It’s Been A While!

Rocío Sagaó (1950) by Nacho López

It’s been a hot minute. Where have I been?

In 2018, I:

☁ went into a freefall depression.
☁ had a major breakdown and resulting PTSD.
☁ took my comprehensive exams in the same period.
☁ applied to several fellowships.
☁ completed and passed said exams, including one with distinction.
☁ won a prestigious dissertation fellowship.
☁ became a doctoral candidate in history.

So that’s where I’ve been. Where am I now?

Cleaning up a mess I made and working on how to be a better person (a forever journey). Watching the demise of Internet 2.0. Looking forward to the blogging and zine revival. Admiring and analyzing design. Living with my partner. Enjoying brie and fruit.

I’ll follow up soon, because: this blog is now live. The webmistress has returned.
¡Viva super relax!

moodboard: jeanne d’arc

I recently read a brilliant re-imagining of the Sailor Moon franchise and it reminded why I love the series so much: the figure of redeemers. Throughout world history, they appear. Transcending fear, merging with death, and bringing renewal and warmth to the rest of us. I’m not really into dwelling on how a lot of Western art focuses on their plight as suffering individuals forsaken by the very folks they’re there to protect (that actually misses the point and I’m so glad this fic and its sequel explicitly address). So here’s a moodboard and playlist.


moodboard: jeanne d’arc from prismpower on 8tracks Radio.


Internet Roundup // 21.1.18

Welcome to the Working Week ☁ Sunday, January 21

I continue to be impressed with Google’s “Google Doodle” initiatives. Many of the artists are folks of color, which is a interesting dynamic considering Google’s oscillation between neoliberal multiculturalism and white dude hostility to poc cultures.

I’ve been feeling off this week, and feeling bad about it – that nudge of not “being productive,” or rather, not performing it. But once I checked in with everyone, it became clear that my expectations for myself were unrealistic. I just got back from traveling a week ago, and didn’t get to catch my breath until this weekend! So yes, there’s more shit to be done and w/e, but I got this.

Cannaday Chapman did Google’s MLK, Jr. Day doodle for Monday, January 15th, 2018. Her work is really gorgeous; in addition to her interview, check out her artwork!
Tasty Japan‘s twitter feed has been my favorite thing to watch recently! I can’t read Japanese, but the visuals of the portions and the directions are easy enough to make out (I can recognize some characters for time, as well). Here’s some recipes: homemade sorbet, matcha macarons, and fruit tarts.
☁ The many spheres of hell as seen in Japanese art.

☁ ALLLL THE FEMME STUFF 💖💖💖 Sal Muñoz‘s Femme Project interview with Richard, Scarlett Shaney‘s photography, and Andi Schwartz‘s Femme Archives, especially her writing on soft femmes.
☁ Podcast Spotlight: Locatora Radio’s “Loca Epistemologies,”Femme Too Deep’s “Gratitude Attitude,” the Last Adventure’s “More Oral, No Morals
☁ “‘Getting Away’ With Hating It: Consent in the Context of Sex Work” by Charlotte Shane.
☁ Black holes continue to be fascinating.
☁ Trees are migrating away (maybe into the sea? Away from us?).
☁ “Why I See A Black Queer Therapist” by Steven W. Thraser.
☁ I am listening to Nelly Furtado’s discography and IT IS PERFECT. Favorites include Whoa, NellyFolklore; and the Ride. “One Trick Pony” is my jam, potentially for the rest of the semester.

Yaeji is me.

🌸 Call your parents (or equivalent).
🌸 Eat your vegetables.
🌸 Hang out with your friends.
🌸 Pay your taxes.
🌸 Drink water if you have the privilege to have clean water.
🌸 Remember your purpose.
🌸 Embrace all of you.

until next week!

Internet Roundup // 14.1.18

Welcome to the Working Week ☁ Sunday, January 14

I’m back from Rio de Janeiro, and the new semester starts this week. I’m in preparation mode for many things, and I will move head on into all of them. Here’s a linkroll:

☁ A guide to dissertating; I think it’s a good guide for everything grad school-relevant.
☁ “I Started the Media Men List,” by Moira Donegan. See also: shitty men in academia list.
☁ Korean and Chinese recipes for dayyyyyyyyyys. See these recipes for arepas, date + guava grilled cheese sandwiches, and eggplant salad!
☁ Get a hobby for yourself, and try not to monetize it if you can help it.
☁ Logic is a really cool webmag on tech. This interview with Fred Turner on Silicon Valley’s ideological origins and foundations is fascinating and confirms how morally dead the industry is as it tries to institutionalize itself. Information is not neutral. Coding workshops are probably bunk and use similar traps to for-profit schools.
☁ If you can’t take an African diaspora class, take a peek at this resource on the African diaspora in the Caribbean.
☁ Blogs still live, especially in the form of lifestyle blogs. Lifestyle blogs aren’t really my thing (they’re like instagram before instagram), but these, design-wise, are visually interesting. Thank you Kailey for sharing these! oh happy dayscathingly brillianti want you to knowaww samkeiko lynnin my sunday best
☁ I watched Devilman Crybaby on Netflix and I have very strong feelings about it. I’m very happy Masaaki Yuasa is getting his shine, so in the meantime, watch Ping Pong the Animation.

Tchau for now (〃´∀`〃)ε`●)

Personal Archives

Screencap from Wayback Machine’s copy of “GIRLYROCK,” a Yuki Isoya fansite by NatsukiGirl.

I recently wrote a longform essay on the history of web communities pre-social media. Or rather, I argued that despite being understood as ephemera, the fragments left over from dead websites provides folks (historians, archivists, whoever) great material to piece together the histories of digital life, especially since conflict and memory are the glue that puts them together.

While that paper was for a class, I’ve been left thinking about how that paper could have grown. I’ve realized that that meditation on web communities was informed by several themes I’ve been meditating on in the past and present; especially the presumption that “blogs” or other old form web community spaces (LiveJournal, BBS/forums, fansites, etc) are a lost art at best and dead at worst. (more…)

Brief Retrospective: 2017 A.D.

2017 was my year of ownership: of joy, pain, and learning to learn all over again. It was a great year for personal growth. I dislike the idea that people must struggle in order to rise to a higher plane, because most suffering is unnecessary. But in a world were we like abbreviations and shortcuts; perhaps the definition cut short for “rise from adversity” is the “ability to do deep inner processing without sinking to the pit of self-aggrandizing despair.” If that is what it is, then maybe there’s some value in having to go through that, like a routine wash cycle.

I achieved so much of my strategic plan for this year. I did not complete it all, but I made so much headway. Later in the year, I taught myself to care less about external criticism that I imagined in my head. I am getting better at dismissing that mean, defeatist menace from being the majority of my feedback. They are one opinion, one choice, one option, out of a dozen versions of myself. I am consulting with the other versions of myself more. I need them on my team.

I enjoyed dystopian/(post) apocalyptic fiction a lot. It reminded me of the immense resources I have: community, imagination, and resilience. No matter what happens, I will make a way out of something, God willing. Thank you to Liu Cixin, Octavia Butler, and Tomino Yoshiyuki for their contributions to the world. Shout out to femme tech and science, and the black girl podcastsphere.

Here’s to three additional years of taking care of myself, putting out my best work, and letting myself be a human being.

Things I ______________ :

albums: björk – utopia, bomba estéro – amanecer; tyler, the creator – flowerboy; gorillaz – humanz; soma – somablu; jay-z – 4:44; kendrick lamar – how to pimp a butterfly; jazmine sullivan – reality show.

podcasts: black girl in om; cerebronas; still processing; femme too deep; how to survive the end of the world; locatora radia, never before with janet mock; olhares; poc; phdivas; the call; the read; the funambulist podcast; woodland secrets; we want the airwaves

animation: ping pong the animation; big o; haven’t you heard? i’m sakamoto; acca; space patrol luluco; acca 13 territory inspection department; one punch man; mononoke; serial experiments lain; gundam unicorn; steven universe;

fiction: three-body trilogy; a variety of self-help books that are too long to list; the boss series.

song: kendrick lamar – you ain’t gotta lie (momma said)


Rosa de frente con la vista hacia abajo” feat. Rosa Covarrubias Rolanda, by Carl van Vetchen.

I feel:
– gratitude
– softness
– deep care
– deep love.

I am working on my focus.

See also:
– Femme Too Deep by Baby Ange: “Focus as Resistance.”
– Woodland Secrets by merritt k: “Gita Jackson.”
– “Well, I guess I am ugly then” by Joy Mohammed.
– How to Survive the End of the World by Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown.

History is not prescriptive.

Sailor Saturn & Sailor Moon in “The Shining Shooting Star: Saturn and the Messiah,” Sailor Moon S (February 11, 1995)

Indeed, some of us did not die. And what shall we do, we who did not die?

The past is never dead. It is not even past.

What do you got to offer?
Tell me before you we off ya, put you deep in the coffin
Been allergic to talkin’, been aversion to bullshit
Instead of dreamin’ the auction, tell me just who your boss is
Niggas be fugazie, bitches be fugazie
This is for fugazie niggas and bitches who make habitual line babies, bless them little hearts
You can never persuade me

You ain’t gotta lie to kick it, my nigga
You ain’t gotta lie, you ain’t gotta lie
You ain’t gotta lie to kick it, my nigga
You ain’t gotta try so hard

Studying history is a large part of my self-care. It helps me make sense of my current moment and humanity. Finding Ida B. Well’s story, in her own words, liberated me from years of institutional self-hatred and fear that dehumanization, neglect, and despair is totalizing. Perhaps my practice is analogous to an astrologer: my knowledge acts like an oracle. I come to it over and over again.

And like horoscopes, history is of a piece of knowledge. Like I said, it is not totalizing. History is not prescriptive.

We live in trying times, and institutions are failing us. It is disorienting to read that the choice to bring a child into the world is more likely not to be mine. Instead, I am more likely to die because of preventable disease because medical institutions in the U.S. hate black women. The tax bill will make any little wealth folks have accumulated into zero or worse. QTPOC are dying, their families are being ripped apart by the state. This is the tip of the iceberg when the rest of the world comes into view, but every sheet of ice is nauseating and potentially fatal. It is demoralizing and penetrates our wellbeing as a spear drives into a heart.

The elders will tell us that we are not doomed.
History, and the knowledge it provides, is not a linear track of eternal progress. Progress and justice are not guaranteed in any particular moment. Progress and justice are projects, and they are propelled forward by each generation, who pass the baton to the next generation when the previous one is ready to pass on into the larger universe. You are tired of race metaphors, but they are apt: our work for liberation, justice, and peace is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and do not work yourself to an early death.

If history is not prescriptive, but is still medicine, it is joined by other health practices. You do not take medicine by itself: the doctor and pharmacist suggest other forms of relief to join your recovery efforts: sleep, nutritious food, plenty of fluids, exercise, and leisure to rest your mind. In many cultures, people seek out traditional forms of wellness and medicine, and tap into those practices simultaneously with Western medicine.

While history is not prescriptive, it can guide us. It has lessons and insights. There is terror and destruction, but even within that bleakness there is hope. People created and embodied joy to survive; to give birth to hope that traveled and continues to travels across time and space. This is one of the many blessings from the ancestors. It is also a reminder that institutions never had our backs, but we retained and improved on ways to maintain our wellbeing as best we could without them. I have been calling on elders and ancestors. Recently, my grandmother has come to meet me in my dreams. She comes as she likes, but it is always to bring back an abundance of warmth, compassion, wisdom, joy, and safety. She reminds me of where I am, and where I will be. That I will be victorious in life and death.

We have some tools. Our families (bio or chosen), our communities, mentors and mentees, our wellness practices, the elders, and our ourselves. We have ourselves.

Our hope remains within us, and our communities maintain our spirit. When both are gone, we perish.

Hope is a practice.
Care is a practice.
Justice is a practice.

Remember death. Remember community, present and passed on.

Mark Aguhar (February 17, 2012)

I plan to write more about this. In the meantime, the oracle provides resources:
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, “We Can Learn to Mother Ourselves: The Queer Survival of Black Feminism 1968-1996,” Dissertation.
Still Processing (Jenna Wortham & Wesley Morris): “We Care for Ourselves and Others in Trump’s America;” “Black Health Matters
– Audre Lorde, ‘Introduction‘ from the Cancer Journals (1980)
Evette Dionne, “Audre Lorde Thought of Self-Care as an ‘Act of Political Warfare,'” Bitch (February 18, 2016)
– Start with “Latham Thomas,” “Ashlee Marie Preston,”Melody Ehsani,” and “dream hampton” on Erica Williams Simon‘s the Call. Then listen to the rest of the first and second seasons.
James Cone:  “the Cross and the Lynching Tree,” Bill Moyers Journal (November 23, 2007)
Khalil Gibran Muhammad: “Confronting the Contradictions of America’s Past,” Moyers & Company (June 29, 2012)
– Kendrick Lamar: “You Ain’ Gotta Lie (Momma Said),” To Pimp A Butterfly (March 15, 2015)
– Alexander Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (2014) & “Black Life