May your song never die

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Refugium: Revisions

songs: Refugium

Refugium – Added link buttons and a short purchase note for the series to the “Editor’s Note” page. Andrea kindly presented me with a list of spelling and grammar errors along with a considerable amount of stylistic suggestions; all these revisions have now been implemented!

The layout was supposed to display fine at a minimum resolution of 1280x720. Alas, I was wrong, and in true spirit of one of the shrine’s themes, this was a case of “what I see is not what you see”. All resolutions between 1280px and 1400px in width have been seeing some wonky version of the site – sorry! Spent some hours under the expert guidance of Yuuka and Andrea to fix the issue. Thank you so much for your loving perseverance, sweet friends!! ;_;

Return and New Shrine: Refugium

songs: In Another Dream, Six Chances, Oubliette, Refugium

Wow, it’s been 4.5 years since the last update! July 2017 was a major turning point in my life and was followed by several years of growth, new discoveries, and a vast expansion of territory. Going through that kind of personal revolution required me to bundle all of my time, energy and focus. I have been writing on (multiple) sites in that time, but rarely long enough to see a project through to the end. There’s more to it, as you will see below.

At some point, this update log, formerly powered by FanUpdate, kicked the bucket; the page still worked, but no updates were displayed. I apologize that I left such an essential part of the network unattended for so long — at least there were no updates that could have been missed out on! The log has been set up anew now, powered by the update script Chronica created by the wonderful Yuuka. It features a makeshift layout I found in my folder from mid-2017 (@Andrea, rejoice), when I was already preparing for the migration to Chronica. Rather than uploading something so embarrassingly dated, I was hoping to replace the layout and to add a category tag overview, but alas, that will have to wait, as I am running out of time.

March is my birth month, and the end of the month is the beginning of spring, my namesake. I have been working hard the past two months on a present to myself:

Refugium – a shrine to the manga The Top Secret by Reiko Shimizu, more specifically, its pilot chapter! This one has been in the works for the past… 3.5 years, most of it consisting of graphics, design and writer’s block after reaching about the half-way point. I resumed work on it this year after a burst of resolve and inspiration, and by sheer willpower have managed to push through to the end at last. To see it complete after this long is akin to a miracle to me, and a considerable weight off my shoulders. The shrine and its subject matter have been on my mind all this time, and because I so wanted to make it happen, and take the time needed to pursue the questions I wanted to think through, it blocked a lot of my resources, and prevented me from focusing on other creative projects for long. Now, I am finally free!

Refugium is very dear to me, and I hope that it can bring some joy. As always, if you find any typos or mistakes, or have any suggestions for improvement, I’m all ears! I intend to write a project retrospective for this shrine as with most of my previous shrines, but I’ve got some more thinking to do on the format. I assume it will be up shortly.

Six Chances — As you can see, Refugium is part of a new collective stationed on a “new” domain (…purchased in 2018; folks, if you are hoarding domains for projects that have not seen the light of day yet, I believe in you). For the time being, only the landing page is up. Several of the above-mentioned projects are planned for this collective, one in quite mature stage already. We’ll see how things go!

In Another Dream — This shrine was created as part of the Six Chances collective back then (you may remember the subdomain), and has now received a new URL. If you happen to have linked it somewhere, I would appreciate that you update it, as I don’t know yet how long I will be keeping the subdomain.

Network — It’s not that I have forgotten the name of my own network, but “The Caged Songbird” is no longer a suitable vessel, hence the rebrand. I received a mail from a visitor last year, who referred to oubliette.nu by the name of its layout version by mistake. It struck me what a good match that is for where I stand now and how I intend to go forward, so that will be it! I will slowly replace the network name when I do light maintenance on all my sites this year. For now, please excuse the confusing coexistence of both the old and the new.

One last detail: I have been playing around with favicons and stopped at the current ones, which are items from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (I haven’t played the games, jsyk). I’ll leave them like that for now. (If anyone knows any artists who take pixel art commissions, I’d be grateful if you dropped me a line!)

Gallery Upgrades

songs: Miscellaneous, Stormwind, Awakening, Setting Sun, Waterbound, Sway, In Another Dream

All shrines around the network have had minor fixes and code updates (nothing plainly visible). Some display issues at Waterbound were found and have been fixed.

Awakening, Stormwind Gallery, Stormwind, Setting Sun, Sway, In Another Dream – Galleries for all these sites have been updated to fancyBox3 for better interface and zoom functionality. I'll think some more about what to do with the galleries on image-heavy shrines that rely on captions; fancyBox3 differs from fancyBox2 in that regard and I'm not convinced it'd be better to upgrade.

Revamp: Dornenkaefig

songs: Dornenkaefig

Dornenkaefig – About a week ago, on the 14th, this shrine received a new look as part of The Rose Keep's Flower Garden Layout Marathon. I had long wanted to make a new layout for it, as the initial one was rushed and uninspired, without anything to visually set it apart from my other shrines. (Though I did like it a lot at the time.)

The makeover inspired me to also revamp the content primarily to make it more visually attractive, as the content images were too small, and the walls of text monotonous. In the end, I edited nearly every other sentence on the shrine for better reading flow, cut out some other parts, retranslated many quotes, heavily restructured and rewrote Intro, and added various new images and passages all around the shrine. The little profile blurbs were a lot of fun to implement! The gallery was upgraded to use fancyBox3 as well, which enables zooming (ideal for reading manga pages), and thumbnails were remade. As I have made many shrines since this one, I added links to shrines with similar themes to the Site page, something I had already done for Sway.

Considering how much I love Idike and how important she is to me, I was also never truly satisfied with the way I wrote about her on the final page. Back then, I couldn't find the words to express my feelings, and ended up sounding very emotionally detached. I have added my true thoughts to the Site page now, which are also a result of some of the things I have learned this year. Coupled with the addition on Index, I think it is a more sincere and emotionally intimate shrine now, as it always should have been.

Although the colour scheme from the previous layout remains (due to symbolic reasons), with all these changes, this shrine now has a new identity to call its own. I'll add some more thoughts on the network page for it when I have time... Maybe I should revamp the network layout first.

See The Rose Keep plug topic.

New Layout Archive

songs: Miscellaneous

Memory Prison – Made a layout archive over at Tumblr so as not to clutter up the pages around the network. I might add even older layouts from miscellaneous past projects later on.

If there are any thoughts you’d like to share, I’d be delighted about any feedback in my guestbook or mailbox. Thanks for the visit!

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