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 The most popular post, by far, has been my Verbose Guide to Creating a SWGEmu Server, which is sadly now quite outdated.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! 🙂

I Don’t Care If You’re ______. I Do Care That You’re Human.

I edited the title to be less sensational. This article is about accepting people for who they are and accepting every person is equal.

“What the fuck is wrong with people?” is the most frequent question I tend to ask myself, right behind, “where did I put my coffee?” and, “did I already put sugar in this?”. When I peer out at the world from beneath my rock, what I see generally fills my heart with tremendous pride and great sorrow, because I am evidently three parts human being and one part empathetic analytical machine; I understand that to be human is to be flawed and to be alive is to have potential, but I also can’t help wondering… what the fuck is wrong with people????!!!

I was born and raised in Canada, having lived in Ontario and British Columbia for various lengths at different stages in my life. In my time, I have met and positively interacted with people from all over the world and from many walks of life. That doesn’t mean that I have gotten along with everyone I have met, nor does it mean that I have liked everyone that I have met. What I am saying is essentially this:

If I don’t like you, it’s because you’re an asshole.

That’s it. No other reason.

Contrary to the myth that all Canadians are polite, I have met a fair amount of assholes in my time. There are, of course, an unimaginable number of reasons one can become elevated to the status of asshole, but suffice to say that all of them involve how one treats others, while none of them involve one’s race, gender, or sexual preference. Indeed, behavior accounts for nine tenths of an asshole, with intent filling in the remainder.

I don’t care if you’re gay, black, German, Catholic, handicapped, a person who “really enjoys kale”, or any other arbitrary feature with which one can be identified.

I do care if you’re an asshole.

I suppose I would probably care if you smelled bad and I had to be near you for an extended period of time, but I probably wouldn’t say anything. That wouldn’t be polite. Well, unless you happened to be a friend, because what kind of friend would that make me if I didn’t save you from yourself? I wouldn’t want to be an asshole.

Diversity is our strength, both genetically and socially, while acceptance, not tolerance nor ignorance, is the engine that dives the success of our species.

The greatest gift we’ve been given is the simple fact that we’re here, living our lives. That this planet exists at all is a miracle second only to the existence of the universe itself; Of all the things that could have happened, this did. But we’re not just gifted with lives, we’re also blessed with having each other for company and companionship. Yes, our differences have been, and continue to be, at the heart of much suffering, but that’s not because there is something wrong with being different. It’s because the world is full of assholes who just can’t help themselves and normal people who just want to live their lives in peace. Unfortunately this dichotomy has generally resulted in the assholes ruining it for everyone, often including themselves.

Interestingly, it’s really easy to not be an asshole. You just have to actually give a damn about your fellow human beings and the planet we live on. (Hey, while we’re on the topic… For all intents and purposes, Earth is the human universe – ain’t nowhere else we can live, so let’s not fuck it up, alright?) Ask yourself, “Am I a person who believes that others are beneath me or that the world is here to serve me?” and if your answer to either question is an affirmative, well congratulations, you’re an asshole. Do you care about the lives and the happiness of others? No? You’re an asshole. Now stop it, because being an asshole is a choice.

Don’t be an asshole.

Do be… whatever the hell else you want to be!


Practice Video: Maintaining the Under-House

I watch a fair amount of YouTube, so I figured… I like talking and I did some performance stuff when I was a kid, so what the heck, I’ll see what goes into making one of those, “talking about something over pictures” type of videos. Well, let me just say that it takes more effort (time, really) than one might imagine. I limited the production time of this video to what I could accomplish in a day, using software that I already know how to operate. Originally I intended to use the video editing features of Blender, but… I just didn’t feel like learning that aspect of Blender at this time (I already have a lot on the go).

Honestly, when it comes to guides and information, I would rather write, so that’s what I am going to do. That said, I did enjoy being silly and perhaps in the future you will see some sporadic content along those lines, because that’s worth doing in video format. I guess videos are the better medium for things such as my Legend of Hondo related videos, where I am walking through how to operate custom software in a 3D environment, so I will do those type of videos as well.

Here it is:

Note: The audio distortion that you here occasionally happened when I was recording the voice over today. It’s some kind of interference either from my sound board or the TV tuner card that I used for PC audio input, as it happened using my old motherboard and OS installations as well. It wasn’t caused by my phone though, as I had it in airplane mode at the time.

Norm MacDonald’s New Gig: My Inner Monologue

OK, now I have done it… You know you’ve watched too much of something when…

I discovered Norm when I was a teen in the early 90s. I loved watching stand up comedy (on TV) and I think it really helped me through the bumpy bits of those years. Nothing like a good laugh, right? When it came to Norm, his combination of voice, delivery, and mannerisms, made him both instantly likable and enormously hilarious, in much the same way as Jonny Harris did the first time I saw him perform as well.

Not every comedian jibes with “your kind of funny”, so when you find one that does, they tend to linger in your mind. And so, after watching the first two hours of this YouTube video of Norm’s appearances on The David Letterman Show, I woke up this morning and discovered as I washed a mug for my coffee, looking out the window watching someone walking down the road, that Norm MacDonald was rambling in my mind instead of me. Whoops.

As amusing as it is to joke with my kids about playing with a stick, while they look at me like I have two heads, perhaps my morning coffee will … nope, it just made me poop. Well, it’s not so bad… thinking more slowly and finding humor in the mundane… I can live with it, if need be… 🙂

(Weekend) Update: It would seem that some brainy producer fired Norm from his gig in my mind, returning my inner monologue to its normal, boring self. Ah well, it was humorous while it lasted. Come to think of it, so to speak, replacing one’s inner monologue with a voice of their choosing would be a pretty nifty product if it could be done safely.

And now, a message from the HR Department:

R. Bassett Jr. does not agree with, nor does he endorse all of, Norm MacDonald’s opinions, comments, or allusion. Furthermore, R. Bassett Jr. does not find humor in all of Mr. MacDonald’s performances.

R. Bassett Jr. does not like all types of pizza either.

In all seriousness, whenever possible it is important to support the artists (and their hardworking crews!) by consuming their media through legitimate means. When a performance that is “out of print” and is no longer available to the general public shows up on YouTube, that’s kind of a public service, because it’s part of history that would otherwise be lost. However, when one can subscribe to inexpensive services, such as Netflix, to watch the performance, that’s what one should do!

Support your favorite artists by actually supporting them!