Phil’s Newsletter XV: The Recollectinating
It is always better the second time and always worse the third
Previously on Phil’s Newsletter: Me and my nephews shot some hoops unstuck in time. It was almost my birthday.
Phil’s newsletter is brought to you by paid subscribers Vikas Reddy, David Demchuk, Jessica Nelson, Ian Scott, Adam Rodnitzky and Kat Angus. You are each, individually, the best.
I am a midwestern transplant in San Francisco [For now. - Ed.] and when I came out this way a decade ago I wasn’t necessarily intending to stay here. But, I fell in love [Sort of like falling in a ditch -Ed.], and so here I stayed. I slipped out of Michigan without much of a plan and left quite a lot behind. [Like our 20s -Ed.]
As such, for the holidays and my birthday, with the requisite candy and cry-inducing drugstore greeting card with mom’s handwriting inside, my family sends along stuff of mine. Little things- a stuffed animal [Sparky. -Ed.], or our old backyard wrestling belt [The defaced JWA championship -Ed.], dusty photographs from a time before Digital Film. I eschewed these kinds of clutter for most of my life. I see their value now, in this pandemic, in this place.
My mother’s gifting is by measures practical and whimsical. Small things for fun: Bendy straws, whistles, and so on. The most fun you can have for $1/ea. The bigger gifts from her are more protective: Blankets, thermal tops, little flashlights or multitools, framed photos of half-forgotten summers with the family… warm, light, and nostalgic things to keep me safe against the encroaching cold and dark and uncertainty.
The things I have from my mother, from my home in the middle-west, are like armor. I am aware that the material properties of a blanket are not changed by its origin. However, like so many things today the physicality of the object seems… immaterial. My depression hits the dimmer bulb for dramatic effect.
“None of this is real, anyway.” [Little bit esoteric -Ed.]
It is a blanket, but it is a blanket my mother got me, and I love her, and I miss her, and if there is one solid fact it is that sadness and worry and love are impossibly powerful forces to try and hold for long. Binding them within an object is no small feat. Not possible, even, because as we know magic isn’t real.
But then again… Moms know everything.
Patron Love // It Is Movie Night This Weekend
First things first: I have finally added a Supporter Wall of Fame to the RetroStrange website. Our Patrons and subscribers are so fucking cool.
This Saturday is a movie night! Last time went almost suspiciously well, thanks to everyone who showed up, so let’s keep that momentum! Our audio chat on Discord was lively but not overwhelming. Come on in, the water’s fine.
We’re watching a pair of schlocky 1970s horror movies: The Werewolf of Washington and All The Kind Strangers. If you’re a Facebook user you can join on the event page there.
I’m still back-filling the RetroStrange YouTube channel with our previously-watched content. Do please hit like and subscribe on it. If you already did that, maybe share it around? I bet your friends like cool stuff.
Did you know that Amazon owns Twitch? Because of their connection, if you have Amazon Prime you can give me free money. Here’s how to use your free Prime subscription to subscribe to my channel. You’ll unlock no-ads-mode and get a shout out during Movie Nights plus other perks.
Boundless affection to seamuscalder, onbase85, fresh poetic, smashjax666, mrsugarmuffin, jigcfunk, and birdy72 for subscribing to the Twitch channel this month. You are shining beacons of decency in a time of asshattery.
Divergent League is still broadcasting every Tuesday and Sunday on Twitch. I am still doing the weekly podcast. Soon you’ll be able to pay $5 to buy a hand-made Season Ticket for this (in-progress) season from the On Base Productions online store.
In about 1 week we’ll be at the All-Star Break. Stay tuned for Divergent League All-Star Weekend news.
Phil’s Good Links
No day-job-talk this week. Too much of it! Let’s get to the Links.
30 years ago this week, id Software was founded and Commander Keen, Doom, and Quake eventually spilled out.
From the “things I didn’t know I wanted” file: A full play through of Tower of Druaga (1984) with commentary. A really mean-to-play game with some intriguing design choices.
Seems like a month ago, but 3 days ago there was a coup in Myanmar and it gave us this absurd, perfect, moment:
I can’t improve on this title: The Hidden, Destructive Legacy of 'Duke Nukem'
The Federal Trade Commission is forcing Amazon to pay gig workers back over $60 million in stolen wages
Cab Ride is an incredibly charming, incredibly relaxing, game where you drive a train through a cool low-res landscape and chill out for as long as you want
Subscriber and friend of the newsletter David Demchuk has a new book coming out. His last book I read, horror anthology The Bone Mother, was deeply fucked up. You should probably Pre-order this one:
And, finally, in lighter news: Scientists Have Proposed a New Particle That Is a Portal to a 5th Dimension. No word on if it exists between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge, but I think I see the sign post up ahead...
Thank you again to everybody who said something nice or [Especially -Ed.] subscribed / bought me something for my birthday. This has been and will continue to be such a strange time for [Almost -Ed.] everyone. I am glad we are in it together.