The Mid May Update


I've been quiet for the better part of a month. As such, it's time to play catch-up.

Last week I journeyed to Nashville and saw Pentatonix with Dr Blondie. I haven't been to a concert since Prince (and that's likely been 10 years), mush less a mostly acapella concert. There were 3 acts - the opener was a 17 year old kid. He had a real name, but that's the part I remember. The next group was Us the Duo, a husband and wife team. Lastly was PTX themselves.

I don't know why I found this the most interesting, but for each performer before each song they would say "the name of this song is __________, and it's about ___________." I have no idea why that stuck out in my head, except it felt like the way I was taught to write a paper in high school - minimum of 5 paragraphs; 1st paragraph into saying what you're going to say, 3 paragraphs of content, last paragraph summarizing what you said; a paragraph has 4 sentences - 1st sentence says what you're going to say, minimum 2 sentences of content, final sentence summarizes what you said. I haven't written that kind of paper in 30 years and yet those instructions have stayed with me.

Work office wall decoration continues, especially since we're getting ever closer to moving since our lease extension is nearing an end. The Nick Fury poster on the right I've had since the early 90's. I bought it from the Tattooed Lady Comics, which was the only place I could find it (in the days before the internet). It had been thumb-tacked up on walls a couple of times before I got it, and I may have added a couple of holes afterward. Overall it's held up well for 20+ years.

Underneath those 2 posters are pages from a Star Wars picture-a-day calendar Gina got me for Christmas. There was a 2-week run of retro styled vacation destination pictures which I thought looked pretty cool. I've seen some of them for sale as posters, but I already had these pictures in calendar form! Thanks to Hobby Lobby's sale schedule for frames and mat board I was able to whip up a passable display (just don't look too close, you know how I am with straight lines).

In the mid-90's, while going to Athens State, I discovered a Taco Bell kids meal was a perfect snack for a college kid. Even better, they had Tick toys packaged in with the food, and I loved me some Tick. The above has been on favored work desks off and on ever since. Yet another thing that I don't know how or why I've kept up with for 20 years, but now my little spinning Tick keeps me company while he guards my monitors from evil.

action figures/toys random road trip

Obligatory #RIPPrince


The above screengrab epitomizes what I think of after over 30 years of listening to Prince. From the "Sign O' The Times" movie, 28 minutes in when he's performing I could "Never Take The Place Of Your Man" is The Guitar Solo.

There are plenty of guitar solos. Prince has lots of songs with guitar solos. The one from this song, and the version recorded for the movie in particular, is just full of soul. Maybe they're Guitar Soul-os?

Whenever a new Prince album would come out, back in the days when you had to go to a store and buy a tape or cd, Jer and I would get the latest Prince album on release day. Next would come the mandatory listening all the way through, then listening again to pick out the really good songs. Upbeat, uptempo songs were the quickest to grab hold, but the longevity of an album would depend on its funk ballads and how much soul was in the songs. Not R&B charts soul, but the music you feel deep down, that you feel but can't describe (or maybe that's what chart soul boils down to).

Prince's death has caused a quick resurgence in his musical popularity as everyone suddenly remembers him and buys up all of his stuff on iTunes and it's ilk. I too got caught up, as his last 4 albums that are on iTunes I had skipped. But I've always listened to Prince. I've ripped a copy of my DVD of Sign O The Times that sits on my work laptop, and there are days it plays on repeat all day long (the movie version has a slightly faster tempo than the cd, a guess because of the live recording, but I like its beat the best). There are days I can just hit "random" on the Prince list in iTunes and I'm good for days - at one time Jer and I had totaled up how many days it would take before a song would be repeated within our Prince collection. I don't remember how many days it was, but I know it was at least a week or two. It's got to be lots more than that now.

According to my iTunes list I've got over 800 Prince songs. There's likely lots of duplicates, lots of remixes, and there's plenty of songs I don't like to counter the ones I love. And Now, like everyone else, I'll fire up my Prince list a little more often over the next few days. In these days I'll likely pay a little more attention to the soul behind that guitar and those songs.


Birthday Revisited


This past Wednesday I found myself in the greater metropolitan Nashville area. It wasn't by mistake, it was all part of a plan. For the past few years I've taken my birthday off of work and made a shopping pilgrimage to Nashville. This year, I was not in the mood to do so on my birthday. I had feared my tradition had run its course. It turns out my tradition was the victim of a slight calendar adjustment that took a couple of extra weeks to kick in.

The shopping high point of my trip this year was discovering that the Opry Mills Polo Outlet has a Big & Tall section. I've wandered into the store before but never gone past the "Mens" section by the front door. Hidden squarely in the center of the store (but behind shelves that make free standing walls like the designers of Polo departments like) is not just a Big & Tall section, but a spacious Big & Tall section!

Since my (now plateaued) weight loss began, I've stuck mainly to off/store brand clothes I didn't know how long I would be wearing a given size. Why pay $125 for a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, even if I really like the way they wear/feel, when I can get a shirt from Khol's that's good enough for $15 ($8 on sale at one point)? Now that my size has evened out, I miss the nicer clothes, though. I've caught a couple of good sales to where I picked up a (Polo) shirt or two in the past year, and the quality is still there. But still, that's a chunk of change for a shirt when there's less expensive alternatives.

Enter the Polo outlet. The sign on the front said the entire store was 40% off the ticket price. The ticket prices were cheaper than what I've seen in department stores - most ticket prices where the sales prices I had been getting at Belks and Dillards. On top of that, the cashiers would putting in coupon codes that dropped the total discount to 50%. My size was in stock for lots and lots of things. Deciding I could get all my clothes shopping for the rest of the year done in 1 fell swoop, I grabbed everything willy nilly so I wouldn't have to waste countless trips to Belks & Dillards over the next few months.

When I checked out I had 9 shirts and 3 shorts for just over $330. This should last me until I need a different size (hopefully smaller!), and wasn't $660 or more like it would have been at home.

I swung by a couple of other stores and scored some good deals. Mostly it was random stuff I wouldn't normally by except my head had a "it's my birthday" mentality going on.

Afterwards I had dinner with Dr Blondie at a Chuys where she discovered Ranch dressing. Well, not straight Ranch, but it's the base they use for a jalepeno dip. Next she's on tap to concoct her own version since I mentioned Hidden Valley Ranch lets you mix your own dressing.

It was a good Nashville trip - traffic was only backed up in directions I wasn't going. That was the topper for the day, since traffic is my bane. It was also my first road trip in the new car farther than Florence.

road trip

Grumpy old codger


As I get older I seem to get more opinionated about others opinions, and the irony isn't lost on me.


Not much of an update


It's been a while since I posted anything, and my last post was just so chock full of news (good and bad) that I just had to let it sit out on the internet and simmer for a while.

Life has been busy lately and I've been trying to reorganize my hobbies. I haven't really been sure of how I want to spend my free time. Some of my hobbies have gone more to the wayside - boardgaming and painting, for example. I still enjoy them, but not to the extent that I did a year or two ago. I could chalk it up to being lazy, but I've been catching up on my TV/DVD watching over the past couple of weeks. I think there's a good chance that modern shows have reached the point to where it's nigh impossible to wait until a show has ended it's run and then binge-watch everything. There's just too many things to watch. There are a handful of shows currently airing that I stay a season behind while watching (Arrow, Flash, Big Bang Theory) and others that I've yet to start (Better Call Saul, Homeland, a couple more that I've forgotten). Not sure when/if I'll get caught up. There's a bit of a lull in new DVD movie releases so that may be my window to catch up.

Jerry and I are still playing Grand Theft Auto 5. Part of me still wants to play around with making a sandbox style video game. There's a YouTube tutorial series that looks pretty good on making such a game. I do better when playing around with Unity if I have a good tutorial to follow along with that I can hack along the way. I skimmed the first video without trying to program along with it and it seemed like a good video, and hopefully video series. Now it's on my list of things to try.

As I finally don't feel like an idiot at work, I'm more apt to try a little programming for fun. It's hard to get my brain in the right groove, switching from PHP/web programming at work and then C#/game programming for fun. To be honest, when I'm struggling at work my brain makes me feel guilty for switching gears. Maybe now I can freely switch.

My last boardgame idea is still simmering in the back of my head. About once a month I'll grab a notebook and make 4 or 5 pages of notes. The next month I'll go back and see how much still makes sense. Amazing how something that seems so cool and innovative when initially spewing forth turns to crap a month later.

game dev random

Blog Archive

As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).

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