A few housekeeping notes:
1) There is a new article on Dodongo's Cavern within the Ocarina of Time menu; I had originally skipped the Cavern, not finding much of architectural worth within it, but recently had a random thought that I should cover it, at least in some depth. So I did. As I expected, there was not too much to analyze or discover, but it was still an enjoyable afternoon, and yielded some interesting findings.
2) Another new article can be found under the Random Articles tab, and it concerns game design within the Great Deku Tree. As a warning, I have no experience writing about game design; I simply felt moved to try my hand at it. I hope the result is worthwhile.
And, as a final note to all my Buddhist friends and fellow sangha members around the world, happy birthday to Siddhartha Gautama; may all sentient beings find peace and equanimity.
Some research (though there is not much on the topic) shows that the use of hyperlinks in articles, e-books, and their ilk radically interrupts our engagement in a piece. (If curious, look into the work of Nicholas Carr.) Each hyperlink, while potentially useful, also represents a Carrollian rabbit hole of twisting, shifting information. Each thing we click on reveals a new visual world to take in, changing our attention momentarily, separating us from the work with which we are engaged. Each new stimulus rips us from our object of focus. And it takes us far longer than we realize to become refocused. I don't want to drag on about this, but I think it is a thing very important - that we control our own attention. Few things are as important as that. Without the ability to place our attention where we want and when, we are basically slaves to impulse and random stimuli. To that end, I try to strip this website of everything unnecessary: ads, comment sections, hashtags, etc.
The internet is distressing because it encourages fast-paced skimming, flitting around between media, a plethora of simultaneous stimuli, and efficiency over depth, none of which is good for our psychological well-being or cultivated habits. I hope this all makes sense.
As always, I'm interested in your thoughts, as well.
A few mental mathoms* for you all:
1) More riddles have nestled into their homes among the others this past week; a few were added to the "Middling" section, and a few to the "Simple" section. I encourage you to hone your linguistic and mental faculties upon them! (They're not too difficult, of course, but even a moment's thought can be the equivalent of a few jumping jacks.)
2) The holidays, while wonderful, have meant that I've given almost no time to anything Zelda-related for a few weeks; I have been playing through the new DLC (to mixed review) slowly, and am perhaps close to the end, now.
3) The next article will be on Kakariko Village, which means that I need to venture in time thousands of years (perhaps only hundreds, depending on our timeline here) to new eras in Japanese history, alighting on some sense of vernacular architecture (being the "folk" architecture of homes and public structures). I really loved this incarnation of Kakariko, and I have quite a bit to say, especially concerning the music, which I greatly enjoy.
Winter wellbeing to everyone.
Until next year,
*Mathom - an old word of the Hobbit-dialect, not recorded as being in use outside the Shire. It was used to refer to "trinkets" or any item that had no particular immediate use.
This is more house-keeping than anything else, but some of you may have noticed that the forums walked off into the wilderness and were never seen again; in talking with someone from Weebly, they reported that: "The Tal.ki forum was not a service provided directly by Weebly and was not a tool over which we had even the slightest control. We added it to our editor in partnership with Tal.ki in order to provide our users an easy way to simply drag a forum on to their site, however after several issues with the forum element we elected to discontinue its use and removed it from the elements tray." So, in short, there was nothing to be done. Apologies on my end, as well, for not notifying any of you in advance.
That said, I will soon be embedding another forum into the site, so that communication can flow again. You'll soon know what that looks like. And, again, I apologize for any inconvenience.
On an article-related note, I am about halfway done with an article on Ancient Sheikah art and architecture; there has been a lot of fascinating research over the past weeks, and now I finally get to play Breath of the Wild with a critical eye toward architecture. The article should be released within a few weeks.
Thanks for your patience.
Though the title says it all, I'll explain it a bit more. As I have just finished my Breath of the Wild review (which took longer than I imagined it would, as per norm), I finally have something to post! Being the first thing concerning Breath of the Wild that I've written, I now need somewhere to store it; to that end, you will now be able to find a section entitled "Breath of the Wild" under the Articles header. As I write more about the game, that is where things will be located, as with everything else game-related on this website. If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to reach out.
Thanks for your patience, and please enjoy!
An Eastern Cottonwood in the Loess Hills of Western Iowa - May 2017
Summer for a teacher is a time of great freedom, but also of restraint. This restraint I speak of is not externally-imposed, nor is it truly binding; what I mean is that such free time must be guided by internal precepts and careful management: it is easy to let it simply slip away. Without goals and dedicated practice, summertime can pass in an eye's blink, leaving us with nothing but expended time. And, while there is perhaps nothing inherently wrong with comfort and relaxation, I tend to think that many people see this as the end goal of life. They mistake summers spent by the pool's edge or barbecuing (this obviously extends outside of summertime, and outside of these specific activities) for a good life, but this is simply a comfortable life. Comfort has a place -- the pool and grill can greatly augment time spent with friends -- but it is not the end for which we strive. I worry for those that spend life in such a way, but then get to life's end and have little on which to reflect seriously. And this may sound presumptuous coming from someone with such a limited perspective, but this is the life I see as lived by many around me. And it is from this perspective that I also worry about myself. With all this free time, am I using it in a way that is conducive to personal growth, simultaneously enriching myself and others? Could my time spent studying X be better spent pursuing Y? I'm not sure. I certainly have structure, and engagement with loved ones and projects bigger than myself, but I cannot help but ponder the intellectually-tempting if-then.
Strangely enough, for how arcane and, to others, "pointless" this website is, it has never been a subject of doubt in my mind: it is one of the few things I do that I am completely certain is worthwhile. It is a constant work in progress, and a project-without-end.  Furthermore, it gives me almost-limitless freedom to work in an intellectual space of my choosing. (I assume this is what university research is like, without the bureaucratic nonsense and scramble for tenure. And teaching. And office-hours. And grant-writing. So, perhaps it's nothing like that at all.) Regardless, this subject and the writings it has spawned have put me in touch with a host of delightful, intelligent people, as well as broadened my worldview greatly. In short, there is really nothing to doubt. Sure, perhaps these writings reach only hundreds of people (and fewer on a meaningful level); and sure, there are few things more niche and specialized than this area of discussion; yet, I'm not of the belief that something's worth is always a corollary of popularity or mass-appeal, and so there is a surety that exists behind this project that doesn't exist so solidly in my other endeavors.
On a final note, I am now finished with my (somewhat lengthy) review of Breath of the Wild. It is undergoing some editing currently, but should be posted within a week or so. From there, I'm going to jump right into the game itself; there is a great deal there, but I must start sometime.
If you have any comments on anything above, or if you have experiences with Breath of the Wild you'd like to share, feel free to leave them here or in the forum. I'd love to read them.
 The nitty-gritty grammatical changes, if you are interested: I've slowly been making some editorial (cosmetic, mostly) changes over the past few days: mostly concerning em dashes and ellipses. The em dash formats strangely on this website, however, manifesting itself sometimes as a long dash (as it is supposed to), and sometimes as a set of two hyphens (--); the ellipses should be headed from "..." to ". . .", which is more tasteful to me. The last cosmetic alteration has to do with citations; some of you may have noticed that my citations are a bit odd. I don't exactly follow Chicago-Turabian, and still less do I follow APA or MLA. Rather, my citations appear as  whether for notes or works cited. So, these are being standardized, as well. Apologies if things are rather messy at the moment, and please let me know when things inevitably slip past my eyes.
The universe of The Legend of Zelda is replete with multifarious architectural oddities, beautiful and resonating structures, and ineffably-mysterious temples hidden in the remote corners of the world. It is my hope to explore said places, shedding light upon some of their salient features, and fulfilling the goals laid out by the introduction, the main goal of which is to help people understand and appreciate the unspoken, yet deeply-felt, allure of these locations and structures.