News/Diary/Unedited Ramblings

26.05.23, part two...

Why do I snack on Tic Tacs like they're crisps? They taste good at the start, but after they've dissolved or I've crunched them down, they leave a horrible taste in my mouth.

A few months ago I finished watching all the 365 Days movies. Don't judge me, they're cheesy but highly entertaining. I just like to see the nice cars, exotic locations and expensive fashions, and also the hot men... Anyways, these movies inspired me to go on a quest to read some of the most popular but also controversial romance novels. You know, the ones where they get a lot of hate, but also have big fanbases. The ones where the main love interests are often questionable, but they end up somehow attracting billions of fangirls. I didn't really get very far, because after about five books, I'm fed up. Even though I'm in the middle of a book now, I've decided to take a pause in the middle of it. I will still detail my experiences so far for those who are interested.

I already finished reading Twilight ages ago, and I absolutely adored that series. Even though I don't like Edward Cullen that much, I still like the world and all the vampire stuff, and especially the side characters. I heard a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey, and how it's actually a Twilight fanfiction. So I decided to read that first. That novel is not as terrible and scandalous as people make it seem, nor is it as romantic and "liberating" as the cover and its fans claim it to be. In the first few chapters it was really obvious that it was based on Twilight, just in the character descriptions and some of the events. Although, I actually prefer Christian Grey to Edward Cullen somehow. The romance happens super fast, and there are way too many sex scenes for my liking, but I actually didn't hate this book. It was actually enjoyable. The ending was completely unexpected for me, but it didn't entice me that much to immediately pick up the next book. I liked Ana's roommate a lot, I think she's supposed to be Rosalie in Twilight who is also one of my favourites. The other day I went to watch the film adaptation, I stopped halfway through because I was fed up with romance novels at that point.

After that, I decided to read every 365 Days novel in French. I managed to learn a lot of... inappropriate vocabulary. My expectation was that they would be almost identical to the movies, but they are in fact completely different. The films completely leave out some of the best parts of the books, and a lot of key plot points don't even happen, which completely changes the entire story. The novels are also 100 times more problematic than the films, if they put some of the stuff that happens in the adaptations, it would probably turn more people off. Once again, the romance happens way too fast, and most of it is just sex, but there are good bits also. I feel like Laura and Massimo don't really have anything in common at all though. When I watched the movies for the first time, I started to dislike Massimo by the second film. The same thing actually happened with the books. In the first one, I liked him despite his many flaws. In the books he is a lot worse, if you like him, I would honestly recommend avoiding the third novel. The main "villain" in the second movie (I don't want to spoil it for anyone) is also in the book, but the whole conflict with him is resolved in the first hundred or so pages. The movies were probably changed so much because they had only a limited amount of time, and because they probably needed to shove in more sex scenes to make it appealing to mainstream viewers who just want to watch it for that stuff. The weirdest thing is that in the books (or at least the French translations), Massimo doesn't even call Laura "Baby Girl", it's Nacho who does that...

But anyways, I actually really really love 365 Days. It's just enjoyable to me. Yes, sometimes I don't agree with the heroine, but if I only read books where I completely liked every character, then I wouldn't be reading anything. It's just one of those series that puts you in a summer holiday mood, and makes you want to fly away to some beach resort.

The next book I picked up was After, which was originally some kind of AU Harry Styles romance from Wattpad. I'm taking a break from this one, because I think I'm burnt out with romance for now. Even though this book was originally in English, I'm reading it in French. I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much, but it's good so far. Somehow I read a hundred pages on the first day. These kinds of novels are easy for me to read, probably because of the more familiar daily life setting. Like Twilight and Fifty Shades, I'm pretty sure After is set in the same part of the US. And the heroine is also interested in literature, like Bella and Ana. I don't think After necessarily took this from those other two series, I find in a lot of books the main characters always seem to like books so much because the of the author's interests. If you're writing books for a living or a hobby, you're obviously going to be passionate about reading, so you're more likely to put that into your characters. A similar thing can be found in Jacqueline Wilson's characters, there are a few of them who seem to enjoy writing and reading. Comparing Twilight to the other three series I've mentioned feels a bit weird, even though it's popular but also controversial, it's technically different because it's written for a slightly younger audience.

Anyways, After is good so far. Again, the romance proceeds way too quickly. You can tell it was originally posted online because the chapters are really short and some of them have cliff hangers so you wait until the author uploads more. Somehow this series has around five books, and a lot of movie adaptations also. I find the main love interest quite intriguing, I keep wanting to find out more about his past. And the heroine, Tessa, she's not so bad, although I question some of her decisions regarding some of the other characters in the story. I also like the university setting, it's better than reading about high school all the time.

I will probably read some more romance books once I feel like it again. I'll likely just go for the rich mafia guy genre again, cause that's just what catches my eye more. These novels are better than reading X Reader fanfic all the time. It's not that I haven't read romance novels before, they just never appealed to me as much as things that you could self insert yourself into. You can still self insert yourself into these types of books, it just requires more brainpower... I'm also just desensitised to some of the dodgier love interests, because of my previous fixation on otome games.

It seems like everyone is talking about Hollywood's Barbie movie that's supposed to be releasing soon. Honestly, I'm surprised it's getting this much attention, but the main cast are very famous so it makes sense. A lot of people are asking my thoughts on it, since I'm probably one of the only Barbie nerds within a hundred mile radius. In my opinion, the casting for Barbie and Ken is great, and the costumes and set design is perfect. But also, I feel like from the trailers that the film looks more like a parody of what Barbie is. It feels more like Aqua's Barbie Girl than an actual real Barbie film, like one of those parody skits you see on TV. Yes, I know a core part of Barbie is all the pink and glamour, but I dunno, I just feel like Barbie isn't just that. And also, I feel like the director or whoever just looked at a top ten list of most iconic Barbie outfits. A lot of the costumes from the film represent older Barbie looks from the 80s and 90s and even 60s. Yes, those outfits are a big part of Barbie's identity, but it's strange when you grew up with 2000s Barbie. Even the logo of the film is from the 80s. I thought 2000s nostalgia was in right now? Maybe the film will include some of that too, but it's just not in the trailer. I was surprised that they included pregnant Midge in the film, that's actually cool.

At the end of the day, it's just a fun summer movie that you see with your friends. I don't think I should be too nitpicky about it. And at the least they're bringing out dolls for the film, dolls that actually look like they're good quality. Hopefully some of Barbie's other friends and her sisters will at least make a cameo. I'd like to see Raquelle in live action, but I doubt the producers even watched Life in the Dreamhouse.

In other news, I have been working on making a sexy CV to apply to spend half a year studying abroad. I try so hard to make my CV detailed, but then when I look at examples online, they just use bullet points and not even full sentences. What even am I supposed to put on this thing anyways? I doubt a foreign university will care about my work experience. Most companies don't even look at the other half of my CV anyway, you can tell because they ask you questions afterwards about stuff that is clearly written on my CV. Maybe it's better to keep things brief...

I always thought that my Neocities sites weren't that popular, and specifically that my free 88x31 buttons weren't that good. But then sometimes I'll randomly be browsing someone's site, and I'll stumble across one of the buttons I made in 2017 on MS Paint, or something I did when I first used Photoshop. I don't mean to brag, but this actually makes me feel happy, and somewhat influential. On the links page of the Cyber Cafe, I linked a Neocities page that's basically a wall of 88x31 buttons, most of them from the 90s. Some of them are also newer Neocities user made creations. At the bottom is a barely legible button that says "I STILL USE MS PAINT". And the author of that one is actually me. I made it on my Windows XP netbook, on Paint, of course. I didn't think that it was that good, I don't even know how it made it onto this person's graphics collection. Perhaps I should have more confidence in myself. Once again, I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm bragging, but I feel somewhat proud of myself. Is this what online fame feels like? In real life I'm not that popular, so it makes me feel good that at least some people somewhere like my stuff.

I rejoined Escargot MSN (it's a service that revives MSN Messenger, I used to be super active there a few years ago), and it's fun chatting to random people again. Everyone seems to speak Spanish, and then I reply in Spanish to tell them that I don't speak their language. Sometimes I just pretend that I'm French so I can get some language practice in. I'm still afraid of stranger danger and all that, so sometimes I am not entirely truthful with people... The forums used to be full of kids and there was a lot of drama. I don't really care so much about reviving dead IM clients anymore, I just like talking to people a lot. But for some reason people seem to ask a lot of questions straight away, like "what is your job?" and "how old are you?" Maybe some people are looking for romance, although I don't think Escargot is the best place for dating.

Despite the constant stream of anime GIFs I keep placing all over the Cyber Cafe, in real life I am actually somehow starting to move away from my weeb interests. I don't even play video games that much anymore, and for some reason I'm finding it difficult to pick up all of the manga that I was gifted for Christmas. Maybe I'm starting to think of it as a bit uncool... There's a chance that if you are here, you're probably into anime and all that. You probably also really like Japanese stuff. Right now, you're likely thinking: "But anime is cool! You should be proud to be an otaku! Video games are also awesome! What's wrong with you?" I'm not trying to say that those things are bad, it's just that for me personally, I've been interested in 2D things for too long. I still read and watch a lot of fiction, but I find my interests more lie in things that have connections to the real world. This trend seemed to start after I started attending university in person. After that, I seemed to become more interested in the world around me, and I began to drift away from my anime/video game escapisms. Maybe I'm now a bit more embarrassed to talk about my older interests in the real world, but I'm sure that'll pass. I think I'm trying to put forth a more "mature" image of myself. Not that liking those things is childish or anything, it's just that I don't want to look like a nerd anymore. That is all. This is probably also why I don't really care about learning Japanese at all anymore. Yes, I know that the Japanese language is not all anime, but for me it sort of reminds me of my lame teenage years, which I want to distance myself from.

This I probably mentioned before, but I think I also just got a bit fed up with the fact that a lot of people around me are obsessed with Japanese stuff also. And in a lot of shops you have fashion that's got some kind of kawaii aesthetic and uses katakana everywhere just because it looks cool. It's nice that globalisation and all that has made Eastern cultures more popular with Western youth, but there's so much of it now. I don't really know what my point is here, maybe that there's an overexposure. Perhaps I sound like a bit of a gatekeeper. Everyone in my university wants to learn Japanese, and mostly just because of the media. That's why I wanted to learn it too. The Chinese classes are honestly quite small, which is sad. I suppose if you want your language to be popular, then your country just has to release a good TV show or have a popular boy band. It's probably all just a phase, maybe in ten years a different culture will be cool and everyone will want to learn that language, like how a few years ago British culture was popular.

It is very contradictory that I still keep adding a lot of anime images and such to the site. This is probably because I still haven't completely moved away from it yet, and also that those are the only graphics I really feel comfortable using. As you can see from my weird ramblings above, I have a very weird relationship with otaku things at the moment. I don't even know why I'm even writing about it here, because this is all very personal. Luckily I still enjoy Black Butler, Hetalia and sometimes still JoJo and Dragon Ball. This is all probably just manga/anime burnout, that's all.

Some of you may wonder why the 88x31 button collection on my homepage is rather small. On my old site, I used to enjoy collecting these buttons, and at one point I think I amassed quite a lot of them. However, Misty's Cyber Cafe only has a few, and not many of them are for Neocities sites. The reason behind this is not that I don't want to support and advertise my fellow Neocitizens, it's just that I don't have much time to collect all of them anymore. Adding buttons to my site actually takes more time than you'd think. And also, just having a large wall of them is not longer that aesthetically pleasing to me.

I already mentioned this a lot, but I'm much more busy than I was six years ago, when I began my Neocities journey. Nowadays, if I do have the time to update things, I'd rather focus on content than aesthetics. With my old site, I used to have a complete layout overhaul every summer, but now the thought of revamping my site that much seems quite daunting. Even just making a single page takes hours, which is quite surprising. Maybe I'll spend time switching out some of my buttons, cause I would like to give more recognition to other Neocities pages.

Microsoft Edge and Bing have these AI features built into them now. I'm not really sure how to feel about all this AI stuff. It's quite incredible how it can make images and stuff, but I don't agree with the fact that it can write essays and blog posts. That just kills creativity. Anything written by an AI is soulless, in my opinion. Maybe one day they'll sell novels written by artificial intelligence. I feel like if that ever happened, people might buy those sorts of books because it's a novelty, but eventually people won't want to buy anything written by a computer.

I got the Bing AI to make me some images. It's actually quite fun to mess around with this feature, but I have one question. How are you supposed to cite an image made by an AI?

From just typing in the words "anime man", the AI gave me this image. It looks like the AI piled together a lot of fan art. The eye is a bit wonky, but the rest of the image is OK. This kind of technology is probably more scary than the AI writing essays and stories. It could probably be used for a lot of fraud...

Some other people have already mentioned this, but I have also noticed that a lot of Neocities sites just lack substance. When I try to find new sites, there aren't many of them that really grab me. Some of them just have a homepage, and about page, a links page, some free graphics, and nothing more. I understand that some people are still working on adding content, but a lot of these sites are just stylised social media profiles.

I will say that the aesthetic quality of these new sites is outstanding. It seems like newer users are a lot better at CSS, or maybe there are just more layouts available now. When I joined Neocities in 2017, a lot of the sites used the imitation 90s Geocities design. Even this site uses it to some extent, but mostly now because I don't have much time and it's just easy to keep it this way. Now, users seem to be going for the late 2000s-2010s aesthetic, and it looks pretty. But some of these pages are super hard to read. Older webpages were designed for smaller monitors, and these new Neocities pages have kept the size like this. So when you view the site on a new computer (which is what most of us are using), everything just seems so tiny. Even my site could be a bit wider, now that I think about it. And some users use these wacky "kawaii" pixelly fonts that are a bit of a pain to read. The Nintendo DS font is pretty popular. I have nothing against it, but it was designed to be read on a little handheld device, not our expensive 4K monitors. I saw also one site with a CRT filter on it for some reason.

Yes, I know everyone wants to invoke nostalgic feelings, but sometimes all the fancy gifs and bright coloured stuff doesn't really make the best website. And it doesn't matter how beautiful your webpage is, if it doesn't have much substance underneath all the glitter. ... This is just my opinion. If you want to make your site like that, I won't stop you. You can do whatever you want on the Internet. I can't really accuse others of choosing certain design elements for nostalgia, because my site doesn't have the greatest layout either. Just look at my old Neocities page, that's even worse. I just felt like writing this entry today, even though there are certainly other things I should be thinking about.

I made a really nice, but basic CSS layout from studying other sites. I call it... "Daydream in Purple", even though it's mostly pink. Instead of spending a lot of effort to make it responsive, I just used concrete pixel measurements. If the browser window is too big, then you'll just have to zoom out. The page won't try and resize itself and make everything look wonky. I'm not sure how it'll handle images yet.

It looks super cool, but I won't use it here because it'll take a lot of effort and time. Each page here is designed specifically for my very basic but functional CSS style sheet. If I drastically change the CSS, things will fall apart fast.

I don't know what I'll do with this new layout. Maybe I'll make another site just to have an excuse to use it?

UPDATE: I have decided to use it to make a subsite. The section of my site used for doll related endeavours will now utilise the layout. I've given it a cheesy name: Silicone Princess. Is Barbie even made of silicone?

This week, I have two university essays to think about. Luckily I have a lot of time until they are due. Sometimes my brain expects that I'll get them done within a few days, but I've come to realise that the process can last a lot longer than that. Sometimes it can take multiple weeks. For me, sometimes I cannot get ideas if I force myself to sit at the computer at work. The ideas take a while to generate, sometimes they'll even come when I'm doing other work. Today I managed to finish an extremely rough draft of the more important essay. When I say "rough draft", I mean it. I'll write with extremely casual language, and not even bother with citations. The thing that usually trips me up is the citations. I'll know what I want to write, and I'll know that my facts are true, but I'll be stuck trying to find a source to prove it all. My essay writing slows down significantly because I need to find sources. That's why I find it best now to get what I want to say down on a Word document, and then figure out the rest of it later.

The rough draft I got down today is fine and all, but I feel like when I write about the real world (not about literature), I sound like an alien, one who is looking down on Earth below, and doesn't truly understand things like a human would. It's probably because I feel weird talking about such things, for some reason. And I feel weird writing or speaking other people's names. Let's hope I get over that soon.

It was my wish to get everything done this week, but I have to slow down. Rome wasn't built in a day. Professors give us weeks to work on these things for a reason. The worst thing for me was at the start of last year when the teacher posted all of the details for our future projects online, so I got stressed and started working on the main essay, before the class had even started... That's not always the best of ideas.

Whatever project you are working on right now, I wish you the very best of luck! Remember that it's almost spring... and then soon it'll be summer. Although, summer isn't that exciting if you have to work...

I am currently going through a Twilight phase....

I've seen the films plenty of times, but only now am I reading the books for the first time. They are so good, I just can't stop reading!! This weekend I finished Eclipse (which was my favourite out of all the movies), I don't know what to do now until I get the last book. The series is just so easy for me to read continuously without getting bored. It's one of the only things I don't want to finish, because the world is just so interesting.

What's funny is that I didn't like the series at all originally. That's because I listened to all the hate for it, and believed it. It took me awhile to admit that I enjoyed watching the movies. Twilight seems to get a lot of unnecessary dislike. Yes, some parts of it are weird, but it doesn't deserve that much hate!

It took me a while to appreciate Bella. After reading the books, I understand her and even relate to her a lot more. I criticised her for wanting to leave her real family and become a vampire, but to be honest... I sort of want to be a vampire and live with the Cullens too... Edward still is my least favourite character. In the movies he seemed so creepy, in the books I can imagine him differently but I still don't care for him that much. In fact, I prefer Jacob. He deserved better.

Fun fact: One time in 2012 I was on a school trip in London. We were walking through the city and I saw all these people camping out. They were camping out for the premiere of one of the Twilight films! If I had walked past just a little bit later, maybe I would've gotten to see some of the actors...? Probably not, cause the area would've been closed off. But still, it's cool to know I was there at the same time as all that. Some of my Twilight Blu-Rays have footage of the UK premieres, perhaps I should see if I recognise the location of the one I almost saw.

The best thing is that there are Twilight Barbies, and they're easy to find. I already have one, but I want them all cause they're so beautiful...

Although my main musical tastes lie in European electronic dance music, recently I have been listening to so much J-rock and visual kei. Sometimes I don't like bands that are too dark and goth, mostly because I used to think people would judge me if I listened to it. I don't know too many visual kei bands, I mostly just listen to the same few groups over and over again. My favourite bands are Lareine, Malice Mizer, and Plastic Tree. Most of the time I just listened to stuff that has Kamijo in it, though I'm starting to branch out a bit. Plastic Tree I am addicted to right now, just the same few songs currently. I've known about them for years, only now am I starting to appreciate them. At first I didn't like them that much. Visual kei is so cool, the music is so good and the costumes are just the prettiest. Sometimes I listen to J-rock groups, but usually only stuff that I heard from anime. My favourite regular J-rock group are UVERworld, the songs are very interesting, and the vocalist's voice is nice.

I've been feeling so guilty right now for not having a job. Last school year I worked a lot, and I feel like it affected my grades a little bit. This year things are a bit busier, so having a job would probably not be the best idea. Still, I applied to go back to my old job, even though the manager didn't understand that I was a busy student and I couldn't dedicate my whole weekends to working. Apparently they've changed it there now so that they're more forgiving to students, probably because a few people left because the job just wasn't flexible.

I tried applying for some non-retail summer positions for students. Nobody seems to contact me back. Maybe I need to be more outgoing and network if I want to get these kinds of jobs. I feel like they probably only hire outgoing star students who have volunteered for a billion different charities and participate in every single extra curricular activity. The only jobs I've ever had are retail jobs where they hired me immediately because they couldn't find anyone else. It's so hard to get out of just working in retail. I shouldn't give up hope, though. Hopefully someone will hire me, someday.

THE CARAMELLA GIRLS' NEW ALBUM IS SO GOOD! I grew from not really liking their original tracks to absolutely adoring everything they put out. At first I am always skeptical of their new tracks, but I am always so pleasantly surprised by the sound. They're literally one of the only bubblegum dance projects left. I thought they were gonna change their sound to a more modern style, instead they've kept the wonderful eurodance sound we all love.

I haven't updated the site in a while, because of school. I'm trying to work extra hard this year. For some reason I keep getting 2021 and 2022 mixed up, in my head things that happened in one year happened in the other... they're all mixed up in my brain. This year I just feel so happy, I don't know why.

This year I used my gift money to buy a lot of Assimil books, specifically the Romanian and Italian ones. Romanian seems so interesting to me, so I've started reading through that book. The Italian Assimil I purchased because I can no longer fit university Italian lessons into my schedule, so I've got to keep up my studying somehow. I'm quite surprised it only took me until last year to start learning Italian, because I've always really liked the sound of it. Why are there so many languages I want to learn? There's only so much I can take at once... Assimil books use an interesting method. For the first half of the book, you're just supposed to get used to the sounds and structure of the language, you're not forced to do grammar exercises and memorise every single word and conjugation. In the second half, they then make you do a lot of translation and presumably grammar exercises. This method sounds like it would work well for me, but only time will tell.

I am still obsessed with learning French. At home I feel like a master at the language, then when I'm in my class, I feel so terrible at it... Maybe I'll finally start writing some pages on here in French.

Recently I saw this advertisement at my school to become a writer for some kind of female student blog thing. I like writing a lot, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a look. Upon looking at the blog, the posts are relatively short, and they're on topics like Starbucks drinks and pop music. I don't think I'll be able to write anything that'll fit in with that sort of content. You're supposed to provide an example of your past writing, I don't think that my years of blogging about otome games will look very good. Maybe I'll try something else instead. I just really want to be part of some sort of club. Perhaps I'll join the school radio and broadcast some bubblegum dance every Friday or something.

Happy New Year to everyone reading this!

I am quite excited for this year, because this time, I've actually set some goals! Goal setting is more effective than I thought it would be. Without something to aspire to, I can't seem to be as successful at something.

This year, I have lots of language goals. I think I'm trying to learn too many languages at once, but I can't stop. Languages are like puzzles for me, I just want to solve them so I can understand the words. Every new bit of vocabulary and grammar is one more step to cracking it. Everyday I keep seeing new things I want to find out about. For some reason near the end of last year, I became more interested in learning. In the past I hated school and didn't care much about it, now I like it a lot.

My main goal is to perfect my French, so I can go on an exchange in France! I've already been there, but that was when I was a kid and I mostly just went to Disneyland. It'll probably be very expensive to go there, so I hope I'll be able to do it. I already live in a Francophone country, so it's super easy to pick up words. All I need to do is perfect my listening and writing, then I'll be good enough to go there and not have to rely on English.

Let's hope that this year is a great one, and that we'll all be able to successfully attain our goals!

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