Solaria's Blog

Graphic Design and Web Design

September 17, 2023

Just some ramblings about graphic design as a hobbist web designer.

I usually call myself a webartist since web design tends to imply this is something I do to earn money, but technically I am indeed designing web pages. Web design of course includes graphic design, but I've never really been interested in graphic design itself. I'm terrible at lettering, hate marketing, and find minimalism to be boring. So as someone who technically does some graph design, I find myself at odds with many graphic design schools of thought.

I'm not going to get into marketing too much, most people on neocities already understand. Marketing myself sounds soul crushing and I can't imagine marketing for anyone else or any corperation (I would also be the worlds worst salesman). So lets get into fonts and minimalism.

Like marketing, lots of neocitizens are not fond of minimalism. Lots of sites here have bold and/or cluttered designs, though there are some minimalist personal sites. I tend to be anti-minimalist, but can understand the strive for minimalism on the web, reducing file sizes and load times for everyone, especially those with slow internet, is a great goal. But I also think you can achive these things without losing personality and making a plain white page with black text, or black page with white text. Use some colors! Add a few small images, use CSS borders! pixelglade is a good example of a simple personal site that also includes personal flairs.

I personally like to add some more visual interest to my site, making most of my pages not so minimalist, but I do strive to make my content readable and navigatable. I have come across sites on here that are difficult to navigate and whose art/pciture galleries take long to load, and I would like to encourage fellow webartists to make their pages more accessable, but at the same time most of us are here to have fun with images and CSS so I'm not going to be upset at someone whos personal site is hard to navigate; I'll just click the back button.

Fonts. Theres a lot to be said about fonts. Text is important in graphic design of course, and I agree with most graphic designers that fonts should be readable. If you want anyone to be able to read your pages there should be sufficient contrast between your text color and background color (if your background is very busy this is harder to achieve), the text size should be big enough, and the font style should have legible letters.

But then there are some common graphic design opinions that seem strange to me because they go against readability. Comic sans is a font style popular to hate, and sure maybe you shouldn't use it in product design, but it is a commonly known font also known to be dyslexia friendly (though of course there are many other dyselxia friendly fonts and other ways to improve text readability). Graphic designers also seem to enjoy justified text, a design choice that goes back to newspaper columns, and a design choice that I hate. It makes text much harder to read and the only reason I can determine people use it for, is to make the text a nice box shape. But text is made to be read and the differing spaces between words from line to line is very disorienting. I promise your design won't look like shit.

Anti vs Proship: What in the Hell are You Guys Talking About?

August 26, 2023

If you've been in fandom spaces on Tumblr or Twitter you've likely come across the terms "proship," "anti," and "anti anti." Or maybe you've looked at someones carrd and saw those identifiers, likely in a DNI (do not interact) list. If you haven't, your life is probably better for it, keep doing what you're doing and don't waste your time reading this. I'm not involved in fandom anymore, not since 2013-2015 on deviantArt, but I still enjoy looking at fan art and fan theories online, thus I have encountered these terms without being invested in the drama. For transparency purposes I do not identify as either. Thats not to say I'm neutral, but to say I think these terms are clouded in too much doublespeak to be useful.

So, what the fuck do these words mean?

I intentionally chose "problematic" as a vauge term, because there is significant variation of beliefs in each group. "Problematic" ships can vary from toxic relationships to incest and pedophilia.

My stance is: shipping toxic or even abusive relationships is fine; its an exploration of dynamic and characters more than anything. I would be lying if I said the Batman/Joker ship isn't interesting to me. Theres something homoerotic about having a perpetual rival you are obsessed with but cannot kill. Its also obvious these characters are bad for each other, and shipping them isn't to say theyre good for each other, but to say theres Something going on there. I believe you can write about something without condoning it in real life. - On the other hand I find ships between a character whos a child and one whos and adult to be too close to child porn to be worth defending. You can write about something as sensitive as child sex abuse in a way that is cathartic for survivors, without taking it lightly or sexualizing/romanticising it like ship art/fic often does. (If it's not already clear I do not support positive or erotic depictions of child sex abuse, real or fictional).

The thing is, I've seen both pro-shippers and antis express similar sentiments. I believe there are more anits and pro-shippers who share boundaries than those who identify as either realize.

Unfortunately instead of realizing this, some individuals double down (much like they do in more relevant political topics) and start to defend things they normally wouldn't. Pro-shippers start defending pedos and zoophiles, antis suicide bait people over blatantly false or exaggerated accusations. That or they change the definitions of their own terms or falsely represent the beliefs of the other group, leading antis to believe all proshippers are pedo defenders, or all proshippers to believe that antis are children who can't understand the difference between fiction and reality.

As is the case with many contraversial arguments, the urge to be right and paint the other side as awful people, throws nuance out the window. I beg people to ask others what they mean when they say something, rather than to jump to the worst assumption.

No I won't "Google it"

August 26, 2023

Aside from the obvious here on Neocities: Google being invasive, its search engine shittier than ever, shoving ads above info, and even hiding relevant results, there's more reasons why I hate the derisive way people say "Google it" when you ask a question.

First of all, it's just plain rude. If you had the time to roll your eyes and type "google it" you had the time to add just a tiny bit of context. It could be something as simple as "its a tv show". I understand being frustrated, especially if people frequently ask you questions that they could easily search up on their own, but often times I see this response directed at questions that would be difficult to google. Whether it be because its an acronym that has a multitude of meanings or a political topic that google is likely going to give you suspect results for.

Someone is asking you that question because they trust your viewpoint, or even want to have a conversation with you. If my friend mentions something I don't know, I ask them because oftentimes the context is important, and they will know how to explain it in a way that makes sense considering the conversation. Maybe its because I like explaining things, so I think it will give the opportunity for someone else to explain something, or even just talk about something they like.

Maybe take the time to talk to people like people, not like bugs. This should go without saying, but of course if someone is being demanding, they aren't entitled to your time, but an honest question should not be met with hostility.

Did the Sun Change from Yellow to White?

June 7, 2023

My dad, while having a background in science (biology), is prone to conspiracy theories and nostaligia. So when he rambled about how the sun used to be yellow when he was a kid and now its white, I internally rolled my eyes. Apparently there are some weird conspiracy theories around this, but I beleive it is explained by the same science that explains blue skies and red sunsets.

Its important to keep in mind that white light (that the sun emits) is composed of a wide variety of light wavelengths, each a different color. These colors blend to form white. Each color has a different sized wavelength ranging from 700 to 400 nanometers, where 700 nm is red and 400 nm is violet (with the rest of the colors inbetween)

The sky is blue because the small wavelengths of light (blue wavelengths) reflect off of the small air molecules (nitrogen, oxygen, etc). The colors reflected are the ones we see. A few years back during the California wildfires, photos captured fully red skies. The exact composition of smoke particles varies by source of smoke, but the compounds are larger than normal air molecules, thus they reflect the larger wavelengths of light (red at 700 nm)

Recently I've noticed in the morning the sun has a redish halo and throws red light patches into the house. Currently there are wildfires in Canada that are producing smoke that is making its way into the US, reminding me of the California fires and red skies. I then thought of my dad's observation.

Although not growing up in the 70s or 80s, I do know that air pollution, especially in cities, used to be much worse than it is now. So if intense smoke can make the sky and sun red, it may be entirely possible the high concentration of pollution in the air made the sun look yellow in the 80s.

Alt-right conspiracy theorists seem to be freaking out that the sun now appearing white is some bad omen and that the sun is supposed to be yellow (simply because they remember it being so as kids and think everything was better back then). But its more likely that the sun was white for a very long time, air pollution made it appear yellow for some time (at least decades, I would have to dig into data to determine a more precise range), and now the sun is back to appearing white.

Grind Culture

April 16, 2023


Those versed in communist or anarchist theory have discussed this much more articulately than me, but heres my take on grind culture

yeah it sucks, i don't think many active neocities users disagree. its a really depressing and discouraging mindset to see people take on. while the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" (bogus) theory has been around as a capitalist myth for decades now, "the grind" appears to be a more modern take that has grown in this last decade. and its not just condencending advice offered to poor people by the wealthy, instead poor people have eaten it up and promote it to their friends and family.

so many people proud of themselves for being on that grind, doing anything and everything for money. Of course you can't blame someone for doing what they have to to live in our overpriced society, but they way they are proud to do it and look down on those who cant or dont, rather than resenting that they have to at all is such a discouraging sign of capitalist propaganda

Although being on the grind is not limited to this kind of work, it no doubt has an impact on the formation of "business" where people bulk buy junk and resell it, or hunt thrift stores for "vintage" items and resell them at drastically higher prices. i cannot blame people for doing what they can to make a living, but its meaningless work that ends up costing others

Search Engines and Advertisment

April 16, 2023

I dont know why it took a tumblr post about gardening and native plants for me to realize this considering I am already critical towards ads and google, but google is has really just evolved into a product search engine rather than an information search engine. thats why almost every page is the same top ten list, or a "guide" that ends up recommending a specific junk product.

unfortunately it appears that while duckduckgo doesnt sell your data like google, they still prioritize glorified product recommendation articles rather than real resources. I guess thats why its free :/. the internet has such poweful potential for good, its so dissapointing its currently catertered towards serving capitalism.

Experiences on Sertraline/Zoloft

April 16, 2023

I started sertraline November 28th 2021 for anxiety.

Before setraline I tried fluoxetine (Prozac) first. My trans health doctor ended up prescribing it for me because I unintentionally opened up about my anxiety (that ive had since i was 12). I was only on fluoxetine for two weeks before i quit taking it due to consitipation where I felt so sick, backed up, and bloated I couldn't stand to eat anything. I was miserable and ended up losing about 10 pounds in those two weeks because I couldn't eat. Thus my doctor switched me to sertraline (Zoloft)

For a good number a months I didn't think sertraline was helping much at all, i was slow, and i still had constitpation (though not as bad), so i quit taking it for two weeks. I definately got my energy back but I was very quick to anger and my anxiety was off the charts. The fake arguments id have in my head and get worked up over came back. so i started taking it again. i didnt realize how much my anxiety contributed to feelings of anger/frustration/irritation, but its A Lot. i am much more chill now. i do miss my energetic demeanor though, especialy with friends. I feel slow and tired despite sleeping more than i used to.

I think the reason i sleep more, yet feel more tired, is that more of my sleep is REM sleep (thus less of it is regenerative deep sleep). I have lots of vivid dreaming like i did as a kid, but had outgrown before starting anxiety meds.

other people seem to get diarehea from zoloft, but i get the opposite. From what ive read it appears to be because antidepressants can slow your colon muscles. this makese sense in my case as fiber based solutions don't work at all for me (diet, supplements, fiber laxatives) but Bisacodyl does work, and Bisacodyl stimulates the colon muscles. However i am not a fan of regularly taking laxatives if i dont have to. Diet changes, increase water intake, and regular walking did not help either. The honest to goddness truth is that walmart fruit smiles keep me regular in a gentle way. to be fair they made me shit long before i was on meds (hence why i tried them out to begin with) and thankfully they still do. it maybe that most fruit snacks have this effect, but i am picky about texture, disliking the rubbery texture of most gummies and favoring the soft somewhat grainy (less sticky) texture of the fruit smiles. coffee sometimes helps, but not all the time, and my body too quickly adjusts to it to be a reliable solution

overall i keep taking sertraline because it is a huge help for my general anxiety (including irritability). Now, it hasn't really done much for my general anxiety, but i feel that is much more of a psycological issue rather than a biochemical one, so i am currently in therapy for that

Experiences on Testosterone

March 12, 2023

Note: discussion of bottom growth (genitals)

As of writting this I've been on T for roughly 3 years! Everyone has slightly different experiences on HRT so I figured I would share mine ^^ I'm 23 and started testosterone Febuary 28 2020! I'm currently on 50mg/mL per week, injected subcutaneously (into fat, not muscle). This was my starting dose as well, it was increased for a few months, but my red blood cell count had become too high (increasing blood clot risk) so it was lowered. Its still high, so I will soon be trying gel, but that has not started yet. To manage the risk, I take baby asprin (81 mg)

One of the first things that occured was bottom growth, which is very common for transmasc ppl on t. I did not get much bottom growth to my dissapointment, but it was more sensitive for the growth period (don't remember how long that was). Now my degree of growth is very likely because I have NCAH which already caused minor masculinzation pre-t, thus my genitals already resembled those on t.

I had one period after starting T and have had no more since.

As a greyasexual my increase in libido was mostly just present as "morning wood" when I woke up. Now that I'm on antidepressants that doesn't happen anymore. Otherwise there wasn't much of a difference for me.

I did not experience any notable change in appetite, which was dissapointing since it is sometimes hard to eat.

Before T i didn't hardly sweat, but I definately sweat a lot more. Cold showers in the summer without AC help!

I think I first noticed voice changes around 3 months, and I think they finalized around a year after starting T. Pre T I was trying to deepen my voice without much success, but in becoming accustomed to speaking from my chest rather than my throat, the changes T made on my voice are much more notable. I'm small so people are sometimes surprised by how deep my voice is, and I've frequently been told I have a voice for radio

I noticed a mild increase in facial acne, but that was expected since it is basically puberty, I'm also not bothered by acne

Body hair and facial hair has slowly come in, starting after some months. First the tops of my thighs filled in more as well as my knees (rest of my legs were already very much hairy), my chin hairs increased (I already had a few scragglies due to NCAH), and my sideburns lengthened. Somewhere along the way I got belly hair and my facial hair become enough to become a beard. As of now my beard is still filling in, as is my chest hair. Rightnow I have asymetrical chest hair, with hair on the left side of my chest but not the right, which I think is funny. I don't have as much arm hair as I anticipated, as both my brothers have very fluffy arms, but I hope it grows in.

On T I expected my hips to get a little narrower, and my waist to get less sinched, due to fat/muscle distribution, but that did not happen. To be fair my dad has a narrow waist and sturdy legs. What did happen, that I was not expecting at all, was how wide my shoulders/chest got! My neck also widened, meaning I can't stand small t shirts anymore. My small dress shirts fit fine, except for the neck which I often can't button.

I haven't noticed any change in my mood since starting T, positive or negative.

My height has not been affected, as I had puberty at a young age

Overall I'm very pleased with the experience!