Weekly 3: On Making Videos, Flannels, and Depth

Not making videos, becoming comfortable in my clothes, and coloring maps.

Alec Chen
5 min readDec 26, 2020


My best attempt at mimicking those top-down flat-lay Instagram photos


A little bit ago, I was very seriously considering starting a YouTube channel. I had given this whole content creation thing a solid go, and it was going pretty well.

I figured YouTube is better for getting my work out in front of more people, and so I thought it’d work out well. I was considering it so much that my 3D engine article actually started out as a video. I’d pretty much filmed everything I needed, but I never finished it. I’d anticipated that the process of making videos would be a lot of work, and I already had and still have a mountain of respect for quality YouTubers, but halfway through I no longer wanted to do the work I once did, and honestly, I’m glad.

I’m not glad to be growing and getting views at less than half the rate of YouTube channels on my caliber, but I enjoy writing much more than putting together a video, and I think my content generally cooperates better with the form of an article.

It’s unfortunate that there isn’t as much of a market, that people don’t consume articles the same amount they consume videos, but it is what it is. I’m not closing the door on other forms of content creation, but I’m just appreciating writing for the role it plays in my life right now. I’m not sure of my own intentions of building an audience anymore, but I enjoy writing and putting together pieces. It’s doing enough for me already right now that I think I won’t worry about the whole audience-building aspect for a little while.

We’ll just have to see.


Just the other day, I found myself coming back to an article of clothing I had deliberately pushed out of my wardrobe a while back: the flannel.

Just a year ago, I used to wear a flannel at least once a week. I found it very important not to wear the same outfits too often, and flannels were one of a few pieces I had to help me vary what I wore.

It’s very difficult to explain the sublime instincts that make us care about what others think of us, but if I had to take a guess, I thought it was so important to wear different things because I thought people cared. I thought people would think less of me for demonstrating a poor sense of fashion, and I thought less of myself because I felt like I didn’t dress well. It reads kind of stupidly when I type it all out like this, but I could not have more confidence in the fact that this exact thought process and others like it are extremely common not only in high school but everywhere in life.

To generalize the concepts a bit more, they boil down to

  1. Thinking others care x thing about you, and valuing what they think
  2. Valuing what you believe others think you should be with regards to x so much that your own image of yourself is impacted by x

It wasn’t just that I would think less of myself because I didn’t dress well, but it was also that my notion of “dressing well” was my notion of what others think is dressing well. Or at least it was whatever vague distorted jumble of comments and things I’d heard that comprised the idea of what I thought others wanted. Although I had chosen my own pieces, I had chosen them within the realm of what I thought was acceptable to others.

Since then, my fashion sense, and more importantly, my view on the clothes I wear, have changed tremendously.

This semester, I actively chose to wear the same very few pieces. I wore the same or very similar outfits several times a week if not the entire week. And I loved it.

And recently, I threw on my old flannels. I wore them both buttoned up over a tee on top of dark-washed denim. This is an outfit I would have cringed to see myself wearing a year ago, but the other day I was pretty into it. It’s a bit cozy and the head-to-toe workwear has a cohesive look.

It makes me look and feel a little bit more like a country-farm type of guy, and although I really wouldn’t have wanted to give off that impression a year ago, I don’t mind it now.

I don’t really know how I shifted. Maybe it was just that upon exiting high school I stopped worrying about others as much. Maybe I grew more confident in other areas of my life. Maybe I gained awareness of my preference for clothing.


Things in life generally get better.

Of course, there are ebbs and flows, and your attitude towards life is the ultimate deciding factor, but generally, I would say things get better.

One reason is that you experience life to a greater depth.

As a child, you really only experience very surface-level pleasure like through sugar and gifts and laughter.

Then through education and living your life, you experience a greater, more complex, more meaningful appreciation for things in your life. Through relationships, work, hobbies, books, clothing, Saturday morning adult men’s soccer club, or even the same things you enjoyed as a child renewed by your new understanding, you experience life to a greater depth.

When people ask about the reason for education, or the reason for multidisciplinary education when you don’t need to understand biology as a musician, or about ancient Egypt as an electrical engineer, people might try to use this idea of depth as a reason. If someone were to ask why they should have kids, people might do the same, claiming that it brings some sort of distinct shift in perspective that makes you experience life differently.

When I was younger and hated social studies and asked why I was still coloring maps in middle school, I was given something along the lines of this reason. But looking back, it’s hard to convince someone using a reason that they seldom think about, and probably have never even though of in their day to day life. And it’s even harder when that reason is something as sublime and immeasurable as the “depth of experience.” And it’s even harder to articulate something like that, and the best I can do is to reduce it to just, “ya know, depth of experience.”

Don’t really know where I was going with this but I hope you enjoyed it.

For anyone who cares, I did write a tech article this week, and although I did procrastinate a day or two, I got it done. The reason it’s not out yet is that I submitted it to a publication, and I’m waiting to hear back.

Next Friday is the new year. I don’t have anything particularly special to share next week, but New Year’s and the year coming to a wrap is always a fun topic, so I look forward to writing about it.

Merry Christmas!