Welcome Ladies and Gentlmen,
To the Dark Side of the Soul, an archaic site dedicated to my passive interest in basic web-design that I try to update once a month; however, I actually update it “when I have new crap to put up” and “when I get around to putting it up.” Translation: almost never.
The predecessors to DSotS originated back in the mid-to-late 90s, the era of HTML3 and America Online dial-up when free web editors started appearing and every quasi-literate online user had their own personal website telling their two visitors about themselves. Back then, these websites were something of a precursor to MySpace with all the horrendous design decisions and even more horrendous pre-CSS code coupled with information people, frankly, didn’t care about; however, they lacked the traffic and connections of today’s social media, reflected by the sad counters that read only in the double digits (and half of that was the page creator constantly checking on it.) I always designed my sites as a form of protest, expressing my views at length on writing, movies, and art along with the poems and stories I’d written at the time. I figured that would prove more interesting than “Hi, I’m Jay. My favorite color is purple. My favorite fruit is strawberries! Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
Today Dark Side of the Soul still stands as my own form of protest against the mindless memes and bite-sized, useless information that floods Facebook/Twitter as well as the artificial angry rants, retarded overreactions, and idiotic unboxings of YouTube. DSotS is a place where I can type thoughts out at length, dwell on subjects important to me, and present my work/ideas in a leisurely fashion. Technically I could start up a blog, which will do the coding for me, and if I spent time fiddling with their options, I could probably get it to look the way I want. But I’m kind of partial to this format and to the idea that I built it from the ground up in notepad—now in the awesomely superior Komodo Edit by ActiveState which still lets me code myself except now I can do it on a macro level. Regardless, while Dark Side might be obsolete and while no one may read it, it’s my little corner of the web. Every character, every line of code, and every comment. And while I, of course, hope visitors find my thoughts stimulating and provocative, I don’t fool myself into thinking anyone stops by regularly for life-changing wisdom. But even if no one else ever visits, I like being able to look back at these past expressions—where I’ve come from—and reflecting on how I’ve evolved.
So, without further adieu, I present the Dark Side of my Soul:
- Reviews of TV, Films, and Video Games
I used to write reviews over at IMDb.com as a hobby, but the limitations of 1000 words per review coupled with some bizarre comment field behavior and inexplicable autocensorship drove me crazy. So I started reviewing movies here and have enjoyed the freedom ever since. They began as more traditional reviews but evolved into a hybrid of in-depth reviewing and light analysis where I no longer felt the need to properly introduce ideas, particularly if said ideas have entered our culture. For example, I assume you’ve seen Ghostbusters and know which character Bill Murray plays, so I don’t bother telling you. With my own space, my own format, and not having an editor to answer to, I can include screenshots with captions discussing specifics of the image and frame and call attention to visual elements with greater clarity than text alone. They take forever to complete, but I think the final results speak for themselves.
- Jay’s Portfolio
A gallery of selected artwork arranged roughly in chronological order. The early drawings date all the way back to my high school days in the late 90s when I had much less dedication to the craft. The phrase “I haven’t picked up a pencil in X months” appears an embarassing number of times in the early comments. And for awhile, anything I drew and kept made it to Dark Side of the Soul; however, starting around 2007/2008, I started drawing more, and I became more discriminate on what made the Dark Side cut. Then in 2009, I set a goal to one day pen and illustrate a graphic novel, and I dedicated myself to drawing consistently with a focus on improving which has resulted in a dramatic upswing in quality (although, I still claim to be an amateur).
Each entry also includes commentary detailing my inspirations, intentions, general thoughts, bits of trivia, and different odds and ends depending on what comes to mind while writing. And, really, it’s the commentary that dictates what drawings make it to Dark Side of the Soul now adays. I have to have something to say about the drawing. If I feel like I rose to an occasion and the drawing stands out from the rest of my work, if I feel the drawing displays a certain ambition that makes it unique or represents a new milestone, or if it just provokes an interesting chain of thought that a reader might find interesting, that’s what makes it Dark Side material. If it’s just another doodle, just another exercise, it doesn’t get displayed anywhere at this time. But, who knows, I may make a gallery for them here at Dark Side as well.
- Essay: In Defense of Not-Art
I wanted to have an essay section with my thoughts on various subjects; however, my desire to construct and write essays isn’t what it used to be. I’d rather write a review or a commentary on a render, so this section is slow growing. At this time, there’s just one essay, so it seems silly to have an index for it.