About this page

Why would I make a Neocities page?

Well, you've probably seen my small explanation at the homepage. This page states the reasons in more detail.

The basic points are these: first, social media usually encourages users to look only for the latest content. Now, this is the best way to deal with a variety of data (you probably don't want a permanent link to what your friends were eating last week to be displayed every time you enter the social media of your choice), but sometimes you come across something (or write something yourself) that you think deserves a more permanent space. Second, the simplicity and lightweight (by today's standards) of Neocities pages practically guarrantees there won't be any speed issues caused by them (for someone, like me, who has a bad habit of opening a lot of social media tabs at once in a not-that-powerful notebook, this is a very good reason indeed). Third, I certainly don't mind learning a bit of HTML while building the page (and up to now, it's been easier than I thought!). Fourth, I won't deny that there's a nostalgia factor involved, but there's also an aesthetic one: as much as it can seem bizarre to some, I not only miss the old Geocities pages but I think many of them were more pleasing than most people give them credit for. And finally, I think the possibilities Neocities opens mesh well with certain features of a kind of attitude that I have. In a sense, every internet user is a filter of information - "filtering" meaning basically "reading and pointing". We're always reading things and pointing at them on the internet. Thus the way or style in which we do this, what I like to call our "reading and pointing" attitude, says a lot about who we are. I'll try to clarify those points below, as well as try to describe my own atitudes. (perhaps you'll identify with some of the things I talk about!)


Certainly this is the easiest part to comprehend: everyone who accesses the internet regularly has, one way or another, a reading attitude, even if some have it stronger than others. Sometimes one hears about how we are living in a "post-literacy" society because of all the new media on the internet, but I think this is at best overstating the case: even if it's just reading tweets or other social media status, I'd guess that we spend most of our time on the internet reading. Besides, all the kinds new media also demand new types of literacy to be able to correctly understand the information being conveyed, even if it's a very different kind of literacy than the traditional one.

On a similar point: access to information has been pretty rare historically to most people on Earth; as soon as the internet proccess of allowing unprecedented control about which information one gets, coupled with an also unprecedented range of information started unfolding (a proccess still very much ongoing due to the wonderful digital archiving initiatives), people hurried to make the most of it. A very positive scenario, and one which confirms Aristotle's old hunch that basically everyone likes to know things.

However, it is completely impossible to understand the vast amout of extant information in the world today, and this has been the case for a while; since what we usually call the Middle Ages at least, and maybe even before then. The difference is that access to it has increased enormously, and this also has unintended bad consequences for one's reading. I, for one, have struggled a lot with it: it's tantalizing to have access to so much information... at the same time it can be confusing to find one's way through it all, or even a bit depressing to know we simply won't know it all. Sometimes I go on "reading binges" without noticing, opening lots of tabs and trying to read all the articles and blog posts kind of at the same time. The result is that I simply become very tired in the middle of the day without necessity. I've also noticed that the ubiquity of information has even damaged my willpower to read longer texts and books. My recent atitude has been one of trying to take it more slowly and calmly, storing texts to read later instead of trying to read everything at once (for which Neocities has obvious advantages - expect the "links" page to always grow a lot) and reading the texts themselves at a slower speed (and I think Neocities can help me with this too, actually - but more on that later).


Hyperlinks are the wonder of our times - not that they haven't existed in some form or other before. They exist since at least the time of Euclid's Elements and the Talmud. However our age is the one who was able to realize their true potential on the web. Nowadays we all link to stuff on our social media all the time (indeed one could argue that pointing at something is an inherently social action), but it all vanishes quickly or becomes something of a mess. Neocities' appeal is obvious here.

However there are some bookmarking services on the web. Why put my links on Neocities? First of all, Neocities is a more social way to do it simply because the site isn't just about the links - at least it doesn't have to be. I feel it's also simpler to maintain. Also, my bookmarks and history have been a mess for years - when I recently found a way to export my history to a txt file, what I got was something bigger than 50mb! Really, a 50-plus-mb TXT file! Putting the links on a webpage one by one forces me to be organized - and it also has the potential to be something relaxing to do when I don't want to do anything else.

Thus Neocitites is a nice option for me. But of course, "filtering" isn't all that we do on the internet. Even while we do it, we are also creating new information, that is, writing. So let's look into that as well.

...and writing!

For many, many years now I've struggled to write, most of the time (never a good thing for a humanities student). Then two or three years ago I got a new binder and started to write basically anything that I felt like writing: journals, rants, even just copying some quotations by hand. It worked for a long time and I began to write like crazy, but then it became rather unwieldy: after hundreds of pages written I could almost never find what I wrote about something beforehand. After some months stuck again I started to try a simple numbering system for my writings: the first thing I wrote was number 1, the second was number 2, and so on. And if I later thought I had some commentary or anything to add to what I've written before (say, text number 14) I'd make it number 14.1 - and if I had a commentary to that, 14.1.1, and so on. This also started becoming unwieldy, but at number 99 I started listing the things I'd written by their number and date, and this system works well to this day.

Well, kinda. I still get stuck once in a while - as everyone does, I guess - and since some months ago (August 2015, to be more specific) writer's block has intensified a lot. For some reason I've started to feel discouraged to write smaller notes into this system. Plus, because everything is written by hand (which had at one point helped me recover from another writer's block) I don't usually write about links on the internet or stuff like that, which would of course be an easy way to write more. So this page is an attempt to harness that kind of urge to write - the one that comes packed with hyperlinks.

In the end, everything boils down to two things I've discovered while dealing with writer's block: if you feel like writing something, write it, no matter how trivial or uninteresting it might seem; if you feel that something will help you feel like writing, do it, no matter how irrational - go for a walk, stop reading for a time, buy a new pen, etc. These days I feel like writing some (most probably trivial) things on a personal website, so here I am.

Appendix: But why the name Hydra?

Well, for everything one reads there are two more things to read; for everything one points there are two more things to point at; for everything one writes there are two more things to write about... Kind of like the Lernean Hydra. It's a bit hard dealing with that (at least it is for me), but that's just the way it is. Since I'm trying to accept that and make it something positive, it seemed like a fitting name.

Plus it's nice to be one of the early adopters and be able to pick a small namespace not cluttered with numbers and underlines. :P