Going Medium to Get Large

Hello friends. It’s that time. I’ve finally made a decision.

I’m going to be shifting my writing focus over to Medium for the time being. What does that mean? I won’t be writing anything new here. Instead, I’ll be ranting, raving and otherwise smacking the keys over at Medium.

Why, you may wonder? It’s a long story but let’s just say I’m trying to simplify my life, write more and potentially expand my audience. I think Medium has the best chance of helping me do those things.

So, if you enjoy my musings, please go to my Medium site and continue to enjoy. And tell a friend.

Thanks for a great time. I really appreciate you hangin with me all these years. I’ll see you on the other side.

Until then, try to be kind to each other.

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Trying Something New at Micro.blog

micro.blog

By now many people who care are either outraged or happy Elon Musk is (probably) buying Twitter. There’s also some people who land in the middle.

Those people are concerned about what might happen but not enough to leave Twitter in protest. Instead, preferring to stay and get into some “good trouble.” For the moment, I’m in that camp.

But even if I do stay on Twitter, I’m also exploring other options. That brings me to Micro.blog.

It’s like Twitter in some ways but different in others. To really know what I’m talking about, you should probably just check it out for yourself. If you want to follow me over there, I’m @ChrisU

I also bring this up because I’m going to let Micro.blog start cross-posting to this blog. It’s a test to see if it’s more useful than annoying. I guess we’ll see.

(Update: Well, I guess I’m a bit dumb. Turns out I can post to Micro.blog from here but not, as yet, the other way around. So yeah, you won’t be seeing anything from Micro.blog on here until they work out how to do it. As you were.)

So, (don’t) expect frequent short posts on here in addition to the longer ones that appear, well, not as often as I’d like. I know, I know. I’m working on it.

That’s it for now. Try to be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever.

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2022 Continues to Be Okay I Guess

I didn’t mean to leave you hanging this long. My apologies. In my last post I said I’d come down with “something” that may or may not have been COVID.

Long story short, I don’t know if it was COVID but it only lasted a week or so and I feel fine now. I did end up finding a way to get tested, though. The kid’s school has a deal with some testing sites and he and I went to one, waited three hours, and got a swab shoved into our nostrils so far it came out our ears.

No, not really. It just felt like it. Of course, I went first to show him it was no big deal. He was very brave, especially after the first nostril. We got ice cream after, as you do.

We both tested negative, so who knows? He did end up up getting sick too and lost his sense of taste and smell for a couple days, which seemed like COVID to me. But again, he tested negative so we’ll never really know I guess.

We’re both fully vaxxed, by the way. If we did have COVID, I’ll assume that’s why we didn’t have more serious symptoms. I’m must glad it wasn’t more serious no matter the reason.

Since then, we’ve avoided any more sickness at the house and Summer is a month away. Fingers crossed we make it without further incident. The kid continues to wear a mask at school, even though it’s not “mandatory” anymore.

Removing the mask mandate was yet another fucking stupid decision on the part of our government, but I’lll try to keep my rants to a minimum this week. No promises, though.

Let’s just say I’m still not impressed with the way our governments, Federal, State and local, have handled the pandemic. We’re just lucky it wasn’t much worse. Of course, tell that to the families and friends of all the people who’ve died from COVID. They’re probably not too impressed either.

And as if we didn’t have enough problems, it looks like man-child Elon Musk is buying Twitter. I’m sure he’ll make it a much better place to socialize. Yeah, no doubt in my mind whatsoever. Yeah . . .

In unrelated news I’ve started to explore alternatives to Twitter. So far, I’ve landed at Micro.blog. I’m @ChrisU on there, just like on Twitter, so I should be easy to find. You may want to check it out.

I’m also making The Flickcast podcast every week with my pal Joe Dilworth. It’s going great and still fun, so I plan to continue doing it until people tell me to fuck off. So far, so good.

Finally, I’ve started drawing and painting again. I was inspired by my friend Dave Caolo, some books I saw on Urban Sketching and the Urban Sketching World website. Basically, you go to a place (city street, cool building, wherever) and sketch/draw it with pen and ink and then add some color with watercolor paint.

It’s really been fun, even though I’m not very good at it (and that’s being kind). Still, art of any kind is wonderful. It’s also great therapy and allows you to free your mind and not think about horrible shit all the time. Not that I do that.

I only think about horrible shit the appropriate amount of time.

Okay. I’ll try not to make the time between posts so long from now on. I know you all miss me when I’m gone too long.

Oh, that’s one of my drawings at the top of this post. It’s a photo of it from my sketchbook. Yes, I have a sketchbook. I’m an artist now, don’t you know.

It’s not the worst I’ve done and I don’t hate it, so that’s something. I’ll keep at it.

Okay. Gotta go. Until next time, be kind to each other.

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Getting Rid of Stuff and More Updates for 2022

2022

Hi. It’s me again. I hope you all had a merry holidays and a festive new year. We didn’t do much to celebrate or put up decorations or whatever you’re supposed to do.

In fact, we hardly decorated at all. We did put up a tree, which was nice. But we didn’t do much to the outside of the house.

I’m not that disappointed about it. Nobody else was either. It was just something we didn’t do this time.

The kid was happy anyway. Santa still dropped by and he got a lot of stuff he desperately needed (sarcasm, in case you can’t tell) and his mom got a couple things too. So did his grandparents. I got one or two things as well.

But really, I didn’t need much of anything. Sure, I made an Amazon wishlist or whatever, but that was just because H insisted. I didn’t really want anything for Christmas.

I’ve got more “stuff” than I really need.

One of my “problems” is this: If I’m interested in something, a hobby or something work-related, I’ll go deep into it and get the required tools or whatever, to perform the task or function I need to perform. Basically, I want the right tool for the job.

This tends to mean I end up with a lot of stuff. Sure, I use most of it (some of it every day) but it also means other stuff just sits there unused, or is only used sporadically.

Or, let’s face it, not at all after the first day, week, month, etc. That happens too. I burn out on hobbies sometimes, but the stuff is still there. And I’ve been doing this for years. So yeah, I end up with a lot of stuff.

I should really get rid of some of it.

I’m sure to some of you this “problem’ doesn’t sound too bad. And I know I’m very fortunate to have this problem at all and to afford to enjoy hobbies and acquire tools as I need/want them. I get that.

But that’s not really the point of this exercise. The point is I have too much stuff and will need to take appropriate steps one of these days before there’s no room left for the rest of us.

I’m joking, mostly. It won’t get that bad. I’m not a hoarder. You’re a hoarder. Anyway . . .

There’s other business.

The Flickcast podcast is going great. We’ve got over 400 episodes so far! How about that? If you don’t know, I co-host and produce a podcast called The Flickcast.

It’s all about stuff nerds love. It’s fun and you should definitely check it out.

We’re also working on new guests and some changes for the podcast, which I’m excited about. 2022 should be a great year for the show. Fingers crossed.

• I’m still on Twitch Sunday nights playing D&D with the Whiskey & Waffles gang. It’s also fun and you should check it out too. Although, I won’t be on this weekend due to, well, keep reading.

• I’ve also updated my business website and have been offering prints of my photography for sale. A couple people have even purchased prints. I greatly appreciate that.

• And now, to bury the lead (my High School journalism teacher would not be happy with me). Our kid went back to school in-person a little over a week ago and, of course, that means I got something. Not sure if it’s COVID or a cold or what it is, but it’s definately something.

Good luck finding a COVID testing center appointment anywhere in the next few weeks, though. I sometimes forget Austin is in Texas where the GOP and our “governor” are real pieces of shit and seemingly do whatever they can to make this pandemic worse for people. I just want a test. Why are many of the testing centers closed now?

COVID isn’t over, FFS. Maybe we should let testing centers stay open and allow for virtual school options? Probably a good idea.

I did order home test kits. Let’s see if they arrive . . . ever. Maybe I should just wait for the Biden Admin to send out test kits? I’m sure that’s going to happen real soon now. I won’t hold my breath.

How many years has this pandemic been going on and we still don’t have home tests or adequate supplies of masks, etc.? Greatest country in the world? Maybe. But right now, I gotta say, I’m not impressed.

Fortunately, my symptoms of whatever this is are relatively mild. So if it is COVID, it seems my triple dose of Pfizer vaccine is doing its job. Hopefully this trend continues. I think it will.

Everyone in my house is vaccinated to the fullest extent, too. So whatever I have hopefully won’t be a problem for them. Meantime, I’m mostly staying in my office and sleeping in the guest room until I feel better.

And, if I do need to venture outdoors I’m masking with my dwindling supply of N95s and keeping my distance, just like I have been for the last 20 months plus. I do try to minimize my exposure to others as much as I can. But really, I did that before the pandemic too so . . . yeah.

If you’re worried about me, first off, I appreciate it. Thanks very much. I’m sure I’ll be fine. I have the benefit of modern science on my side. Which is nice.

If only everyone (or enough of you) thought so too. This all might have been over sooner. Alas . . .

Okay. Rant over. Thanks for reading. See you on the other side.

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Reversing Changes and More

As I said in a previous post, I moved the Ullrich Media website off of Squarespace with the intent of hosting it on our dedicated Media Temple server. But after I did I realized something: the site looked like ass.

The sad truth is I’m not a web designer, nor do I know that much about WordPress. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t really have the time to learn more about either of those things right now.

I would love to, believe me. But for now I’ve made the decision to return to Squarespace and keep that as the home of Ullrich Media for the foreseeable future. It’s just easier and I need things to be easier right now.

I think you can probably relate.

In addition, I made some changes to the site itself, which is actually quite easy to do with Squarespace. No, they didn’t pay me to say that. Although, I’m open to it . . .

For the site I added more photos and made the portfolio section a bit more organized to highlight my work. Mostly I grouped the photos in different sections depending on the kind of photo they are. If you go there it will make more sense.

And hey, I also decided to offer prints of some of my photographs too. You should buy one, framed, and hang it on your wall. I did. It looks pretty cool.

Here’s the direct link to my Print Shop. There’s also a link when you go to the main Ullrich Media website too, if you’re so inclined.

I think that’s it for the moment. At least where my website and work/personal stuff is concerned.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking: Hey Chris, where’s that book you were working on? Oh that. I’m still working on it . . . and a new one in an entirely different genre.

So far, so good for both.  More on those soon.

Oh, it looks like we might get a vaccine for the kids pretty soon, which I’m quite happy about. Good for the kids and, frankly, good for the parents too.

It will be nice for everyone when the kids can go back to school, be with their friends and worry a lot less about being exposed to a potentially deadly virus. Very nice indeed.

Let’s hope all the parents (or enough of them) decide to vaccinate their kids. They should, but you never know . . . selfish assholes can have kids too.

I hope you’re not one of those. But since you’re reading this, you probably aren’t. I don’t think that’s my “audience,” but who knows?

Okay, that’s really all for now. Be kind to each other until I get back. Okay?

 

Image: ©2021 Chris Ullrich. All Rights Reserved. 

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Even More Changes

Hello friends. It has been a minute, as it often is. I don’t update here as often as I should and for that I’m profoundly sorry. I really want to, however . . .

I just don’t have that kind of free time anymore, especially now that virtual school is in session again. In short, that’s very time consuming . . . and I’ve only got the one kid. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those of you who’ve got more than one. Crazy.

That said, I did want to drop in for a few and update you on some recent changes. No, it’s not just that Summer ended and the boy is back in school, it’s more than that. A bit more, at least.

The first is my favorite website, The Flickcast, has finally gotten a much-needed facelift and is looking great. Kudos to to the entire team for getting that up and running. And by the entire team I mean yours truly. As in, I did it all by myself (cue Jamie O’Neal).

I think it looks great. The Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages have also been updated to reflect the new look. As you do.

We’ve also started uploading the podcast to YouTube, although it’s just the audio at this point. No video yet. We are going to start video soon, however, so keep an eye out for that.

I’ve also made some changes to the Ullrich Media website (mostly moving off of Squarespace and onto our own server) so that’s gonna look a bit different and have less content until I get a chance to finish it up. Doing all the work on The Flickcast took a lot of time, so other things were reprioritized in favor if that.

There’s nothing wrong with Squarespace, by the way. They’re great. I just don’t need to be paying them when I already have a server of my own that can handle the content and traffic. Plus, these days I mostly upload photos to Instagram and Flickr (remember that?). So I don’t necessarily need a full portfolio website right now. Just a place to give out a bit of info.

Moving on. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve been playing a lot of D&D the last year or two, especially during the fun COVID times. Three times a week, currently. I mention this not to reinforce the fact that I’m a nerd. That’s a given and should require no further support of proof.

I mention it to showcase the fact I play on Twitch with a great group every Sunday night starting at 6PM Pacific. If you like D&D and enjoy watching people play it (just like the pros do on Critical Role) you should check out our stream. It’s pretty fun.

I’m sure I’ve got more things to talk about but this is already pretty long, so I think I’ll call it for now. But don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Until then, please get your shots and wear a mask. Don’t be an asshole. That’s not too much to ask, is it? I don’t think so.

Also, keep on being kind to each other. It helps. Thanks.

 

(Oh, I forgot to mention the above photo is one I took during my recent trip to Colorado and points West. It’s not really supposed to look that way but something happened while shooting and the film was exposed that way. But that’s fine, I think it looks kinda cool).

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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