My end of the year roundup of what games I played this year is still incoming. It's just going to be a bit longer than I was anticipating because I apparently have a bunch to say. 

But since I don't have anything ready yet, please enjoy this photo of me standing next to a sign. 

This was just a sign, but it was still pretty exciting.
Photo by Alison Burcham

Auditory Creative Endeavors

I dislike Winter very much. I never have inspiration to do anything creative even though I’m indoors for most of the season. Now cut to Spring, my favorite season, and the choice season for critics alike1. I’ve felt reinvigorated to start some new things and start creating. So I have.

Podcasting

Shawn and I have started a new podcast called Sines, Co-Sines, and Tangents.

Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that's part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.
Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that’s part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.

The joke is his name is Shawn Sines, and I’m his co-host, and we talk about all kinds of things that devolve into many tangents. Now that I’ve explained it, the title is now 300% more hilarious.2

Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)
Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)

It’s great to be back to podcasting, and to talk about video games with someone who appreciates them like I do yet has a completely different take. I love the democracy of podcasting much like the open web. We aren’t subject to YouTube ads , algorithms, proprietary formats or delivery. People can use whatever app they want and we own our content and deliver it directly. It may take longer for people to find it but it’s a principle I stand behind.3 4

I also love the technology behind our setup and making a good sounding podcast without a lot of post production. 5

Music

I’ve been getting back to making music. It’s not something I’m terribly good at, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I got inspired last year near vacation time. I haven’t made anything I’m very happy with to publish on the internet yet. But it’s something I’m continuing to do to stay creative. I’ve made several musical equivalents of writing on the piece of paper and throwing it in the trash bin.

In the process I’ve learned more and more about synthesizers. If there’s an instrument I identify with, it’s the synth6. A mix of technology and music.

Making music has reminded me when I started with photography. I wasn’t amazing when I started taking photos, but with years of experience and understanding the tools I had, experimenting, I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with it. For music I have been using a MIDI keyboard and my iPad with several different synth apps, and sequencers. Some might dismiss this as not “real” music. That opinion disheartens me. I grew up with electronic music by way of video games. In many instances the creators of music in video games were simultaneously programmers and musicians, writing the music in code. I read an article on Bandcamp about all these amazing genres of obscure music and it was enlightening. There’s room for everyone and taste in music is subjective. I will continue to learn and experiment, and maybe I’ll have something to share with the world in the near future.


  1. “Mother Nature raves ‘this season has really started to grow on me. 5/5 it’s a mastapeece'” – The Columbus Gazette March 20th 2017 
  2. The next time a friend doesn’t understand a joke, make sure to explain to them why it’s funny in several different ways. They will appreciate it. 
  3. I intend on writing more about the Open Web and how it’s dying soon. 
  4. Look, I’ve gone off on a tangent. 
  5. There are still a few kinks to work out as I write this. 
  6. If you haven’t watched the Lords of Synth yet, you’re missing out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXgNo5Smino 

RIP NES Classic Edition

Nintendo has decided to discontinue the NES Classic Edition. Supply never met demand, often selling out on sites within 10-15 minutes. I really wanted to gift these out during Christmas. I thought it was a great toy, and a good trip down nostalgia lane for my gamer friends, and retired-gamer friends. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to nab one myself until February. It’s a solid little guy full of 30 great games. Nintendo surely will take note of this right?1 RIGHT?!

The sad part is Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch doesn’t even have a virtual console yet. Maybe Nintendo is working on a sequel? A newer version that has more games? One that can download additional games? A SNES Classic Edition? Probably not. The NES Classic Edition had a shorter shelf life than the Virtual Boy and that’s just sad.


  1. Nintendo listening to customers?! 

Lateral Technology

An excerpt from Super Mario Bros. 2 (Boss Fight Books Book 6) by Jon Irwin:

Each of these advances in business strategy relied on the same simple idea: building something new from old parts. Yokoi called it the philosophy of seasoned—or lateral—technology. State-of-the-art didn’t necessarily equal innovation and wonder. But find a clever way to combine common ideas and you can surprise and delight an audience—for cheap.

Nintendo has always done this. It’s in their DNA. The Game Boy was technologically inferior at the time, however it prevailed in the handheld market, and its limitations made some of the most creative games. Nintendo doesn’t compete in a 4K, jillion teraflops, HDR market.

Predicting a Robust Sunset

If you consider yourself a professional photographer, or you just enjoy a nice morning or evening walk there is a website called SunsetWX that can predict how beautiful the next sunrise or sunset will be. 

The founder loves meteorology and photography and found a way to combine those interests through SCIENCE!

They also have a Twitter account to follow to get an up-to-date sunrise/sunset forecast in your Twitter feed.

Weather Geek Apps

I am a weather geek and as a weather geek I’ve compiled a few of my favorite sites just for you to get accurate weather updates. What I’m about to provide you will be better than weather.com or the default weather app on your mobile device.

  • Weather Underground – This is my go to site. Weather Underground1 collects data from thousands of personal weather stations, and provides a ton of data at a glance. Their WunderMap feature can show storms, temps and more. Their mobile apps are also very great.
Weather Underground shows a lot of information at a glance.
Weather Underground shows a lot of information at a glance.
  • Dark Sky – My second go to, Dark Sky started out as a mobile app for iOS focusing on down to the minute predictions for precipitation. It was fairly reliable. After that they created a very cool site called forecast.io which incorporated the accurate precipitation predictions along with forecast data, and climate history with the time machine. Now they’ve updated all that with beautiful design and maps.
Fantastic looking forecasts with even better maps.
Fantastic looking forecasts with even better maps.
  • Ventusky– A map based web app that shows all kinds of weather data present and historical on a map.
Ventusky Displays really cool maps, but it will use your computers resources.
Ventusky Displays really cool maps, but it will use your computers resources.
  • WeatherSpark – WeatherSpark can provide all kinds of historical climate data for an area that can be used for predicting if it will be rainy, windy, or more for any time of year.
WeatherSpark has several visual graphs for all kinds of historical climate data.
WeatherSpark has several visual graphs for all kinds of historical climate data.

  1. Weather Underground has been around since the 90s. They were bought out by the Weather Channel, which was in turn purchased by IBM for all of their data collection.