Hi, I'm Russell, a writer and programmer.

"That is well said," Candide replied, "but we must cultivate our garden." — Candide, Voltaire (trans. Peter Constantine)

This site is my digital garden. I post here maybe once a month, but pages are updated randomly. I also write a newsletter called rwblog.

Here are some of my favorite things I've written here or on my newsletter:

The Bridge

Borgesian short fiction about a creepy bridge.

Pattern Language

A guide to some of the concepts I return to a lot.

28 Pieces of Advice for 28

Doling out advice for my 28th birthday.

Calendrical and Cartographic Thinking

Comparing how we think when looking at calendars and maps.

A REPL for Writing

As a writer, should I deliberately practice time-to-feedback?

Writing Compiler

My preferred way of thinking about large language models.

Software Engineers and the Illusion of Explanatory Depth

Are software engineers less vulnerable to this bias?

How many programmers does it take to fix a lightbulb?

Fermi estimation in programming interviews as discipline error.

Cinema as the cathedral of modernity

Are films the modern equivalent of medieval cathedrals?

Modernism as Global Monoculture

Is modernity a single cultural 'package'?

Safari is the Lightest Browser

Explaining why I like Safari (hint: it's the vibes).

How to Read a Lot

My tips on reading a lot.

Strange Things About Melbourne

Interesting things I noticed while vacationing in Melbourne.

Communities of Practice

Why I find it hard to intentionally practice photography.

New Absurdism

In which I try to give a name to a new genre I see emerging.

What’s the use of useless questions?

Should we care who wrote the Odyssey?

My Favorite Bookstore Is A Library

Many libraries are willing to buy books for you!

Small Things To Make Life Better

Cheap but lovely gifts to give at a surprise white elephant party.

In Which I Wax Nostalgic for My Lost Youth

A navel-gazing quarter-life crisis post.


Professionally, I am a software engineer. I will soon be starting a new role at Descript and was formerly a product engineer at Asana (see my resume). I have a bachelor's degree in computer science & mathematics from the University of British Columbia. I live in San Francisco with my wife Sherry and our small canine companion Rooibos.


This site is built with Astro. It primarily uses the Transitional fonts from Modern Font Stacks. The site is served via Cloudflare Pages. You can see the full source on Github.


Unless otherwise specified, all content on this site is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

After an initial flurry of opening hellos, he and Russell — the wonderful girl's brother's name was Russell, a name which to Arthur's mind always suggested burly men with blond mustaches and blow-dried hair who would at the slightest provocation start wearing velvet tuxedos and frilly shirt fronts and would then have to be forcibly restrained from commentating on billiards matches — had quickly discovered they didn't like each other at all. — So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Douglas Adams