About this blog

I can’t remember everything. In fact, anything past the last week gets pretty fuzzy. That’s why I try to share as much as I can through this personal blog. You’ll find notes about sketchnoting, Emacs, visual book reviews, self-tracking, blogging, life, automation, delegation… whatever I’m learning about or whatever I can help other people learn.

I post roughly weekly (well, twice: Emacs News, and my weekly review), and someday I’ll get back to being able to write more often. Since I write about a wide range of topics, you may want to browse or subscribe to specific categories – or maybe you want to see everything, because the intersections of interests can be fun.

If there’s anything you’d like to learn more about, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you! Maybe we can learn more about things together. =)

If you like what you’re reading, you can subscribe so that updates are automatically delivered to you daily, weekly, or monthly. =) Enjoy!

About me

2014-03-05 About me - Sacha Chua #bio

2014-03-05 About me – Sacha Chua #bio

For a quick overview, see my 5-year vision and my three-word philosophy (learn – share – scale). =) I’m currently:

  • mostly focused on taking care of an awesome toddler
  • experimenting with business and semi-retirement on a very casual basis
  • sketching on my Lenovo X220i tablet PC – mostly a daily journal, but sometimes other thoughts
  • writing down snippets because (a) it helps me think more clearly, (b) I’m probably going to need it again, and (c) it may help someone else along the way
  • 34 years old (turning 35 in August 2018), if that helps contextualize things for you
  • … and more, of course

I have also been:

  • A teacher of computer science – I loved teaching the introductory courses because I enjoyed convincing freshmen that computer science was actually fun
  • A fire dancer (poi), because my sister taught me and then dragged me along on her professional gigs
  • A fiction writer specializing in flash fiction (really short short stories)
  • An open source maintainer of the Planner personal information manager and the Remember module, both for Emacs
  • An open source contributor to projects like Emacs Relay Chat and the Compaq iPaq Linux bootloader
  • … and many other things

How to pronounce my name: SAh-shah CHEW-ah (Listen to the MP3). If you mispronounce it, don’t worry. =)

“Sacha Chua” can be a little hard to spell, so you can also get to this blog at LivingAnAwesomeLife.com.

Colophon: Tools

I use a WordPress self-hosted blog on a Linode virtual private server. Fonts:  Open Sans. Commenting system: Disqus.

I use Emacs and Org Mode for my weekly reviews (and pretty much everything else). I use Krita on a Lenovo X220i tablet PC for many of my drawings, and I sometimes scan in paper with a Fujitsu ScanSnap IX500 or a multifunction printer.

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  • Dear Sacha,

    I am Tariq Abu -Assaf, working in SBM, Saudi Arabia IBM
    I am a php developer, and I want to learn Drupal mpdule development

    can you tell me the best way to learn.
    also can I take your email please.

    • Joel Padilla

      Hello Sacha, to be honest this blog really helpful. There’s a lot of information I can learn and share with everyone.

      I love to hear more information about how an Internet Entrepreneur became successful in their chosen job.

  • A great way to learn is to practise on a project – your own, an internal project, or a client project. Join the IBM Drupal Users group (search w3) for webinars and to hear from people working on projects. For module development, read the Drupal handbook and read the source code for modules similar to what you want to build. You can find my IBM e-mail in Bluepages or Lotus Connections Profiles. Good luck!

  • Hey Sacha,

    I’m Karen from the Philippines and I so love your blog :)
    I accidentally found this when Im doing a research about negative productivity.
    Anyway, I am also a writer. But I am amazed on how you present yourself.
    Well, hope to hear from you.



  • Hi Sacha! I noticed that I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but I haven’t left a comment in your about page! haha. :D

    I suggest that you should also have a blogroll page (just like mine), so that readers who love your blog can also see what blogs you love. ^_^

  • @sacha – Awww… your Google reader shared items link doesn’t work anymore. O_O Hehehe… It has been almost a year since I last visited your about page. Yay :D

  • jehzlau: Added a link to my Google Reader shared items in my description. Thanks for the nudge!

  • Ray

    Your blog (and your approach to blogging [and life in general]) is awesome.

  • Ray: Awww, thanks! Happy education-hacking!

  • Priya.D

    Hey Sacha,

    I am amazed by your blog…Great work.. Actually I am depressed of what I will be on the next coming years in my career,but hey, I paused on your blog and think what if I could spend my mind in happiness,cooking,gardening,parenting..etc..etc..like you…there is loads and loads of things to do apart from work..I realized it after reading your blog.

    Thanks Sacha!! Keep blogging …..

    • Life is short, and eight hours a day is a large part of your waking life. =) Your work should either be something that makes you happy or that pays you enough so that you can focus on the things that make you happy. It’s possible, although each person has to figure out the path for himself or herself. Good luck!

  • Priya.D

    Sacha, I’d love to see your albums which contains your childhood,teenage and wedding.. can you pls post it

  • Anonymous

    “A fiction writer specializing in flash fiction (really short short stories)”

    I didn’t see anything yet, Sacha…!!! can you post it?

  • Grzesiek

    Fajny blog, szczególnie część poświęcona Eamcs :)

  • At first, i tot ur name is sakaaah choowaah… sasha pala. ^__^ (grabe u are sooooo geeeeekkkkkk O__O)

  • Kaya may MP3. =) Salamat!

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  • Gyrovagi

    You.Are.Amazing. I think I want your brains.

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  • Osama

    Hi Sacha,,
    You are an awesome talented girl.
    Where are you from originally?
    and are you single?
    Have a nice day

    • Um, thanks, but that’s kind of weird. Please don’t do this on the Internet – it’s like being that creepy guy who tries to hit on people at work, or who’ll only talk to you if there’s a chance of being in a relationship. I might be reading this wrong, but just so you know, that’s how people might read it.

      • z

        i came here to leave you a nice reply since i always end up using a tutorial u made for drupal then I read this message and I realized that … ur kind of sad..

    • I only discovered this Web site/log today but, from what I have redd so far, I gather that Sacha is (originally) from the Philippines and has a (presumably human) husband.

  • Sacha

    Hi Sacha,
    My name is Sacha as well. I was so surprised to find someone with the same name as me. It is so rare! I am in the credential program for English, and I am so incredibly shy speaking in front of people. I am hoping to gain more confidence as I learn more, but am afraid it may be too late. I have a lot of anxiety as I am going to start student teaching soon, but I love learning about education, and how to be a good teacher. I hope that by more experience, I can get over my shyness a little bit. Do you have any tips for me to use for my first lesson? Thank you!

    • One of the things I learned when I was a teacher was that my enthusiasm for the subject (computer science, in my case) could push me past my nervousness, and actually, students can be quite understanding and helpful if they see that you care. You don’t have to be the expert. You and your students can learn together: they’ll learn about the subject you’re teaching them, and they’ll help you learn about teaching. Good luck!

  • Dear Sasha,
    i am a commercial artist ( mostly animation design) and teacher living in the Toronto area.
    I was very pleased to run across you and your blog. You are an interesting person-using what the world has to offer to stay sane! We need more like you.
    i’ll be back to visit often! regards, Scott

  • Paulo Camilo

    Dear Sasha,

    What a wonderful blog! From today, you’ll be part of my morning site reading coffee.

    Paulo Camilo, a moleskine visual mind mapper, sketcher, it project manager, pet friend, from Portugal.

    • Thanks for reaching out! =) Do you share your notes anywhere?

  • Oh, you have a number of areas that are overlapping with my interests and pursuits!

    • Looking forward to swapping notes! =)

      • I’d love to, looking forward to it too. Let me know your Dropbox and GPG key, when you start using GPG again.

      • I have to make my notes easily sharable before we can share it. So, I created a task https://gist.github.com/Mindey/02eff1fcec0098a1fb72 that needs to be done before we can share. Any ideas or comments are very welcome!

        • That’s a neat idea! =) I wonder what the Emacs equivalent might be like…

  • Misstotofu

    Love your blog, needless to mention the meaningful sketchnote you’ve created, they’re AWESOME!

  • Remy Santos

    Hi Sacha, Can you tell me who wrote this Christmas Parody song?


  • Mujahid Ali

    Hi Sacha, your skecth is amazing.. I like it so much..

  • Fantastic blog … Great sketches. Love the eclectic diversity … Inspiring … Even makes me want to get an Autodesk Sketchbook Pro too … Want to turn my new book Gamechangers.pro from thousands of tired words into energising images … Well done Sacha!

  • Dwain

    Sacha, you’re a very interesting and dedicated person to say the least. As I’ll be finishing my medical degree in 8 months time, I’m about to set about memorising 95-97% of an 869 page dense medical text book called Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Handbook-Clinical-Medicine-Handbooks/dp/0199232172. I’ll be using the memory techniques most memory world champions advocate (although I’m no where near in that league). Your blog is inspiring me to integrate a memory palace approach with mapping on paper – I don’t think the two things are mutually independent from each other. What are your thoughts? Have you tried memorising a lot of information before using multiple memory palaces? Thanks again for all your fantastic work. From Dwain, Australia

    • Dwain: Hmmm… I’ve never been particularly spatially oriented, but I’ve heard good things about the memory palace approach. I read about it in depth in “Moonwalking with Einstein”, and I helped J- apply it when she needed to memorize some history facts for a test.

      I think mapping things out on paper and visualizing the walk-throughs might make a great combination. Please share how that works out for you! =)

  • My thirty second (0:30) impression of your site: there must be some mistake. There is no way that photo matches the content. Everybody knows that emacs users look like me! ☻ OK see ya.

    • Idea: she really needs a ‘Photos” link at top. In Facebook ones photos are always only one click away.

      • Dan Jacobson

        P.S. the Login with facebook button here is super flakey. All I wanted to add is now with BBDB3, things are different…

        • Super different! I probably won’t be migrating just yet, since Google Contacts is okay (although definitely not as awesome as BBDB was for me).

      • I figure people who want to know what I look like (beyond the pic in the header) could use Google Image Search or something like that. =)

    • Yeah, I’ve had occasional complaints about my non-bearded state over the years. ;)

  • Alexandre Nassar

    En russe Sacha est l’équivalent d’Alexandre. Je suppose pour une fille ça doit être Alexandra. Je suis très impressionné par l’énergie positive que tu dégages et qui t’a permis de réaliser tant de grandes chose en si peu de temps.
    Bravo Alexandra.

  • Sandra Irish

    I would like a copy of your Living an Amazing Life printable. Is that possible

  • Cyberis

    You go girl. You are doing all the right stuff at the right time in your life.

    • Thanks! Couldn’t do it without the community. =)

  • Fry

    Awesome, I wished I had a couple of years for projects and explorations. There is just so much information out there and so many different decisions to make, I’m really lacking the time to not have the feeling that I’m missing out on big opportunities, ideas and inspirations.

    • Are there small ideas you can play around with? =)

  • Awwweessoomee! I haven’t visited your blog for many years now. Your blog is still updated frequently. I wish I have this passion for blogging like you have. I haven’t updated my blog for quite a loooooong time now. Haha! :D See you around (in the WWW) Sacha. :D

    • Thanks for dropping by again! =) It turns out that if you make blogging part of the way that you learn, it’s easy to keep a blog up to date. I’m learning something new every day, so I might as well share. Would that approach work for you?

      • Thanks sacha! I’ll keep that tip in mind to help bring my blogging mojos back. :D Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

  • Matt M.

    I just came across your blog about disassembling your new washer and dryer to fit down a hallway. Can I ask where you got the service manuals? We also bought LG and several web searches have turned up nothing.

    • Lots of digging on the Web. This one seems to be a service manual for WM2140C*, which is sufficiently close to what we have. =) Would that work for you?

  • Came across your blog while looking for some ideas on presenting visual concepts. Awesome drawings you have there and it helped to inspire some ideas. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks! Happy to answer your questions, if you have any. Are you looking for ways to improve your visual vocabulary? I’ve written a few tips on how to build your visual library, and images.google.com offers lots of ideas.

  • royaso

    because I enjoyed convincing freshmen (s/than/that) computer science was actually fun

  • 董超


  • sanji

    Just came accross your blog and i love it :)

  • Nik Stasov

    Руководитель отдела Google, в котором разрабатывают пользовательский
    интерфейс сайта, как-то рассказывал, что у них есть анонимный помощник.
    Всякий раз, как на главной странице сайта добавляется хотя бы одна новая
    буква, он немедленно пишет гневное письмо. Сейчас размер файла
    google.com/index.html – 3799 байт. Отчасти именно его усилиями. А в недалёком будущем, в постапокалиптическом мире командная строка останется единственным возможным форматом.

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  • Marianne

    I was looking up Mustachianism on YouTube and found your episode on Frugal Fire. As soon as your name came up, I was like, wait…. she is the super smart girl from Eliazo! I think I was a freshman then and you were known for your smarts (really!). I am so glad I landed on your blog – I feel like your 3 word philosophy and a lot of topics in your sketchnotes are what my brain has been trying to digest for a long time now and I am just not good at dumping the contents out. If I am successful, I am not good at organizing them. I downloaded your Sketchnotes 2014 and it is gold! I’ve always been interested in mind mapping and note taking and my issue has always been my focus on formatting which derails my focus on content. Looking forward to learning more from you. Thank you!

    • Hah, formatting! Yeah, I find it reassuring to remember that I don’t have to make art, I just have to get stuff out of my head. (And ideally, into a form I can read later. =) )

      I hope the sketches can be a good jumping-off point for you. I’d love to learn from whatever you share, too!

  • Chris Uka

    It’s really crazy how I ended up here. But this is like literally the online environment that I was looking for. Literally had a bunch of questions, and a lot of them were answers, or a link to away where it can be answered!

    • It’s great that we had similar questions, and that our thoughts are organized in similar ways! What were you looking for?

      • Chris Uka

        Well pretty much, what I wanted to do was inquire how to make a blog page teach myself and begin to blog, lay my ideas out in different ways, and learn different coding techniques! I also liked the idea of you being semi retired, but also understand that you have been working on your webpage for a long time. It’s also very interesting how I ended up on your webpage even.

  • Aparna Ramesh K

    WOW! I stumbled over here and couldn’t stop reading. You are living an awesome life! :) Kudos

  • Lyndon Tremblay

    going outside of my usual character, i want to say that you are my favorite internet person of all time, and if the world was any more perfect i would want to marry you forever! how is there such a cool and cute asian chick so intelligent and entertaining and so into emacs!! keep living that awesome life!!

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  • -ZG

    Love your blog; great work and great attitude. Every few years I come across your site while searching some related topic.
    From now on I’ll make it a point to check back.

  • Al C.

    Your blog is awesome, I really don’t know how I came here, but I am glad!