Posted on January 3, 2021
2020 Year in Review
Christine and I feel quite lucky to have survived 2020 with our health and employment intact. Both of us were fortunate enough to be able to work from home and our employers have been very supportive and flexible. We’ve been looking for a new apartment for years with no luck, but with the huge drop in the housing market we were finally able to move out of our 500sqft apartment on Capp St. We love our new apartment in La Lengua, it’s beautiful, affordable, and over twice the size of our last place. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for Christine and I to both be working from home on our small old place.
I released two albums this year plus a hand full of singles and a bonus instrumental album:
- Quarantined Beats (and Inside Voices) album
- Waiting For An Earthquake album
- Printer Not Printing single
- Thrift Store Scores single
Waiting for an Earthquake is a chiptune album I’ve been working on for a few years and I’m so glad to finally have it released. It was written and performed on a classic Game Boy and it’s intended to be the last chiptune album I’ll ever release. I’ve also released an instrumental version.
Printer Not Printing is a great dubstep-esque track created with sample from a broken Epson printer. There’s a cool video for it too.
Thrift Store Scores is a return to my classic nerdcore rap stuff, like I used to make 10 years back. It’s fun and the beat is killer. Fun little fact, the beat was created with samples from an old muzac track that used to play at K-Marts. I found the music via The Internet Archive and found endless inspiration from these old K-Mart tapes. This beat in particular is one of my favorites from the K-Mart remixes.
Quarantined Beats (and Inside Voices) is probably my favorite thing I’ve made all year, and one of my favorite albums to date. It started off with trying to make one new beat a day at the beginning of quarantine, but soon I started writing lyrics and reaching out to friends to perform on tracks too. It ended up becoming a little timecapsule from May of 2020, one of the craziest and most historic months of my lifetime. The range of artists is pretty interesting too, with folks from all over the world contributing lyrics, vocals, and instrumentals. Speaking of instruments, I was able to find performers on Fiverr to add all sorts of instrumentation to my beats, like theremin, horns, trombone, saw, and much more. It all adds so much to this album that really makes me so happy with the final result. Who knew that working during a quarantine would actually enable me to work with so many musicians on one album? Mega Ran, int eighty, Beefy, Keiko, Cartoon Violence, Jonathan Mann (AKA songadayman), Kim Boekbinder, and many more folks are all on this album!
We also made a ton of great music videos from this album too:
I released two board games in 2020!
KnifeTank: The Shüffling launched on Kickstarter in January, shipped to backers in the middle of the pandemic, and just sold out a few weeks ago. I feel so happy to have fully sold out of my first game, but now it’s time to start thinking about what’s next for KnifeTank. I’m thinking about launching an expansion and 2nd printing of The Shüffling in March. The reaction from players has been so strong and positive that I’m just so happy to have finally shipped my first board game.
Doc Pop’s One-Dimensional Chess is a chess variant played on a single row of 16 squares. It’s something I’ve been playtesting for years and finally released as a Creative Commons licensed print-and-play game. You can download it for free, print up the board, and play with friends or family. Don’t think of this as just a novelty though, it’s surprisingly strategic and full of depth.
I took a few months off, but still managed to release a few good episodes of my PopCast Yo-Yo Vlog. This Buckets of Buckets episode was particularly nice and shot on our new back porch.
I released a new yo-yo with Rain City Skills called the Pop Art. It’s a modern responsive yo-yo designed primarily for freehand play and it really kicked off a new interest into that style of responsive counterweight play.
Just wanted to brag about this one tweet
A lot of us picked up new hobbies in 2020. For me, it was probably cooking. I did start cooking more in 2019, but 2020 really made home cooking more of my life. It was a way to save money while avoiding strangers, but it was also a way to help kill time. I really don’t enjoy killing, but when you are stuck at home 24/7, it’s nice to find some activities to keep you busy. Our new kitchen has been fantastic though. It’s so much easier to cook here than in our old apartment.
Metal Health Tips:
At the beginning of the pandemic I designed a handful of death-metal inspired phrases like “Cover Your Mouth” and “Maintain Social Distance”. These were sold on docpop.threadless.com with all of my proceeds going towards local businesses. Thanks to all the support, I was able to raise about $800 for local businesses like Bender’s Bar, Virgil’s, The Chapel, Tartine, and more.
With a few exceptions (during their renovations and the shelter in place), my friends and I have been hanging out Bender’s Bar and Grill every Monday night for the past 15 years or so. So when the pandemic hit, we decided to take our Monday night meeting online as a way to stay connected. These start around 9pm and folks tend to pop in and out as they please. It’s not the same as hangin out in person, but it sure has been nice to keep this tradition going in some way.
It’s been a wild year. We love our new neighborhood and I can’t wait to be able to explore it more and hang out with friends again. In some ways, 2020 was an extremely productive year, but when you really look at it, most of this work was built on years and years of work that finally got released in 2020. I had been working on KnifeTank, 1D Chess, and Waiting For an Earthquake for many years and probably could have released them sooner. They weren’t a result of 2020, that just happens to be the year I finally pulled the trigger. In fact WFAE was actually recorded in 2019.
That being said, Quarantined Beats was absolutely a result of quarantine. It started off in the early days of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order and the lyrics for all the songs were heavily inspired by our lives at the time. Like I said before, Quarantined Beats is my timecapsule from one of the craziest months in an already crazy year, and it is absolutely the thing that I’m most proud of doing all year.