2023.09.24 – Weekly Wrap Up (09.17.2023 – 09.23.2023)

I am bad at selfies.  I added one last week to these little journal posts and I wanted one for this week but they are kind of bad.  Or maybe I am just bad at looking excited.

Anyway, I’m not late, I am intentionally not on time, because I was busy yesterday.  I spent almost all day in Champaign (Urbana technically) at the Pygmalion event at the Rose Bowl Tavern.  I’m actually not sure if there is one of these or more of them per year, but it’s apparently the 19th year.  It’s a little craft vendor fair alongside a bunch of musical acts both indoor and outdoor.  I primarily went to see Lauren Mayberry’s first solo tour.  But I also like music, so I went early to see all of the outdoor shows.  There was swap flip-flopping between in and out on the schedule, I didn’t want to lose my spot up front, so I just stayed outside.  There were other Lauren/CHVRCHES fans there doing the same, which isn’t surprising.

Overall I saw 6 acts total, one of the scheduled outdoor acts, ggwendolyn, had to cancel.  This also meant the schedule got compacted up and while it was originally supposed to start at 1:45, things didn’t start until 2:45.  So I got there early, and then got to wait a bit longer than expected.  Not a huge deal.  I got to watch them doing the soundcheck, which, at least for me, was super interesting.  This guy, we’ll call him Bob, because that was his name, everyone on stage called him that, would go around checking mics and making sure things work then he’d head into the “crowd” and have band members do tests to balance things out.  Then they would all adjust their little personal directional speakers for levels on the various tracks (vocals, drums, guitars, etc.) on a personalized basis.  All from a little portable wireless pad.  It was neat.

Also, I say “crowd” because at this stage of the day, there were, maybe 20-30 people mingling around the small parking lot area where the shows took place.    As the day went on, the bands became clearly more and more professional about how they operated, and basically just, produced better and better sound.  As as that progressed, the crowd size grew and grew.  It was fun to watch actually.  From fairly basic setups to more and more complex setups, from using the house speakers for the feedback audio to using in-ear headsets.  From just, checking the watch after every song to see how much time there was to play, to having a full-on set list, ready and set up and available.  From random comments about writing up songs because of “X”, to having full-on fun little stories.

Anyway, I saw, in order:

  • Emily the Band – She mentioned that she went to school at U of I in Champaign and had played at the Rose Bowl Tavern a few times, so they seem to more or less be a local band.  It was the first time they got to play on the main stage.    I enjoyed their set and they seemed like they were having a fun time all around.
  • Fiona Kimble – She was alright, though probably my least favorite of the day.  The easy comment here is, it felt like there were too many people on stage, but then she said the pianist had come in special and they did a couple of duet songs, so well, maybe it felt like too many people because they had a bonus person in their set.
  • Lutalo – I really enjoyed his set.  It was very low key, basically finger-picking folk music on an electric guitar.  Dude seemed to really get into his songs too.
  • Tim Atlas – Dude was really good, and they hit all the right notes of having a band that felt like they all were really having a good time while putting out some good, varied music.  The guitarist also had a talk box (think Peter Frampton, Do You Feel Like We Do), for one song, which was fun.
  • Claud – The only artist I managed to get around to listening to before the show, and it’s funny how much that changes one’s perception.  I also found that I really enjoyed Claud’s music, from my before the show listening, and I was already kind of a fan, because it’s enjoyable.  I don’t really know why but it kind of reminds me of sort of, toned down a bit King Princess.  Just the vocal styling, the lyrics, and all that.  I want to listen to more of the artists I saw but probably Claud most of all.
  • Lauren Mayberry – Ok, Claud most of all, behind the obvious.  I tried to mostly avoid watching other people’s videos of Lauren’s solo tour, so I could mostly go into this show blind.  I had already listened to the one single, *Are You Awake*, and I had listened to *Crocodile Tears* beforehand.  It was all great, and definitely a good different feel from Chvrches.  Kind of reminds me a bit of Wolf Alice maybe.  Probably my favorite was the final track, *Sorry Etc*, which is one extreme end of the styling and very very “screamo punk rock” style.  The other end probably being *Are You Awake*.  Also, probably just because of where I ended up standing up front on the end of the stage when she came to my side of the stage, she seemed to be “angry face screaming” a few times like right at me.  

    Please don’t want to kill me Lauren, I’m sorry, etc.

Anyway, I’ll probably make a gallery of my photos at some point, though they aren’t real amazing, my phone’s camera isn’t super great.  I had asked them about bringing my proper camera and it was in the car but I decided it was too much of a hassle.  

I did have a fun good sign moment before the show.  I had stopped in a few stores over in Champaign before the show, and when I walked into Five Below, there was a familiar voice on the radio, with the CHVRCHES/Marshmallow collab track Here With Me.  It took me a minute to place the song because I don’t really listen to it, basically ever.  I keep forgetting it exists, which is funny because in some ways it may be the most popular CHVRCHES track due to the Marshmello exposure.

The rest of the week was relatively uneventful aside from Friday evening.  I went and met up with my parents and brother and a couple of my nieces and we went to watch the Route 66 Carshow parade in Springfield.  I didn’t end up taking any photos, but it was fun.  Basically, a lot of the classic cars that are in the show itself all just, drive to downtown.  They go a pretty good distance, as they start down near Dirksen and Stevenson Drive and go downtown.  I realize this is meaningless to most people but this means they go 3 miles or so up Stevenson and then 3 miles or so up 6th Street to downtown Springfield.  It’s a good distance on some main throughways in the city, especially for a bunch of classic show cars.  Also, there is a police presence, but they also don’t block the roads, so there are just, regular cars driving around them.

I’m sure I’ll write up on it eventually, but I also kind of spur of the moment updated my PC from Windows 10 to Windows 11. It’s mostly the same honestly. I hate how I can’t dock the taskbar to the side though and I immediately changed is the centering on it though because the centered icons is functionally garbage and it’s ugly as shit. I also found a cheap price to update it to the Pro version from Windows Home. There are a few virtualization things that are only in Pro, but also only Pro allows for Remote Desktop access. It’s actually something I have been wanting to do even in Windows 10, for the same reasons. Also, in theory, I think Pro has fewer ads stuck in it, because well, you’re paying for it.

On Friday before going to Springfield I had the day off so we also put out the fall decorations around the outside of the house, though they aren’t completely finished. Also a few indoor ones but my wife does all that, I just haul totes around for that.

Activity Log

I’m not going to go into it all, but one of the stores I went to was Ollie’s.  Which I’ve been to elsewhere years ago when traveling, but this one opened up recently, closer to where I live.  It’s basically a closeout store, lots of stuff for like, 75% less than what it would have been originally.  They had a ton of Marvel Legends I didn’t care much about, and a few Star Wars Black Series I didn’t care about.  What I did pick up was a pile of Fortnite stuff.  Also, they had a bunch of Eternals Marvel Legends, which I have most of from previous markdowns, but I picked up Ajak, which was the only one I didn’t have.  I kind of really like the design of the Eternals, but I they are also all very samey looking, with almost no accessories, which made the figures a huge turn-off at the standard ML pricing.  I’ve managed to collect them all at like half price or below, which is just fine for me.

Not much else otherwise this week.

Weekly Wrap-Up (9.10.2023 – 09.16.2023)

Part of the pain of these posts is, I don’t really keep a log, so I have to go back and remember what I did the last week.

Part of the point of these posts, is I don’t keep a log, and I have to go back and remember what I did during the last week.

It’s all a sort of, purposeful, mental health exercise. Try to reflect on life and the good or whatever I suppose. Some weeks are in fact, truly uneventful and boring. Which in theory should be the time to spur some sort of reflection and appreciation of “the little moments”. I guess. I have a vaguely passing interest in the whole Zen mindset like that, or whatever it would be, but I also am generally pretty negative in mood lately, so it’s hard to really give a shit.

See, this is me, trying to free-flow write while I remember what I should write. I used to be pretty good at this. I really need to start doing it MORE I think. For some weird reason I often get caught up in this weird, bland, technical style of writing, where in the end, I certainly did not write about myself or my thoughts, but what I think some hypothetical, reader might give a shit about. This becomes a problem because, especially when I’m feeling pretty down, which is basically always, that “hypothetical reader” is someone who will never give a shit about anything I write because why would they.

I have this half-finished post in my “WIP” folder about how I burned myself out on coding. I guess I can dump that one because I am feeling it come back a bit again. I’ve been doing some more online tutorials. This week, I wrapped up one I started a bit ago on Responsive Web Design. I’m also working through the JavaScript course on FCC, which was why I did the Web Design one. And I’ve started doing one on C#. Why C#? I dunno, I do know some C and C++, this is just the evolution of that I suppose. I have dreams of one day actually making proper GUI-style apps, even for simple things. I need to learn JavaScript for work. Well, I don’t NEED to, I WANT to. My job requires no coding skills, but the side projects I do at work for the group, to help keep myself valuable as an employee, do need coding.

And I feel like I am pretty good at coding. I mean, next to a lot of folks, I am absolutely awful, but I like to think I am pretty good.

I should stick a meme in here, I keep meaning to use more memes to inspire more self-reflective posts.

Anyway, the “Activity Log” is a bit lengthy this week, so I’ll move on to that.

Activity Log

This really does occur in waves, it’s funny. Also, I mentioned last week, for a variety of reasons, I’ve basically gotten some bonus money through work, so I’ve been doing a bit of catch-up. Plus I had some pre-order stuff come in (one has not arrived yet). I actually thought I had more but I put the Humble Bundles on last week’s list. I also renewed several domain names and paid for my web hosting for the rest of the year (and then some).


Just one this week, my pre-order of the Tron Legacy 10th anniversary vinyl came in. It’s very nice, I love the way the arcade cabinet slipcover works with the inner cover, but with the slipcover on, it makes it too thick to fit in the grooves on my Vinyl shelf. I wonder if I could carefully chisel a slightly wider slot without taking the whole thing down. Also the second record is orange colored. There are two records and they match the colors of the Tron world. I’ll eventually do a Friday Album post on this album, I am sure.


One I forgot last week, Corey Doctorow’s The Internet Con Kickstarter. I have not read it yet, and I’m not real sure why I went in on this Kickstarter because I honestly find Doctorow to be a bit insufferable at times, though he also makes some good points at other times. There isn’t a lot of in-between on it. I am blaming peer pressure.

And then there are the usual, random Kindle Deal pick-ups.

It’s also worth mentioning that we also subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. I’m not sure if we’ll keep it long term, but for at least two months we have it. My wife has been talking about getting ads for books she wants to read but they are all Kindle Unlimited, I told her to just subscribe if she wants it. Especially with the small pay bump. She’s kind of bad about never wanting to do things like this that she wants.

Toys and Stuff

A while back I picked up a few Dungeons and Dragons figures on clearance from Amazon. I want to finish the set, but I’m waiting for another markdown. Except in the case of the two-pack for Venger and the Dungeon Master. It was marked down, but also, more importantly, it was I think the first release for the set, and I am worried it will eventually sell out on my. So I went ahead and picked it up. It’s a nice-looking set, I feel like it’s not worth “the price of two figures”. The Dungeon Master is small, and essentially a lumpy statue. Venger is quite large, but he is also, effectively a statue, because his neck joint is useless, and his legs, while articulated, are enclosed in a long plastic skirt.

(This is a stock image)

I also got this neat Recycling truck on super clearance. I pick up these sorts of things because they make good props for photos (that I never actually take). It’s a bit small for 6″ figures, but it’ll work.

Weekly Wrap-Up (09.03.2023 to 09.09.2023)

This week will be a bit music-heavy, not so much about anything specific, but about what I have been doing in general. It honestly could almost be its own, separate post and topic, instead of a weekly wrap post.

Roughly, 4 months or so ago, Target Circle had a 3 months free offer for Apple Music and Apple TV. I have no interest in Apple TV’s content, sorry Ted Lasso. I did take the offer, so I could watch Tetris, then immediately set it to cancel. The Apple Music I did want to try out.

I don’t make it any sort of secret that I prefer buying music, but I am increasingly kind of wishing I had a paid streaming option, somewhat primarily so I can sample artists a bit easier. Also, sometimes I just want to listen to some particular song or artist and it is otherwise inconvenient to do. Amazon really fucking screwed me up with they broke Amazon Music. I will never forgive them. I owned a lot of my music through Amazon, and could just “pick up and listen” easily in their app. But the app started CONSTANTLY begging you to subscribe to the premium option, and then the last straw was that it no longer does anything but shuffle, even if you own it unless you subscribe.



So anyway, in the past, I have had a 6-month trial of Spotify, and I had a 3-month trial on Tidal, and I have some YouTube playlists but Vanced Player finally broke broke. The easy and obvious choice is Spotify. Everyone uses Spotify, it’s the defacto choice. I wasn’t super keen on Spotify because one, they don’t include HiFi Audio. Tidal charges extra (by a lot) so Tidal was out for this reason as well. Tidal in general is very expensive compared to everyone else. Secondly, Spotify pays artists pretty low compared to others. I like supporting artists.

I had decided Apple Music may be a good choice, this trial was a chance to try it out. And I subscribed for a month at the paid tier. What I wanted though, was to do the Family Plan. For like, $6 more, I could eliminate the headache of conflicting with my wife listening at home on the Echo while I was at work. For $6 more, I could let my kids have music as well, so they don’t have to rely on random services or YouTube.

Except it turns out, that Apple, does not have a web-based account management system for Apple Music. To manage family sharing, you MUST use an iPhone or a Mac. I don’t have either one of these. I am actually vaguely considering getting a Mac for my next laptop, but currently, I don’t have either. So that’s completely not happening.

So for now, I have canceled that Apple Music subscription, and I have decided to just go with Spotify. I probably don’t need the HiFi audio anyway, since most of this listening is done with Bluetooth to my earbuds or my car anyway, and I still pay artists directly buying music anyway.

The pain now is, Spotify gave me a 3-month discount deal, for a single plan. So my family may be slightly screwed out of that for a bit. I honestly don’t think they even care about the overall prospect of a music service anyway.

One thing though, which brings this a bit into “What I did this week”, is to consolidate all of my music across these services into Spotify. It didn’t take too long, because I have never used any of them for a super long term. I used a tool called Soundiiz, which came up as recommended for most of it. The free plan is a bit limited though, so some had to be done manually. I was going to just cough up the $3 for a month of their paid tier so it would be instant, but it’s only $3 if you “pay annually”, and it’s $4.50 otherwise. That extra $1.50 wasn’t the killer for me, it was the bull shit annoying “marketing deception”. I HATE that crap. If it had been upfront with “4.50/month” or “$36/year”, I would probably have just paid for a month.

The core transfer was mostly playlists, and only two were larger than the 200 song limit. So I just transferred them in multiple chunks and then merged them back into the Spotify App. For liked Artists, I just set up side-by-side windows and manually searched on Spotify.  This also played nicely into another music project I had started on Apple Music to build a “Huge playlist of music I like that I can just play on shuffle”.  You can find it here or below, and my profile is here.

Activity Log

I mentioned last week getting a bit of a bonus at work.  That came through so I was a bit less restricted on a few things, in one case, with Humble Bundle, where I went for the following.

  • Masterful 3D Platfomrs – Primarily because I wanted A Hat in Time, but also because I enjoy these sorts of games, especially after playing through Yooka Laylee recently.
  • Tales from Wales Interactive – It’s cheap and I’ve been kind of wanting to try some of these FMV-style games, especially as I do like playing through CYOA Interactive Fiction text-style games.
  • DinoFever – Bought almost exclusively for the Turok games, because at the moment I have been playing Quake II Remastered and I’m on a bit of an “old school FPS Kick”. Everything else looked pretty interesting as well, and it’s cheap.
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics MEGA Bundle – I have this crazy fantasy that one day I will be able to play tabletop games. Please don’t judge me.


  • Max and the Multiverse: A Sci-Fi Comedy Novel by Zachry Wheeler – It was free, sounded interesting
  • An Enemy Reborn (Realms of Chaos) by Michael A. Stackpole, William F. Wu – I swear I have heard of this author before, and it sounded interesting. It looks like he has done some Star Wars books.
  • The Hedge Knight (A Game of Thrones) by George RR Martin – Game of Thrones is still cool right? WHERE IS WINDS OF WINTER GEORGE???
  • 15-Minute Spanish: Learn in Just 12 Weeks (DK 15-Minute Langauge Learning) – I am not quitting Duolingo, but I really feel like my Spanish learning is stalling a bit so I want to supplement it a bit again. I’m actually explicitly blaming Duo for this because they have changed the learning tree like 4 or 5 times now and every time it feels like they push my progress way back. I mean, the goal is to learn the language, not finish some arbitrary tree, but it’s really really discouraging.
  • Woke Up Like This: A Novel by Amy Lea, Mindy Kaling – Every month Amazon Prime includes a selection of free books. I almost never read them and half the time I don’t redeem them, but I have been trying to pick out one just because it’s there.

Weekly Wrap-Up (08.27.2023 to 09.02.2023)

Ok, I wrote this later and back-dated it, because I was going to not, but I need to not get back into the trap of “not”.

Look at me, slacking already, no posts since the end of Blaugust. Not even the Friday music album post, PS, I have missed several of those.

I am at the time of the year when I realize I have a ton of vacation days left to use up, so I took Friday off. I may take a lot of Fridays off. I have enough days to take one off each week for the rest of the year, and some of those weeks already have holidays in them. We don’t really take trips or go anywhere so I generally just, don’t take days off. Plus a few years ago I was really saving them because my wife had had a stroke and some heart issues came from that, so she was supposed to maybe have heart surgery. I kept saving for that, so I got extra bad about not taking a vacation. The doctor decided not to do the surgery, for now, because it would be too risky, but I am still bad about not taking vacation and we still don’t really travel.

It worked out, she had a garage sale, so I could help with that some.

Saturday the weather was decent enough that I could comfortably run the power washer my parents let us borrow to strip the back concrete off. It’s been a few years, it’s filthy, and it needs doing occasionally. It took something like 4 hours of pretty continuous spraying. Tina did the garage sale again while I was out back.

Which reminds me of something else. So occasionally we get these Iced Strawberry Lemonades from Sonic, especially since they are half-price in the mid-afternoon. I decided to mix it up and get a Limeade. I am pretty sure I don’t really like lime, I am pretty down on super bitter things like lime and vinegar. The drink was… Ok, except it was a bit bubbly I think, which I was not expecting. It also, had bits of stuff in it, which is really gross for a drink. I assumed bits of lime, it was actually bits of strawberry. I tried to transfer things to a glass but well, I wanted the ice, so I could not simply, strain the strawberry out.

The reminder part is, that part of my motivation was to see how I would like the lime because I have this lime tree that I bought a while back on super clearance. It has not produced any fruit but I transferred it to a larger, nicer, pot. But like, I have no idea what I am going to do with the limes. The stores don’t seem to be able to give them away either, I have noticed they sell for super cheap, so it’s not like I could sell them or give them away.

Anyway, I also have a Lemon tree, which will be useful, because I like lemons, for the most part.

I didn’t get anything new this week, I slacked and missed Band Camp Friday, but I was broke anyway because I pre-ordered some vinyl. I may have mentioned that last week. CHVRCHES has a 10th-anniversary Bones release. There was a really lovely looking special edition of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) I went for (because 1989 is the best Taylor Swift album) and I came across a super nice looking 10th-anniversary edition of the Tron Legacy Soundtrack. That Tron album is probably my favorite soundtrack and it’s also probably a top ten album.

Not that spending a lot is a goal, but I have been increasing cash-strapped for a while now on my “personal spending”. Like years, awhile. It probably does not seem like it to some folks, I do spend a fair amount, but I also heavily deal shop. I have a set budget though, out of each paycheck, that goes into a separate account for my personal spending. This also includes buying gas for my car and any time I want to eat lunch out, which isn’t super often. I cut it back a few years ago though from what it had been, and in the past few years, everything became 25-50% more expensive.

Also, shipping for vinyl is always killer. It requires a large box which is pricey to ship.

Anyway, our contract was up this year at work so when it was renewed we got a bit of a bump as usual, and I am getting on-call pay starting soon. My wife already said I can have the on-call pay for my budget, which will probably amount to an extra $250/ month after taxes etc.

Which will be nice. Primarily because I actually would like to subscribe and support more. Like I recently subscribed to TWIT premium. I want to pick up Thurrott Premium. But there are other things like Patreons and such that I kind of want to sub to, even briefly, to support some things I enjoy, and having that bump will probably help put me over the edge to do some of that.

Weekly Wrap-Up (08.20.2023 to 08.26.2023)

Not a lot going on this week honestly, it’s been kind of blazing hot which really makes some things difficult to do. Go Climat Crisis. I did start on a new project. Well, continued one I sort of started on. I have way too many bookmarks, enough that navigating them later is not useful. They are well sorted, but I need to make them more useful. I came across the concept of a “digital garden” recently. It seems to be just a fancy term for “personal wiki”. Anyway, I’ve started building a sort of personal wiki of bookmarks and resources, though it’s just lists of sorted links in markdown files, that I’ll eventually post out to Github for public use.

I may also do the Wiki thing as well, for other bits of information I want to keep, though most of that is already in One Note.

I just have been pretty down lately and not really motivated for much.

On a gaming note, the Aurora Concert is back for the next week or so in Sky: Children of the Light, it’s pretty neat, but there are also just, videos of it on Youtube.

I didn’t buy anything new this week either, like I said, boring week. Ok, technically I did pre-order a few things, but I don’t really consider pre-orders buying until they come in, because I often end up canceling them later.

I didn’t listen to much new music either, though I did start building a sort of “monster playlist to shuffle” in Apple Music. We’ll see what comes of that in the long term.