Network Hygiene

A bunch of minor updates:

  • Cut content that has been moved to Song Cradle from Removed the projects page as the bulletin board now serves that purpose.
  • Nuked Enthusiast and made a new layout for my Joined Fanlistings page so that I could go on a joining spree. My cute Takeru!!
  • Cleaned up some minor things in the guestbook. Yikes there were quite a few outdated and unsightly elements in there…
  • Added a link to Song Cradle to each shrine.
  • Added a link to Refugium’s link list after poking a Tumblr user about it. x) The purchase note has also been moved to the index.
  • Fixed the text selection colours for Waterbound and Setting Sun because they were unreadable and made my eyes bleed.

That’s it for now. I expect things around the network to be quiet in the coming months, if not for the rest of 2022, as I will be occupied. I’ll be writing on sites in the background though.

in bloom: Refugium, Waterbound, Setting Sun, Miscellaneous, Oubliette

New Log and Site: Song Cradle

OKAY SO. I ought to be focusing on finishing some major sites so I can move on, or think about how to revamp the domain, BUT I COULDN’T STAND GOING ANOTHER DAY looking at my update log with its makeshift layout that sucked in terms of visual guidance.

I’ve had this manga panel for a while, unsure which of several projects to use it for, and with zero layout inspiration. After that silly splash page last week, I rode on the mermaid wave and, lo and behold, was proven once again that when it comes to graphics, it’s often best to open Photoshop and see what happens, rather than give it too much thought in advance and be deterred by the lack of concept. I certainly could never have imagined creating something like this! I reused a few assets that I had initially set aside for Refugium (and perhaps an Aquaria shrine in the far future)… It’s a set I’m so fond of, I could use it in three more layouts and would not tire of it.

Coding this layout was so much fun, it got out of hand very quickly. I LOVE MERMAIDS SO MUCH. I’m so enamoured with it, I debated using it for the domain instead, primarily out of fear that I would not be able to make something this pretty again, and also because it might be a while before I’ll have time again. In the end, I resolved to be brave and decided against it, as I already have images picked out for the main site and don’t want to compromise my vision. I also don’t just want to slap the layout over old content. Anyway:

Update Log — The log finally has a category page, and I’ve also added an overview of my current projects since I’m going to scrap that page on the main site. This leads to:

Song Cradle — This is a repository of supplementary material to the network, a project I’ve had in mind for a while. The site is an indirect effort towards revamping the domain, which I have been dragging out because I don’t yet have the space to think about what text to cut or how to archive it so it doesn’t clash with new content. The repository offers me a future space for any archiving needs, and slims down the hub content so that I’ll have fewer elements to design once I get to the revamp.

Essentially, I have moved all my post-mortems over… and was quite horrified at the amount of text previously tucked away on the main site. …Which didn’t stop me from adding Refugium’s documentation that is nearly a third of the actual shrine’s length. There’s also some other fun new content around, such as a timeline and an overview of tools I use to make sites.

I hope the new content is as fun to browse as it was to make it! If anything’s wonky, confusing or could be improved, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

These entries in the log are getting wordier, partly as a result of not plugging projects on any forums these days. Perhaps the weightier reason is that it has come to my notice that my sites are visited by many more people than I know of, and this is currently the only place for a bit of chatter on my part outside of largely static projects. In any case: Thank you for visiting, and for still visiting after so many years and after the long hiatus!

in bloom: Refugium, Song Cradle, Miscellaneous, Oubliette

Refugium: Revisions

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!! ;_;

in bloom: Refugium

Return and New Shrine: 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 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!)

in bloom: Refugium, In Another Dream, Six Chances, Oubliette