Letters from Somnolescent

 

Author: mariteaux


June 15, 2023

A Tale of Two Welsh Record Stores

mariteaux

A plushie badger with my CD haul

If I didn’t tell you about it already, I was in Wales for three weeks last month into this month visiting Caby. It was genuinely life-changing, and even though it wasn’t that long ago, I’m still wishing I was back over there, and her and her family keep telling me how much they miss me too. Life is seriously much easier in person–and it’s a lot more fun when there’s adventure to be had! And what better adventure can you have than foreign record stores?

There’s two in Caby’s immediate area, and I hit up both to great success. It was a lot of fun digging through the bins, picking out CDs, telling stories, trying risks, and even having some encounters with some curious strangers! I even bought some Welsh-language music! While I continue to put off working on the much larger trip diary, let me laser-focus on the days I visited…

Tags: crossovers, music,

April 1, 2023

mariversary 4.0: Revisiting Nostalgiamining

mariteaux

To be honest, I didn’t think I’d have enough to talk about for a fourth Neocities retrospective post. I was only on that site for about ten months, for God’s sake. I covered the year afterwards, I covered all my old Supporter’s sites, and I talked about my very first site design in years past. What else could I possibly revisit?

Passion. There’s two essays I wrote back then that somehow, somewhere, continue to get found, circulate, and stir people up. They’ve taken on a life of their own separate from me. People I’ve never met somehow find these buried deep in the Somnolescent Archives and pass them around, sometimes agreeing, sometimes arguing. I’ve yet to retell the story, so let’s return to nostalgiamining, forging the future, passion, Neocities, and why all this shit still matters to folks.


February 3, 2023

Four Becomes Five: My First Year in Art

mariteaux

Leaning Wyn redraw from February 2023

I’ve been fooling with the idea of doing art since early 2021, but January 2022 was when I officially started. That’s when I drew some scrunkly Wyns for Caby and tried my best to sketch out a whole ton of the ideas I’ve had lying around for, I dunno, years at that point.

It’s taken a lot of nerves and a lot of personal growth to get here (plus practice), but I can pretty confidently say I’m getting somewhere with it now. For the big one year (give or take a month), I’m gonna show off five (or maybe more?) drawings from throughout 2022 and mix memories and art critique. Everyone gather in a circle now.


December 5, 2022

Into the Greater Somnolescent Multiverse

mariteaux

So quietly, I’ve been working on relaunching cammy.somnolescent.net. Working on that site before, there were lots of really good pages that I just didn’t think fit right where they were. This is one of those pages: a goofy, fun bit of group lore that makes a better blog post than it does a random page on one of my sites.

I’ve edited and rewritten parts of it, of course, but you can call this one from the archives. Quite literally. Go check out the new cammy.somnol, by the way! I’m just getting started with it and it’s starting to take shape as possibly the cutest site I’ve made so far.


October 18, 2022

Plushie Archaeology: Finding a New Old Friend

mariteaux

Snowman...keeping warm(?)

I’m pretty sure everyone in the group likes plushies. Stuffed animals, whatever you call ’em. There’s a plushie channel in the server, and it’s constantly busy with us linking to plushies we find online, posting pictures of our own, and just generally being obsessed like we’re so good at.

This post is gonna be for a plushie closer to my heart. This is the story of how a snowman boy I’ve had from the day I was born was loved to death, rediscovered online, and rebought without a clue as to a brand or even an origin. I normally have a policy of not posting to the blog twice in a row, but this one’s more important than that. I might get a little personal.

Tags: plushies,

September 24, 2022

Protecting and Surviving Against the AI Art Menace

mariteaux

AI-generated buildings

It’s a controversial topic. AI-generated art, “this does not exist” sites, and the possibility that robots with the ability to “draw” will make artists obsolete, or at least, ruin the market for gigging artists who need that attention to live and pay bills.

Thankfully, I see it more optimistically than most. It is a menace, and you should take action if it affects you–but don’t let it discourage you. If you’re browsing around DeviantART or suchlike, here’s how to spot it and how to combat it.

Since I’m mostly involved in character design and character art, that’s what I’ll be focusing on. Apply to your medium of landscapes or photography or suchlike as applicable.

Tags: art, technology,

September 7, 2022

Cammy Revisits the PhotoCam

mariteaux

A recreation of my old artsy photo of the PhotoCam...using a PhotoCam as the camera

Longtime blog readers will remember a post I did in July 2019 called “Cammy vs. the PhotoCam”. It was a cute little lark into trying to score some retro tech on eBay and failing miserably. I didn’t have a job or a lot of money to spend on impractical hobby stuff back then, and the entire thing left a sour enough taste in my mouth that I didn’t bother looking for a working unit.

We’re in September 2022 now, I have a job now, and I figured it was time to go hunting again. I got a lot more than I bargained for. On offer today: storytelling! Burning hot batteries! A showdown between three similarly-spec’ed cameras! But first, we start with…


August 15, 2022

Revisiting the Official MP3.com Guide to MP3s

mariteaux

The front and back covers of the MP3.com Official Guide to MP3s

I don’t think it’s a stretch to call myself an MP3.com historian at this point. From my initial essay two-and-a-half years ago, to digging deep into how the service worked, to previewing some of the music that MP3.com were promoting their service with, I’m part of that small group who have been trying to keep the memory of one of the most forward-thinking dot-com startups alive after it was all but forgotten post-closure in 2004.

I was effectively honor-bound to pick up the last copy of The Official MP3.com Guide to MP3s from Amazon after all that work, and I was not disappointed for my $6.29! We’ve got late 90s MP3 hype, forgotten MP3 and MP3.com competitors, and even some screenshots of the backend of MP3.com, far away from where any Web spider could’ve gone. It’s a trip.

Tags: music, technology,

May 27, 2022

Welcoming the eMachines Netbook

mariteaux

eMachines EM250

For approaching two years now, I’ve had a big ol’ XP tower sitting under my desk. I call it the eMachines Box, a low-end eMachines W3507 from at least 2006, if not 2007. It needs a good cleaning and a ton of upgrades (RAM and a dedicated GPU being the big two), but even if it’s not ideal right now, it’s still a lot of fun to use on the occasion I bust it out.

Of course, you can’t just stop at one XP computer, can you? Suddenly having a job and seeing some numbers pile up in my bank account made me want to indulge a little. Through the lockdowns, I bought nearly nothing and asked for nearly nothing. I’m allowed a cool purchase or two, and a bit of longing got me thinking back to the netbooks of my (younger) youth.

I’ve now acquired one of them. Here’s my deep dive into the eMachines Netbook.

Tags: technology,

April 20, 2022

The Great Somnolescent Time Machine

mariteaux

As I mentioned in the final recap, one thing occupying me over the past few months has been the pursuit of classic website restoration. We already have car restoration and computer restoration, but despite websites being similarly satisfying and full of moving parts, I don’t see anyone trying to rebuild old websites and return them to their original browsable condition. With the Somnolescent Archives, I have the perfect reason to do just that.

I wanna ramble about that for a bit, tell you my working methods for getting assets (from the Wayback Machine or otherwise), reassembling them, cleaning things up, and why I find it so enjoyable. Hopefully, you do as well!


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