Been very busy with college stuff. It feels very nice to be taking classes in things I'm actually interested in, a welcome and dramatic contrast from high school. The workload is... a lot, but it's somewhat offset by my interest in the content. Hopefully I will be able to get a post up soon-ish, I have had some ideas rolling around in my head for a while.
Here's something you might find interesting.
In the Western world, the common way to describe narrative structure (and likely the way you learned it in school) is exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement (or a slight variation on that).
China, Japan, and Korea have their own version of this, called qǐ chéng zhuǎn hé in the original Chinese. In hanzi, it is written like this: 起承轉合. However in Korean and Japanese, the words arise from these Chinese characters, which as you can see have a different fourth character: 起承轉結. Unlike Western narrative structure, conflict is not even implied. Kishōtenketsu or ki-seung-jeon-gyeol can be applied in formal essays, four-panel comic strips, TV show arcs, and basically any mode of storytelling.
There was a meme on the Korean internet where if someone is really fixated or obsessed with a certain thing, you would describe it as "ki-seung-jeon-", but replace the last word, "gyeol", with whatever they were obsessed with. This is to say that, no matter what they're talking (telling a "story") about, the conclusion will always be that certain thing they're fixating on. For example, if someone is obsessed with Star Wars, you'd describe it as "ki-seung-jeon-Star Wars".
Recently I decided to leave social media for good, a decision that was a long time coming if you read the earlier blog posts on here. Maybe "leave" is a bit of a misnomer, since I do still want to keep in touch with a close and private circle, but beyond that I have no wish to participate further. The accounts are solely for archival purposes, and eventually I hope to delete them altogether (I've already downloaded my data).
I kind of regretted the way I made it known. Honestly, I wasn't even posting art on an active basis and it felt as if I'd made a fuss over nothing. In fact I'm adamant that, to the people that matter to me, nothing is really going to change. I'm not going to drop off the grid or shut myself off from the world, far from it.
I also mentioned that I "wanted to migrate away from proprietary services completely", and I definitely regret phrasing it like that, because I don't even think that a strict, 100% free software only lifestyle is practical for many people, including myself. Especially artists, because many art programs (whether for painting, design, or music) simply don't have an industry-standard FOSS (free and open-source software) alternative. Not to mention if your school or workplace uses services like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, there's not a lot you can do about it.
But I still believe in doing your utmost to become independent from proprietary services. Not even really for ideological or "purity-spiral" reasons, but because libre software makes you a better user of your computer. You are able to have access to programs and systems at a lower level, and therefore can adjust things to your liking. You actually have an idea of what's going on in what would've been a total black-box, if you were using proprietary software. I think that's one of the most important things to me— the ability to know what is really happening, and the ability to change it.
Notes to self: Transfer & organize all my site files - replace site images w/ dithered versions - streamline CSS - clean up div hell
I'm done with finals (a harrowing experience that I'm very glad to be done with for the next few months) - and I've been teaching myself some LaTeX formatting so I can transcribe a PDF of this book which I will convert to an EPUB. (There are no decent EPUB versions of this book out there from what I could see, so I'm planning to upload the file onto my site.) The book itself is called The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler. If you've ever heard of the concept of a holon, which is any system that exists as a whole but is also a part of a larger whole - a kind of recursive definition with an example being atoms that construct molecules, molecules then constructing polymers, those polymers then making up even more complex structures, and so on.
Anyways, The Ghost in the Machine is the book where the holon basically originated from. It's a little dated, but still a great read for someone who is interested in psychology, consciousness, cybernetics, even some linguistics... Koestler covers a variety of things.
On the topic of making ebooks or even just improving on existing EPUB/DJVU files, here is a resource I've found very helpful, though I believe the tutorial itself (using pandoc, etc...) is directed towards people using UNIX-based OSes.
|(19/11/2022)||Wikipedia list of thought experiment demons, because I find it really amusing imagining a little guy messing up fundamental processes/structures of reality. Like Maxwell's demon is just a critter that laughs in the face of thermodynamics while sweeping molecules around with a broom, that's awesome.|
|(17/11/2022)||I like learning and talking about theology, especially Christianity and Islam. (I'd love to learn more about non-Abrahamic religions, or even the smaller Abrahamic religions, like Druzism, but that's a topic for another day.) I was raised Catholic, baptized, and basically everything but confirmed. I've considered doing RCIA for a while and I'm learning a lot. But ironically, sometimes it feels as if the more I learn, the more it seems like trying to square a circle. Catholicism is something very close to my heart, but I can't confront it fully, and so it feels as if I'm doing it a disservice. So what, go back to being lapsed? Leave the church entirely? It's difficult to say, the kind of question that needs to be mulled over, but only for so long.|
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest, a theologian, a paleontologist who was involved in the discovery of the Peking Man, and a scientist — in short, a veritable renaissance man — who lived and died in the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. The concept he is known for is the Omega Point, a kind of scientific-religious-theological eschatology (too many -ologies, jeez) similar to the idea of an eventual singularity. In other words, Everything That Rises Must Converge, everything that exists will bend towards (and be subsumed in) Jesus Christ.
Teilhard de Chardin's theory is structured by four invariants:
At first glance The Omega Point might come off as nonsensical, unscientific, maybe even conspiratorial, nothing more than a haphazard attempt at reconciling Darwinian evolution and Christianity, doomed from the start. Teilhard de Chardin, along with philosopher-in-arms Vladimir Vernadsky, coined "noosphere", which to me had an almost psuedo-intellectual connotation, the likes of "homeopathy", "polygraphy" and "morphic resonance" — words whose Greek etymologies and officious syllables bely their snake-oil insides.
This doesn't mean that the Omega Point is of zero academic (or even scientific) value, however. Consider the theory of the Big Crunch. Granted, it is also controversial and still a conjecture. But the Omega Point could also include an interpretation where the singularity isn't necessarily physical/spatial. What about John von Neumann's technological singularity, which has long since been a subject of debate in popular culture? The gray goo and ice-nine of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle are objects of fiction; the rhetoric surrounding AI is obscured and marred with fear-mongering and a lack of nuance.
Yet the technological singularity is not something that goes away when ignored or talked over. Vernadsky popularized the term "biosphere" in 1926. Almost a century later, we live in a world where the fundamental building blocks of information — DNA nucleotides, semantics of language, binary bits — are able to live alongside each other in increasingly symbiotic relationships. Regarding Teilhard de Chardin, on a scale of utter fantasy to unconventional prescience, I'd lean towards the latter.
 Morphic resonance is a psuedoscientific concept by former Cambridge biochemist Rupert Sheldrake. It basically posits that telepathy is real, among other equally fringe things. No one takes Sheldrake Senior seriously, but his sons are another story: Cosmo Sheldrake is a successful musician (known for his single, "The Moss" - or at least that's the song I know my friends like), and Merlin Sheldrake is an accomplished author and scientist whose book about fungi, Entangled Life, won many, many accolades.
|(13/11/2022)||I often think about the similarities in programming and creating art. The thought process and the emotions I go through when I'm doing a programming assignment and when I'm working on a painting, basically parallel each other. There's the pre-sketching portion, or the part where I conceptualize what I want to make, or how I want to solve a particular problem. Thumbnailing, diagrams, whatever. Then the sketching itself, or the writing of pseudocode. The majority of the effort after laying the foundations goes into refining them (rendering a painting versus debugging a .java file). The process is fraught with uncertainties, frustrations, and often there is no clear answer. For me, trial and error is what guides me through to the (questionable) solution. But by the end, what you get is a manifestation of your problem-solving trials and tribulations. It might be patchwork and ugly, but it's very real.|
|(12/11/2022)||Moved a lot of stuff around today, mainly on the index page, but still working on exactly how I'm gonna do the blog/diary split, or if I'm going to do that at all. There's definitely one thing I want to include, which is a gallery for my art. I'll get around to doing that this week hopefully, if homework doesn't swamp me beforehand.|
|(11/11/2022)||I'm starting to work on more major changes on this site, maybe almost to the extent of a complete overhaul. Apologies in advance for the ensuing messiness. I also want to find a better way to organize blog posts, not only temporally but by topic (I'd need to figure out how to implement tags and such, or perhaps a delineation between casual/more-personal diary entries versus effort-posts).|
|(06/11/2022)||Finally got around to cleaning up some of the CSS/HTML of this site - the way I'd done it before made no sense. Hmm, as for other updates, I'm in college now. Recently, I picked up this older piece and added more details. I haven't really had the time/motivation to work on personal art pieces, so it felt nice to draw again. The thought process behind this is my interest in medieval manuscript compositions and a very on-the-nose interpretation of Ingmar Bergman's "spider-god". The two characters are just my own: Erika and Inge.|
|(07/03/2022)||It's been so long! Thank you to the people that have followed this very sporadic website. I'm thinking of remaking large portions of this but I'm always thinking that. I'm pretty sure I'll have more time on my hands soon though. I've basically stopped using all other social media so it would be nice to spend more time on here.|
A toyhou.se link for all the Chouette heads out there. It's a compilation of almost all the times I (and other) have drawn him. Sorry I haven't updated this in forever. Been pretty busy. Have barely had any time to make art. Can you believe it's almost the end of the year?
I'm starting to work on more major changes on this site, maybe almost to the extent of a complete overhaul. Apologies in advance for the ensuing messiness. I also want to find a better way to organize blog posts, not only temporally but by topic (I'd need to figure out how to implement tags and such, or perhaps a delineation between casual/more-personal diary entries versus effort-posts).
|(24/09/2021)||About a month since my last update. Been busy with school... and I have exams starting next week. The important kind that will have an immediate effect on my future. I'm intimidated, to be honest. I don't think I'll bomb any of them but everyone I know has high expectations of me. I think that's the most terrible part, letting them down. Also, I finally drew the concept I had from my last blog post. Here it is.|
|(23/08/2021)||Updating because I want to say that I've had a significant realization and I need a reminder for my future self. Hopefully this isn't just me running on fumes. This image is a screenshot of an article I read a long time ago about distance runners (another big interest of mine I might talk more about one day). It's very evocative, imagine an athlete encased in ice while a priest reads from the bible over him. When my brain keeps returning to an image or scene many times over a long period, that's when I know I need to try drawing it.|
Very rare upload only one day apart from the last. Just wanted to share my process for a simpler piece.
The process will vary for each piece depending on what feel I want, or how complicated it is. But lately I've liked to do a sketch of the lines (and some suggestion of the values), put down colors and general values beneath the line layer, reduce the opacity of the lineart, and then render over it. I've been using a square brush to render, and do my lines simple pencil brush, no anti-aliasing. Sadly I couldn't find a good reference image of a flower bouquet on fire and didn't have one in my house to light on fire, so it looks questionable. This character is one that I designed 6 months ago, a priest named Chouette. He's also on my home page.
I'm going to make a sidebar where all the posts can be organized into months or something because this is really getting to be too much. Maybe not months, probably years. I only update like once a month anyways. Sometimes you can't stop saying words like, accrued or purveyed or instantiate. There was a word specific for someone who repairs and maintains a violin, or any necked string instrument, but I forgot. On the left is a study of a scene from a movie. Studies like these are very comforting, because you're going through the motions. The forms, colors, and lighting have all been set for you.
Thank you for getting here, by the way, whoever happens to read this. It's funny because, while I don't make the existence of this site exactly a secret, I know that only a certain few are going to click through my instagram to my twitter then get here, and then be willing to browse to get to this page (not that there is any space on this site to browse, it's quite small) and then - this one is a real culler - be willing to read through walls of text, none of which are of any real importance or benefit. So thank you.
I woke up kind of late today and vomited words all over this other "blog" I have. I haven't done that in a long time. This page might seem pretty unfiltered but I'm careful not to get too personal or too emotional about things. For example, I started off this blog post to write about something pretty personal and emotional but I decided to delete that entire chunk (partly because it has the potential to get me into real trouble). But every once in a while you have to just say what you're really thinking, and it's not something bigger than yourself, but something small and fitting perfect in your own life and "room" that is still causing moments of anxiety and distress.
I'm trying to read more about the anti-psychiatry movement. I read that essay by Szasz a year or so ago and it was really interesting. I need to read more about biopolitics and Foucault. I've read bits and pieces of Anti-Oedipus and it was great. On the plane ride back here I read a book called "The Great Pretender" which is basically a critique, almost an exposeé of that famous Rosenhan study, where they "faked" their way into mental facilities/asylums and "proved" that psychiatry has no reliable nor accurate way of judging insanity from sanity. I've been interested in stuff like the replication crisis for a long time, but that book kind of brought me back to it. I'm still so impressed and repulsed by how Wakefield's vaccine study changed the world for the worse. Science is complicated by itself, science communication must be a nerve-wracking field.
I've been listening to more music recently too. Mainly Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon. There's a lot to say about that too, about separating the artist from the art, but nothing I'll say will be new, so I'll just leave it. Eventually, maybe next month, I want to make a more in-depth and focused blogpost instead of me rambling and saying what I've been reading or listening to. Oh and by the way my friend sent me this! A link to David Berman's blogspot. Who the hell is David Berman you ask? Lead singer of Silver Jews which was like a folk/slacker/country rock band back in the 90's, sole member of Purple Mountains with a self-titled album out just two years ago I think. Also a brilliant poet. Sadly he killed himself almost right after that album came out, so we'll never know how he would've performed those songs. The blogspot is mostly an amalgamation of writings or pictures he's pulled from other people but there are some that are written by him. If you search his interviews up he can tell he was an incredibly flawed but interesting person. A few weeks ago I bought the Purple Mountains vinyl and listened to it from start to end. It's a perfect album.
It's both comforting and terrifying to know that in the 8 months I've been on here, I've accrued somehow over 2k hits. Maybe that's the baseline, and I'm surprised at nothing special. I know in the grand scheme of things, it's barely anything. I've been cleaning up here and there, but it'll be a long time until I'm satisfied - maybe I'll never be. I hope I won't ever be, cause that means I'll stop working on it. The code and design (flow?) is still pretty clunky, but despite it's awkwardness, despite its harsh inaccessibility (seriously, bright white Times New Roman on a black background), I kind of like the homemadeness it has, like a lot of other Neocities websites. Like, it was clearly made by a stupid, naive amateur who had no idea what they were doing. None of the sterilized constraints of Wix dot com or anything. You know?
Less than a week until I can start filling out some college applications (yeah, I'm planning on applying to some in the US). I know I keep bringing it up but there's not much else big going on in my life. Oh yeah, I've been reading a lot more. I brought a Pynchon book here that I still haven't managed to finish. I love Pynchon but sometimes it gets impractical for me to read a lot of him. If you're curious, it's The Crying of Lot 49, and I'm like 30% of the way through. I've also been reading a lot of Cormac McCarthy (Child of God, all his short stories, Outer Dark, and I swear, I'll get around to the Border trilogy and Blood Meridian). And some Don DeLillo, though I find his writing style is brilliant sometimes, and other times incredibly annoying).
I haven't been listening to much music, since I'm busy drawing, reading, or writing. Last albums I really listened to were from Joni Mitchell and Björk.
Pretty sad (and a little funny) how I use what media I consume to make benchmarks for time passing. Truth is, I don't feel like there's much else to do. There's not a lot of privacy here (literally, I'll be in a small hotel room with my family around) and of course, there's the pandemic, meaning I can't really go outside and browse on my own.
I finished Deleuze's essay, the one about "societies of control". In my summer English class, my teacher is a journalist. There was an interesting opportunity to discuss biopolitics but we didn't really get into it. Like how COVID-19 made some vulnerable communities out to be "dirty", like they're the pathogens themselves. I'd love to keep on reading more theory but right now I'm too deep into a fiction kick. Oh and my back hurts from sitting bad. I need to lie down. Bye and best of luck. To anyone that's out there reading.
It is almost midway through summer, with college applications on the horizon, meaning there's a lot of work to be done. Surprisingly I'm not very anxious about it. I think I am more on the neurotic and nervous side but the whole prospect of leaving school to go to another, bigger one doesn't inspire too much fear. Maybe I'll be completely petrified by the time I have to take a flight halfway across the world and fill out piles of paperwork. All the other things that usually would stress me out don't really have a grip on me either. Like choosing a major, choosing a university, getting through the last stretch of essays and exams. If I'm being honest, it doesn't really feel real to me -- more like something very distant and detached from myself.
This isn't a mental break or anything, just to clarify. But hey, you know I'm a rising senior now.
Well, I'm still reading Deleuze and Guattari. I want to get to "Postscript on the Societies of Control" by Deleuze, and this other book called "Supertraining", by these guys Yuri Verkhoshansky and Mel Siff. I'd also like to get to Deleuze's writings on Nietzsche. I'm a pretty slow reader when it comes to theory, though, and I often find myself rereading chapters over and over again. As for reading stuff that isn't theory, I've been reading Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find". I keep rereading sections of Mark Fisher, particularly his writing about music and culture. I used to scroll through his k-punk blog a year or two ago, and not pay any attention in my CompSci class (to be fair, it was a horrendous class). So yeah, I've been reading some.
I'm looking to move over exclusively onto neocities or make another personal website within the next year. Social media, or mainstream social media at least, just makes me feel like shit and being on there is terrible. I'll probably stay on Twitter and RYM because there are a lot of people who write very interesting things on there, but even that is a maybe.
The next few months are going to look like a lot of effort expended into schoolwork and studying for me, but hopefully once things settle (who knows when that will be) updates here will be more frequent/consistent. I'll see you.
Hello again! As always I am wishing you the best.
There's a lot going on but here's something interesting I found: The history of the troubadours. According to Wikipedia, they were performers and songwriters who spoke a language called Old Occitan. Occitan exists as a Romance language today spoken in some regions of France, Italy, and Spain. There are many dialects, such as Provençal in the Provence region of France, or Languedoucien, spoken in the Languedoc region of France. There is even Judæo-Occitan, also called Shuadit, which was spoken by some French Jews - it's extinct now.
Occitan, like all other Romance languages, is descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman Empire. Romance languages such as Spanish are grouped into the Ibero-Romance category along with Galician and Portuguese. French meanwhile is grouped into the Gallo-Romance languages along with all its Oïl counterparts. Occitan is a part of the Occitano-Romance group (what a surprise) with Catalan.
The recounting of how Occitan's label came to be is that it was a part of a group of Romance languages who used the word "oc" for "yes", derived from Vulgar Latin "hoc", meaning this. So it was called lenga d'oc. If you're curious, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese were called the sì languages, because their way of saying yes came from Latin's sic (thus). French was called the oïl language for its use of oui as yes, which comes from the Latin hoc illud, meaning this [is] that, this is it.
Occitan today is a scattered language, in relative decline. Estimates of living speakers range from 100,000 to 800,000, and it has no official status nor standard. Many, if not all of its dialects are endangered, and its closest living relative is Catalan, which has many more native speakers.
Now back to the troubadours. They were active during the 10th to 14th century, when the Black Death took hold of Europe. They sang songs about love and adultery, chivalry and cowardliness, and there were many genres ranging from comedic to dramatic. The Occitan of the Middle Ages differs quite a bit from modern Occitan but I think that they are mutually intelligible for the most part. Here is a stanza from a troubadour named Guilhen de Peiteu, titled:
"Companho, farai un vers qu'er covinen (Comrades, I shall write a fitting verse)."
Companho, farai un vers qu'er covinen, = Comrades, I shall write a fitting verse,
Et aura-i mais de foudatz no-y a de sen, = That will have more of folly than sense,
Et er totz mesclatz d'amor e de joy e de joven. = A mix of love, joy, and youth.
Note that I am in no way a professional or even experienced translator, nor a specialist on the Occitan language - just a student that has too much time on their hands. The translation here is not "optimized" in any way for poetry. For a more pleasant and accurate translation, click here. As I study more of Occitan, I will probably come back here to add more detail to the grammar of the translations. My thanks to William S. Annis for one of the most straightforwards and comprehensive guide of Old Occitan online, and the Glosbe Occitan-English online dictionary.
If you're interested in what the songs actually sounded like, click here for an invidious link to a troubadour song called Tant m'abelis, one of my favorites. In English, the title means So much I love. The Unicorn Ensemble has an entire album called Music of the Troubadours where they cover many notable troubadour songs. They are a group that covers Medieval and Renaissance music with instruments of that time.
If you're interested in more Early Music, then I also recommend Triste Plaisir by Gilles Binchois - the lyrics are nice too. Click here if you'd like to listen, here for the lyrics in both the French and English.