Category Archives: That’s Life

My thoughts on life, humanity, and all that other stuff that most people couldn’t care less about.

Hobbies: Creating vs. Playing and Being Entertained

I’ve been told many times that I am “too hard on myself” and that may be true, but either way, I can’t help feeling lazy and useless when I am playing a game or watching a show rather than using that time to create something. Be that creation a program, a blog post, or even a silly dollar-store-paint panting, there is something about doing those sorts of things that makes them feel inherently useful, even if the end product is totally useless.

That said though, sometimes I don’t even have the mental flux to soldier through a game of Bejeweled, let alone reach the focused head-space required to program or otherwise create anything useful. Yet when I take an objective view of on life, ya know what, it’s alright to loaf on the couch for an evening to catch up on The Orville and Murdoch Mysteries!

Life’s short, paint some happy little trees. Or don’t, cause that’s fine too! 🙂

A scene that was swimming around in my head…

$3 of paint on a piece of cardboard box primed with paint and drywall compound!

Staying with after all!

For all the things I said in this post about GitHub Pages being easy to use and so on, the reality is that what has here is more functional and handy for my purposes. I can add posts and images easily from my Linux or Windows desktops, from my Chromebook, and even from the app on my phone. The same cannot be said about GitHub Pages, which I pretty much have to update using my desktop; It’s a bit of a pain in the rear, so much so that I haven’t posted anything in months.

This said, I am not going to be paying for the “no ads” plan again, because it’s way too expensive for what we low-traffic bloggers get for the money…

Far as what posts are to come, having just spent the past couple months doing some volunteer programming for some old friends on their SWGEmu based server, there are a few nuggets of interest I can share with the general SWGEmu modding crowd, as well as a few other topics I have been mulling over… Did you know that Stardew Valley is a super fun game? I picked it up last Christmas for the kids and ended up playing more than they have lol… I’ve also decided to play No Man’s Sky, because it looks to be a nifty mix of scifi shooty-shooty-pew-pew and treasure-hunty-craft-craft, which are essentially why I liked Star Wars Galaxies so much (and why most of my time in Guild Wars 2 is spent running around collecting stuff…). I’m also pretty proud of the mods I made to my rain barrel last week, finally bringing to life a tangled and cobwebby dream!

As always, I make no promises as to the frequency, regularity, and usefulness of my posts, but at least there will be more than none. 🙂

Semi-Nerdly YouTube Deleted

Just thought I would post here to say that, yes, I did remove all my videos. Sorry about all the broken links, etc. Life goes on.

Why did I delete my YouTube account?

1. Google bothers me.
I swear, the only reason Google has not failed as a company is because they make so much money selling ads that they’re simply able to buy their way out of their mediocrity and regularly unhinged malarkey. From the, “change for the sake of change” that continues to make their services worse (Gmail in particular), to how they can’t even be arsed to properly curate YouTube Kids (despite being an extraordinary wealthy company), Google disappoints me over, and over, and over again. Top it all off with how gross and slimy they are when it comes to privacy, they’re just not a company I wish to support. Sadly, I have practically everything tied to my Google account, so it may well be impossible for me to De-Google entirely at this point…

2. I really don’t like making videos anyway.
Meh, there are just so many other things I would like to do with my time. Couple that with the fact that no one cares anyway and, well, why bother? It’s not like I was posting useful tutorials or whatnot and there’s plenty of content on every topic imaginable anyway. The world does not need me to make videos! 🙂

3. YouTube kinda sucks now, eh?
Seriously, it’s so full of complete and utter bullshit that there’s really only a tiny microcosm of useful or relevant content now. Also, it’s neigh unwatchable without using ad blocking software of some type too; I understand that bandwidth/hosting is expensive and that content creators deserve to be paid, but it’s really gone too far. The same can be said about our the satellite TV, where broadcasters have stooped so low as to put banner ads over the show. Truly, the current incarnation of the advertisement industry is a blight upon humanity… I digress. YouTube, it jumped the shark several years ago.

Anyway, I thought I would post this here so that it was visible on the side bar. Have fun!

Semi-Nerdly is Moving to GitHub Pages

Semi-Nerdly: Now at

For me, this move makes sense for a lot of reasons. The big one being that the workflow and tools I use for creating web pages on GitHub Pages is exactly the same as how I have documented my GitHub projects since 2014. That being, essentially,

1. Open the Geany editor.
2. Write some stuff, using Markdown for formatting.
3. Use Git on the command line to push the content to the GitHub repo.
4. Rejoice!

The only real issue is that GitHub limits repositories to 1GB of storage, which means I won’t be able to host many images in my tutorials/guides/etc. However, I will make up for that by sticking image galleries in my Google Drive if need be.Objectively, the most important things I write about here have to do with my projects on GitHub anyway and despite being pretty excellent at documenting my projects when compared to many open source creators, I do need to dedicate more time to documenting RocketTux, Rescue Girlies, and Legend of Hondo. Yes, I am sure some readers enjoy see pictures of me digging gross stuff out of old keyboards and how the keyboards look after I’ve cleaned them, but I am sure I’ll still feel strangely compelled to make posts like that on GitHub pages too.

Honestly folks, hardly anyone ever reads this site anyway, according to the stats on the dashboard. The most popular post, by far, has been my Verbose Guide to Creating a SWGEmu Server, which is sadly now quite outdated. I considered making an up to date version of that post, but really the ZonamaDev system is perfectly fine if you don’t mind using SystemD (bleh…) and I posted a copy of my Legend of Hondo virtual machine on my Google Drive, so there’s nothing really to setup to use it. Apart from that, the only other truly notable post I have made on was my rant about the French Canadian keyboard (ISO layout) which has been surprisingly popular. I have also noticed more online sales descriptions of laptops specifying the keyboard type, so who knows, maybe the post struck a chord with some folks of influence in the industry. Let me tell ya, using a keyboard that is different from what you were trained on is a serious impediment to productivity! I digress… 🙂 Anyway, as far as I can tell GitHub Pages doesn’t have any metrics, so that’s one less thing to ponder in the cricket chirping quiet of humid summer nights!

So here’s the plan:

I will keep this blog alive and let it go back into ad-showing free-mode this summer, changing the main page to indicate that new activity is happening on GitHub pages. I’m really sorry about this and allow me to apologize in advance for the inappropriate ads that Google Analytics will inevitably display here (Ad-Block you say? Why yes, the Internet sure has become utterly insufferable without it, eh? Sigh…). After I have setup the main page and I am satisfied with the amount of content I have brought over to GitHub pages, I will redirect the domain name to the GitHub Pages site and I will keep paying for the domain name through one registrar or another.

Well, that’s it for now. I did make a post today over on the new site about Making a Button with GIMP if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Take care! Now 57% More Expensive! Personal has skyrocketed in price from $35.88 to $48.00 plus an additional $15 for the domain name that is no longer included. So $63 annually for what was $35.88 just a couple months ago. All prices in Canadian dollars.

Yeah, I’m out. Too rich for my blood.

Allow me to also take this opportunity to complain about the forced change to the incredible pile of shit WordPress calls their Gutenberg Editor that is coming down the pipe from That thing is an abomination, yet according to the replies I have received from the staff, it will indeed be forced upon all subscribers in the near future. Given that I do this whole website thing for the joy of doing so, it stands to reason that I shouldn’t completely hate the act of editing it. As such, I was already considering moving to another hosting. If you think I am over-reacting to this editor, by all means read the reviews for it. You will find that I am not alone!

Anyway, I’m going to pack it up and call it quits with this whole website thing. I can’t justify the expense and I can tell from the stats that very few people read the site anyway. My Personal subscription ends on June 23rd, 2019 and the domain name ends October 17th, 2019. I’ll delete the blog in June to prevent it from showing ads and I’ll redirect the domain name to my GitHub page until domain name expires. After that, my content will exist only on GitHub, Google Drive, and YouTube.

Ah well, one less thing to think about.

STEM Hobbies Are Great, In Moderation

STEM: “Science, Technology, Engineering, Math”, the first entry in Google for the word “stem”, making trees the world over cry in despair. This acronym is used to describe the modern educational movement that encourages students to learn stuff that makes their brains hurt. It’s pretty cool and junk. However, even as a person who does programming, system design, and reading of text books as his primary hobby, I have to say that much like any other aspect of life, one can definitely have too much of a good thing when it comes to STEM related hobbies.

Personally, I find the problem with my STEM related hobbies is simply that they require me to think, a lot. And for me to think, I need to concentrate. And for me to concentrate, I need a distraction free environment. And have I mentioned that I have three kids? Distractions aside though, there are plenty of times where my mind just does not feel like thinking about anything at all, as though there is a mental and emotional drag chute attached to its back as it tries to run against the desert wind. And you know what? That’s OK.

It’s OK to set aside your hobby projects and kick back doing whatever, for however long it takes for you feel inspired about your projects again. It’s a hobby, not something you’re obligated to do, so… don’t feel obligated to do it.

That doesn’t mean one should quit when things get hard or that one should flit from one project to the next, never finishing anything they start. I’m just saying that there’s a balance in life that is probably beneficial for most people to achieve. It’s like treading water for several hours waiting to be rescued, sure it seems kind of passive and ineffective, but it sure beats drowning because you gave up or drowning because you swam too hard and wore yourself out.

When it comes to our limited personal time, our “hobby time”, we need to be open to allowing ourselves to benefit from a variety of experiences, including taking a mental break and using that time to do stuff that does not need to reflect your personal potential. Play a game, read a novel, take a nap. Whatever floats your boat – float a boat! It’s OK, relaxing and unwinding doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you a person.

When I look at myself, for years I just played games made by other people, I installed and tweaked operating systems made by other people, and I occasionally made some music on the computer using software made by other people. That kept me happy for decades and I still do those things for fun today. However, about ten years ago I realized that “making stuff” was a large part of what I enjoyed when I played games and that realization caused my focus to turn from playing games to making games and game mods. Absolutely, I very much enjoy “making stuff” and the research and education that comes along with it, but there are plenty of times when I just don’t feel like doing it. Plenty of times where I just roam the world of Guild Wars 2 “Hulk SMASHING” everything in my path and picking flowers, because it’s cathartic and we all need that in our lives. Definitely, building stuff with electronics and hardware and programming on the computer and other STEM type activities are also cathartic, but… too much of a good thing is… a bad thing.

One could say, “Well, you just haven’t found your passion then, Rob!” and I suppose that can be true in some contexts, but I’m inclined to reply, “You can’t eat pizza every day for every meal. For one, it’s not healthy, but I think the bigger picture is, think of all the other great food and experiences you’re missing out on by only eating pizza”. Passion and determination are great, I one hundred percent agree, but when it comes to one’s “hobby time”, the results one should be focused upon achieving are personal growth and happiness, not some arbitrary deadline or level of perfection. We need to save that kind of stress for “the real world”, because there is plenty of it to go around and it’s probably never going to go away.

“Do or do not. Pick one, it’s your free time!” – Yo Duh

Thanks for the Gift Card Starbucks

Just before Christmas last year, I wrote the following email to Starbucks,


I am not a snob. I am just a normal person who has been drinking coffee for
thirty years or so. The best coffee is that which I make for myself at home
from fresh ground “medium roast” beans, using boiled water poured through a
paper filter holder that sits above my mug. I add about a teaspoon of
sugar, two teaspsoons of cream.

I don’t often drink Starbucks coffee, because I don’t subscribe to the
“burn the hell out of it, because burnt is better” mantra of bean roasting.
Even the lighter roasts tend to be offensive (and cause my gallbladder to
release crazy amounts of bile in short order – look that up if you don’t
know where it’s going), so I just stay away. Similarly, I don’t drink the
swill they now sell at Tim Hortons either.

Now you have some context for what I am about to write…

Yesterday my wife returned home with a black “blonde roast” coffee from
Starbucks for me, as she happened to be in Chapters and she felt like doing
something nice for me. I thanked her, added a bit of cream and sugar, and
mapped out the fastest routes to the washroom from where I sat down. I put
the plastic lidded paper cup to my lips and pulled a draught through the
drinking hole while my mouth instantly recoiled in a flurry of both horror
and disgust. The vile, earthy, swill was reminiscent of wet soil mixed with
tree bark and a hint of vommit. Instinctively my mouth swallowed, almost as
if to reassure me that it was still my friend, despite the unpleasantness it
was now subjecting me to. I put the cup down, dumbfounded, and exclaimed,
“that was disgusting!”. I then tested the remainder of the cup as a kitchen
drain cleaner.

A question remains on my mind after that experience, “were there even any
coffee beans used in the creation of that liquid?”, because it honestly did
not taste like coffee at all. Even stale instant coffee, which I
affectionately refer to as, “liquid brown”, tastes more like coffee than
that cup of Starbucks “Blonde Roast”.

This was an unusual and unpleasant experience.


R. Bassett Jr.

They were kind enough to reply, offering me a gift card to make up for the unfortunate experience. Today that gift card arrived!

It’s not just a gift card, it’s a Transformer! Or maybe not…

Hope you enjoyed this letter. I shared it with my wife and friend and they both found it entertaining, so I thought I would share it here too. I get kick out of slinging words… which reminds me, I still have to write that letter to Reid’s Dairy about their eggnog! 🙂