Happiness and Misadventures

Black Mirror

These have been weird weeks. They've been both full of anxiety and tiny pleasures. The anxiety mostly comes from the house renovation I already talked about. On the World Wild Web, though, I found out an AI application called Midjourney. I first read about it in Rob Sheridan's newsletter, then I asked to access their beta – now it's public. After a month and half, I got a Discord link to access a weird world, full of channels overflowing with images generated by an Artificial Intelligence.

DALL•E is very discussed, but I think that Midjourney has great potential too. You just have to insert an idea and a set of images is generated. I immediately made some tests, giving it some weird prompts as "painting of a god, greek, mythology, sitting in a pub with a three-headed cerberus". Here are the results, with the relative prompt:

"Egyptian hieroglyphs of a xenomorph, alien movie, ancient temple, dirt on the wall"
"Void horror, Cthulhu, terrifying atmosphere, madness"
"Painting of a god, greek, mythology, sitting in a pub with a three-headed cerberus"

I was shocked, both thrilled and amazed by that power; as they say, at this point the limit is our imagination. Then, I started thinking about how I could use this app to produce some content for my blogs (Godsip Club and this website). I thought to try to create some of the images or landscapes depicted in my short stories. Here they are:

This is from Cirapé, when Micheael sees "double" outside the schoolbus window
Always from Cirapé, the view of the cave (with a lot of fog!)
From Shavaky, the mountain above the mine and a mysterious light
From Uroboro, the stone sphere discovered by the main character
Always from Uroboro, a cromlech made of stones

The potential is huge, but after a while, a person should think: what's better between an artist and an inspiring/awesome image generated by a computer? Should we be truly excited by this?

A note: when I first started writing this words, more than two months ago, Midjourney was quite new. Now, everyone talks about it. As often, I am too quiet, and I never share the cool news I find.

Rearview Mirror

About mirrors, in June, I got inspiration for a short story —Kathréftis– and I would like to explain a couple of details of the plot with some notes. Just like the "Extras" in DVDs. As an exercise, I wanted to create some backstory and references... but taking secondary ways while implying them. I wanted to describe some concepts, but without writing them. I hope that the reader will catch or appreciate some of these. So yeah, from here on there will be huge spoilers about the short story.

First of all, the god imprisoned in the mirror is Pan. I described it as "a satyr" and the mirror comes from Greece. Also, the image the woman sees describes accurately his features. His screeches are one of his distinguishing elements/weapons, which he used against the Titans. He is also... a sex addict – in the tales, the nymphs are often victims of deceptions or rapes. One of his great affairs is with Selene, goddess of the full moon, which appears in the last scene, reflected in the lake. It is quite subtle, I know.

Finally, for the mansion, I took inspiration from a real estate ad:

There it is, on sale for one million and half euros. Pfft, I could have avoided the renovation.

So, in brief, my intention was to create a second story in the reader's mind: someone, in Greece, successfully imprisoned Pan in a mirror. In 1889, then, the god tricked his jailer with his powers and forced him to kill his beloved ones. But why, the mirror? Well, it's one of the many objects with hidden powers and legends linked to it, like the spindle.

The overall style of the short story is inspired by Guy de Maupassant. I found a book with his dark short stories and I really enjoyed it. Too bad he died in a mental institute, just 42 years old. Someone says that some of his tales foretold his destiny, since many of the characters suffered the same fate. About half of the tales I read –my favorite ones– were about supernatural or mystical forces. The other half, though, talked about sadness and mental illness. A very interesting reading anyway, which I recommend to all Lovecraft or Poe's fans.

"Cabinet de travail de Guy de Maupassant, par Gustave Fraipont" (Wikimedia). Quite essential and fascinating. Put a PS4 in there and I'm in.

Mirror Ball

At last, some random thought, like just the reflections on a mirror ball. But first, a nice random album to listen.

For writers (which I am not), a good exercise is writing one line per time: you get more focused and it's easier to review the text. Also, it is very handful when writing in Markdown and with with tools as Obsidian or Bear.

I finally implemented a dynamic reading progress bar in this website, even though I'm not completely satisfied with it.

I used Midjourney also to generate logos for my blogs. The new Crooked Ink logo was born this way. I also played a bit with CSS for that "lightning effect". Any opinions? Also, I'd like to create something from this cool one:

"Godsip club, as logo, mythologic, norse, svg"

Changing subject, Wikipedia's layout sucks! At least, for desktops. The mobile version is MUCH better, in my opinion. That's why I recommend using a browser extension like this one to redirect all the pages to the mobile site.

Ok, I'm done with random thoughts.

P.S. Happy birthday to one of the sweetest and most stubborn person who ever existed.

P.P.S. As I said, I started writing this post two months ago. In these days, nothing changed about our house renovation. Here in Italy, the situation is dramatic. Seriously. 👢🤡

#crooked ink #folklore #renovation