J. Martin

May 21, 2023


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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February 26, 2023

Pints & Pentiums

While most lectures and seminars have shifted back onsite since October, our game design students’ end-term project presentations last Friday were conducted online for several good reasons. Later that day, however, we did go out and physically celebrated—for the first time since Covid-19 hit Germany around February 2020! From well-earn...
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February 19, 2023

Calm Seas (Before the Storm)

It was quite calm last week, but it was the calm before the storm. Beginning tomorrow, our students’ exam theses will roll in. Not all at once, however—again this year, many fell sick, and their individual deadlines are scattered all over the place. It’s so hard to keep track, I hope I won’t forget anyone! (Just kidding.) Last week, I ...
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February 12, 2023

Not Written by Robots

Last week was filled with university tasks, from staff meetings to exam organization to planning next term’s course schedule. True to my new year’s resolution, however, I managed to keep things in perspective and, well, manageable for a change. Another and hopefully final round of editing concluded last week for my book contribution, a...
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February 5, 2023

I Feel Lighter Already

Another week that just flew by. Apart from the end-of-term & self-initiated projects presentations at the CLG last Wednesday, which were awesome and exciting, not a lot has happened. Which is a good thing! Usually, I never make any new year’s resolutions—beyond the default one not to do anything I don’t really love to do for long. But ...
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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...
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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...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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...
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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...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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