Phil's Newsletter #39

I'm worried your baby thinks people can't change

Previously on Phil’s Newsletter: We dropped RetroStrange Mixtape Vol. 1, and added some gear to my recording studio.

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This week’s guest on OpenCV Weekly was Jeff Powers, former CEO of Occipital and current CEO of Arcturus Industries. Jeff told some funny stories of days past working on RedLaser, and showed us a bit of the the cool perception and controller tracking tech they’re building at Arcturus.

Sloppy Steak Heroes

This week I have been not sleeping well, drinking too much, and getting too sad. So I zoned the fuck out for like 2 entire days and marathoned two TV series: One Punch Man and I Think You Should Leave.

One Punch Man is an anime based on a webcomic which became a manga about a man named Saitama (the titular One Punch Man), a person who has trained their body such that they can explode most enemies with just one punch. The world of One Punch Man is besieged every week by giant monsters coming from beneath or above the earth, such as the classic mole people or aliens. None of them provide a challenge to Saitama.

Saitama became a hero for fun, but now he’s bored by all these challenge-less fights. Later on he becomes embroiled in some very Venture Bros.-like bureaucracy with the Hero Association and the various rules and regulations for Hero-ing, despite the fact that he can explode Cthulhu-sized monsters with one punch and is essentially the strongest person alive.

The show does a great job of blending really funny jokes with classic action adventure anime beats, while subverting expectations along the way. It is extremely broad but there is subtlety in what it does. Seek it out if you like seeing tropes deconstructed while cool-ass monsters explode and a goofy-looking dude in a yellow suit sighs.

I Think You Should Leave is a Netflix sketch comedy show from former SNL writer Tim Robinson. It’s one of the best sketch shows I’ve seen in modern memory- and features some heavy hitters such as the sainted Bob Odenkirk. Unlike a lot of modern comedy, it doesn’t just rely on “cringe” and has actual jokes to go with the cringe. Almost nothing is one-note, and sketches rarely end up where you expect them. It isn’t just “so random” either, like so many bad sketch shows. It’s good shit, it’s very quotable, and nothing ever drags. It gets in, does the funny and gets out.

Some of my favorite bits, and a good intro to the style of comedy in the show, are: “Baby Cries” where we learn about sloppy steaks and has the line “I'm worried your baby thinks people can't change,” and this collection of scenes set in office environments.

“Is that the joke? That I farted and no-one barfed?”

More Kunio-Kun on Sticks & Fists

This week on Sticks and Fists, the beat ‘em up game stream I host every Wednesday evening, me and John played one of the classic Kunio-Kun games that was brought to the US for the first time with the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle: Downtown Special: Kunio-kun's Historical Period Drama!

Like Downtown Nekketsu Story aka River City Ransom, the game is one of the deeper games on the NES in terms of mechanics and systems. Your character has stats affecting their punches, kicks, and weapon damage, as well as their overall speed and damage resistance. You unlock new skills, attacks, and gear by dropping into the various stores that dot the levels. There are some cool additions to the game engine, which includes inclined surfaces, new types of weapons (including a functional rickshaw), and swimming / fighting in water.

We’ll resume this game next week and beat it. Maybe I’ll do some actual research this time, no promises.

The Music Section

Is this enough distortion? Science says no. We can go further. More questions: Does anybody care about this stuff? Should I do more music in the newsletter?

The Wizard Tower received another effects pedal, likely the last one I’ll buy for a long time. The BOSS RV-6 Reverb pedal has a shit-ton of sounds, and you can really dial it in. Combined with some of the other effects I’ve got now, you can make anything sound like damn-near anything over here now.

I’ve also go the Korg and Teenage Engineering products here syncing tempo with each other, leading to fun stuff like this:

A couple of chorus pedals have caught my eye lately, but I am tapped the hell out right now cash-wise. Subscribe!

The Good Links

Real meat and potatoes this week.

That’s all for this week. We’ve got deadlines.

— Phil

Wizard Tower Gamma, South of Market, San Francisco, California, United States of America, Earth

07.22.21