Phil's Newsletter Issue 22
A cavalcade of whimsy
Previously, on Phil’s Newsletter: Wizard Tower Studio A became operational. We got a Valheim server.
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Once again I regret to inform you that It Me.
I hosted a webinar with OpenCV at 9am this morning. 250+ people showed up. Interesting way to start the day, and a great first test of my new mixing board. More on that later.
Over on his newsletter, Ed Zitron wrote a bit about the pandemic, specifically what won’t change once most people are vaccinated. It’s pretty good, but I want to talk about one thing in particular, which is close to my heart: San Francisco.
The Bay Area has shed a shit-ton of people, and this is clearly not just due pandemic deaths. I leave the house maybe twice a month right now, but it’s stunning how much less active things are outside. For the first time since I moved here almost 10 years ago the city seems almost… the right size, where it’s been absolutely packed beyond capacity with humans and animals and cars before now. Many of these didn’t even want to be here, but had to be here.
How packed was it? I’ll say this: Those of us who don’t participate in That Thing In The Desert still looked forward to it every year because it meant 10% of SF would disappear for a few weeks, and we could actually go to the cool brunch spots and find a table at the pub after 5pm. A table!
Obviously, nobody KNOWS what happens now, but at least according to the media reporting… people kind of want San Francisco to fail. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for those of us who live here, this kinda happens every decade or so. SF has been booming and busting since the goddamn 1800s. We’ll be OK.
To be honest with you (and myself) the “exodus” is making me want to stay more than ever. I am not sure if I’ll stay in the Bay Area when my lease is up later this year. It is as much home to me as anywhere has been, but the last 18 months has changed things a lot. My partner dumped me, I lost my job, my favorite bar closed down, my dad and then my grandfather died. Nothing in life is certain, but I’m finding more and more that we’ve got to live intentionally.
Someone is making the choices. It may as well be you.
Wizard Tower Studio A Gets A New Mixer
After getting annoyed by fighting with computer audio settings, I have added another layer of settings. That’s a solution, right? Anyway this Soundcraft 12-track mixer is in my office now. In addition to being a great little mixing board it allows me to annoy people by piping in my guitar, or a synthesizer, or my cassette tape player, into a Slack / Discord / Zoom call. Moo hoo ha ha.
It has 4x mic / line inputs with phantom power (2 with hi-z) also outputs 4 channels via USB which is, as the kids used to say, sick. Nothing can stop my Dungeon Synth album now. Semi-kidding.
I do wish it had more than the one fader, tho. I am such a sucker for faders. Makes me feel like Dr. Johnny Fever.
Movie Night #21 In The Can, #22 Comin’ Up
We’re in a weird number-zone where RetroStrange Movie Night (the every-two-weeks movie night I host with Noah) and this here newsletter have almost synchronized in number of episodes/issues. Just had to mention that.
I was really surprised by how long they put off the reveal of Majin! He shows up with like 20 minutes left in the movie and just wrecks shit. It kinda ruled. On YouTube is my intro from the ep, which includes the trailers for the next episode on April 3rd:
As I say in the video: Next episode is pretty hardcore. Do not bring your kids. There will be an accompanying post on retrostrange.com shortly.
Divergent League Baseball Postseason Heats Up
It is the one-year anniversary of the video I made which became Divergent League Baseball. Dang. All hail Bip Roberts.
The Blue Jays, Expos, Giants and Orioles won their Game 1 games this week. As a reminder, the Division Series are best-of-5 games, and we move to best-of-7 in the League Championships. Divergent League Baseball broadcasts live on Twitch every Tuesday and Friday night at 6:45pm PST.
I am still releasing a podcast update every Friday.
The Good Links
Be careful with these, they are hot off the press.
I have a few carnivorous plants in my house. Turns out they’re smarter than we think: Venus Flytraps Have Magnetic Fields Like the Human Brain
Some of my old friends from Occipital are hiring engineers at Arcturus Industries. They work on pretty cool AR/VR stuff. Check ‘em out.
Someone wrote an entire game inside an OpenType font file. I am in awe.
We’re all getting tired of the Cookie Consent popups. Here’s how to hone your skills to dispatch them with quickness
The PS5’s new VR controllers have been revealed, and to me they look a lot like what are the best current VR controllers, the Valve Knuckles. I wonder about accessibility with such an odd grip.
The evil rise of Bossware continues. Who will boss the bosses?
Playstation 1 softmod unveiled! After 27 years you can mod your PS1 without opening up the case or buying some dodgy hardware. Amazing.
At bedtime this week I’ve been putting on the excellent Biography In Sound, a well-produced radio series from the 1950s. Obviously many of the “facts” have changed in the last 60 years, but it’s really well made.
It reminded me that we haven’t added new content to LOFI SCIFI, our free 24/7 streaming Science Fiction radio channel, in a while.
That’s it for today, friends. Shout-out to new Captain’s Table subscriber and my old CEO Jeff Powers! Welcome to the machine. Our Patreon also just hit 20 Patrons. Welcome, Crystal! I’m pretty stoked on that. Thanks so much for reading. I’ll be back next Thursday.