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01.19.2023 - Starting the Year with Covid

journal 2 min read

I had big plans for January. A new schedule. Some announcements. New videos and projects. I was ready to go.

Then, two days before Christmas, Covid arrived. It attacked my mom first and sent everyone scrambling over the holidays. Don't worry, she's fine and healthy now.

Next, my daughter, who was home for college and just wanted to see her friends, tested positive. She'd been sick at Thanksgiving with the flu, then battled through colds and sinus infections during her first semester finals. Then Covid. Rough month for her. But don't worry, she too is fine and healthy now.

Somehow my oldest daughter avoided it all, and we shipped her off to Europe for the Winter quarter. She's studying music and anthropology in Rome and London. Excluding an issue with power adapters and a dead laptop, she's having a great time, and we're all quite jealous.

Back here in the states, as things were about to return to normal, Covid called my number.  This is my second bout. And it's been fine. A couple days of moderate misery followed by endless days of slow improvement. To avoid contaminating the house and infecting my partner or daughter, i've been holed up in an upstairs bedroom for the week. At first, I didn't care, because I felt terrible. But now, on day 7, I'm ready to escape.

Let me preface or postface all this with one statement: I'm thankful we're all still healthy. I know people who haven't survived Covid. It's brutal, and I appreciate our good fortune. But I've been in one damn room for seven days, so I may sound a little grumpy about all of it.

Of course, if there's another positive, it's that I've gone a week without caffeine, and I'm sleeping better because of it.

I'm catching up on media consumption. Working my way through Andor now. Recently watched The Menu on HBO (weird and enjoyable). Finished both seasons of White Lotus (quirky and enjoyable). Some Glass Onion (comical and enjoyable, but not as good as Knives Out). And many many youtube shows.

I'm drinking a lot of water, and, subsequently, enjoying frequent visits to the bathroom.

Reading while sick has been tough. My attention span feels caught in a vice that tightens when I want to concentrate, relaxes when I don't need it to, and basically mocks me at all times, which is strange behavior for a vice. I finished one book and have started another. I can't remember their titles. I'm sorry. One room. Seven days.

On at least three occasions, I've picked up my daughter's guitar, played for five minutes, then remembered I suck at playing guitar.

So three weeks into January, that's how 2023 is going. Hope yours is better.

Regardless, I still have announcements to make. I still have videos to post. I'm returning to writing and filmmaking, and the future remains bright despite life's minor obstacles.

So hang tight. Thanks for stopping by. More to come, if I ever escape this room.

Happy New Year!

11.30.2022 - Small Steps

journal 1 min read

As the holidays arrive, I inch towards acceptance of my new status as an empty nester. I haven't stopped wondering when the girls will get home. I haven't begun to properly use all my newfound time. My brain still worries every week that I've forgotten some important school event or need to plan for dinner.

I'm trying to go easy on myself, but important work awaits.

The Streetlamp Media site is undergoing major updates. They'll be released soon alongside several production announcements. Short films, podcasts, etc... I'm super excited about the work and the creative people doing it.

Amulet Studios hit major delays this past year thanks mostly to character model development. Brian Dean, however, has continued to push forward with Unreal Engine. We're readying a pitch video and a new subscription model to fund the effort.

The When Insurance website recently launched. The insurance world remains a cautious beast, and so we progress slower than desired. Nevertheless, we do progress.

I've made a lot of mobile and behind-the-scenes changes to this website. I noticed traffic numbers dropped after the redesign. That's my fault for valuing my preferred layout over good SEO strategies, but whatever. I think it's all fixable. And this site remains purely a place for my thoughts and experiments, so it's not like a revenue stream vanished.

I'm working on ideas for a video blog chronicling all these adventures and projects. I've learned quite a bit via my YouTube channel, including how rewarding it is to get a comment from a stranger who says your video helped them in some way.  I'm constantly on the lookout for ways I can create content while also learning everything I can about cameras, videography, and virtual production. Startup talk is one of the few places where I actually have what might be considered valuable experience, so it's a topic I must explore on the channel.

Beyond all that, I'm forever searching for ways to combine my knowledge and passion for technology with my interest in filmmaking and other creative endeavors. Contemplating new types of software and new means of storytelling. One of these days I may find the perfect focus, but until then... experimentation.

Oh, and there's something else I'm not ready to talk about yet, but it involves airplanes.

Small steps...

Covering the Beatles' 'Eight Days a Week' and Recreating the Ed Sullivan Show using Unreal Engine 5

Video video 1 min read

The past few months marked the last summer before my daughters were both away at college. We passed the time working on a project together.  It combines all our interests, from music to engineering to filmmaking. So what was it? Well, we set about recreating the set of the Ed Sullivan Show and performing a cover of Eight Days a Week by the Beatles. Why? You'll have to watch the video to find out.

We used Blender for modeling, Unreal Engine 5 for creating the environment and lighting, Cubase 12 for recording music and vocals, Artlist for crowd noise, a

A Pre-Launch Pivot

ApartmentJet: The Story of a Startup Part 1.3 5 min read

This post is part of an ongoing series of articles about my previous startup. Click here to view the table of contents.

A Pre-Launch Pivot

By the end of summer 2016, we were stuck. Our idea of a sharing economy solution for apartment dwellers had been dismissed by many of the biggest players in the multifamily industry. The handful of companies who loved the idea said there was no way they could make it work, because they had an unofficial NO-Airbnb stance.

We weren’t about to let that stop us. We knew Airbnb (and sites like it) were here to stay. We set about brainstorming.

Now, the following paragraphs highlight some of the problems we identified and how we solved them. They're not particularly

Hanging up on Saul Goodman, Sadly

television 3 min read Hanging up on Saul Goodman, Sadly

Better Call Saul airs its final episode tonight. There's not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said better. Brilliant writing, complicated characters, gorgeous cinematography, clever shots, fun use of music, and a slow, steady, anxiety-inducing pace that sucks you in, grabs hold of your nerves, twists them, tickles them, pokes them, and, a few moments or episodes or seasons later, always manages to deliver. There's no other show I've seen that captures quite the same tone, mood, or look, and I've loved it since day one.

The finale arrives at a transitional period in my life.

A Short Ride with a OneWheel and Skydio 2 Drone

Video video 1 min read

A couple weeks ago I spent the afternoon OneWheeling with my nephew. We decided to let the drone accompany us.

Let me just say the Skydio 2 is brilliant. DJI drones certainly win for camera quality, but this Skydio drone tracked us better than any camera tracking system I've ever used, and it did so while navigating complex obstacles like trees and cars and houses and street lights. Once or twice, we almost lost it, but that was operator error. I thought I chose a setting I hadn't actually chosen, which caused some erratic drone behavior. Even then, it always

#amreading

'Words of Radiance' by Brandon Sanderson
'Think Again' by Adam Grant
'Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying' by Wolfgang Langewiesche

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