Life has been good! IRL, I've recently returned from GenCon, the classic RPG convention. Over 50,000 attendees this year. Still playing with Gemini capsules and my own personal web spaces here and there. Regularly cross-post my Tweets to Mastodon. Livin' that internet life.
Lately I've been playing around with different internet technologies. I tend to call all of this online stuff "The Web", even though I know that the larger name is "The Internet", and "The Web" is basically just all this HTTP, HTML business. Months back I tossed up some Gemini pages here on tilde.club, and think its a fun simple tech. Also got into visiting some BBSs. Eventually launched a Gemini server from my home server as well. Nothing too exciting to talk about, just wanted to update my page here. Things have been a little slow lately.
Hey! Back to this barely updated site! Life is fine. I've been fully vaccinated since February 8th due to working at a hospital. All of my close friends were reasonably quick to get onboard as well. I've been thinking about what to toss on this page here. In a way I have other more sensible options that using tilde.club for anything I'd like to do. Like, I run my own personal web space of a server in my home that I use for tons of stuff. I also have a domain using my name that I can use for a variety of purposes. In addition to that is neocities, where I have my Street Fighter page and decided to give 'em some money too. That lets me have up to... 30 sites over there, which is crazy. I'm thinking of spinning up a site that will just be about music. Mostly in the form of music gear, music I'm playing around with, music I'm currently thinking about, all of that.
Hope everything is going well with you all in the tilde-verse!
Life has been decent enough, pandemic impacts aside. I have some home improvement underway: Garage roof redone. New garage and house siding incoming, as well as replacement windows and a front porch! Also, assorted trim, etc. This pretty well takes care of refreshing the outside of my house/property. Maybe next year I'll get the driveway done, as it is dirt and has an annoying washed out bit. Boring adult house stuff aside, I also finally redid my old Windows 7 PC, the one I mentioned replacing in my last update. It has been wiped clean, Windows 10 installed, then Reaper and other music making bits installed. It's pretty slick and usable! Social life is still impacted by Covid, of course. I play some RPGs online with friends, but as I tend not to enjoy it as much as in person, I don't show up as much as I would. Still, we are playing some Street Fighter every other week I'm getting in on, and also a "Rainy City" game run by my friend Rich, using his own system and setting (which was recently succesfully Kickstarted and fullfilled!) The other social bits have been trivia. They had a run of some in-person trivia, but they put the breaks on that for a month. Michigan is still working through the restrictions and public health efforts. Thankfully Michigan dropped from #3 most infected down to #18, but to say that almost seems like taking pleasure in the misfortune of other states. Really, I'm just glad efforts are being made. Working in a hospital, I'm pretty used to the mask situation and keep pretty updated on current numbers and trends. Hopefully in 6-8 months or something this can stop being a topic of conversation. Update complete for now!
4 solid months of no posting! Half of that span has been taken up by the modern plague-times. What have I been up to lately? Well, that computer I mentioned in my last post, I've finally transitioned to using it as my main PC. I have an external 8TB drive connected to it, so I'm able to use that to keep a clone copy of my DreamCloud Academy computer & Nextcloud instance. Feels good to have backups. My friends have been using it a bit now, which also feels good. My old computer I plan to wipe and toss Win 10 on, then use it as a dedicated music recording/making machine. Life in the plague-times has been mostly normal for me. Working in IT at a hospital, in a position where I need to get hands on computers from time to time all means I just get to keep coming to a job, doing what I do. Really, the changes have been a muted social life, then just the stuff a lot of us are dealing with: Temperature & other screening before getting into work. Masks, social distacing and all of that stuff that is kinda boring to even mention now, as the novelty of the situation has passed.
Another thing I've gotten into a bit lately is just radio waves, in a broad sense. I picked up a shortwave radio & have been scanning the frequencies, and also just paying more attention to regular FM and Medium Wave (AM). There is something kind of old-school cool about picking up Radio Havana, or even just grabbing normal old AM radio across the border in Toronto or whatever. This also got me to hook up my antenna for grabbing regular over-the-air TV. Also, I picked up a radio/police scanner and have programmed in some stuff for that. I get to listen to all of the calls regarding drunks and older folks falling down, or the local electric utility, etc. Another thing I grabbed was a fairly decent .m3u playlist file of IP television channels. It had a lot of fairly raw news feeds, weather, and a lot of the national networks (NHK, Deutche Welle, RT, CBC, others). It's cool how you can just basically add a regular playlist to whatever media player you want (in my case, the Roku Media Player on my TV), and just have some stations. The funny thing in all of this is that I don't actually watch much TV at all. I just like the idea that I have access to it. Out of all of this radio/TV curiosity lately, the only change to my media consumption I'm really noticing is listening around to some of the Clear Channel AM/MW stations as I lay in bed before dozing off for the night. On the radio/police scanner front, though, I did manage to respark my Dad's interest in the hobby, so he picked up the same model I grabbed, and I was able to pass along my config so he could load it up as a starting point for however he'd like to program his. Anyways, yeah... hobbies & ways to pass the time. Hope y'all are doing good!
Time flies. I've managed to have a decent enough social life, and Christmas was nice, and all of that. I don't really have any plans to ring in the New Year, however. Instead, it looks like I might be introverting it up. Today in the mail I'm supposed to receive the last bit I need to assemble a new PC, which I'm doing because my main home PC is a Windows 7 box from 2011 & the OS has reached End of Life (well, it will in 2 weeks). I also have a Strymon Iridium that should show up, a guitar pedal that is basically... an amp in a tiny box. So, I'm sure I'll jam on that and tell myself I need to record in the new year. Here's to a groovy 2020.
In my last update I mentioned the possibility of updating my personal web server. I've totally done that! I'm running Debian Buster, NextCloud 17.01, and have the FreedomBox package running on there to make administration and installation of a couple other packages easier. Of the packages FreedomBox facilitates the installation of, MediaWiki is probably the main one I have going on right now. Also, more than anything, I'm just loving having a lot more hard drive space available. No "feeling the squeeze" at all. I previously had 14 accounts of friends that could use my server, but a good number of them never really had interest or really used it. So, I've added a decent number of them back in, but have been slow to grant the rest of them access they never really used. There was a part of me that wanted my personal cloud server to host enough interesting things for my friends that it became an extention of our friendship, a kind of community. Kinda something like one might hope with these tilde sites, I suppose. Because these are real-life friends, and the stuff I store on the shared "Cloud" space is stuff they are interested, I'm able to maintain at least a low level of a couple friends logging in to poke around. It'd be cool if I could expand its use though, still. I don't know what would do that, but something like a friends-only Minecraft server, or a server for another low-intensity kind of game. The older version of my server had a phpBB, and that pulled a few comments out of people, but never took off like fire. Still, all of this is fun enough to me personally to be self-sustaining, so if people someday take a shine to it, super cool, but it'll live regardless.
So, what's been going on with me? Not too much. My plan this last weekend was to update my personal home server. I have a server I run out of my study that acts as a "Personal Cloud" kind of server for me and my friends. It runs Nextcloud, has local web space, etc. My Nextcloud install is a few versions behind, however, and while I keep my server well patched, it's not on the latest Ubuntu LTE. Also... I was running out of hard drive space. So, I picked up a couple 8 TB drives. There is a lot to consider with an upgrade though, and I wasn't up to getting it all done this weekend. My new plan for my upgraded server is to go with Debian Buster, then apply the FreedomBox package, set MediaWiki as the front page, install Nextcloud, get OnlyOffice on there integrated with Nextcloud, verify that my secure certificate is all set, etc. The FreedomBox package makes it a bit easier to install and configure certain things, so I'm likely to try out tt-rss as well. The main thing is that I want to have good notes on what I'm doing, and get things fully configured so I don't have a shoddy mess going on. I think it'll all be super cool if/when I get it all set up. I just need to get in the mood to tackle it all. Admittedly, I'm recovering from one of those "I can't talk right" level colds, so there is hope I'll come around and make it happen soon.
Work was busy but OK this week. On Thursdays I do a trivia night at this tavern in Ithaca with some friends. We took first this week, which is fun. Same friends decided they wanted to see Toto up to the local casino, so I went with them and watched 'em tonight. It was decent, but not a top concert experience. Something about a casino as a venue is just very "not rock and roll" to me. I just think of casinos as a place for retired people to throw away their money. Just being in a casino gives me this vibe of malaise. Maybe that makes me weird. It's like the idea of a strip club. A place that caters to some kind of desire or drive, but is just ultimately empty or something like that. Anyways, this is me updating my site! Vibe aside, I did actually enjoy my weekend. Another thing I did was watch the Homecoming football game at my high school. First time I've done that in... 26 years (when I was in high school band)? Basically, I have a nephew that plays on the team, and I didn't do the normal role playing thing up in Mt. Pleasant this Friday, so I figured, "Why not?" It's an interesting chance to spot some people from back in the day, or just people from the community or whatever. You listen to the band play "Enter Sandman" and "Radar Love" and think about if the band is as good as when you were in it. Just observe the social interaction of it all, remember the weirdness of your own high school days & everything. Also, my parents and brother weren't expecting me at all, so it was this surprise family hang out kind of moment, which was also a cool thing. I totally dressed well for the 40-something degree weather. 'till next time!
My week of "double workload" is underway and I'm surviving so far. I'm now responsible for a region that runs from Saranac in the West to Owosso in the East, St. Johns in the North and DeWitt in the South, so a lot of territory. Recently I acquired an old drum machine, a Boss DR-550mkII, and I like how it works. Back in the day I used to have a mkI of the same model, and it's a real easy to use drum machine that's quiet and has solid sounds. I've also started to fiddle more with my SP-555 sampler, being inspired by SP-404 tutorials and jams on YouTube. Like, it might be a fun vibe to lay down some "Boom Bap" style hip hop grooves with it, and record in bass and guitar loops directly through my Kemper, for a weird kind of hip-hop meets dream pop workflow. It's all theoretical until I lay some stuff down though. My habits are that I play my guitar more than anything, and even churn out parts (that may or may not get captured or remembered), but then to barely use my electronic gear, but I've been better lately. I dunno, just chatting. It's been basically a week since I've posted and I want to keep up the habit a bit, for a couple reasons. One is that I know these kinds of endeavors, like tilde.club, start with a lot of enthusiasm but realistically end in a lot of empty "I'm gonna put something here" pages that people abaondon. I don't want to contribute to that, or be that guy. Also, personally, it's just to try to form a habit, and maybe through that pick up a bit more web coding knowledge. Like, mostly due to role playing with friends I've gotten a certain level of skill with layout, fonts, photoshop style image manipulation, etc. Those are fun skills to have and play with. You just need an excuse and it happens. I'm trying to make this page my excuse to keep up a bit on some computer skills in the web side of things.
I guess my Sunday was pretty lazy. Did dishes and a bit of house clean-up. Monday I decided to stop by the parents' place to pay a visit. Turns out my Mom was on a flight out to Las Vegas for a medical conference of some type & she'll be gone until Friday. So, I ended up visiting with my Dad, we had home made ice cream & he put Deadpool 2 in. I hadn't seen it. I liked it. Today I learned that starting next week my workload will double. That ain't great. We'll see how it goes. Thus endeth my most boring of old school blog posts! Keep on keepin' on out there!
I tried to convince myself I wanted to go see "Rambo: Last Blood" today, but "Old Rambo kills a bunch of Mexicans on his ranch" just wasn't doing it for me. I think I'd rather play Contra on an NES emulator & call it good on that front. Instead I decided to go watch "Ad Astra", a Brad Pitt space flick. It was a little abstract, subdued, meditative. Kinda seemed to be about male flavored unhealthy sacrifice & obsession, emotional distance. Not sure it was great, but I was digging the mood it put me in anyways. The other thing I did was some CD shopping. There is this shop up in Mt. Pleasant that has tons of old media (like, buy Atari games level old!), and I'm still a sucker for physical media. I know about a month back they said they'd recently acquired a ton of new CDs, so I went in and went over them. What did I pick up? Well, you probably don't care, but I'm gonna say anyways! It's a combinations of things that are somewhat "fill out my library with generic hits" and others are "I think I dig this and wanna dig deeper." Without further ado:
I totally stole a bit of CSS to make text on my page cycle through some colors, just for dumb kicks. For now I just have it running on the title of my page at the top. Tonight I'll be role-playing with some friends up in Mt. Pleasant, and I'm just generally looking forward to the weekend. As for internet silliness I'm enjoying today, it's this Auralnauts Kylo Ren track. They do these "Kylo Ren Reacts" videos that are fun. In his last video he said he'd be "dropping a track for my bae", and, well, so he did!
What have I explored since yesterday? Well, I did check in to all of the services found at TildeVerse, which is quite an impressive array. Also, based on a mail in the mailing list, I've decided to check out Scuttlebutt, which is some kind of distributed social network thing. I've connected to a couple pubs and typed a couple things there. I'll see if I pick up the thread of any kind of conversation. If you're curious about it, I'd recommend stopping in to Scuttlebutt.nz to watch the video and get the down-low. If you decide to check it out, I think you can find me by looking for: @UOR1ubZfHVl2o9qDpRpgEnJt1J82FbBFuWfhVPPB2sE=.ed25519 . Yeah, definitely a copy/paste kind of thing. Anyways, have fun in your exploration & experimenting!
Today I played around with some more things I'd never played with before. The main thing is that I fiddled around with "Server Side Includes", which, among other things, let you break up your pages into separate files, then when your main page is opened, it includes instructions to also copy in other files in line to fully flesh out the page however you'd like. So far, I've basically just used it to make it so the surroundings of my page stay the same and the content here in the lower right corner of my page can change without me needing to type all the surrounding bits in for each page. I also used it for the little "You accessed this page on [Day/Time]" message just below the header picture. I know a lot of this stuff is probably considered pretty basic, but I've never used it before. So, in some small way it is learning!
Hope everyone is having fun playing around with their sites a bit. Catch you all later!
So yesterday, after a many years wait, I finally got my account and logged into tilde.club around 9am. I've tossed up this and that so the place doesn't look too empty. I'm playing around doing layout with tables, which is the "no-no" way, but you can't stop me!
Here is a picture of me playing some rock'n'roll. I was in a band with my friends Chris and Joe. Still jam and play with Chris. Back in these times we were playing songs Chris had wrote under the name "Remote Viewing Society." It was a good time, and we need to get off our asses and making something fresh, because... you know. Why not?
Here is a picture of the cover of a fan RPG project I did. Here is a link where you can download the PDF, but this is a fan-created 20th Anniversary version of White Wolf's "Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game", a game I played the hell out of back from about 1994 to... I dunno, 2004 or so?
I also love "Groove Boxes", Samplers, & Drum Machines. Here are a few I have in my collection!
The successor to the MC-303, this thing came out in the late '90s. It was apparently used by both Peaches and M.I.A.
The TR-707 doesn't get the glory the 808 or 909 do, but I like it quite a bit anyways. This thing came out in 1985 I think, and it's really good for getting that "Synthwave" sound. A couple tracks people know from back in the day that it was used on include "Need You Tonight" by INXS and "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald. I've also heard that it was used on "Midnight City" by M83.
This sampler is one of the less common ones in the line that includes the semi-famous SP-404, which continues to be a popular tool for low-fi hip hop production. The SP-404 was used by Madlib and a bit by J Dilla I hear. The SP-555 has a similar workflow, but the effects are a bit different, etc.
I probably would have been served better by the ESX-1, but I do like some of the drum samples this one has. For example, it has solid LinnDrum sounds in there, so you can sound like Prince, or any of a million awesome LinnDrum grooves from the '80s. Also, while a sampler really is the way to go for this, I like some of the chopped Jungle/Drum & Bass hits they have in this thing. The way you can mute & unmute the parts makes it kinda performance friendly too.
I originally had this bad boy back when it came out around 1996. Probably considered a cheap piece of gear by most, I remember composing some silly tracks with this thing back then. I liked the customizability of the drum kits, and the guitar style layout on the face of it made it easy to lay down bass lines or chords to sketch things out. It had a drum track and 3 other tracks you could use for whatever. The instrument sounds are not great, but they were OK. No problem with the drums though, so I still consider it a legit drum machine at the very least.