Since I've gotten older, I've realized

We all care about things that don't really matter

And now, we're all tryna keep our heads above the water

But what if we don't wanna?

If there's something you wanna do, just do it

Don't let your head stop your heart from moving

If there's someone you wanna talk to, talk to 'em

Who knows who we'd be

If we just live more and love more

Have some heart, but make sure it's open

Take that risk, 'cause time gets stolen

Maybe speak less and listen more

'Cause, life's too short, you only have one

It might sound cliche, but your life can start when you choose it to

I just need some time, I'm tryna think straight

I just need a moment in my own space

Ask me how I'm doin', I say "okay"

Yeah, but ain't that what we all say?

Sometimes I think back to the old days

In the pointless conversations with the old me

I wish somebody woulda told me

If you want love, you gon' have to go through the pain

If you want love, you gon' have to learn how to change

If you want trust, you gon' have to give some away

Look, as a kid I used to think life

Is moving so slow, I watch it go by

Look out the window on my bus ride

I thought the world was so small, through my closed eyes

The older I get, I feel like I'm always tryna save time

Talkin' to the voices in my head, they make me think twice

Tellin' me it doesn't mean it's wrong because it feels right

I'm scared that one day I wake up and wonder where the time go

Talk about the past like it's the present while I rock slow

I'll sit in the living room and laugh with kids of my own

I wanna run away

Anywhere out this place

Just you and I, I, I, I, I

I wrote it all down, don't know what came over

But I think I know now which memories I need to keep

And I cried on a plane next to a woman I don't know

And I looked insane, but I couldn't hold it in

I hate the fact you're rich and worried 'bout fame

Adelaide in April, when we danced 'til everyone was gone

Sitting in a treehouse, drinking coffee, walking the dogs

Simple in the nighttime feels so full calling you love

Pressing my forehead to yours, call it magic

We sound so insane, but how lucky are we to have it?

I be looking through the photo album, you remember all the good old days? K Swiss and polo down

And mama had to put a down payment by herself and ain't nobody even try to help

She went to jail and shit went left, and I was left

I did my best, I needed rest, I got arrested

Everybody looking at me like I'm not invested

Bitch, you know how hard I was stressing?

Please don't call me with weekend plans

I'm ripping out all my hair

And, bitch, I don't even dance

But sometimes I like to

Juk, juk, juk

I be looking through the

Photo album, but the color faded from it

If I could go back and tell you how it ends, I would've done it

Don't look down

Those days are gone, now the memories on the wall

I hear the songs from the places where I was born

There was a time, I met a girl of a different kind

We ruled the world, I thought I'll never lose her out of sight

We were so young, I think of her now and then

I still hear the songs, reminding me of a friend

Up on the hill across the blue lake

That's where I had my first heartbreak

I still remember how it all changed

My father said

"Don't you worry, don't you worry, child"

See heaven's got a plan for you

Oooooh la la la la la

Let's live in the moment

Come back Sunday morning

Oh my, oh well

When you're gone

Goodbye, so long, farewell

Come and watch the garden grow

here's to the next adventure, as thomas would say. i've been to so much places: nyc, sf, bos, btv, dc, slc but there's more i want to see: pgh, la, seattle, atx, cape town, london, paris, tokyo, singapore, but really just the whole world

- jc

jc!! i love this website & i love you & i'll miss being around you in-person. here's to the next chapter of life/art/code/tuesdays...

- cheru

It is 11:23 AM. I am at the Cafe across the street from HQ. I am drinking a Genmaicha hot tea. I will miss having you & everyone else here, but I am also happy that we get continue collaborating on projects throughout the year. You're quite interesting & a good friend. I'll see you around.

- thomas

this sonng is a vibe! I think you'll enjoy: https://youtu.be/2sLou4kva1s

- thomas

ack i forgot to add you're like one of the most inspirational people i've met in my life

- cheru

hi jc

- shubham

hi jc!!! we didn't really get to talk that much but you seem like a really cool person!! like this website is AMAZING, your music taste is awesome, and you're such a creative person and i really look up to u :) i hope we get to talk more!!

- - sarah :)

sites like this remind me of how fucking magical life is >>>>>

- belle

i'm gonna miss you so so much! i hope i run into you when i'm roof hopping somewhere :)

- sarthak

JC I MISS U A MILLION. thank you for the summer, and taking me down memory lane again (you little poetic angel). i don't think i've ever sat down and directly told you how inspiring you are for me (you are) <3

- sahiti

I dont know you that close, but this whole page is inspiring. I love this website

- ihsan

please view on a computer and listen to the music, either with your own service (here's a playlist with all of it) or through the previews. i talk more about music & art later, so it's important to me.

some design decisions are intentional, given purposeful and/or time constraints. we love janky websites!

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this is a series of reflections on a summer almost gone, a summer that's been life-changing in so many fucking ways. mostly, this is a manifestation of my realization that what i do is art, even though it gets classified as stem.

it’s 8:50am (fuck, i’m going to be late) and i’m walking over the charles river bridge (although: there is more than one; this is the main one) and thinking about a summer almost gone.

i wrote these words almost everyday (although it fell off considerably towards the end), and i'm glad i did, because it made me realize how exciting my life had become. as a kid, my parents forced me to keep a diary, but i never had anything to write about. as a kid, i used to think life / is moving so slow / look out the window on my bus ride / i thought the world was so small, though my closed eyes. (nf)

reading and listening and writing.

this summer, i didn't read as much, but i did write, so that's a win of sorts. here's some stuff i worked through.

i also did a lot of writing, but mostly in private spaces that i'm not particularly comfortable sharing. however, there are some short thoughts i'd like to share.

on gender & sexuality

my journey with this has been interesting. i'm starting to realize that (at least personally), gender and sexuality are very fluid.

prior to this summer, i think i was super rigid about it, as in: i'm very definitely much only into people that identify as female. now, i can still confidently say i definitely still have a preference with people that identify as female, but i'm also trying to work through comphet and guaging whether or not it is what i think it is.

in terms of gender: just about everyday i wake up and decide which gender i feel closer to? that's the only way i can put it concretely. occasionally, it's for performative reasons (i.e., for a specific person), but mostly due to hormones and other emotionally related factors.

i've known that i'm queer specifically since i was 12 (although obviously there were signs before), so it's interesting seeing how that can change over time and just generally being very accepting of it.

what is a personal website? and thoughts on art

contrary to most people around me, i typically do better on english tests. one of the things i have the tendency to say a lot is, "if i didn't discover code in this life, i probably would have been an artist of some sort." i mean. i can't write for the life of me with my left hand, although people who do are statistically proven to be more creative.

i think it boils down to my sensitivity. as a kid, i was always extra sensitive. (to be honest, i'm not sure if this is a smaller symptom of something bigger because it's definitely a more taboo topic in the environment i'm typically in.) and i kind of grew up on daydreaming as a form of survival, if you will: daydreaming my way out of certain situations, daydreaming about when i could do x, or y, or z, or how awesome i was going to be at this or that and not someone i couldn't stand.

i think i approached art from a much more mature standpoint - that is, i understood the concept of the performativity of art. but one thing i've always been fascinated with is that art isn't a form of duality, you have three audiences: the literal audience, the model, and the artist themselves, who have to be the most interesting characters because: what do they see behind their tools and why do they make the choices they make?

and now i get to the part where i talk about me being an artist: what is the purpose of a personal website? why am i telling a (potentially) random someone on the internet all my deepest fears and secrets (i.e., i'm queer but still in the closet to most people that i ~should~ consider to be close to me in real life)? i think it's because i don't really know you, so i can trust you with a personal website: if you don't like it, you get off, and if you do, you might just stick around. and we could end up as best friends, the whole jizz and jam.

in my opinion, the people who work at the intersection of technology with art (broadly put; art is a lot of things, including but not limited to literature, art, music, philosophy & ethics, politics, and sub-categories like neuroscience and other medical fields) are the most amazing people. i'm glad i've gotten to know so many of these people, and that i get to become one of these people.

riptide is a sad song. here's why

first up, i took a look at the genius.

This song started in 2008 with a couple of lines that I didn’t think much of, the first two lines of the verse – the one about dentists in the dark – and then in 2012 I wrote a melody on the ukulele which ended up being the chorus melody. It’s a real patchwork, this song, of images and ideas. I met a magician’s assistant around the time I was writing the song and so she kind of found her way into the song. Michelle Pfeiffer, I don’t know where that came from – I was kind of envisaging a character that had ambitions of stardom or something like that. That’s the kind of character Michelle Pfeiffer was in The Fabulous Baker Boys and that’s what came to mind, so I used that reference to set it up. Once it all came together, it somehow made sense given it’s such an eclectic mix of bits.

but this is the explanation that makes the most sense for me:

I’ve always thought that “left hand man” means that he wants to be her friend. The “right hand man” typically refers to your #1 guy, or in this cause the girl’s boyfriend/husband. He can’t be that person because she doesn’t love him, so he wants to be her #2, or the “left hand man” just to be close to her.

He likes the song she sings but he has a lump in his throat because she is singing about the “right hand man” or the guys she loves, not about the author (who is the “left hand man”). Basically, she sings a great song about the guy she loves, and that guy is not the author. The author is very uncomfortable when she sings the name of the “right hand man” (i.e. the author wishes it was his name that she sings, not the right hand man’s name, which he calls the wrong words).

i put my right hand over on my left shoulder every time i've sung this while on a run, so plenty of people around bu have saw me do it. since then, it's taken on two other meanings for me:

  1. my time this summer at hack club, and how this became the intern song
  2. being there for someone that you know will never be there for you the way you are
in a nutshell: we can compromise and say it's a bittersweet song? i didn't know it before this summer and now i do.

home, college, & the future

i'm conflicted about this right now. i wrote a letter (and another incomplete one) on a whim. trigger warning: abuse, filial piety. this is something i find very hard to talk about and am struggling with, so i really don't talk a lot about family unless i deeply trust you and know you can relate or are willing to listen.

so that's "home". the truth is, i've never really felt at home anywhere or stayed anywhere long enough for a place to feel like home. the winner for closest place has to be bay ridge, brooklyn (i call it babe ridge because it feels like home) and generally nyc, although it's changed since i last checked it out. i do want to move back sometime. i like park slope.

college. last thing i want to talk about. i do plan on going. i just don't know if i want to go next year. i know where i want to go, or what i might want to do otherwise. it's nice having options, but not nice having other people force you into one option or the other, which is what i'm struggling with right now.

i could take a gap year. i could check out shopify's dev degree. i could apply to colleges (cmu, uc berkeley, harvey mudd, uwash, dartmouth, brown, and umich ann arbor are the ones that have grown on me). i could just do nothing and go backpacking. the future is expansive. the one thing i've learned from this summer is that every good adventure must come to a close, but only so you can embark on an even better one. in other words, go with the flow.

existential crises & random thoughts

  • an existential crisis a day keeps the self-esteem away
  • i think my day is shit. then i look at mbta and realize how things could be so much worse. mbta is my spirit entity!
  • cities are hubs of hedonism but i'm conflicted about hedonism itself and what qualifies as hedonism
  • people watching is so much fun
  • i ain't never met a art student who wasn't anything but gorgeous
  • the dorian gray effect is so freaky. like how can two people with the same name look so similar
  • imagine if i shaved all of my hair as a bet
  • roof hopping
  • artists on a tote bag: taylor swift, conan gray, gracie abrams, dominic fike, pale waves, baby queen, lorde, nf, the chainsmokers, reneé rapp, melanie martinez, fletcher, the last dinner party, charli xcx, eden (in that order)

music.

i listened to a lot of music this summer. but these are the ones i remember the most, from late-night drives, and sunset drives, and taking the green line everyday. getting lost in boston, walking over the charles river bridge everyday, listening to the monotonous tone of "77 massachusetts ave, mit" on bus 1. singing riptide together: a late night hackathon/farewell party, opener, rave, running - these are the lyrics i remember.

i met a kid named quincy at the start of this summer and asked them how they made music, because i’ve always wanted to try my hand at making one.

that attempt is coming soon, but here's a set of lyrics from my entire collection of demos (it turns out that writing lyrics on public transportation is easy):

oh, sweet summer child

i haven't felt this in a while

the last time i smiled

i was is in brooklyn

and then i woke up in boston

oh, sweet summer child

it's good to see you again

and darrel told me it would be ok

we were on the rooftop

i said there's so many unknowns

he said go back to park slope

i said it's been a while

well, he said

you have all the time in the world

to sit around coney island

and think about it

oh, sweet summer child

i haven't felt this in a while

the last time i smiled

i was is in brooklyn

and then i woke up in your bed

oh, sweet summer child

it's good to see you again

and it's a small world

because i saw your mom last week

and you said

i could crash at your place

if i really needed to

it's a life i live

and i was running through the night

past fenway

past burlington

past capitol heights

i thought i was alone

and i could be wrong

but it's been different lately

oh oh, tell me

how it's like being 16

you'll never live it again

sweet summer child

it's good to see you again

the train's already here.

i'm turning 17 in december and i'll be 18 and ready to vote by the end of elections next year.

i think i've only realized how crazy life can be in the good way. it doesn't need to be like how it used to be.

there's only 4000 weeks in a life, and i've lived ~900. i promise i'll live the rest, because i've been thinking about it way too fucking much.

acknowledgments

i saved acknowledgments for last because without these people, everything that happened this summer... well, wouldn't have happened. thanks for all the magic y'all.

cheru: thanks for listening to me. seriously. it means a lot. and please stop making fun of me for crushing on people. also, most things don't rhyme with tuesday, so i'm not sure how you came up with that. (i'm just joking. keep doing what you do.)

zoya, sahiti, arianna: my girlies! zoya, i love your oocs. i shall see you next year, and i promise i will eventually get around to your anime recommendations. (spotify is now giving me mitski recs too. 🤦) please continue. sahiti, you have a fucking amazing website! thanks for being so sweet and i'll definitely see you next year. (what happened to love island? and podcast. we need to organize that.) arianna, i love being the mysterious cousin. (someone has yet to send me the link to the family tree.) i'll see you in pittsburgh probably! maybe i'll hang around longer :)

sarthak: thanks for spotting me $20. i love my fucking jorts. (is that what they're called? that's what they're called.) and obviously for spotting the tab at fuji on ink block. the food there was fucking delicious and you're one of the most wack people i've met in a good way. also, amazing dj.

deet: thanks for driving that subaru of yours. probably the first clean car i've even been in. i loved rides with the gang with the air conditioner on max, sunroof and windows all open, and heavy music. best valet dude ever! but you're also so much cooler than that, like i can't put shit into words.

thomas: your car sucks, but you don't! i loved talking with you about everything and anything. your attitude on everything and the way you treat people is the model for how i want to navigate the world going forward. also, i loved your kale smoothies.

and thanks to everyone else, especially people i will not see again potentially for a long time: sam and belle. sam, zach, and holly: the three of you completely changed my life. zach for starting hack club; sam for defining a model for hackathons that made me decide to stay in hack club after assemble (and, with ben, for letting me overstay my time at archiebald); and holly for reaching out of nowhere and working together on projects, even though i haven't always been responsive.

belle: i think you're such a cool person and i'd like to get to know you more. let me know when we can hang out now that you're in the greater boston area?

kara: thank you so much for driving me almost five hours to vermont so i could partake in outernet. new hampshire is so pretty and conversation with you was really enjoyable.

and obviously: everyone else at hq (shubham, ian, alex, fayd, lexi, caleb, b, ruien). i didn't get to know all of you but maybe next summer if y'all are still around? same to the following amazing people i wish i could have gotten to know better: claire, neel, adelina, the other alex, and the other people i fell a bit out of connection with: sophia, andrew.

my heart is hurting so much right now but in a good way. it's almost 2am and i'm finally wrapping this up.

but before i go, if we're all separated by six degrees of separation, i want to get to know you, because somewhere in another dimension i promise you that we’re soulmates of some kind, if we aren't in this one. so tell me about you. what’d you do this summer? and if you ever want to talk: email for my phone number at jianmin[zero]chen[at]gmail.com. you're amazing. here's to the next era, alrighty?

I was scared of dentists and the dark

I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations

There's this movie that I think you'll like

This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City

This cowboy's running from himself

And she's been living on the highest shelf

I just wanna, I just wanna know

If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay

I just gotta, I just gotta know

I can't have it, I can't have it any other way

I swear she's destined for the screen

Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh

Oh lady, running down to the riptide

Taken away to the dark side

I wanna be your left-hand man

I love you when you're singing that song

And I got a lump in my throat

'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

We almost got away, we cut it close

The city's getting louder

Been trying to work it out, you should know

I would do whatever you wanted

We don't have to leave the apartment

Met you at the right time

This is what it feels like

Livin' in a movie I've watched and

Funny, 'cause you couldn't have called it

And I need you, sometimes

We'll be alright

And I miss you some nights

We'll be alright

See I was heading back home

Feeling a little less alone

I was sitting on the train

Mulling it over in my brain

That's when I saw somebody crying

I said, "Why are you upset?"

She said "Well nothing makes sense"

I said, "Hey don't be so defeatist"

She said, "Well don't be so naive it's been proven space is

Exponential so this is all inconsequential"

I said, "If it's inconsequential then there is infinite potential"

She said, "Well that's the fucking purpose, it all just

Still completely worthless"

I said, "Open up your mind, maybe in this life"

We can be anything

That's awesome don't you think

But I could read you

It's like you told me

Go forward slowly

It's not a race to the end

Well you look like yourself

But you're somebody else

Only it ain't on the surface

Well you talk like yourself

No, I hear someone else though

Now you're making me nervous

I saw the part of you

That only when you're older you will see too

You will see too, you will see too

I know it breaks your heart

Moved to the city in a broke-down car, and

Four years, no calls

Now you're looking pretty in a hotel bar

And I-I-I can't stop

So, baby, pull me closer

In the backseat of your Rover

That I know you can't afford

Bite that tattoo on your shoulder

Pull the sheets right off the corner

Of that mattress that you stole

From your roommate back in Boulder

We ain't ever getting older

I don't know if it's fair, but I thought

"How could I let you fall by yourself

While I'm wasted with someone else?"

If we go down, then we go down together

They'll say you could do anything

They'll say I was clever

We were staying in Paris

To get away from your parents

You look so proud standing there, with a frown and a cigarette

Posting pictures of yourself on the Internet

Out on the terrace

We breathe in the air of this small town

On our own, cutting class for the thrill of it

Ooh-ooh-ooh, yeah-yeah

Went low, went high

Still waters run dry

Gettin' right back in the mood

I live my day as if it was the last

Live my day as if there was no past

Doin' it all night, all summer

Doin' it the way I wanna

Yeah, I'ma dance my heart out 'til the dawn

Gonna spend it like no other

Now I've found another crush

The lush life's given me a rush

hey jc!!! it was so great being with you this summer + your outenet project was amazingggg!

- toby

I've been in Hack Club for under a year, yet I already feel like I'm going to miss everybody who's going to leave. It just shows how strong of a community Hack Club is.

- Omay

jc jc! this site is amazing, i hope our paths align again :)

- zoya (zsh)

this is so cool!

- cryan :DD

this website is awesome, honestly. I love this so much - trges

- tregs

!!!

- hello

hi jc!

- gaurav

I love your lyrics - Random person who you might or might not know

- random person

W site, really cool

- - hello

cool site

- <script>alert('lol')</script>

its may 16th 2024 and I'm reading this a whole year later again. idk, but this site is a absolute whirlwind. it makes me happy cry(I guess?) whenever I pop back in and read it. I know I didn't write a comment last year, probs because I dunno what to write, but thank you so much for being my sister . not sure if anyone is still looking at this, like I am, but this is amazing.

- xc