Life Update

Welcome back to Concreate Chaos, life preparing for and with an infant has been crazy. I started wrapping up my commitments early last year. I was going to devote much of my attention to our new family member.

I said goodbye to my dear furry friend, Rocket. He died of cancer in October 2016 and it had profound effect on me. I found myself unable to write. Whenever I sat down to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, my thoughts drifted to him and the cat sized hole in my heart. I miss him still. It took over a year, but I’ve healed now.

I signed off of podcasting. Culture Conquistadors was a labor of love for many years. Movies remain a favorite passtime of mine. Though these days, they’re seen months after release via streaming or Redbox. Now, my former co-host and dear friend launches his solo venture, Iconography. You should definitely have a listen as he starts into season two.

I left two D&D campaigns. My regular group continued on their journey in Wander-Lost without Chase Starryeyes. Despite my desires, I was never able to return to play her again. In a few sessions, Wander-Lost will wrap up. Operation Phoenix concluded last year before Babels was born. The play time of the campaign doesn’t lend itself to my participation, but even so I haven’t made an effort to rejoin.

I gave up watching sports live. My Saturdays in the fall were often filled with Florida State and Florida football games. There’s a lot of things wrong with football at the collegiate level. I will always love it in some ways, but I won’t dedicate every Saturday for months to it. Instead, I spend my Saturdays with my new family watching Babels grow.

We did manage to make it to DragonCon. Babels was a hit as Salamence and my Brendan cosplay looked sharp. We went to the Marvel photoshoot for the first time in a few years. It was a far better experience this time around. Nova is a much lighter costume for the summer Atlanta heat. But the event ran far smoother also. I spent a day playing D&D with my brother, my best friend, and another good friend. It was an amazing experience. David enjoyed it so much, he asked if we could find a way to play again.

So, I started an Adventurers League legal Tomb of Annihilation campaign. With Babels’s schedule set, we were able to carve out some time to play some Dungeons & Dragons. I wanted this group focused on a regular, exciting experience for my family. I set expectations for schedule and commitments and invited the players. It’s been a resounding success.

Amber started an in-person Adventurers League legal Tales from the Yawning Portal campaign. We play roughly monthly. I wish it were more frequent, but scheduling is difficult. With two new players, it’s always fun watching them discover bits and pieces of the game.

Blog Update

With the last year of my life highlighted and recapped, what does the future hold? My hope is, a lot of reading, gaming, and writing. It’s been fun being back in the DM seat for Tomb of Annihilation. I haven’t ever run a published adventure cover-to-cover. Despite the monthly game, I miss playing D&D more frequently. I want to run a modern day urban game later this year. And for DragonCon, I have a new costume in pre-planning.

I’m hopeful that all this will lead to more writing, here, at Concrete Chaos. I’ve already added a few new pages to my notebooks for the last few years of books, games and films.

Hello 2016!

While I’m not a fan of celebrating on New Year’s Eve, I am fond of turning the page onto a new year. The clean slate. The upcoming events. There’s always a sense of wonder and excitement for me.

So here are my 2016 resolutions for all to see!

  1. Read one book every month.
  2. Watch one movie in a theater every week.
  3. Design a game as part of 1GAM.
  4. Continue progressing my workout routines.
  5. Continue podcasting at least bi-weekly.
  6. Improve the quality of blog posts and journal entries.

Most of these are incremental goals. Small steps that move what I have been doing forward. But that’s what makes them great resolutions. They are improvements that will take effort and dedication but are wholly achievable.

Oh and I’m getting married this year!

Goodbye 2015!

It’s been a great year but I’m excited for 2016. 2015 was a year filled with growth and change.

In April, I asked the woman I love to marry me.
In June, I moved to Tallahassee and in with my newly minted fiancée.
In July, I said goodbye to Gainesville for one last time.
In September, I returned to Atlanta for our now yearly pilgrimage to DragonCon.
In October, I helped two of my dearest friends get married.
In December, I built my third video game for 2015.

There were many more events. Seven weddings in total. Numerous holidays. Travel throughout the Southeast US. And a decent showing at the gym.

I figure I’d take a day to promote one of my major projects, The Culture Conquistadors Podcast. The podcast is an audio journey through the arts. Well mostly movies but sometimes television or music. Charles and I have collaborated on other side projects before but the Culture Conquistadors Podcast maybe the most enduring one. For two years, we published an episode every other week. Some of our discussions meandered for over an hour. One of our triumphs is the AniMadness Bracket.

But then Charles and I ended up as roommates1 and the time for recording disappeared. I’ll admit, I’m at fault for a lot of it. Often we’d schedule a recording session but then I’d cancel last minute and we’d just keep pushing it off. During our “Roommate Period”, we recorded just four episodes! It was a fun time. Charles was a great roommate for me but our podcast suffered. In July, our lease ended and we moved in with our respective significant others.

The Culture Conquistadors website has also hung over my head during most of this time. I’m responsible for the technology aspects of the podcast and we’ve both been unhappy with the website. Figuring we should re-launch the podcast with Season 3, I decided it was now or never to do a website overhaul. Much like Concrete Chaos, I moved the Culture Conquistadors website to WordPress. I love Drupal and will continue to use it but for the current needs of the podcast, WordPress is just better. We’ve integrated analytics for both the podcast episodes and the website itself.2 It’s a pretty plain website but it works for us. Maybe in the future we’ll add some more stuff but we’re focusing on the actual podcast for now.

Speaking of the podcast, Charles has streamlined the production process. Previously, he worked hard to clean out “umms” and “uhhs” and other things. While he still does this to an extent, it’s much more focused and the production timeline has gone from days of hard work spread over a few weeks to a couple hours over a few days. The end result should sound a lot more natural with fewer cuts. I’ve also upgraded my recording equipment with a Blue Yeti mic. So hopefully, the episodes sound not just more natural but clearer.

With that production process revolution, we’ve worked hard to try some new things with the podcast. For Spectre and Mockingjay, we’ve split the discussion into a preview and review. Taking what would’ve been a two hour conversation and splitting it and making both discussions more focused on the topic. We’ve also been on a weekly recording cadence. The publication of the episodes hasn’t quite hit an exact rhythm yet but we’re recording every Tuesday night! I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep it up forever but it’s encouraging that we’ve managed to do so for the past couple months.

All in all, the podcast is in far better shape than it was for most of 2015. We’re excited for Awards Season, playing Fantasy Movie League and looking forward to continuing to produce a podcast that we hope will grow. But even if it doesn’t, we’re still having fun doing it.


  1. Also long-term committed relationships. 
  2. The numbers aren’t high, but there are at least a few people listening to us. 

Getting my digital house in shape. Trying to gather up old blog posts from around the internet and collect them back here. Old Concrete Chaos posts, our first failed project, MiNext and my current project Culture Conquistadors.

Outside of work and gaming, I’m one half of the Culture Conquistadors. With Charles we release a weekly podcast that primarily discusses movies but also includes television, music, books and games. Basically any form of entertainment that we can consume these days. We’re looking to add more content to the project and so I’ve decided to do some paragraph movie reviews for every movie I see. They’ll be short and sweet (or bitter) and I’ll be cross-posting them here on my personal blog. I think the format will work well because we have the podcast for more in-depth discussions and I know there are some people who can’t listen to every episode of the podcast. Anyways, the first one will be up later today.

Greetings

Welcome to Concrete Chaos, my personal slice of the internet. Over the past decade, I’ve maintained some sort of presence but this my latest (and hopefully most successful) attempt. Part of the reason for this new push is that I’m looking to find a new position and relocate. Another major reason is I keep stacks of spiral-bound notebooks with various creative endeavors and I’d like to share them with the wider world.

The main portion of this website is my portfolio, there you can find in-depth reports on projects I’ve worked on. This blog is probably the largest section, you can reach it two different ways, first by visiting psikik.net/blog or by going to concretechaos.com. The latter is just a re-direct to the former, but in the future I have plans to provide a different look to the content when visiting that site. Finally, there’s two large creative areas to the site. The first is the which holds all of the images I upload to the website. The second area are my virtual notebooks, these are virtual representations of spiral-bound deadtree books, though the content will be far more organized and edited.

If you’re looking for more information or a way to contact me, you can visit the [about][about] page which also has a few social and coding links. I’m not looking to take on any freelance projects but I am interested in full-time software developer positions.

As for the content of this blog, below is a listing of topics I’m likely to cover:

  • Technology (Computers, Space, the Internet, Podcasting)
  • Gaming (Tabletop, Computer, Role-playing)
  • Movies & Television (Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy)
  • Books (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Alternate History)
  • Sports (Baltimore Orioles, Miami Heat, Seattle Sounders, Florida State Seminoles, Florida Gators)

I don’t have any particular posting schedule planned and I’m not even going to suggest a possible one. I have lots of ideas to share and as my ideas move to drafts and then to complete thoughts, I’ll post them as soon as they’re ready. Over the next few posts, I’ll take some time to introduce the various subjects that are near and dear to me.

: http://psikik.net/gallery

I Believe Introductions are in Order

Summary
An introduction to Concrete Chaos, myself and one of my habits.

At the moment I’m writing (well typing) this piece, I feel a bit like Kathy Nightengale from the Doctor Who episode “Blink”.1 This post (and to a greater extent this column), like that letter, proves difficult to write.

There is something about writing a first post – “The First Post” – that causes some pause. I always find it hard to write the “first” of anything. The dilemma becomes this: how do I write something now that will give people an idea of how I’ll write in the future and demonstrate to the people of the future how I’ve grown since writing this? Perhaps the answer is to do neither but I find that would be unsatisfying both to you and me.

And so with the best of my ability, I have determined to tackle this milestone by writing about this post that I am writing now.

One thing you’ll quickly learn is that I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge.2 Giving a rough estimate, I’d say I read about 15 articles and blog posts a day along with a half-dozen wikipedia articles; and a couple of longreads a week; and at least a book a month.3 I suppose that begs the question: How I manage to contribute and be a productive member of society?4

In the course of consuming all this information, I have found myself following a certain pattern. First, I am somehow led to read or watch a piece of content (usually I am linked to an article from one my RSS feeds or an account I follow on Twitter). Sometimes the content is discarded just as quickly as it was retrieved. But other times, I find a piece on abolishing software patents, a photo of two presidents, 30 years before the younger took office, a video about how everything is a remix or a web comic that reminds me of my early days as a programmer. These thoughtful and evocative pieces draw me into the archives of the site seeking more. I click on the “older posts” link until it disappears (or I flip backwards through the monthly archives or find that very wonderful link to the first piece)5, and then, upon realizing I have reached “the beginning,” I proceed to waste (or perhaps use) hours upon hours (maybe even a day or two) reading every article or strip or post in the order they were published.

So, in writing this, I find myself, like Kathy – who was sent back to a forgotten past to write to her friend in “the present” – before me, aware of not only the present but the future:

  • To those of you reading this post not long after it is published, I must demonstrate the capability to write and discuss topics now. I should also hopefully show a capacity for forward-thinking commentary and a willingness to improve myself and this column.
  • To those of you ending up here sometime in the semi-distant future, I must demonstrate (through this piece and the other ones you’ve hopefully read and enjoyed) that I have grown and matured but still possess a similar style. After all, since nothing is ever deleted from the Internet everything I write in this column will be recorded forever, this first piece sets a permanent foundation for the future.

    Now that I have briefly discussed myself and the importance of “the first post,” I suppose it is time to discuss what exactly you’ll find (or have found already) amongst the posts of this column. In the most general sense, I’ll primarily discuss technology and gaming.6 I’ll also discuss the terabytes of content I consume which includes books, magazines and newspapers, movies and TV shows, and also just about anything else. On occasion, I will probably consider possibly discussing programming.

    Concrete Chaos will not be the only column I write. I will also be the primary contributor to the Buy Mi column but I’ll save that discussion for the introduction of that column. And of course I’ll be deeply involved in other MiNext projects that we will be introducing soon.

    So welcome (or welcome back!) to Concrete Chaos and MiNext. I hope you enjoy not only reading the articles and soaking in the commentary, but also contributing to the discussion.


  1. In the episode, Kathy and her friend, Sally Sparrow, arrive at a run down house that has messages on the walls telling Sally not to blink. They explore the house a little bit when Sally hears a knock on the door. Upon answering the door, she is greeted by a gentleman with a letter addressed to her. In the mean time, Kathy has been hurled into the past. She pens a letter to Sally in the past that is then delivered by her descendant in the present. 

  2. I have concluded this is primarily due to the fact that both of my parents were educators (and one of which was a secondary history teacher). In addition, I consider myself to have an outstanding memory. 
  3. During the editing process, I managed to count most of one day’s worth of content: 2 comic strips, 210 RSS teasers/headlines, 13 articles, 3 forum threads totaling over 800 posts, and 2 Wikipedia articles (one on Roger Ebert, the other on Camp Nowhere). 
  4. To which I would reply that bettering oneself through the accumulation of general and specific knowledge is a productive contribution to society. Others may disagree. 
  5. I highly recommend the first link especially with serialized content like webcomics or web series. As the programmer for MiNext, I’ll ensure that such a link exists in the near future here. 
  6. By gaming I mean almost all forms of it. Boardgames, card games, console and PC gaming and table top RPGs. 

It’s been a while since I made a post and I’m at a good stopping point with everything else.

Entertainment
I haven’t had much time lately to read any books. My list is starting to get long. I’m hoping that once I wrap up most of the website projects I can get back to reading. That or I’ll have to give up some of the daily news reading/scanning that I do. I have been able to play a decent amount of games though. I finished Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2 and I’ve been playing Star Trek Online.

Website Design
These past few weeks most of my attention has been focused on the websites I maintain. I finally put the final touches on my professional site. I also finished the majority of the theme work on this site and I did a quick build out of another website. The last website will be getting a facelift this weekend.

Business Research Project
I’m starting to gather my research for a business project. I’ve started bookmarking interesting articles and links in Safari. But I’m going to need to take it to the next level soon and hit up the UF Libraries. I’ve actually never been inside one of the UF Libraries, so it should be an interesting experience.

Psi & Sigma A Cappella
Last semester, I finally got the A Cappella group off the ground and started. This semester it’s really starting to take off. It’s taken up a lot of my time (and some money) and I feel that the investments that the people in the group have made are about to really pay off. Our first (and main) performance is just over a month away. I can’t wait.

Blogging, Writing, etc…
I’ve got a lot of ideas swimming around in my head. I’ve been writing some of them down but haven’t had a lot of time to expand upon them. Maybe Saturday I’ll sit at the computer and hammer out some rough drafts, hopefully around five to seven of them.’,’It’s been a while since I made a post and I’m at a good stopping point with everything else.

I’ve struggled with the idea of a posting schedule in regards to my main blog Concrete Chaos. I want fresh content on my blog every couple days. I’m figuring a MWF posting schedule.

I know that every Friday I’ll have a small article discussing my Project 365 progress.

I also think that for the first part of the year I’ll be posting an article from my “Dreams to Achieve” series each Monday.

That’ll leave Wednesday open to whatever kind of post I want.

As an aside, I don’t consider my tumblog my actual blog. I’ve re-titled it as such (Concrete Chaos Lite). It should import all my posts from the main blog as links with snippets. But CCLite will also get it’s own small updates (like this one) that don’t really belong on my main blog and are more stream of consciousness and random posts (along with reblogs).