This is Nicholas A. Ferrell, editor of The New Leaf Journal, and writer of the perennially virid magazine’s official newsletter, The Newsletter Leaf Journal. After last week’s Monday mailing, we return to our regularly scheduled Sunday newsletter programming. Below, I will go through our content from the week that was and look forward to interesting content in the week ahead.
We did not publish an article last Monday, but we did publish new content every day since. I will admit that much of the content this week was shorter fare - that is, until I published what is either the longest or second-longest New Leaf Journal article in our magazine’s storied (or so I tell myself) history.
In an article published this morning, I introduced a new project: writing reviews of indie Japanese visual novels that were translated into English in three translation festivals: al|together 2005, 2006, and 2008. These festivals consisted of Japanese-to-English translators translating 31 free and independent Japanese visual novels into English with the full consent and approval of the original creators. My post also includes an additional translation that was done by the most prolific translator group outside of the al|together festivals.
Over the next few months, I plan to review most of the visual novels that were contributed to al|together and write about them here at The New Leaf Journal. Today’s post serves as an introduction to the series. I explain what a visual novel is, the story behind the festivals and the translators, and then list all of the visual novels with notes about each. I will update this article with links as I write articles about individual visual novels at The New Leaf Journal.
I am working on this project for three reasons. Firstly, I think that many of the visual novels will make for good content. Secondly, I think that it is a shame that most of the translations, some of which are of quality stories, are not well-known today. Thirdly, I have been meaning to play many of them for close to a decade, so I figured that this would be a good way to make me finally stop procrastinating.
If you find any visual novels that look interesting to you, I encourage you to give them a try in advance of my individual articles. My post includes links to where the stories can be downloaded for free.
Victor V. Gurbo returned with his ninth Quarantine Sessions article. Inspired by a recommendation he received after his previous Quarantine Sessions post, he covered Seven Spanish Angels for this article. Not content to record the classic song once, his post includes links to two recordings done in dramatically different styles with fellow musician Mark Caserta. Ray Charles fans will enjoy Victor’s thoughts on his body of work, while Willie Nelson will enjoy, well, Willie.
This article was inspired by my most interesting old magazine find to date. I found the story behind an 1860 miniature painting of Abraham Lincoln.
By “found the story” - I mean I found a magazine that included the journal entries of the painter himself, wherein he writes about working with Lincoln to complete the painting and his impressions of the soon-to-be-president just months before he would win the 1860 election. Those who are interested in photography will appreciate the two ambrotypes of Lincoln included in the content.
I know little about skateboarding. I do, however, have eyes. My eyes tell me that most of the boys and young men I see skateboarding in and around my neighborhood are - to put it kindly - not good. Now, I applied basic logic to ask myself a question. If one can barely stand on a skateboard, should he or she be trying to do skateboard tricks? I think not, as I explained in my long post, with a couple of anecdotes and notes about skateboarding in downtown Brooklyn included.
In 2018, I took a photo of a small and very green plant growing on the Manhattan Bridge from a tiny spot between the pedestrian walkway and a ledge. Nature always finds a way.
I knew that I wanted to write an article to publish on Thursday. Yet, on Wednesday evening, I did not have an obvious topic. When at a loss, why not post about a photo of a dead end sign in Red Hook that I took last spring? The post includes a map and some geography notes in addition to the fantastic photo-journalism.
Below, you will find some unique Newsletter Leaf Journal content.
In the previous newsletter, I stated that I would publish the visual novel article during the week and an article on sumo and citizenship for today. As one look at the Insani article will reveal - that was a bit of along project. Once Victor submitted a draft of his Seven Spanish Angels post on Thursday, I was relieved of the need to follow through on my ambitious promise. The sumo and citizenship post is still coming - most likely on April 25.
I am also still planning to write a post on different accounts of the death of the short-lived Roman Emperor, Otho, in 69 AD. At the moment, I plan to post that on April 18.
When I publish an article, I fill in various fields. I checked all the boxes when I posted Victor’s Seven Spanish Angels on Friday evening. Or so I thought. I felt that something was amiss when we received a comment from Chris, a gentleman who I crossed paths with on Minds, which answered Victor’s question but seemed to be addressed to me. I checked the article. Sure enough, I forgot to change the name. I quickly rectified the situation, but lest anyone saw it before I did, let it be said that I not only have never recorded Seven Spanish Angels… I don’t even know how to hold an instrument.
I have noted before that our new newsletter service, Buttondown, uses markdown formatting for newsletters. I took to it quickly, and I now draft all of my articles in markdown formatting. For ordinary writing tasks, I have been using Ghostwriter, a simple markdown editor that is readily available for Linux. It is also available for Windows, although there appear to be some additional steps for installing it there.
For whatever it is worth, I have been greatly enjoying Ghostwriter, and I recommend it for word processing. If you are looking for a good research markdown editor, have a look at Zettlr.
As I noted last week and on other occasions, I have and use an 8-year old Kindle Fire HDX. It is superior in many respects to the contemporary Kindle Fire 7 and 8, but its operating system is based on an old version of Android. For that reason, many of the apps that I like in the free and open source F-Droid repository are not available for it.
I noticed that the Aurora Store, which is an unsanctioned Google Play Store end-around, was compatible with my HDX. I downloaded. I figured that I may as well see if any browsers were compatible. I took a flier on the Kiwi web browser, which is a free and open source Chromium-based browser that isn’t available in F-Droid. To my surprise, it actually works. What’s more - it has extension support.
Thank you as always for reading and subscribing to The Newsletter Leaf Journal. I hope you enjoy our content from last week and my idle thoughts at the end of the newsletter. I look forward to reporting back to you next week with news from April 11-18.