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Hey, remember blogs? Those were neat. This is my little attempt at making one. These aren't super polished or well thought out essays or anything. Just getting out some thoughts — putting some pixels on the screen — you know, for fun. Posts are in order from newest to oldest. Updated extremey sporadically. Recent posts has been about DOOM 3 and ranting in favor of personal websites, etc.

Also, this page is best viewed on a computer. Good luck.

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2022.12.10 — DOOM 3 Deserves Better

The following is an excerpt from a scrapped project I was working on earlier in the year. I think it deserves to live on my blog instead of suffering a slow death in my recycle bin.

DOOM 3 is a horror-themed, first-person shooter developed by id Software and released in 2004 on PC and 2005 on the XBox. It’s a divisive entry in the iconic DOOM franchise, but I think it kicks ass.

The original DOOM games were the fastest paced first-person shooters ever created. However, this entry took a slightly different approach and opted for a slower pace and a greater focus on horror. But not everyone was a fan of this decision.

This game has a strange legacy. There seems to have been multiple cycles of hype, backlash, and re-evaluation. When it came out in the mid 2000s, I was a PS2 kid without a gaming PC — so it wasn’t really on my radar. I did play it once on a friend’s Xbox and we both loved it. But I wasn’t aware of its wider reputation and didn’t give it the attention it deserves until the BFG Edition was released on Steam eight years later. It’s hard to tell what the consensus was among fans, but it was a critically-acclaimed game at launch. Looking back at early reviews, most of the conversation is centered around the game’s technical achievements. And rightly so — it was amazing for the time and honestly holds up well to this day. But the next wave of conversation was a debate around how well the entry fit into the franchise.

Many vocal fans wanted the faster-paced, run-and-gun gameplay of the original games and were disappointed by DOOM 3’s focus on horror and atmosphere. When looking at them side by side, this seems like a valid complaint. There’s a huge difference in game feel and tone and aesthetic. But I don’t think this is a fair comparison. We’re talking about a game that’s a full decade removed from the previous mainline entry. A decade is a huge amount of time when talking about video games. The entire gaming landscape had changed — and the medium had seen the greatest advancements yet recorded. It shouldn't have been a surprise that things were Different Now.

But I’m not here to defend the sanctity of an intellectual property. I kind of hate sequels and I think I’d like DOOM 3 just as much if it was called something else. But all things considered, I think it’s a great reboot and did a solid job of bringing the franchise into the then-modern era. For a game that’s about a lone marine fighting off a demon invasion, leaning into the horror aspect of that setup makes a ton of sense to me. I mean, demons should be scary. That’s like their whole deal. I don’t know how anyone could argue against that.

It can be easy to forget with so many decades of familiarity, but the original DOOM games were intended to be scary as well. The dark shadows, flickering lights, and monster closets of DOOM 3 are direct references to the same tension-building attempts of the first two games. There are so many moments from the original that feel just like DOOM 3. Go through the dark maze of E1M2 and tell me I’m wrong. The horror aspects were always there, DOOM 3 just turned that dial up a bit. Could this entry be faster paced and throw more enemies at you? Sure, yeah. And it could probably pull this off without completely losing the horror atmosphere. I’m not saying it’s perfect, by any means, but the difference isn’t as drastic as people make it out to be.

Now, if this was a back and forth conversation, this is probably where you would bring up DOOM 2016. And hey, I’ll admit that DOOM 2016’s fast-paced gameplay does feel like it’s a direct lineage from the originals. But there’s also a lot of stuff that feels extremely alien to the franchise. The executions and health regain mechanics are completely new additions to the original formula, as an easy example. They’re fun and allow for more aggressive play that’s reminiscent of the older games. But do they really fit in more than flickering lights and monster closets? I’m not convinced. And then there’s the huge amount of platforming and the talking robot guy? That stuff feels wildly inconsistent with the originals.

I’m not saying DOOM 3 is a better reboot than 2016, but I think there’s at least as much difference between each reboot and their original counterparts. And hey, I think they both have their place and I’m glad they both exist. But I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m a horror hound or just nostalgic for the era, but I’ve felt the pull to replay DOOM 3 several more times than I have DOOM 2016.

There’s been a lot of debate around DOOM 3’s legacy. But I’ve had a hard time finding a true consensus. Sometimes it seems like everyone hates DOOM 3. But there’s also evidence that this is a vocal minority. But in doing research, I think part of the confusion is that there are essentially two versions of DOOM 3. The original and the BFG Edition, released in 2012. The BFG Edition featured graphical upgrades, rebalanced difficulty, a checkpoint save system, and a new armor-mounted flashlight — as well as the expansions and the original two games. It’s also the version you’re most likely to play today, as it’s the only one available on modern consoles.

These updates all sound great, but my theory is that the BFG Edition did more harm than good. To bring some questionable data into my argument, the original PC release has a Metacritic score of 86. But the BFG Edition, also on PC, has a score of 57. That’s nearly a 30 point decrease, which is massive. Something big must have changed between the two — and I think I’ve figured it out. (It is worth noting that the BFG Edition’s score is based on a much smaller number of reviews, but maybe that’s evidence for a general lack of interest in a tweaked re-release.)

There are a handful of issues with the BFG Edition, but the most significant is the change to the flashlight system. In the original, you had to swap between the flashlight and your weapon, often choosing between visibility and offense. The BFG Edition removes this mechanic and allows you to use the flashlight while simultaneously having any weapon equipped. This new, armor-mounted flashlight does have a limited battery that needs to be recharged — but it essentially removes the tension the original system provided.

DOOM 3 is a very dark game and it’s admittedly a bold move to make the player choose between being able to see and being able to attack. I’m going to attempt to make a case for the original flashlight, but I’ll concede that it clearly frustrated a lot of people. We can’t forget all the jokes at the flashlight’s expense: how the year is 2145 and advancements in technology still haven't surpassed the utility of a handheld flashlight. And there’s also the infamous and immensely popular “duct tape” mod, which attached the flashlight to your weapon and allowed for simultaneous use. This mod was likely a big inspiration for the BFG Edition’s change to the system.

I’m well aware that not everyone was a fan of the original setup and I’ll admit that it’s a little silly. But if you engage with it as is, you’ll quickly realize how much of the game was designed with these self-imposed limitations in mind. Having to juggle the flashlight and a weapon not only intensifies the horror atmosphere, but it also impacts several other elements.

The darkness can be overwhelming and challenging, but there are many ways the game accomodates you. Almost everything gives off some sort of light so you’re rarely running blind. Enemies have glowing eyes, fireballs, and muzzle flashes, while most of the pickups are equipped with tiny neon lights. The impressive lighting system gets a ton of focus, so it's no surprise that several other elements would be designed around it.

Engaging with the darkness also heavily impacts the gunplay. And the weapon impacted the most is the shotgun, which may be the only thing in DOOM 3 that’s hated more than the flashlight. In the early game, it’s likely to be your go-to weapon. But its spread is extremely wide and it does very little damage at long and even medium ranges. A common joke is that it’s a bad gun, but a good melee weapon — and that’s kind of an accurate assessment. You need to be very close for the shotgun to be effective. And it turns out the original flashlight mechanic is great at facilitating these necessary close encounters.

Here’s a quick example of these systems working together: You spot an enemy in the dark with your flashlight. As you’re fumbling between the flashlight and the shotgun, the enemy begins quickly closing the distance and ratcheting up the tension. Once the shotgun is finally equipped and you pull the trigger, the now close-range shot is super effective and that tension is released when the enemy is killed. This is a great action horror experience. It manages to go from a scary situation where you feel somewhat defenseless to blowing a demon away like a total badass — all in a matter of seconds.

Compare that experience to having the BFG Edition’s flashlight and the shotgun equipped simultaneously. You see an enemy at the end of a hall and immediately pull the trigger. There’s very little tension because the enemy is far away. And because of the distance, the shotgun does very little damage. It doesn’t feel scary or cool to unload an ineffective weapon at a distant enemy in a well-lit hallway. It just leaves you frustrated at how weak your weapons are. Turning a great action horror sequence into a mediocre action sequence.

This is all demonstrated clearly with the shotgun’s introduction. You first come across it next to a set of armor. But as you go to grab it, the floor falls out from under you and you’re suddenly surrounded by enemies. This is a great set piece that demonstrates my argument and also feels identical to the traps in the original games. As you reach for this new weapon, you're met with a jump scare and thrown into immediate danger. And before you can completely realize what is happening, you’ve auto-equipped the shotgun and immediately begin blasting enemies away. It’s a beautiful combination of horror and action that teaches you a valuable gameplay lesson. And it’s all bathed in neon red light. Hell yeah.

All this to say, the DOOM 3 shotgun is good actually. At least when it’s paired with the original flashlight mechanic. I could be wrong, but I think a lot of the people who dislike DOOM 3 and hate the shotgun are really talking about the BFG Edition. And it’s unfortunate, because that’s the default version of the game that’s available now. It’s not even called the BFG Edition on modern consoles, it’s simply called DOOM 3. So even if you think you’re getting the original experience, the chances are you’re not.

I don’t want to oversell it, but playing the original has been the most fun playthrough I’ve had of DOOM 3. And I think it’s largely owed to those moments of fumbling with the flashlight in the dark and getting up close and personal with the gameplay. Luckily, the original version was recently bundled with the BFG Edition on Steam. I highly recommend it, but it does require a bit of modding to get up to par. I’ve had the best luck with the DOOM 3 Enhanced Edition mod, but there are a ton of options.

As I've said, it's tough to get a clear sense of DOOM 3's wider reputation. And it defintely seems to go up and down as the years go by. Is it a misunderstood masterpiece? An underrated classic? I think so. I totally get it not being everyone's favorite, but I don't think it deserves the hate. Especially when we're talking about two very different versions of the game. Long live DOOM 3, I guess, is my overall point. Maybe it's time for another replay.

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2022.12.04 – This Time it's Personal

I wanted to write a little post to address the changes I’ve made to my website. Until recently, this was solely a design portfolio. That stuff isn’t going away, don’t even worry! I’m just expanding the scope and highlighting a few of my other interests. I’ve been championing personal websites for a long time now and have always felt a little hypocritical that my own website was a bit impersonal. Nothing wrong with showing your work and having that lead to employment or a gig or whatever. But I never liked the idea that my little Home on the Web was solely focused on professional or commercial endeavors.

Over the last few years, I’ve fallen back in love with personal websites and have been very inspired by the indie web movement. Like a lot of people, I’m extremely frustrated by the corporate control of the internet and the downward spiral we’ve been on for the last decade. People rarely leave social media, and when they do, they usually end up on websites that were written solely for an SEO algorithm and are bloated with ads and tracking code. It’s a huge relief when you occasionally stumble across a website and realize that it was created by an actual human being, somehow doesn’t include advertisements or cookies, and doesn’t ultimately boil down to some sort of grift. That’s the kind of website I want to have. A little oasis of personal expression.

Using the internet to express yourself, and doing so independently, is a pretty neat thing to do. And I think it’s easy for people to forget this is an option, when they are constantly being manipulated to never leave social media. It takes very little effort to have a personal website, so I don’t want to self-aggrandize here, but I do think there’s something a little virtuous about having one of these things in the current climate. It’s a tiny rebellion. A tiny political action to snub your nose at these platforms.

I mean, it’s probably the Best and Most Virtuous Thing to be offline altogether. But if we’re choosing between the false dichotomy that I’ve set up — of having a social media account OR having your own website — I think the choice is clear. Your own website is whatever you want it to be. Social media is poison. The two are incomparable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m above social media or anything. I spend too much time in both of these spaces. And I loved Twitter, which is very likely the worst and most toxic of all social media platforms. But I had a nice time there and would even consider going back if the current shitshow someday ends. All I’m trying to say by making this clumsy comparison, is that if you use social media to share your interests and connect with others, you can also do that on your own website, on your own terms. You have that option. And I want you to know that.

I should probably add some caveats, though. If you’re going to set up a website all by yourself, you’ll probably need to know some HTML and CSS. And even if you’re just going to be a viewer, manually visiting websites that are made and maintained by human beings takes more effort than relying on an algorithm to serve you up content. But! There are tools and resources out there to help you along the way. People have been doing this sort of thing since the beginning of the internet. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, this is what the internet is all about, actually. Don’t let a few lines of code or minor inconvenience intimidate you.

Once you get comfortable on the outside of the walled garden, there are whole other worlds to explore. Rabbit holes as far as the eye can see. It can be easy to forget how massive the actual internet is when you spend all of your time inside one or two apps. We’re talking about the goddamned information superhighway here. Cyber SPACE, for God's sake. It’s all still out there, waiting for you to explore.

I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but if any of this sounds new or appealing, here are some quick tips for succesfully surfing the internet outside of social media:

Look for smaller online communities and webrings. Yesterweb.org is a good place to start, especially if you’re interested in the “movement” aspect. The XXIIVV webring ↗ is great, if you want to explore minimal/optimal websites and blogs. And here’s a good list of other webrings ↗, curated by the creator of the Yesterweb. (I’ll also eventually make a list of sites that I recommend, so check back in the near future for that!)

Get used to bookmarking websites you like and want to revisit. Again, this takes more intentionality, but that’s a good thing actually. It’s good to seek out things you care about instead of just taking in whatever the algorithm feeds you. But it does take time to relearn this behavior, to be fair. Utilizing your browser's built in bookmark feature makes it easier.

Use an RSS reader. I’m a bit new to this side of things, but it’s honestly a shame that RSS isn’t more common on the modern internet. If you prefer having content delivered directly to you instead of seeking it out, this is the way to go. Just plug in your favorite website's feed and you'll have content populated in your reader as soon as it's published. A great substitute for social media. I currently use NetNewsWire and it's great.

All this to say, my website is now a personal website and I'm pretty stoked about it. I hope to spend more time hanging out here and less time on social media. And it’d be rad if you joined me.

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2022.11.16 – The Death of a Bird

Like a whole lot of other weirdos, I’ve been watching Twitter be destroyed by one of the worst dudes over the last couple of weeks. It’s been pretty entertaining, to be honest, but I think the goofs have run their course. And now it’s just kinda sad to see a thing that was *kinda* cool (the high-water mark of social media, for whatever that’s worth) be dismantled by a complete buffoon.

It’s hard to say anything definitive about Twitter, as it contains multitudes. And maybe most of it has been very bad. But I generally had a pretty good time there. I got to know some neat people, was introduced to lots of new artists and ideas, and was able to participate as a virtual audience member and see a lot of funny and sad and scary shit unfold in realtime.

And there are a handful of positive associations that are very specific to that website. Like, where would Famicase (my favorite online event of the year) happen if not on Twitter? What about the little graphic design communities I like to check in on? What about all the parasocial relationships I feel the need to maintain? Many of these things don’t currently exist outside of Twitter and would be difficult to rebuild.

But there are also the numerous downsides. The site has taken so much of my time and energy that would have been better spent elsewhere. I learned about so many horrible people and their beliefs and regularly had my attention span completely obliterated. And what was gained, really?

Just a few nights ago I spent a large portion of an evening scrolling through tweets that rarely gave me any sort of positive feeling — and I realized I could’ve spent the last couple of hours playing video games or watching a movie or reading a book instead. Like, I somehow chose to read a bunch of truly pointless tweets instead of participating in any of my actual hobbies? What the fuck is wrong with me?

And yeah, that’s largely a me problem. I can’t blame the site for that (although it has been psychologically engineered to keep users on the platform as much as possible no matter the cost). So, I guess the point I’m getting at is that maybe even if it survives this very strange time — I should probably stop using it anyway. At least as often as I do.

It’s a weird thing. When I started writing this journal entry, I thought it was going to have more of a mournful tone. Like, I have genuinely started to feel bad that Twitter is dying such a lame death. But as I think back on the good stuff, there are really only a handful of things that come to mind. (And I’m really thinking here.) There are probably only like 15 people I actively want to keep up with, a handful of fun moments, and Famicase. The rest, to me personally, is just over-engineered psychological manipulation and stuff that’s been either frustrating or depressing.

Of course, I should probably mention that there’s loads of good stuff elsewhere that would be difficult to rebuild if Twitter does die. It’s been a huge tool for activism, collective action, communication, etc, etc. But I’m really only equipped to talk about my little sliver of (mostly pointless) experience.

So I dunno, maybe the recent downward spiral provides the opportunity for a clean exit. (And if it does survive, I gotta figure out a way to break my bad habits.)

But I guess the big question is: what’s next? Where do we all go once it’s over? Most of the internet has been destroyed by data harvesting and advertising. There aren't many good options, and I don’t think we’ll all settle in the same place. I mean, I currently love Cohost.org and would love to see my mutuals flock there. But I don’t think it’ll happen — and if it did, it won’t really be the same.

And maybe this shake up will be good? Obviously I wish it happened under different circumstances. But I’ve been saying for a long time now that the internet would be much better if we all had our own little websites. Like, it’d be truly wonderful to just go visit a friend’s website to see what they’re doing. Instead of being constantly manipulated and marketed to by megacorporations. But I just doubt such a utopia is possible.

But hey, we’ll see. I got no answers. Time will tell. RIP.

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2022.03.05 — Things on my Desk

Starting at the back-left corner of my desk, there’s a small "Casio Vintage Collection" tin box. This box unsurprisingly came with a rerelease of a vintage Casio digital watch. (I have a matching one at work from another purchase. I really like Casio digital watches, but almost exclusively wear the all-black G-Shock.)

The Casio box is filled with a bunch of partially-used Field Notes notebooks and a few pencils. I like to always have a bunch of these notebooks around, but I’m pretty bad at journaling IRL (and journaling online, too, but I’m working on it.)

Hanging off the left corner of the front notebook is a risographed “I Love Horror Movies” button. I got this button from a fellow designer as part of a trade. This one is pink with dark grey text. I have another one that’s blue with pink text on my messenger bag.

In front of this is a real-life mockup of my first Famicase entry on a clear acrylic display stand. This is a prized possession, as I’m a huge fan of the Famicase exhibit and will be participating in the exhibit this year.

And finally, in front of all this stands a small figurine (originally a keychain) of Dori from A Day of Us. If you’re unfamiliar, A Day of Us is an extremely cute and charming slice-of-life cartoon on YouTube.

Next to this setup is a yellow Game Boy Color in a black 3D-printed display stand. The yellow variation (or “dandelion,” if you’re being technical) is my favorite from the lineup. It’s somehow even better than the translucent version. This particular shade of yellow may just be my favorite color (aside from black, of course).

Loaded inside the Game Boy is a Wario Land 3 cartridge. I’m a big fan of Wario — I even have a tattoo of bat-Wario from Wario Land 4. Behind this is a small stack of other games nestled inside of a black 3D-printed cartridge holder. I got all this 3D printed stuff from a generous coworker several years ago. They’re a little crusty if you look close, but they work well and make this setup look really nice!

All of this is on top of a bootleg Link’s Awakening box I got from an internet friend and frequent collaborator. It looks just like the real thing, and for a fraction of the cost, I’m sure. To the right of this setup is a date stamp I got for my birthday a few years ago. I really love this thing and use it anytime I attempt to journal or send a letter.

In front of the date stamp are two Polaroids. The back of the desk has a desk-length opening for wire management, and these two Polaroids stand in that gap. The photo on the left is one of my partner that I took on the side of a road many years ago. She’s standing in front of a distant, derelict house on a country road in the Ozark Mountains. We randomly pulled over there on a trip back from visiting my dad. It feels like it’s from another time — like, I really doubt we would pull over to take a photo these days. But it’s a great photo!

The photo on the right is of my late dog Pepe sitting on our old white couch. He was a Bichon Frise and was the nicest dog I’ve ever met. The white couch was a horrible mistake. It looked great at first, but was almost immediately ruined by having two dogs. Definitely don’t get white furniture, especially if you have housepets.

We’re half way through now — getting to the computer stuff. In the middle of the desk is a computer monitor, with a soundbar and keyboard in front of it. (The desktop is on the floor.) The computer is a CyberPower pc, which came with a gaming mouse and keyboard. I really like the set up, but it does sort of have a “gamer” aesthetic. Everything is red and black, with a few unnecessary LED lights. It’s not too bad, though. And it did show me how nice it can be to use a weighted mouse. I just don’t understand the desire to have differently colored WASD keys and color-changing lights.

Tucked away behind the right side of the monitor is a spray bottle of glasses cleaner. This is a must have. In front of this is usually where I keep my wallet and wristwatch if I’m not wearing them.

Next up is a trophy that reads “1998 Pow Wow — Winning Maiden: Fire Building.” This is from an annual event that used to be held in my childhood small town. This event was very likely cultural appropriation and doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. A complicated artifact, I guess you could say. But my mom won this trophy in 1998 for being the fastest to build a fire using only a couple of sticks, which is pretty badass.

To the right is a Newton’s cradle. As a kid, I remember seeing these on office desks in movies and always thought I would need one if I ever got a desk job. I told my partner about this and she surprised me months later with one for my birthday. Kind of a gag gift, but also very sweet and thoughtful.

Next to that is a stick of chapstick. Burt’s Bees, hell yeah. We’re coming out of winter and my lips can get chapped as fuck. Hopefully I’ll be retiring this as soon as things start to warm up.

Now we’re all the way to the back-right corner, where a lamp sits, overlapping my desk and my partner’s. On top of the base of the lamp is a small, framed painting of Pepe that our friends commissioned for us after he passed away. An extremely thoughtful gift. I miss that very good dog!

The only thing that’s left is the bottom-right corner, where my computer mouse rests on a large mousepad. I also regularly have headphones and a macbook on my desk. Either the one from my day job when i’m working from home, or my personal Macbook.

The desk itself is white and about 4.25 feet wide. We got if from Ikea, so it’s pretty minimalist, with a few dents and scratches where I’ve dropped things over the years. My partner has a matching desk (without the scratches) and it’s immediately to the right of mine. To the left of my desk is the wall. Above our desks are 18 pieces of our favorite album art (nine on my side, nine on her side). And below are black rolling chairs sitting on top of black mats to protect the flooring.

I think that covers everything. It’s a fairly minimal and organized set up, but there are a few unique items sprinkled throughout to give it character and evoke some memories. It was fun to unpack everything!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading. (•◡•)

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2022.12.10 – DOOM 3 Deserves Better 2022.12.04 – This Time it's Personal 2022.11.16 – The Death of a Bird
2022.03.05 – Things on my Desk

Current Status


Porishead – Dummy


Grounded / Hexen ↗

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Favorite Bands

01. Nine Inch Nails
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Favorite Games

01. Elden Ring / Dark Souls
02. Resident Evil Remake
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Favorite Shows

01. What We Do in the Shadows
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