, dies in my generation. We do not want to burden our children with personal quarrels." I completely disagree. They are trying to put a bandaid over a wound without cleaning it out first. As a result, the problem will continue to rot and fester. The only way to fix the problem is to remove the bandaid, reopen the wound and clean it out with disinfectant. If not, the problem will only get worse. Yes, reopening the would and disinfecting it will hurt, but it's a necessary first step to true healing.

What I am saying is not just speculative thought. Family politics have inversely hurt my generation as well. AND I don't know why! There are certain family members who were intentionally uninvited to my brother's engagement ceremony. Other family members who refused to attend family reunion because they knew so-and-so would be there. There are some cousins who I have not seen in years. Even if we had the opportunity to meet, it would feel weird because our hangout would be the gossip of uncles and aunts. For many of cousins, we would feel uncomfotable sitting next to each other because we would find ourselves surrounded by an unknown atmosphere of hostility under the looming gaze of politically driven relatives.

For those of you who do not have an extended family or have never had to deal with issues concerning "saving face", some of these issues may seem confusing and foreign to you. You're not alone. It's confusing to me too.

Agenda and Future Posts

If all of this seems confusing, indirect, and vague to you, that's because it is. Honestly, I don't know how to pursue this project, but I do know that I have to watch my steps carefully.

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Intro to Minimalism

creating an enviroment of productivity

...I set my mind to start decluttering some of the things in my life, minimizing to the essentials and sticking to those choices. CL

What is Minimalism?

I've never liked the term 'Minimalism'. It's a wagon-word, as in, when I say the word 'Minimalism', I pull along an entire cart of other words associated with it.

So, let me rephrase define the word Minimalism for the use of this blog:

Minimalism is the lifestyle in pursuit getting rid of anything that gets in the way of my interests, goals, passions, and projects. Additionally, it is the attempt of transforming essential, necessary objects in my life into something beneficial, unobstrusive, and productive.

For the sake of this blog, Minimalism is not:

  • Aesthetic Preference.
  • Product Design
  • A Religious Tenet

These topics may have overlapping qualities with Minimalism but only as indirect secondary properties.

My Room

There are many aspects of my life that are outside of my control, but what is in my control?

First and foremost, I have a say in the goings-in and goings-out of my room sso I'll start there and expand outwards.

Tentative Plan

My room is my courtroom, and I am the judge. I'll be like Picard when he says

Your honor, the courtroom is a crucible. In it we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product, the truth. For all time. Jean-Luc Picard – The Measure of a Man

Moral of the story: I need to burn all of my stuff under the purifying cleansing of 🔥FIRE🔥!

No wait... that's not right. The goal is to make my room as productive as possible.

"Put Things Back Where You Found Them"

It wasn't until my college days that I truly understood what this phrase meant. (I had questions like, "Why should we put things back where we found it. If we found an object on the floor, does that mean we should put it back there once we are done with it?")

It's all about laying a correct vision. My room, for example. I should have a vision, a mental image, of an adequately clean room. This is helpful because I can make a quick assessments and know exactly where to put everything.

If I don't have a mental image of where things should be, then I'll have to deal with problems and consider their solutions at the worst possible moment, once they become obstrusive.

  • Example 1: If you don't have a clear picture of where my keys should go inside my room, you'll always and consistently place your keys in different ares of your room. Afterwards, you'll spend minutes or hours looking around your room for a set of misplaced keys.
  • Example 2: If you don't know where to store your paperclips, rulers, pencils, coins, and guitar picks, you'll begin to stick them into random drawers throughout your room. Soon, every shelf will be a garbled mess that you don't want to move or throw away because each object is important. Since you cannot easily find the numerous paperclips you already own, you find yourself buying more paperclips even though you already own an excess. Soon, you find yourself with too many pencils, paperclips, pens, and notebooks. Your room becomes so compact of stuff, you feel like you cannot rest even in the solitude of your own room.

This is why the second sentence of my definition of Minimalism important. Even if everything you own is useful and important, they can still be a hindrance. Minimalism requires organization.

If done correctly, minimalism opens up space, time, and opportunity. That is what I am trying to accomplish.

My Flow Chart

My room is messy. So what do I do now? I've been mulling over this issue for the past couple of weeks, and I think I've come up with a "Clean Your Room in 45 Minutes or Less" last minute step-by-step action plan:

graph TB subgraph Clear Out Walking Space A[Put Away Laundry] --> B[Throw Away Trash] end A --> H{Wash Laundry} B --> I{Empty Trash Bin} subgraph Put Away Misplaced Items B --> C[Put Books Away] C --> D[Put Tools Away] D --> E[Put Misc. Away] end subgraph Clean Dust E --> F[Vacuum/Sweep Floor] end F --> I

There is a caveat to this: I should already have a clear vision of where things should be placed in my room. Otherwise, this plan does not make any sense.

Agenda and Future Posts

  • Develop a flow chart for my approach to
    • getting rid of unneccessary stuff
    • transforming necessary stuff to be less obstrusive and
    • organizing essential stuff.
  • Discuss Minimalism more in depth.
    • Aesthetics
    • Product Design
    • Books/Journals
    • Workflow
    • Religion and Culture
  • Collaborate with more experienced Minimalists.
    • CL?

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The Perfect Notebook

reflections on the best possible journal

Shelf of notebooks
We are living in the golden age of notebooks. So many types, style, and pricing tiers.

In one of my previous posts, I briefly discussed my desire to create the perfect notebook, but I wanted to just spend a little bit more time to fully flesh out my thoughts on the perfect notebook.


Before I continue, let me say something so I won't get in trouble. This is all personal opinion. I really don't like saying saying this, but it needs to be said: My idea for a perfect notebook is personal opinion. I don't know why people get offended at a post about personal interests. For the most part, this ENTIRE blog is personal opinion. And if I do have an belief that is absolute whose infraction requires jailtime and a swift whipping, believe me, I'll tell you. (Maybe people mistake my enthusiasm with castigation.)

My questions about why others do what they do or buy what they buy is general curiosity, not an an abashment. If I like something and tell you why I like it, I'm not trying to force you or shame you into becoming an accolyte of my eccentric niche interests. My interests and discussions are a bubbling forth of enthusiasm.

If you like hardcover fountain pen friendly notebooks, great. Do ya thang! If your perfect notebook is smearing poop all over your aparment wall, all the power to you!

But for me, I like soft bound saddle stitch notebooks.

Gosh, hatemail from internet strangers are strange.

Qualities of a Perfect Notebook

Whew. Now that that's over, a good notebooks—for me, in my own personal opinion, after consulting with the Minerva (the greek god of wisdom, war, art, schools, and commerce)—serves three purposes: Catharsis, Cataloging, and Crafting. Additionally, a good notebook needs to be cheap.


When I think about ideas, they rattle in my head, and subconciously my mind continually rehashes the same thought over and over again because it doesn't want to forget. When I finally write it down, my mind magically just lets go of the thought because the thought is physically stored somewhere for future reference. It's hard to describe that feeling—it's as if breathing again after hold my breath for a long time.

Writing thoughts down makes them less terrifying and less complicated. There are many times when I am worried about some issue, but when I tell someone about it, when I actually vocalize the problem, it sounds well... silly and impuissant. Same thing with writing it down. When I fully flesh out the problem-even cumbersomely-this looming abstract conundrum turns into a solvable hindrance.


Small thoughts are the building blocks for larger thoughts.

Ooh! I like this saying. I'm going to frame it like an pinterest inspirational post.

I'm forgetful. However, a book won't forget. A post won't forget. It can only be lost or destroyed. That is why I write my thoughts down.


And pen on paper. The rough paper. The lightly sweet smell of the paper. A plush comfortable chair. Elegant lines of ink that loop, twist, and turn on pulp. In the morning with steaming tea or at night under a dim light. There is something real, intimate, and calming about the routine of writing.


In Natalie Goldberg's book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, she talks about whenshe buys expensive journals (and I'm paraphrasing), she feels like she needs to have expensive thoughts. This slows down her creativity because she feels as if she has to be extremely careful about what she writes.

Her solution is quite simple. She buys cheap notebooks so she can write cheap thoughts. She exhausts her thoughts until she has nothing left to say.

I agree with this. Buying an expensive notebook is counterproductive. If I wanted something polished and neatly worded, I'd buy a book. A notebook should be messy. Usually when I get a new notebook, I'd scribble all over the first page. This sobers my conciousness to take my writing less seriously.

Why Softbound Notebooks?

Well, I don't baby my notebooks. I throw them, bend them, rip pages out, spill coffee all over them. (Please don't treat your babies like I treat my notebooks.)

I just don't view my journaling scribbles as my magnus opus. They are just a first draft to much deeper thoughts.

That is why I like soft-bound staple-bound B5 notebooks. I can comfortably carry them around. They fit in my pants pocket and conform to the shape of my fat thighs.

I also frequently fold the pages of my notebook back. If I did this with a perfect bound notebook, the glued spine would crack, and the papers would fall out. Also, the design of a perfect bound notebook prevents the books from laying down flat resulting in loss of writing space.

Everything Else

Other than what was described above, the properties of a notebook depend on the situation. Size, paper material, cover material, and all that other stuff is dependent on the situation.

What do you think? What is your "perfect notebook"?

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Intro to Book Design

thoughts through in ink and pulp

This is my current bookbinding workshop.

I like notebooks, but I typically burn through a notebook every two weeks. I tend write a lot and jot down notes throughout the day. As a result, I've slowly accumulated too many notebooks.

My biggest grip is that there is no rhyme or reason to how I organize my notes. Typically, I just grab a random notebook on my way out the door and use that for the day. Yes, I do put dates on my journal entries, but it's still getting increasingly difficult to reference archived journal entries. These books just collect dust in the corner of my bookshelf or in boxes under my bed.

Currently, I'm in the process of moving away from writing on pen and paper towards a more managable paperless lifestyle. This is for several reasons:

  1. It will reduce clutter in my room for other projects I'm interested in.
  2. I'll have a system to quickly reference my notes.
  3. I've have a streamlined way to digitize and backup my physical notes. I've lost a a fair share of notebooks in my life. Last month, I lost my main notebook resulting in weeks of my life is forgotten in some lost-and-found box in some coffee shop or library.

This goal of digitizing my life, however, does not abdicate my passion for finding the perfect notebook. There's nothing that can replace the convenience of a small notebook—jotting down notes, the feel of pen on paper, the physical accomplishment of writing an entire page. There is something intimate and personal about writing that typing can never replace. Also finishing a notebook from beginning to end give me this euphoria like no other. Same thing with completely depleting the ink of an pen. (Too bad I don't have this feeling when I need to refill my gasoline.)

As a result, I've decided to make transfer this passion for the perfect notebooks into bookbinding. Rather than spending the bulk of my time shopping around for the perfect notebook, I'll just design one. It's—well, in theory—more economical and fun.

Materials and Workshop

Let me show you the rig that I have so far.

  1. Pamplet Stapler
  2. Paper Guillotine
  3. Paper
  4. Printer

I've organized all my bookbinding material into one shelf built-in wall shelf in my room as a make-shift bookbinding workshop.

I like this spot for a multitude of reasons.

  • It has a built in overhead light so I know I have proper lighting.
  • It's not dusty like the workshop in my garage.
  • It is waist high so I have the option of bookbinding while standing up.
  • It consolidates all of my bookbinding material in one neat and organized place. I love the plastic shelf! In the nearby future, I plan to label the shelves.

Planning and Design

So far, I'm pretty satisfied with organization and workflow. It's simple: Printing, folding, stapling, and cutting.

I already have some ideas about notebook design. My Version 1 will be an 80-page staple-bound B5 notebook. (For mental reference, think about a medium sized Moleskine notebook. Mine will be similar in design to the cahier.) Personally, I find a 200+ sized notebook too big for me.I want to maximize my euphoria and minimize the loss of data as described in the introduction. Also, if I want to backup my notebook, I can easily destaple the notebook and run it through my feed scanner.

Since I make the notebook from scratch, I can format the journal in any style I like. Lined, dotted, blank, watercolor. One positive is that I can mix and match the paper design as well (for example: where one side can be dotted while the other side is blank).

The positives to making my own notebooks definitely outweighs the negatives:

Positives Negatives
A Creative Outlet Requires Physical Space for Equipment
Economical Steep Learning Curve
Customizable Less Economical if I still want to buy notebooks
Intro to Publishing DIY Notebooks look and feel less professional

What About Making Books?

Don't worry. I haven't forgotten about making books.I'm working on a progression. First, I want to focus on stapled booklets and then eventually move onto making sewn-bound books. Here the overall flowchart for this project:

graph TB subgraph Stapled A[Blank Stapled Notebook] --> B[Stapled Booklet] A -->|Five Notebooks| C[Coptic Bound Archives] end subgraph Sewn Binding C--> D[Coptic Bound Notebook] B --> E[Sewn Bound Book] end subgraph Publishing & Selling E --> F[Leather Coptic Bound Book] D --> G[Leather Coptic Bound Notebook] end

Future Updates

After I finish making a batch of Version 1, I'll make a post showing you my first impressions as well as ideas for future improvements.

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Test Blog Post

Details on the full capabilities of Spectre.css can be found in the Official Spectre Documentation

The Quark theme is the new default theme for Grav built with Spectre.css the lightweight, responsive and modern CSS framework. Spectre provides basic styles for typography, elements, and a responsive layout system that utilizes best practices and consistent language design.


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# H1 Heading
# H1 Heading `40px`</small>`

<span class="h1">H1 Heading</span>


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent risus leo, dictum in vehicula sit amet, feugiat tempus tellus. Duis quis sodales risus. Etiam euismod ornare consequat.

Climb leg rub face on everything give attitude nap all day for under the bed. Chase mice attack feet but rub face on everything hopped up on goofballs.

Markdown Semantic Text Elements

Bold **Bold**

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The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.

- Bill Gates

> The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it,
> so it's part of everyday life.
> <cite>- Bill Gates</cite>

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Name Genre Release date
The Shawshank Redemption Crime, Drama 14 October 1994
The Godfather Crime, Drama 24 March 1972
Schindler's List Biography, Drama, History 4 February 1994
Se7en Crime, Drama, Mystery 22 September 1995
| Name                        | Genre                         | Release date         |
| :-------------------------- | :---------------------------: | -------------------: |
| The Shawshank Redemption    | Crime, Drama                  | 14 October 1994      |
| The Godfather               | Crime, Drama                  | 24 March 1972        |
| Schindler's List            | Biography, Drama, History     | 4 February 1994      |
| Se7en                       | Crime, Drama, Mystery         | 22 September 1995    |


The notices styles are actually provided by the markdown-notices plugin but are useful enough to include here:

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