Stripe and Yellow 🐛🐛


It seems I’ve been mad the entire of 2023.

It was an eye-opening, life-views-I-used-to-know-shattering year.
My mental model of how the world works was completely challenged.

This year was marked by what turns out to be the biggest slap of reality so far – the passing of my mother-in-law, Neithan’s mom. We were unable to save her…

Lots of thoughts… lots of feelings…

Throughout the year, I’ve kept my trusty notepad on my phone so I can dump my thoughts.
Angry ones, mostly.
In moments of extreme anger and frustration, I wish I had screamed them out to the world.
It was just me, pouring out my heart to myself, sometimes merely whispering to thin air.

Since we are wrapping up this wondrous year, I’m carrying forward these thoughts with me to serve as my guideposts or reflective markers as I enter the doors of 2024.

APRIL 26, 2023​​

I’m so stupid for believing there are no strings attached to this.

The next time something seems too good to be true, too pure, I should take it as a sign that it could be a double-edged sword. It can either make my life better or suck the life out of me. I can’t believe I fell for such a trick. Too stupid of you, Jen.

May 13, 2023

I take responsibility for everything. Accountability. Everything is my doing. So now I’m taking action.

Everything that has happened in my life is a result of my choices. And some of these are not leading me to the kind of life I want. So now, some things have to change. From here on, I will try my best to make conscious, deliberate choices that align with my vision for the life I’m building with Neithan.

May 18, 2023

I work so I can increase my chances at having a better quality of life. If work decreases that rather than increases it, then it’s probably the wrong work.

I will be taking on an exciting journey of finding alternative ways of acquiring resources that aid me towards building the life I want. There are many, many options out there. Don’t tell me otherwise.

May 29, 2023

I just got rejected for an award and I couldn’t be happier.

“… ribbons are badges of slavery.” – Animal Farm.
I’m done fulfilling other people’s dreams.

June 18, 2023

Get a life.

Seriously. Enjoy that cup of coffee. Jog around the neighborhood. Eat that cheesecake. Rest on weekends. We should do more *life* things, activities that bring us life. Those that will make us randomly stare at the sky and just feel immense gratitude for life.

June 18, 2023

Why do I have to suffer the flaws of the system? This can’t be it, right? This can’t be life. There has to be a way out.

I often wonder how things might have been different for Neith’s mom’s situation if we had more financial resources at that time. 2022 ended with me not receiving my pay for a side hustle, which amounted to about four or five months’ worth of money, if I remember correctly. The work was completed, but I hadn’t been paid. Why? Oh, systemic flaws. That’s just the way it is. ‘Sorry, Jen. But we’re working on it.’ Then January 2023 came, a time when the money was most needed because of what happened to Neith’s mom, and it still hadn’t appeared in my bank account.

Neithan: My take on this is, if the work is riskless, the employers are okay with delaying payment. Riskless work means useless work. Work that carries true risk and not just some made up drama problem will pay full amount on time every time.

June 18, 2023

I strongly believe that deciding to design your life and actually doing it is the single best flex that will matter in the end. True success is living the life you choose, not the life others are choosing for you.

June 25, 2023

There are opportunities within the chaos. Don’t get distracted. Pay attention.

Neithan: …and the key is silence. Any man who really wants to fix a problem will respond to the attacks of life with silence (not crying). Crying means “stop no, don’t hurt me anymore”. Silence means, “your attack is done and I survived, my turn”.

June 27, 2023

Sometimes, the best help we can extend is to leave people alone. Give them space to breathe, to think, to execute.

June 27, 2023

Why is respect for one’s time so hard these days?

July 5, 2023

We take each day as an opportunity to increase our chances at winning in life.

July 7, 2023

One big lesson I learned: getting too close to your heroes isn’t always a pleasant experience. You know, those people we look up to and admire so much we want to be like them someday? Turns out they might not be as shiny up close.

Don’t get too close. Stay on the orbit.
Sometimes art is best admired from a distance.

July 9, 2023

When you’re paid enough, your body understands it’s your job to do. When you’re paid less (or not at all), your body retaliates.

July 26, 2023

There are real urgent things in life. Life or death situations. Absence of food to eat. No place to go home to. Lack of financial resources to save, or at least extend the life of a loved one. For those privileged enough to have these resources, and more, petty things can become urgent.

July 28, 2023

How does running out of time look like for you? Not making it to a deadline? Missing graduation because you failed a course? Death of a loved one?

August 14, 2023

Only you can help yourself.
Only I can help myself.

August 30, 2023

Choose your hard.

August 31, 2023

Is grunt work worth it when you’re sad and tired with no money at eod?
With a promise of a *better* life *in the future*, is it worth it?
What if we run out of time and death comes before the better life.
Is it worth it?

September 2, 2023

Don’t flinch at the first sight of discomfort or challenge.
You’re not weak, are you?
You can’t stop life from hurting you.
Get strong.

September 4, 2023

Everything these days is urgent, leaving us with no time and energy for the real emergencies. Have we really progressed?

September 8, 2023

“Is that in the slides” is starting to be a big pet peeve for me. Don’t make your incompetence my incompetence. Analytical problems are, well, meant to test analytical skills. The slides are not meant to house solutions to analytical and computational problems. They are meant to give the foundations, the tools.
Stop looking for answers in the “slides”.

September 11, 2023

How is it acceptable to miss birthdays or move an already calendared personal get-together because we are too busy with work?
Work is meant to support the important parts of our lives, right?
Aren’t life events and time with people we love dearly supposed to be more important than work?
Why are we encouraged to *make time* for life instead of the other way around – life first then make time for work?

September 11, 2023

Jen, your agreeableness is not doing you any good. Your inability to say “no” and set boundaries for yourself is leading people to think you can do whatever you’re asked to do. Is that the life you want?

December 31, 2023: No, definitely not the life I want. Things will be different this time around.

October 5, 2023

Happy Teachers’ Day?
Teachers are undervalued.
They are overworked but underpaid.
They take care of other people’s children at the expense of time for their own families.
They work long hours with no overtime pay.
Giving them chocolates and flowers once a year doesn’t cut it.
They are valued? They are appreciated?
Increase their pay.
Give them vacation credits.
Grant them overtime pay.
Stop the overburdening of unnecessary work.
Don’t just greet them once a year with a fancy virtual greeting card.
But the system *can’t* do anything about it, right?
*Can’t* or *Won’t*?

October 17, 2023

I want dreams of Papa, not dreams of an email I have to send the next day.
I am constructing email messages in my head as I sleep.
Is this progress? Is this good work? *cue Revisions by NxNxNxN*
My Papa probably can’t get through to me because of the bulk of work-related obstructions on his way.

October 18, 2023

The last set (or rep), the most difficult one?
That’s what truly counts.
Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking you cannot do it.
You are stronger than that.

Probably a thought after a workout… :-))

November 21, 2023

Be careful when people say they’ve got your back.
Promises demand no effort; actions reveal the true intent.
Pay attention to what they do; not just what they say.
It’s like when the gun was fired –
you’ll see who truly stands with you and who steps aside.

November 25, 2023

Focus on doing the hard work and let the Universe handle the outcome.

November 28, 2023

Over organization does not always mean efficiency.
Nor does it mean productivity.
Sometimes, it’s a form of procrastination.

November 30, 2023

Take a closer look and you will see that the systems are never on your side.
You’re just another number on a spreadsheet, another cog in the machine that’s needed to keep the systems running.
You’re just a number.
Easily replaceable.

November 30, 2023

Good work does not always mean good money.

December 3, 2023

I am in awe of how one can have utter disregard and disrespect for another’s time and space.
Peace is truly expensive these days.
No wonder there’s such restlessness and unease.

December 13, 2023

Someone’s inability to plan properly should not be another person’s problem

December 31, 2023

I am among the rats sitting in front of a computer wishing it were Friday on a Monday.

Mondays were the hardest.
Friday evenings were my favorite, but still, weekends were short.
Is this how it’s supposed to be my entire life?
I don’t think so.

Something has to change.
I work so I can live.
Not live to be somebody else’s factory worker.
I refuse to be geared and programmed to make other people’s dreams come true.


December 31, 2023

Money is NOT evil. It’s a tool.

As I sit on our couch here at Saabii Emerald (what Neithan and I like to call our home in Naga), watching a YouTube video highlight of a Miracle- gameplay, I realize I’m able to do this comfortably because of money.
The electricity that powers our home,
the water that flows through the faucets and toilet pipes,
the WiFi connection,
the couch I’m sitting on,
the food in the fridge, … ,
EVERYTHING necessitates money.

If this is the case, then why is money branded as evil?
Look around the city… everything can be reduced to some Php value.
That building where you can find Starbucks?
Probably Php 50million.
The car my friend drives?
Maybe around Php 2million.
Kwekkwek sa Plaza? Php20.

Tell me, is money really evil?
Or some people just don’t want us getting rich so we can remain their slaves?

December 31, 2023

Elimination is the greatest form of self-care.
Eliminate bad habits.
Eliminate things that don’t help you achieve your outcomes.
Eliminate any form of toxicity.
Eliminate anything that does not feel right or good.
Eliminate anything that does not lead you to the life you want.

It can be hard, right?
But DECIDING makes it easier.

A little story…

Neithan and I have been exploring an animal-based dominant diet.
On November 4 we decided to stop eating rice.
As in truly decided to not eat rice anymore.
And here we are, almost two months in, we still have not eaten rice.
We have also been very cautious of our carb intake.
We still take a few bites of pasta and bread here and there.
But they no longer have the same power over us as they used to.
I can comfortably have a bowl of chow fan in front of me without feeling the great urge to devour it.
We mostly eat meat (beef, chicken, pork).
We have also switched to mostly drinking Americano, Latte, or Cappuccino for our coffee.
We still love our cakes, though.
One step at a time…
But we have already noticed great changes in our physical and mental states.
We used to feel groggy after meals.
But not anymore.
We no longer feel hungry all the time.
We can eat breakfast at 9am and have our next meal at 8pm.
We’ve learned to look at food as something that fuels us, rather than something that controls us.
We are building the habit of approaching food and eating rationally rather than emotionally – I will eat because my body needs fuel vs I will eat because I’m stressed.

Decide and it will happen.

Wow. What a year.
Thank you, 2023, for sending these new datasets our way.
We will make good use of them.

2024 will be different. 
A year of abundance…
Abundance of love, life, and everything that brings life.

Neithan and I wield the future.
2024 is going to be different.


2023 was very sobering.

It taught me there were holes in the way I viewed the world and that these incorrect principles I believed in were moving Jen and I from the life we want.

And this isn’t even just thoughts and theory. We really feel tired all the time.

And this tired feeling is a signal that we’re losing.

You know how when you’re sparring someone and you’re winning, you don’t feel tired at all? But when you are getting hit without being able to hit back you feel exhausted?

Or when you’re playing basketball and you score a point, running back to the opposite side of the court feels easier than when you miss the shot? It’s that feeling, it’s literally our nervous systems alerting us, “Hey, you are losing so hard right now”

Below are the memory points I’ve collected thru 2023 (mostly published in our Discord Server) and the lessons these memory points imprinted on me, starting from my mother’s initial hospitalization, to the moment she died (January 2023), to my first Christmas without Mama (December 2023)

When I had to transition to part-time teaching to secure higher-paying work for my mother’s hospital expenses, I had then already secured an accepted paper to a conference and had been given the registration funds I requested from the university’s research office. Essentially, I’m already set to present in the conference.

Then, upon learning of my switch to part-time, the head of the research office retracted the registration money because the rules say I cannot receive such aid as a part-time faculty. At the same time, there was a small research grant that I was heading which evolved into an industry collaboration with a reputable tech company, and the switch to part-time was an issue because part-time faculty can’t lead these types of collaborations. So they had to make some other full-time faculty be the lead of the project on paper while I did all the work to complete the project.

These events reminded me to pay attention to what people do and not what they say. Institutions will say things like, “we value you, and we care” but they will not even think twice about cutting you off when you present a case that goes against the rules. You don’t even have to do anything wrong, you just have to do something that’s not covered by the rules and you will experience very swiftly how little institutions really ‘value you’.

Second, it clarified for me that politics always wins over competence. There is nothing wrong with this, but now, I’m dedicating my life in pursuit of venues where you can still conquer with competence… and with the help of friends and some honest shadow work, I feel I’m beginning to see where these competence-driven fields are at.

Third, the rules aren’t wrong. And anyone who does not agree with the rules carries the burden of crafting their own path. So Jen and I are doing just that, crafting our own path. Anyone who does not agree with the rules and whose solution is to complain ad infinitum is a soyboy.

I’m calling this insight “the Drama Razor”.

Drama emerges more in teams solving made up problems. Teams addressing real problems tend to have drama minimized.

In the absence of a real problem to solve, drama is manufactured to mimic the inherent difficulty and chaos of solving a real problem.

I’m calling this insight “the Drama Razor”.

Drama emerges more in teams solving made up problems. Teams addressing real problems tend to have drama minimized.

In the absence of a real problem to solve, drama is manufactured to mimic the inherent difficulty and chaos of solving a real problem.

When we first moved Mama into the renovated house after her leg got amputated, the first thing I noticed the next morning was she wore light lipstick, jewelry, and greeted me good morning like she wanted me to notice.

I wish I hadn’t been so stingy with my words. I wish I had said she was beautiful. She really was. I can’t explain it. She’s so old with a leg cut off but she was at that moment… beautiful.

Instead, I was on survival mode, thinking where to get the next set of cash to pay for her weekly needs. Can’t even say what I really wanted to because if I break character and be all touchy feely I’ll get off grind mode.

I wish I could have told her she was beautiful.

Crossed my mind because I saw a nice old lady outside CBTL and I thought, “My mom’s a prettier old lady than you”.

But now Mama will never know. 

I was too pussy to tell her.

I’ll never miss another opportunity to tell someone I love them.

The rich can’t flex on other rich people by being more rich. The rich can only flex on other rich people by showing they have more control of people.

When anything can be bought, the only toys worth playing with are other humans. The game becomes ‘how many humans follow me and do as I say’? Useless tasks are fabricated all day all over the world for this purpose alone. “How many humans do you own? I own this many. Look, I’ll make them do shit. Do your humans do what you tell them to?”

To the ones at the top, we are merely stored time and energy. We are cattle. We exist to make their lives better. We live to say yes. Our purpose is to be the pawns in games they design because the games designed by the top become the reality of people at the bottom. If you don’t believe this is how they are then you haven’t met them yet.

Outside 7/11 where I sit, I see at least 35 cars beating the red light.

That’s an estimated 70 Million Php worth of cars swooshing past me.

Why can they afford these cars and I can’t. Why do I not have access to 70 Million and other people do?

I gaze upward to look at the tall Katipunan buildings and think, “That building over there couldn’t possibly be made using less than at least 100 mil”. All these buildings combined and it would be a total net worth of at least a hundred billion dollars.

Why do I not have access to that money? Someone has that money at their disposal. Why not me?

Are these people better than me? Have they worked harder than me?

18 year old kids driving cars. 28 year old young married couples posting a different destination with their kids every week.

Why have they been able to unlock a life that a guy like me who’s working hard and working honestly 24/7 (tired day in and day out) cannot live?

After some shadow work, here is my answer. The greatest mistake I made was to believe the psyop that honesty and hardwork are prerequisites to money. They are not.

It’s simply inertia.

I can’t afford a car because I was born broke. My family also comes from a line of broke people. At least 12,000 generations of Casano’s roamed this earth fighting sabre-tooth tigers and evading ebola and none of them made it rich. I don’t see a “Casano ” in street signs, I don’t see it as a name of an event, I don’t see it as a sponsor to an award. The Casano name is poor and non-existent. It is an embarrassment to be born in this bloodline.

I’m betting on inertia. Hence, I start to dedicate my life to an accumulation of wealth and nothing more. Everything is a distraction; Money is the only truth.

Something I learned from watching Frieren which I think translates well to reality.

The only reason why a Demon (predator) will want to learn the language of Humans (prey) is for deception.

Any time a Demon says, “Let’s talk”, “Would you have time to meet”, “Lunch?”, you can bet its goal is to put you in total control and eventually consume you whole.

I wasn’t aware when this deception was happening to me.

But I was honest with myself, did my shadow work, faced reality, fixed my life so that I’m more difficult to damage, and fortified it to the point where Demons can still deceive and attack me but I can now inflict damage back, constantly working on it so I can in 2 – 3 years time slay some Demons myself.

I can now see this deception being done to new prey.

I hope they snap out of it and see through the bullshit.

Or not.

If they’re not perspicacious enough to figure out what’s happening then maybe they deserve to be prey.

Panic and anxiety are the correct responses to knowing that you are only 1 disaster away from irredeemable poverty.

I believe disorders are real, but in general people are too quick in demonizing anxiety and similar emotions as something that shouldn’t be felt and should instantly be inhibited by pills or therapy.

If your batchmate is earning 200k per month doing 1 job and you’re earning 45k doing 3 jobs and both of you graduated at the same time with the same degree, then envy and anger are the correct responses. This means your nervous system is functioning correctly, this means your psyche is still telling you the truth.

Emotions are alarms.

While normal alarms wake you up for the day; emotion alarms wake you up to reality.
Destroying these alarms means you stay in fantasy land.

This 2023, I became brutal with filtering which of my thoughts/wants/dreams are really my own and which ones are someone else’s aspirations/wants/dreams.

So as it appears, I really don’t want to self-actualize.

I was self-actualizing because I thought my basic needs were met. But because of the tragedy that befell Mama I realized that no responsible adult in my bloodline has secured the basics for the Casano name.

Essentially it seems that my life purpose is to secure money and resources for me and Jen and nothing more. All my talents and contributions are a farce. Everything I’ve done up to this point in time are useless riskless non-solutions to non-problems.

Money is the only truth. 2024 is the year of money.
All the good I did led to nothing so I am letting go of trying to be of SeRvICe to ThE CommUniTy or a MaN foR OthErS.

I am now a man for me alone.
As Bukowski said, “True kindness comes from the belly- all else is desperation”.

True help can only come from people who are already full.
We can’t rule out that hungry people help you because they want something in return.
I will be full. Then if the call to help is still there, I will.

But for now.

Me, me, me. Fuck everyone. I’m coming for what’s yours.
May your networks not leave you behind when I’m in the offense.

Writing down what you intend to do and actually doing them refactors your identity.

It turns you into a Sayer, someone who says they will do X and actually does X.

A Sayer is different from a Doer in a sense that a Doer relies on quantity of action.

“Let me do this 100x and see if something works once or twice”.

A Doer is reliant on luck.

A Doer cannot be trusted with life or death.

A Doer is a slave to chance.

A Sayer’s victory lies in describing what he will do and doing the work necessary to see his words become an actual tangible force in the world. 

The routine of saying something and actually doing them builds undeniable proof that you are a reliable person. And your mind responds to this. You become less anxious, less afraid. In the face of uncontrolled variables, you are unfazed.

Do the opposite repeatedly, say you will do X and actually go ahead and NOT do it, and you build undeniable proof that you are devoid of any control. You become anxious, perma-reacting to anything that’s happening because there is no X to keep you on some path. Any commotion becomes the new center of your life. All your attention goes to the next cool thing. All energy relinquished to the concern of people who do not care if you live or die.

2024, I will measure my success by how much of my words become reality.

Have you noticed Ad Hominem is not anymore a fallacy?

No matter how much what you say makes sense it always boils down to do you have the shit to back up what you say?

Take a look at this bitch for instance:

2024, I will ensure that I will be about it every time.
I will bury everyone in unfakeable undeniable publicly accessible proof that I know my shit. I have refused to participate in this degeneracy because I had hoped that the institutions would know better than to side with or hire based on following and clout, but the corruption really ran deep and it’s time to make some noise.

The reverse is the same, absolutely no opinions on anything I don’t know shit about.

It was an indelible memory point, my mother’s dead body in front of me during her wake and I received an email asking if we would be able to meet the deadline for a conference.

It’s a new data point, never have I imagined I would be asked about work while processing my mom’s immediate death. Flurry of thoughts. Do I not do what I said I’ll do? Do I not submit to conferences that I said I will submit to? Didn’t I already say yes to this last month? Am I not honorable with my word? What’s my track record -> Wasn’t I able to upload the deliverable I said I would upload the first time I was attending to my mom in the hospital when she got confined and lost a leg?

This on top of more than a decade of slaving away without once experiencing my bank account turn 7 digits. This on top of processing the phone call that happened a day before where the doctor was asking if I want to intubate Mama, and me choking on my words because I know we didn’t have money and none of the adults had money too.

Nothing wrong… it just allowed me to see that it’s all business.

As a good friend said over coffee, “Basta may cashflow, business yan, and you should treat it accordingly”.

It’s not community, it’s not friends, it’s not family. It’s strictly business.

The third mistake I made was outsourcing the accountability of taking care of Mama to my father and elder brothers. Being the youngest I thought there would be responsible adults to take the frontlines for these types of disasters. I was only able to afford care that would ‘keep her alive’ (house, househelp, daily supplies) but not care that would ‘heal her’ (therapy, medicine, 24/7 caretakers). I have failed because I have trusted that the world has responsible adults. There are none.

During Mama’s funeral most visitors were saying, “Oh, your mom and I were best friends”. Bruh, stop the cap. You were nowhere when we were struggling. Delusional bitch trying to score Scooby-snacks from heaven, thinking that intention is enough to qualify her as a good person.

I have not trusted anyone since January 2023, I will not trust anyone ever again. Money, power and status. The ability to kill at will. The ability to heal at will. It will all be mine.

The first generation of Casano’s start with me.

Casano rising.

From Yujiro Hanma, “Preservatives, food coloring, antiseptics, and various chemicals…

How can they be good for you?

However, only eating healthy food- I can’t say that’s very sound either.

Eat both poison and nutritious food. 

Enjoy the taste of both and transform them into flesh and blood.

That attitude is vital with anything you put inside your body”

Full command of good and evil. Yin and Yang.
There is no good or bad, there is only the ability to command one or both.
And commanding both is the epitome of existence.

Despite all these, I am grateful for this life.

It’s just that it’s my first time seeing the rule book.
It’s the first time I’m deciding how I wish to play.
It’s my first time seeing everyone as opps to destroy.
It’s my first time seeing the world for what it is.

I am so late to the game. But Luke was right, I can’t unsee the game now.
And participating in any other game besides this feels unattractive now. 

Money, Power, Status, Fame.
The ability to kill at will. The ability to heal at will.

It will all be mine.

The best life for Jen and myself.


One day at the pillar, three thuds startled Stripe. Three big caterpillars had fallen from someplace and smashed. Two seemed dead but one still wiggled. Stripe whispered, “What happened?” "Can I help?” He made out just a few words. “The top....they’ll see.... Butterflies alone...”