Yifeng Wang

Jeremy Strong Has No Chill and I Have Less

Elizabeth Spiers in A Defense of Jeremy Strong (and All the Strivers With No Chill):

The real question, then, is what is worth striving for? There is a difference between pointlessly toiling away for a company and working hard because you enjoy it, or you care about what you do, or most crucially, you are trying to economically advance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do better than your parents did. Making an effort — even an over-the-top effort like Mr. Strong’s — should not be embarrassing. We strivers understand this because we’ve never been able to achieve great successes without that effort.

It could be unfortunate that my most relatable TV characters are Kendall Roy, Amy Lau, and Danny Cho,1 but I think it at least is fortunate that the screen content is now diverse enough I can see myself from a third person’s view.

I think parts of my constant feeling of stress, anxiety, and burnout coming from I want to believe I’m a chill and cool person and that I’m probably not — I’m as a wannabe as one can be. Maybe I can be way happier if I have the courage to face my true self: a striver with no chill.

One comment of the article said:

I think strivers are often also pleasers, or at least they want recognition that they’ve done well. My mom told me that you shouldn’t live your life worried about what other people think (she was born in 1924 for some perspective). And that’s the antidote to the problem this article poses. If you’re smart enough to earn your success and the fruits of your work, then enjoy it, share it, and don’t worry about what people who don’t matter think.

That seems to be the other key ingredient of the formula for happiness.

At the end of the day, it’s ok to care so much about what I care about, and in the meantime, for my own sanity, it’s also good to keep in mind that the things I care so much about are probably not the most important things in the world.

  1. I’d also like to honorably mention my spirit animal, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Bury the Obsession

If you know, you know.

It all started when I needed a keyboard and a trackpad that can be easily switched between my work and personal laptop since the whole working from home episode had begun.

A quick Google search led me to the Logitech MX Keys and the Logitech MX Master 3, a universally praised productivity combo. Order was placed and soon I’d have the ideal WFH setup. Seemingly easy enough.

The devices arrived in a few days. The pairing was simple. I could now switch between my work and personal laptop with a single unplug and plug of a thunderbolt cable from the monitor which also served as a hub while everything else kept wireless. Things were going great and then the devil emerged from all the places I didn't anticipate.

The first stop was the keyboard. After typing on either a Mac laptop or a Magic Keyboard without numeric keypad for over 10 years, I forgot the compact layout was different from that of a full sized keyboard. Having the Fn key located in a different location and having the Command key not directly under X or , gave me an abundance of errors. I also wasn't too keen on the size of a full keyboard. The extra length from the numeric keypad meant the pointer device had to be placed further away from the center of the desk and that seemed unnecessary. Surely I’d get used to all this soon, thought I. I did, except I couldn't quite shake off the itch for finding something better, something perfect.

To research I began and to my deepest regret, I found the dazzling world of mechanical keyboard. My adventure with mechanical keyboard was filled with YouTube videos, Reddit discussions, purchases, and returns. I didn't like any of the keyboards I tried because they all had a thing or two that weren’t perfect. I didn't know where to go next, so it was only natural I turned my attention to the mouse.

If using a third party keyboard on a Mac meant preferences and compromises, using a third party mouse on a Mac was simply pain. The scrolling was horrendous. This was Apple’s fault. Luckily a little tool called Mos stood up and solved it for me. MX Master 3 did great in the gesture department. I was able to replicate all the trackpad gestures plus some more. However Logitech’s software was so buggy that the mouse would freeze up randomly when the software crashed and relaunched in the background.1 MX Master 3’s scroll wheel was a weird case. The magnetic scroll wheel would have been the best scroll wheel ever made if it were well executed. It would have been so smooth and so silent. Unfortunately in reality, it made squeaky noises and the scrolling would skip to be registered every so often. I thought I had a defected unit, but a replacement came in worse, so I had to conclude that the design was flawed.

In the end, I realized I couldn't use a pointer device that bothered me so often, and while the Magic Keyboard couldn't make the thock typing sound (which was delightful indeed), I was so comfortable with it and that was all I needed. In the amount of time I spent finding the perfect solution, I could have paired and re-paired the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad a million times.2

The detour wasn't that bad of an incident on its own but the wanting, the obsession, of always finding the perfect everything—the perfect keyboard, the perfect to-do app, the perfect decision—was so energy draining and time consuming, energy and time can be spent to enrich life in so many ways.

The perfect something doesn't exist and I already knew that.

The obsession has become so ingrained. I wrote this one to keep myself accountable in burying it over and over again.

  1. SteerMouse is a much better replacement.
  2. The fastest way to unpair and pair a Magic Keyboard or Magic Trackpad is to plug it in.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Gabe Weatherhead is rediscovering Mac apps:

Todoist is still my daily driver for tasks. When my calendar starts to look like an overstuffed sausage, Todoist is how I get things done. It’s ubiquitous, intuitive, and that natural language input is like magic.


I’ve written a lot of words about Pinboard for bookmarks. I’ve enjoyed it but the apps were not feeling very polished or well supported. Then Raindrop.io came along and captured my heart.

When someone like Gabe is enjoying using Todoist and Raindrop.io instead of OmniFocus or Pinboard, it’s hard not to take a pause and realize how the software landscape has changed in the Apple ecosystem.

The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace is my favorite Star Wars film. Walking into the theatre as an eight year old, I had no clue I was about to be taken on a journey in an enchanting extraterrestrial world that I would love for so many years to come. For the rest of the summer I watched it on DVD every a few days and had countless lightsaber battles with friends. Qui-Gon was wise and aplomb. Obi-Wan was young and skillful. Padmé was smart and brave. Anakin was the best racer and mechanist in the whole galaxy. And Jar Jar was, absolutely hilarious.

Almost twenty years later, I watched a mind boggling documentary on this film. On the one hand it was thrilling to see the never before anticipation. I envy of the ones who experienced that in person. It must have been like being a theatre lover in NYC at the height of Hamilton in 2016. The crowd reaction—how do I put this—can probably only be found at a K-pop concert today. On the other hand, it had killed me to learn about the utterly disturbing truth of the assault Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd received following the release of the film. It was painful to imagine what Lloyd and Best had gone through. The bullying I experienced as a child was nothing compared to the death threats Lloyd and Best had to face but that was already hard enough.1 Jar-jar and young Anakain are great characters to me if that wasn't obvious from the beginning of the article. Yet people could be so narrow minded when things didn't meet their expectation. As I grew older, I started hearing about how bad Episode I was. I became reluctant to show my affection for it because I didn't want to be thought to have a less superior taste. Wanting to blend in and lack of critical thinking, I followed the public and became part of the problem.

Sounded all too familiar? People criticized The Last Jedi in many ways similar to The Phantom Menace. Then the target became Kelly Marie Tran who played Rose Tico in the film. Tran experienced major online bullying and harassment. People wanted someone to blame on and this time it was Tran. The irony was The Last Jedi might be the only film worth remembering in the sequel trilogy. The Force Awakens was a nostalgic treat for the fans2 and The Rise of Skywalker never found the story it wanted to tell. People had every right to disagree with directions taken by The Last Jedi3 and express their disappointment but attacking personally the ones who worked on the film or other people for liking it is plainly wrong and disgusting.

The Phantom Menace was my first Star Wars film, just like The New Hope was yours, and The Last Jedi could be theirs.

Be curious, not judgmental. May curiosity be with the galaxy.

  1. I like how I mentioned my being bullied this casually on the internet while I talked about it to my parents for the first time a few months ago.
  2. I enjoyed it a lot — I got teary-eyed many times during the film (It's true. The Force. The Jedi. All of it. It's all true.). However not only it threw the original trilogy away for no good reason, it did a horrible job setting up the new trilogy. The true heroes of the sequel trilogy for me were the trailers. Every one of them successfully had me excited, hyped, and touched.
  3. It was like a Marvel film, said I.

Rebuilding Yeefom.com with Gatsby

A few months back, I launched the latest iteration of yeefom.com. A lot has happened since the launch in both the world and my personal life. This is the overdue launch post. I took the opportunity to revisit some old blog posts, journal entries, and social media content. As much as I have supposedly changed throughout years, the key theme remained the same. I’m still struggling with the same challenges and emotions. I'm still flawed mostly the same ways. Some say people can't change for the better. Could that be true?

It has almost become a pattern that every two or three years this website gets a redone. I have no intention for it to become another place where the only topic is itself (App.net anyone?). Still, this rebuild is interesting to share.

Although the website has had a minimalist design since its inception, multiple aspects could benefit from a modern rethink. There were three things jumped out to me the most: font choice - Source Sans Pro was a good font but I had a strong preference these days for websites using system fonts; the font sizing was on the smaller side; and the spacing wasn’t nearly generous enough. In addition, I long wanted to add footnote popover and a dark mode.

The previous version was built with Hugo. Besides providing an extremely fast build time, Hugo took care of most of the common needs such as content management and pagination out of box. However since I didn't take the time to fully grasp Hugo and especially its templating engine, I always had a sense of uneasiness. This time, I wanted better control over the code and just like before, performance and accessibility were my top priorities alongside a clean look.

Gatsby was already on my radar during last rebuild. I picked Hugo because I found a Hugo template better suited my needs. Since I wanted more control over the code, it mattered less now what Gatsby templates I could find. I chose Gatsby for that it has a good reputation, is well maintained, and has an active community. Gatsby uses React for templating and GraphQL for data querying. They are great gateways for me to stay connected with the JavaScript community.

The actual building process was already a little blurry. I remember choosing not to use Gatsby theme because that would involve publishing my own npm package. It was a bit counterproductive to maintain a package that would most likely be used by a few if not just one. Plus I was confident I could structure the codebase so that the content and the site would have a clear domain separation. Open-sourcing the website satisfied my wanting for making it a community project. I opted for using a starter instead. Maybe because the starter was originally built a while back, I found in it many practices to be challenged. I ended up removing lots of overloaded dependencies and changing almost every aspect of the code. Nevertheless, it gave me a solid ground to start with along with Gatsby’s official documentation and guides. I had a few more thoughts on building Gatsby apps and you can find them in the source code repository.

The new design was refreshing. Dark mode was beautiful and activated following system setting. Footnote popover was finally there and looked in place on different screen sizes. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to release the new website. Inconsistencies still popped up across browsers and devices. There was always one more design tweak I could make. The code could always use more refactoring and cleanup. After some more procrastination, I knew I had to stop or I’d never launch it. I just needed one more reason to convince myself. I told myself, if Lighthouse gave the website decent scores, I’d launch it.

Lighthouse report

So I pushed the button. I knew I would find new issues from time to time. I also knew this website would evolve over time as it was supposed to. I was happy it was out there.

Is Gatsby the perfect choice for a personal website like this? The answer is probably no. Something like Jekyll is a lot more straightforward and has a much better chance at not having the code going outdated instantly (the JavaScript world moves fast). I may very well choose Jekyll for the next time but that doesn’t matter—I had a lot of fun building using Gatsby and I’m quite happy with the result.

Though can't be definitive, I want to attempt at answering the question in the beginning: if I can make this website a little better every a few years, I choose to believe we can ourselves too.