from Grappling and Other Thoughts

Thoughts On What Could Have Been For the Music Industry

According to an article from Bandcamp started to become a big thing in 2017. What I'm wondering is what would the music business look like now if Bandcamp was around in say, 2001? Sure the iTunes Store was started in 2003 but it was encumbered with DRM until 2009 when it was probably too late as Spotify was starting to become a thing even then.

The iPod launched in 2001 with a 5 GB model. Pair that with the ability to download albums in whatever digital format that you want (within reason) and there might have been something there. Basically what I'm wondering is if Bandcamp or something very similar was available would the music industry be in the same streaming controlled world we currently live in?

Also if Sony had been smarter (i.e. more open with the format) about SACDs could that have been a market? I really have no idea if DSD makes a difference but the larger storage capabilities and 5.1 support are differentiators from a regular CD. SACD is of course a tiny market these days and I don't think there was a way to make it as big as CDs were, however it probably could have been bigger.

I'm not sure if these thoughts make any sense I've just been wondering about this issue. Artists seem to be getting the short end of the stick whether or not the huge music companies make tons of money or not. The form in which they make this money such as physical media or streaming doesn't seem to matter either. They just come up with new ways to stop the money coming in from going to artists. Hopefully that changes at some point in the future!

This is my day 96 post for #100daystooffload


from Thoughts Shared

I have been mulling over the past few months to see if I wanted to spend another £15 to get the iOS app for platform. I think it will be a good investment to start microblogging some of my random thoughts on the go.

Let's rock and roll, baby!

#Journal #100DaysToOffload

Day 10 of #100DaysToOffload Challenge. Find out more at and join the community.


from zymotux

Wales has opened up vaccinations to 40-49 year olds so my wife phoned up the local number for the Mass Vaccination Centres (MVCs) a few times last Friday (patience needed before getting on the queue!) and we had our jabs yesterday! Very well organised so thanks to all involved with this!

We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of one of the MVCs. All very smooth – people there to signpost where to go, lines move quickly, a few military personnel mixed in with NHS professionals (medical and administrative). My jab was given by a very nice yet efficient lady. Pfizer-BioNTech, which makes sense logistically – easier to have the freezers needed at an MVC and distribute the AstraZeneca vaccines to individual doctors' surgeries.

My arm hurts today but other than that no side effects. Should get the follow-up jab in 4-12 weeks. Step in the right direction for our own route out of lockdown.

We also went to Penarth over the weekend and saw the sea. Furthest we've been in over a year but a medical appointment over there necessitated it. First time in a taxi in that long too! Dragon Taxi (great name!) were very professional... we do like supporting them rather than Uber etc. They seem more rooted in the place somehow.

I've never really jumped onto the whole app-enabled “gig economy” bandwagon, probably as a result of living in the Bay Area where Uber started and where the individual drivers had far fewer rights and protections than UK gig economy workers... although I have grudgingly used food delivery apps like Deliveroo during the pandemic every now and again to get variety in our lives after resisting for months at the start.

With the large gig economy tech firms, something about their shifting of responsibility for both the services and worker-welfare onto individuals rather than taking company level ownership of it has always rubbed me the wrong way, although I've been watching the push back with mild interest to see where different societies draw (and re-draw) their lines on this.

A tech professional friend of mine once said something on this topic that stuck with me. Gig economy tech firms had a definite choice. They could always have just developed their platforms and sold/licenced them to existing companies but instead have sparked a wider societal transition in how people access and use services across transportation, hotels (Airbnb) and other sectors. Could be that I was just a little too old and grumpy when this came along but I still prefer (and trust!) the more regulated traditional service deliverers.

Anyway, one jab down, one to go; the weather is sunnier... and so (with caveats) am I!

Entry 78 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2021-04-10 #100DaysToOffload #lockdown #technology #economy

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from Grappling and Other Thoughts

Trying Out Sublime Text 3

I've been trying out Sublime Text 3 the last few days. So far I've been enjoying learning how to use it, though I do keep running into one bug related to Gnome 3.38.

After going through Sublime Tutor and seeing what it can do I was impressed and might end up buying a license. If I do switch from Emacs I did notice somebody is even working on an org mode package for Sublime!

The package enabling vi key bindings (which I am slowly learning) in Sublime Text is called Vintage and seems to work fine for my needs. It should also be noted that Sublime Text 4 is currently in private alpha though I'm not sure when they plan to release it.

Using vi key bindings with Sublime Text 3 seems to be working for me, so we will see where my relationship with this text editor goes in the future!

This is my day 95 post for #100daystooffload


from A blog of yet another quirky guy out there

I believe this is a futile and energy-draining activity. Spend time criticising what others do and don't do is merely an excuse to avoid looking inwards—which demands effort and it's sometimes gut-wrenching.

Develop critical thinking, on the other hand, requires introspection—you must aim your critical view at yourself first. Develop this kind of thinking is quite difficult because we all identify ourselves as critical thinkers (at least I've never come across someone who claims the contrary), so we deceive ourselves into believing that we are already there.

Constantly criticise others and being a critical thinker is completely different; one is an effortless and fruitless activity, the other is a constant struggle with yourself — specifically, with your opinions.

Simplistically, critical thinking means thinking by yourself. Let's be clear, this is an impossible yet worthwhile endeavour. To a greater or a lesser extent, what we think is the result of an amalgamation of factors, including our cultural ideology, our family's values and beliefs, and the average views of those we surround ourselves with. On top of that, our information diet (news, social media, etc.) plays an ever-increasing role in how we perceive this world. Hence, we can only claim to “think by ourselves” to some extent, no matter how hard we try. Still, it is important to make an effort.

During the last century, some of the most prominent and original academic works on critical thinking (I should write pensamiento crítico) were done by post-revolutionary Cuban philosophers. Of course, these works don't appear in the official repositories of “academic wisdom”—check Wikipedia for instance, there is not a single mention there. What do you think about this? How easily you reject (or accept) my assertion depends on factors as trivial as your nationality. If you strongly disagree (or strongly agree) with me, you won't spend time looking further into it; you would easily conclude that I'm wrong (or that I'm right). that's your (national) ideology in action, not your critical thinking—of course, when I write you I am first and foremost writing to myself; I think where are all in the same mess here, but maybe the reader does not have this problem.

Being satisfied with the “official” version of reality is a sign of intellectual laziness, of our uncritical reasoning. Who are writing the official stories that we consume? and why? It is easier to believe in something blindly and then criticise whoever dares to question it.

#100DaysToOffload #Negativity (69/100) P.S. This post is part of an experiment about negativity (read about it).


from Hide the Eraser

Day 10 of #100DaysToOffload

Almost a year ago I fell from the rafters of my attic, through the ceiling of the first floor, and down to the hard floor. I landed like a gymnast, sticking the landing and bending the legs, trying to absorb the impact, and I collapsed to the ground. I don't know whether the ankle got ripped when I started to fall and had to twist it out of the corner where my foot had jammed in the rafters or whether it was from the impact itself, or a bit of both, but the result was that when I tried to stand, feeling mostly bruised, I collapsed back to the floor. I glanced at the ankle enough to know that it was no longer straight.

The paramedic said, upon entering the room, “Well, that doesn't look right.”


That was almost a year ago, and I am grateful that the damage wasn't worse. A surgery and months of recovery means I can get up each morning and go for a walk. Or bike or go up stairs or stand and work or any other everyday sort of thing. To anyone else, there's no difference from before. They sometimes forget that it happened.

I didn't want to be up there in those rafters. I said as much and protested. The pretext was minor and, after all, I said, I would call the professionals the next day. But she couldn't wait and insisted and wouldn't let that suffice. I just wanted to have lunch, maybe a picnic, with the kids. Marriage is a complicated thing.

And so I was up in the attic, for the n-teenth time, investigating a phantom smell which I couldn't do much about even if I found the source. I thought I might be attacked by a raccoon, but more likely I was looking for the remains of some unfortunate squirrel, just so curiosity could be sated and she might leave me the fuck alone about this mystery and stop complaining that the company that had addressed this issue already had in fact screwed up and we'd been ripped off and so forth. But since I hadn't found the mysterious source of the phantom smell in the previous times, now I had to investigate the stratosphere of the attic, only reachable by climbing to the higher rafters. And so I was another person-length higher, 6 feet up so I could peer to the furthest unfathomable corners, on angling rafters that I think of now and thank the world that I chose to climb there, rather than a few feet to the other side, where there was concrete or glass or other deadly obstacles beneath.

The skin on the top of my foot doesn't feel right anymore. There's a nerve that runs down the side and they have to move it to do the surgery. Nerves don't like being moved. Or touched.

Marriages are complicated things. When I fell the first thing she said, after hearing my scream and running into the room, was “I'm a horrible wife” and I could hear the concern. I wasn't a jerk to wonder where that concern was 30 minutes earlier.

I didn't want to be up there but she insisted. I had told her so. I told her I just wanted to eat lunch. And then I harrumphed and went up there so she would leave me alone about it.

The ankle aches sometimes, especially when it is going to rain. I finally have that farmers' divining rod that I never needed.

There's a nasty scar on both sides. I don't feel so bad about that. I usually only see the one on the one side of my ankle.

The surgery went extra long and they didn't give her any updates and so she sat in the parking lot worried about the worst and, though I wasn't there to see it, apparently broke down and stayed there instead of doing the sane thing and going home until they called.

I shouldn't have enjoyed that little bit of pain inflicted.

I was simply minding my own business in the pandemic. Getting my monk on. But some people can't sit quietly in a room. They smell things, grow disturbed that something might be amiss, and then make their husbands dig around in dangerous attics.

Sometimes the ankle aches, on the left side, or on the heel.

Something else happened this past year, and I doubt it is unrelated. I rediscovered joy, in my work, in many things, in friends I thought I had lost to time and distance, in everyday things.

Sometimes I notice an ache. (Sometimes I ignore it.) And what's now probably permananent, though you would never know to look, the skin tingles.


from acererak

I sat on a chair today wiggled a little and stared at all the other people sitting wiggling on their chairs

I breathed out a little bit as the injection went through my skin and all the while the nurse was sweet and she listened

to my belabored frantic speeches... that I don't like shots that I don't like grey rooms with people I don't know that I don't like being touched by people I don't know

but the moment was already over eventually I stood up

after a few minutes past I left my shoulder hurting

i'm really happy for last year to be done


100DaysToOffload, visit and write more #100DaysToOffload


from zymotux

I've always liked the pubs hidden down alleyways and side streets of big cities. Finding them feels like you're peeling back the surface layer of the metropolis to find a hidden gem inside, whether that gem be shiny or a little bit of an uncut diamond in the rough of a dive bar. Something about just having a few of these in your back pocket can make a bustling city your city. The Midnight Pub is the internet's version, although I prefer the Small Alley entrance in Gemini space!

Of all the places that I've lived, London has the most. Dive down a side street from one of the main drags and you can find yourself in another world. If I were to choose only four in London though, they would be the four below. It's no accident that they lurk in the shadows of railway stations, where regulars in the know find solace in the space between work and the commute:

  • The Ship and Shovell aka (to me anyway!) “The Pub of Two Halves”, one each side of Craven Passage alleyway between Charing Cross and Embankment stations. I like to approach it from Villiers Street, and will pop into the half on the left if it's open, enjoying a fine Badger Brewery beer. Once I was even lucky enough to find the nook free and hide there with my pint.
  • The Ship Tavern – Turn left out of Holborn station down Kingsway, take the first alleyway on the left away from the foot traffic (Gate Street) and you'll find it on the corner of a couple of alleyways. Established in 1549, it's a small slice of history, though often too busy and cosy to stay for more than a pint!
  • The Hole in The Wall is nestled under a railway arch down the easy-to-miss dingy Mepham Street alongside Waterloo Station. This one is special to me as my Dad introduced me to it a couple of decades ago and I like to drink a pint of Young's Ordinary there in silent toast to him as the place rattles from the trains passing above... every now and again life aligns and I get to buy him a pint there!
  • The Doric Arch (formerly The Head of Steam) hides by the bus stops outside of Euston Station, up a flight of stairs in what looks to be a drab office building. Don't let that fool you though – inside it is a perfect commuter pub with plenty of railway memorabilia and beer options – just don't miss your train!

There are plenty more alleyway and side street pubs that hold spots in my heart in other cities I have lived in or visited. The Retreat in Reading. The Hillgrove Porter Stores in Bristol. Whitelock's in Leeds. The Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco. The Albany in Cardiff. The list goes on...

...which alleyway pubs will you be returning to when you get the chance?

Entry 77 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2021-04-10 #100DaysToOffload #pubs #London

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from Grappling and Other Thoughts

My Immediate Reaction To Attack on Titan's Final Chapter

Unfortunately, it was a let down. The last chapter mostly made sense I guess but thematically seamed like a disaster. Felt like it was stuck between a happy ending and an extremely dark one. It's kind of amazing that this is the same author who pulled off the basement reveal that was built up so much.

I still feel like the series can be recommended to others but not with quite the same enthusiasm as I would have a day ago. Oh well, it was still a great journey over the years!

This is my day 94 post for #100daystooffload


from Fragmented Thoughts

On my walk earlier today I was listening to an episode of Planet FPL. You'll often find me consuming this kind of content, especially towards the end of the week, as I make decisions about my Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team. Towards the end of this particular episode, one of the hosts reminds listeners to play your own game.

The reference here is to the tendency among FPL managers to fixate on, and even copy, the transfer and captaincy decisions that other managers make. Ultimately, however, the decisions we make about individual players have to be made in the context of our teams as a whole. Just because a manager ranked in the top 10 is transferring in a certain player, it doesn't mean that it's right for your team too.

Why am I writing about this? Well, often I find soundbites like this that are intended for a specific context actually have implications or applications in other areas of life. And today, for me, the reminder to play your own game is much needed advice for some business decisions I'm making. It made me realise that I've drifted off this path of late.

I've become caught up with what everyone else in the coaching industry is doing without really considering whether that's the direction I want to go in. And let me tell you readers, it is not. So from now on as I make choices for my business I'll be asking myself is this what you want to do or what you feel you should do?

This is day 35 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at


from Grappling and Other Thoughts

Evolve 65

Remember Evolve Wrestling everyone? Oh you know Evolve! The promotion around which FloSlam was built! OK that disaster aside the wrestling in Evolve was usually awesome. They were running shows during the height of independent wrestling so a lot of talent was available. Wrestlers such as Ricochet, Will Ospreay, Lio Rush, Chris Hero, and Zack Sabre Jr. among many others performed there.

For this post I would like to focus on one show in particular. On July 17, 2016 Evolve 65 took place at the Melrose Memorial Hall in Melrose, Massachusetts. I'll be looking at each match on the card in order (except for one I'll just skip). Here we go!

Tommaso Ciampa versus Cedric Alexander

A WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Series match set for one fall (one fall!) with a twenty minute time limit? Sign me up! Cedric Alexander came out first followed by Tommaso Ciampa entering as "Psycho Killer" played throughout the building. They shook hands before the match as instructed by the referee and Lenny Leonard began his commentary duties for the night! Ciampa brought Alexander to the mat and attempted a pin after a bit of comedy. Ciampa once again brought his opponent to the mat but Alexander reversed the position. After running the ropes Alexander hit a big head scissors and gained control of the match. There was a dropkick to Alexander after he attempted a big move. While he controlled his opponent's arm Ciampa made jokes about facing the hard camera. Huge dropkick to the face of Ciampa who went to the outside. On the outside of the ring Ciampa dropped Alexander on the guardrail. As the referee was counting the crowd started shouting out the wrong numbers. At the end of the match Alexander hit Ciampa with a lumbar check to pick up the victory.

I know I'm coming from a place of watching this match in 2021 where pretty much everything they did is tired from being so overdone, but I wasn't a fan of this match.

Ethan Page versus Travis Gordon

Travis "Flip" Gordon was the first to appear from the back, then it was Ethan Page's turn. To begin the match they locked up but Page quickly took control of the action. Ethan Page quickly hit Gordon with a package pile driver and that was the end of things. Page cut a promo after the match before being taken out by Drew Galloway. Who then cuts his own promo.

Chris Dickinson, Darby Allin, and Jonathan Gresham vs. Catch Point (Drew Gulak, Fred Yehi, and Tracy Williams)

Drew Gulak and Darby Allin started the match. Allin got caught in a submission, but his partners made the save. In came Dickinson who used Darby as a weapon by piledriving him onto their opponent. For the finish Drew Gulak submitted Jonathan Gresham with a dragon sleeper. This was a decent match that I probably would have enjoyed much more in 2016.

Timothy Thatcher versus TJP

Up next was a match for the Evolve title. This was my favourite match on the card so far! Thatcher picked up the victory to retain the title.

Zack Sabre Jr. versus Tony Nese

Another WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Series match! It was a muscly boy versus a bendy boy for this bout. ZSJ was the winner by pin fall.

Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano

Main event time! One half of the Evolve Tag Team Champions, Drew Galloway, took on Johnny Gargano. The match started with Gargano super kicking Galloway and going for a pin. Galloway kicked out though. It was a pretty good contest as the end of a blood feud. Lots of trying to kill each other! Galloway won with a tombstone piledriver then after the match tried to do more damage to Gargano. Luckily for Gargano, Ethan Page ran in to make the save.

Evolve 65 would probably have been considered a good show by the standards of 2016, but watching it now I wasn't that into it. Some solid stuff was there though. I know a lot of people thought Timothy Thatcher was boring as Evolve champ however I felt that his match with TJP was the best of the night.

Hope you enjoyed reading this look back at a random Evolve show I bought five years ago!

This is my day 93 post for #100daystooffload


from zymotux

I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head – best to get them down somewhere so that when I do have time to do something, I can try and prioritise! Having them out in the open on my blog might also help keep me honest!

Digital housekeeping

These are mainly about housekeeping and organisation. I don't know about everyone else but almost twenty-five years of using the internet has left a bit of a mess that could do with some tidying up. It rarely reaches the top of my priorities though!

  • Retire my dormant Wordpress blog
  • Email: Finish transferring away from Google; decide whether I want to continue paying for extra storage in my /e/ email or archive the old emails offline; find a more feature-rich privacy-respecting android client than the default /e/ one; find a desktop client I actually enjoy using (or settle for the limitations of the /e/ Nextcloud browser interface).
  • Facebook: This has been deactivated for over a year but I still check into Messenger every few months. Time to move away from it or will it be too hard to move those contacts to something else? Inertia and market penetration make this a real barrier sometimes!
  • Photos: How best to organise them! I'm still not sure but I should pick a system and stick with it! We use the wonderful Cluster app for private family photo sharing. Not sure how many GBs is now on that...
  • Back-ups: I need to get better at this, more systematic. Related to this, do I back-up to:
  • Cloud storage: I currently have a family Office 365 (should I complete the move away from ALL tech giants and would my wife be happy?!) and a personal Nextcloud associated with my /e/ account. Should I stay with a mix? What should be on the cloud and what not? There is an environmental cost to this as well!
  • Note-taking: I've blogged about this before. Not a priority but maybe something to return to at some point?


  • Look into VPNs. I don't use one. Should I? Which one? I use Blokada on my phone. Last time I checked this was only compatible with its own VPN... What is the environmental footprint of using a VPN and can that be offset?
  • Streaming: We currently use a Roku device – is there anything more private?
  • Look into privacy respecting smart (but not too smart!) wifi/bluetooth speakers for around the house and out-and-about.


  • Star Lite Linux laptop: I'm currently trying to resolve a battery issue. Longer term I maybe want to swap out the SSD for a larger one, get a USB-C multiport hub, add some decals to it (not something I've done before but it feels like a good idea for some reason)...

Pipe dreams/ longer-term

I may never get to these but it's good to note them down anyway ;–)

  • Start a home server of some kind, whether for media or back-ups I don't know.
  • Look into self-hosting things like my blog or Gemini capsule, maybe on a Raspberry Pi or some such.

Actually using the tech!

  • Finish #100DaysTo Offload.
  • Perhaps start a personal/private blog or two.
  • Finish setting up my Gemini capsule.
  • Hang out in The Midnight Pub.
  • Use that camera of mine!

That'll do for now. This will be an interesting list to return to now and again and update. I may actually keep this “live” rather than a static entry – we'll see!

Entry 76 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2021-04-08 #100DaysToOffload #technology

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from acererak

everything becomes a memory. we struggle with that, we lost folk, walking through the woods of the world who wake each day only to forget the pain, the love and loss we get

only to present those gifts to others

it's not how long we walk that should be measured. but how far we've come

sometimes I forget to remember that

76/100 100DaysToOffload, visit and write more



from A blog of yet another quirky guy out there

My mother-in-law does not eat chicken; why? as a little girl, she had chickens as pets—the same goes for rabbits. I know others who stopped eating meat—or drastically reduce its consumption—after visiting a slaughterhouse.

Whenever I look, I find people who don't want to face reality because they avoid negativity; I respect that view, but I strongly disagree with it.

It is easy to go on with your life, avoiding information (or people) that question your consumption habits. When someone shows you what happens behind the scenes, what takes to bring tonight's dinner to your plate, or the hidden costs of ordering things online and having them delivered at home the next day, that might make you feel extremely uncomfortable—and that's good. You call it negativity, I prefer the term reality.

You can eat chicken soup, but you must see the chicken die first.

P.S. I'm not vegetarian, and this post is not about becoming one.

#100DaysToOffload #Negativity (68/100) P.S. This post is part of an experiment about negativity (read about it).


from zymotux

I'm not a very good environmentalist. Sure, I don't own a car – but that is as much an urban lifestyle choice as anything else. I recycle and compost – but the local council does the hard work there, giving me the bags and collecting it. We have re-useable nappies – but use them alongside disposable ones.

The list goes on:

  • When the world allows again we will once more take international flights to Canada to see relatives – we'll carbon offset them but that seems a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
  • I have cut down on meat eating but do still enjoy a good beef burger or spaghetti bolognese.
  • As much as I like the idea of the circular economy we buy quite a lot (but not all!) of our baby's clothes new – we are keeping the clothes to pass on afterwards... someone has to be at the start after all! True, I haven't bought any new clothes for myself since before the pandemic – but apart from a brief period in my teens, fashion isn't a passion of mine. I did get two pairs of shoes re-soled and re-heeled a year and a half ago, extending their lives and felt good about that – but one of the motivators was avoiding the rigmarole of buying new shoes!
  • I bought a refurbished smartphone rather than a new one – but this little Linux laptop I'm using was an unnecessary purchase from a household computing perspective (it is fun though!).
  • We don't use a “green” energy supplier. We could change but the landlady would prefer us to stay with a company she uses across her properties, and a good relationship with her is important!
  • We are back to shopping from standard supermarkets again with their vast amounts of packaging – but hope to use the local zero waste store when restrictions ease again.

Much of my career has had an environmental angle to it but my day-to-day actions have always been limited by a combination of time and pragmatism. Deep environmentalism is hard, requiring effort beyond that which is served up on a plate by the existing structures of society. Changing habits is also hard – I listened to a seminar by a Psychology Professor once who said (paraphrased badly by me!) that most people only really change their habits when something significant in their life forces them to re-engage with the habits they have i.e. buying a new house, starting a new job etc.

On the plus side, more choices are arriving to make it easier, such as my local zero waste shop. The information age also makes it more stressful though as the sheer amount of factors to consider are served up unrelentingly. Buy local but is it sustainably produced? Eat more veg but pay attention to the origin, which could come with significant environmental footprints of its own. What is the supply chain of those new jeans? Do any of the eco labels of the products actually mean anything? Can you trust the re-seller of that second-hand product you found via a phone app?

It is hard to get it “right” but not that hard to at least pause and consider the environmental angles and trade-offs before making choices and decisions. Yes, I'm a crappy environmentalist sometimes and could do better – but while society steadily embeds more sustainable choices into its fabric, we need everyone to be crappy environmentalists rather than having just a few perfect ones.

Entry 75 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2021-04-07 #100DaysToOffload #poetry #sustainability #TradeOffs

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from another-reality

I put in an offer on a house. There's so much paperwork, and it's all moving so quickly.

There's so many i's to dot and t's to cross—and the house won't finish construction until fall. I know 2020 wasn't great for most people. In 2018, I changed jobs. From 2019 to now, I feel like I'm growing into who I'm supposed to be and learning who I am as a person.

Career changes, taking on various roles, and purchasing this house make me feel like I'm on a new adventure. For some parts of 2020, I did feel like I lost my sense of purpose. I felt like a passenger on a ride with no destination. Acknowledging what I could control, and identifying goals I could start on helped me stay motivated.

In drafting and thinking about Barry's story, those emotions and feelings got captured in my outline. Hopefully there's room for another cliche fantasy story of opening up, personal growth, and adventure.

Past Postings

Barry Learns Some Truths

They're fine, Terrance said. Barry placed one hand in front of Uncle Bernard's face, and the other hand on his neck. He could feel Uncle Bernard's pulse and breath. They're fine. Barry sighed with relief.

Barry grabbed his bag and ran out the door. His heart was pounding. How will Uncle Bernard and Aunt Lynn react when they woke up? Would they know Barry was to blame? Will the boy be at Adventure Lake?

Once you've drugged your guardians, the only choice is forward, Barry thought to himself. He increased his running pace. You're smiling, Terrance noted. Is this how it feels when people feel alive?

The boy's red hair was as visible as the sun in the sky. The fear of no one showing up left Barry, but a new fear took over.

“This is the Druid I was talking about,” the red-headed boy said. Around him were a girl with silver hair, a blonde boy wearing metal gloves, and a kid in a large hoodie. They were all staring at Barry. This must be the boy's party. Was there some sort of initiation? They were all looking at Barry expectantly.

“I'm Max.” The red hair boy broke the silence.
“I'm Sheila,” the silver hair girl introduced herself.
“Marshall,” said the boy with gloves.
“Cassidy,” said the girl with the hood.

They were all staring.

“I'm Barry,” Barry spurted out. He wasn't accustomed to introducing himself.
“And who's that?” Max asked gesturing to Barry's pocket.

Barry lifted Terrance out of his pocket, “This is Terrance—”
“See, I told you I found a druid,” Max proclaimed.

Terrance crawled down Barry's arm and went back into his pocket. “Please join our party,” Sheila said. “We need one more,” Marshall added.

“I'm not a druid—,” Barry started.
“If you can talk to spiders, you're a druid.” Max interrupted.
“Or a Bard.” Cassidy corrected.
“He's talking to the spider without an instrument.”
Max and Cassidy continued bickering over what sounded like make believe.

“Don't worry, we'll keep you safe.” Marshall reassured Barry, “and if not, Sheila's the best healer around.”
“What are you all talking about?” asked Barry.

“Are your parents not druids?” asked Sheila. Barry didn't know.

Max cupped his hands to his mouth and began whispering to them. His hands slowly started to glow with a warm orange light. Max brought his hands out in front of him. He uncupped his hands and floating in them was a small flame.

Max threw his hand out towards the lake. The flame grew and shot out to the lake. It split and rippled across the lake like a firework until it fizzled out.

“Show off.” scolded Cassidy. Barry had never seen something so beautiful. Was it magic? He wondered.

“You shouldn't be casting spells out in the open,” a stern female voice bellowed.
“Shit, it's the Dungeon Master,” Marshall remarked.

Marshall, Cassidy, Sheila, and Max all stood at attention.

#fiction Day 4 of #100DaysToOffload 2021


from Nate Dickson Thinks...

When I was doing my MBA classes a few years ago we had an operations management class. Ops Management is all about creating a process that is optimized for efficiency; no bottlenecks where resources are waiting to be processed, no overages in productions, but no under-runs either. In that class we had a little simulation we were meant to work on. It was a terrible little web page written in PHP (nothing against PHP. It's a fine language but is often abused into things like this) with minimal styling and a frustrating interface. You were tasked with keeping your machines running, making sure that outputs from A were fed to B at the right rate to meet demand, etc. etc.

Anyway we should have all just played Anno 2205 instead. Or probably any of the Anno games. I've known about the series for years, but I've never played one of these until they were on a Steam sale recently. And I'm kinda hooked.

It starts simply enough. Produce rice for your people to eat. Also produce water. To do this you build factories. In 2205 water comes from desalination plants on the coast. Rice comes from highly automated rice farms.

Then you start producing things that need two steps of processing. Mine this metal, then make it into something that your people want. As you produce fancier goods you can promote your employees (who are also your primary customers, the supply/demand curves in this game are weird) which will make them ask for still fancier goods, which will allow you to promote them, which in turn means they will pay more for goods...

And then you get into real ops management. Before too long you are managing multiple sites, each with different strengths and unique goods. Your “temperate” region is the cheapest to build on, and will be your moneymaking region. The “Arctic” zone produces some specialized goods that you need for other workflows. The orbiting space station (2205, see?) does research. The Moon produces very specialized goods. You start to need raw goods from the Arctic combined with processed goods from the Temperate region to be shipped to the Moon to build an awesome new resource there...

And then you realize that you can often buy goods from the world market for less than your production price, so you start to buy goods instead of building them, until the prices shift and you start selling those goods on the world market.

Then they mixed in my financial accounting class. Your running balance sheet is always top of mind, and top of screen, as it shows the bottom line, your net profits at that moment, and you can dig into it just like any good balance sheet to see your cost and revenue mix.

It's interesting to me that this is a game. This is literally part of my MBA education, handled far better than my professors ever could have. The motivations for your actions are made clear, The payoffs for handling your inventory levels correctly are explicit. And it's honestly really fun.

There are some more video-game-y parts as well. If you want, you can participate in some real-time-strategy battles that will get you some rarer resources, or you can just buy those resources if you don't want to do video game fighting.

I looked into the games pedigree because of course I did this is me we're talking about. It's made by Blue Byte, which warmed my little heart. Years ago I fell in love with The Settlers II and the lineage from that game to this one is clear.

It's not without its flaws, but what game is? If you want to learn operations management you can either read The Goal, a depressing educational novel about a man who fixes his factory while also repairing his relationship with his wife, or you can play Anno 2205. I know which I'd rather do.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

#100DaysToOffload 63/100


from Grappling and Other Thoughts

GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 6 and GCW Spring Break 2021

GCW: The Collective 2021 is almost upon us! Twelve events over three days from April 8 to 10. It is possible to watch all these show through for the low, low price of $139.99 USD (probably a reasonable amount actually) by buying the Collective Bundle 2021. But personally, I'm most interested in two of the shows.

GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 6

Bloodsport is back! Also we are finally getting the match that was scheduled for Wrestlemania week last year in Josh Barnett versus Jon Moxley. The rest of the card is listed on cagematch, but the matches I'm excited for are mentioned below.

Rocky Romero versus Chavo Guerrero Jr.

New Japan Pro Wrestling's Rocky Romero takes on veteran wrestler, Chavo Guerrero Jr. I'm more curious than excited for this one, but it's rare that a Bloodsport match is actually bad. I'll predict Rocky to take this one!

Chris Dickinson versus Shane Mercer

Chris Dickinson just turned heel in GCW so I wonder if that persona carries over to Bloodsport. This match should be awesome since Shane Mercer is a big, strong dude. Let's go Mercer!

Lio Rush versus Yoya

I'm sure Lio Rush will be much less flippy than usual in this match. Yoya is not a wrestler a have seen before but I think he competed in Paradigm Pro Wrestling's UWFi rules events. Hmm, guess I'll pick Yoya to win.

Josh Barnett versus Jon Moxley

No idea who picks up the win for this match. Could be a draw even! Either way I'm excited for it!

GCW rSpring Break - fka JJSB5

Due to Rickey Shane Page beating Joey Janela at a previous GCW show 440H got control of Spring Break! Oh well, the show still looks awesome. Let's look at some of the matches.

Masada versus Atticus Cogar

Is this a deathmatch? I'm not entirely sure but it should be fun no matter the stipulation. Atticus Cogar will probably win this bout.

Chris Dickinson versus Joey Janela

Dickinson was last seen costing Joey Janela the GCW title and control of Spring Break. This is Janela's shot at revenge. Dickinson will almost certainly win this match.

Rickey Shane Page versus Nick Gage

Nick Gage has returned from his injuries and is ready to take his title back! I'm not sure which direction GCW is going but I'll go with Nick Gage!

Those are the two events I will be watching for this year's Wrestlemania week! I'm looking forward to them but mostly I hope everyone stays safe.

This is my day 92 post for #100daystooffload


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