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June 16th, 2010
08:14 pm
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Ia! Ia! Yvette fhtagn!
Let's say, hypothetically, that "web design" was one of the fundamental particles of the universe. This, ladies and gentlemen, is its antiparticle:

... Hang on, obligatory disclaimers.

[infohazard]


WARNING: Contains sound.
WARNING: Not safe for brain.
WARNING: May even be so bad that it locks up your browser (my Safari took about 5 minutes to render it); don't have any unsaved posts or forms up when you click.


That having been said, this is its antiparticle.

(Okay, it's missing Comic Sans. But it's damn close to being an antiparticle.)

Seriously, that atrocity has wrapped around so completely from design to anti-design that it's back in the realm of art. It creates such a perfect short-circuit of the aesthetic centers of the brain that it has a strange allure. By catching your brain in an infinite loop where it's searching for the appropriate punctuation at the end of the inevitable "WHAT", and then recursing into further rhetorical questions before finding anything satisfactory, it manages to stimulate a corner of your brain that is somewhere halfway between madness and transcendence.

In other words, I'm grateful to have found this before the start of the Call of Cthulhu campaign. It's a perfect illustration of what it feels like to lose 1d3 Sanity points as you have an epiphany about the secrets of the Mythos.

Don't believe me? Read on, I'll walk you through it. But I can't be responsible for you if you choose to click.

Stare at the page for ten seconds or so. Let your eyes totally unfocus. Things start catching your attention. The page stares back at you. Stares into your soul. You start to see patterns in the shapes. Hidden messages. The colors whisper to you. The bizarre aberration circling the page becomes a metaphor for the cycle of life, and the alternating circles and squares become coded dialogues between the ghostly apparitions. The giant smear of boxes dissolves into the blocky form of a helpless, domesticated animal, fattened and caged by the ravages of capitalism, helpless to do anything but squeal in wretched harmony and give birth to the next generation of mindless religious iconography ... but we'll get back to that in a second.

Then there's Yvette. By which I mean the model in the lower left, obscured by the surface message of the site. She stares out through the letters with an ambiguous stare, arching one eyebrow in a come-hither gaze while doing her best to seem cold and unapproachable in hopes that your eye will not linger. And why should it? She is simply modeling the product. But something rings false. The gown is not the point of the photo. How could it be? Obscured by text and devoid of links -- the only surface representation in a page full of hidden meanings -- and it's about that time that you realize there is a three-foot-tall doorway behind her. Why? How? And as your brain loops into entirely new holding patterns, you see: it is a doorway that the ghostly face approaches with every transit of the page -- and then enters, metamorphosizing into mere squares, taking the shapes of its passage, symbolic doorways into its own secrets.

When the ghost reappears at the top, it makes a beeline for the cradle of the bird's wing -- and passes through that circular portal, also taking that shape for its own.

It flits around the page, moving, searching. Each piece it reaches, it evaluates, and draws into itself.

It's a metaphor for the reader. The ghost is us. We are drawn into the page, and circle it endlessly. Now that the page has us, there is no escape. The moving figure -- and we -- stare out in horror, unable to scream.

But if we cannot get out through the edges - then to the center! No, not the true center, for the solid blocks of impenetrable color perform their job of warding quite admirably. But to the maternal figure just below. The gentle, welcoming mother, soothing in its evocation of traditional religious figures, cradling the baby of our troubled fears in her arms --

[madonna figure holding ... um ... something]

Wait!

That's no human baby ...


[slow zoom in toward figure]

what is she holding

... goat ... headed ... demon infant?


[slow zoom in toward figure]

dear god what the hell is that

And her fingers are claws. Claws! It's -- it can't be, it must be a hallucination --

But the baby thing

What happened to its head I mean the neck is twisted almost 180 degr--


[fully zoomed in]

AAAAAAAAAAAAH

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH







Edited to add: Okay, seriously, listening to the page music again (which I hadn't originally heard; I had to turn my speakers off at work) after going through the whole Forbidden Lore thing above? CREEPED ME THE FUCK OUT.

ETA x2: DEAR GOD THERE'S MORE. I didn't realize the page scrolled. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE HAVE DISCOVERED THE LOST DIGITAL TRANSLATION OF THE NECRONOMICON

I mean, it even has Aydin's Death Letter !! ~* Complete with skulls and ominous bass rumbling and it starts "Chamberlain doesn't give his home address to anyone" and and no no no this is STRAIGHT outta Lovecraft I am NOT going to look I've already come too close to the edge tonight. (*closes*)

the truth will set you free ~~

Current Location: ~spiral
Current Mood: shocked-1d3 SAN
Current Music: Duran Duran, "Too Much Information"
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(22 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:tracerj
Date:June 17th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
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Amazingly, Opera rendered it lickety-split without issue. You know, just sayin'. The great part is that it's easy to simply disable all the style info and real the text and realise that... well, given a different visual design, it's only a lousy site, not a soul-searing one.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
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I've subsequently opened it up again with no problems, in both Firefox and Safari - I think it was a one-time glitch, possibly something set off by the Javascript (or an embed) and several weeks of rebootless browsing.

> Given a different visual design, it's only a lousy site

I don't know, that's kind of like saying "Without all the spelling and vocabulary errors, The Eye of Argon is only a lousy story." I think the whole thing needs to be taken as a package.
[User Picture]
From:momentrabbit
Date:June 17th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
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That's Da Vinci's 'Lady with an Ermine', I do believe.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
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It looks like it's meant to be, sure. But it's not the original, and the way it was redrawn ... well ... I stand by my goat headed demon baby assessment.

(Regardless, thanks for the art education.)
[User Picture]
From:dragonzuela
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
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Is it a real bridal shop? Is it a surrealist artist promoting themselves? I'm so confused.

I was going to link you to the website of a professor I know, but unfortunately it looks like she finally had it redesigned for the 21st century. Black background, excessive animated GIFs, scrolling text, jpegs that changed when you rolled over them. Bad enough that it looked like 1995 threw up in your web browser, but worse that she actually kept it that way for a couple years after she was featured on a National Geographic TV special.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
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It's that sort of retro early-Internet anti-aesthetic that caused someone to create The Geocities-izer.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
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The source code insanity is probably an artifact of this:

     <meta name="generator" content="Yahoo! SiteBuilder/2.6/1.5.0_02">

WYSIWYG editors tend to produce that sort of garbage behind the façade.
[User Picture]
From:circuit_four
Date:June 17th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
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This is an ARG. I am absolutely, Comic Book Guy certain this is an ARG. Why am I so certain?

Baxil, sweetie, because I have to be. I couldn't go on living in a universe wherein a page like this could come to exist through natural and unwitting human endeavor. And I'm not talking about self-destruction -- I mean, I would find myself less able to maintain the basic metaphysical requirements of being a living sentient extant being. I can not exist in the same universe as an unironic Yvette's.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Believe me, I sympathize, but I truly urge you to also consider the Necronomicon theory. This would also make it a product of deliberate incoherence rather than unwitting failure; I guess at that point the distinction between culture-jamming and mere malevolence isn't as big a deal.

Seriously, I read through Aydin's Death Letter !! *~ this morning and dear lord does the Lovecraft just drip off the page. "Something went wrong in the woods near Whitefish Point." "I think it infected me with something. I think it got inside me some way. I haven't been feeling myself and that recurring nightmare of yours has become my burden as well." "The Ancient Ones." "The desert dwelling tribes have legends which tell of another world ..." etc.

(Though actually, you raise a good point. If it's a horror-themed ARG, pointing to some sort of Unspeakable Madness In The Desert, then clearly that's the clue page, and the player would be expected to follow Chamberlain's journey. Oriville's Diner seems like a logical next-clue location. Unfortunately for would-be ARG players, that might mean the game is already finished. Or maybe there's something with sombreros and the totally out-of-place sasquatch reference? ...

... You know, on the assumption that the next "genuine" game page has somehow disappeared, this would make an AWESOME start page for a DIY ARG. The trick would be designing something that lives up to the original's standard.)
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
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Also, 15 Baxil Points to the first person to register an account at Unfiction and start a thread discussing how they're "stuck at Aydin's Death Letter" and "can't figure out the next location." This is something we need to prod the pattern-seeking parts of the Internet Hivemind toward.
[User Picture]
From:tangyabominy
Date:June 17th, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)
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I keep going back to it. Its charming lack of consideration for any principle of design, ever, Internet-based or otherwise, is almost soothing, in an obnoxiously-neon-toys-from-your-childhood-that-you-still-love-anyway sort of way.

Clearly black pustulous tentacles are going to burst out of my head any minute now.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
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It's alright, we're all infected together!
[User Picture]
From:azhdragon
Date:June 17th, 2010 11:42 am (UTC)
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This is exactly what I envisioned when someone used to say to me "oh, that HTML stuff. I have a nephew and he designed my webpage for me". I cringed, and died a bit on the inside.

Because inevitably, someone who said that, with a page like this, would ask me if I could fix it up for them. And in all honestly all I could say was "nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure".

But thankyou for reminding me that, as crazy and annoying as some of my days at work are now, they don't contain any horrors like that. After seeing that, even having to clean shit off toilets, walls, floors, beds and backsides seems like a clean and honest decent way to make a living.

(just as an aside, I just recalled how, for the first two years that I knew her, my girlfriend would refer to HTML as "that hotmail stuff". For some reason she was convinced that HTML was cool computer shorthand for "hotmail". AAAAAAARGH!)
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations (?) on your successful transition from http://clientsfromhell.net/ to http://notalwaysright.com/ ! There is definitely a lot of BS in the IT world, so it can be a refreshing change of pace to deal with actual S.
[User Picture]
From:bossgoji
Date:June 17th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
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I am not kidding, this actually CRASHED MY BROWSER. It is like my computer realized something was trying to get in and chose to commit SUICIDE rather than let it accomplish it's dark task.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 17th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure whether to apologize or to congratulate you on your browser's self-preservation instincts.

(Seriously, if you lost any work, I'm sorry. Hence the warnings in the original post.)
[User Picture]
From:frameacloud
Date:June 17th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
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Despite all the warnings, when I opened the page and saw it, I actually yelped and jumped. The colors!
[User Picture]
From:arethinn
Date:June 17th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
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WARNING: May even be so bad that it locks up your browser (my Safari took about 5 minutes to render it); don't have any unsaved posts or forms up when you click.

Really? Rendered instantly with no problems in Pale Moon (Firefox, essentially, optimized compile for Windows).

That having been said, this is its antiparticle.
(Okay, it's missing Comic Sans. But it's damn close to being an antiparticle.)


You could dig around http://www.reocities.com or http://www.oocities.com if you want to try to find other candidates. ;)

there is a three-foot-tall doorway behind her. Why? How?

It's a fireplace, I think. (At least that's what it immediately read as to me.)
[User Picture]
From:natetg
Date:June 17th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Life immitates art.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, I find it strangely pleasing, a bit reminiscent of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedensreich_Hundertwasser
[User Picture]
From:joysweeper
Date:June 18th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
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My computer's a fragile beast that's all too prone as-is to locking up, so I'm not clicking. But your response was awesome.
[User Picture]
From:krinndnz
Date:June 18th, 2010 05:25 am (UTC)
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Oh dear, that one's back in circulation, is it? I just read "The Adder," so I'm full up on Necronomicon stuff for now, but thanks awfully. :p
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