Episode XVI: A No Hope
Get it? Like Star Wars. Whatever.
Previously, on Phil’s Newsletter: We talked about gifts and how moms know everything.
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Oh, My Guitar
I know lately I’ve been leading off with something heavy, but it’s confession time: I have once again spent most of my newsletter money on guitar equipment. Forgive me, but crunchy, dirty, guitars make me weak. I am but a man(?) whose brain tingles for crackly grimy audio signals.
This time I got a great deal ($59) on a used Vox Pathfinder 10, which I love the sound of, and a used Op Amp Big Muff Pi pedal ($69). I didn’t have an amp before, and plugging into/out of my computer every time I wanted to practice just plain sucked. As for the pedal… just look at this majestic item:
That’s a pedal that can and will whoop someone’s ass. You may recognize the Big Muff sound, especially the op-amp type, from basically every Smashing Pumpkins album. If you know me, you know that is ‘nuff said. That said, I am looking into getting a BOSS Noise Suppressor to help shape the nastiness.
People keep asking me what I’m playing or learning and kept saying I don’t know because I do not know how to play the guitar. I sit with it and grate my fingers but I am not a musician. So I decided to learn some specific things. Here are some things I am trying and failing to play along with, right now:
The Tom Petty one is cool because it uses the same garage-rock-y single-coil p90 pickups I have in my (Epi) Les Paul Special I. The guitar in that song sounds like you could grill eggs on it.
I still like mine over-easy.
This Weekend Is Divergent League All-Star Weekend!
As announced on the Divergent League website, this weekend is 1993 Divergent League All-Star Weekend. The schedule includes the Hardship Draft and Home Run Derby on Friday, then the All-Star Game on Saturday night. We hope you’ll join us for some wildly divergent baseball action. What is the Hardship Draft? Glad you asked. From the About Divergent League page:
In July of each season is All Star Weekend, with the Home Run Derby and All Star Game. All Star Weekend is also where the Hardship Draft occurs. In the Hardship Draft the bottom 20% of the league (by record) are allowed to pick an additional ball player from any non-controlled team.
Players up for grabs this season include: Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Mark McGwire, Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff. It’s sure to be an eventful weekend of fake baseball.
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Feb 20th: RetroStrange Movie Night #19: Bruceploitation Night
Last weekend’s Movie Night went pretty well. I’m happy if 3-4 people show up in Discord and we keep hitting that mark. Here’s my intro from that episode if you missed seeing / hearing me as a weird cartoon character from inside TV (embedded below):
If you’ve been waiting to check out RetroStrange Movie Night, the next one on Feb 20th is a great time to start. It’s our first ever Bruceploitation Double Feature. Two Bruce Lee movies without Bruce Lee in ‘em.
That’s right, we have plumbed the depths to bring you Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave (1976) and The Real Bruce Lee (1973). There’s gonna be a lot of kicking and punching about stuff, I just know it. More on the RetroStrange website.
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Phil’s Good Links
The good links are always here for you. Count on it.
A two inch piece of tape can fool your Tesla into accelerating by 50mph. But you can play Pac-Man as you lay dying, so, it’s a toss-up
From the EEGAHH files: There’s a single-celled organism in Antarctica that uses its little tentacles to suffocate and tear apart anything it comes across
Apparently, the Supreme Court thinks that COVID-19 doesn’t infect religious people somehow
Apple’s App Store is still full of scammers, here’s some more proof
Something that comes up at work all the time, and I keep beating the drum about: Facial recognition is a dangerous enough technology that we need to stop it right now. “The latest generation of deep-learning-based facial recognition has completely disrupted our norms of consent.”
Some kind soul dumped 400+ old hip hop mix tapes onto the Internet Archive
DIY Environmental monitoring is one of the things I’m really interested in lately. I stumbled upon Field Kit this week, and it looks like a really cool open source project in that vein.
Some crazy SOB used deep learning to upscale classic cheeseball anti-piracy short Don’t Copy That Floppy to 4K
Unreal Engine released a new web tool to create human faces. TBH they all look very same-y to me. I’m not impressed.
Another thing the pandemic and increase in remote work has given rise to: A new generation of “Bossware,” invasive software used by terrible companies and shitty managers to spy on you
A namespace collision exploit allowed someone to run a successful supply chain attack on 35 tech companies including Microsoft, Apple, PayPal, Shopify, Netflix, Tesla, Yelp, and Uber
Just before publication: The Boss got a DWI because ACAB
That’s all I got in me today, folks. Work has picked up, which I am thankful for. It has been some lean times in terms of my own mental health and ability to provide for myself. We aren’t out of the woods but we aren’t looking so bad. Still… tax season is giving me the collywobbles.
Thank you for reading, watching, listening and thank you for subscribing. I’ll see you next week.