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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:18 am 
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I might have some words on Madoka later. I've actually been putting a lot of words into analysis of shows since I've been working towards starting an anime review blog.

And I'd always advocate, if you have the space for a desktop and any interest in games at all, to custom-build a desktop, as it is the cheapest way to get what you need. Stock models will often be gold plated or just have a price higher than the sum of their parts (fair) and laptops are worse.

This site is useful: https://pcpartpicker.com/

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:56 am 
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with such a short series, and major twists that affect your understanding of the story and world happening every other episode, it feels like a lot of them are kind of... forced? Maybe forced isn't exactly the right word, but it felt like some of the twists could have been established facts early on, rather than have it be new information to have the characters themselves caught by surprise by. I think it may have helped build tension as the viewer waits for the inevitable, instead of basically changing the rules of the story every hour. On the other hand, I know how influential (or at least how well-known) Madoka Magica is, so it may have been perfect for the time it was released, or perhaps my understanding of what it was trying to do is flawed.

Being a deconstruction, the show assumes the viewers are well accustomed to the "rules" of Mahou Shoujo stories; because of that, I think the writer(s) spent little time on establishing the setting because the audience is supposed to easily fill in the details and then get shocked by the whiplashing twists.

I don't remember noticing the animation flaws, probably because that oversimplified art style already puts me slightly off, so at some point I accepted the slight constant annoyance to things like the saucer-sized eyes on the characters and their ET-ass face proportions and just enjoyed the psychedelic witches' dungeons a lot.

(are the kind of snacks Kyoko devours somehow relevant to the moment in which she eats them? In Italy I had pocky-like snacks well before I was interested in the difference between anime and western animation)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:06 pm 
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Being a deconstruction, the show assumes the viewers are well accustomed to the "rules" of Mahou Shoujo stories; because of that, I think the writer(s) spent little time on establishing the setting because the audience is supposed to easily fill in the details and then get shocked by the whiplashing twists.

That's where I'm hesitant to follow along, though. I don't particularly see the point of keeping the information from the audience to try and surprise them every other episode; even someone savvy to the typical constraints of the genre will catch on to what they're doing via basic pattern recognition. It's Code Geass all over again: the shocking twist cease to be shocking when they happen so frequently that the audience is expecting them. I think they stuck with me so long because at the time the only real magical girl experience I had was some half-remembered memories of Sailor Moon from when I was like 8. I have still only watched a handful of magical girl shows:
  • Puni Puni Poemi (which hardly counts because it's a 2-episode gag show OVA)
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (which barely counts because it's a satire)
  • My Otome (which I dropped after a handful of episodes after watching as a teen)
  • Glitter Force [Precure... some number] (which I half-watched an episode or two after putting on for my neices)
  • Princess Tutu (which hardly counts because it's an actual deconstruction)

For the record, I don't actually think Madoka is a deconstruction because I don't think it really examines what makes the magical girl genre tick. I think it's just a magical girl show with some really dark themes. For an actual deconstruction of the genre, Princess Tutu is far superior IMO. "Real men watch Princess Tutu," as the joke goes.

I don't remember noticing the animation flaws, probably because that oversimplified art style already puts me slightly off, so at some point I accepted the slight constant annoyance to things like the saucer-sized eyes on the characters and their ET-ass face proportions and just enjoyed the psychedelic witches' dungeons a lot.

stuff like this

It's not like I know where all those scenes happen, but some of them happen while the character is the main focus point of the shot, and it's kind of noticeable when a character's eyes suddenly become two different sizes (that very first screenshot happens as Kyubey is speaking).

(are the kind of snacks Kyoko devours somehow relevant to the moment in which she eats them? In Italy I had pocky-like snacks well before I was interested in the difference between anime and western animation)

Not in any specific sense, other than to draw attention to the fact that she's always eating sweets. I just pointed it out because it was kind of weird realizing that there was basically an entire character trait that I didn't catch on to the first time around.

mjack33 wrote:
I always just pay a little extra for a nice mid-range gaming laptop. Generally costs around ~$1000 once I've done research and each one has lasted 4+ years so far. And it's been more than half a decade since I haven't been able to play a game I want on Steam. I understand the appeal of a desktop for people who are really good at m+k though; if I wasn't controller4life I would definitely consider building one.

I mean, half the games I play on my computer, I play with a controller. It's not mutually exclusive. That said, I don't have a strict need for a laptop anymore (like I used to when living with my parents), and desktops tend to be more powerful and more customizable.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:55 pm 
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So, Madoka was my first Magical Girl show and I considered it to be pretty incredible. It's not a perfect show, but I've been through it a few times and I still think there's a reason aside from pure genre position that it gets the respect it does. Like, seriously, it really holds up. The story and setting, though, less so than the characters, emotions, and visuals. Luna does have a point when he says there's some artificiality to the pacing, but as a writer it doesn't bother me because it strikes me as utilizing the medium. The episode breaks in Madoka Magica aren't random, but neither are the chapter breaks in my first (and upcoming second) novel(s). Similar to how I use chapters to signify a shift in Point of View, I think a setup like Madoka uses episodes to contain expected viewer mindsets. When there's a large shift of paradigm, it cuts to a new episode, utilizing the required compartments with meaning.

As for the animation... yeah, there are some wonky inter-frames and Shaft has a heck of a style (as seen in another favorite of mine, Mekakucity Actors, as flawed as that show might be), but there is a scale and wonder to so much of the material in Madoka that I can easily forgive its faults. I guess that's part of how I view media; I'd rather have something flawed that simultaneously captures greatness than something that's technically flawless but just average, failing to reach past the bar of "don't goof up anywhere." If you try less you fail less but also achieve less. I'll take all the derp faces if it means I get the Labyrinths.

I don't think I'm qualified to talk about Madoka as a deconstruction, because I didn't and to an extent still don't have the background. I started with Madoka. And starting with Madoka, it was visually stunning and strongly emotional, which is what you want out of a show like that.

I mentioned I was starting a review blog. I haven't taken on Madoka yet (and don't have any plans to) but I did start and posted a first review yesterday.

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I'm a (self) published author now! You can find my first book, The Accursed, on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:54 am 
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The singular thing that is at the lynchpin of making Madoka a deconstruction is Kyubi.
The cute mascot from where the adventure starts. But the deconstruction is that little monster is the evil at the heart of it all.

In a mahou show, which I have an embarrassingly large familiarity with, the cute sidekick is the one thing that will stay with the protagonist throughout everything and will often sacrifice itself for the heroine usually as either a "return from the underworld" or as the means to close out defeating the guardian of the underworld, to borrow terms from the monomyth.

Kyubi's antagony is the foundation of the deconstruction. Every other element you can take as just being thematically dark, or even elements lifted from shows that used them in smaller doses, but not Kyubi's purpose to the narrative, nor the effects it wrought as a consequence.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:47 pm 
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Madoka is partially one of better anime out there because of its accessibility to the average person who may or may not know anything about the genre. I had friends who don't normally like anime who watched it the entire way through back in college.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:42 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
The singular thing that is at the lynchpin of making Madoka a deconstruction is Kyubi.
The cute mascot from where the adventure starts. But the deconstruction is that little monster is the evil at the heart of it all.

[cutting for brevity]

I mean, that makes a lot of sense, but I'm not completely convinced. What makes it a deconstruction and not just a dark twist on the trope? What is it trying to say about mascot characters by having Kyubei be evil?

I guess I'm trying to figure out where the line is between "hardboiled reinterpretation" and "deconstruction of the genre/character." If I can take an example I'm not as familiar with, The Killing Joke was a gritty, dark, "realistic" look at The Joker's homicidal, anarchic insanity, but does that make it a deconstruction? I'm having a hard time buying the argument that because the common genre signifiers are suddenly Evil with a capital E, that automatically makes the thing a deconstruction of the genre.

As for the animation... yeah, there are some wonky inter-frames and Shaft has a heck of a style (as seen in another favorite of mine, Mekakucity Actors, as flawed as that show might be), but there is a scale and wonder to so much of the material in Madoka that I can easily forgive its faults. I guess that's part of how I view media; I'd rather have something flawed that simultaneously captures greatness than something that's technically flawless but just average, failing to reach past the bar of "don't goof up anywhere." If you try less you fail less but also achieve less. I'll take all the derp faces if it means I get the Labyrinths.

Oh, absolutely. From an animation perspective, Madoka is exactly what I want nowadays out of my media: a brilliantly realized set of non-standard styles with a ton of work put into them, with enough jank (to borrow what I think is a gaming term) to be slightly noticeable but not subtract from the experience. I'm willing to forgive a lot when there's so much there to just salivate over.

mjack33 wrote:
Madoka is partially one of better anime out there because of its accessibility to the average person who may or may not know anything about the genre. I had friends who don't normally like anime who watched it the entire way through back in college.

I mean, I think it speaks to that quality when Tevish and I both say that we have little to no experience with the magical girl genre outside of Madoka. And I would agree that the story is one of its finer qualities; I'm just unsure whether it needed as many twists as it did (even if they are paced just about perfectly), and now because of others' explanations, whether it qualifies as a deconstruction.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:21 am 
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I mean, from the actual definition of deconstruction:
"a method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary language which emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression."

So subversion of tropes is very much in the realms of deconstructive narratives, though I think it's important to separate deconstructive analysis from deconstructive storytelling too.
But the point is, setting up expectations based on genre or character is an important part of deconstruction.

Barinellos wrote:
The singular thing that is at the lynchpin of making Madoka a deconstruction is Kyubi.
The cute mascot from where the adventure starts. But the deconstruction is that little monster is the evil at the heart of it all.

[cutting for brevity]

I mean, that makes a lot of sense, but I'm not completely convinced. What makes it a deconstruction and not just a dark twist on the trope? What is it trying to say about mascot characters by having Kyubei be evil?

I said he was the lynchpin, not necessarily the entirety of the deconstructive text, as it were. Unfortunately, you do have to have some familiarity with the genre to unpack the prominent themes present and HOW they're deconstructed.
In te mahou genre, the two most significant themes at work, and damn near universal, are Friendship and Hope. Those two themes are pervasive in ways that the very aesthetic is. But wen you consider what role those themes play in Madoka, you see a near polar opposite of how those themes function in the wider genre.

Hope (or wishes) and friendship don't win the day in Madoka. They DESTROY you. The relationships you have tear you down, cost you blood and suffering, they don't lift and secure you. Having hope is a razor thin margin that just barely keeps the sword of damocles above your head and ultimately it's an exercise in futility.

The themes in Madoka are absolutely a deconstruction of the genre, aptly embodied by what Kyubi represents.

That's what makes it a deconstruction as opposed to just a dark magical girl show like say, Fate/kaleid Prisma Ilya.

Quote:
I guess I'm trying to figure out where the line is between "hardboiled reinterpretation" and "deconstruction of the genre/character." If I can take an example I'm not as familiar with, The Killing Joke was a gritty, dark, "realistic" look at The Joker's homicidal, anarchic insanity, but does that make it a deconstruction? I'm having a hard time buying the argument that because the common genre signifiers are suddenly Evil with a capital E, that automatically makes the thing a deconstruction of the genre.
[/quote]
The Killing Joke isn't exactly a deconstruction of the Joker though. It's a deconstruction of Batman.

The central conceit is one of compare and contrast to how an individual copes with trauma and a total shift of their world. Joker's One Bad Day is a mirror parallel to Bruce. Bruce could have had the same mental break under very slightly different circumstances, but ultimately, the entire book is about the myriad ways in which a person deals with traumatic circumstances.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:20 pm 
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So, this forthcoming Magic set has Planeswalking twins AND a what appears to be a Fae who steals crowns.

I can now say that there is no doubt Wizards is reading my **** and stealing my ideas.

Clearly.

:paranoid:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:53 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
In te mahou genre, the two most significant themes at work, and damn near universal, are Friendship and Hope. Those two themes are pervasive in ways that the very aesthetic is. But wen you consider what role those themes play in Madoka, you see a near polar opposite of how those themes function in the wider genre.

Hope (or wishes) and friendship don't win the day in Madoka. They DESTROY you. The relationships you have tear you down, cost you blood and suffering, they don't lift and secure you. Having hope is a razor thin margin that just barely keeps the sword of damocles above your head and ultimately it's an exercise in futility.

The themes in Madoka are absolutely a deconstruction of the genre, aptly embodied by what Kyubi represents.

That's what makes it a deconstruction as opposed to just a dark magical girl show like say, Fate/kaleid Prisma Ilya.

(You make a lot of good points, so I'm only going to quote this section as a representative of your entire post.)

Okay, that explanation makes a lot of sense to me. A lot of people (myself included) try their hand at this literary critique thing without really understanding it, so they end up calling a chicken a duck because they're both domestic fowl, or try to claim a crododile is a duck because it waddles and swims, if you can follow my twisted metaphor. I've become a bit hesitant to buy into the same mindset, especially since Madoka in particular has seeped so deeply into the cultural consciousness of the anime community. It's hard to accept the "it's a deconstruction" argument when there's never any reasoning given for it and words like "subversion," "deconstruction," and "reconstruction" are thrown about in clear defiance of what those terms are actually supposed to mean.

To be clear, while this particular problem is horribly rampant in the anime community, it's not where I see it the most since I tend to avoid anime enthusiasts for their gatekeeping tendencies. Without calling out any one creator in particular, the internet at large -- and youtube especially -- has not only greatly lowered the bar for being able to share your opinions on a piece of media, but created audiences for a more personal critique like you might have with your friends after leaving the cinema, which by their nature tend to be more shallow than those critiques given out by professional reviewers. In particular, the media favored by the young, such as anime and video games, attract those same young people who have neither the experience nor training (or at least those that haven't done the research) to properly comment on the things they're critiquing.

I hope it's been clear that I've never been argumentative over this, and I apologize if I was a bother. Partly, I was trying to get a clearer understanding by talking it out with someone, and to be honest, you lot are the only ones I have any hope of getting a decent response out of. That's not to say I wasn't engaging in a little of my own delusional pedantry, but it was an informal critique among my friends, as if we had all just left the cinema and I wanted to talk about it (or, more accurately, as if I'd just seen an old movie that at least some of you had more familiarity with so I could get some discussion going).

I mentioned I was starting a review blog. I haven't taken on Madoka yet (and don't have any plans to) but I did start and posted a first review yesterday.

Okay, I will definitely try reading that when I'm not dog tired, but can you do something about that website? The layout is just plain awful because of the tiny text box and the vast tracts of empty sidebar. Honestly it reminds me of the White Blight, and that's not a good thing. I basically can't read it unless zooming in almost 200% on desktop (and all the way in on my tablet still isn't comfortable).'

So, this forthcoming Magic set has Planeswalking twins AND a what appears to be a Fae who steals crowns.

I can now say that there is no doubt Wizards is reading my **** and stealing my ideas.

Clearly.

:paranoid:

Boy, am I glad I stepped out when I did. I feel like I should have sooner.

I feel like it's not productive for me to gripe about Magic, but... I just feel like it used to be better. I can't tell if that's the feeling of nostalgia and the "back in my day" mentality, or if there really has been a kind of... desaturation of the core tenets of Magic over the years. I'm probably misusing my words here. I'm tired.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:15 pm 
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Okay, I will definitely try reading that when I'm not dog tired, but can you do something about that website? The layout is just plain awful because of the tiny text box and the vast tracts of empty sidebar. Honestly it reminds me of the White Blight, and that's not a good thing. I basically can't read it unless zooming in almost 200% on desktop (and all the way in on my tablet still isn't comfortable).'

Yeah. Honestly, I didn't know what to do with the style template, but I have about a million to choose from. The trick is finding one where I don't have to upload ten million high-res photos because... I don't have those. I don't know what's up with the text size, but I can manipulate the layout in broad strokes?

I think I found one that's not all white dead space and seems to be meant for text but there are pros and cons to having thousands of these from wordpress. Collapseable sidebar with stuff in it too. On the other hand, I seem to have lost the ability to have my blog name as a header...

EDIT. New theme. Dark palette. Sidebar is permanent, but now has stuff in it. Actually has a header. Kind of a big left gutter, I guess that's for banner adds if and when I actually opt in to that? Really the issue was I couldn't make the other one not brown. I mean, parchment yellow + brown probably more inviting than white but still not the best colors in the world.

Hopefully it's a bit better now.

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I'm a (self) published author now! You can find my first book, The Accursed, on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback!


Last edited by Tevish Szat on Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:50 pm 
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So, this forthcoming Magic set has Planeswalking twins AND a what appears to be a Fae who steals crowns.

I can now say that there is no doubt Wizards is reading my **** and stealing my ideas.

Clearly.

:paranoid:

Welcome to the club.

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Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
So, this forthcoming Magic set has Planeswalking twins AND a what appears to be a Fae who steals crowns.

I can now say that there is no doubt Wizards is reading my **** and stealing my ideas.

Clearly.

:paranoid:

Welcome to the club.

Thanks. It's nice in here. A bit drafty, though. We should get some walls.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:30 am 
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I can't believe that googling "knotting hill" nets no punny results from the furry community.

I'm moderately sorry to unleash (heh) that sentence on your eyes.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:11 pm 
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What did you expect? A violin playing goat?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:25 pm 
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EDIT. New theme. Dark palette. Sidebar is permanent, but now has stuff in it. Actually has a header. Kind of a big left gutter, I guess that's for banner adds if and when I actually opt in to that? Really the issue was I couldn't make the other one not brown. I mean, parchment yellow + brown probably more inviting than white but still not the best colors in the world.

Hopefully it's a bit better now.

It seems a lot better in general -- I always appreciate dark themes -- although it feels maybe a little sparse? It may be for ads, like you say, but it feels like there should be some sort of background art or something now that I can concentrate on it without gouging out my eyeballs (sorry for the extreme metaphor). If this is through googlebloggerblog, I think you can set repeating background images; I recall making mine a bookshelf back when I had designs to get into reviewing things (anime, games, whatever).

Also, I can understand if the option is incompatible with the theme, but I generally prefer not having the entire article loaded before going to it. Partly, having a specific article page makes revisitiing it from my history or bookmarking it easier, and partly because I'm an old fogey who prefers the older, more compartmentalized version of the internet.

--------

@ Huey:
As someone who is aware of what you're talking about, why? Just, why?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:50 am 
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mjack33 wrote:
What did you expect? A violin playing goat?

Having never seen the movie, I had to google that. Interesting detail, considering the topic :D

@ Huey:
As someone who is aware of what you're talking about, why? Just, why?

Here's the answer to a clearly rhetorical question:

In the office where I work there's a London-themed image with "notting hill" written on the far left, right against the frame, as if the first word might be incomplete. My sleep-deprived brain decided to help and supplied a "k". My following thought was: there's no way I'm the first to think of that! So I googled it. (with the office wi-fi, btw. Not living in an English-speaking country has its perks)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:23 pm 
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The drawback of having characters deeply tied to your own psyche: writing them overcoming the psychological chains you barely know how to live within is borderline impossible. (That's the reason why I'm portraying Sharaka everywhere except in her own canon storyline lately)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:25 am 
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@ Huey:
As someone who is aware of what you're talking about, why? Just, why?


Because James Bond never had to put up with this ****:


In the office where I work

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Also, I can understand if the option is incompatible with the theme, but I generally prefer not having the entire article loaded before going to it. Partly, having a specific article page makes revisitiing it from my history or bookmarking it easier, and partly because I'm an old fogey who prefers the older, more compartmentalized version of the internet.

Good news everyone! I was able to at least fix this much. The theme didn't create snippets automatically (at least one of the other two I tried out did), but Wordpress has a mechanism to force them by inserting a magic "more" block between any two paragraphs.

I wasn't too worried when there was only one post, since I thought it might auto things, but with two it was virtually unusable without 'more' blocks. I'm the same kind of internet fogey as you, really.

I'd say I'd get on that repeating background image, but I'm kind of petrified of using copyrighted images and don't want to just use a texture that would make things busier without adding identity.

~~~

Wasn't Knotting Hill a RomCom in like the late '90s, maybe the early 2000's with some stupidly famous actors? That's all the phrase reminds me of.

That was a thing, right?

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