The Journal

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2024-07-11 (♃): My north is the south

My biggest dream is to move to this general area of the world:
The tip of South America. Clean air, few people, clear skies, beautiful nature. Just a few more years and the dream will come true.

2024-07-10 (☿): A new chapter of my character development arc

In the end I decided I wouldn't be able to sell my PC easily so I'm giving it away to my senior neighbors who've always done much for my family. I still haven't handed it off to them because I need to move some files off it to a more compact laptop hard drive so I can give them the computer with proper storage. This machine served me well for many years, but when I symbolically free myself from it, may my lifestyle take a turn for the better. No, I'm not completely removing computers from my life; I still have an old laptop that I'll use to update the site.

2024-07-05 (♀): Happy new Attic year / Selling my computer

Happy new year according to the Attic calendar! Beginnings are times of change that are always good as instances of reflection. One of the traditional meanings of the Moon in astrology and the like is change and movement, and with the new Moon happening in its own sign of Cancer, what a better time to think about my future.
I think I'm gonna sell my desktop computer and start using the internet less. Most of my time online is a waste, and there's almost nothing new to see on the net, so why do I still spend so much time in front of the computer when I could be reading books or drawing? My monitor is an energy vampire. I'm not gonna abandon my site, of course. In fact, whenever I do decide to go online, it's gonna be to update my site. And for that I don't need a big machine that nails me in place. Well, such is the plan, at least. It's gonna be a gradual thing, but once this thing leaves my room, it's over.

2024-07-04 (♃): The future of digital art

So... artificial "intelligence", huh? For today's entry I had written something entirely different than what's below, but ultimately I digressed too much, so here's just the conclusion.

Digital art is endangered, en route to extinction, because of AI art generators. As these become more powerful and the distinction between real pieces and generated ones turns into a murky matter, any digital pieces will become suspect of having been generated. This is already happening. There's always been people who've discredited digital art as fake. But the fact that it can now be generated by a machine grants to any person who values authenticity in art and, most importantly, its humanity, a valid reason to view future digital art with suspicion. More on this later. "But cid, we have robots with mechanical arms that can paint! If you make them paint generated art, this also casts doubt onto traditional art". Sure, but is it really cheaper and easier to make fake paintings using expensive custom-built robots than to generate thousands of jpgs at the press of a button? I doubt it, and that's why I believe digital art will lose a lot of prestige in the coming years.

Sadly this means that legit artists who happen to make digital pieces will have difficult times ahead. I mentioned above that people who value authenticity and humanity in art will suspect digital art, but the majority of people who are against AI art antagonize it for more "worldly" reasons such as loss of artistic jobs and copyright issues (they are NOT luddites). These actively and ferociously attack artists whom they believe are using generative techniques in their work by cancelling them and sending them threats, etc. Now you know that looking like AI is not the same as being made by AI, so they make mistakes in their attacks, too... such is the paranoia and fear. The worst thing about this is that since their behavior is so similar to cancel culture, everyone against it will just accept the end of human art as a middle finger to those darned artists and "luddites". Thus nobody wins.

The situation is sad and I can't offer a solution. Just go traditional? That won't work for a lot of people. I wish technology didn't exist only to substitute and alienate mankind, but I guess that's just its nature. In the end, and maybe this is a little edgy, as the legitimacy of digital art is fought over while under the siege of machines and stupid people, the traditional artist, armed with pens and brushes, will still make art and have the peace of mind that nobody, except maybe the craziest among us, will ever question its authencity.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am.

2024-07-02 (♂): Children on the internet

Interacting with people online these days feels weird. I guess I'm just getting old. I follow a lot of sites on Neocities and it turns out that a few of them are owned by minors; we have an age difference of about 15 years, easy. And I don't follow them because I like to follow children; the opposite, in fact. Given the consequences that associating with children online can bring, I'd rather not have to deal with them at all. Sometimes I learn their small number of solar returns a posteriori, sometimes not at all, so they can't be avoided. Nobody on the internet knows you're a dog, after all, and I was online as a kid, too. Maybe the wise thing would be to unfollow their sites and avoid any association, but then I thought that they won't be the first nor the last minors I encounter online as the online population gets younger...

My real life job involves interacting with children, and I understand their jokes, concerns and fears (perhaps I'll talk more about that in a future post), but it's odd to have to share spaces with them online, you know. It depends on the person, but we tend to be rather foolishly intimate online, and that's why there's so much abuse. I wonder what's my role here. Eventually we'll get bored of this stupid thing that the internet ended up being and we'll have to pass the baton to the young kids. In the meantime, do we just ignore them? Do we pretend they don't exist? It's like we treat them like the plague.

2024-06-14 (♀): I like early English

I found myself reading some very old books for a pointless project of mine and I noticed that early modern English is very fun to read. I dig the inconsistent orthography, the random capitalization, the long Ss, and especially the silent "e"s at the end of words. It's not even that different from contemporary English but it's got an edge to it that immediately transports me to a very different time. I read it and I imagine myself in a tabern discussing with my fellow drunkards whether we should really be caring about the Pope or not. A simpler time. Here's an excerpt of The Blazon of Gentrie by John Ferne (1586):

			You ſhall not trouble your ſelfe, with opening to me, the natures or
			intendements of the colors & mettals, becaufe I haue learned, both
			them, and the rules of blazon perfectly already. So that, I know my ſelfe
			able, to blaze by all thoſe waies and meanes whereby Armes were euer
			blazoned, & do well vnderſtand all the termes of blazon, although the
			Herealde would blaze, either, by the names of colours, or of planets, or
			of Gemmes, or dayes in the weeke, which foure ſorts of blazon, containe
			all the maners of blazon that euer were yet inuented.
I should learn how to write like this! I love it, hahaha!

2024-06-13 (♃): What a waste

It's truly egregious how much time and money is wasted every day to show ads, especially online. Every day a new technology is developed not to make the world better but to shove products and services that you don't need down your throat. Oh, how the pursuit of progress has hurt us. According to SponsorBlock's developer, youtube is testing server-side ad injecting, obviously to sabotage ad blockers further as they become more popular. The enlightened hackers who work incessantly to combat g**gle's corporate greed and who deserve spots of honour in every paradise of every religion will surely surmount any and all obstacles thrown at them, but how ridiculous it is for this battle to keep raging on. I'd like to believe, maybe naively, that these corps are unfounded in their belief on ads, that they have no effect, and that people would happily block them all if they knew how to, but life, fair as it is, brings to all as much disappointment as it brings joy.

2024-05-13 (☽): More options in hora.c and attic.c

Inspired by some comments from Thricegreat, I modified my programs hora.c and attic.c to add a couple more options to each. Now I can type echo $(attic -a)$(hora -d) to get Ol.700.3 Tha. 7☽ 16♄, that is, right now it's the 16th planetary hour on the 7th of Thargelion, where the hour ruler is Saturn and the day ruler is the Moon (because it's Monday, of course). Just one alias and, voilá, I have an easy and conventient way to get the date and time. One thing to keep in mind is that planetary hours begin at sunrise while days in the Attic calendar begin at sunset (the 13th planetary hour), and that's fine. For most people the day ends around sunset, so it makes sense for the day counter to change then. On the other hand, the day clearly starts at sunrise for most people, so it also makes sense for the first hour to be at sunrise.

2024-05-12 (☉): Talking animals / C in Windows

In some children's shows with animals like Wonderful Precure, animals don't speak human languages but they can communicate non-verbally (as far as humans are concerned) with other animals even of different species except humans. In those stories we can't understand them beyond our intuition about how cats or dogs act, for example, much like in real life, but somehow they understand us even if they can't talk to us. Could it be that in those fictional worlds there exists a shared animal language that was bestowed upon everything except humans? In those worlds humans are excluded from universal communication. Well, if you think about it, it wasn't cats and dogs that built the tower of Babel.
It just so happened that I had to compile my hora.c program on Windows. Because gcc is so heavy, I got tcc as usual and successfully compiled the program on Windows XP (except that cmd.exe doesn't support Unicode; what the hell?). Anyways, when I tried the same thing on Windows 7 and 10, the program compiled but computations failed and therefore the output was meaningless. I determined that the culprit (?) was the function
double adjust_to_range(double value, double l_limit, double r_limit) {
	if (value >= r_limit)
		return value - r_limit;
	else if (value < l_limit)
		return value + r_limit;
	return value;
that adjusts value to the interval [l_limit, r_limit) and that I use multiple times. For example:
sunrise = adjust_to_range(sunrise + time_zone, 0,24);
For some reason this was setting sunrise to 0 no matter its original value. However, if I write the code like this:
sunrise += time_zone;
sunrise = adjust_to_range(sunrise, 0, 24);
then sunrise is adjusted to the interval [0,24), as expected. What, does tcc on Windows 7 and up not support evaluating expressions inside function arguments? Was I accidentally shooting myself on the foot with unexpected undefined behavior? No... this code was working on XP and Linux with the same compiler, so what's the issue? Well, after uncompressing 1.5GB worth of mingw-w64, I managed to compile it with gcc on Windows 7, so the issue had to be tcc. Or was it? I remembered that to compile my program on XP, I must have used the 32 bit version of tcc there, so I used it on 7 and, I'll be damned, the function actually does what it's supposed to! 64 bit tcc on Windows is buggy! How esoteric...

To all my secret enemies who desire my downfall: you'll have to try harder than that.

2024-04-28 (☉): Look at the sky

I never had an interest in looking at the sky until I started reading about astrology a few years ago. The real one, the traditional one, not the one in newspapers! Now I'm way more conscious of the planets and the stars above me, more than ever before. Their movements and positions, celestial hemispheres, the ecliptic, eclipses, lunar phases; everything started making sense as soon as I was shown them within the framework of astrology. I had even taken astronomy classes before and it all went through one ear and out the other; I couldn't engage with it. Checkmate, modern scientific education? Ah, life, so full of surprises, so full of unexpected turns and twists.

Anyway, the most interesting thing about astrology is not even that. As the good ancient art that it is, it obviously goes beyond that. But then it's simple: the symbolism. Astrology gives everything a meaning. Every part of the sky and every planet means something. It relates everything to our experiences. So, it doesn't only make you conscious of what you can see above but it also gives meaning and a reason to be to what would be just big floating space rocks otherwise. And not only that! Because planets move around the sky and their configurations are always different, every moment is distinct and special, every moment is meaningful! How romantic is that?

It's not like anyone's ever surprised or even pretends to care when I tell them "Oh, there's Venus; oh, there's Jupiter, the big guy!" What, did you already know that? Are you that used to the sky? Don't give me that crap. Go look at the sky NOW!

2024-04-27 (♄): Netscape in Spanish, part 2 / Making progress on my new animation

I managed to find Netscape 2.02 and 3.01 Gold in Spanish in a few old shareware discs and internet connection kits offered by ISPs (I can't believe people bothered to archive those). A complete victory. Only the 2.02 installer and browser were intact; 3.01 was branded by an ISP. It turns out these versions of Netscape are actually installed in English and are translated by using a language-specific DLL, so to build a Spanish installer I injected this DLL into the official, readily available, English installer for 3.01 thereby producing a Spanish version of 3.01 Gold that is, I hope, identical to the original. All the versions of Netscape I've managed to find in Spanish are available in's Netscape archive.
Anyway, I'm about to finish my next flash movie featuring the retired magical girl Kuon (pictured). It's just a matter of polishing the animation to make it look nicer, and add backgrounds and sound. For inspiration I downloaded the first season of Hidamari Sketch and watched a few episodes for background references. I had forgotten how sublime this show was. As much of a pleasure to the senses and the heart as the first time I watched it. They don't make them like they used to.

2024-04-22 (☽): Netscape in Spanish

In order to fulfil my mad imperative to make my site as backwards compatible as possible, I've had to test it in multiple vintage browsers, one of them Netscape. However, I was unable to find a copy of Netscape 4.04 in Spanish. It wasn't in the Internet Archive, it wasn't in any of the mirrors of the Netscape FTP, it was nowhere to be found, probably lost media as people never really bothered to do full backups of all translated versions of the program.

For a long time I searched the vast landscapes of the net in vain, hoping to find at least one file. No results. But then I found DiscMaster, a search engine that looks for files deep in the vaults of the Internet Archive, in particular inside old CD images (think shareware discs). Armed with newly found hope, I looked up N32E404.EXE (the filename of the Netscape 4.04 installer) and was presented with a list of results. It had found the file in multiple discs with names in English, German and Japanese. Obviously, I thought, the exact file I wanted wouldn't be in any of them. Death! But I pushed on, and never losing faith, I clicked on the disc titled DOKAN 6. I noticed once I saw the cover that it was the companion disc to a Spanish anime magazine from back in the day (1998 or so), so I downloaded the N32E404.EXE within and... YES! It really was Netscape 4.04 in Spanish! I almost cried (not really)... I had really thought this version of the browser in my language was lost in time. I spent an entire afternoon looking through these anime discs, finding even more versions of Netscape in Spanish (enough to start my own collection), but ultimately I was enchanted by all the low resolution videos, photos and music of anime shows of the time.

Anyway, that was my humble archeological adventure. Who would've thought that I would find the files I wanted in an old anime mag? I'm thankful not only to the authors of the magazine for (unknowingly) salvaging these rare files, but also to all the people who rip discs like these and upload them to the Internet Archive for losers with too much free time for their own good like me to find. Who knows, maybe someday I'll even find Netscape 3 in Spanish. Tempus edax rerum... not this time, I guess.

2024-04-15 (☽): Navigator, explorer

Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer... those names just teem with romance, don't you think? What's the most popular browser now? "Google" "Chrome". A meaningless word and a boring metal. Implied is no more exploring, no more adventure. No wonder things are like they are!

2024-04-10 (☿): Intensifiers / Heraldry / Manifesto

I just read an article that was pretty interesting and had a lot of good information, but its fatal flaw was that the author used fucking as an intensifier way too often. Fucking this, fucking that. It was distracting, because every time he used it in the text it simply wasn't necessary; the message was perfectly conveyed without intensifiers at all, so why use fucking so much? I'm not against cursing and I don't think obscenities will make your tongue fall off but that article insulted my sense of aesthetics in a way; the author sounded like an annoying person in my head. If you want to be so crass and snarky so much and litter your otherwise good writings with words that don't add anything to the topic, at least use another goddamn intensifier.
I've been reading a lot about heraldry lately. The strange language that's used to describe the shields is so unique and colorful; I'm learning it. I don't want to make arms for myself —I'm not that self-centered (I said, on a site called—, but I think it'd be nice to design one for the fictional town of Shinano, where all my characters live, to give it a bit more flavor. Heraldry is an amazing artform. I commend all heralds everywhere.
Is it time to write my own unhinged and schizophrenic web design manifesto? Will there be a Manual of Style where I tell you that Javascript is harmful but Flash rules, that we should all go back to HTML 4, that nobody does accessibility right and that if your site doesn't open in Netscape, then it sucks? Come on, it'll be fun. Making sites is fun. Managing this site is fun.

2024-04-06 (♄): in Netscape 4 / Protoweb

Today I wasted more time than I should've doing the finishing touches so my site looks just lovely in Netscape 4. I had to switch from HTML 4 strict to transitional but that's a good thing because I now have access to <center> and other tags and elements that style content easily without CSS, so checkmate, "cascading" "style" "sheets"! You're cordially invited to boot up your old Pentium and browse my site using the best browsers known to man, Netscape 4.04 (and up) and Internet Explorer 4 (and up), so you may enjoy, well, the same experience you already have browsing this with a contemporary browser, but over plain HTTP like GOD intended! This is all possible because it's not a very complicated site, you know! Heh.
Speaking of sites that work on your e-waste retro computers, there's a very interesting service called Protoweb that allows you to browse reconstructed versions of late 90's websites (some even are updated with live content like weather and news). So, basically, it's a small snapshot of the web from back then. All you have to do to use it is to grab your browser and (without consent), change its proxy settings so it connects to these guys' servers and, voilá, you go back in time. Now I have my doubts about some of the sites featured. As I said, the service is quite interesting and I use it on my Netscape to make some features work but I really have to wonder why anyone would wanna go to old versions of Kentucky Fried Chicken or Best Buy besides one-time curiosity? Are there really people who use this thing and say "aww yeah, today I'm gonna sit at my old puter and browse Home Depot!"? Okay, I exaggerate, of course: the vast majority of the sites on the service are related to technology and games, as it would be expected. I guess that the more "useless" sites are there to provide the complete experience. I think that the most curious thing about this service (as of now) is WarpNet, a video site similar to youtube that works with Flash, Windows Media, and RealPlayer. It's not a full mirror of youtube because nobody's got money for that and you can't upload videos if you're not a contributor (and even then, only stuff from the big site is mirrored as far as I can see), but it has a lot of classic videos and some new ones mostly related to, again, technology and games because other hobbies don't exist. The only real criticism I have is that the ProtoWeb guys use Discord to communicate... seriously, man? Oh, and also my site is not there even though it loads in Netscape 4, as I said before. Pfft!

2024-04-05 (♀): e-Christians / Noble titles

I'm not Christian but it's very interesting to see the rise of the "new internet Christians", as I call them. A good number of them aren't the best examples of good Christian ethics; in fact, they might be just as degenerate as the average new ager. However, they show an intense fervor that I can't help but envy. Who can blame them, really? In this absurd and disenchanted world of ours (a self-inflicted wound) in which the majority of new religious movements are abusive, inauthentic, fail to convince, or are populated by undesirables, for the person who wants to abandon his rebellious atheism and is looking for something more to life the easiest path (I suppose) is to just go back to the system of beliefs that's already there, that works for its adherents and has a long tradition (not to mention that some people simply like orthodoxy and the community). Well, the most difficult thing for any neophyte is to really have faith; that is, to abandon that axiom that posits that reason is the only way to the truth... and turn around. Every initiate has that fervor, but unlike a lot of pagans of more new agey inclinations who don't actually believe in their gods, will the new Christians be able to really believe?

Atheism has failed. The atheism advocated by my generation doesn't work because its fruits are disgusting and its myths akin to cancer. Be it Christianity or reconstructionist paganism or Shinto-Hellenism, it'd be good for the world to really believe again.
Would it be too dumb to save up some and get myself a nobiliary title from Sealand? I know they aren't real titles, but come on, it'd be fun! I wouldn't make you call me Count, but I doubt I'd dislike it...

2024-04-04 (♃): Button / Dolls / Hero girls

The site's got a new button! Now Shirogami has an additional way to fly to other domains.
I want to learn to craft dolls. Rag dolls. Plush dolls. A pastime that doesn't depend on computers or electricity. How romantic it is to sew by hand during a nice afternoon, right? Yes! By hand! I'll never use a sewing machine, ever! I refuse! (though one of those vintage mechanical ones wouldn't be so bad, eh) I would make dolls of my characters and bring them to the physical world with a lot of love and care and I could even gift them. Wouldn't it be nice, if I ever have daughters, to make them their own dolls? A super dad! Oh, dreaming is free... Well, if I decide to do this you can expect a new section about the craft on my site. I don't even know where to start, though. I have the materials and everything but I guess refreshing my sewing skills is first on the list. They taught us to sew at kindergarten and I got some renewed practice a few years ago but I'll have to start anew. I know that this will unlock my ultimate power.
The doll image above is from Hirogaru Sky Precure. I finished it last Sunday and while I must admit that it's not my favorite season and that it had plenty of very bad episodes, it also had some of the best moments of the franchise, especially the final arc which is very reminiscent of another season I like very much. Regretfully, finishing this show means I'm (again) up to date with Precure and that I had to say goodbye to daily Precure episodes (it starts to feel like a ritual after a while). Sad! I even miss Sora a bit.

2024-03-31 (☉): Cidoku's Night Out (11th Anniversary Edition)

Today I released a new version of my first album Cidoku's Night Out to celebrate it's 11th anniversary. A few days ago I decided I would revisit my old stuff to make it sound better and therefore be happier with it. This is the first step; it's how I would've loved for it to sound back then. Oh, if only I had enough time to tell you how much I suffered with some of these tracks. Cidoku's Night Out is a house album, very danceable. It's available on Bandcamp for free. Tell me what you think of it!

My warmest thanks to everyone who's sent me nice messages about my music throughout the years, and special thanks to everyone who decides to listen to this now.

2024-03-28 (♃): Paschal eclipses / Steins;Gate

Speaking of eclipses and Easter, I realized that a solar eclipse can't occur on Easter because solar eclipses always happen during a new moon. Because the day of Easter is defined as the Sunday following a full moon, the time between Easter and the Paschal full moon can't be longer than a week. However, there are always two weeks between a full moon and a new moon, so there can't be a new moon during Easter.
A little chat I had yesterday on the Neocities comment section reminded me how much Steins;Gate has inspired me. I first learned of it because of the anime, much like almost everyone else. I didn't manage to watch all the episodes live, but right before the last episode aired I watched all 20-something episodes that were out at the moment (2011) and enjoyed the finale with everyone else. It was great! Then I read the visual novel as soon as the fan translation was out.

A certain part of the story tells you one of the reasons why Okabe started his Future Gadget Lab: because he wanted a group of friends. That's, in my opinion (so it's a fact), one of the most important messages of Steins;Gate and it affected me deeply. As I browsed the net and joined and formed chatgroups, Okabe's sentiment was always on the back of my mind. I wish I had a circle like the one Okabe built. These days I have a little chatgroup with five other guys whom I met online and deeply care about. However, I met them a long time ago and I think I forgot how to meet people online. Back then the web was smaller and cozier; is it still easy to connect with others? Can you still go and chat with randoms online and have something that could be called friendship?

Man, I'll always love Steins;Gate.

2024-03-27 (☿): A danger to productivity / Solar eclipse in North America / The small web / Technology sites

I learned that at my friend's workplace the firewall blocks and puts it in the entertainment category. Is it by association or, dare I say it, someone related to the firewall knows of my site and put it in the database manually? Either way, it's funny that my small irrelevant site that not even my mom knows about would be considered a danger to productivity.

Or are the powerful secret enemies of finally revealing themselves?
The night of the Paschal full moon also had a quaint penumbral lunar eclipse. I don't think it could be seen from my location, so that's why I didn't mention it. Curious, huh? Anyway, it's the lunar eclipse that precedes the coming total solar eclipse that will occur over the United States in April 8. They're crazy for it over there! Due to the amazing celestial spectacle that comes with a solar eclipse because it brings the night for a few minutes, solar eclipses are seen in some traditions and cultures as bad omens, the worst of them all. A great time for bad magic, a bad time for good magic. Supersition or reality, a lot of people surely see the coming eclipse with caution. Will you go outside during the eclipse despite the danger, after all?
When I started my site in 2013 or 2014, I don't really remember, there was nothing like the "small web" or "retro web revival" or "minimal web" or anything of the sort... not that I can recall, anyway (was I not paying attention?). I just bought the domain and started sharing stuff out of whimsy. I suppose I'm part of the movement by association. All I'm saying is, don't go around calling yourself a retro web enthusiast if your site doesn't load in Internet Explorer or Netscape, at least not in front of me, that's all! (laugh) People sure love putting labels on everything they do for validation, don't they? The Cidoku Network is the funny red* site with the white haired girl.
What I like about neocities is that not every site is a goddamn blog about linux and computers. Not every one. Ohh this is how I use computers. Who gives a crap dude. Computers suck.
*The color of is #ff2050, christened by Lord Capstasher as Cidoku Red.

2024-03-25 (☽): Paschal full moon

Today, a Monday, day of the Moon, was the ecclesiastical (Paschal) full moon. Tradition defines the day of Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon that happens during or after March 21. And so, as it's March 25, Easter will be this Sunday.

2024-03-23 (♄): Alternative beliefs / So-called original characters / Accordion

At work there's a firewall that's rather intense. A few days ago, just when I wasn't just skipping the firewall, I was wasting time browsing the web instead of working and imagine my surprise when I clicked on a link and it told me it was blocked because of "alternative beliefs". ...What? Well, let's see what the firewall manufacturer (fortiguard) has to say about its blocking criteria:
Websites that provide information about or promote spiritual beliefs not included in Global Religion, or other nonconventional or folkloric beliefs and practices, including but not limited to sites that promote or offer methods, means of instruction, or other resources to affect or influence real events through the use of spells, curses, magic powers, satanic, or supernatural beings.
Will somebody think of the kids? Hilarious. No further commentary required.
If you really think about it, the term "OC" (original character) is completely superfluous. Every character is original, all of them! People call their characters "original" because they're original with respect to the characters from established series and franchises. What, does the metaphysical state of your characters depend on the ones that are on tv? A bit of an inferiority complex, don't you think? Even the most popular characters were "original" once. Just call your characters characters; that's what they are.
I want to sell all my worldly possessions and get an accordion. I fell in love with the instrument (for the 10th time) last year, when a girl got on the bus and played such sweet melodies... I normally hate musicians on public transport, but her sounds soothed my soul and made that day just a bit brighter.

2024-03-22 (♀): Too groundbreaking

I like Justice. Cross was the duo's debut album, and it's so good that they can't escape its success. Everything they do is compared to Cross. New song? It either sounds like Cross or it doesn't. I'm sure they're aware of it. How must it feel? Always living in the shadow of someone else... of something else? Of something you yourself created?

2024-03-21 (♃): My old music

When I closed my Bandcamp and removed the tracks from the front page, I did it because of a certain frustration of mine that I feel every once in a while; the last time was in early 2018 and I lost count of how many times I must have felt it before. Music has always been frustrating to me and I've always thought that literally any other hobby would have been more fulfilling. I've never been able to escape from the trap of being good enough to make decent mediocre music but not enough to go beyond and make something great. Eventually, I just stopped making music without thinking too hard about it.

Well, the other day I got this comment on my guestbook in which an Anon asked me why I'd closed my Bandcamp and if it was because I wasn't planning to use it to share new stuff any more. I responded with my most self-deprecating bit yet: that my music sucked and that I wouldn't be sharing anything new, anyway, because I'd pretty much abandoned the hobby. That same night I discussed this with a friend and that was the first time I could come to terms with some of my worries. I concluded that I was being too hard on myself. It seems that it doesn't matter too much if my old music is mediocre. I can't manage to convince myself that my music matters to some, despite its failings, that they aren't just friends and family, and that they've clearly made me know. But what I really can't convince myself of is whether that's good. Were my simple, amateurish loops good enough to reach their hearts and make them smile? I remember that some guy once told me "I envy you because through your music you've reached philosophical immortality", ha ha. Surely that's not a reason not to improve, is it? I just did what I was able to do at the time. Well, none of that changes that I still feel stuck in a desert of mediocrity, and it's hard to escape if I don't make music. Maybe I will escape someday.

From a more technical point of view, my old music fails because it's badly mastered. Back then I knew almost nothing about good sound (and I only know marginally more now), so those tracks sound too saturated and compressed. What's worse is that FL Studio back then (2011) added a limiter on the master track set with gain over 100%... by default!!! Simple compositions were one thing, but how was I to know that my tracks were that badly mastered not just because I was a neophyte but also because FL Studio itself was sabotaging me? All because of the loudness wars too. Frustrating; too frustrating!! And I only learned about that years after I'd shared it all publicly. Well, at least I'm calm in knowing that half of that is not my own fault and, besides, not all is lost: it's just a matter of opening those old projects, moving some knobs here and there, fix them and share the definitive corrected versions, right? But here's the thing: is it worth the effort? Can I really move forward like this? Does anyone really care? You know what, maybe going back and fixing my old music is precisely what I need to find some closure, be proud of what I've done, and start anew. Maybe it's worth it to do it for myself.

2024-03-18 (☽): Actionscript, superheroes and the romance of mathematics

Have I really not updated this in a week? Life hasn't been too eventful. I've been able to progress a lot with the design of my game and that pleases me. The programming language of Flash 8, ActionScript 2, is soooo easy to use. Absurdly so. That's helped a lot. In other news, I convinced my friends to watch one episode of each of Precure, Kamen Rider and Super Sentai every Sunday. Our very own Super Hero Time.

In the meantime, it seems I fell in love with mathematics again. I've been reading quite a few articles about set theory and logic lately, the loves of my life. Now that I think about it, I have never published anything about math on the site, even though I spent many years doing nothing but it. I guess I just haven't had anything to add to the conversation; maybe someday? I always say that math is like an abusive girlfriend that hits you and throws plates at you, but you love her so much still... Or maybe math is like a cat, nice and elegant, but moody and scratchy. Not the best analogies, I know. Point is, math hurts, but when you finally understand the mystery and make it yours... that's when it all becomes worth it. And there are a lot of mysteries to uncover. In fact, we will never run out of mysteries. That makes math quite the romantic endeavor.

2024-03-11 (☽): Freemasons

I was thinking how wiccans, nazis and scientologists are all spiritually related because all three groups ultimately descend from the freemasons. They're all cousins in occultism, say.

It's alaways a funny story to tell how the Nazi Party was founded by Hitler from the Thule Society as its political wing (he basically coopted it), and the society started as the Munich lodge of the Germanenorder, an occultist society that followed a certain German ethnonationalist ideology and that had an internal hierarchy based on that of the freemasons.

On the other hand, both Gerald Gardner and L. Ron Hubbard, the founders of Wicca and Scientology respectively, were influenced by Aleister Crowley or met him personally. Crowley, just in case you've never heard of him, was probably the most important occultist of the 20th century and is influential to this day (regretfully, I must admit). A mason (among other things), of course, he was the founder of the neopagan magical religion of Thelema and of the occultist society Ordo Templi Orientis. It's intimately related to Freemasonry.

Although Gardner, the witch, was a straight-up mason, I think it's Crowley who connects him and Wicca to Hubbard and Scientology. Legend tells that Hubbard learned of Crowley's writings and philosophy through Jack Parsons, the famous rocket engineer and occultist. Parsons was an avid practitioner of Thelema and was a member of Ordo Templi Orientis. Hubbard and Parsons became good friends in the 40s and shared women and practiced sex magic* together. A few years later Hubbard would give a series of talks in which he connected many of Scientology's beliefs with the magical practices of Crowley.

So there you have it.
*I'm not spelling it "magick", screw you!

2024-03-10 (☉): Astrology game

As I was getting ready to go to bed right after publishing the last entry, I suddenly got an idea for a game. I was feeling down lately because I was making no progress on my projects but out of nowhere I thought "well, what if I make a game about something that's actually been on my mind lately?" and therefore decided to make a game about astrology, in particular about making charts. I'm serious! I realized that it was likely that nothing of the sort existed and that if I made it in Flash and everything went okay it could end up being a very strong entry for Newground's Flash Forward 2024 jam. I even feel like it could compete for the grand prize... Anyway, I worked on the engine in Flash 8 during the weekend (after planning some stuff on paper first of course) and believe it or not I already got much of the basic functionality down. It's been a long time since I was this inspired! I don't wanna say too much about how the game's supposed to go lest I jinx it but this time it finally feels like I can bring it to completion.

2024-03-07 (♃): No more music / My game on Newgrounds

No more music from me. I closed my Bandcamp and I'm gonna hide the site's music section. I don't make music anymore, I don't feel like making it anymore, and it makes me feel like I'm fooling myself. I'm not a musician. The dream is officially over. I'll leave it all behind, so I can finally move on.
My game Shirogami's Maze Pocket got 18th place (out of 30) in the best games of February list on Newgrounds. I never uploaded it expecting it to win a prize or anything, but it did better than a lot of other stuff. Some guy popular there played all the games nominated to best of the month and he played mine last. After 8 hours of playing games. I couldn't stand watching him. I cringed. I took the game down.

2024-03-06 (☿): Point of view

Does the Earth go around the Sun or is the Earth the center of the universe? I don't think anyone will even bother denying that it's the former, but, in the end, whether to take heliocentrism or geocentrism as your model of the universe is just a matter of perspective, because both systems are isomorphic; you can translate anything from one model to the other and everything would remain as-is. The actual difference is philosophical. Putting theology aside, it seems that heliocentrism (on purpose or not) seems to show human experience "from the outside", like we're just aliens studying yet another race of bald monkeys on yet another wet rock —quite a disenchanted view I'd say— while geocentrism describes what man can actually see from the only vantage point he actually has; a point of view that is innately ours and properly human. Were I on the Moon, it wouldn't be wrong for me to take on a "selenocentric" view of the world.

Well then, if helio- and geocentrism are really equivalent observational models, could someone go further beyond and say that the flat Earth model is equivalent to the usual model of the universe? I don't think it can be done for a few reasons (geometric and observational), but imagine if it could: wouldn't it end all internet debates forever, end wars and famine and bring world peace, except among those who believe the Earth is shaped like a dinosaur?

2024-03-05 (♂): Voice troubles / A new reason to wait for Sunday

Gotta find a way not to destroy my voice. My job requires that I use it a lot; if I don't do something about this I could end up hurting myself. I never liked my voice much really, but I still want to keep it, you know?
I watched all five episodes of Wonderful Precure so I'm up to date with it now. It's such a fun one! I love Iroha and Komugi. Komugi is so small and dumb... Anyway, it's been a while since I followed Precure weekly. It gives me a good reason to wait for Sundays. In what feels like an eternity ago now, Space Brothers was my reason to get up every Sunday. If everything goes as it should, I might just follow the new Super Sentai weekly as well; I enjoyed the premiere.

2024-03-02 (♄): Webrings

I've always wanted to join a webring. One that interests me is The Old Net's, because you can browse in old computers and I thought it'd be relevant to the purpose of that site. However, the ring is full of people whose sites don't load over HTTP and definitely won't load on Netscape 4. Pfft. The search for belonging continues...

2024-03-01 (♀): Angela / Precure All Stars F

I drew. She's Angela, Amy (Angel Eye Springs)'s character. She drew my Shirogami the other day, so I considered returning the favor. I went and shared it on her guestbook, but I didn't know the image would be embedded at full size so her guestbook now looks all stretched... It's so embarrassing, I hope she can forgive me! Anyway, it's not the best doodle in the world but it was nice to do. Fun character.
I watched Precure All Stars F. Gods, what a beauty of a movie. The finest and classiest celebration of Precure that could've been done for an anniversary of the franchise. The film relies on nostalgia for a lot of scenes, but I felt it was done respectfully and without outright pandering (yes, I'm biased, leave me alone). The villain is incredible and really feels like a threat! Hardly anything's more enjoyable than this. The movie is undeniable proof that Precure is the best thing that exists and that we can forgive the industrial revolution at least for an hour or two. In conclusion, ten out of five stars and a masterpiece. A contemporary classic that will be studied in universities everywhere for centuries.

2024-02-29 (♃): Leap day / New job / The guestbook is worth it / My game on Newgrounds' front page

Happy leap day! It only comes every four years, and sometimes every eight! Last time that happened was between 1896 and 1904, and it won't happen again until 2096.
Today was my first day at my new job. Managing my free time will be a big challenge now, but I'll finally have more money to waste- I mean, to help at home with.
Many times I have thought about closing my guestbook because of all the spam it attracts, but every once in a while I get such nice messages, like today, that they make everything worth it.
I just noticed that my game Shirogami's Maze Pocket got frontpaged on Newgrounds. Just like that, out of nowhere. I'm not sure how I should feel about it, but an award is an award. It's my first Newgrounds award.

2024-02-28 (☿): Many things done

Today I went from watching videos about quantified modal logic, to the daily Hirogaru Sky Precure episode (I'm not up to date), to a presentation about why the whole sign house system in astrology is not ideal. Then I spent a cozy evening watching live japanese TV with friends until late at night. It was a good day!