2022 Reading List

Mastering The Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success In Life

Mastering The Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success In Life

Jon Harrison

Published: 2015 | Pages:294

My Rating: 3/5

Description: Mastering The Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success In Life takes a look at how the same habits and principles that lead to success when playing video games can be applied to personal and business success. Principles are ideas that are truly timeless, and remain true independent of context, culture or time period. So what are the principles embedded in the most popular video games? Surprisingly, the list strongly resembles the most in demand traits for the workplace. • Adaptability & Managing Change • Personal Accountability • Innovation • Communication & Listening • Teambuilding & Collaboration • Knowledge Sharing • Persistence & Grit Mastering The Game provides analogies, examples, and lessons for connecting the dots between how gamers play and how successful professionals work. Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2006 | Pages:192

My Rating: 4/5


Scott Pilgrim, Volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2007 | Pages:216

My Rating: 4/5


Scott Pilgrim, Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2009 | Pages:184

My Rating: 4/5


Scott Pilgrim, Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2010 | Pages:245

My Rating: 5/5


Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, #1)

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, )

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2004 | Pages:168

My Rating: 5/5


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Scott Pilgrim, #2)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Scott Pilgrim, )

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published: 2005 | Pages:200

My Rating: 4/5


My Music Listening Habits for 2022

It’s that time again, when I ramble on about what I’ve been listening to this year.  I don’t use Spotify so I don’t have a “cool kids” wrap up to share.  Instead you get this!  A blog post!  And some little 5×5 charts made from my Last.fm.  I kind of prefer starting on Artists over Albums, so without further ado, the top 25 for 2022.  Which unsurprisingly, is relatively similar to my previous years.

In a surprise to literally no one, including myself, my top 3 are pretty much the same as they have been for a while.  Aurora, CHVRCHES, and Sigrid.  Actually, I am a little surprised Sigrid is so high, I didn’t listen tot he new album a ton, or much Sigrid that I remember actually.  Aurora and CHVRCHES, not so much, I listen to both a lot.  Heck, I saw Aurora live this year.

Beyond that is a bit of new-ish stuff.  I’m still been digging on Radiohead’s Kid A Mnesia re-release, and I picked up a copy of OK Computer to add to that mix.  The Weeknd’s Dawn FM has become a pretty regular listen as well.  It’s an album I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I do.   Orla Gartland and Dodie slot in at numbers 6 and 7.  I almost went to see Dodie (and Orla) earlier this year but my wife had a Doctor’s thing come up and COVID was starting to ramp up again, so I opted to skip it.

Next on the list is Magdalena Bay, a newcomer to the list which a lot of the folks at the CHVRCHES discord recommended.  Another with this honor is Wolf Alice down in the number 17 slot.  I actually kind of prefer Wolf Alice to Mag Bay, but I picked up their album later, so they got less time to be listened to. Wolf Alice is a bit more, guitars and rock, while Mag Bay is more synth and electronic.  Also in this list of “Recommended by CHV People,” is Purity Ring at number 20.

Quite a few regulars on the list for a bit, though I want to comment on how much Raffaella has manages to stay in these lists.  I’m sure I mentioned it before, several times, but I had never hear of her back in 2019 before going to see Sigrid, and I’ve been listening to her music still, years later.  She hasn’t even really put out a lot of new stuff either, a couple of singles and a small sized EP.

I think Berlinist is new to the top 25, but this is entirely from listening to the Gris Video Game soundtrack.  It’s a good ‘relaxing music” album.  

There are a few missing that I’m actually surprised are missing.  Well, one anyway, which is Enya.  Not a new artist by any means, but I ended up with her entire discography, minus one, I think, at an estate sale, and I listened to quite a few of her albums recently.  It feels like it should have been enough to put her up there on the list.  It’s also really interesting because, Enya definitely reminds me of the same sort of, exotic, vocalizing, sort of style of Aurora.

Anyway, next up is the albums list, but a lot will have been covered by the Artists wrap up so I’ll just stick to anything interesting.

And it’s more or less an expansion of the Artists lists.  Most interesting, though not surprising is that every album from Aurora and CHVRCHES appears in this list.

I also noticed I forgot to mention the Cranberries.  Like Enya, I picked up a few Cranberries albums and I’ve been enjoying them.  It’s also funny because, Enya “feels” like an “Earlier Aurora” in a lot of ways, and The Cranberries, “feels” like an “Earlier CHVRCHES” in a lot of ways.  I could actually expand on this a bit with Sigrid too, because Alanis Morissette, “feels” like an “Earlier Sigrid.”

I guess my point is, the more things change,t he more they stay the same, and my overall musical tastes is about the same as it always has been, it’s just added the latest version of the same shtick.

Saturday 2022-12-24 – Link List

Blogging Intensifies Link List for Saturday 2022-12-24

24-Dec-2022 – [Epic Games] Metro: Last Light Redux (Free/100%)

Brief Summary: “submitted by /u/Isagi17 [link] [comments]”

24-Dec-2022 – Super Mario World Localization Prototype Revealed

Brief Summary: “More and more development builds and assets from classic Nintendo video games have found their way to the Internet in the past few years, but it’s still a nice surprise to see in-progress versions of beloved favorites pop up.  Today’s game under the magnifying glass is 1991’s Super Mario World for the Super NES, as Forest of Illusion has acquired and documented an October 1990 localization prototype used to prepare the game for its North American release.  This version contains a different title screen logo, different fonts, a few script changes, a slew of enabled debugging tools, and some other interesting changes.  Check out the video for the full set of documented differences. It’s an interesting peek behind the curtain.

21-Dec-2022 – A few tips on selecting the right microcontroller for your project

Brief Summary: ”
GEMMA and Trinket are great when you want a tiny, low cost microcontroller to embed in your projects. One of the tradeoffs, however, is that they can’t send data back to the computer for debugging sensor values. For instance, you want to make a pair of Firewalker sneakers with Gemma instead of Flora, but there’s no easy way to calibrate your Velostat step sensor since you can’t see the numerical value of the reading. We recommend keeping a FLORA around for this purpose, even if you port to GEMMA later. But there’s a workaround– you can use software serial and a modified console cable to debug values on Gemma.”

23-Dec-2022 – Elon Musk ‘orders Twitter to remove suicide prevention feature’

Brief Summary: “Sources say new owner sought removal of #ThereIsHelp feature that appeared at top of certain searchesTwitter has removed a feature in the past few days that promoted suicide prevention hotlines and other safety resources to users looking up certain content, according to two people familiar with the matter, who said it was ordered by new owner Elon Musk.The removal of the feature, known as #ThereIsHelp, has not been previously reported. It had shown at the top of specific searches contacts for support organisations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, Covid19, gender-based violence, natural disasters and freedom of expression. Continue reading…

24-Dec-2022 – Barack Obama has revealed his favourite songs of 2022, including Ethel Cain, Beyoncé, Rosalía, Maggie Rogers and more

Brief Summary: “Former President Barack Obama has shared his top 25 songs of 2022.

The eclectic list includes the likes of Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul’, Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Heart Part 5’, Rosalía’s ‘Saoko’, and Ethel Cain’s ‘American Teenager’.

There’s also room for former Dork cover star Maggie Rogers, Bad Bunny, SZA, Lizzo and more.

In his post, Obama wrote, “I always enjoy sharing my end of year music playlist with all of you – and this year we heard a lot of great songs. Here are some of my favorites. Are there any songs or artists I should check out?”

Earlier this year, Obama posted his summer playlist, which included a few of the same songs that made it to his year-end roundup.

I always enjoy sharing my end of year music playlist with all of you — and this year we heard a lot of great songs. Here are some of my favorites. Are there any songs or artists I should check out? pic.twitter.com/qkwm4UOzMD— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 23, 2022”

22-Dec-2022 – Taylor Swift breaks more chart records, shifting six million albums in eight weeks

Brief Summary: “Taylor Swift has made history with her tenth studio album ‘Midnights’, becoming the first artist to have five albums that sold over one million units during release week and selling six million album equivalent units worldwide in just two months.

Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge praised the achievement, saying: “Taylor is a multidimensional creative force whose achievements place her among the most accomplished artists in the history of music, and we are thrilled and honored to partner with her across so many aspects of her career.”

Republic Records Founder and CEO, Monte Lipman, added: “Taylor’s achievements over the past year have been absolutely spectacular! With more than two dozen historic milestones set by Midnights, it’s nearly unimaginable for any artist to sell more than six million albums in less than eight weeks during any era of our business. These accomplishments further exemplify Taylor’s prowess as the consummate artist and storyteller defining a generation.”

In November, Taylor announced ‘The Eras Tour’, a series of 52 stadium shows throughout the US featuring various special guests. However, the tour has been marred by controversy after the first round of sales saw thousands of fans reporting lengthy wait times, website outages and hyper-inflated prices on resale sites. Ticketmaster later admitted it buckled under the “historically unprecedented demand” they faced from Swift’s fans, before cancelling the general sale.

In response, Swift refused to “make excuses” for Ticketmaster, claiming that she and her team “asked them, multiple times, if they could hand this kind of demand” and were “assured they could”. Ticketmaster later announced it would sell more ‘Eras’ tour tickets through its Verified Fan program.”

20-Dec-2022 – Cold Complaints

Brief Summary: “”

22-Dec-2022 – Portal with RTX is a flawed diamond of a ray traced remaster

Brief Summary: “If I were a PC graphics bigwig, choosing which aged game to spruce up with ray tracing as an elaborate mod tools advert, I wouldn’t have gone for one with as timeless an aesthetic as Portal’s. Maybe that’s why I’m not one – Portal with RTX is a gorgeous return to Aperture Science, a borderline must-play for anyone with a premium GeForce RTX GPU, and a mightily impressive demonstration of the Nvidia RTX Remix tools that built it.
Admittedly, that’s in spite of some shortcomings, including utterly broken performance on even the strongest Radeon RX graphics cards. Equip yourself with RTX hardware, however, and this free mod is a real Christmas treat.
Read more”

23-Dec-2022 – Violent Night, 2022 – ★★★½

Brief Summary: ”

Its good and violent once it gets going.💾”

23-Dec-2022 – Totoro himself is the capsule for these adorable new Totoro capsule toys【Video】

Brief Summary: ”
Instead of a plastic ball you’ll throw away, these Totoro capsules are something you’ll treasure as much as what’s inside them.

Japan is in the middle of a golden age for capsule toys, with an unprecedented variety of cool, cute, and quirky trinkets on randomize offer for just a few hundred yen. But, of course, when buying a capsule toy, it’s really just the “toy” part that we’re interested in, right?
But today we’re looking at a new series of gacha-style goodies where the capsule itself is a prize to cherish, because the capsule is none other than Totoro!

If you’re an experienced Totoro merch fan, you can probably deduce that these are being offered by Studio Ghibli specialty shop Donguri Kyowakoku. Called Totoro de Oide, or “Come on Over with Totoro,” the lineup consists of four designs, each with different friends perched atop the gray big Totoro’s head.

There’s Mei, the blue mid-size Totoro…

…a pair of tiny white Totoros, and a soot sprite and frog.
▼ If, like me, you actually don’t remember the frog from Totoro, this yet another good reason to rewatch it.

Each of the big Totoro designs also has its eyes pointing in a different direction, giving each their own sense of personality.
In order to properly tumble out of the machine, though, and to keep the suspense of which toy you’ve received going a little longer, the big Totoro’s separate-piece ears are contained inside the capsule along with the topper figure.

An extra cool aspect is that Donguri Kyowakoku’s in-store capsule machines are designed to look like trees, so when your Totoro capsule drops down, it looks like Totoro is popping out of the forest to say hi.

▼ The Totoro capsules are wisely covered in a soft-touch material, because really, how could anyone resist giving him a little hand hug?

The Totoro de Oide capsule toys are on sale at Donguri Kyowakoku stores as of December 24, priced at 500 yen (US$3.80), which should leave enough room in fans’ budgets to pick up one of the new Totoro finger puppets too.
Source: PR TimesTop image: YouTube/ジブリがいっぱい どんぐり共和国公式チャンネルInsert images: PR Times, YouTube/ジブリがいっぱい どんぐり共和国公式チャンネル● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!TC 20

23-Dec-2022 – Studio Ghibli releases bonsai fountains for your home

Brief Summary: ”
Voice-activated water gardens feature characters from My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.

Studio Ghibli is well known for crafting beautifully animated movies, but the artistry and attention to detail that makes a Ghibli film so memorable spills over to its official merchandise range too.
It’s the reason why we previously fell in love with a Catbus clock with a moving tail and humidifiers that bring film scenes to life, but the latest product announcement has truly blown us away, because now we’ll be able to purchase bonsai water gardens featuring some of our favourite movie characters.

There are four to choose from, starting with the My Neighbour Totoro Water Garden Bonsai Kasajuku.

Before we get into the details that make this product so impressive, let’s pause to admire the name it’s been given, “kasajuku“, as it’s an adorable title that needs a little unpacking to understand.
The word “shuku” (read as “juku” when used as a suffix) literally translates to “post town”, and usually refers to a place where people once stopped for a rest on an old route like the Koshu Kaido, which connected Kai Province (modern-day Yamanashi Prefecture) with Edo (modern-day Tokyo) during the Edo Period (1603-1867). Today, this route still exists to a large extent, along National Route 20, and some of the old names remain too — like “Shinjuku” in Tokyo which literally means “new post town“.
For this beautiful new product, Studio Ghibli has tacked the word “kasa” (“umbrella“) before “juku“, creating a word that means “Umbrella Post Town” or “Umbrella Rest Town“, with all of its romantic old connotations.
▼ And because it’s a bonsai, it’s presented on a stand, just like a real miniature tree.

Ghibli fans will recognise the scene depicted in the bonsai as the one where Totoro appears when Mei and her older sister Satsuki are waiting for their father to arrive on the bus. It’s pouring with rain at the bus stop, and Satsuki, who has Mei on her back in a pale blue raincoat, hands an umbrella to Totoro, who delights in the sound the rain makes when it hits the umbrella.
▼ The rainy scene is perfectly replicated in this water fountain.

What makes this water fountain even more magical is the fact that it’s voice-activated, so once you speak to it, the rain-shower begins, lasting for five minutes at a time.

There are a few noticeable changes to the scene from the movie, because instead of two girls at the bus stop, there’s only one. However, unlike the promotional poster for the movie, which shows a mysterious girl that’s neither Satsuki nor Mei, the girl here is clearly Mei.

There’s also a frog nearby, and a smaller Totoro holding a leaf, which sways gently under the drops of water.

All the water fountains are battery operated, with the option for USB power, and come with two settings — one for voice-activated five-minute operation and the other for continual water operation.

The next two water fountains are an homage to the 1997 Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke.

The Princess Mononoke Water Garden Bonsai Mysterious Forest depicts a forest scene from the movie, where the Shishigami (Deer God) is seen standing on a body of water.

The god of the forest is joined by a group of kodama spirits, a trio of which remain dry beside the tree, while the others enjoy a gentle trickle of water within the hollowed-out trunk.

The Princess Mononoke Water Garden Bonsai Moonlit Forest is similar to the one described above, only this time the Shishigami is looking towards the skies.
▼ Unlike the others, this model can only be purchased online.

Here, its antlers appear to be transforming into the semi-translucent spikes of the Nightwalker, the giant form it turns into at night.

▼ The water also trickles down to the feet of the forest god in this watery scene.

This fountain also has a group of kodama, but these ones glow in the dark, a feature that’s only available in this limited-edition model.

Finally, we have the Spirited Away Water Garden Bonsai Souzu no Niwa.

A “souzu” is a bamboo water feature often seen in a traditional Japanese “niwa” (“garden“), and that’s what’s depicted in this beautiful water garden. Once the bamboo cylinder fills up with water, it tips down, releasing the water and lightening the weight, which makes it return to its original position to repeat the process.

The provider of the water in this scene is No Face, who’s shown with clasped hands, a position it takes when offering people things in the movie.

▼ “Eh, eh, eh…”

Watching the scene is Yubaba’s bird, and Yubaba’s baby, Boh, in the fly and mouse forms they were turned into after a curse was placed on them by Yubaba’s sister, Zeniba.
▼ Yubaba’s bird

▼ Yubaba’s baby

▼ Even without the water running, these water gardens will add a Zen-like ambience to your home.

▼ Swipe through to the last image to see a video of the water fountains in action.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ジブリがいっぱい どんぐり共和国【公式】 (@ghibli_dongurirep)

All the water gardens go on sale at Donguri Kyowakoku stores and online from 26 December, except the Princess Mononoke Water Garden Bonsai Moonlit Forest, which can only be purchased online.
Online sales start at 10:00 a.m. Japan time on 26 December, and despite the relatively high price tag of 17,600 yen (US$132.74) each, they’re likely to sell out fast so be sure to act quick if you’d like to get one!
Source: Donguri Kyowakoku
Top image: Donguri KyowakokuInsert images: Donguri Kyowakoku (1, 2, 3, 4)● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!Studio Ghibli water fountain bonsai Spirited Away My Neighbour Totoro No Face anime film merchandise Princess Mononoke new buy Japan shop photos 1

People I Follow Online and Social Media

I actually wrote up a private journal entry about the whole Twitter mess, but I’m really really trying not to fuel that drama, so I’m refraining from actually posting anything about it. It’s gotten me thinking some about social media and following people online in general though. I’ve been online for a very long time and I’ve used computers almost my entire 43 years of life, and that is not an exaggeration. I am, and will forever be connected to technology as a core piece of who I am. And as such, I also flock to social websites. But the funny part is how each one sort of manages to slot into it’s own little place in my world. And how irritating it is when they try to change things and be something I don’t want them to be.

Take say, Instagram. I resisted Instagram for a while, and even once I started using it, I honestly have never been super committed to it. But I do like seeing other people’s photos. I have two accounts, one that is almost exclusively toys, and one that is “everything else”. Which is usually bands and musicians I like, family members, cats, food. In that order. Though lately, they keep trying to turn themselves into TikTok, which I hate, because I don’t want dumb video clips, I want photos.

Instagram of course is part of Facebook, though it serves it’s own purpose. Most of my actual contacts on Facebook are people I actually know. Family, all those people from High School I added when FB first launched, and friends, both from real life and online. Though I want to add that in this case, “Online Friends”, for the most part is, “Actual friends.” People I have been online friends for longer than I’ve been friends with anyone else. People I’ve been connected to cross platforms and in quite a few cases, people I have met with face to face at least once. I also use Facebook some for groups, but it’s pretty much limited to a couple of toy based groups and groups related to musicians I like. I tried using Facebook for news, but the comment sections are always cancerous idiocy so I had to drop all of the news sources I was following.

Beyond that, things get a bit more nebulous.

Take, for example, Reddit. I use Reddit a lot, probably more than is healthy, but i don’t have any friends on Reddit. I basically do not ever look at user names. I do follow a couple of accounts, but it’s mostly just people I actually know, and mostly for the sake of, “This is an easy way to remember who they are on Reddit”. I don’t actually look at their Reddit feeds, because I follow them all through other platforms where I will hear about things they want to say in a much more efficient manner. I do follow and check a shitload of subreddits and regularly browse posts on /r/all. My “Reddit Recap” for 2022 says i was in the “Top 1% of all Redditors”. I’m not sure I’m proud of that one. It’s probably the one place that’s great for getting good information from actual people on a wide variety of topics.

Then there are places like Twitter, which I’ve replaced the functionality of with Mastodon. These places, basically boil down to, “If your profile information meets any one of a dozen or so criteria, I will follow you”. Post about Video Games, Toys, Nerdy Tech shit, almost instant follow. Post snarky one liners about life that I emphasize with, that’s a follow. Post memes about cats or something frequently, but not so frequently it pollutes my feed, you bet, I’ll follow that. I treat Micro Blog platforms more like…. RSS for people’s shit takes and hot takes.

Which brings me to another way I follow people, RSS. I love RSS. RSS is so perfect for following and I am still fucking salty about Google Reader being closed and will always be because it basically killed RSS to the world. As of now, I follow around 500 blogs and news sites. I have a ton more bookmarks, waiting in a folder called, “Todo -> Add to RSS”. And i regularly go through this folder. The criteria for following a blog on RSS are similar to the Micro Blog criteria, but probably in a more broad sense.

I think in the end, I just like hearing people’s stories and random thoughts. Even if I don’t always give feed back with a comment or a like or whatever. I want to know what people think. Especially things that seem completely banal and pointless.

Tuesday 2022-12-20 – Link List

Blogging Intensifies Link List for Tuesday 2022-12-20

20-Dec-2022 – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse poster teases the various versions of Spidey

20-Dec-2022 – [Epic Games] Wolfenstein: The New Order (Free/100%)

20-Dec-2022 – WordPress.com Launches Newsletter Product

20-Dec-2022 – A Love Letter To My Lost Amiga

20-Dec-2022 – See The ATARI GEM Desktop Running On A Portable Word Processor… Thing

06-Sep-2022 – Beginner’s Guide to Installing Node.js on a Raspberry Pi

04-Jun-2019 – Web Scraping with Google Sheets: The Definitive Guide

18-Dec-2018 – Creating a Raspberry Pi Pandora Player with Remote Web Control

10-Mar-2017 – Password Rules Are Bullshit