February 4th, 2023

Figured Out Youtube ReVanced and Dragalia Lost Is No Longer Lost

Spent a better part of today trying to figure out how to install Youtube ReVanced lol. It took a while and numerous tries, but I finally got it to work. Hurray! For those who don't know, ReVanced lets you create a patched version of the Youtube mobile app that blocks ads and allows you to customize various functions and the app layout. It was created as a replacement for the popular Youtube Vanced, after that app was shut down by Google. ReVanced has patches available for other apps, such as Twitter, but I haven't checked those out/am not interested. ReVanced is available on Android devices and doesn't require a rooted device.

I heard about ReVanced a while ago and have been meaning to look into it but kept forgetting. Recently, Google forced an update that broke the older version of Youtube I was using. Annoyed, I decided to get rid of the vanilla Youtube app and install ReVanced instead. I found a handy-dandy guide on Reddit, that provides step-by-step instructions and followed that. The guide can be found here: [[GUIDE]]

The guide was easy to follow. However, I did have some trouble while I was attempting to patch the Youtube APK using the ReVanced Manager. Some of the patches caused the manager to not work, so I had to try several times by deselecting a few options every time until it worked. Not sure which patch caused the hang-up but here's a list of patches that worked for me:

Patches I installed (although I ended up not using all of them)
  1. client spoof
  2. custom branding
  3. custom video buffer
  4. custom video speed
  5. disable auto captions
  6. disable startup shorts player
  7. disable zoom haptics
  9. enable wide searchbar
  10. general ads
  11. hdr auto brightness
  12. hide autoplay button
  13. hide breaking news shelf
  14. hide cast button
  15. hide create button
  16. hide crowdfunding box
  17. hide email address
  18. hide endscreen cards
  19. hide my mix
  20. hide player buttons
  21. hide shorts button
  22. hide video action buttons
  23. hide watch in vr
  24. hide watermark
  25. microg support
  26. minimized playback
  27. old quality layout
  28. open links directly
  29. open links externally
  30. remember playback rate
  31. remember video quality
  32. remove player button background
  33. return youtube dislike
  34. sponsorblock
  35. spoof app version
  36. tablet mini player
  37. theme
  38. video ads

In the app settings, you can toggle each patch on/off. Since ReVanced is still in development, some hiccups are to be expected. So far, I find the app to be pretty stable. It works perfectly on my phone, but I did have issues with the app crashing on my tablet every time I selected the library tab. I looked this up online and apparently this is an issue for Samsung tablets on the latest recommended version of Youtube ReVanced (18.03.36). I ended up downgrading to 17.49.38 and it now works fine. Being able to watch on mobile without ads is so nice. Also, being able to close the app but still have the video play in the background is great. I still can't believe Youtube removed that from the free version of the app.

Recently, I discovered that a private server was set up for Dragalia Lost. I haven't checked it out yet but I was super pumped to learn it existed. More information about the server can be found here. I was pretty bummed when Dragalia Lost was shut down. For a mobile game, the gameplay was quite good (imo) and I really loved the music. I found that once the game was gone, I regretted not going back to play certain fights one last time. So, having a chance to replay the game is super exciting. So far, it seems like only single-player quests work, which is fine with me. Co-op was great, but clearing quests alone was a lot easier and less stressful lol.

A while ago, I got into the closed alpha for Anytype. Anytype is a note-taking/productivity app similar to Notion. I've used Notion for a while now but have been searching for a replacement because Notion's security isn't the greatest and also I want my information to be stored offline. For several months, I've been tinkering around with Obsidian. Obsidian is great, but it lacks some of the functionality I liked about Notion, so I've been using the two in tandem. I was hoping that Anytype would solve the issues I have with both Notion and Obsidian. Despite getting into the alpha months ago, I haven't had the time to really check out Anytype until now and it's... a little strange. I'll need more time to play around but so far, I find it to be a little confusing and unintuitive. I'm hoping that once I get used to it, I'll like it.

January 22nd, 2023

Went on a Sleigh Ride

Well, it's been a while! Haven't really had much to talk about. I'd say this month has been busy, but I'm pretty sure I've said that for every month so far since I started this journal. I'm sensing a trend here.

Anyway, recently I went on a sleigh ride with my mother. She joined this activity group and they set up the whole thing. She didn't want to go alone so she invited me along. I was the youngest person there by at least two decades lol. The whole experience was really fun! We left early in the morning and had to drive for almost two hours to reach the place. When we left, it was snowing. Thankfully, the roads weren't too bad. Driving through the mountains while it snowed was a lovely experience. I generally don't go up to the mountains in the winter, so seeing all of the snow-covered trees was neat. I always forget how tall the trees can get. Some of the older trees were probably nearing 200 ft tall (that's around ~61 m for you metric system enjoyers). When we arrived there, the snow had mostly stopped. There were group introductions and we waited for everyone to arrive. Then, we all loaded into the sleighs. The sleighs were a lot larger than I expected and could fit around 10 people. Each sleigh had a large box of alfalfa in it. As we set off, the driver explained that a herd of wild elk comes down in the winter to rest on the property. The alfalfa was for them.

The sleigh ride was really fun. I sat at the very end, so it was more bumpy for me. Riding in a horse-drawn sleigh through a snowy landscape was super peaceful. It was nice to sit back and taking things slow for a bit. At around the halfway point of the ride, we saw the herd of elk. It was predominantly female elk (cows) but I saw one young male (bull). He had two little stumps for antlers. I wonder if one of the cows was his mother. Our driver explained that cows usually come down the mountain in the winter, while bulls generally stayed at higher elevations. The large herd watched us quietly as we approached. As we looped around them, they started to trot towards us. We were told to stay in the sleigh, but we could feed the alfalfa to them. Although skittish initially, the elk grew more bold once we tossed some alfalfa on the ground. Some of the braver ones came right up to the sides and poked their noses at us. Not quite sure how I feel about feeding wild animals, but the experience of being up close to a bunch of elk was something. Their giant ears were so cute! Our driver explained that the alfalfa was only a treat for them. Occasionally feeding them didn't disrupt their natural foraging habits and, unless you approached in a horse-drawn sleigh, they were still afraid of people. Here's a picture of a juvenile elk that kept coming up to the sleigh when the larger cows walked away. After we fed them all of the alfalfa, we pulled away and the herd watched us leave. The ride back felt a lot shorter and before we knew it, the sleighs were pulling to a halt. Inside, we drank coffee and hot chocolate, and had some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Most of the rest of the group was then heading further up for activities at a winter resort, but my mother didn't feel like going. So instead, we headed back down.
Once we arrived back in town, we stopped at this Vietnamese restaurant that I wanted to try. I heard good things about their pho, so we ordered that. It was great weather for pho. The pho was fantastic and warmed us up. I'd love to eat there again! Too bad it's so far away from where I live.

December 31st, 2022

2022 Retrospective and Goals for 2023

It's been pretty quiet since Christmas. This last week is my favorite week of the year, where nothing feels real or like it matters. It's like a liminal space of sorts. You just kind of exist in a haze until the new year rolls in. Christmas was good this year. I always get inordinately stressed about Christmas, so I'm kind of glad it's over. Everyone liked my gifts and I got primarily gift cards in return, which works with me. I didn't really have anything I specifically wanted. Christmas for my family is a pretty chill affair. We had our big holiday meal on Christmas Eve, so I ate a lot of leftovers in the days after. On Christmas Day, we exchanged gifts and relaxed.

My brother got me a gift card to Barnes & Noble, so I went during their two day sale after Christmas, when all hardcovers were 50% off. That was a mistake lmao. I didn't even end up getting any hardcover books. I got the last two books in The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie in paperback. The checkout line stretched all the way around the store, cut through the toy section, and ended past the restrooms. It took like 30 or 40 minutes to reach the front. While I was waiting, I kept thinking that there really was no reason why I was in line. The books I got weren't on sale. I could have put them back and come a different day. But I didn't. Sunk-cost fallacy I guess lol.

Recently got my new Hobonichi Cousin for 2023. I bought it from Amazon using a gift card. Last year, I ordered from JetPens. I was hoping that it would be cheaper from Amazon but the cost was around the same at ~$60 (yeesh). I even checked to see if it would be cheaper to order from Amazon Japan but nope. Hobonichi products are priced fairly reasonably in Japan but they get super costly elsewhere since they need to be imported. $60 for a planner/journal is pretty excessive, but I don't really spend a lot otherwise so I'm letting myself splurge. I don't get any of the extras and I use a simple clear Midori A5 cover to protect it, so that's how I justify the cost lmao. Stationery is pretty much the only thing I allow myself to consoom. I got the new English edition to try out. 2022 was my first year trying out the Hobonichi Cousin and I really liked it. I managed to fill out all of the daily pages, which I'm pretty proud of. I was debating between getting the Japanese edition again or the English one. I don't understand Japanese but I'm used to the formatting in the Japanese one. I want to one day learn Japanese, so I was thinking that I could read the text on the daily pages for practice. But I went with the English edition for 2023. I mean, let's be real. I probably won't be learning Japanese anytime soon and if I did, I could just flip through my old Hobonichi for practice. Apparently they'll be switching to a new type of paper for the 2024 edition. It will still be Tomoe River paper but a new version. They sent a small sample to test your pens on. I don't really use anything too special so all of my supplies worked fine. I just don't really like the way the new paper feels. It feels 'drier' if that makes sense. Whatever, I'm sure I'll get used to it once 2024 starts.

Anyway, since it's the end of the year, I thought I should do some reflection. 2022 was overall, a pretty okay year for me. I accomplished some things that I was afraid to do, but needed to do for a long time. However, I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I'd like but that's okay. I had hoped that more things would have changed in my life but it didn't work out that way. Still, I'm glad that I was able to accomplish the things that I did. (Sorry for writing in such vague terms but I don't really like talking about personal things on the Internet. Remember kids, the Internet is forever so stop oversharing!) I was able to reconnect with some old friends, which was nice. I started this Neocities site, which is a pretty big step for me, since I've largely been allergic to any and all forms of social media these past few years. I played some fun video games and managed to read 50 books this year, which was a pretty major accomplishment for me. I don't think I've read that much since middle school or maybe early high school. I fell out of reading due to being busy with school and life, so falling back in love with it has been such a nice experience. I've (mostly) enjoyed the books I've read and I'm excited for all of the new stories I'll experience in 2023!

some very self-indulgent reading stats only I care about + completed reading goals
  • books read: 50
  • pages read: 17,779
  • average pages per book: 355.58
  • shortest book: 84 pages (Letters to a Young Poet)
  • longest book: 675 pages (Royal Assassin)
  • favorite fiction book: Stoner
    • honorable mention: the entire First Law trilogy
  • least favorite fiction book: The Love Hypothesis (should have known better than to trust tiktok smh)
  • favorite non-fiction book: Invisible Women
    • honorable mention: I'm Glad My Mom Died
  • least favorite non-fiction book: How Will You Measure Your Life?
  • average rating: 3.87 / 5 stars
  • classics: 8
  • translated works: 5
  • non-fiction vs. fiction: 38% (19/50) non-fiction, 62% (31/50) fiction
  • age distribution: 94% (47/50) adult, 2% (1/50) young adult, 4% (2/50) middle grade
  • book source: 80% (40/50) library, 8% (4/50) already owned, 4% (2/50) purchased, 8% (4/50) gifted
    • money saved by library: $792.88 (holy shit)
  • gender distribution of authors: 51.92% (27/52) female, 48.08% (25/52) male
  • most read genre: fantasy (44%, 22/50)
  • least read genre: horror / historical fiction (both were at 4%, 2/50)
  • books published in 2022: 12% (6/50)
  • dnfs: 4
  • read 50 books
  • maintain 50%+ books by female authors
  • read at least 5 books published in 2022
  • read at least 4 translated works
  • read at least 5 classics (not counting LotR)
  • read the Lord of the Rings trilogy

I also got back into drawing this year. Like reading, it's a hobby that I stopped doing for over half of a decade now (yikes!). I'm super rusty, so drawing was a bit of a struggle for me. I got frustrated really easily and often. It felt like I struggled to draw the simplest of things, and everything I did draw didn't turn out the way I imagined. I tried to get back to the basics by studying construction, but I feel like that kind of killed the enjoyment of drawing for me so I took a break. I'm still making my way through Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton but it's going very slowly. I think what I want to focus on now is doing studies and applying what I learn to my own art. I think that's the best way to improve. It's just that I get a little discouraged while doing studies. My art is nowhere near where I want it to be so I get pretty frustrated, especially when I'm analyzing art that I really admire during a study. I think I just need to remember to be chill about things. After all, I'm very out of practice. Even though I didn't really draw for quite a few years, I feel like my 'eye' for art still improved so that's why I'm so critical about my own art. I'm at that awkward stage where your art skills haven't leveled up with your skills for evaluating art. It sucks, but the only way to get better is to draw some more. I was hoping to post some art to my Neocities site this year but aside from that one doodle on the Splatoon page, I haven't. Part of the issue is that I'm hyper-critical of my art. The other part is that I'm still not comfortable drawing digitally. Before I took a break from drawing, I drew digitally but never got used to it. After my break, I'm still not used to it. I don't understand artists who are all like "oh, making digital art will feel natural eventually". I even got a display drawing tablet (I believe it's an XP-Pen Artist 15.6) to replace my rinky-dink Wacom Bamboo tablet. The display screen helps but it still feels awkward. I could post some traditional art, but pretty much all of my recent traditional artworks are pencil sketches in a cheap, shitty sketchbook I got years ago. (The paper quality is awful.) They're pretty rough and again, I'm super critical of them even though they're just sketches. Aaaaughrhghhg!!! I think I just need to get over myself. I also need to stop falling back to my comfort zone of drawing portraits facing left lol.

I played some fun video games this year. My favorite is definitely Elden Ring, although I've spent a lot of time playing Splatoon 3 also. My biggest surprise was probably Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Despite it being very ugly, it's surprisingly fun to play. I had more fun exploring in Legends: Arceus than I did in Breath of the Wild. I bought Minecraft this year. I think the last time I played it was in early high school? Or maybe late middle school. I can't remember if I played the beta version of Minecraft or an early version of the full Java release. All I know was that Notch was still involved and it was a very old edition. They've added a ton of new things since then. I didn't remember much so playing it again was like experiencing it for the first time. Unfortunately, just like the first time I played Minecraft, I got bored of it lol. I got to the Nether and messed around a bit before eventually stopping. I'm sure I'll play it again in the future but I don't really have an interest in building elaborate structures and I was getting a little bored of exploring. I imagine it's a lot more fun to play with friends. Even though I got bored of it, I still really enjoyed my time with the game.

For 2023, my primary goal is to find a new job. I mentioned this before but haven't really been serious about job-hunting since I'm still working and because it's the end of the year and no one is really hiring until January. The thing is that I absolutely hate searching for a job. It's so nerve-wracking. Regular job interviews are bad but technical interviews are excruciating. I need to brush up on my technical interviewing skills. A lot of the questions they ask aren't even all that relevant to the job. I know why they ask these questions, but they're still annoying. If possible, I'd like to find a fully remote job. It'd be way more convenient. Also I hate driving. Traffic here seems to get worse every year and a lot of drivers are brain dead. I think it's interesting that a lot of people are more scared of being in a plane crash or attacked by sharks than being in a car crash. Statistically speaking, being in a car is probably the most dangerous part of your day. Also, you're more likely to be attacked by Ezra Miller while vacationing in Hawaii than by a shark. Anyway, I have some other personal life goals but I won't share them because privacy reasons.

Now for some fun goals! My reading goals for 2023 are: I think these are all very doable goals. The hardest will probably be reading at least 50 books again. I have reading 50%+ books written by female authors as a goal because: 1) I like to support female authors and 2) fantasy is the genre I read the most and historically, it has been very male dominated. A lot of the older SFF series on my TBR list are by men so I want to make sure that I focus on reading books by women too. I didn't set a goal to read a certain amount of 2023 releases, like I did this year for 2022 releases. I was looking through the list of books I want to read, and only 2 of them are 2023 releases (Alecto the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and Witch King by Martha Wells). In general, I've noticed that I haven't really been enjoying frontlist titles as much as backlist titles. I'm not sure if it's because many of these books were written during lockdown and so they kind of suck, or if it's because publishers are focusing on aquiring bland but safe books. I might pick up some new releases if I hear good things about them but in general, I'll be focusing on reading older books. I'd like to finish the Farseer Trilogy and move on to The Liveship Traders. I really enjoy Robin Hobb's writing and her character work is excellent. I also want to get around to The Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. Jemisin has been a very mixed author for me but I've heard amazing things about this trilogy. I want to read the Raven's Mark trilogy by Ed McDonald and the three First Law standalones by Joe Abercrombie. I'm not sure if I'll get to The Age of Madness trilogy by him but I definitely want to read the standalones at the very least. Finally, I want to start the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Initially, I wasn't sure what order to read them in. There are a ton of recommended reading orders online, but I've decided to read them chronologically (which doesn't seem to be recommended lol). I've heard that the first few Discworld books aren't the best, so I'd rather get them out of the way than have to read them later after enjoying the good stuff. As for non-SFF books, I generally pick them on the fly so there isn't really anything I specifically plan on reading. We'll just see what I read as the year passes.

I don't track manga the same way I track books. But, there are some manga series I'd like to get to. With the exception of a few series, I've kind of fallen out of reading manga and it's something I'd like to get back into. I want to reread Monster and Fruits Basket. I want to continue The Ancient Magus' Bride and Natsume's Book of Friends, as well as start Yona of the Dawn, A Man and His Cat, Vagabond, and The Girl from the Other Side. There are other series I'm interested in, but these are the only ones I can think of right now.

As for my Neocities site, my biggest goal is to keep maintaining it throughout 2023. I want to get my art page up and actually post some art, as well as get the Neocities buttons page up. I also want to change the main site layout. The Foollovers template was really helpful when I first made this site, since I knew absolutely nothing about html or css. I mean, I still don't know a ton but I know enough now to change it. I just don't know what I want to change it to. I'll need to come up with a design. I'll also need to figure out what to put on my index page. Right now, it's pretty plain. But yeah, those are my goals!

I don't believe in horoscopes but apparently, 2023 is supposed to be a lucky year for my Chinese Zodiac sign. And you know what? I'll take it. I need some good vibes for 2023. I predict that it will be a pretty stressful year for me, but hopefully also very rewarding. It'll definitely be a year of change and I'm determined to make it a good year. I'll be visiting my mother for New Years. In our household, it's traditional to eat tteok mandu guk on New Years Day. Tteok mandu guk is a Korean soup containing rice cakes, dumplings, and usually beef, and is topped with green onions, eggs, roasted seaweed, and a drizzle of sesame oil. My mom makes everything homemade and the soup usually takes a few days of prep to make. She usually makes it with a bone broth she simmers for about two days. The dumplings are a blend of homemade kimchi, ground pork, tofu, potato starch noodles, and whatever finely chopped veggies she snuck in to make it more healthy lol. It'll look something like this picture, although usually my mom omits the beef chunks. It's super tasty and one of my favorite Korean dishes! I'm super excited to eat it! Anyway here's to 2023! Happy New Year!

December 16th, 2022

Catching Up, Emotional Immaturity, and Honk Honk

It's been about half of a month since my last entry. Oops! Where has all of the time gone? It's been a very busy month for me, but December always is. I managed to catch The Game Awards earlier this month. I always feel like this event is a bit corny but there were some exciting announcements! The one I'm most excited about is the announcement for Hades II! I really enjoyed the first game so a sequel is a welcome suprise. Hecate's design is super cool and Nemesis looks really hot lol. I hope she's a romance option. Elden Ring won Game of the Year, as it should. Some kid pranked The Game Awards by going on stage and saying something about Bill Clinton before getting arrested. Still not sure what that was about, but the memes made about him were pretty funny. Shame that he took away from Miyazaki's moment though.

The first Big Run happened in Splatoon 3. Unfortunately, right before the event happened, I deranked to Profreshional+3 and wasn't able to crawl out of Profreshional hell and back to Eggsecutive VP until after the event ended. I ended up deranking all the way down to Pro+1 before making it back to Pro+3 at the end. I got some really annoying teammates. They were very fond of going to the shoreline and getting killed immediately. What was really obnoxious were the ones constantly spamming 'This Way!' and then getting mad when no one followed them to the shoreline. The smart thing to do is to stay near the basket and let the enemies come to you, not go to their spawn where you can easily be overwhelmed. The only reason why you might want to go to the shoreline is if there is a Stinger, Flyfish, or Big Shot. Even then, you should be careful. Didn't rank nearly as high as I wanted, but ah well. There will be more Big Runs in the future. I already like Wahoo World normally, but it was really fun to play on it as a Salmon Run stage. I was hoping that they would release a new King Salmonid boss for the event, but sadly they didn't. Maybe next season we'll get a new boss? I was able to play with a friend at the very end. She's a complete beginner when it comes to Salmon Run, so I had fun helping in the lower ranks. Compared to Eggsecutive VP or even Profreshional, the waves were super chill. The teammates were the most stressful aspect but I couldn't really get mad since they're all beginners.

Lately, it snowed a lot here. It's pretty unusual since our winters are normally fairly dry but I'm not complaining. I used to hate snow but now one of my favorite things is to go out for a walk while it's snowing. The world is so quiet then, and it looks really beautiful with all of the snowflakes falling from the sky. The ice is a pain though.

Recently, the date for our book club meeting got pushed back... again. We were originally supposed to read Ordinary Monsters, but then the book was changed to Babel. Our original meeting date was in September, but every month since then, it's been pushed back by a month. I think at this point, we've all had a turn at asking for it to be delayed because of life reasons lmao. This book choice is cursed. Hopefully, this will be the final delay. We were going to meet at the end of December, but now our meeting is set for mid-late January. If something comes up again, I think we might just need to throw in the towel, meet anyway, and then choose a different book. I'm almost halfway through Babel and it's pretty meh. If I wasn't reading this for book club, I would have DNF'd it like 50 pages in. It's really not my thing. I agreed to change our book from Ordinary Monsters to Babel because I wanted to check it out. It was getting a lot of hype and even though I had a feeling I wouldn't like it, I still wanted to give it a try. The only way to expand your reading horizons is by taking risks and trying out books you normally wouldn't read, after all. Alas, it seems like dark academia is not my thing. My copy from the library is due soon, so I'm just going to return it and check it back out in January. Hurray for procrastinating! I was planning on having Babel be one of the 10 books I read by the end of the year to meet my reading goal but now I get to choose a different book. Hmmm what to pick...

oh dear
Let's see, what else? I redownloaded Neko Atsume on my phone a few days ago. I played it years ago and they've added a lot of stuff since then. I don't think the developers are actively working on it now though. Still, I'm having fun seeing all the cute kitties. I'm currently saving up for the yard expansion. My favorite cat is Tubbs. I just think it's funny that there's a chance of him appearing and eating all your food.

Recently, I read Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson. It's given me Much To Think About. But, one of the things that caught my attention is the author's description of emotionally immature people, and their need for control. Some of the behaviors described reminded me of the way some people act in online spaces. The author notes that emotionally immature people tend to "make assumptions about other people, expecting everyone to want and value the same things they do. Their excessive self-focus manifests as a conviction that they know what's 'good' for others." When confronted with actions or behaviors that don't conform to their expectations, they have a tendency to freak out and will often seek to punish others. When emotionally immature people disintegrate, "they take [everyone else] with them into their personal meltdown. It's no wonder that everyone [...] feels like they're walking on eggshells." Rather than accepting that other people have unique interests and beliefs, they will instead push what they want to see. Instead of agreeing to disagree, they will do their utmost best to force others to act according to their personal assumptions. This will result in them policing other people's behaviors, to the point that it feels like "your goodness or badness lay not only in your behavior, but in your mind as well. In this way, you may have learned the absurd idea that you can be a bad person for having certain thoughts and feelings. [...] A thought or feeling means nothing more than you're having a thought or feeling. Regaining the freedom to simply let your thoughts and feelings come and go without condemnation is a profound relief. The fact is, having a thought or feeling isn't initially under your control. You don't plan to think or feel things; you just do."

I found this observation about thoughts and feelings to be especially meaningful. Before I took a break from social media, it had gotten to a point where I felt guilty if I thought the 'wrong' thing or felt the 'wrong' way. In some of the spaces I frequented, particularly the art and book spheres on Twitter, things could get extremely toxic. I've seen countless people harrassed, mass reported, and sent death threats for the stupidest things. If you said the wrong thing, or even worded a sentence the wrong way so that it could be misconstrued as being 'problematic', you were on the chopping block. If you didn't fall in line with the mass cancellations or blocked the people that instigated them, you were viewed suspiciously and all attention would fall upon you, as people picked apart your social media presence, looking for any problematic aspect to cancel you with. It got to the point where people were purposefully misrepresenting the things other people said, taking an innocuous statement and stretching it so that it was racist or homophobic or whatever, so that they could cancel them because they didn't like the other person, but needed a reason to be morally correct for not liking them. It was absolutely ludicrous.

Now, I'm not advocating that it's okay to be a nazi or whatever. I think that people should be treated the way they want to be treated. Golden Rule and all that. But being made to feel guilty because of a certain thought or feeling is ridiculous. And yet, I felt that way, and I'm sure many others felt that way as well. Online spaces seem to be dominated by controlling, emotionally immature people. I try to be mindful that some of these people are minors, so it makes sense for them to be immature. Because of their lack of life experiences, meeting people and encountering diverse perspectives, and a still developing brain, they lack the capacity to act in a way that is entirely emotionally mature. The rest, however, I don't get. Seriously, what's their problem? I think in some ways, with the way social media works, it encourages this volatile emotionally immature behavior. I've wondered in the past if social media and the Internet in general has caused an increase in emotionally immature people. But, I don't think that's the case. The Internet helps to shine a spotlight on toxic people, sure, but I don't think it's to blame for this behavior. There are plenty of older people that I've met that are incredibly emotionally immature. In some ways, they are more childish and entitled than the average toddler. The author notes that emotionally immature people are often raised by emotionally immature parents, so someone had to raise all of the assholes running around on the Internet. As someone that has grown up in a... less than ideal household and had a turbulent childhood, I can empathize with people from difficult backgrounds. However, that is not an excuse for toxic behavior. At some point, you have to take responsibility for the way you act. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to be an asshole on the Internet, you have no one to blame but yourself. Anyway, people on the Internet need to chill out and touch grass.

Switching subjects, I have a confession to make. I may or may not have played Pokemon Violet, which is funny considering my rant a few journal entries ago. Cue the clown music. In my defense, I didn't actually buy it. And no, I didn't pirate it either. I borrowed it from the library. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where the library system not only loans out books, but also video games, movies, music albums, and more. I'm super grateful for it! As for my thoughts about Violet, well for one thing I haven't finished it yet. My copy was due and I had to return it. Last I checked, I'm hold #52 so I'll probably get it again in like... February. Or maybe March. Anyway, I liked the gameplay of it. Exploring the open world was fun and I think that Terastalizing is an interesting gimmick. Way better than Dynamaxing. I think that Tera Types will probably make PVP a lot more interesting and dynamic this generation. While I don't like most of the new Pokemon designs, they look way better in-game and in motion. I also got used to the new character models and I really like the amount of customization that is available. You can change things like your eyebrows, mouth shape, and eye shape, which is a first for Pokemon. However, all of this customization only makes the fact that you're forced to wear uniforms all the more annoying. You can wear different hats, bags, shoes, and accessories, but you can't change your clothes from the four options. Super irritating. NPC trainers still generally use 1-3 Pokemon, which makes them very easy to beat, but this has been a problem for a while now and isn't unique to Violet. Like in Sword/Shield, the GTS isn't present, which makes trading extremely annoying. Everyone on your team still gains experience and the experience share still isn't togglable. However, my Pokemon were never overpowered because I had a rotation of like 20ish Pokemon I would swap for in my team. I actually experienced being underleveled at times, which was a fun challenge. Violet is a waaaaay better game than Sword/Shield. So, if for some reason you're deciding between Scarlet/Violet and Sword/Shield, pick the former. I think that if they combine the gameplay and exploration of this game and that of Legends: Arceus, than the next Pokemon game will be really fun. Let's just hope it won't be as ugly.

That all being said, while my experience with Violet was more positive than I expected, everything about this game screams 'unfinished'. From the rough environments and shoddy framerate, to the poor lighting and wonky camera, to the lack of interiors and interesting NPC dialogue, it all seems very rushed. Similar to Sword/Shield, Violet has the weird problem where parts of the game are super detailed and other parts are lackluster. There are a lot of small details in Violet, such as the different brands of clothes, which are a neat touch. However, other parts seem to lack that same attention to detail. It's very easy to tell where they had to cut corners. For instance, there is a noticeable lack of interior areas in Violet. Aside from your house, your rival's house, the school, gym lobbies, and one singular sandwich shop chain, you can't really go into any of the buildings (at least where I'm at in the game). This is a shame because the interiors that do exist are quite nicely decorated and look good. The fact that you can only go into one type of sandwich shop is bizarre, especially when other stores and restaurants exist. However, for these, when you 'go' into the building, only a menu pops up that you can order from, rather than a physical interior for you to explore. Once you exit that menu, your character also exits the building, which is pretty lame. Having the game rushed to be released, to the point that the developers had to cut most interiors, is really unfortunate. Everything about the game lacks polish. It feels like as if the game needed at least another year of development. I truly hope that The Pokemon Company and Game Freak get it together, but I doubt it. Money speaks and despite the game being unfinished and mixed critical reception, it has sold extremely well. And despite my complaining about these things, I'm part of the problem lol. I still played the game, after all. I just didn't buy it.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to update again before Christmas. If not, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

November 30th, 2022

Too Many Books and Dragalia Lost Is Lost

Today's the last day of November, which means that we only have 31 days left of the year. Yowza! Today's also the final day of Nanowrimo and, as expected, I didn't finish it. I did make it halfway though! I wrote a little over 25k words, so not too shabby. November was a busy month for me, so I'm proud of what I did manage to accomplish!

Over the past 2 years, I've been getting back into reading after basically not reading at all during university and most of high school. One of my goals for this year was to read 50 books. Currently, I've only read 40 books, which means that I will need to read 10 in December in order to accomplish my goal. I'm... not sure how feasible that is. On average, I've read 3 books per month. I'm currently in the middle of 6(!!) books to try to speed things up but it's been a struggle. It's very unusual for me to be reading so many things at the same time. Normally I have at max 3 books ongoing (fiction, nonfiction, and an audiobook). Trying to juggle all 6 is a lot. But I really want to complete my goal so I'll do my best!

Speaking of books, I really don't like my books page. It's kind of wonky and I feel like it isn't that readable. But I'm not sure how to structure it otherwise. I like having what I'm currently reading to the side and my mini reviews in the main box. But I feel like the reviews are a little hard to read because of how small the scroll box is. But I also want to keep things compact. Hmmmm... For my manga page, I'm using the 'details' class to organize things. I like how all of the information is kept hidden but can be toggled. I'd like to do something similar for my books page, but I don't think I'd be able to structure the page the way I'd like if I used the same thing. As far as I can tell, you can only stack the 'details' boxes vertically. For my books page, I'd want to put several on the same line. I have a feeling that I might have to use javascript to do what I want. Eugh. I'm too lazy for that. For now, my books page will have to do. I'll just be annoyed by how ugly it is.

Yesterday was the final day for a mobile game I played, called Dragalia Lost. Dragalia Lost was an action rpg developed by Cygames and published by Nintendo. I first started playing Dragalia Lost a month after it released, during its Halloween event in 2018. At the time, I was still in university and played in between classes. I don't really play a lot of mobile games but I liked Dragalia Lost. The game clearly had a lot of care put into it, and the developers paid close attention to community feedback and were quite generous. Dragalia Lost actually developed a reputation for being one of the most generous gacha games at the time. Its generosity was both a strength and its weakness, and was a major factor in why the game was shut down after four years of service. (That and Cygames probably siphoned off DL's developers to work on its vastly more profitable mobile game, Uma Musume, aka that one anime horse girl game).

My favorite part about Dragalia Lost was its gameplay. It wasn't for everyone, but I liked the touch-screen controlled action combat. A lot of fights took a surprising amount of skill to clear, especially in co-op. The music was also top-notch and the art was nice. I'd say its weakest aspect was its story, although I'm told that Dragalia Lost's story was quite good by mobile game standards. My favorite endgame fight was Expert Volk. I still think it was DL's best fight, in terms of mechanics. On release, it was difficult but fair. My favorite special event fight was the Morsayati one. You can see both fights below.

Halloween Elisanne was my first 5* unit. Some of my favorite units to play included: Gala Mym, Ayaha & Otoha, Gala Leonidas, Bondforged Prince, and Halloween Laxi. My favorite characters were Mascula and Notte. Out of the endgame fights, here are my favorites for each category: High Zodiark's Trial, Volk's Wrath, Tartarus's Wrath: Legend, Jaldabaoth's Piercing Gale, Asura's Blinding Light: Legend, and Primal Midgardsormr's Trial. I liked pretty much all of Dragalia Lost's music. Seriously, if you ever happen to have some spare time, look up Dragalia Lost's OST and listen to it. It's super high quality, especially for a mobile game. If I had to pick two of my favorites, it would probably be the two below. I actually have both of these songs, as well as several others, downloaded and in various playlists. "Cinderella Step" was one of the menu themes and "Unique" was the main song for an event.

November 24th, 2022

Turkey Day, Tumblr, and Terrible Pokemon Games

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it and happy Thursday to all who don't! We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday and so I get to have leftovers today. Yesterday, I ate so much! We had the classics of turkey, stuffing, sweet potates, and mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as roasted string beans and brussel sprouts and cucumber salad to be (somewhat) healthy. For desert we had pumpkin pie, and we also drank some champagne. The champagne was kind of shitty but since I don't drink often, I got a little light-headed from the two glasses I did drink lol. All in all, it was a very satisfying meal!

Since it's Thanksgiving day, I thought I'd reflect on what I'm thankful for. Aside from the obvious stuff such as food, warmth, family/friends, and shelter, I'm grateful that I still haven't gotten sick from covid or the flu. (Of course, now I've just jinxed myself lol.) I work from home and don't go out too often, so admittedly the risk of me getting sick is pretty low but still, I'm thankful for it. While this year has been turbulent, it's also been pretty good, I think. I've had some issues weighing on my mind for quite a while now, and I have made strides in addressing them, despite my fears and anxiety around doing so. I'm proud of myself for that, and I'm thankful for the help I have received along the way. I'm also grateful that I'm doing better mental health-wise, especially in comparison to prior years. Just a couple years ago, I was severely depressed and suicidal. I was tired all the time and felt like I couldn't think. My mind was hazy. Nothing felt real. The medication I took numbed everything, and I had to attend weekly therapy sessions. Now, I'm feeling pretty good. My self-esteem is probably the best it's ever been, and I feel content. It's a little weird feeling at ease with myself. I'm not sure if I have ever quite felt this way in my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I've always been a little down, a little anxious, and a little insecure. Now, I'm pretty zen. I still have some off days, of course, and I still can get anxious but my anxiety feels manageable now. I still have plenty of ways I want to improve and grow as a person. But in comparison to the person I was before, I am doing a lot better. It's amazing how good you feel when you aren't suffering from major depression and generalized anxiety.

If you're struggling with your mental health, hang in there! Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, but bravery. It takes courage to admit that you need help, even more courage to actually get it. Suffering on your own does nothing. You don't get a reward for it, and you just end up being miserable. What's the point in that? So please ask for help if you're struggling! And remember that 'mental illness' is a bit of a misnomer. It implies that it's all in your head, which isn't true! Mental illnesses are a manifestation of a physical ailment with your brain. You wouldn't blame yourself for feeling awful after you get the flu, so why should you blame yourself because your brain isn't functioning at 100%? It's not something you can control and you didn't choose for this. Please hang in there, and remember that it gets better! Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually one day, the pain you feel now will find a place in your past and you'll keep on moving on.

Anyway, that's enough serious stuff for now. I've been having fun watching the shitstorm happening at Twitter. Who would have thought that a narcissistic manchild that has failed upwards through life could have caused such a kerfuffle? As someone that hates Twitter, it's pretty hilarious. I have an inactive Tumblr account that I've kept over the years to lurk on. It's been interesting seeing my dashboard go from mostly dead to suddenly very active. Part of me welcomes everyone coming back but another part of me feels like this: I wonder if it'll stay this way and people will keep using Tumblr, or if they'll abandon it again once they realize that Twitter still exists. Personally, I highly doubt Twitter will die. Unless Elon Musk fucks up spectactularly and bankrupts the company, it'll probably still exist, like a very angry cockroach with a penchant for sending death threats.

Been watching the drama surrounding Pokemon Scarlet and Violet avidly. As a Pokemon fan, I hate what the series has become. It's been downhill from Gen 6 and it seems like we're in a 'dark age' of sorts for Pokemon. I don't understand people that dismiss criticisms around the games because they're games for children. So? Children deserve good games too, and the earlier Pokemon games weren't a shit fiesta like Scarlet and Violet are. Pokemon is one of the highest selling video game franchises in history, and it's an absolute travesty how low quality the modern games are. It's embarrassing. Breath of the Wild, a game released almost six years ago and developed for the Wii U(!!!) looks like a next-generation game in comparison to Scarlet/Violet. I don't understand how The Pokemon Company could think that this is okay. Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, Pokemon Sword/Shield, and Pokemon Go have damaged the reputation of the franchise. Surely, this would be a concern for TPC? Or have they simply stopped giving a fuck because Pokemon is basically an irl infinite money glitch? Surely at least Nintendo would care? I know that Nintendo is hands-off when it comes to Pokemon, but maybe they need to step in for quality control. TPC needs to stop mistreating Game Freak and give them some room to breathe, and maybe allow other studios to develop mainline Pokemon games to free Game Freak from the eternal Pokemon mines. Although I had some misgivings around Scarlet/Violet before it was released, Pokemon Legends: Arceus was such a breath of fresh air that I had hope. Unfortunately, it seems like my misgivings were correct. While the gameplay was good, I thougt that Legends Arceus was quite ugly. But in comparison to Scarlet/Violet, it looks like a damn masterpiece. Instead of taking two steps forward and one step back, Game Freak has backflipped backwards, tumbled down a mountain, and landed in a pile of metaphorical shit.

November 22nd, 2022

Hello World!

Well, it's been a while! November is always a hectic month, but I can't believe that it's almost December. Where has all the time gone?? I was hoping to update this site more this month but life got in the way. I was busy with personal stuff and I'm also looking for a new job. Probably picked a bad time to look though, considering the state of the economy...

I was also trying to do Nanowrimo with a friend. However, I don't think either of us will be able to complete it. As of writing this, I'm about 10k words behind. Yikes! She's even further behind at like... 20k or something lol. Looks like Nanowrimo will be a wash this year. A shame but not entirely unexpected. I'm genuinely impressed with everyone that is able to complete it! Trying to juggle writing goals on top of work and life is hard! It was so much easier when I was a teen and had no responsibilities lol.

I'm mainly writing this to finally set up my journal page. It's pretty basic right now, but functional. Although honestly, I'm not sure how often I'll update this page. I already keep two journals irl. One is my more 'serious' journal that I write in semi-frequently. The other is my Hobonichi Cousin, which I write in daily about casual day-to-day events. So this digital journal is a bit redundant. Ah, well. I wonder what percentage of Neocities users actually read journals/diaries? I imagine it's very low. Most people seem to just be interested in general site aesthetics and graphics. Personally, as a nosy weirdo, I like reading journal entries. It's fun to see other people's thoughts, even if it's about the most mundane of things. So watch out! If you think that nobody is reading your journal, that's incorrect because I am!

My family and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving early tomorrow. Normally, we have a big family gathering where we go to my uncle's house and all of my extended family comes. This year, we aren't doing it. I'm admittedly a bit relieved. I hate family gatherings. They're always so awkward and uncomfortable, and I don't particularly like most people on that side of the family. Last year, I actually pretended to be sick to get out of it lmao. A little childish and pathetic, yes, but man I really hate family gatherings. Looks like this year will be a pretty casual Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it!

As the end of November approaches, my mind always goes to Christmas shopping. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to get everyone. I always get so inordinately stressed about it. I have an idea for my dad and others, but still not sure about my mom. She's a mystery. If I ask her what she wants, she'll say something along the lines of 'a new house' or 'world peace'. Unfortunately, those aren't in my budget. I'll probably end up getting her something practical, again.

I recently downloaded Obsidian to try it out and I really like it! Before, I used Notion as my primary note-taking/organization app. I still like Notion in many ways. It's better for 'aesthetics' and I like its databases. For the way I think, Notion's top-down organizational structure is more intuitive. However, I ultimately decided to switch to Obsidian because unlike Notion, it allows you to save locally and access your files offline. Additionally, I have some security concerns in regards to Notion as it isn't end-to-end encrypted. The likelihood of someone else seeing my data is low, but still, I'm paranoid. I'm not stupid enough to store any compromising information in Notion. But, I don't like the possibility of someone being able to access my notes and see how cringe I am. I'm still in the process of switching entirely over. Most of the work is trying to figure out how to transfer my databases. I recently downloaded a plugin for Obsidian called Projects. Haven't tested it yet but I hope with it, I can replicate Notion's databases. Anyway, this is me currently:
By the way, since this is my first journal entry, I figured I should give some credit! The background, note box, and back button are all from foollovers! I did edit the note box to change the shadow color to match the background. And the little pixels are from pixel-diary. I had a lot of fun looking through all of the pixels! There are some weird sex-themed ones that made me laugh because of how bizarre they are.