On this day.

Currently editing. A Dirge for the Amphiptere, ~68,000 words. Edit into Draft 4. Daily target: 3 days per chapter, for 27 chapters. Deadline: end February.

Now reading.
Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. Heist caper in a lush fantasy world. The kind of book that is simultaneously intimidating (would I ever be able to write something this good?) and stimulating (of course I can, just keep writing), and a great story to analyze and study for craft. 5 stars.

Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon. It’s given me a new perspective on how to use social media for showcasing creative work. I have an idea of what to do with my blog now. 4 stars.

Now playing.
Fallen London, and looking forward to the very-soon release of Sunless Skies.
Slay the Spire, roguelike deck-builder. Great for quick, fun gaming fixes with endless variety in each run. 4 stars.
Riven: Sequel to MYST, puzzle adventure. The first PC game I ever bought and played (when I was 13 years old), and has remained evergreen and beloved. I’ve finally discovered all the “endings”, and enjoyed the exquisite sound design and superb live-acting. 5 stars.

Great world building resources. A Manual of Gesture. An Outline of English Speech-Craft. (Both courtesy of @ayjay) The History of English podcast.

Recently learnt. Cynghanedd. Old English alliterative verse. Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Longfellow, written in epic verse (viz. discussion with fellow writer about poetic metre and conventions).
The Winchester rifle; must study firearm tech & dev over time. The Diolkos, a rudimentay railway in Ancient Greece.

Newly discovered. The joys of using fountain pens. I’ve never understood the obsession with stationery, but having tried out a fountain pen and inks over Christmas break, I get it now. Nevermore will I use cheap ballpoint pens again.

Weird dream.

Last night I dreamt about Serbian guerilla fighters in a muddy field beneath a looming cliffside containing a network of caves. The sky was cloudy and overcast, and it was all damp and probably drizzling. I was in the field, dug into the grass and mud, and then I was inside the cliffs with the soldiers, who were all dressed in blue uniforms, tramping through the tunnels, talking about Skopje and strategizing about some important mission there.

M. and I. were in the caves with me. They’ve been on my mind recently, and M. comes from a European country but is decidedly not Serbian. Apart from that tenuous link, I have absolutely no connections to the Balkans.

Sometimes, a weird dream is just a weird dream.

Appreciation for Micro.blog.

(I ended my M.B hosting subscription before I thought of making a final post on vega.micro.blog, so this will have to do.)

I’ve moved fully to my own domain. Now blogging at v.hierofalco.net, which includes the posts that were originally on vega.micro.blog. That M.B blog has been mothballed, but I’m still on the M.B social-media front.

Many thanks to Micro.blog for hosting vega.micro.blog for a short while. A few months, but they were important ones. If I hadn’t found M.B, I probably would’ve remained adrift in social media, ignorant of the Indieweb and the decentralized Internet, for a long while yet. If M.B hadn’t hosted me first, I wouldn’t have regained the desire and drive to have my own domain/website again. In a way, M.B was a midwife to reviving my webmastering hobby, and continues to prompt conversation and personal reflection on what social media means to me, and what goods and ills it brings into my life.

Thank you, @manton and Micro.blog. Keep up the good work; you don’t know what kind of impact you’re making on people.

💡 Things learnt today: Kandyan dance.

I work with a Sri Lankan colleague. What began as a discussion about Bollywood’s popularity in Sri Lanka (last night’s radio show still on the brain) ended in her describing Kandyan dance, a classical dance form indigenous to her home region. (The Kingdom of Kandy was one of the last sovereign kingdoms in Sri Lanka to fall to Portuguese colonists.) She called it “the king’s dance”, and it was a religious ritual performed by vassals before the king. When she learnt Kandyan dancing it was in the form of story. Every movement has a meaning, and together the movements form a story that makes the learning memorable.

Some YouTube videos. Fascinating. It distantly resembles classical Indian dance forms, with their intricate, symbolic gestures that each have a sacred meaning.

Weird Indieweb idea of the day: guestbooks.

If the Indieweb is reviving “Web 1.0” artifacts that foster a sense of community, such as site directories and webrings, I’d like to see a comeback of guestbooks. I remember how you could sign up with a guestbook host — they did all the scripting/hosting, and you pasted a link on your webpages to “sign guestbook” and “view guestbook”, and watched as visitors signed in over time. In the days of static websites, those were delightful methods of public, mutual discovery, through leaving a mark on someone’s website while also including a link to your own. At least, they were delightful before the spammers and big commerce arrived.

I suppose it’s still possible to make a “guestbook” by pinning a static page on your blog that people can comment on. Comments on a blog’s post seem to be the present-day equivalent to guestbook signings on a static, mute website. That doesn’t have the same feel as “sign guestbook” and “view guestbook”, though.

Something to try out one day when the site has gotten off the ground. But I’m a little doubtful that guestbooks will catch on. For one, the Internet is a very different place, and when the manual act of signing guestbooks has been replaced by automated metrics and anonymous trackers, this “neighbourly” practice has been lost. But it’s worth a go to see what kind of people might bother to sign a guestbook.

Hugo is a winner.

Installed Hugo and playing with it. This is incredible. All the laboriousness of coding webpages has been automated. Hugo can handle all the rote tasks, and I can get on with making content in markdown instead of stuffing around with markup. Most of my online presence is suited to static webpages, but has been spread around social media because I didn’t quite have the tools to build everything I wanted. Hugo offers a way to do that. Consolidation FTW. The days of finally leaving Tumblr, WordPress, Wordnik, Instagram, and Twitter are on the horizon.

Things to do:
Find a good website theme, or learn how to make one. How to make one theme adapt to different content types.

How to syndicate a static blog/site on RSS?

How to integrate Hugo into my existing creative workflow, and then publish everything online, with the least amount of friction. FTP is too much friction.

Hugo’s local server, and Writemonkey‘s abillity to bind its database to independent files, may be the keys to some of my writing workflow problems.

Dream.

I dreamt about AR last night. We were in a room in a building (apartment block? hotel?) chilling out and talking before he had to leave. We were probably talking about life and everything and nothing — nothing memorable, the way idle conversations between friends are like.

I’ve lost track of AR for many years. I haven’t thought about him for just as long. Not enough to prompt a dream, when I seldom dream these days.

I guess it’s time to pray again.

Webdesign, the state of the art.

At last, an article that explains the state of the art. Now I have a framework of reference for how the Internet is built, what all those tools/coding/markup languages/etc mean and do, and how they fit in with each other. Things are making more sense.

It seems that my skillset is all in static webdesign (HTML/CSS), whereas dynamic webdesign was the doorway I couldn’t/didn’t get through. Probably as a result of that, I dropped out of the game right when dynamic websites were taking off.

And it looks like the days of writing markup/content in Notepad and then uploading those files to my host via FTP are well and truly dead. If I want to revive my old domain into a proper website I’ll have to find out what new tools are being used. And then, get some web hosting where I can tinker.

Next to investigate:
What are static site generators, are they the “post-Web 2.0” version of WYSIWYG?
How do I use them, how much effort do I need to spend to learn that, and is that effort worth it?
Can I use a static site generator to blog?
What, exactly, am I going to do with a domain (and not a microblog like this)? How will it enrich my life? How will it enrich others’ lives?

💡 Things I looked up today. Dusted off my very old, very neglected domain to see if I can link it back to M.B here. I ended up reading through W3Schools’ tutorials on HTML and CSS.

It’s been about ten years since I last wrote markup. The last thing I was doing then was getting my HTML4 webpages compliant with XHTML 1.0, and trying — and failing — to wrap my head around all the new coding languages of XML and PHP. Now… HTML5 has some neat little quality-of-life updates, but otherwise, seems much the same as it’s always been, to my enormous relief.

My old domain has been hosted all this time by a former friend I’m no longer in contact with. A great kindness, there. I doubt anyone still links to it anymore. I’ll just put a redirecting link from there to Micro.blog. And maybe tinker around with some of my old webpages. Writing markup isn’t my jam, but it’s a good skill to have under my belt, and I can’t deny there’s still a modicum of fun and satisfaction in producing a neatly designed webpage.