July 2023

Not dead yet!


Wow, July is over! This is pretty exciting for me, since I'd have to say July 2023 is the first month in which I've felt the beginnings of "being alive." Half a year ago, I couldn't feel anything at all, and 99% of the time, I had no idea what was going on. This month, I learned new ways of thinking and not-thinking, and I'm more aware of myself and the world than ever before. This was the information gathering stage of Enneagram 5; now I'll take a bold step forward and put it all into practice. Here's hoping that August comes with peace and presence for you, me, and everyone.

I'm really excited to make a new diary layout. This one is cute, but I'm ready for a refresh! I'd been waiting until the month officially rolls over, but I think the 31st is close enough. I'll draw a new monthly card and get to work! ^__+^

It's funny— I've been so bored of this diary that I would start writing entries and stop halfway through. I didn't attempt to finish or even reread them before starting this one, just commented them out, LOL. Take a look in the source code if you want to see my snoozefest.

Haahh, what else can I say...? What have I been up to lately? These days, I'm playing a lot of video games. My Sims 4 Build Mode kick has been replaced with daily Mario Kart Wii Grands Prix. For the longest time, I thought I didn't like racing games because they were too hard— and maybe most of them are too difficult for me— but MKWii is so easy to pick up and play. I have a lot of fun!

I main Baby Peach because she is just too cute, and I really like how her signature vehicle, the Booster Seat, handles on the track. Right now, my favourite courses are Coconut Mall and Moonview Highway! :+D Slowly and steadily, I'm getting better at racing. It's easy to say I don't care about winning and losing, but that's because I almost always win! That's what happens when you play "easy mode" on a game for kids, I guess.

I've been missing my miscellany diaries a lot, lately— like my music diary, and of course my gamer log (www). It would be nice to have some more pages dedicated to specific hobbies and ideas, like before. I'll see what I can do, heh. This is my playground, my world made with my moulding, so I guess I can do whatever I want, right? But first, my August diary!!! And before that... I'm hungry! I want to eat some lunch!!!!!

I'll bake some salmon and cook up some rice, then mix it all together with a yummy avocado mash. Ugh, it's gonna be so warm and salty, I can't wait.

... Several hours later ...

I burnt the salmon a little bit, and I think it was overseasoned as well, but I still really enjoyed my lunch. Since then, I got up to some other random things. I've come back to write about the latest not-so-random thing, a very interesting experience that I just had: Yin Breathing.

For the month of July, I met weekly with a mentor who guided me in Focusing, and after I shared with her that I was reading Pema Chödrön, we discussed Buddhism as well. During our last meeting, she told me that Yin Breathing was something she found very unique, unlike anything else, and that she would have loved to do it with me. At the time, I was disappointed that we didn't have the opportunity, but now that I've come home and done it on my own... wow! It was so intense, I'm thankful nobody was around to see it.

The whole point of Yin Breathing is to go into the darkness, chaos, and nothingness at the center of the universe, to touch it, feed it, and dissolve into it. I guess that's exactly what I did, because by the end, I was.... Argh, how do I say it? It's so hard to describe. Let me make a bulleted list of the sensations and feelings and impressions I had:

And I saw lots of things in there, too. Treetops and chapel ceilings, hands unfurling, bike rides, farmland, lake docks, curtains that shimmered like fish fins, an egg spinning at the center of the universe. It's hard to remember the exact images, because at some point I realised everything was in there. Everything, absolutely everything— and so it was pointless to pick out specifics on this endless, endless list. It was so energetic and full of life. At the time, I just followed the meditation and went deeper and deeper, but now that I'm reflecting, I feel shocked that there could be so much energy in me. That's the Source, I guess, the Divine, the beginning and ending of all things.

I enjoyed feeding it. I fed it every distraction, all the sounds and sensations around me, all my ideas and memories and feelings. When thoughts inevitably arose, I'd say to myself "here, eat this too," and it swallowed everything up. It was a ravenous hunger, an all-accepting hunger, not a gaping maw but a little pinhole that says "I am everything, so give me everything," and sucks it down and spins it into pure light, pure light. That was God, I guess. Nice to meet you, Ma'am.

Anyways, I'm finally ready to pick next month's tarot card and get to work on my August diary... maybe? I dunno, we'll see what the evening has in store for me. I'm feeling like I want to write something, something intense and egregious that only I could come up with, but we'll have to see about that, too. Honestly, I might just play Mario Kart, lol.

CardJudgement (Reversed)
TimeMid/late morning
MusicBo En's Pale Machine
My Happiness
Singing in the shower, singing at my desk, singing at the sink, singing my way down the hall. Pure musical joy.


I can't stop thinking about not-thinking. Yesterday by pure happenstance I discovered the work of Pema Chödrön, a Tibetan monk. She's written a bunch of books, so many it might have been hard to choose, but I ended up picking Start Where You Are as my first read. A fitting beginning, I believe.

Anyways, this book is all about lojong and tonglen and, there, the most basic, basic principle is to let your thoughts go. To say gently to yourself, "thinking," then watch as the thought evaporates and to feel what's leftover. The leftovers are bodhichitta.

It's not that complicated, but without context it may sound like I am spouting nonsense. Just read the book— it's very gentle, very easy on the soul. I adore the way it's written, too. Her writing style is poetic, full of evocative metaphors. I like the way she thinks and I'm grateful she's sharing it with the world.

Anyways, the point is: I caught myself thinking quite a lot today. Seemingly at every turn I was telling myself a story, labeling what I saw, thinking even about thinking. As often as I could manage it, I coaxed myself to relax, to just Be in The Moment. Here "Be" and "The Moment" are capitalised because right now they seem to me to be rather different from the usual being and a typical moment. To Be is to know that Right Now is all there is, and, in the time it took to read this, even that has already passed. And The Moment is the string of ever-refreshing Right Nows. Always a new one. Always something to Be a part of. You miss it if you're too busy thinking.

As wonderful as all this is, as enlightening as it all is— pun intended— I am at times missing my "auto-pilot mode." I am missing thinking without realising I was doing it. For example, when I came home I got in bed and played Animal Crossing, and even then I was "catching" myself in thought. I'd be fishing in the river, or changing my outfit, or searching for materials, and then, as instructed in the tonglen, I'd point out very kindly that I was thinking. Sometimes I would relax immediately. Other times I'd revolt: "leave me alone! I've had enough Buddhism for today!!!"

Several times I thought something like, "let me just set that aside for now. I'll start again tomorrow, I promise. Right now, it's too much to deal with; I don't have the energy. Why can't I be like everyone else, caught up in a story? Numb to the world?" I'd like to make friends with this part of me that is fed up with meditative thought. After all, this is where there's some real energy. It's much hotter, more electric than the part of me who hears "you're thinking, dear," and just exhales and continues stalking cicadas. I wonder what I have to learn from this spark, this jolt, that bites back so bitterly.

Other news: I am looking at bugs. Yesterday, I saw some kind of jumping insect sitting on a flower petal. It was a tall, daisy-looking thing with only one bloom per stem and a bright yellow center. Some of the flowers were hot pink, but this one was white. The jumping bug was green, like the stem, with long, thread-thin antennae and feet that to me are facing backwards, but to him are just right.

I know he was a jumping thing because he had those huge back legs you see on grasshoppers and locust, the ones that bend like the top-right corner of a square, that are fit to propel him great distances. I stood there watching him for some time but he didn't jump. He climbed very slowly from the center of the flower to the edge of the petal and just sat still. I would have stayed longer just to see what he did next, but I left. For the time that I was there, I enjoyed looking at him, seeing this cool, green bug up-close.... I even took a photo.

(Normally, this is where someone might include the aforementioned photo, but I'd rather you use your imagination.)

I also saw some butterflies today. The first one was pretty big— it blew past me and it was down the street by the time I turned my head. I considered chasing after it until it crossed the road, and I decided didn't feel like going in that direction. It was very fast, too. Hard to catch up with. Butterflies can look kind of erratic when they are rushing around, but I had to admire its ability to stay upright and afloat and on-course in spite of what looked to me like a lot of twitching.

The next butterfly was a lot smaller. It was orange and black, so at first I guessed it was a Monarch, but then I realised the markings were different, and the shapes of the wings a lot more stout. Not a Monarch, but a pleasant sight nonetheless. When it put its wings together, it nearly disappeared from view— that's how flat it made itself. The undersides of the wings were a pale, creamy colour like hand-made paper. When I took a step forward, moving along towards my destination, it started fluttering, and I could see it again. But our time was over, so I looked away.

My destination was the end of a long, secluded street lined with gigantic trees. The further down I got, the taller the trees were. I remarked to myself at once point that those trees were older than anybody I knew, perhaps even older than this city itself. They were so big, too, bigger than most anything I've ever seen. It was nice in the shade. Lots of flies. After one landed on my cheek, I was constantly waving my hand in front of my face, thinking "shoo, shoo."

While I was on that walk, I was meditating. Sort of. Informally. I was thinking about thinking, and trying to dispel the thoughts by labelling the things I saw. "Here, there's a fence post." "That's the sound of cicadas crying." "That car is coming towards me." Eventually, I concluded that giving things names and descriptions is yet more thinking. It was a moment of clarity. I felt as though I had uncovered some truth. A moment later that clarity was clouded over by worry: fear that I was doing it all wrong.

I assuaged this fear by reading more of Start Where You Are as I walked. I decided that the antidote to my worry was more learning, outside insight. And yes, it helped, and I believe I know more know than before reading those pages. But in the evening, when I was playing Animal Crossing, and snapping at myself, "enough meditation!!!" I arrived at a different conclusion.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly."

This is a paraphrase from G.K. Chesterton (which I've just learned, in searching for the attribution, was first uttered in a misogynistic context— funny how that goes) is an aphorism very close to my heart. I say it to myself several times a day as a reminder that everyone is a beginner at one time or another, everyone has something more to learn. Even if I perform poorly, at least I can say that I tried. I'd rather do 1,000 bad meditations than never meditate at all.

And of course it applies to other things. Drawing is worth doing poorly. Writing is worth doing poorly. Web design is worth doing poorly. Hell, even existing poorly is worth it!

This approach reminds me a lot of my years-prior attempt to "embrace mediocrity." I really thought I could live a life without expectations, effort, or hopes for improvement. That lasted about 30 seconds before my perfectionist brain began to berate me once again. Shocker! Things stayed the same because I hadn't learnt very much at all. The me who says "what's the point?" and the me who says "I have to be perfect" are very similar: they are still hiding from everything.

Over the past few months, I have been learning how not to hide. How to unlock the door, come into the light, open my eyes, reach out, feel. And I cried today reading Chödrön. I was on the bus but I just let the tears flow, lazily sopping them up with my sleeve, letting go of any worries about who saw and what they might think. I cried because a particular anecdote touched my heart. Let me quote it here, in full:

A meditation student I was working with whom I'll call Dan had a serious alcohol and drug problem. He was really making great strides, and then he went on a binge. On the day I found out about it I happened to have an opportunity to see Trungpa Rinpoche (Chödrön's teacher). I blurted out to him how upset I was that Dan had gone on a binge. I was so disappointed. Well, Rinpoche got really angry; it completely stopped my heart and mind.

He said that being upset about Dan's binge was my problem. "You should never have expectations for other people. Just be kind to them," he told me. In terms of Dan, I should just help him keep walking forward inch by inch and be kind to him— invite him for dinner, give him little gifts, and do anything to bring some happiness to his life— instead of having these big goals for him.

He said that setting goals for others can be aggressive— really wanting a success story for ourselves. When we do this to others, we are asking them to live up to our ideals. Instead, we should just be kind.

After reading that (and drying up my tears), I wondered, "what about setting expectations for ourselves?" I wondered what Trungpa Rinpoche would say about that. And then I remembered that, earlier in the book, Chödrön says that what we do to ourselves, we do to others; and what we do to others, we do to ourselves. Everything is connected in that way. So I concluded (and I knew already, somewhere deep inside) that maybe the way is to let go of expectations, hopes and fears. Not to give up or to embrace mediocrity— that would be shutting down— but to just relax. To follow my happiness and let the rest come naturally.

That's what this entry is. That's why it's so long and so rambly and so much about nothing much at all. This Moment is ending now. Thank you for spending it with me.

CardThe Moon
TimeAlmost sunset
MusicMother Mother's O My Heart
My Happiness
In Animal Crossing, I went on mystery islands and fished at the pier. I caught a tuna and an oarfish. Quelle surprise!


Good afternoon. As I write this, I'm cooking a pot of oatmeal for brunch. I'd already started before remembering we are out of sweetened condensed milk (and honey), so, for the first time ever, I'm cooking it with brown sugar. This is a family recipe with no measurements (and I tend to sweeten it as I like after the fact) so I've no idea if I've put too much sugar or too little. I will have to taste it to find out. I'm a little excited and a little nervous, too. I'm hoping for a delicious meal!

Oatmeal is my favourite food since utero. Yes, utero. When my mother was pregnant with me, she had constant cravings for oatmeal, and after I was born, I continued to eat it for breakfast every single day for more than a decade. To date it is my "comfort food." Now that I can make it for myself, I'm practically unstoppable. Not even a shortage of ingredients can get in my way!

My main concern is that, if it's not sweet enough for my tastes, I'll be at a bit of a loss. I refuse to add sugar after it's finished because I fear it will ruin the texture. I like my oatmeal smooth and sloppy, not gritty.... I suspect the sugar won't dissolve to my liking. I'm speaking from experience here— I encountered this same predicament 15 or so years ago. Lacking condensed milk, my grandmother added sugar to my oatmeal and I refused to eat it!

I don't think I'm as picky today as I was in childhood, but the memory remains as a cautionary tale.

Yesterday, I stayed awake for 32 hours. This calculated sleep deprivation was supposed to fix my schedule because I so yearn to rise at 5 a.m., but today I got out of bed at the same time as usual. I did wake up at around 3:30, feeling rested but reluctant to start the day so early, so I went back to sleep. I woke again at 7, and dozed off again and again until 9. I was having a strange, entertaining dream wherein my former classmates and myself were competing on Project Runway, but we were also wizards in the English countryside??? I can see why I wouldn't want to wake up from that!

So I'm making peace with what has happened. I wanted to wake up at 5 and I didn't. Waking up early is a perfectly okay thing to want, I am very sad that I didn't get what I wanted. Just because I woke up late today doesn't mean that I'll wake up late forever. In this life I have infinite chances to try again— my opportunities end only when I am dead, and once I'm dead I won't care anymore! It is what it is. If anything, I'm grateful to have woken up at all.

Ah, the oatmeal is ready. I've been getting up to stir it every once in a while, and now I've brought a bowl back to my desk. I cooled it with some ice cubes so I could eat it right away. Let's have a taste!

... Oh. It's not sweet enough. In fact, it has practically no taste at all.... What should I do??? Let me add some salt. This might bring out the sweetness that is already there, the bit that I just can't taste (broken tastebuds). ... Alright, with salt, it's passable. It doesn't taste the way I want it to, but at the very least, it's edible. I can see myself finishing half of this bowl and saving the rest for later. I'll definitely, definitely want to get some condensed milk and some honey soon, to salvage the rest of the pot.

!!! Hey, wait! Agave! There is an old bottle of agave in there somewhere.... I can't remember liking it when I tried it some years ago, but it would be better than salty oatmeal, right? Let me go grab some.

... Well, when I went into the pantry looking for agave, I found a brand new bottle of honey. I'd totally forgotten it was in there! I quickly squirted some into the bowl, stirred it around, and fed myself a bite.... Mmm~ Yes, that's how oatmeal should taste! Nice and sweet!!!

This is a rather peculiar entry, isn't it? I can't say that I've ever "liveblogged" something like this before, and I've certainly never written so much about a single bowl of oatmeal. On my way back to my desk after adding the honey, I thought, "is there anyone in the world who wants to hear about this?"— especially with such an anticlimactic ending. Then I thought, "well, it is light-hearted slice of life blogging. That was my brand, once upon a time."

What is "my brand" now??? I'm not sure, and I don't think it really matters, either. I'm not here to sell anybody anything. There are no consumer guarantees. I just want to write CSS!!!!

CardAce of Pentacles (reversed)
MoodAt peace
Music"Zephyr Town Indoors" from HM: Grand Bazaar
My Happiness
When I poured the oats into the pot and they hit the boiling hot bottom, a sizzling sound rose up, like a chorus of cicadas. Ah, summer.


This morning I woke up just in time to listen to a lovely little downpour. I love the rain— hearing it, tasting it, being out in it, waiting for it to fall.... I'm glad that the heatwave has been broken up by a couple rainstorms like this.

Big news: As previously discussed, I've cancelled my Neocities subscription. I also mentioned before that my website's total size was just over 1GiB, yes? Well, that "just over" content (about 150MiB) had to be cleared out beforehand so I could get under the 1GB storage limit of a free account. To accomplish that, I compressed a lot of my photography and artworks, and I've removed two sticker sets: Dotty and Playful.

I doubt anyone will miss them for the time that they're offline, since they were the two sets I basically never used! In fact, I have yet to cut out enough of the Playful set to share them in the Toybox. They were only used to decorate my unused Music Diary, which has also been taken offline. I've been wanting to remake that thing since the start, so again, no loss.

Phew... I'm glad that I managed to do it without getting rid of any pages that I really like and want to keep up. For the time being, I've gotta be careful about uploading anything new. I've got about 57MiB to work with until I can figure out where to host my sticker collection.

Right, yes, yes, hosting.... So, I'm planning to host my website through NearlyFreeSpeech because their prices are great and, compared to Kyle "Fuck Twitter" Drake, I greatly prefer the values they espouse. (AFAIK "fuck Twitter" is not a direct quote from Mr. Neocities, but it's safe to say he is less than enthused about SNS.) That said, I'd still like to keep my Neocities online because I love attention— haha, I mean, because I LOVE attention— no, sorry, because I REALLY, REALLY LO— ok, ok, not funny. It's true, but there is a deeper reason, too.

I want my website to remain on Neocities because, over the years, some passersby have told me how much they appreciate my designs. Some have even said that I inspired them to learn markup! It's important to me that I have a positive impact on the world, and I see this as a very viable strategy for enriching lives. To do what I love and present it to the internet as an example: look! This is what one woman can create with a lot of love and some tips from CSS-Tricks articles. You can do it, too.

Neocities is the best way for me to reach to that kind of audience (i.e. women and girls of all ages with a creative kick). And this is my ignorance showing, but other than Neocities? I really don't know of any other way to find personal websites of the nerdy, hobbyist variety. After all, we're not the sort of thing to pop up in search engines— at least not the ones we may be used to using.

Of course, using traditional search engines, I can easily find blogs written by all sorts of people about all sorts of topics. But compared to the sites you find on Neocities... they're totally different. I can only describe those webmasters as "new-web grownups." There are no 88x31px buttons, useless webrings, or gratuitous .GIFs. The focus is on content rather than design— and while that certainly has its benefits (nobody likes an empty website!), that's not my hobby.

I'm here because I love to write CSS. I'm obsessed with it. I dream about it. When I'm away from home, I write it on paper or go over it in my head, or draw out the designs I've got planned with notes on where to move what with which rules. Genuinely, CSS turns me into an overexcited architect who scribbles on napkins. I can't get enough!!!

So... um... what was I talking about again? I got totally lost in a daydream where I'm paid to rant about ::before and ::after to a friendly and interested audience. Right. I'm hoping to keep my Neocities online so people will be able to find me. In an ideal world, it'd be a perfect mirror to what I'm doing over at NFS, but my sticker collection poses some problems. Let's talk about those problems. Perhaps in writing it out, I may come up with some solutions.

To start, I prefer to work with local files and relative URLs— meaning the folder/drive in which I keep my website on my PC is a 1:1 copy of what I have uploaded to my host. I just don't like third-party links, ok? I feel secure knowing I have everything that I need at my disposal, that I can work at my own pace, and that even if the internet implodes, I can still browse my own website without issue! After all, this is my favourite place on (or off) the web, lol.

So, just as I did on Neocities when I had the space to do so, I will upload all of my stickers to NFS. They charge $1/month per 1GiB, which is not bad at all. As my sticker collection grows, I will end up paying more and more to host it, but I can't see the cost ever being an issue there. Plus, I'm only now learning the value of image compression.... After I compress all the files, I'm sure the total size will be a shadow of the former ~530MB.

And depending on the accuracy of that prediction... maybe I'll be able to keep my stickers on Neocities, too?! But if not... hmmm... I guess I could always link to them from NFS. It would be a pain, but I'd probably only do it for the sticker sheets in the Toybox. The stickers I use in my designs are not so numerous; I definitely have space to upload just those to Neocities.

Otherwise, what? Upload them all to Dropbox and have third-party links for both Neocities and NFS? I don't think so! But.......... wait a second. HOTLINKING. OMG. I forgot how much that sucks and how much you are not supposed to do that!!!!!!!!!!

....... ┓┬ Lightbulb moment! The Toybox on my Neocities mirror can link to the Toybox hosted on NFS instead! DUH! Omg. I'm sitting here smiling because I feel so satisfied to have come to this very workable, rather obvious solution. Just as I predicted when I began to write it out, ahahahah!!!! (That's my villain laugh. I'm a bad guy who beats you up with long CSS selectors.)

Okay, wow, nice. I feel relieved and I know exactly what I'm going to do next. Uwahh, I feel pretty responsible, too, like a grownup? An oldweb grownup, though. I may be moving on from Neocities, but I'm taking the purity of my craft with me.

And I think I will research other avenues for finding personal websites, too. I know there must be other ways to discover people and to connect with them. Speaking of connection: I'm still too scared to open my messages, but at the very least I've been thinking about opening them! Progress!!!

I will continue to not open them for the rest of the day as I putz around with my new host and maybe play some games. I'm really enjoying making houses in the Sims! I want to show them off soon, ehehe.

CardSix of Pentacles
TimeWanting dinnertime
Music"4-00A.M." by Taeko Onuki
My Happiness
Marking the day as "rainy" on my calendar. Waking up thinking of Sans. Soft bed, blankies, teddy, and pillows. Dinner soon!


Phewww, another hot day today! I missed three buses in a row (don't ask) and was totally miserable in the heat until I was rescued by a very personable Uber driver. She was a local woman with a very clean, silver car and as she drove me home, we chatted about her life (e.g. work, school, friends) and shared a really nice moment. I felt like I "got her" and like she was able to "get me." I mean, when I told her I was a Pisces, she said that made sense, something about it "coming across in my demeanor." Haha, it was really funny. I enjoyed that part.

I've never really talked to strangers before, but the past two times I caught an Uber, I ended up having some really wonderful conversations. Both times I got into the car feeling upset and got out feeling relieved, even reinvigorated. That's the magic of genuine human connection!

So, we all live inside the stories we make up for ourselves... And the story I'm telling myself about missing all those buses (it was seriously tragic) and paying a premium to ride straight home is that I needed to have a nice conversation with a stranger. I needed to feel, once again, the healing that comes just with listening to someone, letting them know they've been heard, and perhaps sharing a little bit of myself along the way. What was it that I said last time? "The opposite of the 'void?'" Yes, that's the experience I had today.

Couple this with yesterday's recognition that I'd lapsed on basically all my healthy habits— mainly the bullet journalling that keeps me up to date and on task. It got me thinking, like.... I really can choose to be miserable. I'm learning what works, and today I am more knowledgeable than ever before, but that knowledge is useless when I fail to put it into practice. So I'm choosing in this moment to follow my happiness, to seek bliss, to embody life. That's vivarism.

So I'll be returning to society soon. Or rather, tomorrow (after I've rested up) is the day I creep up to the great ocean of human interaction and contemplate dipping in my toe. This may sound like an improvement so minor it might as well be discounted, but it's leagues beyond what I've been doing for the past few months. That is: turning my back on the sea, plugging my ears, and asking, "what ocean?" It will take time, but that's okay. I'll go slow. I don't have to do everything at once! And I think it will turn out even better than I'm expecting.

In other news, this evening I watched a cour of Baccano! and wow, I am loving every second of it. I paused in the middle only to make some egg fried rice and— ... wait a second. No. THERE'S ONLY 15 EPISODES????? Omg, I'm gonna cry, I could've sworn there were 24! T__+T Dang.... Welp, in that case I'm a lot closer to the end than I originally thought. All that's left are episodes 12 and 13, then 3 OVAs.... And, of course, there are a ton of novels that were never adapted. So if I'm still craving Baccano! content afterwards, there is more out there!

Anyways, about the show itself: I wasn't expecting it to be so violent?! But the story is really gripping, and the world is so rich and full and lifelike, with so many interesting characters and relationships, that I'm willing to endure the gore. And it really is a good story. I have a feeling that it required a lot of love and research as it was crafted. As I watch, I can't help but think I'm watching a masterpiece unfold. Not to mention, the nonlinear narrative has kept me totally hooked! Baccano! gets me fired up!!!!!

My favourite character so far... that would be Maiza. He's a dark-haired, glasses-wearing guy and I have a type. As it is, I don't know much about him, so for now the appreciation is purely physical. So I guess my real favourites are Isaac and Miria! They're such great comedic relief, they got me laughing out loud a couple times. Even now, I'm smiling just thinking about them. I feel even more curious about them than about Maiza. Where did they meet? Why did they become thieves? When is the wedding and am I invited??? So many questions!

And of course I like Czeslaw, too. He is like Selim Bradley but even better, somehow. And speaking of Fullmetal Alchemist: it's always fun for me to hear voices I recognise from that anime in other shows. FMA was such a big part of my childhood and I've seen it soooo many times now (I used to rewatch it every summer with my dad) that the voice cast is very familiar to me. Of course, in Baccano! almost all of them are putting on accents, but I can still tell who's who!!! Nobody's fooling me! It helps that the dubbing scene back in the day consisted of like 4 men and 2 women, all of whom seem to have been relentlessly typecast. Woe!

How to wrap up this entry...? Hm. Why the compulsion to conclude at all? It's my diary; it ends when I say it does. And in some alternate timeline, that's the last sentence for today and we all move on with our lives. But not in this one! In this one, I'm carrying on, needlessly, without anything to say.... Or, well, it's not needless. I am simply amusing myself. That's "need" enough.

CardTwo of Cups (reversed)
TimeLamplit respite
MoodBack ache!!! But otherwise fine
MusicKairiki Bear's DARLING SYNDOME
My Happiness
Roadside flowers. Cloverbell reboot. Woke up on time even after I stayed up all night looking at pictures of Sans (Undertale).


We got some nice rain last night, big fat water droplets plopping against my window. This afternoon the sky is overcast, perhaps promising even more rain? We'll just have to wait and see. I haven't gone outside much lately... maybe that will change, too.

While surfing the web, I recently discovered NearlyFreeSpeech.NET, a web hosting service where you only pay for what you use. Their prices are pretty reasonable, too. And during domain registration, they offer a proxy contact service which allows you to keep your real name and address disassociated with your website. And the right to privacy isn't their only crusade: they also believe in freedom of speech— in case you couldn't tell from their name! You can read more about their values on this page.

Altogether, it seems like a project in alignment with my personal values, offering services I'm interested in for prices well within my budget. Their pricing estimator put me at 24USD annually— a little over 1/3 of what I'm paying to for Supporter Status on Neocities. Talk about a discount! That reason alone is compelling enough to make the switch.

Plus, when I think about why I'm giving Kyle $5 a month... well, my reasoning is a little flimsy. It's mainly because— once in a blue moon— I like to add .mp3 files to my page. I could very easily host that audio elsewhere (e.g. Dropbox) but... I don't? Probably because I am a bit obsessed with local storage, but still. I don't think I can justify paying $60/year for a feature I rarely ever use, much less features I don't even need. For example, the 50GB storage limit Neocities offers is very, very generous. So generous that I doubt I will ever get anywhere near the upper threshold! I'm skeptical I could even make it halfway! Just to be clear, my websites total size is just over 1GiB. About half of that is .PNGs alone— my massive yet still-growing sticker collection.

So, in summary, I'm using 2.3% of my total storage space here. Doesn't that seem kinda... wasteful? I mean, I know it's not like that 50GB I've paid for is sitting empty or unused, off-limits to others while it waits patiently for me to fill it. That's just not how data storage works. But it all comes back to this question: why pay for something I'm not using? If this was my only reason, then the solution would be simple: just cancel the subscription and be content with what Neocities offers for free.

Spoiler: it's not my only reason. I've also been paying for the Supporter Status because that's the only way to view your site analytics beyond the past 7 days. I'm no statitician, but I do suffer from "number go up" disease. I enjoy watching my average visitor count grow, seeing numbers spike when I update and drop when I don't. I also suffer from the disease of comparison, so I often catch myself measuring my numbers against those of my contemporaries. In fact, I catch myself at this every day, multiple times a day, usually as the first and last thing I do when logging on or off. I like to refresh my page, wait a few hours, and refresh again to see how many people have come by since I last checked. I sleep and wake, desperate to prove to myself that I am "popular" and getting more popular by the day.

If that sounds unhealthy to you, then we are in agreement. You could easily write off my obsession with my perceived popularity as a symptom of chronically low self-esteem, posit that the compulsion to check my statistics is ego-inflating and instantly gratifying, and thus has become an addiction. And you just might be right! But these days I'm interested in what's underneath these ego-driven pursuits, what purpose is served by my vanity and my hunger for attention.

Underneath it all is a need for recognition and acknowledgement. I need to be reminded that I exist, that I could— if I was brave enough— connect with other people. As of today, for the past three months I've barely spoken to anyone besides my own mother. I am terrified of other people, exhausted by them and further terrified by my own exhaustion. But my reluctance to connect with others does not at all diminish the very real need I have to connect with them anyways, struggles notwithstanding. So it seems I've been coping in the best way that I knew how: update my personal website, where things have been getting increasingly personal, and guess how many of my visitors were bots, how many were real people, and among that small number, how many might have gotten past the first page.

Paradoxically, despite routinely convincing myself that I am "popular" based on raw data and factual observation, I am plagued by the idea that there is nobody reading. There is so much evidence to the contrary— like those of you who reach out in my guestbook or by e-mail— but I still can't shake this feeling that I am screaming into the void. I don't want to scream into the void. I want people to read what I have to say. But I also want to say whatever I please without fear of outside judgement, so maybe I prefer the void after all? But the void is so lonely!!! It's cold and dark in there! So I return again and again to my site statistics... refreshing my profile over and over... drip-feeding myself the most distilled and least satifysing form of interpersonal connection there is: numbers on a screen.

... I feel as though I've gone off on a tangent. Basically, the $5 I have been paying each month enables an unhealthy behaviour of mine. Kyle Neocities is my internet-attention drug dealer. After writing all this out, whether I choose a new host or not, I believe that it's in my best interest to cancel my Supporter subscription. Maybe then, once I'm cut off from this last bastion of interdependence, I will get so lonely that I'm forced to reenter civilsation and talk to the friends I have been neglecting. Okay, I hope I will do that before being overwhelmed with loneliness, but you get the point.

So, could I stick with Neocities as my host? Though maybe not forever, I definitely could, and in the meantime I definitely will. Rather than act in haste, I'd prefer to make sound decisions after careful considerations. And that's why I want to consider one more thing in this entry: Neocities as a social media platform.

I'm talking about site profiles and comments, as well as followers and tag systems. Neocities is pretty great for finding and browsing small websites, and since fixing the constant "x followed y" feed updates, it's become a pretty good way to keep up with them, too. I've noticed that I feel most connected to other webmasters on here when we're commenting on each other's site updates. Communities are built by following each other, leaving messages, exchanging everything from buttons to resources to design ideas. That's the opposite of the "void." That's connection.

I haven't been doing any of those things, though. I don't follow very many sites on here and only rarely do I let others know that I've been reading what they have to say. Why is this? Again, vanity: heehee, look at me, I'm so popular that I don't have to follow anybody back! And, again, fear: I don't trust that I can form relationships without being overwhelmed by our mutual expectations. I barely have energy for myself, these days. How am I supposed to give freely to others something I literally do not have?

So... yeah... I isolate myself. We've been over that already. The point wasn't to get back into my emotional problems but to point out that, really, Neocities' only unique offering as a webhost is this social media aspect. But, like the ability to upload an .mp3 file for $5 monthly, it's a feature I don't often use.

Should I use it? Would I be happier if I did? Would that be a life-serving choice for me? I'm not sure. CSS is definitely my favourite hobby— the one I most enjoy and take the most pride in— so it would be nice to get close to likeminded inviduals. Haha, imagining a friendship where we bond over the pure love of CSS makes me smile. I could talk forever about layering background images, and variables and hexcodes, and how I've almost entirely ditched class and ID names just for the rush of writing complicated selectors. I'd love to gush over webdesign as a puzzle, as an art form, as a language, an interactive experience....

Yeah... that would be nice. If you'd like to talk about CSS like that, please e-mail me. It might take me a while, but I promise I will respond.

Agh... ugrhghg... ok. Idk. I thought about "talking to people," like as a whole, and got this sick feeling like wet chalk dust rising in my throat. I'm scared!!! LOL. But feelings only last about 90 seconds, so in the time that it took me to find and link this article, it had already passed. Maybe my life would improve if I took it 90 seconds at a time, to sit with my fear for a minute and a half and just let it wash over me.... Hm. I think I'll try it.

Okay, permission to e-mail reopened. And I'll be thinking more about returning to the friends who I haven't spoken to for many, many days now. I'm still going slowly, though, so if you've been waiting on a message from me, um... I'd appreciate a little more patience. Thanks for all the patience you've shown me already. I'm grateful! And whether we've been in direct contact or not, thanks for the patience it took to read this entire entry! Jeez!!! It feels like I've been writing this for a billion years. I'm going to go do something else, maybe play a game or find something to read.

CardTen of Cups
Music"Ikinokori●Bokura" by Ichiko Aoba
My Happiness
Delicious toaster oven-baked chicken + spinach & rice. The web. The world "volition," which I learnt from Phineas & Ferb and have loved ever since.


"The best part about having a mind is that you can change it whenever you want." This phrase has been bouncing around my head for the past few days as I've been contemplating autonomy. Writing this entry now, I see that Vivarism is as much about choosing life as it is about the choosing itself. Liberation as a state of mind: recognising the opportunity of every moment, our near-infinite options, and our God-given right to pursue any one of them.

We are human beings with free will. Nobody can make us do anything, and we even resist our own inner-tyranny! How often have I actually done the things I told myself I "should" do? Not often. And when I have done them, it often felt forced and empty. For me, the mere label of "should"/"have to"/"must" is an instant turn-off because it denies freedom of choice. It implies there are conditions to my existence, that I shall be smote from the Earth when they are not met. There were times in my life when I really believed this. I was waiting, every second, to be killed. That was real despair.

Now I'm learning new ways of thinking, different configurations for draping and hanging the thoughts that suspend themselves in my internal landscape. Interesting— I feel satisfied when I think of it that way: the art installation of my mind. If my brain is like a gallery of thoughts and memories and dreams, then I'm free to walk its halls, spectate its showcases, footsteps echoing, all empty and quiet except for me. When I observe, I'm the visitor. When I act, I'm the curator. And when it's time to go inside the exhibits— to inhabit the worlds depicted in paintings and sculptures, worlds of fiction, mistruth, pain past and future— I remember it is just a painting, and I can step out any time.

I was sweating as I wrote that, and I wonder why. It's not hot in here— not inside, anyways. My environment is temperature-controlled. Maybe it's a nervous reaction. Maybe that's just what happens when I speak from my soul. I don't mind it much because I can always have a shower later.

Speaking of the heat: this week I went outside two days in a row, both times during the hottest part of the day. I sweat straight through my dresses! I'm at least three shades darker than I was at the start of the week, and I have crisscross tan-lines on my feet from my sandals. I feel very grateful that I didn't get tan-lines on my face from my glasses, but I guess that would only be an issue if I was reclining in the sun, and when I'm out, I'm always upright.

Next week, I have places to be early in the morning. I'm using this as an opportunity to adjust my sleep schedule and return to my coveted 5 a.m. rising time. I just love the world at that hour. The fog, the pre-dawn blue, the streetlamps, the dew, the chill...! To me, that's the most wonderful time of day, and for many months I have not had a chance to experience it.

I'm a little worried that I won't be able to manage it, but it's worth it to try. I'll set my alarm for 5:00, then 5:30, and then again at 6:00 and 6:30. That oughta do it, right? But, hmm... I'm still not convinced it'll work. Maybe I can consult that book, Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker. I remember him sharing some practical tips on sleep rhythms and sleep hygiene.

Eh, whatever, I'll set aside my worries for now and just have fun. I want to play The Sims, or maybe try the new Story of Seasons game. I wonder if they redesigned the bachelors to look more attractive? 'Cause wow, I don't have anything nice to say about the original Another Wonderful Life guys.... Of course, I could look it up, but I think I'd like to be surprised when I meet them in-game!

... When I searched up a pic of their original designs to link above, the first result was a picture of the redesigns. Well, there goes my surprise! The guys look much better now, but none of them really catch my attention. In fact, I'm a little worried that, based on his new outfit, they made Cody into a gerneric sporty guy and ditched his "outsider artist" role. Maybe that would make him too similar to Gustafa? Bah! I feel kinda disappointed!

Nami, on the other hand......... Nami is doing something to my insides right now 0__+0 I greatly appreciate her boyish outfit!!! She looks even more masculine than the original, actually, which surprises me since the Mineral Town redesigns gave the boyish girls super feminine outfits. RIP Anne's overalls and Karen's Bermuda shorts...!

Anyways, I don't think I'll be playing that game today. I'm having way too much fun designing Sims houses for my OCs. One day I'd like to share them on here!!! And I definitely, definitely want to share the house that I'm building right now. It's based on a concept I find really fun: "if Vivarism was a house that you could visit, that I sometimes lived in."

The more I build and decorate and design, the more comprehensive the final product, and the more enjoyment I find in each project. It'd be nice to have a "games" section in general.... Somewhere to talk about Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon and Pokémon and all the rest. Haha, I'd like to share Style Savvy and Pop Cutie: Street Fashion outfits, too!!! Wahh, there are so many possibilities. I feel invigorated just imagining them.

CardKnight of Swords (reversed)
TimeEarly afternoon
Music"The Sweetest Time" by Takeshi Nakatsuka
My Happiness
Sweet, sticky oatmeal. CSS = pure joy. Fingernails as drumheads. Discussing the HM:AWL reboot, ehehehe.


It's the height of summer! I've heard that it's really hot outside these days, but I haven't been out at all. I'm really, really tired, still.... To give myself the rest and relaxation that I seem to be needing, I've started playing video games again.

It began with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I spent some evenings fishing and catching bugs, which I really enjoyed. Then I started time travelling around to collect seasonal furniture, and to participate in the Bug and Fish Tourneys, too! Now that I'm spending more time on my island, I'm once again thinking about decorating it and turning it into a digital home. I think if I take it one step at a time, then I can enjoy it without getting too overwhelmed.

I also reinstalled The Sims 4. That night, I stayed up late collecting mods and custom content, and I was very pleased to wake up to find the game ready and waiting to be played. I spent a whole afternoon building a サンゴキ house, but in the end I didn't play with the sims themselves for more than an hour. It seems the actual gameplay doesn't hold my attention anymore. Ever since I started designing homes a few years ago, that's all I want to do!

So I'm enjoying my leisure time, playing around in these digital landscapes. At the same time, I'm kind of worried about how tired I've been. I haven't been able to speak to people with any regularity for several months now. I often find myself feeling irritable in the most mundane conversations, wanting to pay attention but overwhelmed by a desire to get away and be alone. It's very frustrating for me to be unable to relate to people, to want to give the warmth and attention that usually give only to find myself exhausted empty.

I keep asking myself, "what's wrong with me?" I have no idea what needs to change so that I'll have more energy. Dr. Einstein said, "we cannot solve problems at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created those problems," and I think he was right about that. I need help, like serious help. Luckily, I'm learning how to advocate for myself a bit more, so even though I am not totally enthused about how my previous 7 months of therapy have gone, I'm hopeful that in the coming weeks I'll gain more from the experience. On top of that, I've been brave enough to reach out to some strangers more knowledgeable than I. I'm hoping they will get back to me and share their insights, as well.

What I really want is to learn more about Nonviolent Communication, to cultivate what they call "NVC consciousness." For a couple days, I've been debating paying 15USD to gain access to some content on the NVC Academy, particularly this video, though it seems there is a wealth of other learning to be had here. I hesitated, though... because it costs 15USD!

Then I remembered that, on a whim, I bought a $10 ice cream cone (I know...), and I'm willing to shell out more than $15 for other things I need, like band-aids and vitamins. I'll even pay for things that aren't strictly necessary but seem like they could marginally improve my life. So why the hesitance around this NVC stuff? On one level, I was concerned about the subscription's auto-renewal, but I can always make a note on my calendar. The real block, I think, is that I was telling myself that I "didn't deserve it."

That's my greatest struggle right now: my overwhelming self-hatred. I say very, very unkind things to myself, and that generates enough shame to stop me dead in my tracks. At the very least, I'm able to notice it now, but I still tend to get stuck in a loop. NVC postulates that these unkind thoughts are "tragic expressions of unmet needs." That's the core of Nonviolent Communication: that, at all times, us human beings are doing our best to fulfill our universal needs, including you and me. So I've been wanting to get more in touch with that. What is it that I need? When I tell myself that I'm no good, that I'm "a freak and a weirdo," what am I really asking myself for?

As of right now... I have no idea! No clue whatsoever! I'm still here "at the same level of thinking," and I've already concluded the solution is outside insight. Instead of jumping straight into paid content on the NVC Academy, I think I'll start with their free introductory course. Also, this is probably obvious but I am not an affiliate or anything, I'm just really intrigued by NVC and I want to offer others a chance to learn about it, too. Also I really enjoy inserting hyperlinks!!!

Anyways... something else I've noticed about myself is that I have a habit of "skipping to the end," as well as expecting myself to gain skills instantaneously. These unrealistic expectations actually make it harder for me to grow and change because I quickly switch from learning to berating myself for not learning fast enough. I think I would benefit from taking a more sequential approach to this endeavour of mine. All learning builds upon itself— even the learning that has at times been "too slow" for my tastes. So this time (and I feel like I say this a lot) I'll just take it bit by bit.

... Okay, I read the free course page and, bundled with that, they are offering 30 days of access to the stuff I was about to pay for! Haha, I feel pretty relieved now. Funny how things work out, huh?

I think I'll have a shower and then get started with registration and whatever their first lesson might be. Should I work out first...? Rather than "should I," I think the real question is: do I have enough energy to dance around my room? Hmm... yes. Maybe not for the full 15-minutes that I normally would, but I think I can manage at least 5 minutes or so.

CardSix of Cups (reversed)
TimeLate-stage headache
MoodFine, I guess
Music「ジェラシス」by Chinozo
My Happiness
Tarot. My nature photography. Web design. Useful software: Iconpacker and RSSBuilder.


Good afternoon everyone, I'm menstruating. I was kind of surprised when I started at the end of June. For a while it'd been arriving at least a week into the month, so I forgot that it really is a 28-day cycle! I can have two periods in one month, just as a treat.

Anyways, today's schedule is not my usual one. Yesterday I stayed up 22 hours and went to bed this morning at 9 a.m.! Then I napped for 5-ish hours, ate lunch, showered, and now I'm all set to stay up until bedtime at around 9 or 10 o'clock. While I was up all night, I made a bunch of different pages for Vivarism, which you can read all about in my new RSS feed!

If you were subscribed to the old one: uhhh, sorry, but it broke and I decided to start from scratch. You'll have to delete it and add in the new one. As you might have guessed, I'm still learning how all this works. Luckily I am using a program called RSSBuilder that helps me with the code, at least. Someday soon, I'd like to style the feed as well, but I'll save that for another time. Right now, I just want to get things uploaded!!!

The page I'm most excited about is this one we're on right now. It seems that with each passing month, my diary designs become more and more complex. Here is a photo summary of them all from March to date.

From March to April, we saw Vivarism undergo a massive transformation. New fonts, new textures... Then in May, I thought, "what if I put a divider in the header? What if I use different images to frame the date?" and thusly those became design staples. June is pretty different from my usual style— it's black!!! But I was drawing inspiration from my monthly card, The Moon, and overall I'm very, very pleased with the result. That's when I added the bubbles floating beside the icon, too, with little tidbits of information revealed on hover.

And then we have this month's design, July.... I did not hold back on this one. I'm using a lot of Vivarism-exclusive stickers in the header. I love the ones I have floating over the icon!!! I think I'll do that again next month, too. Also, the background is a fullscreen image, and it moves!!! I have not done that on this site before. In my opinion, it perfectly suits the design. I feel very appreciative when I look at what I've made and reflect on the hours of effort I put into tweaking the details.

Speaking of details, I keep getting sidetracked digging for an RSS icon that I actually like and want to use. The more I look, the more I'm thinking, "I'll have to make it myself." I'm okay with that, honestly, but it's just one more thing to add to my ever-expanding to-do list.... Luckily, web development is something I truly feel invigorated by! When I take it step by step, following my passion and my muse, it never feels like a chore.

That's what I'm trying to do, these days. Just follow what feels good and right, moment to moment, without forcing anything. Riding the wave of life... flowing through life like water.... Something like that. I don't know. I never learned to surf. That was more my dad's thing, and I no longer have the opportunity to consult him on metaphors or poetics.

Anyways, it hasn't been easy for me to take this approach. I still find myself fighting against what would "make life more wonderful," when I bother to ask myself at all. Mostly I'm still miserable. Feelings change very quickly, though, and I'm trying to stay hopeful that one day this eternal exhaustion will lift.

"Leave behind what went wrong and focus on what you can do now."

I recently read something like this in a book, somewhere. Everything, everything, everything goes back to this concept of past/present/future, personal responsibility over what we can and can't control...

It's so hard to change myself. It's so hard to live differently. And it's so, so easy to feel discouraged. All I want to do now is lay down and cry.

3 July update: I did indeed lay down and cry, and I fell asleep at around 6 p.m., lol. Not what I expected would happen, but here I am now, out of bed at half-past 9.... It's not the 6 a.m. rising I had been hoping for, but I think I can make peace with this morning and do my best to have a nice day, regardless.

CardQueen of Wands
MoodSpirited Tired
Music"I Feel Good Today" by Avinash Baghel
My Happiness
Singing in the shower. Sweet mandarin orange. Unexpected opportunity to get on a different sleep schedule.