Letters from Somnolescent

 

Category: Essays

Soapboxing and points to be made from Somnolians themselves.


February 22, 2021

On Rewrites

mariteaux

I come back to my “On” series of essays every couple of months to ruminate on little mindset shifts I have and myths and fallacies in the creative process. Whether I’m ever satisfied with them afterwards is less sure, but whatever, they’re cathartic. Worst case scenario, I’ll probably rewrite a few of them and have them on my site proper instead.

Fittingly, today’s little essay is on a weird mental wall I’ve had on the topic of rewrites. It’s easy, hell, the default to make something once and then never return to it. Drafting, building on what you’ve got–isn’t natural at all, but it’s important.

I felt for a long time like I had to get it right on the first shot. Come as I explore that some.


November 21, 2020

Yerf, yerf, yerf

caby

I post once in a blue moon, but I finally have a new thing to talk about, so here I am! That thing is a little old art portal named Yerf.

Tags: anime, art,

October 27, 2020

The Clever Feat of PNG Optimization

mariteaux

A neat old PNG logo I found on the official PNG site

I’ve become mildly obsessed with how compression algorithms of various stripes work over the past year. They really do make every bit of our modern computing existence work so smoothly, from gzipping packet data to speed up slow connections to storing vast archives of high quality music on flash drives the size of a ChapStick. Some simply rearrange the data in clever ways, and others take advantage of our weak eyes and ears to throw out 90% of what was once there–and we hardly notice.

Of the lot, the humble PNG is so ubiquitous, it might not even warrant mentioning. Every format has some magic up its sleeve, however, and in the case of PNG, the way they’re encoded usually makes it possible to shrink them after the fact to the tune of up to a few megabytes with no loss in quality. If you make sites, you might wanna take notes.

I recently decided to run a battery of tests to determine just how well PNG works, on what, and what optimizes the best. I’ll give you the rundown on how it works (in-depth but no math, no worries), and then I’ll give you some hard data and lovely charts to peek at, and finally, show you how to get smaller, lighter PNGs at home, no tricks, no catches.

Tags: art, technology,

July 9, 2020

On Confidence

mariteaux

Last summer, I wrote an essay on creating characters with purpose and how adoptable culture seems to miss the point of having lads in the first place. At the time, I remember wanting to do an entire series on these kinds of creative pitfalls, and recently, I’ve been reminded of another stumbling block–this one affecting me probably more than anyone else, amazingly enough.

Let’s talk confidence.


May 9, 2020

Tools, Toys, and You and I

mariteaux

Been thinking a lot about simplicity, entropy, and how we’ve come to rely on computers in the past few decades. Here’s an essay about how technology should augment us in being people and nothing more.

Tags: technology,

January 3, 2020

Five Reasons I’ve Stopped Reading Your Story

mariteaux

Amateur and fan writing is something I’m no stranger to. In fact, it’s what I’m most familiar with. I don’t read a lot of books, but I do peruse toyhou.se and places for my own amusement and occasionally in the hopes of actually finding something good to read.

Of course, it being the internet, most of it isn’t great. Good writing habits are rarely taught in schools, at least here in the US. Past basic grammar (and even that’s not much), creative writing tends to be side-eyed and pushed aside, and otherwise bright people trip on the fundamentals, let alone anything involving tone, pacing, or dialogue.

Here’s just a few things I notice a lot in people’s writing, plus examples. (Don’t go looking for these people to bug them, thanks.) No judgement if you do any of these; I’ll tell you how to fix them as best I can.

Tags: writing,

September 7, 2019

How the Feed Killed Creation

mariteaux

Let’s start with a premise. We have a creator. She’s a writer, maybe, or maybe a visual artist. Maybe dabbles in animation. She’s got big ideas and the drive to see them to fruition. Might even be months into a grand project right now. Yet, she’ll post her stuff online or in a Discord server, and no one gives a shit.

The internet’s built on user-generated content, stuff ordinary people (people like you, perhaps!) create. And yet, with all these sites for it, where’s the support? Let’s talk about the feed and how it’s killed independent content.

Tags: internet,

June 27, 2019

Gopher is Not the Web

dotcomboom

Every now and then, I see new Gopher clients and sites popping up. And that’s great—we’re keeping this protocol alive for the next generation. However, I can’t help but think some of the methods of doing so is restrictive, only getting the “Gopher is a list of links” part. Back when NCSA Mosaic came out, […]


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