April 14th 2018 – House Projects

Now that we’re all settled into our house, I’m starting to put together things we can improve on or things that just need to get buttoned up around the house. I’m hoping to make a log of everything I’m doing, just to share what’s going on in the house. Overall, there are four major areas that I want to work on within the next year or so.

The Office

My office is essentially going to be a combination office and studio. I want to be able to do work, like edit photos, videos, or podcasts at a stand/sit desk, stream on Twitch, record videos and podcasts, and take photos from time to time. The office is basically never going to be complete, but I’m going to slowly work on it as time goes on. So far, I’ve got some cabinets that I think will work well as part of a set and double as a huge amount of storage.

Next, I’m going to need a new desk. The desk I’m using right now is pretty tiny, and a little too short. It works, but when you’ve got two monitors, an audio mixer, and a keyboard and mouse on the same surface, you need as much space as you can get. I’m partial to the Autonomous desks. I really love the idea of being able to choose to stand or sit while I’m at my desk. I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, and I’m always reminded of when I had a standing desk. Standing for nine hours straight isn’t the greatest thing, but sitting for that long is even worse. Without a doubt, I’d rather stand all day than sit.

After the desk, I’m going to give my desktop computer an overhaul. For the spec nerds, I’m currently running a PC with an 3GHz Quad-Core AMD CPU from 2008-ish, 16GB of DDR3, and a GTX 960. All of which, as you can guess, is SUPER out of date. Granted, the GTX 960 holds up in this day and age. Not as much as the GTX 1080, but I’m not doing any 4K gaming right now, so I’m not sure that I really need it.

Smart Home-ifying

So, I know this is more of a thing that people are just doing to their dwellings, but I kinda like the idea of doing it. I’ve already connected up my garage door and it’s come in handy a few times already. I also like the idea of getting one of those Nest Thermostats so that the temperature gets set differently throughout the day. The larger portion of this project will be with the lighting in the house.

I would like to change out most, if not all, of the bulbs with the Phillips Hue bulbs. Overall in the house, this would be so that light temperatures and brightnesses can be scheduled. However, in the living room and kitchen, I’ve got more plans for the colored lights. Three words: RANDOM DANCE PARTY.

Security

Some of this might go hand-in-hand with making the house smarter, but… I guess the long of the short of this is that I want to add more security cameras to the house and maybe an alarm system? I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve got an ethernet drop outside my house for no apparent reason, so it would be great to use it for a PoE dome camera. I also plan on getting a Ring doorbell camera, mostly because our FedEx delivery driver doesn’t ring the doorbell, but also because I don’t have a peep-hole, so having a digital alternative works perfectly. After all that, I’ll probably have another camera inside the house. Overall, though, I eventually will probably get an actual security system installed. We’ll see.

Landscaping

Okay, I hate talking landscaping, but there is a few things that I do need to take care of. First, the bare patch of dirt in the back yard. We have about 2,200 square feet of dirt inside our fenced in back yard, and I need to seed new grass. Speaking of the fence, there are some spots where the ground dips a bit too low for the fence, so I’m going to get some dirt to fill in those spaces and slowly level out the fence area. Lastly, I need to handle drainage.

We do have gutters and a drip edge, but I think we need to put in a french drain and maybe a dry well to help carry all the run-off away from our foundation. I’m super not an expert about gutters or drainage or whatever. It took a lot of convincing for me to actually decide to have the gutters put in, but now I’m told that my downspouts aren’t doing anything, soooooo… I don’t know it’s all a mess to me.

Oh, also we have a nice little bench to put out front in what’s going to be our rock garden.

Overall, though, I’m going to keep with the updates of the progress going forward. Next time I’ll actually include some photos when there’s been some progress. Right now everything is a little plain. Also I probably need to mow my lawn.

 

Nothing

I literally have nothing to write about tonight. I was going to complain about FedEx and Taxes but, really what’s the point of it all, though? Overall, I don’t like to complain. Mostly because whatever I have to complain about, I know someone else out there has something bigger to complain about that deserves to a little bit more than more, but also because I know that it’s all my own fault, probably.

Meanwhile, we’ve started to rewatch all the SuperStore episodes now that they’re all back on Hulu. It’s pretty nice. I’m enjoying it.

I don’t know what else to say here. I guess that’s all for tonight.

Test Streams

So, today, I did the first of a few test streams from my new house. My current computer setup is lacking a fair bit in the performance department. Well, the CPU specifically. Fortunately, though, I’ve found a way to work around it.

In today’s test, I was eventually able to get everything running, including voice chat with a couple people I play Sea of Thieves with. I have one little tweak to make to the audio so that there’s less echo from the group chat, but it’s something that’s easy to handle.

The next big thing is that I’d like to work out a regular schedule for the streams. I’m thinking I’d like to do a three hour stream from 6pm to 9pm (nice). The other options would be to do it early in the morning from 4am to 7am or later in the evening from 8pm to 11pm. I’d love to know anyone’s thoughts on times, really. Keeping in mind that these times are Eastern Time.

For now, please follow my Twitch channel at http://twitch.tv/specialkolin. I would greatly appreciate it. See you all there!

Almost Forgot

Here I am sitting in bed, and it just occurred to me that I hadn’t written anything today. My goal for this year is to write ANYTHING once a day and publish it, of course.

Anyhow, earlier this evening, we cooked sesame beef for the first time. I’m kind of enjoying cooking. Now, I’m enjoying the actual act of preparing and cooking food, not the figuring out what to eat or finding ingredients part. Maybe it’s my creative side that enjoys the making something with my hands, I dunno. Long of the short of it is: I’m stuffed from all the food we made, but it was so worth it.

As a third aside on this post about nothing:

One of my best friends was recently hit by a car and is currently in the ICU, and from what I’ve heard, has about four more surgeries left to go. It’s kind of terrifying to think that this sort of thing happened, but here we are. I’m still short on details on why or how it all happened, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to visit soon, because while we’re practically brothers, we’re not ACTUALLY brothers, so I can’t get in just yet. Either way, I’m incredibly worried, and I have no idea what’s at the other end of this. I’m just hoping that he’ll be able to get back on his feet again and have a somewhat normal life. I couldn’t imagine having a major disability that would keep me from doing what I love. But, I guess, when you love something. You find a way to make it work.

It’s been on my mind for the past couple days, and I figured it would be better to talk a little about it than to keep it bottled up. I’ve sort of incidentally made my cart have phrase for the SpecialKolin Podcast “drive safe” but that was mostly because I would do a lot of recording in the car, so it seemed fitting. And here, at the end of this post, I mean it. Drive safe. Walk safe. Be safe, please. You are important to someone somewhere, so if you don’t want to be safe for yourself, then please do it for them.

My Internal Conundrum With My Camera

I own a Fujifilm X-T2. You’ve probably seen me talk about it or post photos from it a million and one times. As it turns out, I’ve had it for almost three years, now. It’s a really good camera, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. I’ve said many times that it out performs the former staple: the Canon 5D Mark 3, and I stand by that. It’s small, compact, and lightweight, and great for when you’re shooting for a long time or walking or hiking.

Then the Sony a7R III came out. It was announced just in time for our budget to come in where I work, and after reviewing the specs and the image quality, I said that we should get one. After all, we had been using the 5D mk 3 and a 7D for a long while, and it was more than time for us to upgrade.  Now, I knew there would have been an increase in image quality over the X-T2, after all, the a7R II had already been ranked as one of the top performing non-medium format cameras on the market AND it was a full frame camera.

I’ve now spent the past 6-ish months in the Sony mirrorless world, I’ve shot a few events and a lot of automotive and commercial things… you know… work. It’s working great! I’m surprised that I’m not missing the dials or the specific Fujifilm “look” (if you will). I have to say the number one thing that I cannot stand about the a7R III is that the files are massive. I mean, rightly so because they’re twice the quality of the X-T2’s, so I can only fit half as many photos on the same card. The first time I shot a wedding with the a7R III, I was panicking trying to dump photos onto my laptop periodically through the night. Meanwhile, I didn’t need to change out cards once with the X-T2 that event or pretty much any event I’ve shot. Excluding Desert Bus, of course. Overall, 300GB per event is a little scary.

NOW

Sony has released the a7 III. The a7 III has all the nice things about the a7R III and some of the nice things from the a9. It has the same megapixel count as the X-T2, which means smaller file sizes. It also has the newer type of battery from the a9, which means it’s been rated to have the longest battery life of all mirrorless cameras out there right now. It also has an autofocus system similar to the a9, which has AF points that cover most of the sensor. It’s also got the same design and button layout as the a7R III. It’s also been shown to have better low-light performance than the a7R III and shoot better video than the a9.

Basically… the a7 III is perfect for what I do.

My dilemma is this, however: While selling the X-T2 would give me the opportunity to buy the a7 III, I would also be ditching a really good camera. Buuuuuuuut, not only has my Gear Acquisition Syndrome been itching like CRAZY since the announcement, but I also have this wild theory (possibly enabled by G.A.S.) that, in my photographing, I don’t want to be limited by my gear. I don’t want to come back after a shoot or an event to blame any defects in the photos on the gear I was using. I don’t want to have any opportunity to say “well, if I had [whatever] this would have come out better.”

Before it’s said, I also do believe in the cliché of it doesn’t matter what camera you use, it’s about the person behind the camera. However, when you’re capable of doing well with a decent camera, imagine what you can do with a better camera, or even THE BEST camera? And yes, yes, yes, lighting is much more important than the camera you have, but I’m doing alright with light right now, considering that most of what I do with my personal work is with natural light and lighting modifiers. I could go on and on about lighting, too, but this is about cameras.

I dunno, this got a little rambly, and I’m not sure where to end it. So… how about support my Patreon so I can have my cake and eat it too?