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"Journal" Page

This is a sort of long-form internet diary... any kind of brain dumping that I want to put somewhere goes here. Subject to editing/deletion/etc whenever I feel like each post has run its course or if I feel like I have something further to add... & anything shorter or more day-to-day belongs in the "microblog" on the lower left hand corner of this page.

7. 12/31/23 - New Year's Eve 2023

It is new year's eve… usually, I stay up and watch the year change, but this year I think I will break tradition and sleep through the changing of the year… Besides, I've essentially already celebrated via dragging my friends with me to roam the city, laughing and eating good food and hanging out all day. I think this was a wonderful note to end it on. I feel very drowsy and content even though it’s quite early into the night as I write this.

I traveled to another country for the first time, traveled alone no less, got over my fear of going out to frats/bars/parties after Halloween 2022 happened to me, made so many new friends, became closer with old friends, even reconnected with people I haven’t spoken to in a long time, stopped using twitter completely, started volunteering again, got my first apprentice at my radio station, survived terrible shifts at my job, unpacked and moved on from old trauma, passed all of my classes despite taking three of the hardest classes of my degree at the same time, made an effort to be more spontaneous again, made this website. So much has happened in so little time and I can definitely say that my viewpoint on life has shifted noticeably in comparison to the beginning of 2023… I think I can say this is the first year in a long time where I can say that I truly feel like I’ve “lived” and that I have learned so much… but there’s so much that I feel like I haven’t done yet and I can still enrich my life in many ways.

I want to keep walking this road and focus on continuing to look forward, so instead of discussing the changing of the year itself in detail I'm going to end this year by making a bucket list. Maybe posting the items publically will better motivate me to persue them all haha. I hope that I can check off every item!

My goals (in no particular order):

  • Start exploring personal fashion more… I want to get really into accessorizing
  • Go to a convention, a concert & a renaissance festival
  • Get my motorcycle license, or at the very least a learner’s permit
  • Go to the beach & the mountains
  • Generally, continue to do more spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment things
  • Pass all of my classes lol
  • Cook for myself more, and not just quick/easy-to-make foods
  • Learn ASL and/or guitar..?
  • Learn better time management
  • Delete some of my social media accounts
  • Make progress getting through my video game/music/movie/book backlog
  • Keep working on highcloudquintet :)

It's very cheesy to say this, but it's true. If you are reading this I hope 2024 brings you happiness and peace.

6. 12/28/23 - Godzilla Minus One (spoilers)

The story of how I decided to see this movie in the first place is funny (at least to me) because it involves two people on either side of the “godzilla spectrum”, so I will start with that. I got the recommendation from a total godzilla buff; he got one of those early release viewings, he’s seen every godzilla, etc… What hooked me is how he described Godzilla Minus One, henceforth GMO, as a deconstruction of its genre. I’ve never seen a kaiju movie myself… but I grew up on giant-monster-of-the-week and mecha shows, like 80s voltron, so that was all I needed to hear! I rounded up two of my friends and made plans to go to the theater. One of them actually tried to back out of seeing the flick the day before, but I managed to reign him back in by telling him that both me and my other friend had never seen a godzilla movie, and that we were just going to the theater to try it out. That got him to relax and want to come with me again… and I’m glad I convinced him!!! All three of us greatly enjoyed it and I am desperate to convince more people to go see it!!!

It really is incredible. GMO blew most of the war movies I’ve ever seen clear out of the water. Two out of three of us cried right there in the theater (the one who tried to back out no less!). I’m genuinely impressed. What’s crazy is that you could take Godzilla out of the movie and it would STILL be a good movie… yes, the giant lizard monster has a terrifying presence and authority and an iconic image, but GMO’s use of Godzilla is what made the idea of “Godzilla has always been a metaphor for nuclear weapons and the horrors of war” really click for me. I love the entire concept of a “failed” kamikaze pilot being tormented by Godzilla, fighting his own internal war endlessly… reading up on Godzilla online, post WW2 Japan is what inspired the beast in the first place, and I felt its roots deeply for the duration of the movie. The Ginza sequence in particular… Koichi on his knees crying in the black rain… I have no words to describe the sense of loss I felt.

The characters were so, so gripping. I know people tend to throw around the idea of “found family” often over the internet, but Koichi, Noriko, and Akiko were the true definition of that concept. Koichi and Noriko never married… but they completed a family unit simply out of circumstance and then later became each other’s other half, incomplete without their partner. The relationship felt natural as it progressed and it tugged at my heartstrings in the right ways (“is your war finally over”!!! The scene where Koichi puts Noriko’s photo inside his plane!!!! Koichi leaving the envelope with Akiko!!!!!!!). Usually, monster-of-the-week type media is all about the destruction and awesome power of the monster, but this may be the first time I was this invested into the people affected by said destruction…? It was lovely.

Also, I think there is definitely an appeal to the media where one character tells the other “I don’t want you to die”, but there is not enough of “I want you to live”. GMO is a prime example of why I love that second prompt way more and I will be throwing it around often…. “Not dying” and “living” are two very different concepts, as silly as that might sound. This movie is so full of quotes centering around this idea that I will be thinking about forever. “Is your war finally over”, as above, is so remarkable to me…

I said "NO" waaaaay too loud in the theater when they did the thing where they reveal the monster isn't really dead that I'm sure they do at the end of every Godzilla... they have to allow wiggle room for sequels forever, but the characters got their happy ending and I was genuinely upset at the idea that it could all be taken away again, lol.

How they accomplished so much with a $15 million budget is crazy?! I’m assuming this is why I only heard about it through word of mouth… Thus, I am here to pass the message along! Please go see Godzilla or if you have and you’re reading this review, go see it again! I know that I have every intention to.

5. 12/10/23 - Rambing about the Discord UI Update

Because I have nothing of note to talk about, aside from my finals and my major and perhaps the weather, I have decided to talk about the Discord UI Update. I am whelmed with it. I didn’t really have a visceral reaction to it as some others have; but It’s as good an excuse as any to take a break from studying and talk about the way websites “design themselves.”

I’ve felt for a long time that websites are in a sort of arms race to recreate their competition as fast as possible; for example, “fleets” came to mind first, killed before the elongated muskrat bought twitter, but also the addition of short-form videos across all social media, following tiktok’s rise in popularity. I think discord is following the self-referential approach - the new update has emphasized a very flat, rounded & blocky appearance that matches social media like twitter, tumblr, and even reddit. The new gestures and organization match other social media as well, for example relegating profile information and private dms to new tabs by themselves reminds me of twitter, and tabbing over the search bar is functionally similar to other social media apps. To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I think it was easier for me to adapt to the UI change because of this cross-app familiarity, but it really is a shame that discord seems to be forgetting what it is; a texting app.

It’s strange that discord is trying to be something greater than the sum of its parts, though its users are enabling this sort of action (think of the death of the online forum in favor of finding information on a community discord…). As I’m writing this, I’m also noticing that I’m referring to discord as “social media,” despite the fact that discord lacks the wider accessibility of information that twitter/instagram/tumblr/etc are able to provide, since discord is built on private, invite-only communities. I’m not really sure what the intent behind this redesign is - I can’t find anything concrete anywhere, but this is the impression it gives me. In any case, this choice is a complete disservice to discord - it’s clearly not built to be “social media”, and yet the moderators and designers are clearly leaning heavily on the idea.

Also, because I can’t figure out where else to put this little comment, in terms of visual design, it really is a crying shame that the desktop version of discord has been forgotten in this redesign. It doesn’t match mobile at all visually, especially now that the dark mode my phone is set to and the dark mode my computer is set to are in dramatically different shades of gray! I just don’t understand it… it’s like the UI overhaul was rushed out… before Christmas… for some reason?? Does Discord think parents will be buying their children Discord Nitro as a gift??? I hope not.

I think my greatest problem with this Discord update though is the realization that Discord will be inescapable until something greater comes along. I feel tethered to the app because everyone uses it, and no one is going to make any moves to log off until something greater comes along, said twice for emphasis. A Skype 2.0 would be nice… back to the basics (as an aside, isn’t it funny how Skype had a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on video calls during the pandemic only to be upstaged by zoom? I love thinking about that), but I genuinely think no one is going to make any moves to create one until someone like the muskrat buys Discord or something.

So, in a nutshell, the new Discord update feels like it's caught up in the grand design race of social media platforms. It’s got a familiar vibe that it’s borrowing from everyone else, defeating its own purpose at the same time. And no matter what, we lose. I hate it here.

4. 12/06/23 - Untitled

I did not get enough sleep last night… I'm not at that point yet where I'm so tired that my tiredness has rolled back around to being wide awake again, but I'm at that stage where my head feels a little bit fuzzy from being awake for so long. I think this sort of feeling matches being awake in the early hours of the morning nicely. Thinking feels a bit like weak sunlight just after the sun has started to rise.

I haven’t gathered my thoughts enough to really pinpoint what I want to say, and I don’t think I'll be able to do that right now anyways, but for the past few days I've been thinking about a very very nice message I received from a stranger. “Hello dear, I was just thinking about it because U really like the fox as well. But I see you try to collect all the foxes. So I think he's in good hands with you. Thank you very much for the add ons! And have a wonderful Christmas 🎄 time. ♡ ”

No spoilers yet for the context! But I can’t remember the last time someone called me dear and I can’t remember the last time someone sent a message to me with a little heart emoticon on the end. It just feels nice. I’ve read it about 10 times since I’ve gotten it. I want to print this message out and hang it up on my wall.

3. 11/23/23 - 1000 Pageviews!!!

Unfortunately I have had nothing else to share for the better part of a month - i'm approaching finals week in less than a month and I'm insanely busy. However I am happy to see that we have hit 1000 pageviews sometime in the past few days :') thank you for visiting!!! Unfortunately I have nothing else to say, but it makes me very happy to see that people have continued to stop by. I'll figure out a better means of celebrating pageview milestones eventually.

2. 10/19/23 - Making an AMV in the Year of our Lord 2023

I think its so crazy how none of us have had a truly 'original' experience. I don't mean that as a bad thing! I think it's beautiful actually because we have so many uniting experiences in life... One of those for myself was watching Pokemon AMVs at the age of 10. Stumbling onto Umbreon from Pokemon compilations set to Linkin Park and Three Days Grace was the way that I had "discovered" music, and the same applied for a friend I met this semester, which is so insane... I know Pokemon being a childhood favorite is itself not very niche, but you'd think that experience is still so specific enough it would be something only you could relate to. It's incredibly cheesy but we have much more in common with each other than we all realize.

I think it's funny though... reflecting on it, I still use the "AMV tactic" to engage with new music and media, and i'm sure many others do too. I'm talking about TikTok edits. They're missing whaling electric guitars and edgy lyrics and the strategy these days is to use the most girlypop music ever, but at their core they're both the same under different names and I think that's so funny. As for AMVs being a universal experience, I actually made AMVs as a 12 year old myself... they're still out there on youtube, I think! I tried hunting them down, but I never found them and I know I didn't delete my old youtube channel, so i'm hoping they're doing their duty and introducing impressionable young children to nightcore just as Tiktok is getting me on the alt jazz wave currently.

Anyway I digress. The conversation I had put me on a crazy train of thought and I decided that I just couldn't help myself and I really wanted to make an AMV. To make it harder I downloaded a brand new editing software (VT) and taught myself it while I editing clips together. The video is right here! You have one guess as to what I chose to edit. You may not look at the URL of this website.

Notably, I did not choose a 'traditional' AMV song and instead stuck to music that I would listen to today. Maybe it's because i'm being influenced by Tiktok edit trends, but I wanted to try and introduce someone who might stumble into my video to The Long Faces, just as random strangers introduced me to The Cure, haha. 'Giving back', in a sense.

VT also wasn't terribly hard to learn either. It's very similar to iMovie, but with more transitions and text options... though funnily enough iMovie is much better for precise timing... I wanted to time very quick jumpcuts in the AMV to a faster portion of the song, but I couldn't stretch out the audio enough to the point where i could percisely identify each guitar strum, so I gave up on that idea. Aside from that though, VT clears iMovie. Highly recommend.

Anyway I think my whole experience this week was incredibly self-indulgent and a little corny, but I was also incredibly comforted by the idea that we aren't so dissimilar, and also just sitting down and creating something was nice. If you're reading this you're probably a neocities user so you're also on the same wave as I am, so i'm sure you get it.

1. 10/12/23 - One Piece Live Action lol (no spoilers)

This week, I finished the One-Piece live action, henceforth OPLA, with my roommates at the recommendation of a mutual friend... my first piece of OP media ever. I'm no stranger to long-term, high-commitment media (trails in the sky), so starting something as long as OP doesn't intimidate me… but going into it I wasn't sure I would be invested, especially as live action adaptions tend to not live up to expectations. But... I was pleasantly surprised! I ended up loving it to the point where I was "educating myself" on the wiki in between episodes. As a first timer, I don't consider myself an authority on OP, but there were a few elements that made the adaptation work for me that I wanted to list out.

The Comedy
Something that I don’t think I really “got” about OP until now was the art style… it was always very ‘cartoony’ and unlike everything else in its bracket, and I never really understood why… but I’ve realized OP is so slapstick and it’s so fitting. This also let me understand why there was so much pushback towards the initial production of OPLA… without very careful engineering, the show would not work. In any other show, Luffy’s stretchy powers, and other devil fruit powers, would have sapped my suspension of disbelief… but OPLA leans so heavily on exaggerations, absurdity, etc that it just works and fits the universe perfectly. It also helps to take the edge off… I could see OPLA very easily sliding into a “dark and gritty” retelling of the source material given the topics it discusses, and the fact that it was able to dodge this classification in my eyes is commendable. The show runners have done an excellent job in preserving the spirit of OP!

The Spirit
Speaking of “spirit”… I just love how genuine OPLA is. Media these days tends to be so embarrassed to be true to itself… Marvel comes to mind here where they often have to dress up their own jokes or be self-referential to the point of self-sabotage. To constantly wink at the audience and enforce that they “aren’t taking themselves seriously”… it gets boring! It gets taxing! And it’s so refreshing to just be able to tell that the show runners love OP. Never once is the source material treated as its own joke, rather it is treated with reverence and I can’t stress this enough how rare I feel that is these days.

The Actors
Usually I am not one to keep up with “who plays who” in media in general… but the casting for this show was just excellent. Everyone embodies who they play and it really shows, and their passion has led me down so many rabbit holes… also capturing the spirit that I mentioned earlier. I truly feel that Iñaki Godoy IS Luffy, as are all the other cast members. In particular, I thought Koby and Helmeppo were also very inspired choices… as though the characters jumped right off the page, especially impressive for side characters. No notes. 10/10.

The Length
I'm not someone physically capable of binging... I usually can only do something for a max of 4-5 hours before I need to tap out for the day, else I start sacrificing my mental or physical health. So, I was shocked to learn that OPLA was only going to be 8 episodes in a series where the manga had passed 1000 chapters. Watching it (and reading about it) I have learned those 8 episodes cover about 60 chapters, but I was none the wiser because it was paced so excellently... the episodes were the perfect length where I could watch one for the day and still feel satisfied, especially thanks to the ‘monster of the week’ approach. I think a very rare balance has been struck here... I know the show was quite expensive to produce, which is probably why the number of episodes was so low (and why the episodes were 30 minutes long), but at least I feel it worked in its favor. The low and dense number of episodes makes it approachable to new viewers intimidated by the chapter count, but still digestible to people like myself. Also, there's a lot I could say about how episode length in media has really become bloated recently... but it's for another time. Regardless I think OP has been made overall very digestible.

When I have much more free time… I already envision myself reading the manga (since I’ve heard the anime is paced quite the opposite of OPLA). I’ve been told for several years that myself and a character from OP, Nico Robin, are very similar in personality and I’ve always wanted to find out why… so as you can imagine I was disappointed when I finished OPLA and Robin was absent! Luckily this gives me a reason, at least in the short term, to continue on. Of course, I also plan to continue to watch OPLA as it releases… my fingers are crossed that Netflix doesn’t decide to surprise us all by cancelling as they tend to do. If you’ve read this long without watching the show yourself… do yourself a favor! If I haven’t made it abundantly clear it’s an extremely approachable adaption and has encouraged me to explore OP. Do it just to see Mackenyu as Roronoa Zero, at least.

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