As 2023 starts to roll around, I’ve done lots of self-reflection on myself. A lot of it has to do at a milestone point of my life, the winter of 2016. A lot of good and bad things happened that year; and while there was that swirling torrent of negative things that were going on, there were a few bright lights that made me look ahead and see something beyond that.
Mostly I looked at how my life could’ve gone different, and actually did have a ton of regrets with a lot of things. But, I found myself still coming back and thinking about those few positives that happened in that season.
Why am I mentioning this seven years later?
I think that’s exactly it; just time passing by, and still trying to sort out where I want to go in the future. And then you look back at happened, remember some things and wonder what’s going to happen to all of that. Moreso, what’s happening to all the things in my head that I don’t share with people.
To just preface, I don’t go around and say “I’m going to make this for people online to see!” I do keep quite a lot of things to myself, either for my own enjoyment or to share in person. But when 7+ years go by and you’ve not shared these things with a single soul, I do step back and wonder if there’s any value of those experiences to put in the public space. A lot of the time they do get censored and filtered to leave the interesting bits, protect privacy, etc.
I think that cycle does have to do with me aging and reflecting, for sure. Maybe that’s musings for another day; but today, I’m here to actually share something from that databank of memories.
Your late Christmas 2022 present is what my space was, several tunes and some munchies from the period.
This is also the first time I’m doing “read this blog entry to these tunes”. I listened to this on loop a few times while writing most of it, with some other stuff later in the actual post when that got repetitive. So feel free to have this play in the background as you read.
Consider this my holiday gift to you for 2022.
We had just torn the house apart at this point, and the roof was missing. Water leaked in and ruined several belongings, including my bed. My computer was supposed to be moved after Mom’s family visited, then my room would be completely demolished. The roof wasn’t repaired because of very inclement weather; high winds, freezing weather and constant drafts. The only good news was the ethernet cable was intact, and I did have a space heater. I had also taken my unused corner desk from the other starbase, and parked my workstation on top of that. Very impractical for the tiny room at the time, but I was counting on the room being bigger when the construction was bigger.
This was mostly to give me a little “den” while the holidays happened, if anything. The lighting was just right, and cold air was coming through the plastic on the left behind the Cintiq. Despite the harsh conditions, this was a cozy place to find wallpapers and browse deviantART for Christmas.
Food varied during this period, but I had several snacks and ate selected takeout. Most of the time it was warm comfort food, then some finger food/coffee. There was not a lot of holiday “stuff” that we typically did that year because of the happenings, so I had to improvise. These were the most memorable.
Trader Joe Haul
While this picture is dated in January, some of these snacks did make it into my late-night browsings after New Years. I’m not a Trader Joe aficiando by any means, I had learned about this from one of my buddies and found one existed in Knoxville; so I had to find out what the hullaballoo was about. This image is a result of that friend; they had actually mailed me the Fruit Jellies for Christmas, and that disappeared quickly.
Cheese sticks with the pub cheese was my favorite go-to, while fruit jellies was the accompanying side for coffee. I was impressed with how cheap the K-Cup box was, and still is 7 years later.
Weigel’s Cappuccino & Egg Drop Soup
It wasn’t always in this combo, but egg drop soup hits you a certain way with those wonton crackers on a winter day. And drinking Weigels’ cappuccino reminded me of the stuff you’d get at Speedway while on a long road trip.
Often I had to run to Lowes for parts and supplies to get things done, so these would be grabbed on the return trip home. Taco Bell didn’t hit the spot, and sometimes I would do a takeout tray from China Buffet. But as I came to found out, the soup stored easily and would last well another day.
Up to this day, it is a food I associate with freely browsing people’s art galleries, nooks and crannies on the Internet. I actually do pick a canister of the stuff up from my trusted spot on big work days, or when I know I want to just focus on something art-related. This specific dish has a strong connection to that time.
There are a lot of varied Japanese doujin music in this section. This may not be your thing, and the thumbnail itself may even be off-putting to you because of the “art style” (yes, I know people like this in East Tennessee, I speak from experience). These bits of music are who I am, changed some of my tastes growing from then and affect who I am today. It may have been for a more fitting age group for them in 2016, but the fact of the matter is they’re music that helped me move forward in life at a point in time. Just something to keep in mind.
Some of these below are playlists, and not just the single song; they should load automatically after the first tune’s done. You can alternatively click to open in Youtube to get access to the entire list.
I haven’t quite developed the habit of randomly listening to Youtube in 2016, but I would go into “rabbit holes” when watching stuff. And right after Thanksgiving, I got a garden hose dose of Japanese doujin music from various avenues and channels. While I was aware that other creators and artists existed outside the Touhou fandom, this was eye-opening minimum.
People made their own creations, and some even were able to stand on their own and make some decent money off of it. It varied from speed techno, rave trance, jazz, lounge; all sorts of genres. And not just music too; comics, books, and animations as well. It’s a whole array of things that’d make you wish you can browse in person all day. It’s extremely fascinating stuff, and my interest in it hasn’t changed all these years later.
Lost Garden – City Cruise Circulation – Midnight Adventurer
Let’s start with this album first; this is actually what led me to go down this rabbit hole in the first place. It was quite chill, didn’t have words to keep up with and wasn’t too disruptive while doing things late at night. While I did do a lot of “headphone browsing” then, the quieter tunes were appreciated. I recommend this as a top pick to listen to while browsing deviantART.
Camellia – Paroxysm
I accidentally stumbled across Camellia while helping staple insulation in the roof at the end of 2016. I had just gotten Bluetooth workout buds and was touting them while working, so I’d have Youtube just play doujin mix compilations while working. As soon as I heard the beat drop, I got instant Mass Effect club vibes. There had to be more of the stuff!
While I did find other things to satisfy my listening habits from this artist, looking him up led to some other works of his.
Camellia – Honey Ginger Ale
I can attest this makes good internet browsing music, good focus work music and even good driving music. I’ve listened to this album a number of times while on long road trips while driving, and the varied beats give you a treat every single time.
Camellia – MikUbiquity
This is another good album, too! If anything, this one will make you reflect on things quite a bit. It’s a lot in line like Honey Ginger Ale, so it’s like a second serving of the same stuff.
sasakure.UK – ゼツメツコモンセンス
I’d call this a variety sampler of chill music, with some sad tunes and high school rock band flavors. I’m one of the people who probably collect the music because the album art looks nice, and this doesn’t disappoint either. ALONE to ALONE feat. lasah is my favorite track from the album. If you want a deviantART theme song, that’d be it.
Electro.muster – Electro.Sinker
Something in line with Midnight Adventurer, this was recommended on that page and I liked the compositions. Something about the album gave me some hope that things would get better sometime, and not to really worry about what’s going on at the moment. I recommend Rainscall and Dream Walker, those two gave me those vibes the most.
Diverse System – works
This is one of those groups that “grew big” and are their own label now, growing up from techno Touhou remixes. Diverse System has this whole line of “work tunes”, which is from their line of works albums. While not every track on there is my cup of tea, I’m almost sure you’ll find something to your liking if you like Asian tunes/lo-fi chill.
Diverse System has had an incident with a data breach a few years ago, so not all their older tunes are completely available on Youtube. This was my favorite track from their first album; you’ll need to go on your own hunt to find the rest of it.
When I put together the corner desk and poking at deviantART, one of the rabbit holes I got into was wallpaper customization. I was always aware that there was wallpapers that you could get from there, but hadn’t quite paid any mind to them until then.
Setting the “Browse” functionality to “Since the beginning” and exploring the wallpaper category, I’d scroll for hours finding well over 200+ different pieces to rotate on my desktop. It became a partial tradition to look for new ones every November/December afterwards till 2020, when the new Eclipse design was implemented.
Because of you being unable to travel that path anymore, I’m directly linking to some of my favorites, and to the artists’ page for you to support. In the future I’ll do a lot more comprehensive list considering how broken deviantART now is with browsing new content and finding things (that’s another article in itself). Until then, you have these guideposts at least.
- Abstract Wallpaper #21 by Pyxartz
- Black and Gold Yin Yang by UncanyArts
- Bonzai by nucu
- Contact by kuzy62
- Dream by Day WP by solefield
- Futuregirl by egri
- Lightness – 2020 CALENDAR by Miguel-Santos
- Mecha Girl Wallpaper by AssassinWarrior
- Mercy by JoeyJazz
- Music can both break… by qinni
- Old Wood by vladstudio
- Rich Clouds by glorin26
- The Traveler’s Stag by Hylacola
And that does it for me for 2022. Enjoy, and have a great and prosperous 2023.