Nothing . . .

And I mean Nothing. Can you imagine what your life would be like if nothing was something that you did.

Or nothing was what your poured into others life’s.

Or nothing was the effort you put forth in everyday life.

Or nothing was the desire you had in your heart.

Or just nothing . . .

Can you imagine nothing? Really? Is that how we want to live?

When there is no standard of truth, where there is nothing to measure excellence against, when there is nothing to aspire to, where everything is the same and where good and evil are no different.

Nothing . . .

Where nothing matters, nothing motivates you, nothing is worth loving, nothing is tangible or real for you.

Nothing . . .

No thanks!

Glidecam vs Crane 2 vs Ronin M – UG!!!

As I work on ramping up a video production company, we have looking at all kinds of gear to get our production ready. One of the things that we really are looking for is quality steady footage. There are lots of ways to achieve this but we have to consider our unique needs (on a boat, in the woods and all around mobile shooting.)

So I have spent the last few days reviewing every video on youtube I could find regarding these kinds of devices.

The first I looked at was the GlideCam XR-Pro

This is a great option but in every review, the setup time and the learning curve was just too steep. Most mentioned that you are looking at least a month to get proficient with the GlideCam. My concern is that we would grow too frustrated with it and then never use it.

So then I started looking at the other end of the spectrum, the Ronin M.

This thing is amazing! The shots I saw and footage were just flat out fantastic. However after watching 2 hours worth of reviews and footage, it is too cumbersome for our usage scenario. The options are crazy with the Ronin M. It comes with a remote for a 2-person crew which is great but our entire crew is two and one of us has to be in the shot!

This is still a piece of equipment we will add to our setup but not right now.

Then it came to the Zhiyun Crane 2.  This is the device we have settled on. It interfaces with our camera, provides great footage and appears to be really what we are looking for in a run-gun kind of setup we need. Easy to pack, easy to setup and has a lot of controls right at our fingertips. Has follow focus and we can even setup our iPhone to act as a tracking device for following the subject when one of us needs to film solo.

Now to get filming . . .

New PC Build – Pure Geek

As I begin a new year I have wanted to go back to some old roots and build a PC from scratch. I have been out of that world for quite sometime as my needs have been fairly standard as it related to compute needs. However with my latest entry into video (new youtube channel coming . . . ),  I wanted to standardize on Windows vs running the Mac Mini still at home. So that led me to this post.

My main criteria is a fast machine with great graphics to run either Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve. Typically PC performance is limited by RAM and Disk speed as most processors these days are way more that what we typically use. However in a video editing machine, the compute needs are really diverse in that CPU, Disk, RAM, and GPU are all used. So in doing my research this is what I ended up with building along with my decision process for each:

NOTE: One concrete requirement was that all items be available from Amazon via Prime. When ordering electronics, I want to know that I have the option to resolve issues quickly (wrong part, etc) with minimum hassle. Amazon has always had great customer service for me. Sometimes that means I might pay a little more but it is worth it for me.

NOTE 2: Well I broke the first requirement because I could not find a video card via Amazon Prime. So I went with NewEgg for some of the parts.

CPU: Intel I7 8th Gen i7-8700 K
Why: This is the fastest chip that is reasonable (the I9’s our out but they are like $1K and higher). I looked at a i5 to save a few bucks but really I would only save $120 and in the scope of the system, this was just not worth it consider the performance gain for thread count is double and overall performance is about 42% as it relates to multi-core processing.

Motherboard: MSI Z370 Gaming Plus
Why: I like MSI. Really it is that simple. I wanted a good motherboard that would perform well. This supports the M.2 SSD I wanted as well as provides for plenty of USB3.1 ports and heck it even has Red LED’s!

Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060
Why: I wanted a NVidia GTX-based video card for performance reasons specific to Premiere. NVidia uses CUDA cores and Premiere is supposed to use those. This has 1152 CUDA cores and 3GB memory. And other honest take is that this is the only one I could find! And I had to get it from NewEgg. At first I was also super excited that I was going to get a free motherboard out of it also. But read the reviews on the mb and decided yeah nope!

RAM: Ballistix Sport LT 16GB DDR4 2666 MTs
Why: I like Crucial as I have always had great luck with their RAM. And the motherboard supported it. I went with 16GB because I can always add more and felt this was a good place to safe a few dollars.

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO – 250GB NVMe – M.2 SSD
Why: I want fast storage! With video editing it is critical to get fast storage. NVMe is fast! The EVO Pro is faster but not enough to warrant the price difference. While this will run the OS and applications, I still need to decide on media storage. But at this point my brain was starting to hurt along with my wallet so I moved on and will address mass storage later.

Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5
Why: I wanted a mid-tower ATX case that had good options for fans and discreet appearance. This case seemed to fit that bill. I also like that the power supply area is hidden so as to hide cables. I initially did not want to bling out the case but as can be seen by my fan choices, that got thrown to the wind! And the price was great! For under $50, I get a great case. Because the cases job is really just to hold stuff!

Fans: Cooler Master MasterPro 120 Air Balance
Why: I wanted good fans that were quiet. With a db profile of 6-20 db, I felt these would cool the unit down, not be loud AND look extremely cool with the RGB stuff it can do (not even sure what it is).

CPU Fan: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120
Why: I looked at lots of options for CPU cooling and I really wanted liquid cooled but was really intimated by the units I saw where I had to buy special coolant etc. This unit is all self-contained and I felt it would keep the CPU nice and cool. Did I mention that it has RGB lights also?

Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt 750 Semifanless Modular
Why: As you can probably tell by now, I like sticking with a singular brand as much as possible. And since three of the previous parts were Cooler Master, I decided to stick with the PSU from them as well. I decided on 750W not because my build will require it but rather the 650W unit with rebate was only $5 less than the 750W. So I spent the extra!

As soon as everything comes in, I will put together a video post of how everything went together and if it even works! Stay tuned!




2017 – I have learned . . .

2017 is coming to a close and I have learned . . .

I have learned  just how much of an impact my actions (and reactions) are replicated to my children.

I have learned that I can be a bit over-bearing and that a benevolent dictator is still a tyrant regardless of my intentions.

I have learned that I am much weaker than I imagined and that I am capable of things I could never have dreamed.

I have learned that I cannot control everything even the things within the walls of my home.

But I have learned that God still loves me! And that He is never going to leave me.

I have learned the power of the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation.

I have learned . . . and perhaps that is the most important thing to have occur in 2017.

Transitions . . .

Note: This article is from 2012

Sorry for the long delay in posts, my biological father passed away last week and I was waiting to finish that processing before I typed an article about the experience.

I got to say goodbye sorta and I got to say hello.

I was able to call him Dad for the first time in 30+ years (I will admit it still feels weird but I am ok with it now).

I got to say I love you and hear him say the same.

He got to have his last scotch and water.

And then I got the call from my uncle that he was making the “transition”. I will admit at first I was not sure how to take that word but now I understand. He had finally said “I am done with this mess, time to go home.”

And so within a couple of hours, he was home.

Transitions are a part of life and obviously death. It is the grace in which you handle those transitions that define a person often times.

How do you miss someone you never really knew?

How do you handle knowing that there are things about yourself you will never know because the one of the persons who influenced your genetic makeup is gone?

How do you reconcile that perhaps if I had made a stronger attempt to connect that the connection could have been made?

So those are all transitions that I will experience. And perhaps in there if you find yourself in the same circumstances, you can find the grace to handle the transition.

And do not let those questions go unanswered for yourself. Reach out, ask the questions, and risk the things you are afraid of. If not, you may never know and well which is worst?

Now for the next transition, what will it be?

Not waiting for death . . .

NOTE: This article is from 2012

Do not wait for death to talk to people!
My grandfather died a number of years ago and I was always too busy to go visit him. I was somewhat hurt a bit that after my parents got divorced they kinda disappeared. He was my favorite grandfather as he taught me fishing, hunting, camping and I loved being around him. But I waited too long to visit. I did see him once before he passed but it was not enough.
Well now my biological dad is potentially coming to the end of his days and the story is close to repeating itself. But what makes this hard is that I have not had a “relationship” with him per-se as he and my mom got divorced early (less than 5 years old) and so never really got to know him.
He and I look identical and I have a lot of his same interests (cars, computers and other things) but I cannot really say that I know him well. We talk now after connecting again when my Grandmommie (his mom) passed and it was great for her to see he and I standing at her bedside.
So it made me think about how selfish I can be when it comes to sharing with others. So for those that read this blog, do not wait for death to be knocking on people’s lives before you talk with them. Nothing is more precious than the lives we share in this world and nothing is more important than connecting people to Jesus.
So do not wait for death because it sure is not waiting for us . . .
P.S. Satan: I so look forward the fulfillment of Revelation 20:14 “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire . . .” Essentially when God kicks your arse in the pit and you NEVER get back out.

Eat Together . . .

NOTE: This article is from April 2012.

True Confessions: We did not eat together as a family ALL week!

Monday – Sharon had an event at church. I hung out with kiddos.

Tuesday: Soccer practice and I went to shoot my bow.

Wednesday: No idea what we did! Yes I do realize that was just last night!

Thursday: Sharon went out. The kids and I watched a movie together while eating in front of the TV.

Friday: Has not happened but I can tell you we will not eat together as family due to schedules.

Saturday: Come hell or high-water (which we might get) we WILL eat together at our dinner table!!!

NOTE: Usually it is me that is the one at fault for being gone. Sharon just happened to be the victim this week.

INSANITY! Let me share some stats with you. In 2003, only 28% of families at dinner together 7 nights a week, this was down from 37% in 1997. (Read full study here)

But it gets worse, students who have two or fewer meals together are 3x more likely to smoke marijuana, 2.5x more likely to smoke cigarettes and 1.5x more like to start consuming alcohol. (Read more here)

So what is stopping us from spending time together as a family? We are busy! Busy with stuff and activities. I know families that kids have so many activities going that the parents are rarely at their kids events together because they have some many different activities going at the same time. But being busy is an excuse, we as the parents need to prioritize what is important. If we do not set the example for our children who will?

And let’s not get me started on kids and over-competitive sports! Kids in junior-high   do NOT need to be on a traveling sports team! Take a look at this article from US News in reference to the total number of sports scholarships available in the US (less than 140K!).

But let me get back down from the soap box. Bottom line, is families need to spend time eating together! At least 4 times a week if not more. What is more important? The game, the event, the activity or the family?

This is the time to have family conversations and time for parents to talk with their children about their day. To share stories, laugh together and just enjoy being together. Family time is absolutely critical and what better time than to sit down and enjoy a meal together.

As for me and my house, we WILL eat together!

For further reading check out these links:

Family Meal Time

8 Reason to Make Time For Dinner

The Magic of the Family Meal