Spotify Wrapped 2022 except it's about me and there's a playlist for
Inciting incident: I lose my passport while living with my best
friend on a blueberry farm, and find myself trapped in the freezing cold
of a Canadian winter. Meanwhile, my coworkers are enjoying a sunny
January in SF.
For years my friends have been telling me to listen to Kanye. I
listen to his entire discography in 4 weeks -- turns out his music is
Core memory: waiting outside in the cold with 200 people for a Covid
test, and listening to The Life of Pablo for the first time while trying
to keep my ears from freezing.
I end up getting an emergency replacement passport, fly back to the
west coast, and live the SF tech bro dream of renting a 1-bedroom
apartment and sleeping on the floor without a bed frame.
Life is amazing.
Each morning I skateboard to work while vibing to music, riding along
the north side of SF and its waterfront. Every day after work I go to
the rock climbing gym with a friend
Furnishing an apartment for the first time is fun: mattress, bed
frame, piano, couch. The fireplace microwave brings it all together.
Living on my own gives me a lot more time to read, think, and compose
music -- as opposed to the chaos that was my life last year, living in a
group house with 8 other people.
I watch the music video for
All My Ghosts
by Lizzy McAlpine, and am left with two thoughts. This song is amazing,
and I miss being in love.
I download dating apps for the first time.
Journal entry, February 26th
Last night I hooked up with a girl for the first time. I took her to
a concert, and then we walked back to my place. I didn't find her
particularly attractive physically or intellectually, and I tried to get
her to leave without fooling around, but she was insistent and I let my
horniness get the best of me.
I feel guilty, unwell, and melancholic about the whole thing.
I delete dating apps for the first time.
Journal entry, March 14th
Every night for the past week I've gone out with friends or to a
party. Normally I stay inside and work on art and music; the past few
days have been refreshing.
- Saturday: Kanye themed house party
- Sunday: Watching the new Batman film
- Monday: Watching Bojack Horseman season 1
- Tuesday: Rock climbing with a new group of friends, then talking
- Wednesday: Hot pot with Toronto friends, then listening to Donda 2
at my place
- Thursday: Algorave and midnight burritos
- Friday: Birthday party, then 3am city wandering
- Saturday: Birthday party, midnight burritos, then algorave till
- Sunday: Dinner party with Toronto friends
It's been fun. So many memorable experiences in just a week.
It's been neighborly. I've met more people than I normally would in a
month, and made friends that'll be part of my life beyond this week.
It's been exhausting. The streets of SF are magical at night with
friends, but man was not made to fall asleep at 5am.
Other things that happened this month
- Hosted two dinner parties, cooking for a dozen people each time
- Went to a friend's housewarming, and found myself surrounded by EAs
and AI researchers
- Made a prototype of a music puzzle game, and a remake of Beat Saber
with a friend
- Went to Dodie's concert, and got to see Lizzy McAlpine as the
'Twas the night of April 2nd, and I'm overwhelmed by the feeling that
my life isn't building towards anywhere. Everything feels a bit too
At the beginning of this year I resolved that 2022 would be my "year
of art" -- making music, playing guitar, creating algorithmic art, and
learning 3D motion graphics. The past few months I made progress in all
of these areas, but it was unfocused, feeling more like a way to pass
time rather than expanding who I was as a person.
Decided that I'll quit my job by the end of the year.
This month I started drawing, going to parks and restaurants to draw
people in a sketchbook. Reading Starting Point, a collection of essays
by Hayao Miyazaki, and watching
interview with an artist at Riot Games inspired me to keep
Seeing my musical hero, Jacob Collier, perform live felt like a
celebration of everything that makes live music magical: singing as he
conducts us, him running around the stage playing countless instruments,
and a toddler loudly proclaiming their love for him.
I met a girl while rock climbing -- we go to two concerts together
(Krewella and Hot Chip), and wander around the city together. Things
ended before they started as she's too busy with work, but it was a fun
A girl reads all of my blog posts and DMs me on Twitter.
We go on a walk that goes for two hours longer than the listed time
on the calendar invite.
The next day I ask her if she wants to go to a modular synth workshop
together (spent an hour searching for events to find this). We end up
walking through the Mission for two hours instead of taking the bus back
We go to Honne's concert together, and as the night is ending I ask
to use her phone, pull up flights from SF to Seattle (where she'll soon
be moving to for a summer internship), and tell her that I think we
could make "us" work despite the distance.
Spent every day the next week together, exploring the city together
with fresh eyes, reading books together at the library, drawing at home
and the park together, and going on a double date to an amusement
I compile my favorite orchestral, pop, and EDM songs into separate
playlists for her -- spending hours editing the playlists down and
reordering the songs to perfect the flow.
I break up with my gf. It was so much fun in person, but while doing
long-distance she realized that she needed a bit of space, and I was
happy to go our separate ways. Even though it only lasted 2 months I'm
glad we briefly lived life together.
(Future Liam in December 2022 chiming in). We still talk and share
art every now and then :)
Spent a lot of time drawing, skateboarding, and playing Dance Dance
Revolution every day at an arcade near my home.
Listening to rap music in a foreign language gives all of the swagger
with none of the lyrical distraction.
Journal entry, July 26
Went to a dinner party. Me and the dog would run down the stairs
every time the doorbell rang to let in people. After a few hours, most
people had gone upstairs to talk, while me, and three others stayed
I was petting the dog, and became a bit concerned since it seemed so
lethargic. After a few minutes I decided to get the owner. He called the
vet, while the dog's breathing got weaker and weaker.
I kept petting and petting, while breathing with the dog because I
was terrified that he'd stop at any moment. Eventually the dog pooped
itself while still on the ground, and shortly after we carried it
downstairs. When we got him into the car, his breathing was very weak,
and shortly after he started gasping and spasming.
The owner drove his dog to the vet, and the rest of us stayed behind
to clean up.
Somebody drove me home, and while en route I got a call that the dog
Journal entry, July 27
I feel so hollow and disconnected. Every time I became aware of my
surroundings again I'd think of the dog, slowly dying in my arms, and
I'd flinch away from that thought and immediately go back to
After failing to get work done for a few hours, I wrote a letter and
skateboarded down to drop it off with flowers. When I saw the owner, I
just started crying. I couldn't find any words to say, so we just
I don't know how to talk about death and loss. It's one of the most
impactful things I've experienced, but I don't want to bring it up and
kill the vibe in exchange for hollow condolences.
My last month in SF is bittersweet.
I go to Vegas for a friend's birthday. He flies us out on a private
jet, we get amazing seats at Cirque du Soleil, and stay at the penthouse
suite where Elvis used to live
I sell my piano and furniture, move out of my apartment, and give my
3-months notice at work.
One sketchy guy, who contacted me through Facebook marketplace,
showed up at my place with a stack of $100 bills, and pretended to run
away with the item. Had my roommate chat with him for half an hour while
I examined the bills, following a WikiHow article on how to spot
Playlist for this month features pianists and guitarists who inspire
me and that I got to see live.
Fred Again's boiler room set is the most incredible live electronic
set I've ever listened to.
Spent August living in Brooklyn with friends: concerts, cafes,
climbing, and Interact's symposium define this month for me.
I move to Waterloo for the rest of the year. Living on a university
campus for the first time, and listening to Odesza, Niki, and Polyphia
with friends is fun.
So many wonderful serendipitous social experiences
- Being the only non-brown person at Bhangra (Indian dancing
- Going to a coworking club Sunday mornings, and taking turns demo'ing
at the end
- Watching the League of Legends world finals with 50 people in the
esports club, and buying them all pizza at midnight
- Running into high school friends at the gym
For reasons outside of anyone's control, I have to cut contact with
my two closest friends for the foreseeable future.
The next day my cat dies.
I spend the month in SF for work, living on my own, and am scared of
reaching out to people. I don't want to grow attached to someone only to
experience all of this again.
So much of my being wants to give up, to distract and
Listening to new albums from Puth, Fred, and Polyphia helps me make
it through the days.
Drawing for countless hours helps me make it through the month.
I do my best to move on from last month.
I leave my job to study art full-time.
Someone shares an unfinished
draft of my blog post about why I left tech to pursue art. It gets
on the front page of Hacker News, 1000s of people read it, and dozens of
people reach out with well wishes.
For some reason I thought that Taylor Swift stopped making music
after Reputation came out in 2017 -- turns out I just stopped listening
to the radio with my mom. Her albums from the past 5 years become the
soundtrack for this month
I push myself harder at the gym, and the amount of weight I can lift
I read literary fiction for the first time. Dostoyevsky's Crime and
Punishment expands my understanding of the human condition and
I start playing piano again, learning new pieces for the first time
in months. Every day I go to draw on campus, and take breaks by playing
on a public piano -- dozens of people come up to chat with me, and many
of them ask if I'm a music major.
I get really good at making new friends -- before initiating
conversation used to fill me with anxiety, but my insecurities seem to
have melted away after experiencing last month's loneliness.
I spend a lot of time drawing
I'm really grateful for my friends: Anson for helping me dream bigger
and give shape to my thoughts, Jim for being a great roommate and gym
buddy, and SF for being sunny
I'm excited for 2023: to draw, live in Brooklyn, apply to art school,
make new friends, play piano in the park for strangers, and enjoy the
Lastly, thanks for reading! If anything struck or chord with you, or
there's a song you want to share, send me a message on