Set Side B, A New Independent Gaming Blog

the Set Side B masthead

Softly and quietly launched this week: Set Side B. A new gaming blog from John Harris, one of my favorite games writers, and a small-but-growing cast of characters.

The name Set Side B has been kicking around in my head for awhile, being the huge Famicom Disk System nerd that I am. It’s a reference to a common message that appears on screen instructing the player to eject and flip the disk.

As usual I’m Kermit The Frog / Ed Wood-ing this one, and the infrastructure is shared with RetroStrange and Extra Future. Set Side B is ad and tracker free.

Visit the site at

Christine Sherman

My grandmother died last week. I wrote about it in my newsletter. It is reprinted here for posterity when Substack goes dark eventually.

She was my grandmother, but of course she was more than that. She was a human being with thoughts and wants and needs and she was not shy about telling you what they were. She and her late husband (who preceded her in death), our Nanny and Gramps, were the bedrock of our extended family. If one of their kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids needed help out of a bad spot, they were there every time. COVID-19 took Gramps from us last year. He died thinking it was a hoax thanks to Fox News. Nanny died gasping for air, too.

Nanny and Gramps would give their last dollar to a family member who asked for it and they would forgive nearly any transgression. Many of their kids and grandkids took great advantage of this and stole from them, lied to them, begged them to co-sign bad loans or buy cars with a promise to pay and just never did. My grandparents had come up with nothing, and knew how that felt and their family was everything to them. They both died with nothing much to their names except their social security checks and a reverse mortgage on the home they built together. Despite this, I know in my heart if you could ask them they would do it again. They would give again, and again.

My favorite memories with her are of waking up and making coffee for us (she liked it strong) when I lived with Nanny and Gramps, and arguing with her about whatever news was on the TV. She was smart and funny and enjoyed that kind of banter. When I first moved out, I’d still call and talk with her frequently, and she’d lament that “nobody here will argue with me.”

Christine Sherman née Perkins had a tenacious mind, and it made seeing her struggle with dementia and senility the last several years all the worse, for Nanny’s own quality of life foremost but not least of which for my mother who has been her tireless (and often sleepless) live-in caretaker. Still, everyone she knew was happy to see her and talk with her every time we could until the very end.

She believed in us, and proved it time and again, and boy did we need it. Without her help I don’t believe any of us, from her children to her great-grandchildren, would’ve had much of a chance at decent lives. Even with their help all of her kids spent time on food-stamps and government assistance, even the conservative family members reading this who like to pretend they never got any help.

I myself owe them so much- for helping my parents get a home when I was a baby, for letting my mother and brothers and me stay with them when that marriage dissolved, for buying us school shoes, for being at our meets and games, for always… being there for us. I could spend days telling you how much they did for us.

But Nanny and Gramps are no more. That bedrock, like so many things and people we used to lean on, is soon to undertake that final change into the inevitable dust and ash. Goodbye, Nanny. You gave us everything you had and more, and we loved you more than words could say. Still, I count myself lucky that I was able to say it, and hug you, one last time.

Introducing StrangeLine and More RetroStrange-ness

This weekend I did some work on RetroStrange infrastructure and scheduling.

RetroStrange TV (our 24/7 streaming TV channel) which is now fully autonomous and publishes notifications to Twitter when each show or movie begins with the #RSTV hashtag. You can find my TV station code on GitHub. The current setup of two Linode 4GB servers this should provide us with enough space and power to run it basically forever at $40/month. Support via Patreon appreciated.

The next RetroStrange Movie Night is November 23rd and we’re showing film noir classic D.O.A. (1949) see the Facebook Event.

The other big RetroStrange feature is the StrangeLine. I’ve set up a phone number you can call for various RetroStrange stuff. Right now you can call to get info on the next Movie Night, or listen to the Skulking Permit by Robert Sheckley as heard on LOFI SCIFI. We’ll add and change up the content regularly, so go ahead and give ‭(814) 787-2643‬ (that’s 814-STRANGE) a call.

Where To Find Phil Nelson Online, September 2021 Edition

I’ve found things are easier when I post these periodic reminders of where I am doing stuff online these days, and how people can get at me or support me or both. A few changes from our previous edition in April 2021. Bold items are new. You can find a constantly updated version of of this on my About page. As of right now you can find me at the following online haunts:

Ongoing Projects

  • I co-host OpenCV’s Weekly webinar with Satya Mallick, live on Thursdays at 9am Pacific time. We just aired our 22nd episode.
  • RetroStrange Movie Night, a curated public domain movie night which now broadcasts live from the Niles Outdoor Dining Experience in downtown Niles, MI. There’s a Facebook group for event notifications and chit-chat.
  • RetroStrange TV, a 24/7 streaming public domain TV channel that shows old Movie Night movies and shorts curated by me and Noah Maher.
  • LOFI SCIFI on RetroStrange, the 24 hour streaming old time radio science fiction channel
  • Divergent League Baseball, my simulated fantasy baseball league – the new season is starting soon.

On Hiatus

  • My Itch account, where all of my (pay if you can / free) video games are hosted including the recently-released Chipping Challenge plus old experiments like Duck Jumper, Rassler, and Haunted Floating Eye. Game dev has stopped for awhile.

Phil’s Newsletter #42, AEW: Rampage Watch-Along

An image generated from an adversarial network.

Over on the Substack you can find issue 42 of Phil’s Newsletter, wherein we discuss generative adversarial networks, release a new Monster Association video, and my sister-in-law Jessica critiques my favorite Beatles songs.

Today (August 13, 2021) is also the first episode of All Elite Wrestling’s new show, Rampage. We’ll be doing a live watch-along with my Patrons in my Discord channel starting 6:30pm Pacific.

Phil’s Newsletter #39, Sticks & Fists Return

Now available on the Substack, issue 39 of my weekly newsletter. In it, I discuss the labors of the week: Marathoning season 1 of One Punch Man and both seasons of I Think You Should Leave.

Over on YouTube, you can catch the most recent episode of Sticks & Fists, in which we take on Downtown Special: Kunio-Kun Downtown Special: Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama! which for the uninitiated westerners out there is sort of a sequel to River City Ransom. It owns and we’ll be playing it again this week, 7:30 pm Wednesday on Twitch.

Now Available: Magnetic Interference – Reverb-heavy Drum Beats

Magnetic Interference is an album of music produced here in the Wizard Tower, using my KORG Volca Beats, Monotron Delay, and Monotron Duo. They’re meant to be used in your own projects, royalty free. My Patrons get it for $0, but even if you aren’t a member of my Patreon you can listen to it on Bandcamp or buy a copy for $3.

It’s been fun using this little drum machine to make chilly, relaxing beats to put on while I work on client stuff. Expect more.

Phil’s Newsletter #31, RetroStrange Movie Night Season Finale

This week’s edition of Phil’s Newsletter is out– in it you’ll find me repairing an old Phil Collins cassette tape, 3D printing some cute stackable boxes, beating River City Ransom, and generally Trying My Best.

This weekend is the Season Finale of RetroStrange Movie Night, and we’re going out with a bang: By honoring the patron saint of Movie Night, the great Dick Miller. We’ll be starting this episode early to accommodate showing the feature we missed out on last week due to biological difficulties.