Ok god... This is something I've been working on for months now, and to finally have it out there, it feels like a grand re-opening of sorts.
Now, I was very proud of the previous index page, but I felt it really lacked cohesion. I hated how the update and chatbox bars looked and how they sort of threw everything off center. I also felt like there wasn't enough going on. My absolute favorite website on here and main source of inspiration, is the incredible ODDITYCOMMODITY by Glowstick Greeble. Its index page is gorgeously chaotic, but still very cohesive. I really wanted to add more things to my index page, make it fun so scroll through, and to make it feel more like a blog, like an inhabited space. With that goal in mind I started work on yet another new index page. The newest one.
For future reference: this is what it looks like now: (click to enlarge)
On first glance not much has changed. So, what's new?
Well first off, I finally caved and decided I should learn how to design a responsive webpage. One that can be viewed on all types of browsers and monitors, even on mobile. Controversial, I know. For this I had to study the man-made horrors of flexbox rules so that they were no longer beyond my comprehension. It took a lot of trial and error, and a lot of frustration, but I'm beyond happy with the final result. Next, I finally parted with my sweet beloved twinklies.gif background image that I've been using since the very beginning. I've always felt that navy and chartreuse was an underrated color combo, and it helped in creating that cohesion I was going after. I also added some boxes to get a better overview of what's new on the blog. These are very easy for me to update quickly, and make the site feel more like a personal blog for me, which is nice, because it is my personal blog.
This blog is a passion project. It started when an art installation I was working on required me to have a portfolio website they could link to. Seeing everyone around me struggle with site-building applications like Cargo and Wix and ReadyMag and not wanting to burn my hands on the same fire, while also realising as I was looking for inspiration pictures, a strong fascination with the webdesign of the late 90s and early 2000's, I decided to finally dip my toes in the chaotic waters of HTML. Against my better judgement really, since my only previous efforts of coding anything ended in frustration and failure. That was less than a year ago, and the site has grown so much, it's unrecognisable from what it started out as.
I wish I still had screenshots of the earliest stages of this index page, but this is the oldest one I could find: (click to enlarge)
There used to be blinkies in the bottom right corner.
Looking back, I can't believe that this turned into such a passion of mine. Coding used to be such a source of despair for me. I wish I had some encouraging words to end this entry on but I don't really. I just love doing this, I love customising my little corner of the internet, but most of all I just love connecting with people, and visiting their little corners of the internet.
Yesterday I finished Tomb Raider 3 for the first time ever. I have a lot of thoughts about this game that I will now attempt to filter.
Jesus Christ this game is fucking brutal. The levels are way too big to wrap your head around, and the level progression can range from convoluted to completely nonsensical. There are vehicles with controls that are hard to master, and vehicles with controls that are straight up impossible to master. The harder challenges you face in this game are either mean jokes at best, or at worst they are deeply, deeply evil. There is something sadistic to this game, and there were times I could genuinely curse it and its creators to the deepest darkest pit in hell.
Fuck it man... Call me a masochist, because even after all of my cursing and complaining and groaning... I kind of love this game?
I can't fully explain why either. Despite the fact that I firmly stand by my earlier complaints, all of them get dwarfed by the deep love I feel for this game's visual charm, and the immense feeling of satisfaction after completing whatever challenge is stacked against you. The final boss in this game has a homing attack that can insta-kill you. I repeat: a homing attack that can insta-kill you. But even with its at times unfair feeling level of difficulty, the game isn't broken. Your success still mostly depends on your skill, which is what kept it feeling engaging and motivating. This game required the most intense focus, the most precise coordination, and the most steadfast perseverence I have had to manifest into any task in recent memory. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating out of my chest when I had finally defeated that final boss. I could fucking cry. That feeling of acomplishment, of "holy shit, I DID IT", made it all worth it.
The real charm of this game lies in the scope of its thematic and visual identity. Not only are the graphics and sounddesign upgraded from previous titles and endearing as all hell, but this game also expands with everything new it attempts. I mentioned the vehicle sections, and how frustratingly janky they could be, but god damn it if I can't appreciate that they're here at all. For 1998, this is one impressive game. Also, there is some great in-game moments of storytelling, some genuinely freaky reveals, effective scares and a surprisingly fun story. Man...
Allright, I think that's all. Idk man, Tomb Raider is fun :^)
I recently went 48 hours without internet, a deliberate challenge to see how it would affect my sense of worth. I've noticed I only feel good when I've done something my brain deems "productive". I can get the same amount of satisfaction from reading a good book (I've started re-reading InuYasha) as from working on a project or YouTube video, however something inside me tells me that, at the end of the day, I can only feel good about the latter. I need to learn to feel equally content when doing something "unproductive" as opposed to something "productive." It's a side effect of years and years of mandatory education focused on producing satisfactory results instead of focused on learning. I fully blame the horrible high school I attended.
Anyway, those 48 hours without internet did put some things into perspective, but not in the way I expected. I've come to realise that we tend to romanticise the analog, and demonise the digital. These last two days have been peaceful, but they haven't been as soothing as they have been intensely boring (accept for the time I went out shopping with a friend, that was fun). I wish I could relay the wise lessons I have learned in my two days away from the web, but I didn't really learn any.
If anything, I've learned that the internet is just where I belong. I'm a cyberspace traveler. I did, however, get a better sense of how the internet can also fill my mind with unnecessary clutter, and I intend to surf the web more mindfully in the future. At the end of my journey I was just excited to get back to work, sharing my interests with people online. Isn't it amazing how we can just do that with a few simple clicks? I don't understand how people can complain about that and say it was better before. I'm so happy to live in this time of worldwide digital connection.
It's summer on the Northern Hemisphere and I spend my days inside my spaceship, coding this very site. I'm having a real hard time visualising what I want to do with it. I want to do so much but I just don't know how to format it all. I need to have a functional index page at least before I start working on any of the other shit. But I lose so much time staring at my screen, squeezing my brain to visualise a proper layout. But the brain is smoothe. The think-wrinkles are gone. I have no more inventive juice left to squeeze out. Do I sacrifice practicality for diegesis, or sacrifice diegesis for practicality??? Maybe I should browse the latest updated Neocities some more...