As the world slowly turns into a low-rent Roger Corman-esque Mad Max knockoff, and my mutual funds start deflate like the cushion I am currently sitting on, here are some musings to mark my triumphant return to the internet:
Don’t compromise your personality and sense of humour for individuals who fail to even respond to a simple follow-up email. Many thanks for your “sage” advice;
I should’ve bought gold;
The recipe to successfully debating a political opponent? Just ad hominem;
Hüsker Dü or Hüsker Dön’t, there is no Hüsker Trÿ;
Jane Eyre’s hair by Jane Hare’s Hair Care;
I’ve spent the last five years trying to write the great American novel, but every time I finish, I realize that I have yet again unknowingly re-written the script to the first Shrek movie;
Won’t anyone please support my French-language cover band, Parlement-Funkadèlique?
When I agreed to “-’til death do us part,” I honestly never thought I’d live past the age of 23;
The hardest part of being so handsome, wealthy and world famous, is that I get easily nauseated after so much time in virtual reality;
I’m the rest of the heathens that Nelly warned you about all those years ago…
You ever get extremely excited about something, only to end up having it stress you out into a coma-like state? That’s what happened to me when I failed to successfully upgrade my aging PC.
Last year I upgraded my graphics card (GPU), and I had also previously upgraded to solid state hard drives (SSDs). This was a good start, but I have been primarily bottle-necked by my ancient CPU and motherboard. I’m talking about 2013-era hardware.
This was to change when I got a good deal on an AMD Ryzen 2700x CPU (8 cores/16 threads) and a compatible AM4 socket ASUS motherboard. Things were looking up. The scene was set for my computer to enter the future (of 2018-era hardware to be exact.)
Here’s what my toolset for working with electronics looks like. The anti-static wristband shows that I’m a professional. The beer says otherwise.
After putting it all together I was pretty stoked. It looked great and very clean cable-wise.
The very first time I booted it up, before even doing a fresh install of Windows, the bios screen froze. That should’ve been a sign of things to come. After a fresh Windows install and set-up I started getting blue screens of death (BSODs) for a number of issues. Everything from drivers to the GPU.
This was really upsetting. After a whole day and a half of trying to troubleshoot issues, I figured it was a faulty motherboard. Thanks Asus.
I’ve had an Asus GPU fail, issues with an Asus CD drive, and the expensive Asus laptop I bought for university had the motherboard fry just after the warranty expired. You’d think I would’ve learned by now.
Thankfully, Amazon has a good return/exchange policy. I exchanged the CPU for a new one and returned the motherboard, waiting for a better deal on one from MSI (a company I trust.)
In the meanwhile, I had to put together a Franskenstein PC from older parts, and I’m also waiting for parts from Nocuta to make my older cpu cooler to work on my new cpu. Noctua sent them free from Germany. Many thanks. Noctua is awesome.
That’s about it. If you ever wanted to see a grown Serbian man shaking out of pure anxiety and nausea, you should’ve seen me during this ordeal.
I bought my Nintendo Switch a few months after it originally came out in March 2017. Like a lot of other owners, I began having issues with the the controller(s) receiving phantom inputs and behaving oddly. It really sucked.
I contacted Nintendo of Canada and filled out a service request. Even though the controllers were out of warranty, Nintendo sent me the information needed to send them in for free repairs (probably given the negative press and discussions of a class action lawsuit.)
I sent the controllers on August 7th, 2019:
It took a week for the package to arrive in Vancouver for repairs. It then took a further 2+ weeks before the controllers were accepted for repairs. I was still able to play Mario Maker 2 with my 8BitDo controller in the meanwhile.
I finally got a shipping notice on September 4th, 2019. A SINGLE day later, I received a parcel from Vancouver:
They sent me brand new joy con controllers (MSRP $90 CAD), some Mario Party stickers, a Splatoon 2 pin, and a poster for the upcoming Pokemon games.
The PlayStation Classic was not received well. It was/is overpriced, lacks good games, and some games are the PAL versions so they run noticeably slower. It does, however, look the part and is a very well built piece of plastic. And for $30 you bet I got myself one.
The PlayStation 1 was the first console I got when I came to Canada. It is not my favourite console by a long shot (PlayStation 2 ftw), but I still have a lot of great memories of the original PlayStation.
Can We Fix It? Maybe We Can…
With a couple of modifications (nothing physical if you’re not familiar with soldering), you can make the PS1 Classic slightly better. All you need is a compatible USB drive (this one worked perfectly for me), basic computer knowledge, the free AutoBleem or BleemSync software (and possibly RetroArch), and access to LEGAL copies of your own game ROMS. You may also need a powered USB 2.0 hub if your USB drive is not compatible.
If you’re looking for guides, there’s plenty of them online.
… But Not By Much
In the end, even with better games and software, the PS1 Classic is still disappointing. The difficulty of trying to get games to work with gamepads with analog sticks is one such disappointment. It should’ve come with Dual Shock controllers…
The main disappointment, however, is that the early polygonal era of gaming just does not look good when re-examined today. The 8 and 16-bit eras of gaming still look aesthetically pleasing, and they tend to remain enjoyable to interact with and play. The early PlayStation 1-era polygonal games are just not pretty to look at, nor are they fun to control or play. This is why the NES and SNES Classics were so successful.
My advice is to use emulators which can make these games look better, or hold out for remakes or remasters like the recently released Spiro Reignited Trilogy, or the recent Resident Evil 2 Remake. These are better ways to return to your childhood than frustrating yourself trying to play fugly games that were probably not that good to begin with. Nostalgia is dangerous.
On April 8th, 2019, my grandfather, Dragan Ćopić/Драган Ћопић (Drago), died at the age of 85. He was a gentle giant whose life was as painful as it was long.
He loved cowboy movies and tinkering with tools and watches. A master craftsmen and builder, he is the type of man I’ve hoped to be for as long as I can remember: a man who has left behind something tangible and worthwhile.
Whether his legacy be the homes and buildings he built during his prime (the structures of which are still standing even after the Balkan Wars), or the selfless daughters he helped bring into this world, Dragan has done a lot to leave behind something worth remembering.
Dragan’s life both started and ended painfully. His father was a freedom fighter during WWII fighting against fascists. He did not survive, nor was his body ever found. Dragan would be responsible for raising the rest of his large family from then on.
Grandpa Dragan was only one of two children to survive a massacre at his school in Donja Suvaja, Croatia in 1941. As the story goes, his teacher was involved with a Croatian fascist soldier. She invited the children to school one day promising them that there would be candy and other sweets.
Given that it was during wartime and that the children were already starving and desperate, the children excitedly showed up to their school. Feeling that there was something definitely wrong, the oldest student in the school tried to convince the children to flee. They would not listen.
Only my grandfather and this older child were able to escape as the Croatian fascists started firing at the children. My grandfather was shot in the leg while fleeing. This left a scar on his leg that was there until the day he died.
Grandpa Drago would go on to marry my grandma Jovanka and start a family of his own. His life took another turn for the worse in 1980 when he got sick. Initially doctors in Zagreb misdiagnosed him and subjected him to what any reasonable person would consider torture. From then on he developed a great fear of needles, hospitals, and doctors.
Doctors in Belgrade would later properly diagnose him with Parkinson’s Disease and set him up with the proper treatment and management schedule.
In 1995 new Croatian fascists would force Dragan and his family and friends out of their homes in a pogrom under the guise of “independence”. Dragan would then spend the rest of his life in Apatin, Serbia, under the care of his selfless daughter Gordana.
Early in 2019 he would be taken to hospital in Sombor, Serbia for an infection. His physician would then proceed to inaccurately prescribe a treatment that would only make his condition worse. It is sad to say, but he suffered until his passing earlier today.
He died in the company of his wife Jovanka and daughter Gordana. The last coherent words he told my aunt Gordana were that his deceased brother had appeared to him asking what was taking him so long to join him.
He was not a perfect man. In fact, he was very difficult all the way up until his passing. Still, he was a kind and gentle man who was as personable as he was trying.
Thank you to my aunt Gordana for taking care of him for as long as she did. Thank you to the health professionals who took care of him during the most painful moments of his life.
I will never forget forget how my sister and I gathered around you as children and listened to your fantastical stories.
I will never forget you. I will continue to drink rakija and fight fascists in your memory.