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

 

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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!

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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, Google, Stitcher and at the show’s website.

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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.

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Happy 2020

Well, friends, we made it. It’s the new year and with it new opportunities to do things right. Or, better. Or, whatever. You get the idea. It’s new, okay?

With all that’s going on in the world, and I won’t get too much into that now, I admit I’ve taken some time to reflect and maybe practice a bit of what the kids call “self care.” In other words, I’ve taken some time off from this site and, to be honest, from a lot of other things too.

But now, here I am. Ready? Cool, let’s get to it.

I’m not a person who makes resolutions when new years roll around. I think it only leads to eventual disappointment when you can’t keep them. I do, however, try to think of one or two things I would like to do differently, or be better at, in the new year.

I want to expand my skills and knowledge as much as possible. And I think that’s a good thing. Not just this year, but every year. Every day, if possible.

So, what are the areas I would like to improve in 2020? Well, glad you asked. For one, I’m going to stop hiding. I don’t know a better word for it, so I’ll just use that one. I’ve been hiding.

It’s not like I’ve withdrawn from society completely and am currently filling jars with my urine and stacking them neatly in the corner of my bedroom. I still go places and see people and whatever. I’m just not as engaged in all of it as I used to be and I definitely don’t do it as often.

In fact, I find myself trying to avoid it a lot of the time, for no real reason other than I’d rather stay home and being around other people is a lot of work. You have to talk and listen and pretend to care about what they’re saying. Who has time for that? I’m exaggerating, of course. But you get the idea.

I’ve also stopped exercising and most of the work on my various writing and photography projects. My book has been at about 45000 words for the last six months, at least. I need to get back to it and back out to the trails to hike or, at the very least, clear the clothes hanging on the treadmill and walk a bit. Gotta move, man!

There’s a lot of reasons for the hiding, but let’s just say it’s a lot of personal shit and I won’t really get into it. The real take away here is I’m aware of the problem and I’m going to try to fix it.

No. I’m going to fix it. Yoda doesn’t like it when you say “try,” and he was a Jedi master, so I guess I’ll listen to him.

The second area I’m going to put in some word on is dealing with anger and frustration. The current situation we have in this country has caused me a great deal of frustration and anger. I see things going in a direction I don’t think is healthy and I often feel powerless to do anything about it. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

I don’t know exactly how to fix the country (cough cough impeachment cough cough) but I do know I can deal with my anger and frustration a lot better than I do. So, I will.

New 2020 Chris will not let things get to him as much and will not dwell on the total asshats currently in charge in Washington. Or with the idiots on social media spouting their bullshit or with any random stranger (or friend for that matter) saying stupid shit.

I will be tolerant and discuss issues in an intelligent and adult manner. Or, I’ll block their ass. But whatever I do, I’ll do it calmly and without frustration or anger. I’ll be fucking Zen about the whole damn thing. I know it won’t be easy, but it needs to happen.

Well, that’s it. This was fun, at least for me. I hope you got something out of it too.

Who knows, perhaps you’ll join me in selecting one or two areas of personal change for yourself? Or you can just go through 2020 being the same asshole you always were.

Either way, we’re cool.

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A Small Update

The funny thing is, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. It only seems that way due to the complete lack of new content. What can I say? I’ve got a kid and a life and I’ve not really felt like writing much lately. Blah, blah, blah. Still . . .

Now I’m gonna say the thing that all people who’ve stopped writing on a blog have said so many times: I’m gonna start updating this site again.

One of these days.

Until then, have you checked out my photos on Instagram lately? If not, take a look. Feel free to like one or two of them, if you don’t mind.  Thanks.

See you soon.

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Some Favorite SDCC18 Trailers

As has been the case for the last few years, I wasn’t at Comic-Con in San Diego this week. The reasons I don’t go are varied, but the main one is after going pretty much every year for the last 30 years or so, I’m kinda burned out.

Also, I’m waiting for my son to get a wee bit older before I scar him for life by taking him to the con. I’m not sure he’d be able to handle it right now. There’s just too much of it and it’s all happening at the same time. If you’ve ever been you know what I’m talking about.

Heck, I’m an adult with decades of con experience and I’m not sure I could handle it right now either. Well, I probably could. Probably.

Even though I didn’t go this year I did keep tabs on most of the things happening during the week, especially the trailers for new movies and TV shows. Here’s some of my favorites.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

As a huge fan of OG Godzilla movies, and especially Destroy All Monsters, this made me very happy. I’ll be seeing this as soon as I can.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2

Say what you will about this latest Star Trek series (and about CBS All Access which, let’s face it, kinda sucks) this trailer looks great and I’m very interested in the new season.

And the one I’m most excited about: Glass. Been waiting a long time for an Unbreakable sequel, and now it’s here. Looks great. And yes, I realize Split was a sorta sequel, but this is more what I had in mind all along.

There were, of course, a lot more trailers, news, announcements and whatnot from the show. It is Comic-Con after all. But these were the highlights for me.

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By Way of An Update

Hello all. My most recent plan was to start to write here frequently again. As you can plainly see, I was not entirely successful.

However, I do intend to give it another try. I’ve been working on a couple other writing projects and those have taken up what little creative energy I have. Now that I’m at a certain point with those, I can take a step back and focus a bit more on this site, which I’ve been posting at for over fourteen years now.

Fourteen years? Damn. That’s a long time.

In truth, I’m not even sure that’s completely accurate. I think it’s actually been longer. But still, fourteen years is a good stretch, so I won’t worry too much about it.

Anyway, stay tuned and I’ll try to be better about writing things for this site. Or, at the very least, put up some funny links or a cat video once in awhile. People still love that shit, right?

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Review: The OneStep 2 Instant Camera from Polaroid Originals

The great people at Polaroid Originals, which used to be the Impossible Project, have come out with a new Polaroid camera called the OneStep 2 and new instant film to go along with it. I have one of the new OneStep 2 cameras and have been shooting with it for a couple weeks.

Now that I’ve had a change to check it out, I thought I’d do a review/first impressions article about it. This article will be relatively short, however, because I have almost all good things to say about the OneStep 2.

It’s easy to load and works right out of the box. Well, you do need to charge it first via the included USB cable, but then it works. You’ll also need film too, of course. You need to purchase that seperately.

Continue reading

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Some More Recent Photos

I posted some of my film photography previously and thought now would be a good time to post some more. Most of these were shot with a Leica M6 or Nikon FM2n in 35mm. Some, however, were shot with a Polaroid camera, either the SX-70 or the new OneStep 2 from Polaroid Originals. Oh, I think there’s one shot with a Polaroid Land 250 camera too.

Speaking of the OneStep 2, I’ll have a review of that camera up shortly, now that I’ve had a chance to shoot with it for a few weeks.

If you want to see more of my photography, check out my website at UllrichMedia or my Instagram. Okay, here’s the photos.

Continue reading

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