J. Martin

March 3, 2024

Great Expectations (Not)

Let’s pretend for a moment there’ll still be history books a hundred years from now, and they look back at the first half of the twenty-first century. From our perspective right here, there’s a rise of authoritarianism, ethno-nationalism, evangelical white supremacy, racism, and straight-up fascism, and we can see how these elements ha...
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February 25, 2024

Everything Takes Ages (As Usual)

Yesterday, finally, I uploaded my very last pre-Corona photos to Flickr, mostly Singapore 2019 and Beijing 2016, and I’m looking forward to opening that bottomless pit with new photos I took during December/January in Singapore and Malaysia. What I’m not looking forward to, in contrast, is trying to have my scanner repaired or buying a...
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January 28, 2024

Hello Immune System? Did You Check Your Spam Folder?

One thing that kept me from enjoying the new year right away was that I’d tested positive for Covid-19 in early January—but only for five days, of which I spent merely two in bed. Lost my sense of smell for two or three days until it slowly came back, which was a weird experience. Anyway, no big deal—five shots between 2021 and 2023 an...
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January 21, 2024

Yeah No It’s Been a While

Too many things kept me from regular writing while I was away in Singapore, which also included a fantastic trip to Malaysia from Penang Island via Ipoh and Melaka to KL—where we arrived just in time for the Countdown and New Year celebrations at the Petronas Twin Towers. Everything was awesome, I tell you! Only thing that didn’t work ...
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November 26, 2023

Physical Books Are Coming Back Into Style!

It took me two years, January 2011 to November 2013, to downsize my home library to under 1,000 books—giving away 1,200 (all fine) and throwing away another 300 (damaged books, outdated textbooks, and similar). Since then, I’ve only stocked up on ebooks, and I bought perhaps ten physical books, not counting role-playing stuff, in ten y...
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October 15, 2023

Stretching the Meaning of “Weekly”

Lots of things have kept me busy—while I was (and still am) occupied with my Ludotronics book release, another comp copy arrived: my book contribution “Shared Realities, Solitary Actions: Media Languages as Agents of Formation, Reinforcement, and Change” in the anthology Narratives Crossing Boundaries: Storytelling in a Transmedia and ...
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September 10, 2023

A Good Week

Yesterday, I wrote over at Mastodon: “Sitting on the balcony after a good run, enjoying a home-made turkey & egg double cheeseburger and an espresso-tonic, looking forward to watching The Equalizer 3 in a late-night screening. That’s how summer should be like!” And yes, it felt like that the whole week, more so than during my entire Au...
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September 3, 2023

Resume & Revise

Today, for the first time since I received knee surgery back in January, I tackled one of my formerly regular 10km dirttrack/hill runs. Not at my usual speed, mostly—I’m still too scared, and I’m also not exactly in top shape. But it sure felt great! What also resumed as of last Friday is work; my watching-the-balcony-being-flooded-by-...
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August 20, 2023

Academia’s Gravity Field

Weather’s been mixed; temperatures rose again last week but it rained about every other day. I did and do a lot of running, writing, playing, editing photos, and watching movies, and I enjoy the latest advances in refreshment engineering. However, academia’s gravity field caught up with me again. I attended my university’s term project...
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August 13, 2023

Rain World

Not much has changed, weather-wise, except for one beautiful summer day the day before yesterday that felt just like the vacation weather I feel acutely entitled to! And while so far it hasn’t been raining today, it looks like it’s fixing to all the time, and temperatures snapped back into the low 70s. You can do better, summer! On my ...
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August 6, 2023

Skipped a Beat, Again (Also: Vacation!)

The week before last, when I was critically preoccupied with wrapping up loose ends before summer vacation, the newsletter completely slipped my mind. It’s been a staycation so far, only without the balcony I redecorated around this time last year because it’s raining all the time. No floodwaters yet or anything, thank goodness. But it...
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July 23, 2023

2023 Mid-Term Grade!

Now that we’re about halfway through the year, which happens to coincide with the first moon landing’s anniversary and also my birthday, it’s a good time to take stock. 2023 didn’t start out promising here, with that common cold from hell in January, Covid in February, and the lengthy break I had to take from running thanks to meniscus...
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July 16, 2023

Belated Spring Cleaning

My memory of the past week primarily revolves around cleaning my desk, drawers, devices, and various keyboards in particular, the latter at length reflected upon in four overlong Instagram posts. But I also attended the CGL’s annual Open Lab event Wednesday night—to chat with graduates, students, and friends, check out the graduation p...
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July 9, 2023

93 °F and I Feel Fine

Someone recently wrote, I can’t remember where, that the internet itself is the “town square” everybody’s been going on about, not any one social media network. And that people usually want to go and sit in bars and restaurants or go shopping, not hang around in the “town square” the entire day. Well, you had the shopping malls and the...
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July 2, 2023

Genius Cosplay

Fediverse admins are not amused. They don’t mind if Lord Elno intermittently sprinkles some extra pixie dust over his daily dose of birdie powder and fucks up Twitter in new and exciting ways, so that fresh waves of exiles hit the shores of the most prominent instances, including mastodon.social. What they do mind, however, is that thi...
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June 25, 2023

Missed a Beat

It was already Tuesday when I realized I’d skipped last Sunday’s newsletter. Not that I was stressed-out or anything—I was just terribly busy! All weekend last week, I consolidated various backups to a new and fast hard disk I’d bought earlier, which was complicated. The Mac I’m temporarily working with (courtesy of my university’s IT ...
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June 12, 2023

June is the new August

Not that I’d ever complain personally about a good hot summer arriving early—from 85 °F onward and climbing, I begin to feel like myself. I get a lot more things done, get better at making decisions, and enjoy life in general. This weekend, for example, I attended four concerts, three classical at Tonhalle Düsseldorf and one rock conce...
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June 4, 2023

Gradual Return to Regular Turmoil

As the last sixteen or so days were pretty insane, I had to skip last week’s newsletter and social media activities in general. What I’d originally thought I’d be terribly busy with were my upcoming book’s page proofs. But CRC-Press did a terrific job, so that turned out to be a cinch. Only one major issue needed fixing, involving thre...
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May 21, 2023

Prooooofs!

My book’s page proofs arrived last week, and I will be exceptionally busy for the next ten days. Every mistake not caught by me during this time will find its way into the finished product, and I can already say—after speed-scrolling through the document—that not all illustrations have been placed where they should have been placed. As...
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May 14, 2023

“Thank You for Screaming into the Void”

Yesterday, after a busy Saturday that included spending a lot of time at the local Japan Day and preparing and enjoying dinner, I finally sat down with a glass of 1776 57.3% Barrel Proof Straight Rye on the rocks and thought, hey, why not have a look at Facebook, which I hadn’t opened for ages! Well, turns out its enshittification has ...
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May 7, 2023

Digital Is So 2019

On several occasions, I mentioned that I’d love to go back to analog photography, which has gotten a distinct “be careful what you wish for” vibe lately. Not only did I sort of inherit a Nikon FA with an intimidating array of lenses a while ago; last week I also sort of inherited a Toptron Microcam TC-505 toy camera for 110 film, a Rol...
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April 30, 2023

The Days Are Just Packed

For the first time in ages, not counting travel squaries at Pixelfed and a few shots at betweendrafts and voidpunkverse, I neither published any blog posts nor uploaded anything to Flickr. Not only was that week packed with 18 hours worth of lectures plus preparations and follow-up handouts, a belated bachelor exam, an important meetin...
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April 23, 2023

An Exhausting Week

Last week up until today, besides lectures and everything else, I had to go through my publisher’s copyedits, a fun package of ~600 pages distributed over 30 documents, 100 text-intensive illustrations, and a brutal 180 items “Works Quoted” section. Which—besides books and papers and articles—references everything from Aristotle to the...
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April 16, 2023

Traveling to an Antique Land

Not counting Panjiayuan Antique Market in Beijing, I hadn’t visited a flea/antique market in ages; thus, I went to Aachener Platz Flea Market in Düsseldorf yesterday, motivated by my current you-need-to-get-out-more policy. While I was glad I went, it turned out to be underwhelming. Apparently, flea markets lose much of their appeal if...
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April 9, 2023

My Hovercraft Is Full of Chametz

Don’t mind the title if you don’t happen to find yourself at the center of a Venn diagram of markedly distinct pieces of cultural knowledge; it’s a seasonal joke I made on Twitter long ago, and it makes me miss the time when my beloved social network wasn’t run by a Nazi Child King. Anyways, I keep being surprised by holidays, even if ...
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April 2, 2023

Graduation Day

Last Friday was graduation day! At an excellent venue, the Wacom Experience Center at Düsseldorf Medienhafen, our game design Class of 2019 received their freshly minted B.Sc. diplomas in the course of an acutely enjoyable ceremony. While this class had started out in October 2019, my first lecture fell into their second term, and by t...
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March 26, 2023

Getting Out More, Finally

While I mentioned my New Year’s resolutions to no longer take on every project, accept every challenge, and work every weekend, I left out my other resolve to get out more. During the pandemic, we’d gone on trips, met friends, and similar, but taking part in cultural events had come to an utter standstill. No concerts, exhibitions, pla...
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March 19, 2023

Papers & Parrots

Last week was a busy week. First, it was filled with oral exams, where our bachelor’s degree candidates presented their research and answered our questions. Traditionally, as a peculiarity of our university’s game design department, these exam sessions are attended not only by the examining committee, i.e., the students’ thesis advisor...
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March 12, 2023

Schroedinger’s Schnelltest

»Schnelltest« is what the at-home COVID-19 test kit is called in Germany. I burned through an entire stack last week, only to find that the T-line became asymptotically thinner without ever vanishing completely. Thus, for the weekend, I decided to no longer check, which means I’m both positive and negative right now! I do feel a lot be...
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March 5, 2023

Corona Intermission

Last week, two days after I wrote that “it felt as if the tiniest amount of balance had returned to the world,” I tested positive for COVID-19. Thank you, World. Today, I might have finally entered the home stretch, but I’m still testing positive and feel like it. Also, my throat keeps being on fire for large parts of the day. (Plus, m...
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