Category Archives: writing

html dom: personal site

I was a little short on time this week, so I wanted to do something nice and simple.
I created this personal splash site for myself:

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.11.40 PM.png

in motion:

kathy site.gif

It’s definitely still got a bit of tweaking to do. I’ve been meaning to re-do my personal website for a while. It’s been very vanilla and minimal as of now:

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 9.01.29 PM.png
I thought it would be fun to integrate a p5 background into a single-serve page.
I was inspired by Rafael Rozendaal’s slinky “slick quick” website:

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 9.46.21 PM.png

Okay, so I made something which is secretly a bouncing ball (although it does have a layer of bouncing colors too.)

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 7.26.58 PM.png

I added a button at the top of the page which would let people refresh the background of all its color nonsense.

A few of the challenges I ran into:

  • I wanted the “button” element to be responsive when I changed the window width. I know how this works with CSS on an existing HTML element.I wonder if there is a way to control a specific HTML element which I already created, without declaring it in p5?(Here, “clear bg” stays fixed when I resize the window:)
    Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 9.06.33 PM.png
  • In the end, I put all my nested HTML elements into one js dom div. Because that one string got so long, it was difficult to change aaaaannny of the content in the Div element.
  • Object oriented: The color change was a bit more difficult than a normal 1d ball bounce; I wanted the individual red, green, blue values to “bounce” back when they hit max or min values (255, 0).I got it in the end; for a while, it looked like this:Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 7.00.54 PM.png
  • Also, I worked on everything zoomed out. As a result, put in all the CSS values wrong… derp. Note-to-self, work at 100%!

Lingering questions:

  • I had multiple buttons at one point. I thought it would be nice to create a nav div to house the buttons in. Is it possible to nest DOM elements with sketch.js? 
  • The sheep image that appears on click disappears, unless I set up my own local server? How do I do that?
  • Can p5 be responsive without refreshing the page? I noticed that the sketch canvas bounds were fixed after loading… I assume no 😦

I will be troubleshooting sometime in the future. I transferred everything to github for now, so it is live.

You can see it hosted here:  

See the original p5 sketch:


5 images

It’s the month of October, and the animals are busy at work…


Still, a springy sense of whimsy persists in parks…


Meanwhile, like bees, everyone is so busy at ITP, gathering knowledge.

I’ve been thinking about lots of things. For instance, ways of understanding programming, without the programming…

I remembered being so aware of recursion as a kid, and creating loads of recursive jokes with my brother. Somehow kids find infinity on their own, and it totally enthralls them.

(a TV in a TV, in a TV, in a TV…!)

I wonder what other concepts we learn through our world, through our bodies, through humor.


Here’s a new markdown language just for burritos.

I’ve been on the lookout for systems and new language short hands people make, especially when they don’t have a formal, product-polished system in place.


And as usual, I’ve been observing the hostile, barred-teeth expressions of our city. Somebody must’ve kept sitting on this pipe!

sep 2017

✨ first month in NYC! ✨

It’s been a wonderful and difficult transition. I think the thing about learning is sometimes you don’t even feel the delta until the most strenuous part is over.

I’ve jumped into so many new communities all at once. There’s Chinatown, for one. There’s the New York collective of RISD alumni; the School for Poetic Computation; I’ve rubbed elbows with Parsons, SVA, New Inc, Design For America, New York IBM-ers, makerspaces, nonprofits, yoga/meditation groups….

…oh, and of course Tisch and the 100-strong ITP community!

Moving through feelings of excitement, inspiration, creativity, connectedness (❤️), loneliness, anxiety, ambiguity. NYC is stimulating, and then some.

I wanted to take some time to document some things that have inspired me lately…

re-appropriated tools



cooper hewitt museum

This wallpaper-maker is a nice interactive piece on its own. My partner-in-crime J discovered how it could also be used to make performance art—even though it wasn’t meant to be. A great example of repurposing features to do something new.

“I’ve always liked finding the limits of the tool I’m using, and using it in strange, unintended ways.”

community spaces


lower east side girls club

I spoke with V, the program coordinator for the girls’ makerspaces. There were mothers, girls, and their families on the Saturday I visited. I was amazed by their roof-top garden, and their planetarium especially.

“We don’t want these girls to just be playing catch up. We want to give them the newest technology and have them be on the edge of things.”

“We get girls who come from well-off areas of LES, and at-risk girls in the neighborhood working together. You see class boundaries breaking down here. I mean, it does come up in small ways.”

My friend K is skeptical of STEM education as tool to help poverty. I want to hear more about his thoughts on this.

story canvases


metro-north train to Dia Beacon

I played “Appliance Wars” with my friend R. (Should be noted that R invented this game himself, as a kid.)

You role-play as a character you invent, and you attack your opponent’s character with literally anything you can draw.

I was an Everything Bagel, and R was Rock Carrot. The game ended in a truce where we united over a SlipKnot concert.

So many things inspire me about this game. You’re really relying on creativity as the main muscle to create something from nothing. You’re building a story-world purely through agreements— without any help from products outside of a ballpoint pen.

“We thought we might make it into an app, but then we thought that would take away the magic of Appliance Wars.”

subtle hostilities


near washington square park

J and I saw this on our walk to Bobst Library together. We’ve been talking about intentionally hostile urban spaces— spikes, railings, barriers, materials designed to keep people from lingering. (A really common example of this is bench dividers to prevent homeless people from resting there.)

We started brainstorming home-brewed objects to counteract these people-deterrents:
“Oh, what about a custom-fit cushion that like, interlocks with the spikes on walls?”

contemporary om’s


rubin museum of art

I was most moved by Pauline Oliviero’s DEEP LISTENING project, which invited active listening as a kind of meditation.

The exhibit combined really contemporary sound art with age-old Buddhist traditions, centered around the frequencies of our universe and the word “ommmm.”

“It’s exciting to see contemporary stuff that doesn’t live in a gallery vacuum, but nods at non-Western practices from hundreds of years ago.”

(I mean, that was contemporary art, too. They just didn’t call it that.)

on being grounded


20 floors above times square

Last week I had dinner with my friend A, and a bunch of RISD folks.

Lots of talk about being grounded, about protecting yourself from corporations, and deflating privileged attitudes. Bay area technologists, NYC designers… these fucking ivory towers!

“Sometimes I just like to come to a place like Times Square and remember that there are people here who saved up their whole life just to come here. Just to look at ads.”

“You could call yourself a stay-at-home mom, or a part-time painter. Like those two could just be the same thing, but framed differently.”

(re: Ursula LeGuin and framings of art + work + patriarchy.)


on talking trash


seen near Greenwich

I just think this is hilarious. How do you even penalize something like this? Also wouldn’t you just laugh instead?


I want to make a project just around NYC trash. I found raw pork at midnight the other day…

nyc makerfaire 09.23

Last weekend I went to the NYC makerfaire in Queens. I went with the LES girls club.

I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed and open it all felt, though I was told it’s only gotten more corporate and smooth-edged since “the old days.”

Here are some cool (hot) things we saw…


Automated Kermit on a bike!

Some beautiful materials…

The girls were most stoked by the CNC earrings. The iron-on bead stuff was also fun and easy to relate too… but took some patience!

ideas city, 09.16

Wanted to share a few memories from Ideas City, a civic media/activism gathering that took place in Sara Roosevelt Park.

A New Inc fellow presented a fun game where you could redesign Chrystie Street either on-screen or with stickers…



“All there is left after the Zombie Apocalypse are trees and two pedestrians by the sea.”

There were more mysterious setups with Science Aesthetic. This had something to do with 3D printing plastic waste into nice objects…


“It’s like the visual equivalent of buzzwords!”

One panelist urged us to pay attention to surveillance. AI processing which claims to know if we’re gay or straight, if we’re more likely to be clinically psychopathic… How to be wary of authorities which want to frame us with technologies outside our control.

J and I went and spent most of our time in this DECOLONIZATION panel.


Decolonizing curation of history itself… public spaces…


Neighborhood gentrification came up a lot.

One woman who was born and raised in the Bronx brought up a point I hadn’t thought much about before…

She made it clear that she had been really successful ($$) in her career; she noticed many successful people from the Bronx would leave the Bronx, never to come back. She warned that when wealthy community members leave, they further cement that dynamic of home-space being poor, and anywhere else being aspirational.

Another woman challenged her to redefine “community” as something more nation-level.

In other words, what about migration of poorer people to richer countries? Where do you draw that line?

I talked about this with my friend K. Both our parents migrated from a poorer country to the US sometime in the 80s. That dynamic is totally true— you do reinforce ideas that this Western, richer context is superior to what you have back home. But it can also be unfair to demand people to stay where they are. In the long-term, shouldn’t wealthier entities just protect people better?

Continue reading

school for poetic computation 09.13

Some images from this fall’s SFPC salon.


My favorite speaker was Claire Hentschker from CMU, who talked about maps:

“I had a moment in Pittsburgh where I was pulled up at this intersection… and there was this self driving uber across the road…

Across from that, there was a google street-view car. I could not stop LAUGHING, because I realized that I was the only entity with a human intention.”

There’s something poetic about “incomplete,” subjective data, she says. She talked about shopping mall 3D models, a ghost rollercoaster, and GTA sunsets on YouTube:


…also constructing a kid’s world in VR.


Which might be the most compelling, cool VR thing I’ve seen!

“He wasn’t like gushing with gratitude or anything. But he was like, ‘Thanks, that looks fine.'”

I also appreciated the studio CWT who presented about clocks and poetics of machine parts. This was one of their first projects as ITP students, about a decade ago. It’s a bunch of switches that control the color of a single LED:


Also here are the timezones that were calibrated to be all the same, during the very first moon launch.


Something beautiful about the temporary synchronicity here!


revisiting ursula

thanks to friend N for forwarding this speech to me.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

As I’ve been using the word “truth” in the sense of “trying hard not to lie,” so I use the words “literature,” “art,” in the sense of “living well, living with skill, grace, energy” – like carrying a basket of bread and smelling it and eating as you go.

I don’t mean only certain special products made by specially gifted people living in specially privileged garrets, studios, and ivory towers – “High” Art; I mean also all the low arts, the ones men don’t want.

For instance, the art of making order where people live. In our culture this activity is not considered an art, it is not even considered work. “Do you work?” – and she, having stopped mopping the kitchen and picked up the baby to come answer the door, says, “No, I don’t work.

People who make order where people live are by doing so stigmatized as unfit for “higher” pursuits; so women mostly do it, and among women, poor, uneducated, or old women more often than rich, educated, and young ones.