Phil’s Newsletter Is Eighteen and I Like It

Worry not, I am steadfastly refusing to get my shit together

Previously, on Phil’s Newsletter: The witch was dead, we talked about writing for a living, movie night, and my growing guitar pedal collection.

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Ok first off, look at this thing:

I feel like I remember seeing these. I feel like I knew at least one person who had one of these. It may not even have actually existed in 1990 but it may as well have. It’s the kind of thing that simply does not and cannot exist in the same context in 2021.

Here’s the part where I take a left turn. I tricked you with nostalgia! Get used to it.

This last week something has been percolating in my brain about how very many different kinds of things we can mean by “leaving [it] behind.”

You can leave something behind accidentally, and if you’re lucky, you can even go back for it. You can try to leave something behind and have it follow you anyway. You can leave the nebulous concept of “the past” behind. You can leave people behind.

It’s such a common part of our language that you can even leave it all behind. The concept is part of our sports legends. They leave it all on the field. Leaving people and things behind can be joyous, or sad, or fearful or some measure of all, and it’s happening all the time in everyone’s life and that’s normal.

It is hard work to be intentional about what we keep and what we leave behind. Each time may be the last, this too shall pass, and so on. I have no wisdom about this. Just distant thoughts.

I Made A 3D Printable Stand For Tiny Speakers

I designed a new 3D printable thing, a very simple little speaker stand for these cute 6W USB-powered speakers I found on Amazon. Here’s how they look in place, with some added padding:

A post shared by Phil Nelson (@philnelson)

The monitor stand seen there is still a Work-in-Progress, but this is a sneak peek of the Raspberry Pi workstation computer I’m workin on. Once I’m done it’ll have speakers, a webcam and mic, and somewhere to stash your drugs. You can download it, including the Blender source file, from Thingiverse.

The Music Section

I feel like I don’t nearly write enough about music here. This is not regarding my recent guitar fixation, which I have written far too much about already. OK, one pic:

I use Plex to manage my music library these days. It’s been a real hard year for me emotionally and I’ve noticed that I have been avoiding a few bands, chiefly one of my most-listened-to-ever The Smashing Pumpkins.

[Aside: One thing that sucks about Plex is the music library features. It simply does not have the feature set someone with 15,000+ tracks needs. PlexAmp helps but it is hard to even find out it exists if you are a Plex user. Why not make it part of the regular app?]

To wit: I’m reclaiming my favorite music, and so I’m going to write about them more here, starting with the Pumpkins.

The Smashing Pumpkins were probably my first mainstream “favorite band” that my parents didn’t love before I was born. Aside from “Weird Al” Yankovic. As a weird, poor, unmedicated, “gifted kid” in the midwest Billy Corgan’s lyrics embarrassingly wedged themselves in my otherwise DIY-punker heart. Apparently he’s gone the way of many rich rockstars and is a “just asking questions” conservative or whatever, now, which sucks ass.

Everybody knows Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, their gigantic breakthrough double album which had a whole other double album worth of B-sides (including my favorite TSP song: the 1979 B-Side, Set the Ray to Jerry), but what a lot of people missed was the followup album Adore. It arrived late, sold badly, had two singles with Ava Adore and the 1979 semi-follow-up Perfect, and sounds nothing at all like the previous albums. It was super divisive among fans and lost everyone a lot of money.

Of course, I love it, and since I refuse to listen to the albums released post-2001-breakup it might be my favorite Pumpkins album. It is, ironically, so much more melancholic than Mellon Collie. It was their most… sparse album, as well, which was a big change from the wall of guitars and textures their previous productions had employed. It’s still a great listen, I can strap in and code to it for the duration, and the opening track To Sheila is one of the most beautiful productions in the TSP catalogue and probably the best love song ‘ol Billy will ever write.

Chaser: There was a goofy Johnny The Homicidal Maniac / Smashing Pumpkins mashup internet comic called Billy The Ego Maniac in the late 90s/early 2000s. It was pretty funny IIRC. YMMV.

Movie Night #20: “Italian Space Opera Night” Happens In Two Weeks

With the new episode on March 6th we will have done TWENTY movie nights. That’s 40 weeks. Holy shit. Time is broken.

We just can’t stay away from Scifi on Movie Night, and this ep sees up going back to the deep well of janky European Star Wars knockoffs of the late 70s.

We’ll be taking in War of the Robots (1978) and Star Odyssey (1979) both of which are VERY Italian and VERY cheaply produced. Showtime is 7pm Pacific time on 3/6/21. As is tradition, we’ll be watching 30 minutes of weird safety videos before the feature attractions. See you then.

1993 Divergent League Playoffs Start Next Week

We’re getting down to the wire on the 1993 Divergent League Baseball season, and will be switching to night games for the rest of the season.

Tomorrow’s Divergent League podcast will set the stage for the last week of the season, and the Postseason beyond. There’s still time for player teams to make some dramatic comebacks. SOMEONE has to take down the Orioles.

Teh Grood Lonks

These the good lonks, follow them into Internets.

Wow I am sorry for the length of this newsletter, I did not have time to write a shorter one. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing on your feeds, and thank you for caring.

— Phil