Rundown (9/10/2023) Money! Money! Money! Is What I Need!

  • Post category:Rundowns
  • Reading time:48 mins read
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This Week’s Topics:

  • Deliberations of dochy
  • A potential king
  • Tencent’s continued consumption
  • Vampires X the walking simulator guys
  • An unfocused ramble on… display technology?
  • Another farewell to đť•Ź

Rundown Preamble Ramble:
Money! Money! Money! Is What I Need!

I’ve mentioned… one or twice that I am planning on moving out of my childhood home and purchasing a condo with my mother. Why am I doing this? Because my parents are (finally) getting divorced, and in the current economic climate, it is prohibitively expensive for someone to live on their own. Also, renting is kind of a scam, and if you own property, you can sell it.

Currently, we are in the looking phase, and the move will be an ordeal. (Even though I don’t have much stuff.) But before that can be done and I can harvest that life change for future Rundown Preamble Rambles, I need to get my finances in order. Now, this is not a huge deal for me, as I keep contemporaneous records— which everyone should learn how to do in high school, but they don’t, because something, something capitalism.

As an accountant, you might expect me to be good with money, but I really wouldn’t say that I am. I have been frivolous with my finances in the past, made some bad investments, but the biggest thing that just screwed over my savings has been my penchant for giving large sums of money to trans folk. Sending about $2,000 to Cassie. Sending $3,000 to a trans queer creator I have nothing but respect and admiration for (they’re also a cul-de-sac-ass-bitch). And sending $15,000 to a cunt with a negative social literacy rating. $8,000 of which was helping her buy an authentic Colombian cunt.

Fuckin’ bitch was so shit at writing she had me to rewrite half her things for her, and I regret everything nice I said about her work, because I’m pretty sure she did nothing by herself. But hey, that last one helped me learn that, even if someone is a minority, even if they are trans, they can still be rotten, and rotten people aren’t worth my time or money.

…Okay, so let’s talk about my money. Currently, the price range I am looking at with the condo is about $300,000 and— (un)like most millennials— I don’t have that kind of dochy just sitting in a money market account. Because who the hell has a money market account nowadays? It’s not the 70s, and we’re not rolling in double-in-a-decade stagflation… yet!

As of 8/31/2023, my net worth includes $75,000 in retirement accounts, $25,000 in Series I bonds, $30,000 in savings/investments, and ~$5,000 in a corporate loan receivable.

Meaning, for a 28-year-old from a working class background, I have money. But that really isn’t too surprising, as I currently make effectively $70,000 a year ($22,000 of which goes to taxes and insurance) (while working part-time). This means I will have $48,000 that I can use for stuff related to this new condo and all my other expenses. Which sounds nice… but is also kinda deceptive.

A few months back, I was pre-approved for a mortgage on a $300,000 loan (which is in the general price of a two-bedroom condo where I live). Assuming a 30 year mortgage (the American dream), my maximum monthly payment just to own and live in the property would be up to $2,520 a month or $30,240 a year. This includes the taxes, insurance, mortgage interest, and mortgage principle. But does not include the association fees (which run from $350 to $500 a month depending on the building), electricity, water, internet, mandatory landline, groceries, or any other living necessities.

…So, adding up the mortgage payments with just the lowball association fees, we get to $34,440, which I’m just going to round up to $35,000. $35,000 before utilities and things I need to live, so $13,000, which is basically $1,000 a month. Now, I don’t buy my own groceries or pay my current household utilities, but I know that things add up enough, and I am currently putting $250 away per month for my 401k match. So… I’d be lucky to be left with $200 a month after paying all those bills, despite making $70,000 a year!

Now, I am going to keep making more and more money through my job, but this… this fucking sucks. Choosing to do things this way, the traditional way, sucks super freaking bad!

Fortunately, I am going to be living with my mother, so these expenses will be split, and this original mortgage estimate will be less, as the down payment will be bigger. But regardless, I need to do some BIG GIRL BUDGETING to figure out how I should be rationing my money. Namely, money that I am and have been spending on ‘wants.’

Let’s start with recurring expenses, the biggest of which is easily my Patreon. Over the past summer, I cleaned things up a bit and lowered some amounts (sorry creators) but I am still paying slightly under $1,300 a year to various creators, with an extra $70 per Press-Switch update. With streaming services, I pay $140 a year for YouTube Premium— I use it because creators make more money that way, and ads suck. And pay $30 a year for Nebula.

This brings my recurring entertainment expenses to… $1,500. However, I also have website expenses, as Natalie.TF, the domain, costs just over $50 a year, and WordPress charges me $300 a year. Bringing me up to $1,850. …And with PokĂ©mon Home for $17, I’m just going to call that $1,870.

So, $1,870 in recurring expenses, and looking at what I’ve spent on other fun stuff, like games, music, comics, and other entertainment… I really need to cut back. I mean, just look at this list…

  • $75 – Used monitor for computer use while recovering from surgery.
  • $200 – 4TB NVMe SSD.
  • $60 – SapphireFoxx subscriptions, just for the sake of hoarding comics and videos.
  • $300 – Video games.
  • $230 – Music and comics.
  • $90 – Dragalia Lost Ilia plush (because I’m a sentimental woman).

That’s basically $1,000, and it’s only freaking September. Meaning I am going to need to further discipline myself going forward, as I cannot justify spending more than $3,000 a year on ‘fun stuff’ any longer.

…Oh, and I also really should try to sell some of my shit. For the down payment.

I still haven’t even listed my gaming collection anywhere and, at this point, I’m probably just going to solicit some local game shops to see if they’re interested in buying my collection. Namely Retro Dimension and Videogames Then & Now. The FMV is over $7,000, but I’d take $1,500 no questions asked.

Is there anything else of value that I can sell? Well, I also have 64 ounces of silver, which is worth about $1,500, but I think it’s still devalued due to market manipulation by JP Morgan. Why do I have 64 ounces of silver? Let’s just say I’m never taking investment advice from a certain person ever again.

Who is that person? Um, the dude who is responsible for naming John’s friends (Katrina, Kyoko, and Kiyoshi) in Student Transfer, and whose name produces a fourth wall breaking response in Press-Switch. Specifically, in the MassPoss Nicole path.

TSF Showcase 2023-24
King’s Proposal by Tachibana Koushi and Kurio Nemo

Hmm… something I’m going to need to consider for TSF Showcase is how I should approach ongoing TSF stories. I’m typically not a huge fan of ongoing stories of this manner. Mostly because I do not trust other creators to continue or conclude their work, and I know I will be able to discuss a completed story better than I would an incomplete story. Sure, I make exceptions for Student Transfer scenario reviews, but… actually, screw it. This is already almost 300 pages of manga anyway. Cassie said I should wait until it was done before covering it but… she doesn’t pay my domain fees, so I can do whatever I want.

King’s Proposal is one of those manga where it seems like it was formulated by combining a series of tropes, tags, and premises, all bundled together, and thrown at a writer/artist duo. The story centers around high school boy Kuga Mushiki, who finds himself murdered by some unknown force, only to be reincarnated in the body of the most powerful magician in the entire world, Kuozaki Saika. Completely thrown for a loop, Mushiki is greeted by Saika’s maid, Karasume Kuroe, who explains the somewhat complicated premise of this manga.

In this world, magic is real, and magicians are a special group of people who protect it from transdimensional monster attacks that happen about every 300 hours. If the monsters are defeated, all signs they ever arrived in this world are erased, and while monsters run the gamut in terms of strength, some are fully capable of destroying the entire world. Saika is the go-to defeater of high class monsters, but in a bid to save her life, she fused her body and soul with Mushiki. Rather than be a Birdy the Mighty situation, this instead sees Mushiki trapped within Saika’s power, with zero idea on how to effectively use the power he now wields.

As such, Mushiki needs to be trained, and seeing as how Saika is the headmistress of a school for aspiring magicians, the course of action is obvious. Through Kuroe’s maidly planning and diligent arrangement, Mushiki is sent to attend magic school… which is where the bulk of the manga takes place in its current form. Making it firmly a school manga before anything else, because of course it is…

You have a quirky assortment of teachers and administrative staff with designs that scream their importance. A world that promises great conflict and danger while making the protagonist OP as god from minute one. A somewhat complex arrangement of lore and background that needs to be explained to the protagonist and, by extension, the reader. An MtF TSF protagonist who is on the more chivalrous end of things, wanting to swoon Saika like a regular dandy boy, and gets weak when he must witness an erotic female body. A painfully transparent romantic subplot involving Mushiki’s estranged sister, Ruri, who has a reverence for Saika, and is a total brocon. So, naturally she’ll get all creamy when she eventually learns the truth.

Just from those last few notes, you can probably picture what this comic has to offer. A lot of familiar comfortable elements, a good amount of lewdness without being proper ecchi, and some long-winded explanations that makes this seem like it was originally a light novel… because it was.

This might seem like I’m gearing up to dog on this comic for being blasĂ© and unoriginal. And it kind of is, as there is little here that I haven’t seen in some other form. However, there is nothing wrong with a familiar idea, or doing something that has been done, if you can deliver on the execution. …And King’s Proposal does.

King’s Proposal is executed with a high level of confidence. As if the writer is fully aware of what this story is, that this is a big old genre slurry, but is wholly invested in this idea, and has the skills needed to make this idea work. So, naturally I looked up who Koushi Tachibana is, and learned he was the writer of Date A Live. A light novel series so successful it’s getting its fifth anime season, and its premise also reads like a genre slurry. Or in other words, this guy clearly knows what he’s doing.

This sense of experience also carries over to the artwork itself, which delivers on pretty much every category. You have flashy action scenes, adorable slice of life moments, hilariously exaggerated expressions, good paneling, and a few pieces of imagery that really just cause the entire comic to pop. Also, the characters were designed by Tsunako of Neptunia fame so… yes, the cast is full of well designed cuties who stand out even while being fairly basic on a conceptual level.

In other words, as an ongoing manga, I think it is pretty good, comes from experienced people, and from the first six chapters, it lays a solid foundation to be built upon. …But how does it fare as a TSF story?

I have grown to expect more mainstream friendly works like this to undersell the TSF element, and relegate it to part of a character’s backstory. Often, it’s barely questioned, is just part of the backstory, and is used to have a female lead who acts a certain way. Naturally, I can’t tell how things will turn out without… reading the light novel to skip ahead, but there are a few things here that I found promising.

One, the protagonist does have the ability to switch back to a male form, and the last chapter presents the opportunity for a dual identity subplot. A subplot that… I normally don’t care for, but when TSF is involved, I love it. Like in Ranma ½ or Ame Nochi Hare! …Shit, I should talk about Ame Nochi Hare sometime…

Two, the protagonist is comically timid about seeing female bodies in underwear, and shatters at the idea of female nudity. That was basically me at age 15, so… I relate. I also like this level of hesitation early on, as it gives characters an arc to overcome, a defect to correct, and keeps the reader engaged assuming there is any development.

Three, this is about a character transforming into someone else, not themself, but someone else with a vastly different personality, life, and abilities. I know that some TSF-likers prefer things to be vanilla with a straight Nyotai TF, but one of my favorite elements about TF is… becoming someone else. Not just becoming yourself but a girl/boy. The need to impersonate another person, act like them, talk like them, and walk like them has so many more angles to explore. And it avoids the whole ‘you just created a new person’ thing that often relies on reality warping to undo. …Or coming out as trans, I guess.

Here, Mushiki and Saika are vastly different people, Mushiki never properly met Saika, so he needs to act like a confident queen of this school. And the contrast between who he is and who he is trying to be is a lot more interesting than… this effeminate seeming guy acting like a girl.

So, in conclusion, would I recommend King’s Proposal? Yes. …But you also need to have a pretty good stomach for something with this many tropes and this much genre slurring. I feel like I’m too damn old for high school stories at this point, and I rolled my eyes more than a few times as I recognized familiar elements. But if you are a bit younger than this old broad, and feed off of anime cuteness, this could be a great time.

Tencent’s Indirect Consumption Continues
(Sumo Group Acquires Midoki)

I continue to be scared as all heck over the amount of influence Tencent is accumulating across the global games industry. While it is easy to avoid a company if they plaster their name on everything they do, Tencent eagerly uses the names of its subsidiaries to obfuscate the control they have. Level Infinite, Sumo Digital, Riot Games, Epic Games. Sure, they might not oversee the day-to-day operations of these companies, but that’s not reassuring. All it takes is one order from up top and bam! Things get worse for everyone.

Anyway, their latest acquisition (via the Sumon Group) was the mobile game developer Midoki. A small developer of 29 people whose big hit was 2020’s Knighthood. A King published turn-based RPG that netted over 5 million downloads, and it looks… fairly unremarkable to me. Its colorful low poly aesthetic is appealing (and easy on performance). But the combat strikes me as deceptively simplistic with a complex meta, and I could see room for power creep in just a few minutes of gameplay.

Regardless, the game did well, so they decided to sell the company, and Sumo was interested in buying them. Possibly because Midoki is based in Leamington Spa, and Sumo is the biggest games company in England… Yes, the biggest game company in England is owned by a Chinese company. Sit on that for a second!

This is of course a bad acquisition… but also not a huge deal. When a company buys a game developer, they do so for one of two reasons. To get access to the IP, get access to the staff, or both. Here… Tencent is clearly going after the staff, as acquisitions like this can often be more efficient than just putting out ads for new employees. While the Midoki team is only 29 people, they are already an established team. They don’t need to be trained, have an established workflow, and know how to work together. They may only be 29 people, but could very well be more efficient than a group of 40/50 new hires.

I also can’t really blame the studio heads for selling this company to Sumo, as Midoki was established in 2011, and a lot of heads of tech studios get fatigued of running a company after the ten year mark. They want to secure why they built over the past decade, avoid risky new projects, and think that a bigger company will keep their employees safe. When really… they might just lay them off if their next project bites the dust. It’s cheaper than giving them bonuses, and fresh blood is easier to squeeze.

One of the Most Bizarre Developer Switches of All Time
(Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Will Be Developed by The Chinese Room)

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has a history for being two things. A product that was shipped way too early, and is full of bugs and technical issues, thus making fan-made patches a necessity. And a game that dazzled players back in 2004… but everybody was busy playing Half-Life 2, which came out on the same day, so the game failed commercially and tanked its developer.

It was a prime candidate for a remaster or recreation/rebuild/mostly direct remake as far as I’m concerned. Rather than do that— because it would make too much sense— the game instead saw a numbered sequel announced in March 2019, with a release penned for just a year later. …Then the release date kept getting pushed back further and further, until in February 2021, when the developers, Hardsuit Labs, were removed from the project. Well, specifically, they were no longer leading the project and were to be replaced by a “new studio partner.” I assumed that meant a developer switch to wrap up what was done and ship the game. Like what Rockstar did with L.A. Noire (if memory serves). But based on this October 2021 article I found, and the cited Swedish source, I think this was more akin to a full development reboot at a new developer.

That certainly explains why the game went dark for years. However, at PAX West last week, the title was re-revealed and its new developer is… The Chinese Room. …What?

So, first thing. The Chinese Room is a subsidiary of Sumo Digital, which is a subsidiary of The Sumo Group, which is fully owned by Tencent. (Which is why this story is coming right after the Midoki acquisition. Because you gotta clump all the Tencent together!) Second thing, The Chinese Room is a game developer who I respect on a fundamental level. They were the purveyors of combat-free narrative adventure games that were commonly derided as ‘walking simulators’ throughout the 2010s. I admire the desire to push things in this direction… but their three big titles, Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture were… not very good. At least according to my years old recollection of other people’s opinions.

I had forgotten about TCR since then, but doing some basic ‘research’ the studio was effectively shut down in 2017, after releasing the three aforementioned games, due to an inability to pay staff. This led the company to be acquired by Sumo Digital in 2018 for… basically nothing. Under this new ownership, The Chinese Room proceeded to work on Little Orpheus, a Soviet themed 2.5D platformer that debuted on Apple Arcade in 2020. …What? Why would they— How was that the— You know what? I don’t care! That game isn’t part of the TCR canon anyway!

After this, TCR continued to work on other games quietly before announcing Still Wakes the Deep earlier this year as part of the big Xbox games showcase back in June. A first-person narrative adventurer mystery game with horror themes… so basically an evolution of what they were doing a decade ago. Makes total sense.

…But what doesn’t make sense is that, somehow, they grew into a two team studio, each making a game with AAA production values, and that they are branching out into an action RPG. I don’t mean to be rude, but… this studio has zero experience making a game like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. They should not be able to make it but, based on the trailer, they… are. The game looks to have a robust combat system, modern production values, and looks like it could be coming from at least a AA studio, which… I never considered The Chinese Room to be. I considered them to basically be an independent dev, because they were when they were at their peak relevance.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will hopefully, maybe, possibly, be released in fall 2024 for PS5, Xbox Series, and PC.

Miserable Suckful CRT
(Natalie Muses About Resolution and Screen Differences)

Back when I was doing Natalie Rambles regularly, before I started doing lighter and easier to produce versions of the same content in these Rundowns, there were a few topics I wanted to touch upon. One of them was the bundled topic of resolution, aspect ratios, frame rates, display types, aliasing, texture filtering— the mechanisms of how a game is presented. It is a wildly complex topic that sees different opinions across the board, so it was hard for me to figure out where to even begin, let alone where I should focus on this topic.

…But then anime queen Hazel dropped a video about Pokémon that made excessive use of different video cameras, aspect ratios, and zoom-ins on GameBoy, Nintendo DS, and CRT screens.

All of which were deliberately meant to evoke a prior era of technology and inspire nostalgic feelings based on one’s memories of when things looked like this. I recognized the intent, but as I tried to play along, something finally clicked with me. When I think back to media— when I think back to TV shows, movies, and games— I do not remember the technical aspect. I do not remember the way the screen looked, the quality of the image, the resolution, or even the aspect ratio.

Now, that might sound absurd… because it kind of is. I was born in 1994, grew up with VHS, standard definition TV, did not see a 16:9 screen until 2008, and most of my formative experiences were on the TV shown above. (That is a photo from 2021 by the way. My mother was LATE to the party.)

I consciously know that GameCube games weren’t in widescreen. I consciously know that any cartoon I watched on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network back in the early to mid 2000s wasn’t in HD. But my mind just converts all of this into a unified format, where everything just defaults to ‘the way things should be.’ This even, to an extent, applies with things I experience today. When I was fiddling with emulators a few weeks back, I remember the games being in full screen… when I know I only kept them at about 900p. And when I think back on Eman Looc’s Possession Scroll, my memories tell me that, oh that was in 1080p and fully filled up the screen, and the character art was so crisp. …When the native resolution was 720p.

I got Waifu2x in my brain, yo!

Now, I consciously know this is wrong, that not everything filled my computer monitors, that certain games run at a set resolution. When I remember this, I can adjust my memories— the image in my mind’s eye— and re-render an image to be presented on a 4:3 CRT screen. But at that point, I am not remembering. I am imagining. And if my stories are any indicator, I can imagine A LOT!

This is ultimately just another instance of my memory remembering things wrong and reconverting things to a different format. For example, I tend to also remember things that happened to me as a person in the third-person, rather than the first-person. Now, this is wrong, I know that it’s wrong, and I can convert it to be first-person by thinking about it enough. But the default is still third person.

Why does my brain work that way? I don’t know! It just does! And I think that’s the core of the reason why I just… really dislike it when people praise things like the look of CRT displays. Because while I can consciously recognize that things were made for CRT displays… I just view them as a tool to distort the image. Taking something clean and applying a physical blurring and filtering effect under the dual justification that it looks ‘correct’ and ‘better’.

Source: CRTpixels

To me, a fixation on CRT displays goes against everything that was promoted and propagated as part of the digital era. It goes against the idea of supporting and chasing higher resolutions and image quality. It is clinging to something so dated and obsolete there is not enough of a market for the technology to be produced any longer. All while going against the standardized idea of what a screen is and should be.

I can recognize that the image of various CRT displays is different and unique, that dithering and blurring can give an image or give it a new definition. I know how to futz around with basic filters enough to recognize their value and purpose. But I cannot recognize it as better, or worth celebrating to the extent it has been. Which is to say that I do not value the opinions of enthusiasts who insist that CRT displays are the best/correct/definitive/appropriate way to play older games. Because it goes completely, entirely, and viciously against what I love about and how I primarily experienced sprite art.

Source: RadeMkd

I was the sort of kid who would spend hours perusing around places like the Spriters Resource and Mystical Forest Zone. I would zoom into sprite sheets for games that I thought looked nice to see how they were made, how the animation worked, and how the color balancing worked. I would spend days upon days watching sprite animations and reading sprite comics. (I still consider Sonic and Pals and Pokémon-X to be the impetus for so, so many things about my psyche and tastes.) I had a two-foot-long collection of video game strategy guides, a lot of which were for GBA and DS games, and most of those featured complete maps of the game world. Maps that I would sink my child eyes into, making out the finest details.

Point is, I understood that games were made up of pixels. From a very early age, I caught onto the power of a good tileset, the way you could take a cluster of colors and make it look like a person. To me, as Prima-guide-reading eMac-using baby, this is where the true beauty of sprite art lies, and I think this is reflected with literally basically every sprite-based game hitting the market today. They do not blur the image, they display the sprite art as… sprite art. Artists, developers, and gaming enthusiasts aplenty, all recognize the artistic value of taking a few blocks together, and the aesthetic is often considered timeless.

Source: CRTPixel

…So, why the hell are there dillweeds who insist that retro games look better on CRT, when the retro revival boom era of sprite art has lasted… 15 years at this point? Longer than the time between the release of the Famicom and Nintendo 64? Well, I thought it was just contrarian nostalgia, which is a common political tactic, and video games are like politics for [REDACTED]. Now? I think it’s because this is how they actually remember these games looking, and those memories have not been updated with modern visual standards. Like mine have!

Okay, but I’m talking about sprite art, what about 3D? Specifically mid to late 90s 3D. Now, 3D is both a miracle and a nightmare from a computer and rendering perspective. On one hand, if you have software rendering things in 3D, it’s probably not too hard to make them look better. Bumping the internal resolution and adding some anti-aliasing can make things look jagged, but also very crisp. You become acutely aware of how the models are constructed and, if the textures are unfiltered, you see how they were created, where the pixels were applied.

I think this look is great, because this is how I remember Nintendo DS games looking. I like seeing things presented in a raw form so you can see what the artists were doing to make things look the way they look. As such… I think these games just look like utter shit when presented at lower resolutions with blurred textures. Because you simply cannot see the detail, and when played on a CRT? Some effects were given a different visual identity, but not nearly as many. There’s a reason why you don’t see people gush about how PS1 and N64 games looked on a TV, because even CRT enthusiasts admit that there isn’t much detail. And I think the best argument they have for CRT is that it obscures the blurry texture with a light layer of noise, giving the illusion of more detail.

Now, I’m not actually upset with people for having preferences that go against mine. …I’m upset with the idea of them spreading to the next generation, rather than letting their ideas die out. I don’t want to kill these people, just castrate them.

I’m just barely old enough that I can recognize a distinctly new generation of adults who grew up in a different climate. Someone born in 2003, whose first gaming experience with the Wii in 2007 and first computer was an iPod Touch in 2010, is now 20-years-old, in school or in the workplace. And I don’t want those people to be fed bullshit about how things used to be better, about this fallen era before they were alive, when things were pure. Like all those millennial White Supremacists bemoaning the glory of the 1950s, before politics were invented by Malcolm X.

This is part of a broader problem across populations of people as they grow older. They emphasize how things were better back in their halcyon days, and long for their return. They imagine that, if things are so bad, if my life is so much harder than when I was a babe swaddled in the cashmere blanket of ignorance, the past must be better. This is something I have regularly been seeing amongst people who grew up in the 90s. Before American culture shifted with the beginning of the war on terror, before they flourished into adulthood during the 2008 recession, and before social media began to consume their lives as they entered their 30s.

It is easy to imagine that things were better when you knew less, when… shit has always sucked. The biggest difference now is that people were way, way less informed about bad things going on in the 20th century than they are now. 24 hour news became a deluge of headlines one is ‘supposed’ to read before going to bed and right when they wake up. Movements are bigger and more widespread. The outrage used to sell papers back in that era has been cranked up to 63 with algorithmic content distributions. And because there is so much anonymity, a lot of people are saying a lot of things they never would if they had to say it in public or mail it in some place.

…What the FUCK does any of this have to do with CRTs? I fell into a void of rambling and got lost!

I think the point I am rolling toward— like a drunken king with a crotch the size of the Himalayas— is this: The past… had some cool shit. It can be fun to see how far things came, and how different they were regardless of what your memories dictated. But the obsession over it, in any shape or form, is endemic of a mindset that I am deeply cautious toward. Modern technology should be used and embraced to make things from the past better. Nostalgia is a dangerous thing that has been weaponized for centuries at this point. And just because something used to be done a certain way, does not mean that the old way was the best, greatest, or most pure. Humanity should strive for constant improvement.

In conclusion, Natalie does not remember CRT displays, does not like them, and considers them prohibitively inaccessible. They’re for rich White dudes, nostalgic trans girls who thrive on vibes, and I’m too damn practical for any of that shit. I got my bed, my desk, my printer, my monitors, my phone, my clothes, and… shelf crap like this. Everything else is just clutter meant to fill a hole. A hole I once tried to fill, but bed bugs fucked everything up, I shoved it into boxes, and realized how little I actually cared.

…Give me five years, and these will become fully incomprehensible.

Quitting Twitter Was Wicked Easy
(I Have Not Checked My Feed on đť•Ź in Over a Month)

Holy shit, they pay walled TweetDeck while I was gone? Yeah, no, fuck đť•Ź.

So, this is just something I realized this past week. On July 28, 2023, I stopped using Twitter đť•Ź after using it consistently since I established my account in October 2009, back when I was 14. I won’t say I used it daily, as I took a break when recovering from bottom surgery (I never used it on my phone). However, I did regularly check it when I wanted a dopamine hit. Which is to say, several times most days, every morning, and before going to bed.

I expected to have some form of withdrawals after giving it up, as it was a habitual response for me, one trained throughout half my life. But… giving it up was super easy. Probably because I still have other sites I habitually check (Feedly, DeviantArt, Pixiv, ResetEra, YouTube).

However, I do still feel a slight sense of missing out on the updates, shared images, site exclusive images, and stray bits of news that populated my feed. Now, that’s pretty much gone, and while I don’t actively want things like this, the more I think about it, the more it just sorta bums me out. However, that is more in the sense that people generally don’t have a single place where they can post all their stuff. The era of creators having their own websites you can subscribe to is gone, over, and despite wishing that it would come back, I know it won’t.

Why? Well, because web traffic is driven by mobile, and mobile users/developers, long ago, decided to make their websites into apps. I’m guessing this had something to do with Apple, Google, data collection, and general data control. A lot of people don’t use a browser, they just use apps, and that makes discovery difficult. Unless you are on the same app as your desired audience, they will not find you unless someone else puts your work on that app.

To me, the solution would just be to… stop making apps, but the tech industry would never allow that to happen. Apps make them too much money.

Progress Report 2023-09-10

Verde’s Doohickey 2.0: Sensational Summer Romp Progress Report:

Current Word Count: 107,231
Estimated Word Count: ~600,000
Total Chapters: 75
Chapters Outlined: 41
Chapters Drafted: 14
Chapters Edited: 0
Header Images Made: 0
Days Until Deadline: 262

Production on VD2.0 is on hiatus. Work will resume after TSF Series #017 is completed. Afterwards, I will wrap up Act I: Switch & Swap, then focus on Dragalia Lost V3 Re:Works while swimming through tax hell.

TSF Series #017 Progress Report:

Current Word Count: 25,516
Estimated Word Count: 37,000
Total Chapters: 5
Chapters Drafted: 3 (almost)
Chapters Edited: 0
Header Images Made: 0

2023-09-02: Work on outline began.
2023-09-03: Outline completed, wrote 4,000 words.
2023-09-04: Wrote 10,000 words written in one day. (NEW RECORD!)
2023-09-05: Spent 3 hours rewriting the lyrics of Idol by Yoasobi to represent the main character. Because of this only 500 words were written.
2023-09-06: Was busy writing Rundown stuff and reading King’s Proposal. No work was done on TSF Series #017.
2023-09-07: Wrote 3,000 words.
2023-09-08: Wrote 3,600 words.
2023-09-09: Wrote 3,300 words.

Progress on this story has been going well, but with tax hell beginning, my schedule has gotten more fragmented. Also, this story makes me realize that I never want to do commission writing work for someone, as trying to get Cassie to provide feedback and explain what she wants is like herding cats.

TSF Series #017 Cassandra – The Cuddly Demon Empress will be released on September 27, 2023.

Mega Man X DiVE Offline Review Progress Report:

Against my better judgment, I have invested 25 hours into Mega Man X DiVE Offline since it launched on September 1, 2023. I was deeply curious as to how Capcom would repackage and rebalance this title as a single-player affair. And, as it turns out, they did a kinda shit job of it, but in a way that I consider to be historically valuable. It will make for an interesting review, but the ETA is October 25, 2023.

Header image is from Parappa The Rapper Remastered.

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