Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Mar 2017

Feb 2017

  • “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water.”

    • Alan Watts
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Jan 2017

Dec 2016

  • “Anyway, George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, ‘You can’t wear a bra under that dress.’ So, I say, ‘Okay, I’ll bite. Why?’ And he says, ‘Because… there’s no underwear in space.’ I promise you this is true, and he says it with such conviction too! Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties or briefs anywhere. Now, George came to my show when it was in Berkeley. He came backstage and explained why you can’t wear your brassiere in other galaxies, and I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here’s why you cannot wear your brassiere, per George. So, what happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t- so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make a fantastic obit- so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

    ― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

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Nov 2016

  • It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

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  • ‘There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."’

    – Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980) (not really just a US thing)

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Oct 2016

  • “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.” - James Joyce, “Ulysses”

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  • “Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”

    — Brian W. Kernighan and P. J. Plauger in The Elements of Programming Style.

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Sep 2016

Aug 2016

  • “I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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  • I met a traveller from an antique land

    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

    Stand in the desert.

    Near them, on the sand,

    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

    And on the pedestal these words appear:

    ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

    Nothing beside remains.

    Round the decay

    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

    The lone and level sands stretch far away

    – Percy Bysshe Shelly, “Ozymandias”

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  • “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” - E.B. White

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Jul 2016

  • “By taking the risk of trying hard means you are going to make mistakes, and then the most important thing is hopefully realizing that and doing something about it. Being a good dad is not a static thing. Having a good marriage isn’t a static thing. Neither is a democracy. Neither is a friendship. Tomorrow morning you have to start over, continue the process and make adjustments. And if you don’t… it’s a game that moves as you play, and if you don’t move you can’t play” Viggo Mortensen, on Here’s The Thing podcast

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  • “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” - Desmond Tutu

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Jun 2016

May 2016

Apr 2016

  • Repost from psych-facts:
    You are the books you read the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colours fill your mind.

    –Jac Vanek
    (via psych-facts)

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Mar 2016

Dec 2015

Oct 2015

  • “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could do. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Sep 2015

Aug 2015

  • “I’m going to base this moment on who I’m stuck in a room with. It’s what life is. It’s a series of rooms and who we get stuck in those rooms with adds up to what our lives are.”

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Jun 2015

  • Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place. - Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You (often wrongly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut)

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Feb 2015

  • “What’s wrong with pictures of our families on our desks?” “If you really love someone, you’ll remember what they look like!” – Brooklyn Nine Nine

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  • Repost from kellysue:

    This is an excellent writing advice from Chuck Palahniuk. This was first seen on tumblr. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, it no longer existed.

    But, I still think it’s worth sharing.

    writingadvice: by Chuck Palahniuk

    In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
    But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

    From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not
    use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands,
    Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred
    others you love to use.

    The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
    And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.

    Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”

    Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
    mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d
    had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking
    sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d
    only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”

    Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present
    the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character
    wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader
    wants it.

    Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have
    to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d
    go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot,
    leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the
    smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her
    butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”

    In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.

    writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In
    this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against
    those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And
    what follows, illustrates them.

    For example:
    “Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. Traffic
    was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her
    cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or
    there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the
    plants for her neighbor…”

    Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.

    If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.

    Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your
    story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions
    and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking
    and knowing. And loving and hating.

    Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”

    Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.

    Present each piece of evidence. For example:
    “During roll call,
    in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before
    he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout ‘Butt Wipe,’ just
    as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”

    One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing,
    you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your
    character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary
    character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.

    For example: Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take…”

    A better break-down might be: “The schedule said the bus would come
    by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57. You could see
    all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus. No
    doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the
    line, taking a nap. The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was
    going to be late. Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up
    drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic

    A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then
    you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives.

    Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.

    No more transitions such as: “Wanda remembered how Nelson used to brush her hair.”

    Instead: “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”

    Again, Un-pack. Don’t take short-cuts.

    Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.
    Get them together and get the action started. Let their actions and
    words show their thoughts. You—stay out of their heads.

    And while you’re avoiding “thought” verbs, be very wary about using the bland verbs “is” and “have.”

    For example:
    “Ann’s eyes are blue.”

    “Ann has blue eyes.”


    “Ann coughed and waved one hand past her face, clearing the cigarette smoke from her eyes, blue eyes, before she smiled…”

    Instead of bland “is” and “has” statements, try burying your details
    of what a character has or is, in actions or gestures. At its most
    basic, this is showing your story instead of telling it.

    And forever after, once you’ve learned to Un-pack your characters,
    you’ll hate the lazy writer who settles for: “Jim sat beside the
    telephone, wondering why Amanda didn’t call.”

    Please. For now, hate me all you want, but don’t use thought verbs. After Christmas, go crazy, but I’d bet money you won’t.


    For this month’s homework, pick through your writing and circle every “thought” verb. Then, find some way to eliminate it. Kill it by Un-packing it.

    Then, pick through some published fiction and do the same thing. Be ruthless.

    “Marty imagined fish, jumping in the moonlight…”

    “Nancy recalled the way the wine tasted…”

    “Larry knew he was a dead man…”

    Find them. After that, find a way to re-write them. Make them stronger.

    Thanks Hiraku! (via



    This reminded me of the process of drawing narrative without a narrative voice or thought bubble.

    (via d-pi)

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Jan 2015

Dec 2014

  • “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” - Albert Einstein

    Happy new year everyone! Go watch the fireworks (stay safe), eat, drink, be merry, and step forward to a new and hopefully better year :D

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