January Playlist

So. January of 2017. What a nice month. For me, it’s the beginning of a pretty major turn in my life after dropping out of college and finding new ways to put my life together. For the rest of the world, it seems the beginning of an age in which 2016 (the most horrible year) is just a prelude. I can’t seem to go online nowadays without hearing of unrest and unscrupulous governments and war. Reading my twitter feed is like watching the world crashing down in slow, panicked, motion.

There’s a lot I’ve been hearing, and a lot that I want to say, but, uhh, I just don’t think I’ve enough words to put them down yet.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the eye of a storm—nothing seems to touch me directly, but damned if I can’t feel for what’s been going on everywhere else.

So here’s an alternative: what I’ve been reading, playing, and doing this beginning of the year.

Reading List

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore

AKA, Al Gore’s musing on the state of the world and where it’s going. Al Gore, former vice president, environmentalist, I tend to take as one of the good ones, and his musings are thoughtful and on point. It’s hard to summarize this incredible book, since it seems to, on top of being 500 pages thick, be able to tackle nearly every facet of our modern life. It’s also willing to look back on ancient history and using that the look to the future. The way history is meant to be.  Continue reading “January Playlist”

My 2016 in Video Games

Hey, it’s 2017. The last year has been kind of oscillating between “bad” and “meh” and “shitty” but also sometimes “pretty good” and “life’s pretty okay”. So what’s the best way to look back on it without getting too personal?

Games of the Year! I’m going to mostly list games that has made an impact on me on 2016 instead of a list of quality games that are released this year (there’s a kajillion of them and I barely play them!).

The Big Throne

Ori and the Blind Forest

goty2017-ori

I only started playing this during the December holiday season. There’s so many good, fantastic, beautiful things in it, I can’t even start counting. The gameplay and level design are perfect, the control is great (bless Ori’s fast walking speed) sans the need to press the Shift button for extended period of time (please have mercy on my pinky). The story is more a heartfelt fable than anything groundbreaking, but how it’s told is a beauty.

But my best takeaway from it is how easily Ori dies over and over and over again. Hit a spike, jump into a pool of poison, be destroyed by enemy’s projectiles. And he’ll still be back, kicking, and with every death I, or at least my fingers, learn more on how to handle the obstacle better. There’s something heartwarming in Ori’s many visceral deaths and all the dozens attempts he’ll endure again. Continue reading “My 2016 in Video Games”

A Non-Regret

While moving out of my dorm room a week ago, I found a whole stack of my fiction writings I don’t even remember anymore. Most of them are just doodles, none of them are proper start-to-end stories (I still have trouble finishing stories). I won’t be able to transcribe all of them, but I’d try to pick some of the better ones and put them on my writing doodle blog.

This one is pretty loaded with descriptions for the heck of it–the kind I’d call a garbagefic, but after typing it out and making some minor editing, I think it’s pretty good? Lemme know if you want me to continue it.


A Non-Regret

It had been a week since the incident, the accident, but every morning he still opened the newspaper with trembling hands. He scanned the pages, read quickly, and afterwards, nervously, he’d put it down and picked up the next one. He kept the TV for entire days, always tuned to the news. None of us had the heart to change the channel, to hide the papers, or even to tell him to sit down, relax, and forget everything about what happened. None of us told him that everything would be fine because we didn’t believe it ourselves.

The police investigations had found no clue, no fingerprints, nothing in the way of DNA leftovers. They knew the murder weapon was a knife, but they couldn’t find it. They wouldn’t. I buried it deeper than anyone could find, in a cemetery on the other side of the town. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could incriminate him in the murder.

It had been a week. We’ve all forgotten it, or tried to, at least. Every morning he read the papers with his nerve wrecked, and every night he still spent an hour washing his hands as if he could still feel the blood on them.

But the people, as people do, in a city as large, bustling, buzzing as ours, have forgotten it faster than we could. The papers had stopped mentioning it, the news had carried on to more recent matters. It seemed no one will ever find us.

And then a woman came to our house. Continue reading “A Non-Regret”

Trying to build websites again

The last few weeks I’ve been digging myself a hole in web development land, again. It is a nightmare. Which I enjoy staying in, for some reason. Moments include: late night shifts because I can’t sleep until I implement just one more feature, hours of banging my head against the wall trying to traverse a framework’s maze-like documentation, gleefully alt-tabbing between my text editor and the CSS reference because I have terrible memories, et cetera.

I’m too tired to write a proper, uhh, thing, about what I’ve been doing. Right now I’m working on a static site for my personal homepage portfolio thing, taking a break from some server-side programming for a collaborative writing web app I’m working on.

I’m a vanilla guy; I like to work with no-frills HTML and CSS files with plaintext editor when designing a website. At first I thought of just building the entire website with it, but then, ugh, what if I have to change something in the header or the sidebar? I’d have to edit every single page in the site. What a nightmare. So I thought of using one of these static site generators.

I thought of using Pelican, at first, since I’m familiar with Python (I was building my other project with Flask, a web framework built on Python). Half an hour into its documentation and I went nope nope nope, too complicated. Then I tried Hugo, which I’m already sort of familiar with after trying it out about a year ago. Three tires and hours later I’ve gone to the conclusion that, screw this, screw all this mess. These static site generators tend to assume a lot on how you want to build your sites, and they just end up being more work than they’re worth.

Ha. Ain’t that a common thing for programmers. We tried building or using a tool to help us with doing repetitive tasks, only to find ourselves hours later at the centre of a spaghettified mess, realising that it’ll be way quicker if we just do things manually.

Software engineering: Where everything is a nightmare, but we keep on throwing ourselves into it anyway.

I end up implementing Jinja2 into a Python file that I make myself to generate the site. It’s such a relief not to have to wade through triple-layered documentations just to do what I want to do.