tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:/posts Matthew Supert 2020-11-29T17:48:22Z Matthew Supert tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1622582 2020-11-29T17:46:06Z 2020-11-29T17:48:22Z Book Review: Ancillary Mercy

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very fitting conclusion to one of my favorite sci-fi series. I know some readers of this series were expecting something more of a grand space opera, with Breq perhaps flying across Radch space to end the wrongs of Anaander Mianaai.

That isn't going to happen here and scope and scale of something so large is unfeasible. Instead the story backs off, and focuses more on the specifics. It is telling Breq's story after all, not the story of the Radch. Through that story we get to see the growth and development of Breq becoming the person that she her self cannot admit that she is. It is that point that the rest of the story hinges upon, and really what so many good sci fi stories do hinge upon. They take a character's personal instances and struggles and extrapolate them out to the broader society in question. In this case that question is, is an AI a "person"? The culmination of this trilogy leads us to that point and question and ends not with the answer, but the posing of the question. Some may find that unsatisfying and to an extent, it is. But we are left with the satisfaction of Breq and her position in the world and that her crew and everyone she comes across does care about her.

I came away incredibly satisfied with Breq as a character and would put her right up there as one of the best written sci fi captains. She is cold, calculating and often times hard on those around her, but incredibly fair. That doesn't mean she isn't emotional. We see quite a bit of emotion internally and it is seen in her actions and care for the citizens of the Radch. She is undoubtedly exactly the type of captain you would want on a military ship and one to lead you into an impossible situation.

I also am completely enamored with the writing of the crew and the Left Lieutenants. It is remarkable to me how much the crew truly cares for their obviously flawed Left Lieutenants. They want to see them succeed in almost every situation. They stand up when need and care for them when it is required. In turn, we see the Lieutenants also reciprocate in their own way. And as always, the propriety of the Radch has captured me to no end. This is a series I would love to see some costume and art designers take a crack at. The gender neutral pronouns used in the culture lend me to believe that this is a society that itself has a gender neutral outward appearance. The descriptions of Radch citizens wearing gloves and jewelry stirs my imagination. Ann Leckie herself has a Q/A post over on Goodreads.com that I will quote.

"...I don't think I've ever said that Radchaai are gender neutral--just that they really don't care about anyone's gender, and don't mark it socially or linguistically... it's not really a thing they care much about. They care about it, maybe, as much as we care about hair color.

[I] think it's worth considering...how much of what we consider to be "obvious" about someone's gender when we look at them is actually a set of social cues. Hairstyle, kinds of clothes, even certain colors of clothing. Ways of standing or moving. These can change from culture to culture, or even from decade to decade (just a couple hundred years ago, high heels and hose were a guy thing. Less than a hundred years ago, pink was a "boy" color.)... And consider that while quite a lot of people will say that one's genitals are the defining element of one's gender, we very rarely see the genitals of the people we quite automatically assign gender to. We're not actually gendering the people around us based on their genitals. We're making assumptions about their genitals based on a complicated mass of social cues."

With that, I will say that I hope we get more from this series and this world and could you please prepare some tea.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1613924 2020-11-08T17:10:36Z 2020-11-10T01:42:20Z Book Review: The Monsters Know What They Are Doing
The Monsters Know What They're Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters by Keith Ammann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a really hard book to rate. It isn't a book of stories or any narrative really. It is a collection of blog posts that provide a description/recommendation on how to run each monster in D&D. On that front this book is very successful. The insight and writing is very well put together and I really learned quite a bit on how to approach encounters.

The real complaint I have with this book is the formatting and layout. This is really a reference book. Unfortunately, the layout and formatting doesn't lend it to be used as a reference book. The book is laid out in "chapters" and a narrative style. I think if the book was formatted more in a dictionary format, two columns per page and with an in-depth index, this could be infinitely more useful for Dungeon Masters to utilize.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1608104 2020-10-24T21:04:01Z 2020-10-24T21:17:29Z Book Review: Finder
Finder by Suzanne Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really fun read. A fun, light sci-fi adventure following Fergus Ferguson as he finds himself caught up in adventure too large for the likes of him while at the same time only solvable by him.

There is nothing heavy or overly sciencey about this book. It is almost like a pulp fiction novel, putting the sense of fun ahead of any sort of realism. The cast of characters is just as enjoyable as the main character, with people who inevitably end up loving and hating Fergus at the same time. Think of a Han Solo or Rick O'Donnell and everything around that notion. Humor mixed with dumb luck.

If I had any critique of this book, it would be the almost innumerable amount of Deux Ex Machina situations with Fergus and his endless bank account somehow always pulling out ahead. It could have very easily made the book an "eye roller", but somehow Suzanne Palmer is able to make it work and still have the reader rooting for our self deprecating hero through each misadventure. If you can let that go and let the story take you for a ride, you almost have to enjoy this book.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1599700 2020-10-02T03:01:52Z 2020-10-02T03:23:56Z D&D Map: Adventures in the Borderland Provinces - On a Lonely Road - Temple Map

Utilizing Dungeondraft, here is my interpretation of the Temple Map from the On a Lonely Road adventure from the Adventures in the Borderland Provinces

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1591817 2020-09-07T03:20:41Z 2020-09-07T03:20:42Z One Year with the 1250RT

It has been just over a year since I have now had the 1250RT. Just over 11,000 miles now that I have had this bike and I have to say that I have absolutely loved the bike so far. I used to think that My 1200R was going to be the bike that I kept forever, but as you know from my posts last summer, it was just getting to be a bit too uncomfortable with the riding position. I have come to realize that more and more of my riding is long weekend rides and I unfortunately fo not have much opportunity for community on the bike due to my job. 

The amenities that the touring bike has brought have been a surprising and welcome addition that I didn't think I really needed prior to this point. Cruise control alone is worth is the worth the price of entry. It is one of those added additions that I never really thought I would have needed. I am also really enamored with the quick shifting mechanism on the bike. 

Like I said, I have a 11,000 miles on it since I got it last August, which is probably the most miles I have put on a bike in a single year. The most recent 5500 mile certainly helped, but I would not have been able to complete that trip riding the 1200R unfortunately. 

My only real complaint at this point about the bike is that it actually has too much wind protection and I am absolutely roasting on those hot July and August days in the heat. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1586283 2020-08-24T03:01:12Z 2020-08-24T03:04:12Z Ridelog: Northwest 2020

Longest ride I have ever done, covering 5,501 miles in ten days. Our MEWS groups called this the "Eat, Sleep, Ride" trip and that was pretty much exactly what it was. If you have read my past ride logs,  you might be expecting a lot of commentary and photos. This trip however had us on the bike really for the vast majority of the day and I think my best footage is coming from my GoPro. My suggestion, watch the video linked above if you want to get the best story of this trip. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1582716 2020-08-10T18:27:10Z 2020-08-18T22:46:04Z Book Review: Elysium

Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you lose everything.

This was a pretty heavy book. I am going to put that right out front with this review. If you are in the midst of mid-2020 and everything around you is depressing and stressful, then this may not be the most ideal book for you to pickup right now.

I am going to have a tough time trying to review this, as it is extremely difficult to try and explain this book without giving it away. Think of it this way. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. That narrative timeline is progressing through this book, front to back. All the while the characters, their relationship and even the time/place that the story is occurring in change with each section of the narrative. The crux of the narrative is about the relationship between Adrian and Anton. Who those two are though is never the same. Sometimes they are siblings, other times lovers? Sometimes their gender changes, other times the time and place that they are living in changes.

Through it all though it is about their relationship as the world around them is metaphorically and physically destroyed.

This book embodies what I really enjoy most about SciFi novels. It challenges the reader. It challenges the reader on multiple levels about their beliefs, about how they view the world, perhaps even in this case what they think a narrative format should be.

I have a few minor gripes about some of the writing. Often times the vignettes were not always clear. There is one for example midway through the book were our main characters are part of a religious order, wearing white and tending to a flame. I had no idea the context or time of this society. Was it modern? In the near future? Somewhere in the past? That issue came up several times for me.

The book in the end will most likely not leave you satisfied. You do not get a good explanation of everything that occurred or an understanding of what from the story was "real" and what was manifested from the story being told. I think that was the point, but it does leave wanting a few final sentences to tie it all up.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1578923 2020-07-29T21:26:38Z 2020-07-29T21:26:38Z Book Review: The Three-Body Problem
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book started off pretty strong for me, but stumbled about halfway through and never fully recovered. I really enjoyed the hard science aspect of the book. There is a lot of discussion regarding physics and math here. Unfortunately, some of the story elements broke my immersion. There were several points in the story where narrative beats came across as too convenient.

A scene about halfway in that takes place in a cafe seemed like we had one of our characters jump from outsider to right in the inner circle way too quickly. Several scenes with the trisolarans also seemed a bit rushed, and sometimes even unnecessary. At one point the book spent lengthy amount of time discussing a human computer inside the "Three-Body" game, but that didn't really seem to have a direct impact on the story. And again, another scene having to deal with a large ship in the book too conveniently utilized a nano-carbon fiber that one of our protagonists just happened to be a specialist in?

In the end, it just never came together for me. The most interesting aspects took place in the 1960's at Red Base, and I would have loved to see more happen there, but it just never developed fully.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1568975 2020-07-04T20:46:17Z 2020-07-04T20:46:17Z Finding Some Positivity in Your Online Communities (Critical Role and Peloton)


This is a quick post, but something that popped into my mind this past Thursday when one of my favorite shows came back onto the air after being on hiatus from the COVID-19 situation. Critical Role, finally came back to its regular Thursday night schedule and I can't tell you how much I have been looking forward to seeing it come back.

I have always been impressed with the Critical Role cast and team on how much positivity they put out in everything they do. They just show a tremendous love for their online community and to all of their fans and it suddenly struck me as to how important that is right now. Not just in finding your friends and family and all of that, but finding positivity in your online media. 

It just feels good to be a part of that world and share it in some small fashion. 

While I am at it, I want to give a shoutout to the Peloton brand and that community as well. Another entity that has developed a super positive and uplifting message for its entire and team. Of course exercise always makes you feel better when you are stressed, but I have found that Peloton has really made it a part of their core identity to incorporate all of its users as part of a family that is sharing a journey together. Their entire staff have an extremely positive and almost therapeutic attitude in what they talk about during their classes. 

It is only just now that I am realizing how much those things probably have really helped over the past four months. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1568297 2020-07-03T02:39:35Z 2020-07-03T02:57:57Z Videogaming: Night Call

I have discovered a really incredible game this past week on Xbox Gamepass called Night Call. It is sort of like a illustrated narrative game, where you play a taxi driver who is driving a night shift through Paris. Each night you pick up passengers in your taxi and listen to their story and ask them questions. Occasionally, you will have to spent time and money investigating clues related to a serial killer who is loose in the city and whom you had run in with at the start of the game. 

The game is mostly black and white with hints of color placed throughout the game. Definitely a "Noir" design, the city appears to be cold, dark and always raining. It is such an interesting game and a huge change of pace to many other games I have played right now. There is no combat in the game, nor is there really even any conflict. It really is just a story playing out with your investigation and which you make choices in those conversations. I wouldn't call it a light game though. The mood and dialog is very dark and intense. The elements in the game deal with very adult themes as well. 

If you can, definitely check this game out. It is not like anything I have played before.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1557666 2020-06-11T02:34:18Z 2020-06-11T02:34:18Z Ridelog: 06-06-20


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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1556529 2020-06-09T14:39:42Z 2020-08-06T14:58:40Z Rev'it Cayanne Pro Riding Jacket and Pants - First 200 miles

It was time for some new riding gear. Most of my equipment is getting pretty old at this point, going on 8+ years, so the wear and tear is beginning to show on some of it. I have primarily two sets of riding gear at the moment, a leather jacket and pants, and then some nylon riding gear that I have been using for my longer tours. 

The leather gear is still in remarkably good shape, but the Olympia Airglide jacket and pants have come to the end of their road I think. The velcro straps on most of it are starting to lose their grip, the front right pants pocket has a hole in it and it is just starting to look a bit grundgy overall. 

I have spent quite a lot of time recently trying to find the right gear that I wanted to replace it with. I have looked at probably a dozen different jackets and pants, including some full riding suits. In the end I finally decided to settle on the Rev'it Cayenne Pro jacket and pants. 

This set is a hot weather tour riding set. It does not come with a thermal liner or a waterproof layer, and that is intentional on Rev'its part for the user to bring their own to additional gear or build it up. They call it a modular system and they do offer a number of other layers that can be added. While doing my research, this did trouble me a bit. I was looking closely at the Rev'It Sand jacket and pants as an alternative here. That set is probably one of the best selling jacket and pant sets out there and comes with a thermal and waterproof liner. 

After taking a close look at my riding environment though I had to admit that I ride mostly in warm weather. Probably 95% of my riding is in warm weather, no let me change that, 95% of my riding is in hot weather. I decided that going with the specialized setup rather than the "jack of all trades" would be the better route this time around. I already own heated thermal linings which I can add if I need to, and I have been pretty disappointed in the built in rain layer on my other equipment. 

I finally had the chance to put about 200 miles on the suit this weekend, so let's review my initial thoughts. 

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I was having a conversation over on Facebook the other day of my five most sought after motorcycles right now. It occurred to me that I made a Top 10 list back in 2013, and thought to myself, "Let's do this again". 2013 is nearly seven years ago now. So here is my current, Top 10 Motorcycles I want right now. 

  1. Royal Enfield Himalayan 
  2. Honda Cub C125
  3. Yamaha TW200
  4. Suzuki Katana
  5. BMW C650
  6. Zero SR/S
  7. BMW R 9T
  8. Ural Gear Up
  9. ...
  10. ...

Quite a change in the list from my last one, and this is perhaps very reflective of the type of bike I am riding right now. When I posted the last list in 2013 only had my R 1200R for less than a year. The bikes listed then were very similar in size and type in a lot of ways. I am now riding a R 1250RT, which I bought last August.  That is a big bike, so it is no wonder then that some of my top list is small bikes. 

Number one on my list right now is the Royal Enfield Himalayan. That bike has just infatuated me for the past couple of years. It looks like a ton of fun and everyone I have talked to has a ton of fun on it. I am also completely enamored with Itchy Boots, who is currently touring from South America to Alaska on one. 

The Honda CT125 is another one of those bikes that just completely captures my attention. You might not even call it a motorcycle by the way it looks, and it is only 125cc, but it has a 4 speed manual transmission on it, and something about it's design just really is appealing to me. Seems like such a fun little bike to hop on to go to the store. 

The other big standout on the list above for me is the Suzuki Katana. I have never considered myself a sports bike person, but the almost retro design of the Katana grabs my attention. 

So, you may have noticed too that my list doesn't have ten bikes on it. Yeah, I have to say that I don't see ten bikes out there that really catch my eyes at this point. My RT sorta covers all grounds with the exception of some off-road fun and perhaps something just lighter for zipping around town on. 


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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1539532 2020-05-04T00:45:33Z 2020-05-04T00:45:53Z Book Review: Blood of Elves
Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a very mixed relationship with the Witcher properties. I love the world and the characters in this series. I can't say I am a huge fan of the video games. I loved The Last Wish, and I fell in love with the Netflix series, so coming into this book I had pretty high expectations, knowing that I just sort of finished up the Netflix show.

Now, don't get me wrong. This is a fine book within the Witcher series, but it doesn't exactly come across as the type of book that is #1 in the series and would hook a new reader in. If you are already a fan, then this kicks off right where you want it to. My major issues are that not a lot seems to really happen narratively. The main crux of what I presume we are shown is mostly what Ciri has been up to since she finally found Geralt and was taken in by the Witchers. Having read the Last Wish, seen the Netflix show and then jumped into this book in that order, the three properties all worked well together. The Netflix show's first season sort of ended right where this book apparently would pickup. Perhaps in fact, that is where season 2 of the show will go. As a standalone book however, I can see a lot of readers quickly falling off the series right after this.

I just hope that we get to see more of the actual plot line develop in the second book, because we basically only caught vertical slices of Ciri with Geralt, and Ciri with Yennifer to show some of her training and development.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1539524 2020-05-04T00:33:07Z 2020-05-04T01:16:02Z Videogaming: Gears 5

Quarantine time has led to me being able to play some video games and catch up on a bit of my backlog. This past week I finally had a chance to get back into Gears 5 and finish off the single player. I have never been a huge Gears fan. I played both 1 & 2 and finished neither of them. They felt a bit too "dude bro" for my tastes. This past fall I decided to give Gears 4 a shot, as it was on Xbox Gamepass and I had a pretty decent time with it. The gameplay seemed fine enough and it wasn't too long, so I played through the story and was at least engaged with it to give Gears 5 a shot. 

I started playing Gears 5 when it was released this past winter, but only got about three hours into it before I fell off. Oddly enough, I did put quite a bit of time into the multi-player. game, namely the Horde mode. It has a nice, mindless element too it, but I didn't realize right away the the 50 rounds of horde mode can take upwards of almost two hours. That is quite a commitment to one game with teammates. 

I jumped back into Gears last week to see if it would hook me again, and I have to say that I enjoyed it about as much as I did with Gears 4. It was a fun romp, but it didn't really spark any passion for me. There was one really nice emotional moment that came near the end of the game, that was a bit of a surprise. So much so in fact that I actually played through that section, completed another hour or so of the game and then decided to go back and play that section over again to change my decision. 

The ending of the game seemed fine, but it did give a nice sense of "hopelessness to the story that I wasn't expecting. Will I played Gears 6 to finish off this section part of the trilogy? Yeah, probably, but only because I am a Gamepass subscriber.  

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1529369 2020-04-10T03:20:54Z 2020-04-10T03:20:55Z I'm Beginning the Long, Arduous Journey of Learning Swift Programming

Ok, so here we go. I have decided to jump on in and teach myself how to program in Swift. What is Swift you may ask? In short, it is a programming language similar to Javascript, Pyton, C++, etc. It is one of the newer programming languages out on the market and seems to have its strongest presence in the Apple ecosystem since Apple is a main developer behind the environment. I won't bore you with all of the details around what makes the programming language interesting, but I'll talk a little bit more about why do I even want to do this. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1522707 2020-03-23T03:10:00Z 2020-03-23T03:10:01Z Designing a Dust Cover for the Novation Circuit - Part 1

I am trying my hand at my first 3D model to print up on my Ender Pro 3. I want to develop a dust cover for some of my synths, since dust is always sort of a problem, collecting on them. There is a great website out there called Decksaver which produces some really great looking clear plastic covers for various synths. Unfortunately they are rather expensive and to top of off, they definitely do not have covers for any of my older synths like the E-MU Command Station or the Korg EMX-1. 

So I am starting off with what I hope is probably the easiest of my synths, the Novation Circuit. It is by far the smallest one I have right now. Even still, the cover will need to be broken into two different pieces and then assembled after the print. The Novation Circuit's Dimentions are 240x200 mm. From the top of the play surface, the highest knob (the Filter) is 20mm. 

With that in my I decided to jump on over to an online CAD platform called TinkerCAD. It is a very rudimentary 3D modeling software that has basic shapes, extruding and masking tools. 

My initial design for the top case was to have beveled edges, which TinkerCAD does technically do. Unfortunately the way that the beveling is implemented means that it gets beveled in all three dimensions and not just at the corners. So The beveling sort of shrinks the outside diameter of the shape you are working on. I found that this ended up being problematic when I needed to merge a beveled vs non-beveled shape, as they would not line up. With that idea thrown out the window, I decided to just start with the basic box concept and work from there. 

In the course of a few hours, I was able to quickly get the left hand side of the case mostly complete. I added a couple of additional pieces along the way, such as some filler components on the inside to the strengthen the shape, and I did create a soft curve on the exterior for a design effect. Time will tell if that prints well enough or not. 

I need to now figure out what sort of "supports" I need to install to connect the left and right pieces. I am thinking either some rectangular tabs or a circular dowel rod sort of approach. My guess is that a square shape will be easier to print for a 3D printer over a circular one. 

I would also like to put the Novation logo on the top, so that will be next steps later this week. 


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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1518156 2020-03-11T04:00:00Z 2020-03-11T03:19:30Z Ridelog: 03-08-20 First Group Ride of 2020

Is Winter finally on its way out? I sure hope so. I had an opportunity this past week to finally get to a few motorcycle "to do" projects. I was able to get my pannier hangers up in the garage. Thankfully, that was a very easy project. Just drill into the studs and done. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1512469 2020-02-23T04:47:45Z 2020-02-23T04:49:52Z I Finally Bought a 3D Printer

So it finally happened. I picked up a 3D printer. I have been toying with getting one for months, but I have just been waffling on finally pulling the trigger on it. Last week Woot had the Ender 3 Pro on sale for $200 and I pulled the trigger to get it. I had quite a bit of buyer's remorse when I initially pulled the trigger on this. But it arrived on Monday, Presidents' Day and I spend the late afternoon and evening putting it all together. 

We got the machine up and running on Monday night, but we did not get a successful print for the first couple of days. I bought a roll of black Hatchbox PLA for the printer and I have found thus far that it has been problematic, breaking on multiple occasions. We did though finally get a first print completed on Tuesday or Wednesday night, after I spent a few hours fiddling and tweaking with the Ender 3. Our first print was a small dog figurine for the game Betrayal at House on the Hill. 

We had a successful second printing of some D&D status rings on Thursday evening. Those took approximately 2 hours to make and allow me to use some of the white sample filament that came with the printer. That filament worked quite a bit better than the Hatchbox that I bought. 

So I wanted to buy some additional filament since I have not been happy with the aforementioned Hatchbox and I decided to make a run over to Microcenter in Downers Grove. To my surprise they had a very large section for 3D printers with two whole aisles of filament. Their house brand appears to be called InLand, so I bought two roles, grey and a really cool looking light blue. The filament has an interesting, "rough" texture to it on the roll, but it seems to have good reviews online and it was only $15, almost a third cheaper than the Hatchbox and most other filaments I found online. 

Today, I successfully printed up the first large print, utilizing that InLand light blue. The print took just over nine hours, but I think it turned our great, especially for a first go. Very excited to continue more of the 3D printing. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1510618 2020-02-18T03:59:12Z 2020-02-18T04:08:13Z Videogaming: Children of Morta

I have been playing a really cool game lately over on Xbox, called "Children of Morta". It has an absolutely gorgeous pixelated art style, something that is probably closer to 32-bit than even 8 or 16-bit. It is a rogue-like game where you play through procedurally generated dungeons over and over again. The point is that you are going to continually die, but your character will slowly get better and better as time rolls on, allowing you to progress in the game. 

What seems to set this game apart from some of the other rogue-likes that I have played is that this seems to be a much more narrative driven game. Each time you die, you are often brought back to your family's home and shown an intimate narrative bit that progresses the story. I was actually quite surprised at how many of these little narrative passages there are in the game, considering how often you are doing to die. f

There is something really fun and really cool here, but with a lot of these games the repetition of the constant dying, red-awning and playing the same level over can get a bit repetitive. I have found that I have really enjoyed this game in bite sized gaming moments, playing 2-3 runs (which can last anywhere from 5-30 minutes) rather than playing it for a long gaming session. I am probably 5-6 hours into the game at this point and only about halfway through the second of the three worlds. This may be a bit of a slow burn, but it is very good.  

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1506406 2020-02-04T22:11:27Z 2020-02-04T22:11:27Z Book Review: Binti

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really an interesting novella and deserving of all of the praise and awards it has received. I haven't read a good sci-fi book in quite a while an this one does a really great job of focusing on what I think sci-fi's strongest point really is, cultural critique and not science.

The book is told from the perspective of Binti, who comes from a tribal heritage. It is not explicitly stated where she comes from, but it is presumed to be Africa. The book covers quite a bit on topics of race, cultural differences, and family values, all while tying these anchor points back to a much larger story that expands to an interplanetary conflict. Binti is an very smart and very strong female lead character. She is known in her world as a "Harmonizer". The book never explains precisely what this is, but it is a topic that becomes important to the story as it progresses. The challenges she face progress through the novel and flow through her progression from leaving Earth to traveling to another planet. The story does a really interesting take on transferring her challenges from very relatable ones (i.e. a family not wanting her to leave her tribal land, expectations of woman and marriage) to the broader intergalactic problems, which she must deal with. 

To say any more probably would give away the story. This is simply really well told and at under 200 pages can be read fairly quickly.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1502176 2020-01-24T04:20:55Z 2020-01-24T04:21:26Z Videogaming: #MyDecadeOnXbox - AbleAmerek

TrueAchievements.com has a cool little summary of a users' past decade on Xbox. It is a cool little insight into my past decade playing Xbox. I am a bit surprised that I have been playing for ten years on Xbox to be honest. I actually think I picked up my 360 back around 2009, and that data is just this list. 

So take a look at this cool little infographic. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1501365 2020-01-22T03:51:28Z 2020-01-22T03:54:02Z Heilung - What a Great Show

Megan and I went to a great concert last night to see Heilung. Heilung is a sort of folk Scandinavian pagan band. I discovered them on Youtube about a year ago by accident. They were somehow recommended to me through Youtube's recommendation system, and I stumbled into watching an entire concert by them. 

They are doing their first US tour right now and Megan and I jumped at the chance to see the show. We thankfully got tickets and they sold out very quickly. So fast in fact that the show changed venues from the Vic to the Riviera Theatre. 

So the show was a 7:30 show and Megan and thought we would get there early, around 6:00 to get in line. Little did we know, the line extended around the block on three sides. Thankfully we got in pretty early and Megan grabbed some fantastic seats in the balcony. 


So the show started, and it was just as good as we hoped it would be. So enough of all the description, I'll just post some photos and videos. 

Want to hear more of Heilung? Here is the video that I originally saw them on: 

You can also check out their music over at Bandcamp. https://heilung.bandcamp.com


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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1494634 2020-01-03T18:00:00Z 2020-01-01T18:20:03Z My Year in Books - 2019

I feel like this year was an "off" year for books. Looking back on the year, I don't feel like I was really excited for anything that I read. The vast majority of the books I read this year were in audiobook form. Sabriel was perhaps the book that I enjoyed the most this year, surprising me in how simple and how good it was. It is basically a folklore fairytale that was just a pure and enjoyable read. 

As part of our book club at work (which I think has died now), I read quite a bit of other novels including The Alice Network and A Gentleman in Moscow. Those books were good, but I never was truly captured by them. They served their purpose as book club reads to broaden my horizon, because they certainly were not books I would have read otherwise, but I can't say I was truly drawn into either of them. 

I started reading the Dervish House a few weeks ago, a book that has been sitting on my Kindle for years now, and it unfortunately did not spark my interest in reading. I have slogged through on to the second chapter and it unfortunately just seems a bit too heavy of a book for me right now. I think I will have to come back that that one. 

The Witcher on Netflix right now has in fact sparked my interest in reading again. I have been devouring that show this past holiday week and it has spurred me to get back into the books. I loved the Last Wish, the first book in the series and this show as sparked me to not only go back and read the books, but to also go and finish the Witcher 3 video game.  

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1494628 2020-01-01T18:00:32Z 2020-01-01T18:00:32Z OurHome App: What a cool way to track house chores

Megan and I recently came across a cool app that we are using to keep track and manage our chores and other tasks around the house. I have been struggling for a while now on divvying up household tasks. I have admiringly been frustrated as I feel like I am spending my days off doing more house chores than Megan. 

I have always used Omnifocus for my own task planning and project management. While I have used it for my own chores and errands as well, it seems to be a bit overkill for just managing chores around the house. It also unfortunately does not have a  good way to share tasks with other people in a shared in environment, and it is pretty expensive for an iOS app. 

After some searching online a few days ago I came upon the OurHome app, which seems like it perfectly fits the bill. It is originally designed for families to assign chores to kids, but if you read the reviews online it appears that there are a lot of couples using it to just manage their household. They even have a special FAQ section for that. 

OurHome  has the basic "to do" list and tasks list for chores, which is what we are using it for right now, but also has some really cool features that expand upon that that make it perfect for chores and house tasks. 

The app features a really nice "autofill" feature that will suggest different types of chores. You can also peruse their "suggestions list" for various household tasks that you need to get done. You can also assign tasks, setup reoccurring schedules and more. One really great feature is that you can have tasks that are setup to "always be available" everyday. Something simple, like making the bed is available once and can be done by whomever gets to it first. It is very quick to make a task, assign it to yourself, spouse of leave it open for anyone to do and then just move on. 

It follows the GTD metholdogy that i like to use whereas you need to get something out of your head as soon as you think of it, otherwise it'll be forgotten or take up previous headspace. 

One other thing that I like about the app is you can assign reward points for tasks as they are done. It defaults to a number of points associated with how long it takes to complete a tasks. 15 minutes = 15 points. This is a feature primarily aimed for kids, as they complete their chores, they accuse points which they can then cash back in to mom and dad for rewards, like a allowance, a trip to the movies or something. 

I don't quite know what we are going to do with this yet, but Megan and I both think it will be fun to setup some sort of rewards for each other that we can cash in. 

There is also a calendar feature for shared events, a grocery list and a message center for group chats. All, very cool features, but I'm not quite sure if we will end up using those. Time will tell I suppose. 




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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1467215 2019-10-18T01:13:53Z 2019-10-18T01:13:53Z Book Review: The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell
The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, 1774-1777 by Nicholas Cresswell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found out about this book after watching the Townsends Youtube channel in which they referred to a type of dried fish. I had a surprisingly difficult time trying to find a free ebook of this.

This is a journal, plain and simple. It chronicles Nicholas Cresswell's time in colonies just as their American Revolution kicks off. The most interesting aspects of the book really are his characterization of the people in America during this time. There is distinct notes about George Washington near the end of the book that appear to reinforce the almost romanticized version American's have for the man.

Other notable things that stuck out to me are his comments regarding race relations and his observations on slavery. The passages are generally brief, but notable. In all truth though, there isn't much too this book. It is simply a unique window into the most iconic period in America's history and having that look from the side of a British citizen during the war is very interesting.


View all my reviews
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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1527719 2019-10-06T17:00:00Z 2020-04-06T01:01:38Z Ridelog: 10-06-19 Quick Afternoon Ride


A quick afternoon ridge for one of my favorite routes around the Southwest Suburbs.]]>
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1454360 2019-09-26T01:44:32Z 2019-09-30T06:16:56Z Ridelog: South Dakota 2019


Another year and another great August ride with the Mews Crew. This year's trip was back out to South Dakota. We had an absolutely great group riding this year agian and I once again have to say I was super impressed with everyone's riding. We had large group again and we were able to keep our pace on the highway and it worked great with everyone. Before we get deep into the trip though, let's first talk about thew new motorcycle I bought. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1441952 2019-08-07T02:44:47Z 2019-08-07T02:44:47Z I Think It's Time for a New Motorcycle

Well, I think it may be time for a new motorcycle. I have loved my 2012 R 1200R for the past seven years, traveled all over the U.S and Canada with it. The bike has served me really well, but I have noticed over the past two years that I get pain in my neck, shoulders and butt on the longer rides that I am doing with it. Especially on these really long weekly trips or days over 300 miles, I get a sharp pain in between my shoulder blades, which shows up as a sharp sting when I roll my shoulders a particular way. That shouldn't be happening and I shouldn't ignore that either. 

I was able to power through it up until this year, when all of a sudden this spring I am getting the discomfort on even shorter daily rides. Saturday and Sunday rides are getting to the point now where my back is starting to hurt on the bike. I did a ride with friends up to SW Wisconsin and New Glarus last weekend. It was a long ride to be sure, but it was only one day and when I got home, I was very uncomfortable.  We have our annual summer trip coming up here in a couple of weeks and the thought of riding 300+ mile days for over a week really doesn't sound pleasant at this point on my R 1200R. Perhaps I am just getting old, but I feel it is finally time to change up the bike. 

This weekend I happened to test ride a bunch of bikes over at Motoworks Chicago and Windy City Cycles. Now, I have had my eye on the R 1250RS for a while, and I heard that it was going to be coming out sometime this fall. That being said, people have told me that I should check out the RT as well, since some consider it to be a "sports touring" bike. Personally, I think it has way to much fairing to be considered a "sport tourer", but it is well known as a great bike. 

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1435800 2019-07-22T02:34:45Z 2019-07-22T02:34:46Z I Really Hate Sample Management

As most of you know, I have spent the past year changing out my music setup. I have finally put away my EMU Command Station and Korg EMX-1 into storage. I just haven't found any inspiration with them. In the meantime I have really tried to put some time into the Synthstrom Deluge. I have really had some mixed success get my head wrapped around it, but thhe battery powered portability of it is pretty cool. 

What I have found with the Synthstrom (and the Novation Circuit) is that I need to manage a sample library. I never really had to bother with this before with my previous groove boxes. The Command Station in particular has a really robust percussion library that I have used for years. 

I have found the whole sample management process in general to just be a tedious mess. I bought the superb Samples From Mars master pack that was on sale over Christmas. Having to pour through the samples though to organize them and then load them onto the Deluge is just a truly frustrating process, and it isn't the fault of the deluge. I just don't enjoy sitting in front of the computer for hours on end listening to samples. 

I'm going to try and hunker down this week though and just get through it. I think once I get the sample library setup properly on the Deluge, I an hopefully never need to touch it again.

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Matthew Supert