The Rickety Old Shack

Site News

Happy New Year! | December 31st, 2019

Even with ample time to prepare for it, the reality that another whole decade is about to begin fading into the rear-view mirror still feels weird to me...

Ten years ago, this site was most in one of its many dormant periods. I was busy working a very demanding call centre job that didn't pay very well at all, and was absolutely not motivated to write about anything at the time. Looking back at the old site layouts, this is the closest thing I could find to that time period.

old shack screenshot

From there, the site was inactive from late 2009 until 2011 or so. By then, I had begun writing a lot about UFC events, and made my initial attempts to get back into doing music reviews. It blows my mind that we're going to be celebrating the 20th year of this site's existence in just under 9 months...

There is so much retrospective content that I have coming, and I cannot wait to get to work on it. Life has been quite a trip, both on and offline, and I am looking forward to reminscing, and reflecting on some things. I'm also looking forward to new opportunities and seeing what the next decade has to offer.

Expect a lot more material of all sorts in the coming months. I'll be taking the next few days off, and updates should resume by January 4th or so.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!
Posted by: Derek

Happy Holidays! | December 24th, 2019

One of the things I like the least about getting older is how Christmas seems to come quicker and quicker each year. The past few years have gone by in a blur; I feel like we're owed another couple of months — there's no way another year is over.

The UFC schedule doesn't resume until the second week of January, but I have a few op-eds I will be posting before the year's end. There will still be a music review each week, in addition to whatever else I manage to get written in what remains of 2019.

Next year, however, is going to be the busiest year in the site's history. Aside from the schedule I've established since the site's inception, I have a mountain of retrospective content to post, as well as other articles I've been slowly working on. I am really looking forward to 2020.

I will have another update on or around New Year's Eve. Until then, thanks for reading and have a safe, happy holidays.
Posted by: Derek

Site Cleanup | December 12th, 2019

I noticed some logs filling up with errors and realised that there were some broken links all over the site. I have found the ones that were in the error logs, but there may be others. I'm going to be combing through the site in the next week, and hopefully I will find any remaining bad links. The ones I found were only logged because people were clicking the broken links, and had been present for quite some time (oops). It's good to know people actually read this site, but I wish they'd notified me! If you experience any problems with the site, please check the About and let me know via e-mail or Twitter.

I will have a formal December update coming in the next week or so. As always, thanks for reading!
Posted by: Derek

November Site Update | November 23rd, 2019

The next couple of weeks will be a bit slower than usual, as there are no UFC events this weekend, or next, and real life always gets busier as we approach the holiday season. The good news is that I have a whole lot of new music to review, as the end of the year has yielded a number of new releases that have firmly grabbed my attention. I will be doing a bit of "catch up," and will have multiple reviews posted over the next week or two.

I'm tweaking the site layout, in lieu of a full re-design. I'm aiming for a re-design, or possibly granting users the option of switching between layouts, for the's 20-year anniversary on August 20th, 2020. As more and more people use tablets and phones to read websites, I will be making some changes to better accommodate those viewers. Whatever I end up doing, I am sticking to the same minimalist principles behind this current design: I want a lightweight design that loads as fast as possible and presents the content as legibly as possible without being completely bland.

Look for a couple of updates before the end of the year, and a couple of new features.
Posted by: Derek

Shacktober Update | October 31st, 2019

Just a quick note for this month, as I've been extremely busy with a number of other things. I'm working on some small tweaks to the site's layout; I may work on a complete revamp for the 3-year anniversary, but I'm still not 100% on that. In the mean time, I'll be adjusting some of the fonts and CSS to better support mobile devices. I have a few ideas as to how I am going to approach this, and it's not a big priority, but if anyone is reading this on a mobile device, please let me know how you feel about the site's presentation.

I will be going through the archives and editing a bunch of the old music reviews. I'm still not anywhere near 100% satisfied with how any of them come out. Each new review is a work in progress. The main thing is working through this process and (hopefully) improving, and promoting music that I think deserves the exposure — both good or bad — that I am trying to give it. I've also got some ideas for new music features that I am hammering out.

Next month, look for the usual UFC content, some more articles on MMA, another live music show review when I see Ensiferum in mid-November, and the usual weekly album reviews. The gaming content is coming too, I just don't know how much will get published before the year's end.
Posted by: Derek

The 2019 Q3 Update | September 30th, 2019

Note: I'm back-dating this, as I completely forgot to post this when it was more timely...

The second anniversary of this iteration of The Rickety Old Shack just passed. This version launched just before Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather took everyone's to see a foregone conclusion play out. It's difficult to believe it has already been that long since I restarted this site, but here we are.

I'm looking at editing and fixing up a few entries in the archives. I'm also going to be finally adding a bit more variety to the topics covered here, although it's going to be a light sprinkling for now. This will remain an MMA and music site, for the most part, but I've got a big gaming article that I am going to be posting on or around Halloween. I keep debating how to begin writing about other topics, like Magic: The Gathering, but stuff in that vein is coming too.

The next year, 2020, is a big anniversary for the site. Although the site was officially founded in 1999, the original domain was purchased in August of 2000. I will be continuing the run of retrospective articles and reviews, and I'll be working on a series of articles that both chronicle the history of the site but also the online landscape as it changed throughout the years.

I know these updates have been saying "I've got stuff in the works" for a long time now, but we're finally going to see some of it. As always, thanks for reading and please send me any suggestions you've got.
Posted by: Derek

Summer Break - Part 2 | August 23rd, 2019

I honestly didn't even notice that it's almost the end of August, but here we are... The site will be slightly less active over the next few weeks; I'm taking the opportunity to get out of the city a couple of times over the next 3 weeks and the UFC's schedule has a small break in it as well. There won't be any weeks with nothing at all posted, but the updates will be slightly fewer in number until the second week of September.

Work continues on a few projects that I hoped to have announced and published by now. In the interim, expect the same general schedule of MMA and music posts for the next few months. I'm going to be reviewing a lot more 1999 releases, as there will be a large retrospective piece on the 90s since we're now 2 decades removed from that era. I'm also still sitting on a half-dozen old album reviews that I feel are worth posting. I'll be getting back to more MMA writing, beyond fight-specific pieces as well.

As always, thanks for reading; I'll be back soon!
Posted by: Derek

Short Summer Break | June 7th, 2019

It's time for one of my annual excursions into the country, where I'll be almost completely disconnected from the world. (I guess, technically, I could make a phone call if I chose to take a walk, climb a hill and hope to get a bar of cell signal.) Consequently, I'll be missing a really strong UFC 238 fight card. I'll be playing catch-up when I get back into the city late on Sunday, but won't be posting any Pre-Fight Thoughts for the event, and the Fight Notes and Post-Fight Thoughts articles for the main and co-main will be delayed.

Everything should be back to normal by next week. I've got some more album reviews coming, and some other music articles in the works. Some new stuff, some retro content, but updates should keep the same schedule I've maintained over the past few months. As always, I am open to suggestions for things to cover, just send your requests my way — either via email or the Twitters.
Posted by: Derek

The May Update | May 10th, 2019

If you've been paying attention to the music reviews I've been posting for the last month, you'll notice there have been a lot of reviews of older albums. I'm still working on reviews of new releases, but I got inspired by some album anniversaries to start going through my old music and reviewing it. In addition to album reviews, I intend to do some articles about specific genres and bands and expand the types of music content on the site.

There are other projects in the works, but most of them are ~6 months away and my primary concern remains keeping steady updates flowing. Book, movie and TV reviews are still in the works but I find myself getting sidetracked a lot. They're still coming, I promise — I just don't know when.
Posted by: Derek

Shack Blog Offline | April 28th, 2019

I've decided to take down and revamp the site's blog. I was never happy with how bland and generic the updates were. I think I can do a lot better, but I think I'm going to turn it into a blog specific to Magic: The Gathering. I've not made up my mind just yet, because there are downsides to that. If I use Word Press, then all the content is locked away in backups for that platform. The alternative is to build a sub-site with its own scripts for presenting deck lists and card information. A big reason I run a basic, hand-coded website is because I retain complete control of the content without depending on third-party tools and their ongoing maintenance.

I do not know when the blog will be re-launched, and I will most likely be shuttering the site's Instagram because I don't think I'll ever be heavily invested in the platform. I use it to keep track of a few people I know and watch powerlifters do ridiculous things and that's about it. Twitter remains my current social media platform of choice.
Posted by: Derek

General Shack Update | March 15th, 2019

I'm a bit delayed in announcing this, but the changes to the Fight Notes column have been implemented. I will still be writing up some sort of summary for each event I watch, but I have condensed the format and won't be doing a play-by-play style article anymore. The tweaked format took effect in the entry posted for UFC Fight Night 146 (link) and I plan to stick with that for the foreseeable future. As with anything you see on this site, if you have any feedback or suggestions please feel free to pass them along.

I've yet to vary the content from the usual music reviews and MMA articles, largely due to juggling a lot of personal obligations. I've begun posting some old, archived music reviews from this site's old Word Press incarnation. I've got about 6 old reviews left, and then I am pretty certain that I am out of old content that I want to post here. I may stumble across some old .ZIP files, however, so you never know. The fact I found reviews from 2011 was cool, but also another reminder of how old I'm getting. Ah well, c'est la vie. Thanks for reading!
Posted by: Derek

Fight Notes Updated | February 18th, 2019

Thanks to the UFC promptly posting the undercard fights for UFC On ESPN 1, I was able to play catch-up and get the rest of today's Fight Notes article written (link). I will be making an announcement in early March concerning some changes to the MMA content on the site. It's nothing too drastic, and should improve the overall quality of everything — at least, I hope! Stay tuned.
Posted by: Derek

Fight Notes Update | February 17th, 2019

While I am still sorting out the format change for the Fight Notes article series, I will still be doing them. Tonight, however, I am actually tied up with personal committments, and won't be able to catch any of the undercard fights. I'll be looking into my options to watch the fights I missed, but this edition may go up just as a commentary on the main card. I may also evolve the series into exactly that, or possibly just noting the fights of interest. I expect to have a decision made by the first week of March. Thanks for your patience.
Posted by: Derek

Technical Difficulties | January 21st, 2019

My string of exceptionally unfortunate luck continues apace, as my main PC — the one I do 99% of the work for this site on — just fried another video card. I'm going to be out of action for a few days, either cobbling together a temporary replacement PC, or possibly getting the old beast back in action if I can find a spare card lying around somewhere. Luckily, I had written up some older reviews, so I have a bit of content in the bag while I resolve this latest problem. I'll be posting a new music review tomorrow / tonight (EST) and I will see what my plan of action is and will update from there.
Posted by: Derek

Brief MMA Update | January 19th, 2019

As a result of some delays in making changes to the MMA / combat sports articles and archive sections, Fight Notes will remain in its current form for the next little while. I'm still working on the new format; until I settle on something, I'll contine to post the same commentary / recap style of article. I expect no more than 2-3 weeks before I get these changes committed.
Posted by: Derek

State Of The Shack 2019 | January 3rd, 2019

As is always the case, the holidays snuck up on me, felt almost too brief, and are already shrinking in the rear-view mirror. Hopefully everyone reading this had a good final week of 2018, and kicked the new year off on a positive note. The update schedule for The Shack and The Blog will be back to normal by the beginning of next week, and I have a few notes regarding what content to expect this year.

I'm going to be continuing MMA coverage, although I'm changing the format for Fight Notes and possibly re-titling the existing editions. I spent so long writing UFC event recaps, it's practically a compulsive habit at this point. Now, I still intend to do that sort of thing, but I'm going to post them at a much slower pace and have plans for reviewing a lot of older events. I'm looking at writing shorter, pithier notes on fights rather than just describing what happened. The exact changes haven't been finalised, but it will be sorted by January 19th.

TV show, movie and book reviews are coming. I am also going to be writing articles about more than just MMA. The site turns 20 this year, so there's going to be some retrospective content about ye olde Internet. You can also expect some tweaks to the site layout by mid-year.
Posted by: Derek

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