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.

Weird webring idea of the day.

There ought to be a webring for lists of words. Surely there are other logophilic nerds like me out there who like to indulge their inner lexiconologists, make wordlists of all sorts, and then share them with the world. Wordnik is already a gathering place for said nerds, but since decentralization is the name of the game…

Flagging to “do this one day” when I have the motivation and focus to be a webmaster again, if no one else gets to it first. Also a good time to migrate all my wordlists (amassed over many years) onto my Micro.blog.

Hat-tip: @bradenslen and others’ very interesting blog posts about the revival of webrings. That’s neat, encouraging, and surreal – to see a staple of the early “1.0” Web being revived in this post-Web2.0 era.

🖋️ To silence the devil of Should.

Last night, desperate to meet a deadline I couldn’t put off anymore, I started writing again. Why, why, why did I let fear and performance anxiety block me up for two months. Writing is such a life-giving exercise, and getting back to my story and characters was like CPR to the soul. The fear dissolved and was replaced by joy and flow and energy. Why did I think a break was a good idea?

I revised 4 pages at the beginning of the story. Amidst that joy, I kept hearing the malicious whisper. Revising? Again? Unproductive! Why are you going over old territory when the best thing to do is finishing the novel? You are LATE, Vega. Two months late. You need to catch up and meet your goals.

Silence! Ah, not listening to that devil of Should who cracks the Whip of Expectations. I can’t listen to it anymore, because it sucks away the joy and leaves paralysis. I am amidst my stories and characters again, and that’s all that matters.

I jumped into my story at around 6pm. When I looked up, it was 2am. Four pages only, but four more than yesterday.

One day at a time.

Contemplating a timeline and the value of online presence.

I’ve been wondering how to bring humanity back into the act of Following Someone on Social Media, to add (or perhaps, recover?) that sense of “getting to know you” that comes when meeting a person in the flesh. So far, I’ve been sending “calling card” @’s to people whom I’m following: a greeting, and why I’m following them. I’m no longer idly clicking Follow, but actively approaching someone else to make a connection.

This active engagement with someone else has compelled me to consider the purpose of my timeline. What value and edification is a social media timeline adding to my life? What goods do I want it to add to my life? Therefore, what goods are this particular person’s social media presence adding to my life when I Follow them and allow them to appear on my timeline?

I came onto Micro.blog initially because I was attracted by its (micro)blogging capabilities, and its vision of creating a village in cyberspace. Now, I’m figuring out what this social arm of M.B means to me, how to engage with it, and to what degree I want to engage.

I’m still figuring it out. Not every interesting person I encounter on M.B is someone I necessarily want to Follow. I can always encounter them through Discover, and actively visit their M.B accounts. But Following a person… that is an active step of closer engagement. I’m no longer going to visit their accounts as and when I please, and then leave possibly without saying anything, but allowing them the privilege of pouring their digitized thoughts directly into my timeline and into my life. I value what they think and say. So, the least I could do is send a calling card.

💡Things I looked up and learnt today.

Apropos of a bag of potting mix, the head groundskeeper at my workplace told me about integrated pest management being developed in turf/soil/landscaping management. Instead of using pesticides, he spikes the soil with a certain sugar/molasses mix, to encourage the soil microbes and nematodes to grow and compete with each other. This way, nature works its own way and hopefully the good microbes outcompete the harmful ones. And mould/fungal growth in a bag of potting mix doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gone “off”. It could be benign.
This gentleman is a wealth of knowledge, and happy to share it when asked. I have enormous respect for him.

Portraiture and busts/sculptures of Roman emperors, apropos of the carefully historical Emperors of Rome podcast. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Caligula, Trajan, Nerva, Vespasian, Hadrian…. These men may have been emperors but they looked rather normal. And unique: so much variety in their faces, it’s fascinating. These portraits put human faces to two-millennia-old historical figures: they are no longer disembodied and mythic names from antiquity, but became people. I’d never anticipated that just looking at pictures of busts of Roman emperors would transform my perception of those men like this. It’s refreshing.

Porphyry, (“purple” in Ancient Greek), is an igneous rock and was valuable in antiquity. Versus alabaster, which is a mineral: gypsum, and softer.

Epigrams (from Ancient Greek), pithy poetic form. One long line and one short line with a kicker/barb at the end.

Roman baths. (So much great world-building inspiration here.)

I’m not in a habit of posting links to books/games in my reviews, mostly out of sheer laziness. But, I did put links in my earlier game reviews because they were less familiar names. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided that whenever I link, as much as I can, I will link directly to the author’s or game’s website, instead of to a product page on Amazon/Steam/etc.

I don’t mind that other reviewers link to product pages, but I am not enthused by the thought of doing the same. I suppose I have a subconscious objection to associating my private blog to commercial and impersonal places. Furthermore, those product platforms didn’t create that entertainment, they’re just the middlemen distributing it. But because those platforms are so big, it’s very easy to forget that individuals and people created those works in the first place. So, while I’m thinking of small villages and houses within Internet-as-community, I’m even more determined to decouple creative works from the distributor and reattach it back to the creator by linking their websites whenever I write reviews.

After all, that’s the main way I’ve discovered artists and creative works, primarily through links and recommendations on other people’s websites and blogs. I don’t use Amazon and Steam and other distributors to discover, but rather to corroborate that initial discovery. So I do think they have their place and I appreciate that people put reviews there.

I won’t, though. I’d rather link to creators instead of distributors. Other people who click through to the creator can decide how to support them. And perhaps, discover a new thing for themselves.