Phil's Newsletter #29

Home is a long way away

Previously on Phil’s Newsletter: We defeated Streets of Rage for Genesis.

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This week’s guest on OpenCV Weekly Webinar was Gerard Espona of #OAK2021 Team Kauda. Gerard showed us an awesome, open source, 3D-printable, robotic arm that you can control via a Unity plugin. They even modeled the OAK-1 and OAK-D so you can run neural networks from a real OAK inside of Unity. Real Inception Shit.

The episode will be uploaded to the OpenCV YouTube channel soon. Phil’s wresting t-shirt of the week: “Anxious Millennial Cowboy

I spent some time fixing up my own YouTube channel. Go subscribe to it.

On Thursday, December 13th, 2001, my dad and I went to a concert featuring the band Zwan in Grand Rapids, MI. Zwan was the band Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain of the Smashing Pumpkins started after that band imploded. I really liked Zwan.

Earlier that afternoon I had blown up at mom and dad, because the friend who was supposed to come with me wasn’t allowed to, and they didn't want me to go by myself. I had said, or yelled, some really hurtful things to them.

Mom in particular was dead-set against me going. She was really upset, and I was definitely being a dick. It was a pretty bad breakdown on my part. I’ve come to recognize that overflowing of emotions as part of… the various neurodivergencies I have going on.

I remember I was crying, and I yelled at my dad that I was afraid of “becoming like him,” a sad drunk at a dead-end manual labor job in the middle of nowhere. I doubt I used words that nice. I’ll never forget the look on his face. He was so hurt that he turned his face away. And he just said “you’re right.” Looking back on it now, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so… defeated by something I have said.

I stomped down the basement stairs and slammed my bedroom door and sat there seething and crying for a bit. Dad decided to solve the problem by going along with me, even though it was a late show, on a Thursday, almost 2 a hour drive (both ways) and he had to work at 8 the next morning.

I remember when we got in line, someone pointing at my dad, and saying "their guitar player looks like him" and damned if they weren't right. 2001 Matt Sweeney really did look a lot like 2001 Ed Nelson.

He actually really liked the show. Afterward, Dad somehow sweet-talked the bouncer into giving me a guitar pick that Billy Corgan had used on stage. It was probably the best time we ever had together.

We never talked about it again.

Last year he died, alone, a thousand miles away.

It is 19 years and 7 months after that show, and I am sitting in my apartment on the 18th floor in San Francisco, and I would give anything to be able to see his face and tell him I’m sorry, and it’s OK, and the parts of me that are like him are good parts mostly. I don’t hate them. I don’t hate him. I’m not angry anymore.

Instead I will listen to this concert and cry for awhile, and then get back to writing about AI robots or shit-ball VHS movies or video games from the 90s. Then I will call my mom and I will tell her I love her. Because I can, and I do.

The 18-year-old couldn’t have understood, but the 38-year old has seen that look on his own face and he looks just like you. It wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry, dad.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive, you can listen to and download that concert.

This Weekend: RetroStrange Movie Night

RetroStrange Movie Night returns this Saturday night, and James Earl Jones re-enacts an abduction in The UFO Incident and we travel to the Phantom Planet.

Just two more episodes in Season 1 of Movie Night! We’ll be taking a hiatus after Episode 26 on May 29th.

The Chicago White Sox are 1993 Divergent League World Series Champions

Congratulations to the White Sox and manager Travis Timm, who have won the 1993 Divergent League Bip Roberts Memorial Cup Even Though He’s Still Alive. This is their first win of the big one. You can catch replays of all the World Series games on my YouTube.

This was our longest season ever! I did a podcast for it until I started working too much. I need to figure out some way to speed up the process for the next one. There WILL be another one. Stay tuned.

Sicks & Fists: Beaten by Power Rangers

Me and John played Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie: The Game for SNES this week on Sticks and Fists, and… it won. I’m gonna stay mad about it for a week.

We also spent like 5 whole minutes trying to get game genie codes to work in RetroArch. We’ll do better next week when we return to MMPR:TM:TG and whoop its ass. Me and Kimberly are gonna backhand the shit out of some Kaiju. Join us next Wednesday at 7:30pm PDT for that.

Phil’s Good Links

I really should start dropping these on my blog at in real time and collecting them here, huh? Double-dip on that Content.

Today’s newsletter really took it out of me. That was a hard thing to write about but I feel better having done it. Sort of. Incidentally, I looked up the Zwan shirt I bought at that show. It now sells for $100-$200. Even my memories are expensive. Hit up the tip jar so I can afford one. Or don’t.

— Phil Nelson

Wizard Tower Gamma, San Francisco, CA