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DIY Thigh Implants

If you hadn't already guessed, I'm referring to the film 'Tetsuo: The Iron Man' (鉄男: The Iron Man). I hope you didn't think I was planning on jamming a metal rod into a wound on my thigh, and are now disappointed.

I've still not entirely established to myself whatever it is I want to talk about on this website, but seeing as I've discussed a variety of things - some of which not belonging to me, such as my post on Qutebrowser or my post on PC-98 era Touhou games, there's no reason I can't talk about a film I really enjoy.

A frame from Tetsuo

There are a couple of reasons I feel like talking about it. I'm interested in a lot of media and various types of art, and you may notice references around my site, but I may not necessarily talk about them: this is generally because they're well-known. I feel Tetsuo is somewhat known, but not nearly as much as it should be.

And I get the feeling, among those following my site, there are many people that would enjoy a low-tech low-life body horror film. Tetsuo is referenced as a "cyberpunk" film, but Eastern and Western conceptualisations of "cyberpunk" wildly differ - Japanese cyberpunk tends to a depiction of industrial, metallic imagery, and a narrative that can lean more or less towards being incomprehensible. A good, better-known example may be the manga series/animated film Akira. Because of Tetsuo's dark and vivid imagery, surreal pacing, and low-budget underground production, I imagine many here would appreciate it. That, and it packs a lot into the space of an hour. I'm sure you can spare an hour.

I'm sure it goes without saying, but this is an adult film, neither for young children or the faint of heart. I mean, come on.

The production also stands as an example of how much you can do on a severely restricted budget. The camera is monochrome. The animation is done with stop-motion. The metal growth was produced by taping discarded electronics to the actors' bodies. And it looks fantastic. The thought put into the lighting, angle, and perspective of the camera shows. Occasionally the film drops into long indulgent footage, scrawling over wiring, metal, and industrial components to the enthralling beat of the original soundtrack by Chu Ishikawa (石川忠). Everything adds up, contributing to the vivid, claustrophobic, unhinged feeling of the film. That being said, it is rumoured that the production was such a painful experience most of the crew aside from the actors had left, and the director - Shinya Tsukamoto (塚本 晋也) - almost burned the negatives.

Animated scene from Tetsuo, of the maggot infested wound

Tetsuo does have an underlying plot - it isn't just a film about metal monstrosities beating each other around (though there's enough of that to taste). The plot itself is fairly straightforward, though requires some attention. I'll give a rough summary of the plot below, skip to avoid spoilers. This summary explains things (as far as I understand them) chronologically, rather than revealing secrets in the same order as the film, so if you've already seen it may help you understand.

Plot (spoilers, obviously)

The metal fetishist (MF) has a chunk of metal lodged into his brain. The doctor is surprised he is still breathing and has made it to a hospital. This may explain his fascination with implanting metal into his body, or may be a consequence of it. MF is at his hideout, full of rusted scrap metal and pictures of athletes. He rips open his thigh, and thrusts a metal rod inside. Presumably later, he unwraps it, to discover the wound is infested with maggots. Terrified, he runs out onto the road, and is hit by the car of a salaryman and his girlfriend (SM and GF). He dies upon being hit. SM and GF discard the body in a forest, having sex afterwards, in front of his makeshift grave. SM is tormented by daydreams and visions of industrial machinery. A metal spike protrudes from his cheek, which he covers. GF cannot stop thinking about the accident. On SM's way to work, a woman sitting next to him notices an amalgamation of flesh and metal on the ground, pokes it, and quickly becomes a puppet of MF's spirit. SM flees in terror to hide in a toilet, but is able to kill her with his own growing metal powers. SM later dreams of GF sodomising him with a giant metal phallus. SM and GF have sex after he has woken up. They eat a meal, but SM cannot stop thinking about metal, the chewing food sounds like scraping metal. SM's transformation accelerates. His penis has been transformed into a large metal drill. SM hides from GF, afraid to let her see him. GF convinces him to come out. GF is horrified, and her rejection of him after her confidence angers SM, and he attacks her. GF stabs him in the neck with a kitchen knife, and believing to have killed him, commits suicide by impaling herself on his spinning drill. As SM regains consciousness, MF laughs at him. SM has completed his transformation, and now MF is coming to hunt him down. SM tries to commit suicide by electrocution, but in his transformed state it only stimulates him further. SM possesses the body of GF, destroying all metal in his wake. MF easily overpowers SM, and shows him a vision of the "New World" - a world overcome by metal, depicting SM as a human trapped in a pod, then screaming, consumed by metal pipes and wires and stripped of flesh. MF chases SM through the city, beating him around, before MF is incapacitated by a vision from his childhood of being beaten by a vagrant with a metal stick. MF gets up and attempts to attack SM, but SM is now too powerful, and they absorb each other, becoming a single tank-like monstrosity. They claim with the power of their love, they will burn the world and return it to a rusted ball in space.

I found the whole thing weirdly moving, almost sympathetic. If I've not convinced you yet, you should listen to my jam, it's amazing. And if you've already seen and like it, you should find more of Shinya Tsukamoto's works, other films of Kei Fujiwara (不二稿 京) such as 'Organ', and try out some music from Chu Ishikawa.

Neither the image or the animation in this article belongs to me, they are taken from '鉄男: The Iron Man' and credit goes to respective parties.

2020.12.27

2020.12.27Article Page

My Bad ASCII Art

This is going to be another "I have nowhere else to dump these, so rather than lose them to the eventual abyss I may as well dump them here" post, but this edition comes with a shell script included at the back, so it may (or may not) be worth reading. I have little to show for myself at the moment (as of writing this - at Mon 31 Aug 2020 17:23) also, so it's probable this will be added to at some point in the future.

ASCII art involves the effort of creating images with just the 128 (7-bit - 2^7) range of characters as defined in the ASCII standard. Although, I think this does vary from country to country, and as time has gone on 'ASCII art' has become a looser and looser definition anyway. You may also see similar art made with Japanese characters, in places such as text boards and old 2chan - this is Shift_JIS art, referring to the Japanese Industrial Standards character set, and a fairly similar concept. I prefer Shift_JIS, but ASCII is much more universal among machines when not running a graphical interface.

ASCII art was more common in the past, where GUIs though present were hardly universal on operating systems. Particularly when internet browsing was done much more often on BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems) and Usenet groups, and using graphics to display a welcoming banner on a BBS or TUI newsreader would have not been possible, and wouldn't be for some time. I could also imagine someone dealing with Xorg in the late 90s on Linux just opting to stay in a TTY instead.

Creating ASCII art takes a level of time commitment and obsession (particularly for more substantial pieces) that is hardly reasonable, especially now that access to actual images is readily available, and "ASCII art converters" exist. Nonetheless, I'm the perfect type of weirdo to foster pointless obsessions. It's fun to fill my time with. You can use them in your /etc/issue or /etc/motd (before login - useful for showing system information, and after login, respectively). "motd" refers to "message of the day", a relic of system administrators giving their users messages in a more convenient format than via e-mail, for example, to declare rules, and is executed before the login shell. ASCII art can also be used in your system information fetch program of choice - I've written my own, I'll probably post it when I port it to C (it's a mess).

Anyway, enough chatter.

$ cat cat

 
        nn/|__/|
       / / o  -|       .--. 
______/ _\   w |_     / /\ \
XXXXX(___ `````\ \___/ /  \ \
      || \      ) )  _/____\ \
      ||  \____/ />_________uuu>
______||_______uuu______________

          |\
          | \__________
          |            |
          |  HEY BABY  |
          |            |
	  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Download

A Meme-y MOTD

Download

Some Art to Lain your Non-graphical OS

I've also included some links to versions I can use in my fetch program. I think they are mostly neofetch-compatible, no promises.

/etc/issue

This shows the relevant system information on your login screen:

Download
Download for *fetch

/etc/motd

Download
Download for *fetch

As an aside mention, figlet is very useful for making a variety of stylised ASCII fonts, that I've made some use of here.

At last, the promised script

I recently made a script for the purpose of conveniently as possible making coloured art on a text terminal, without making any use of GUI. I say "conveniently as possible" for a reason, because it's hardly 'convenient', just more convenient.

I can't yet think of a smart way of writing coloured ASCII characters from the terminal, in any legible way. Just look at the "Awoo Systems Ltd" source, and you'll see what I mean. To make it convenient to write, in a way that you can see your work as you write it, would probably require a full-blown editor (completely possible, but beyond the scope of 'I was bored, so I made this' scripts).

I did however realise that the 8 "background" colours available in my TTY could be designated the numbers 0 to 7, and that they could act as coloured pixels to create simple sprites (I have a maximum of 50 rows and 160 columns to work with). The convenience of this method, is that you can see the shape of the image you are making as you write it. I have an example here.


You can download Erdrick below:

Download

And here's my script:

message () {
cat << EOF
colour:
-------
Colorise output based on numbers 1 - 7.
The output file can be displayed with cat.

usage: colours <inputfile>

0 - black
1 - red
2 - green
3 - yellow
4 - blue
5 - purple
6 - cyan
7 - white
EOF
}

[[ $# != 1 ]] && message && exit 1

in=$1
tmp=$(mktemp)
out="${1}.cout"
char=" "
count=0
max=7

find $out > /dev/null 2>&1; [[ $? == 0 ]] && read -p "Output file \"${out}\" already exists. Overwrite? [Y/n]: " write
[[ $write != "y" && $write != "Y" && -n $write ]] && echo Exit. && exit 0

cp $in $tmp
while [ $count -le $max ]; do
	sed -i "s/$count/^[[${count}m${char}/g" $tmp
	((count+=1))
done
count=0

while [ $count -le $max ]; do
	if [[ $count != 3 ]]; then
		sed -i "s/$count/;3${count}/g" $tmp
	fi
	((count+=1))
done
	
sed -i "s/3m/;33m/g" $tmp
sed -i "s/;/7;/g" $tmp
sed -i "s/m /m ^[[0m/g" $tmp
cp $tmp $out
rm $tmp
printf "^[[0m" >> $out
echo "./${out} created."

exit 0

You can get it here. I've recently made a Git repository for the shell scripts I mention on this site, and it's probably best to fetch them from there, as I'll change them often. Recently I had to change the ban script because I wasn't 100% confident in it. It's also because I got around to dealing with the fact that my code blocks look terrible on text-based browers, they're illegible - they look much better on my Git front-end. Hopefully both will look good from this article onwards. I use Lynx.

Anyway, that's it for now. Nixx out.

As of: Aug 31 2020 18:20


A few additions since I was last here

I enjoy this kind of thing. I made a few of my girlfriend too, but I'll keep those ones to myself - as much as it pains me to do so, as those ones I put by far the most effort into. Anyway, take some more.

Ed

Download

Lain

Download

Longcat - RIP

Download

Some random girl

Download

2021.04.12: I have a repo on my Git server for whenever I decide I feel like making more ASCII art, you should check it out.

2020.09.0X

2020.09.0XArticle Page

How I Make Bitmap-esque Art

Nixx is back, back again.

I was feeling the itch to spam this site with more nonsense posts before we hit 1000 IPs. At the moment of writing this, there were 873 recorded this morning. I've been fairly busy with work and courses for a while, but all of a sudden the storm's cleared for the moment.

I've added a few more backgrounds to the site, among some other minor changes. You can get the backgrounds on my website repo, under the /images/backgrounds/ directory, alternatively you can find them on the bg.php page which is used in the main stylesheet. Since I've done that, I thought I'd mention how I make the style of images I use on this site, as it's surprisingly easy.

Making the Images

For this, I'm using GIMP, get it there or within almost any Linux distro's repositories. I am using version 2.10, though I'm sure it applies to many other versions. These aren't necessarily complex actions though, so a similar method likely applies to other editors. I would bet money on there being even a way to automate it with imagemagick I'm as of yet unaware of.

High-res, heavy-contrast images are recommended.

When you have the image you want at the scale you want, go to Image > Mode on the ribbon, and select "Indexed". Under Colourmap, select "Generate Optimum Palette" and choose 2 colours. Under Dithering, I generally prefer "Floyd Steinberg (reduced colour bleeding)" - play with the others to see the effects.

The hard part is already done

You now have a two-colour image. Congrats. Wasn't hard.

Because the two colour palette should be a mean of the two most common colours on the image, you may or may not be happy with the colours you find. You can change these colours fairly easily though. Go back to Image > Mode again and return the image to "RGB" - releasing the image from being stuck in only two colours. The colours can now be whatever you want.

I have two main "palettes" of colours I will change my images to at this point - one is simple white on black (used in the backgrounds), and the other is pink on transparent (used in many other images around the site). You can use this for whatever combination of colours you want, too. Go to Colours > Map, and select "Colour Exchange". From there, it's pretty clear how to pick a from and to colour to change each of your two colours. Under Colours, "Colour to Alpha" may be used to make a colour transparent, although you should make sure the opacity threshold is at the minimum, to prevent the transparency from bleeding into the other colour.

And colours, done

Here's one I made just for the sake of this example:

I recommend exporting them as a gif - as a jpg loses fine detail, and png isn't as well suited for this kind of compression. Gifs are great for their low file size, comparative to resolution.

Inspirations

I was partially inspired by the work of Mattis Dovier - although what he does looks much better than mine, and I could guess he does much more of his work manually.

All of the above belong to Mattis Dovier, not me.

And of course by Fauux, who makes far more interesting things than I ever will.

The above can be found on fauux.neocities.org, and does not belong to me.

Extras

Of course, rather than choose just two colours, you can achieve a nice aesthetic with 4 colours, or 8 colours. Under Filters, there is "Blur" and "Distort", which host a variety of interesting tools to play with, including pixelisation and video degradation effects. Filters in general are worth thoroughly exploring. In the end, with minimal effort you can get something like this:

Also, if you use a literal bitmap (not a pretend one), you can edit it much more manually. Bitmaps can be edited in Vim, and twisted in Audacity, provided you miss the first few percent of the image's data (the header). Really. In reference to this post, the "heart" I made was a mix of GIMP and Vim. The glitching star animation was a mix of GIMP, Vim, and Audacity. I've seen people make far more impressive images with presumably a greater time investment.

2020.08.1X

2020.08.1XArticle Page

Touhou 1 - 5 (and PC-98 in general) on DOSBox-X

I completed Mystic Square in one run a few days ago, which reminded me that getting it to play correctly was once a pain, so I thought I may as well write about it.

TouHou?

Games about cute girls with frilly hats. In the mainline series they shoot at each other with magical powers.

It's a bullethell game, with just the right amount of edge to make me feel invested and exasperated when I finish the game, but no so much that it's impossible to finish it in one run. Major enemies and bosses are by far the most fun, often having several different attack patterns you need to very quickly learn to advance through the game. With (later games having) many playable characters, difficulty levels, and choice of initial extra lives, it's extremely replayable, and very easy to pick up and put down whenever.

The music also deserves a mention, because the composition is fantastic and I will load an emulator just to go on "Music Room".

It's great for a mid to late 90s arcade style game, the later of the PC-98 series fitting on 11 MB and the former 2 on half of that. I would argue the games became more engaging, balanced, and showed "more experience" from the developer as the series went on. The only thing I feel really lacking is a save feature, or a functional save-state alternative in my emulator (I've yet to try others besides DOSBox-X - so feel free to make me feel stupid).

Also, I play because it's free (as in "free beer"). I'm the cheapest person I know. Any game released for the PC-98 is abandonware, as the PC-98 was discontinued is 2003 and stopped shipping in 2004.

Weeb.

Yeah.

Copies are Hard to Come By

There are a few places in which you can get the files. I happen to be one of those places. [1]

The font.rom file is essential, so download that too.

Why DOSBox-X?

There are no strong reasons to be fair, I just like that DOSBox-X can emulate a variety of environments ("'Bloat, bloat,' they howl"), including MS-DOS and PC-98. If you only care about PC-98, xnp2 is a fine choice, and referenced on the TouHou Files page.

Set-up

Obviously, get DOSBox-X. The compilation is run by a makefile - it's a rather large program, so expect it to take a while and run your CPU a little toasty. Alternatively, I hear of an RPM and a Snap existing, but I prefer to compile. The wiki discusses some of its more interesting features.

You'll find a file in your build directory (assuming you compiled - if not, you're on your own from here) called dosbox-x.reference.conf. You can safely copy the whole thing to dosbox-x.conf, and from there start editing. Or create an empty 'dosbox-x.conf' file, and include only what you need for clarity.

Some of my useful options, for PC-98 emulation:
[sdl] output = opengl [dosbox] machine = pc98 cascade interrupt ignore in service = true [render] aspect = true scaler = rgb2x forced

Yes, the headers in square brackets are necessary. Some are essential, like "machine = pc98", some are just personal aesthetics, like "scaler = rgb2x forced". Play around - you'll have a different monitor to me, and likely a different keyboard (mine is jp106). There are probably plenty of useful settings I don't know of, I've just done the bare minimum to have it functional and aesthetically pleasing. Many of these settings can be found in the GUI, but this sets them permanently and is more robust. I also believe these can be passed as parameters when executing "./src/dosbox-x", but I don't know why you'd want to do it that way and I've not tried it.

Set-up - font.rom

Additionally, remember the font.rom file from earlier? Drop that in the build directory. Things should look a lot better after that.

You should now have an emulated machine capable of playing PC98 games, and making them look good on your screen at that. Congrats.

Actually mounting the files to boot and play

There was also surprisingly little information on this part, so here goes.

You need to be in the bottom of the root directory when executing the program, where font.rom can also be found. I have a simple bash alias set up like so:

alias dosbox='cd /path/to/build/of/dosbox-x/ && /path/to/build/of/dosbox-x/src/dosbox-x'

When you're actually within the emulator:

Z:¥>mount c /path/to/game/files/ Z:¥>c: C:¥>imgmount 2 game.hdi -fs none C:¥>boot -l c

Your game, should, hopefully now be good to go. I've found minor issues with TouHou 3, TouHou 5 works great. You can play any PC-98 game you can get your hands on, in theory.

The 3 images in this article do not belong to me - they are screenshots of gameplay of 東方怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square, and the game belongs to Team Shanghai Alice/ZUN.

Sharing Screenshots

DOSBox-X includes the functionality to take a screenshot, which you can bind to a less awkward key. This takes a screenshot of the game without any of the aspect or scalers effects, which frankly look better than the screenshots I took with scrot. Oh well, wish I knew that before I made this post. Nonetheless, it at least gives you a good idea of how my configuration settings may make the screen look.


[1] 2021.04.12: This was originally a link to 2h.ryhl.io, but they seem to have since then gone down/stopped hosting the files.

2020.08.04

2020.08.04Article Page
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