Gateway Dragon Boat Festival – From the Air

I mentioned a while back on the podcast that I bought a drone. I’ve had it for about 7 months now, but haven’t had as many opportunities to use it as I’d like.

I was pretty skittish about it at first. I started looking up drone regulations in the United States. Between reading about those and worrying about flying an expensive piece of equipment that could very possibly crash or fly away, I got to feeling like I’d made a mistake buying it to begin with.

Since then I’ve gotten much more comfortable with flying. It’s not the controls so much. Those came kind of naturally from years of video games and a history with flight sims. What I worry about is the connotation of flying a drone around. I worry other people will freak out or call the cops or something even though I’m extremely cautious and never do anything creepy or dangerous to others. Now, I’m feeling like I can actually fly without somebody coming over and yelling at me. I’m not saying they would. It’s my own insecurity more than anything. I don’t want to be the center of attention in public, really.

I really, really enjoy flying and the footage from these things is incredible all things considered. I’ve got a DJI Phantom 4 which is a nice drone, but still reasonably affordable for people who are into this sort of thing (and I found a good deal too). The features including object detection, tracking, and 4K video capture are remarkable. Just a few years ago this was unobtainable technology for the average person, but now you can capture footage that used to require helicopters and planes.

So this is my first drone video I’m putting out in public. It’s the first thing I’ve shot that can kind of stand on its own as something interesting to watch. Oh yeah, and it’s in 4K so take advantage of that if you’ve got a 4K display.

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My not-so-new show: Debug Mode

Back in November I had the softest of launches for an occasional web show about video games (or whatever else I want to talk about – it’s my show) called Debug Mode. The first episode was about Call of Juarez: Gunslinger for no particular reason other than I thought it had an interesting narrative structure and it wasn’t already talked about to death.

I’ve done a few videos about games before and I’ve wanted to do something more structured and regular for a long time. Now that everyone and their little brother (especially their little brother) is making video content about games, I thought it would be the perfect time to saunter into a crowded medium with opinions of my own! It doesn’t help that I don’t have a particular “angle” or easily distillable style. In fact I haven’t really found my style yet and I suspect that will take some time. Then again, most of the games commentators I really like don’t fit into short, easy descriptions either.

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Set Adrift – a state of mind

“Set Adrift” is a set of lyrics I wrote from March through September of this year. It represents a state of mind or a state of being. This is my outlet for stuff that’s been on my mind and heart but I feel I can’t talk about in other ways. Either I’m not good with this subject matter in other forms of expression or I never have the occasion to speak about it.

I’m not much of a musician. I can’t really sing well (although I try a lot). I have very little experience with putting together songs or writing actual music. Consequently these songs have a slim chance of ever being fully realized. I knew that writing them. Really, I can’t properly call these songs nor myself a songwriter. But I can’t quite bring myself to admit that I’m a poet either.

But that’s totally what I am. This is lyric poetry. For whatever reason I don’t tend to look as favorably on poets as I do on lyricists. It’s just not as cool.

I’m posting this mainly because I know some people out there can relate. Hopefully some of them will see this and it will make some sort of impact. But if not, I am happy enough to have written it for me.

In the circles I’ve run in historically, it seems like people don’t tend to address people’s hearts. We talk about “how was work/school/your day?” “How is your family/friends?” Small talk is most talk. Even among close friends the conversation is sometimes quite banal. Sometimes you need that. But mostly I find that heart-to-hearts are lacking. I hope this is not the case for you.

Perhaps mine is an especially needy heart. I think most of us are more needy than we let on. Damn that human tendency toward self-sufficiency! It is a lie. We need God and we need one another.

In this stage of life which I’ve described as “set adrift,” it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices that can and will be made in determining our own personal futures. In my case, I’m facing these many life choices in the absence of a deep personal connection with any one person and in a culture which procrastinates on big, tough decisions. This is as much my fault as it is circumstantial. I’m not trying to complain about how things are. I’m just painting what I see.

I put the lyrics into the form of mock liner notes for an album (complete with my theoretical band name). This is one of the things I really miss about digital music. Sometimes you’ll get a PDF with the album art and lyrics but it’s easy to forget about it when you do. It’s just not a format that lends itself especially well to display on a computer screen. But I went ahead and used it anyhow because I like it.

This post would be a million miles long if I put all the pictures and lyrics here. I’ve put them on their own page for simplicity’s sake. Click here to read “Set Adrift.” I hope you get something out of the experience. If it strikes a nerve, let me know.