Words in Hard Copy

Tron Journal

This post has been a while coming. Some time ago, I filled another journal with words and remembrances from my life. You may remember this journal from its previous appearance in Crafty Learning, which was all about the misadventures of using expired house paint and a homemade stencil. It got… interesting.

Despite the artistic mishap, or maybe because of it, I had been looking forward to filling this one for a while. (Do I say that with every one?) It was the last of the journals gifted from a friend, and it had been well loved before it came into my possession. It deserved to be completed. And so I did.

It contains less fiction than many of them, like the previous one. Separation and life and global pandemic and and and… I’ve done more streaming than writing in the past few years, and have used that space for a lot of the things I’ve long used writing for. It’s been a great emotional and creative outlet, with the added benefit of hanging out with friends, in a time when hanging out is a dangerous thing to do.

Back of filled journal

By no means am I abandoning writing, of course. The stories in my head still need to be let out, and putting words on the page still brings me joy. I’m already loving putting words in the new journal. I’m still looking for an artist for the next chapter of my webcomic; I’ve still got editing the next installment of Adam’s Name next in line on my writing to-do list. It’s been slow, but there’s a big difference between a trickle and dried-up.

I think this journal was intended to be a bound sketchbook when it was made. The pages are thick and yellowed with age, and are unlined. It held my thoughts and mementos just as well as it would have illustrations, as far as I’m concerned. I first used it, as I have in several, for an idea that was different enough from my usual fare that I decided to put it in a journal of its own. That idea never panned out (but it was good!), so there’s a large gap between the first few entries, and when I began using it as my go-to writing destination.

Thank you, journal, for receiving my attempts at craftiness and art, my stickers, little mementos of my life, and most of all, my words.

I find your argument logical.

I haven’t bought any Transformers for about four years. Ultra Magnus was the last, four or so years ago. I’ve resisted, even with some REALLY good figures that have come out. My enthusiasm has been dampened ever since I sold off my entire collection for rent and utility money.

And then this Christmas happened.

This is Shockwave from the Transformers Cyberverse – Battle for Cybertron toy line. It also came with the left leg and foot of a Build-a-Figure for Maccadam, a mysterious bar owner on Cybertron, who features heavily. My kids and their mom bought Shockwave for me for XMas and Yule; they saw it, and immediately thought of how much I’d like it. And I do! The robot mode is definitely my favorite. For such a small figure, it has many points of articulation, and poses very well. The Shockwave look that’s been developed from G1 to now is present, especially in his robot mode. Also, the gun arm is removable, so you can play before the injury, or after, or on whichever arm you want. Also a laser blast that you can attach onto the end of either gun! I’ve never had that before!

If I remember correctly, Transformers Animated was the first Shockwave to turn into a tank. Of course, he also turned into an Autobot, so all bets were off. He’s made an excellent tank since then, culminating, in my opinion, in the Tranformers Prime animated series.

I was uncertain about this spider-tank (quad-tank?) mode at first, but it is definitely growing on me. Once the knees and elbows are bent properly, it looks less like a robot doing the crab walk, and more like an actual futuristic walker. And, to be perfectly honest, the laser last looks even better in this mode.

Overall, I’m impressed with the detail, articulation points and angles, paint job, and detail molded right into the plastic. This small USD $20 toy beats out so many past attempts, many of them a lot more expensive, with ease. I am thoroughly impressed.

Thank you to my kids and their mom for this thoughtful and fantastic gift!

Breakup with DLive

DLive Icon

So, here’s the thing. I’ve been digging again.

It started when there was an announcement about DLive changing its cryptocurrency payouts to direct money toward development. My first response, like many I’ve seen in the official Discord server, was, great! More bugs will get addressed, and we’ll see the platform move toward feature parity with the likes of Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. (Rest in peace, Mixer.) On its surface, this seems like a good move.

My brain, being the way it is, wasn’t satisfied. I wondered if this was related to the other changes that had made the move to DLive possible for me. I did what I usually do first – I went to Wikipedia to find out who owns the company now.

DLive Wikipedia article

So, according to that, because I stream on DLive, I am likely to be a white supremacist or some other form of extremist. My heart sank, and my face went numb. This is what people see when they start looking up info, this is what they’ll see when they look up the platform that I stream on. How am I supposed to build a community on that?

Also, I discovered that DLive had been acquired by Bittorent. Well, that’s cool, I guess. I use that protocol to share Linux distros and other open source software. PeerTube uses the protocol to distribute the load of playing videos. Wait, what was this TRON.network stuff? The hell is that?

Bittorrent acquired by TRON

Okay, one more corporate level up. DLive has gone from an apparently independent platform to several levels of corporation. But what was TRON.network about anyway? An operating system on BLOCKCHAIN! CRYPTOCURRENCY! The company was linked to a Ponzi scheme! Accusations of plagiarism! The top ownership chain seems to be the TRON foundation, a non-profit in Singapore.

While looking all of this up, it was impossible to avoid all of the business hype around Justin Sun, the founder of TRON.network. Hell, he’d been mentioned repeatedly in DLive’s Discord as if they expected him to be personally driving the improvements to the platform. I haven’t done due diligence on him, so I’m not going to form an opinion.

Let’s get back to streaming on DLive

  • As far as Wikipedia is concerned, it’s still a haven for white supremacists and extremists.
  • Not only is the shady cryptocurrency and blockchain nonsense not gone, it’s back in full force.
  • It’s no longer an independent platform, and now has multiple layers of American and international corporation.

SIGH.

A good friend said that I should finally realize that all tech platforms are evil, or report up the chain to evil. I considered, just for a moment, giving up. Just, no longer streaming, and putting that focus back to writing.

Then, I thought, maybe I should build my own platform. Until that happens, you can find me back on Twitch, on the same schedule as always.

Closing the Plastic Loop

I’ve been recycling for a long time. I was into Captain Planet when I was young, and I ran my high school’s paper recycling club. For home, it started as sorting and dropping off, then sorting for curb pickup. Now it’s just plain old curb pickup, with a side of dropping off for complex things like styrofoam and electronics. But we’ve been able to recycle plastic efficiently for decades, right?

So, plastic is made from oil. Lots of plastic means lots of demand for oil, and if plastic was everywhere, then that demand becomes long term. When plastic’s resistance to degrading naturally became a public issue, the oil companies protected their long-term profits with a massive and prolonged media campaign.

I’d had people tell me, off and on, that most of what I was recycling wasn’t going anywhere but the dump. I didn’t believe it, and I dismissed the idea as paranoid. That would be fraud at a massive level, wouldn’t it?

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

Son of a crap. I was wrong, I was lied to (again) by the oil industry, and I ate it up. So, since reading that article, I’ve been looking into ways to recycle plastic myself. I found a kid making slingshots, and that got me started.

How To Recycle HDPE Bottle Lids Into Flawless Flat Sheet Material – Best Results

It took me a while, but I found something called Precious Plastic. They’ve designed small-scale hardware that shreds, melts, and re-casts plastics. As an added bonus, they’ve joined the Open Source Hardware movement, and released their designs and plans for everyone to use.

Precious Plastic

Well, almost anyone. The blades in the plastic shredder need to be laser-cut steel. Extruders emit a lot of fumes, so you should really have an industrial venting system. Oh, and the space they take up is designed for warehouses, not garages or basements. So, this would be great for maker spaces, small companies, or local recycling centers.

Precious Plastic -Version Two

And, really, what would I turn my plastic into? What would I make? Furniture? Drink coasters? How would I make whatever it is? Molds? Cutting and drilling? 3D printing? Wait, hold on a second, 3D printing would be viable for small things, or things built with smallish parts. Could 3D printers even use recycled plastics?

ProtoCycler+

Okay, so it can be done! But this thing only recycles used filament, not other kinds of plastic. It only does tiny bits at a time, and costs way too much money for those limitations. But it’s possible! And wait, why would I need to make things with the recycled plastic filament? Once I have the means, I could definitely turn a bunch of plastic into filament, and give what I can’t use away to maker groups, or even sell it online.

So, all I need to do is find or come up with something between Precious Plastic and the ProtoCycler, acquire or assemble it, and do the thing! Nothing to it, right?

Talk Radio

When I was younger, I swore to myself that I would never listen to talk or news radio, like my Dad did. As far as I was concerned, radio was for music, unless you were old.

All through college, I listened exclusively to music. I had an ill-fated BMG membership then, and to this day, the majority of my CD collection is from the mid 90s. Fantastic for my listening selection, but an early example of my poor financial decision-making. I loved the art and lyrics sheets that came in the cases, the art on the discs themselves, and of course, the tunes.

And then came internet radio. I got in on this one early – on the ground floor, as they say. IPM Radio was streaming in RealAudio, because that was the only thing. I listened to as many broadcasts as possible, and attended and/or DJed as well. Pandora came around, Digitally Imported after that. My CD purchasing dropped off steeply as I could stream music at home, and listen to radio in the car.

Then I found podcasts. A multitude of shows, many of which centered on my interests, updated via RSS, so I’d get an episode delivered as soon as it was released. There were so many, and over the years, there have been more… and more… and more. Most of the time, this has made me gleeful. Recently, though, I’ve fallen behind. Like, a year behind. I was catching up with all the driving I’ve been doing between Lansing and Detroit, but then 2020 happened.

Driving was consolidated, and non-essential drives were rare. Work travel was entirely on pause. So, my trend of catching up fell back into falling behind.

One day, on my way to the laundromat, I was weighing weather I would listen to a podcast or dust off my favorite radio station, and it hit me – podcasts were my talk radio. Sure, there may be as much fiction in my list as non, but not one of them was music.

So, as I’m sure many do, I’ve become more like my father as I’ve gotten older, and I feel like I owe my younger self (and probably my Dad) an apology.

Posted in Uncategorized