Another 2021 Update

Well, I did it. I am “fully vaccinated.” Yay me.

Two doses of Pfizer and I feel a heck of a lot better about 2021 than I did a few months ago. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re on the right path. Hopefully everyone will get their shots. I know a lot of people are, which is great.

If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Do it.

And yes, before you ask, I’m still gonna mask up and socially distance. Just because I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean everyone else is. Plus, I’m still not over the whole quarantine and lockdown thing, so masks make me feel better. I may wear one for a long time. Maybe.

In other news I recently took a road trip through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The trip was mostly just to get out of the house after a year and a half in lockdown, but also to do some photography and see some old friends, which I did.

Is it a coincidence the states I travelled through, although scenic and containing several of my friends, also have legalized Cannabis? Spoilers: It wasn’t a coincidence.

Another reason for the trip was research. I’m considering a new business venture and wanted to gather information. I like to gather information and research things. It’s fun for me. These states were the place to do it.

It’s much more difficult to conduct this kind of research in Texas, where I currently live. They’re still living in the dark ages, at least where Cannabis is concerned. Not everyone, to be sure, but many of the people in positions of authority certainly are.

They do allow you to grow hemp in Texas, which is a good start. And I’m going to start doing that soon. But there’s still a long way to go.

My trip was for that kind of research. Business stuff. I also managed to see a lot of friends and hang out, which was great fun. And, of course, visit a few of my favorite spots and also find some new ones.

I miss my old friends. But sadly, I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to see. I just didn’t have the time. H only has so much patience with me being gone, after all.

I’m planning another trip soon so I’ll make sure to include people I missed. I want to see all of you. It’s been too long.

The trip really was great, though. The only real downside to it was all the driving. I don’t mind a road trip and I don’t mind driving, but this trip had a lot of it and I needed to cover a lot of miles in a short time.

The Arizona to Austin drive in one day was particularly brutal. I did it and survived, but it was a lot. Not sure I’m ready to do that one again anytime soon . . . but maybe.

Good thing I had a lot of audiobooks to keep me company in the car. Here’s a few of the one’s I listened to on the trip:

Yearbook By Seth Rogen

Project Hail Mary By Andy Weir

Red Rising By Pierce Brown

Really enjoyed all three of these. Next up for me is the sequel to Red Rising called Golden Son.

As for other things in 2021, I’m still doing The Flickcast podcast and still playing a lot of D&D. I’m even on Twitch every Sunday night playing it. It’s pretty fun.

I’m also just trying to be kind, live my life and be a good father, husband and person. It isn’t easy. Fortunately, I don’t give up easily. I just keep going and keep trying.

And that, my friends, is sometimes all you can do.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Further Updates for 2021

So far, I’m enjoying 2021 much more than 2020. Sure, this new year isn’t without its share of issues. But things are still looking up and still moving in the right direction . . . in my humble opinion at least.

Which brings me to the update promised in the title of this post. Here goes: we’ve started posting new content at The Flickcast. Not just podcasts, mind you, other content too. Fun!

Starting to post content again serves several purposes, not the least of which is getting me into the habit of writing every day. That’s a good thing.

Plus, who knows, maybe some people will go to the site and it will generate a few bucks of income? It could happen. It’s happened before. We have pretty small overhead so almost anything would be good.

That said, if you feel so inclined, head over and read some articles and maybe click on one of the ads? I’d appreciate it.

Speaking of websites, there’s another one you should check out for sure: Hapa Grey. I’m probably biased (I am) but it’s one of my favorites. If you love bargains and deals and knowing about the latest trends, Hapa Grey is the site for you. Check it out.

Other than that, I’m playing a fuckton of D&D (in private and on Twitch), we’re not frozen anymore, don’t have to boil our water, my son hates doing school online, it’s basically been a year since we started quarantine and I almost got my first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Maybe I’ll get it tomorrow? Maybe. Hope you get yours soon too.

Until then, stay safe, wear your mask, social distance and try not to be a dick.

 

Image: Adobe Stock

Posted in Cool Stuff, News, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things Are Looking Up

As expected, the inauguration made me feel a lot better about things, life and the future. It’s weird how your life can change quickly and how the feeling of a giant weight pressing down on you for, oh, the last four years can be gone just as quickly.

Yeah, weird.

Yes, even though seeing President Biden and Vice-President Harris sworn in was the cathartic exhale we all needed, we cannot forget poet Amanda Gorman was amazing and almost stole the entire show. I expect to see her again in the future. A lot. If you haven’t watched her at the ceremony, do it now.

And, as expected, with adults running things again, shit is starting to get done already.

What is that I’m feeling? Hope? I guess so.

Happy New Year. Fucking finally.

Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Posted in Cool Stuff, Personal, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts for 2021

Well, it happened. The ball dropped and we’ve been magically transported to the year 2021. Yeah, good for us.

Please don’t mistake my tone, I am happy it’s 2021. As we all know, 2020 was kinda shit and a lot of bad things happened. So, having a “do over” seems like a great idea and something I can get behind.

But I’ve also lived long enough to know things don’t always work out the way you want them to. They sometimes suck and go in a direction you didn’t expect or plan for. Life is funny that way and, over the years, you kinda get used to it. Mostly, anyway.

The big question we need to ask for 2021, though, is will things change, especially given the recent horrible events at the US Capital and the continued unrest and dangerous acts committed by some of our elected officials and our citizens? And if things do change, will they change for the better?

The only answer I can muster at the moment is maybe. Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

But really, can you blame me? If 2020 has taught me anything it’s we can’t rely on our elected officials, or our fellow humans, to just “do the right thing.” Many simply can’t or won’t. And sure, some actually do.

But enough don’t so we’re approaching 400,000 dead from COVID. Not that people doing the wrong thing and not wearing a mask or social distancing caused all of those nearly 400K deaths, but I’d bet simple human selfishness or entitlement was a big factor.

But this is supposed to be more of an “optimistic” post for 2021, so I won’t get into any more of that.

At least there’s finally not one, but two vaccines. That’s a big deal. Yay science! And they do seem to be rolling it out and people are getting vaccinated. The process is not without its problems, which should come as a shock to nobody, but it is happening. Again, that’s good.

Even with all the problems in 2020 and the shit that seems to be starting, or continuing, in 2021, I really do think we have a chance to make this county better and for people to come together. Sure, we’ve been going in absolutely the wrong direction for at least the last four years, so reversing course might be a tall order, but I still think maybe we can do it.

We just have to try really, really hard. I think Biden/Harris is a great step and the Democrats winning Georgia and controlling Congress is also a wonderful outcome. But it’s not enough.

We need to call out this bullshit behavior before it happens. And put a stop to it. We need to confront racists, misogynists, fascists or wanna-be nazis now and set them straight, or destroy their potential influence or bullshit plots, before they can do any harm. Not after armed dickheads storm the Capitol of our county in an aborted coup attempt. That day was pretty bad, but it could have been much worse.

The bad guys are not on the way, they are already here among us. They are in our schools, places of worship, where we work and certainly online. Fortunately, some of their online influence has been curbed, at least for the moment.

And many of the terrorists who stormed the Capital have been apprehended and hopefully will face swift and severe punishment. Those are couple very good steps in the right direction. But we can’t stop there.

Our eyes have been opened to what’s going on in our country. We dare not close them again.

Posted in 2021, Personal, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A 2020 Short Story

I posted this on Twitter, but I thought I’d put it on here too. Why not? Although, I realize by posting it here it will also be posted back to Twitter. The circle of life . . .

Posted in Internet, Life Stuff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is The End

Well, it’s the end of 2020 at least. Almost anyway. None too soon, if you ask me. And since this is my site, if you don’t ask me, I’ll just go ahead and ask myself.

That’s just how this works, see?

What a pain 2020 has been, right? I don’t need to go into it here because you know what I’m talking about. Still, seriously, fuck this year.

And while I’m at it, fuck people who don’t believe in science, compassion or simple human decency. And fuck people who try to take advantage of the poor or the weak or try to oppress or persecute people based on their race, religion, gender identity, or for any other reason. It’s not right. None of it. Stop fucking doing it.

That was a lot of “fucks” and I apologize. I’m just kinda angry about a lot of stuff right now. More than usual. I’m also very tired. You can probably relate.

In fact, if I had to sum up this year in one word, I’d say “tired.” As in, I’m fucking tired. 2020 is the year that never seemed to end and continuously threw one horrible thing after another at all of us. I don’t know about you, but . . . I. Am. Tired.

I’m tired of have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night. I’m tired of worrying about what our country is turning into, or what it was all along and we just didn’t notice. I’m tired of worrying about the thousands of people dying every day while thousands more call a pandemic a “hoax” and refuse to take basic precautions like wearing a mask. I’m tired of the indifference, incompetence and seemingly wanton acts of cowardice and malice from our elected officials.

I’m tired of it. All of it. I’ll bet you are too.

And speaking of “anti mask” dickheads, fuck those selfish assholes too.

Perhaps it’s a character flaw but I have a lot of trouble comprehending people who just don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, especially during something like COVID. Like I get you’re a selfish prick but maybe, just this once, can you do something for someone other than yourself and wear this thing over your fucking pie hole to protect others from your stupidity and anti-science bullshit? Once COVID is gone, feel free to return to your previous behavior. I guess. Thanks?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy ego. Ask anyone.

But my ego doesn’t replace common decency and regard for my fellow humans. As in, I do care if you live or die so I’m going to do my part to help stop the spread of COVID by wearing a mask, washing my hands, keeping my distance and staying at home most of the time.

I do it because I give a shit, not just about myself, but about all of you. Even you fuckers who don’t deserve it and wouldn’t do the same for me. It’s called being a good citizen and good human. Look it up.

I think being a good citizen and a good human is a good thing. You may not agree. If you don’t, well, I guess fuck you too.

I realize this all may seem pretty negative, and some of it is, frankly. But don’t despair. All is not lost. We have some hope, as I mentioned in my last post.

Compassionate, intelligent adults seem to be in charge again. Thank the gods. Will it help? Probably. Do we still have a long way to go? You bet your ass we do. Do we have a chance? Yep. I think we have a good chance.

Let’s really try not to fuck it up.

 

 

Posted in News, Personal, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope 2.0

Well, well. As much as I was thinking and hoping positive change was coming, I still had some doubts. 2020 has been a bit too rough to go quietly.

Fortunately, it seems, this year can still surprise me and it looks like the adults are back in charge of the country again. Compassionate, decent, thoughtful, science-loving, education-loving, kind and sincere adults.

About fucking time.

Sure, we’re not out of the woods yet. He who shall not be named is still squatting in the People’s House and looks to be staying, at least for the short term. But I’m not going to let that get me down. Not me. Not this time. He’ll be out soon enough. One way or another. If I get a vote I choose “dragged away in cuffs”, but I don’t think it will get that far. Too bad.

The important thing is my vote mattered. Your vote mattered. All votes mattered. And all votes counted. The will of the people has been heard. You love to see it.

But we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Millions of our fellow citizens voted for the other guy and now we have the unenviable task of trying to work with them to move our country forward. As our new President-Elect, Joe Biden, said, he wants to be the President for all of us, not just the ones who voted for him.

That seems like an almost impossible task. I sincerely wish him luck. Still, he needs to govern and he needs to move the country forward and eradicate COVID and get us back on the right track. No matter what.

If detractors from his own side, and those who didn’t vote for him, want to come along in the spirit of unity and improving the country, great. Glad to have you aboard.

If Democrats don’t want to help, or those who didn’t vote for him want cling to their old ideas of hate, divisiveness, bigotry, baseless accusation and fear mongering, then fuck ’em. We don’t need ’em. Some people are too afraid, too stubborn or, dare I say it, too ignorant to change. I feel bad for them but some people just don’t want help and don’t want to change. You can’t please everyone.

Whatever happens going forward, I’m happy to live in a county that elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Great job, guys. We did it. Optimism is back in style and the future looks a little brighter.

And to my new President and Vice President I say good luck. We’re with you.

Don’t fuck it up.

 

Photo Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images

 

Posted in Cool Stuff, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Podcasting Setup Update and the Shure SM7B

As I mentioned in a previous post outlining my new, improved podcasting setup I’ve been waiting patiently for the Shure SM7B microphone to arrive. Well, it arrived.

I’ve already set it up and recorded a new episode of The Flickcast with it. Expect that one soon. In the meantime, I’m happy to report that, to me at least, the mic more than lives up to the hype. In fact, it’s great.

It’s so great, in fact, I’m done looking. As in I will never use a different mic. Ever. I’m hooked.

Anyway, that’s it. Let me know if you have any questions about the Shure SM7B, my podcasting setup or podcasting in general. Happy to help if I can.

Oh, I should mention we recently launched a Patreon for The Flickcast. If you feel like supporting our show, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks so much and stay safe!

Posted in Cool Stuff, Gadgets, Gear, Geek, Podcasting, Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcasting And My New, Improved Setup

Even though I really did consider keeping my head down and trying to just “make it through” this time of COVID, turns out I couldn’t really do that. I’m not a “wait and see” type after all, but I guess I already knew that.

Instead, after due consideration, me and some pals decided to revive The Flickcast podcast and bring it back stronger than ever. Seems right. It was a good show. It can be a great show. We’re working on it.

I enjoy podcasting and I’m not sure why I stopped. Hard to say. Anyway, now I’m back into it and the first new episode of The Flickcast dropped this week. Give it a listen, and if you like it, tell a friend. Thanks.

Now with the promotional portion of our story over (for the moment at least) we are now on to to the actual topic of this post: my new podcasting setup. If you know me, you know I love gear. Gadgets. Tech. Stuff. And of course, I still love analog things too. I haven’t given those up, don’t worry.

However, it’s hard to do a podcast without some technology and really a podcast with all analog gear would just be, well, a live stage show, which is kinda a bad idea right now. So, tech it is.

Knowing I wanted to have much better sound quality this time around I decided to upgrade my podcasting setup and go for improved audio and an overall more professional show. I’m sure I can achieve at least one of those.

I’m still in the process of finishing some upgrades, but here’s the new setup for the moment:

My microphone of choice is a classic, the Shure Sm58. My eventual mic, the Shure SM7B, is currently on back order but should arrive soon. Until then, the SM58 is no slouch. It sounds really good.

I hang the mic on a Rode PSA1 boom arm attached to my desk to get it in the right position. The arm makes it much easier to adjust the mic and get it where it needs to be. It also gets the mic off of my desk, which improves sound quality and helps reduce those pesky vibrations and keyboard sounds. Plus, it just looks cool.

The SM58 is connected via XLR cable to one of the two inputs on my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 box, which allows the signal to be converted to digital and recorded into Logic Pro X on my MacBook Pro via the Scarlett’s USB interface. This box does a great job and the audio sounds super clean. Such a great little device.

Also connected to the Sm58 in line between the mic and the Scarlett 2i2 is a mic activator called the Cloudlifter CL1. Those little blue boxes help boost the audio and make me sound even better. I could explain in more detail why the Cloudlifter is a great device and how it works, but this isn’t that kind of technical review. Just know it does a great job.

The Scarlett is connected to my MacBook Pro (more on that in a different post) via USB-C cable, which allows it to not only interface with the Mac but also be powered by it. So, no need to plug it into a wall outlet or anything, which is nice.

Finally, I record and edit audio in Apple’s Logic Pro X running on the previously mentioned 2020 13″ MacBook Pro with a 2.3 Ghz Quad Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. Not gonna lie, it’s a sweet machine.

I used Final Cut Pro for video editing for a long time so Logic seemed like a, well, logical way to go as the interface and workflow is similar to FCP. I did also try Adobe’s Audition for a bit, but I don’t really like renting software on a monthly basis, so buying Logic Pro once and being able to own seemed like a good idea.

At the moment, I don’t do much audio editing for The Flickcast as, thankfully, we have a great producer who does most of that (Hi Mike). But I like to learn new things so I’ve been studying and practicing with Logic Pro X. Also, The Flickcast isn’t the only podcast I’m going to be doing (more on that later too), so being able to edit and adjust audio will be good skills to have.

Oh, in addition to these things, you’ll also need some XLR cables and a USB-C cable. For XLR, I’ve always been a Mogami guy, so get those if you can. Sure, they aren’t cheap, but they last forever and do a great job. On less thing to worry about.

For USB-C, I usually won’t pay Apple’s prices and instead get cables from Anker. They’re just as good, if not better, and way less expensive. You will also want a pair of headphones for monitoring your audio when recording and for editing and mixing it afterward. Currently, I use the Sony MDR-7508, just like most everyone else. Hey, they work.

This wasn’t a real, in depth, review of these devices but I just wanted to give a little info on my new, improved setup in case people were interested. That said, if you have questions about any of this, feel free to ask. I think people should try to help others and spread the knowledge. We’re all in this together, after all.

If you want to subscribe to The Flickcast, you can find it at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher and at the show’s website.

Posted in Apple, Cool Stuff, Gadgets, Podcasts, Tech | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Head Down ‘Til 2021

It seems the optimistic tone of my previous post about 2020 was a wee bit premature. Because, yeah, COVID 19 pandemic and all that.

So, now things suck. And we’ve been quarantined at home for a few months. And we can’t go to work, get a haircut, go to the movies or generally be within six feet of others without a mask or even greater forms of personal protection. And it seems things are gonna legit continue to suck for quite some time.

And yes, I don’t feel great about it most of the time. And yes, that’s a lot of “and” at the start of sentences. I get that. Did I mention the pandemic? I’m not exactly at my best. And I’m sure most of you aren’t either.

But you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling and to pretty much deal with this shit however you need to, short of hurting others, or yourself, of course.

Even though things look bleak, one thing is for sure, we will get through it. The pandemic will end. A vaccine will be developed and administered and life will get back to “normal.”

Will it be the same normal we were used to before? Nope. Might things still kinda suck for a long time? Maybe. Will it start to suck a bit less as time goes on? I sure hope so. I think it will suck for some time after but I also think we will start to feel better and eventually be okay.

It will just take some time. And that’s cool. I’m not going anywhere. And neither should you. Let’s just wait it out together. Okay? Cool.

And now I’m done. Try to be kind to each other while we’re in the middle of this shit. And heck, why not try it after we’re on the other side too?

Couldn’t hurt.

Posted in Health, Life Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Head Down ‘Til 2021