J. Martin

January 29, 2023

Off to a Promising Start

No, I didn’t plan on pausing my newsletter for a whole damn month. Just last week, I recovered from what felt like a half-dozen common colds, who’d visited me all at once for an enormous house party that lasted from December 30 to about January 25. Time didn’t stand still, of course, as I had to do some touch-up editing, both for my bo...
Read more
December 18, 2022

It's Dead, Jim

After Reichsmarschall Elno’s carpet bombing run two days ago, banning journalists and critics left and right, nuking Twitter Journal and Spaces, banning outgoing links to Mastodon and other Fediverse instances not only in bios and tweets, but even DMs, I decided to put my primary handle too on ice and call it a day. (As mentioned in la...
Read more
December 11, 2022

Virtual Spring Cleaning

Today, I invested almost three hours to deactivate six dormant Twitter accounts for good, and to freeze another 24—in use or semi-dormant—with goodbye tweets, best wishes, and glimpses of hope for a revival in a better future where Lord Elno has become ancient history. I really thought Twitter would run out of confirmation codes! Now, ...
Read more
December 5, 2022

Press Send

Yes, I’m a day late! I was busy throughout the weekend (again); today was a lecture day; and I submitted my manuscript. 144,000 words distributed over 31 documents with call-outs for 65 illustrations and 10 textboxes, 22 chapter abstracts, & 65 alt texts; 65 illustrations, 1 cover image, & 4 cover template drafts; a bunch of documents ...
Read more
November 27, 2022

Error: Weekend Not Found

Besides my daylight jobs, I’ve been preparing my manuscript for my publisher all week, and—guess what—I had to do it in MS Word. Now, I know my way around in many complex apps, including word processors like LibreOffice or Papyrus Author, outliners like Scrivener, preparation software like Markdown or LaTeX, and desktop publishing soft...
Read more
November 20, 2022

Limping Along

Monday last week, I had knee surgery at an outpatient clinic, general anesthesia and all, and everything went smoothly. I’m still not sure what had happened to my left meniscus in late July, but maybe it didn’t need a specific reason to blow up after twenty-five years of running. This was my second surgery in my life already; the first...
Read more
November 13, 2022

Killed by Billionaire

To be honest, it’s very hard for me to watch Twitter go up in flames. It’s been my primary digital home for sixteen years, that’s even longer than my various blogs exist, from where I actively participated in historic events like #SanDiegoFire, Sichuan #earthquake, #mumbai, #iranelection, and #AskIsrael. I always kept my stream clean, ...
Read more
November 6, 2022

Social Networks Aren‘t

Temperatures around where I live dropped from the low-70s to the mid-50s °F last week, but the world hasn’t exactly improved. Also, Twitter is about to implode thanks to Lord Elno von Bullshit, and I left Duolingo because they found a whole new world underneath the bottom of the barrel they’ve been scraping for years to dig themselves ...
Read more
October 30, 2022

Endless Summer

On a global level, there was this prominent trope in science fiction where all the nations of the Earth would work together once of a common threat arose, like an alien invasion. On a national level, we have the moon shot trope, as a titanic effort across all industries for an almost impossible goal. On a personal level, we have that t...
Read more
October 23, 2022

Looking Forward

After a full month, I’m enjoying a weekend again—reading books, playing games, watching anime, cooking meals, having drinks. I could get used to that. Last week, I wrapped up jury duty for a game award, attended a local indie developer meeting, held lectures, attended meetings, got an overdue haircut, and sent a finished chapter to my ...
Read more
October 16, 2022

Looking Back

Yesterday, I watched the final stretch of Action Button’s six hour review of Boku no Natsuyasumi / ぼくのなつやすみ by Tim Rogers. Besides everything you can learn about games and game design, this review is also a very personal journey into the nature of nostalgia. I’ve always been interested in nostalgia as a phenomenon; but the last time I ...
Read more
October 9, 2022

Not Running Smoothly

Last Friday, I gave my first full on-site lecture since the beginning of the pandemic. I have to say, it was fantastic. Not only was it less stressful on my side and more lively on the students’ side than any online or hybrid lecture I’d given over the past three years; these first-term students also conveyed a wide range of background...
Read more
October 2, 2022

There and Back Again

Last week was a blast—three fantastic days full of great presentations at the last and final Clash of Realities conference, planned and carried out by program and technical teams from the Cologne Game Lab and the ifs International Film School Cologne, who did the most terrific job. And what a line-up! Even if you’re not fully immersed ...
Read more
September 25, 2022

September Sun

Another week went by without blog posts, photo edits, or any other social media activities of note. Instead, I’ve been busy with a thousand other things, among them working on my Clash of Realities presentation for next Wednesday. This week won’t be different in that regard—after several appointments on Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be in C...
Read more
September 18, 2022

A Frantically Quiet Week

Not a lot to tell—I’m back in the world of the living, thanks to a late 2015 21.5″ iMac I borrowed from my university’s IT department. It runs macOS 12.6 Monterey, it’s admirably fast for its age, and the crack along the upper part of the display is practically invisible in night mode. Thus, all I did last week was set up the Mac and c...
Read more
September 11, 2022

Comin’ Apart at Every Nail

This was a terrible week. It started off just fine; my Playdate arrived, and I was looking forward to unboxing and playing around with it over the weekend. But then, Thursday night, my Late 2015 27″ Retina iMac died. I tried what I could—I’m a certified computer support technician, after all—but to no avail. Hard disk, RAM, power suppl...
Read more
September 4, 2022

Slight Sputter at Higher Speeds

I’d be lying if I said it was the most disciplined and productive week ever; the check mark distribution on my to-do list is suspiciously sparse. But at least I continued working on my second edition of Ludotronics. Back in June and July, I rearranged, rewrote, or scrapped a substantial number of passages I felt could be clearer, had c...
Read more
August 28, 2022

Vacation Diary | Wrap-Up

Spending one’s summer vacation at home isn’t the same as going on vacation. At home, you’re not confronted with unfamiliar surroundings, new and different people, or novel activities, and that’s the problem—your overall time-out counts a lot less without a mental time-out from all the things you pursue and think about on a daily basis....
Read more
August 21, 2022

Vacation Diary | Week 3

Not a lot to tell—I’ve been doing my best to relax while climate catastrophe effects temporarily keep the pandemic in check; Putin’s openly genocidal assault against the Ukraine continues; fossil fuel industries make obscene profits from the war and rob people blind; and any common effort toward change in this country that I live in is...
Read more
August 14, 2022

Vacation Diary | Week 2

The second week was more relaxed than the first, and I managed to keep away from almost all work-related activities. I’m so proud of myself! :D Most of the time, I lived on the balcony, enjoying the sun. I also listened to music a lot, which I hadn’t done for ages; a balanced mix of art music and popular music albums that I randomly se...
Read more
August 7, 2022

Vacation Diary | Week 1

The first week was off to a rocky start thanks to another COVID scare—a friend whom my SO had met last weekend called in on Monday to tell us they were positive, which meant checks and being hyperalert to every real or imagined physical irregularity until we could be sure we didn’t catch it after all, which was around Thursday. Things ...
Read more
July 31, 2022

Halting Problem

Officially, I’m on vacation in August. Once again, thanks to the pandemic, I’m not going anywhere except on my new & improved balcony. Third year in a row, Japan’s still highly restrictive entry regulations make it impossible for me to visit my friends there, bummer. And even though I finished the major revision for my textbook’s secon...
Read more
July 24, 2022

An Enjoyable Week

Last week appeared frighteningly normal. The weather had its ups and down, but then got back into the 85+ °F range right where I love it. I wrote, edited, mentored students, celebrated my birthday, went to an indie developer event that was great, and met with friends to eat and drink improbable amounts of gambas and Super Bock, respect...
Read more
July 17, 2022

5 O’Clock

Y’all might have heard about Germany’s €9 ticket for public transportation, which might or might not become a €69 ticket in the future so that poor people on the trains are no longer a hassle. The problem is, and that’s completely unrelated to how many people actually use Germany’s public transportation system at any one time, it doesn...
Read more
July 10, 2022

Snakes and Letters

Last week, after finally getting around to fixing up the balcony, I sat outside every free minute and enjoyed every degree of Fahrenheit. For no particular reason, then, this (slightly abbreviated) quote from John Barth’s The Sot-Weed Factor came to my mind—“Blind Nature howls without, but here ’tis calm—how dare we leave? Yet lookee r...
Read more
July 3, 2022

Heating Up

Where by “heating up,” I don’t mean the summer, which is fine, but Corona incidence rates of 800+, the end of free COVID-19 tests, and the phasing out of most mask mandates around where I live. So far, I’ve been lucky—I attended two events, the Match Me last week and the Indie Game Fest two weeks ago. At the latter, I kept masking up m...
Read more
June 26, 2022

When Everything Everywhere Gets Worse All the Time

Welcome to the world of war, pestilence, red and white fascism, religious nationalism, eliminatory heteronormativity, and the subjugation of women; a world where education is underfunded and terrible, knowledge and understanding increasingly worthless, science held hostage by crooks and charlatans, and information simultaneously contro...
Read more
June 19, 2022

Feels Like Home

I know it’s bad for the planet and the people and everything at this time of the year, but ≥ 85 °F is actually the temperature at which I feel most comfortable and most motivated for work, sports, everything, with a shot of hyperactivity even. I miss the Tucson area, love Singapore in high summer, Tōkyō in August. No AC, please! Each d...
Read more
June 12, 2022

Are You Sure This Is Your Third Wish

After most lecture duties for the term had ended three weeks ago, I’ve successfully replaced it with a grueling writing schedule—between six and eight hours daily, split between Ludotronics (late morning to early afternoon) and Voidpunk (early evening to whenever), with sports, chores, blogs, snacks, and social media stuff in between. ...
Read more
June 5, 2022

Slacking Off a Bit

Last year around late summer/early fall, two pigeon babies hatched, grew up, learned to fly, and left their nest right outside the bedroom window. Week before last, the pigeon parents built another nest at the exact same spot and commenced breeding soon after. Today, alas, the nest was empty. I checked down below; nothing had fallen ou...
Read more

See more posts »