Letters from Somnolescent

 

Author: mariteaux


August 17, 2020

Vaders and Venetian Blinds: A Review of “Racing the Beam”

mariteaux

Racing the Beam cover art

I’ve said before that I don’t read a whole lot of books. Not to say I don’t have a few on my radar, it just takes me a while. Same goes for video games; I have plenty to play, but I’m usually too busy off in my own world to try them out. Given that it looks like the US will open back up some time after the heat death of the universe (read: plenty of time to myself), I’ve been trying to rectify that.

Today’s topic is one that combines both these worlds in a really curious way: meet Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost’s Racing the Beam.

Tags: 70s, 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,

April 1, 2020

mariversary 2.0: I Actually Paid for This

mariteaux

Last year, I wrote a semi-sappy, emotionalish retrospective of my time spent on Neocities and how it lead to me meeting Caby. I think I sounded more guilty than I actually felt. There’s a lot more that went into “orange fox bad” than you can just sum up as “angry me” or “dumb kids”. Frankly, it was kind of the perfect storm of insanity. We still giggle about it.

This year’s mariversary (two entire years since I made my site there!), I thought I’d do something more fun. Every so often, I’ll see someone hold up Neocities as an example of the spirit of the old internet kept alive. I’ve talked at length about how bullshit that is, no, we’re not getting into it again. What never gets brought up though is how utterly broken Neocities actually is. Neocities is best described as a second-week Ruby on Rails prototype, yet Kyle Drake was ballsy enough to get people to pay for it anyway. Including me.

And prime example of why it’s so fucked: despite me getting banned, all my Supporter’s sites are still active. All of them. I thought it’d be fun to go back through all the ones I can remember and explain why I made them. Time for memories~

Tags: web design,

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,

December 28, 2019

A Year Under the Bulb: Our Upgrade Plans

mariteaux

The first official year of Somnolescent has had me figuring out little webmaster things I’d previously had no experience with. So far, it’s been really good, no doubt helped by our excellent hosting and a little bit of common sense on the part of all the Somnolians.

Nevertheless, we’re really only just getting started here. As the world continues to churn around our collective, I’ve a few major upgrades I’d like to perform on our internal and external server infrastructure going forward. I’ll explain more under the cut.


December 20, 2019

A Year Under the Bulb: Origins

mariteaux

In all the chaos surrounding Somnolescent, lurkers, and people peeking in at our operation, I realized I’ve never fully told the story of Somnolescent leading up to its formal inception on this day last year. Believe it or not, the name Somnolescent stretches a long, long way back, all the way back to 2011 or so, and it’s been a tale of abuse, betrayals, and triumphs ever since. I kinda wish I was joking.

Should I be sharing some of this? Who knows, but I’ll do it anyway. If you’ll allow me a few paragraphs to ramble, I present the official, messy, canon history of Somnolescent as it well and truly happened.


December 9, 2019

Emergency WordPress Migration Completed!

mariteaux

Like the 24-hour flu, Letters from Somnolescent recently underwent its own 24-hour bit of chaos and peril after Nucleus (our old CMS) decided to test my patience. I planned to migrate us to WordPress next year, but given the circumstances, I couldn’t risk people not being able to log in.

If you’re reading this, it’s already complete. We’re on WordPress.


December 6, 2019

A Year Under the Bulb: An Ode to DreamHost

mariteaux

As you might be aware, when Somnolescent first got a web presence, it did so under a little site called Neocities. (No link, doesn’t deserve it.) As casual web hosting, it’s…fine. It’s hard to get excited about its lack of features, its style-over-substance presentation, how broken it really is, the abysmal Supporter’s plan, and especially its community, but for just getting a website online, it’s okay.

For our needs, Neocities wasn’t about to satisfy. We needed something sturdier, something with a better featureset, better support, and people who give a shit at the helm. The search didn’t last long, and the choice for us was pretty clear: only DreamHost would do. And we love it.

Over the past year, we’ve had nothing but good things to say about DreamHost. It’s been able to support nearly every little venture and idea we’ve had so far, and we’ve had many. Frankly, for what we get, it makes Supporter’s look like a ripoff. Come, as I rave about getting far more than you pay for.


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