So I tried my hand at video editing as part of adding to my creative skills (you can see it on my Youtube channel).  I used Lightworks, which has a free version, and my Samsung Galaxy 4S as the video camera.  It took a few false starts as I got used to how long I should take on a shot.  My first attempts were way too short to actually be able to do voice over.  The audio is another thing that changed half-way through.  I was going to originally start by talking on camera for the introduction, but trying to get the audio from the video and then put a cleaner voice over afterwards ended up being a lot of trouble.  I’ll have to work on recording everything to Reaper and synching that up.

For this edit I ended up with a rough script which I read through as I took the various shots.  That allowed me to get pretty close with the timing.  Then I edited those together and used my audio setup to record the voice over.  I then muted the original audio and put in a new audio track with the good audio.  I then put in some stills for the intro and rendered it out.  It seemed like it took a long time and I think I ended up with the audio being a little too quiet but overall it was a good experience and now I’ve gone through the complete process.  Next I’m going to try a short tutorial on how I hooked up my Mackie control surface to the computer for use within Reaper.  That should also be a great learning experience.

My Mission

Posted: October 10, 2014 in Personal-Development

This one is short, but as promised here is my mission. It feels a bit cheesy, but going back to 7 Habits from Covey this is kind of how he outlined it. I will use it for a bit and review as I go forward. I will also use this as I go through the remaining chapters.  Without further ado…

My mission is to live with integrity and create value for others.

To fulfill the mission:

- I will be grateful for what I have earned and will not resent the success of others.
– I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more.
– I believe that all people are created equal, but like me, are made through our daily choices.
– I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it.
– I believe that my safety is my responsibility.
– I will never stop learning, YouTube and library cards are free.

I believe these roles will help me achieve my mission:

Husband – my wife is the most important person in my life. I will dedicate the time to cultivate the best possible relationship.
Father – I help my kids (and their kids) reach their goals.
Son/Brother – I am there to support their endeavors and provide an actual hand when needed.
Neighbor – I will understand the issues so I can make intelligent choices on the issues. I will pitch in and not just watch.
Value Creator – I will work hard at whatever task is assigned and I will look for ways to be useful. I will not whine, I am in control of my reaction and if I’m unhappy I have the power to change my attitude or situation.

Office/Studio Rearrangement

Posted: October 2, 2014 in music
I am coming up on a new year (trying the birthday as year for goal measurement), which combined with some research I have been doing regarding listening placement, I have decided to rearrange the setup of my office/studio space.  It looks a bit messy right now, but I wanted to focus on the monitor placement and get them the same distance from the wall on each side.  In my old configuration I had one smashed into the wall while the other had space behind it (see the before).
Now I have the desk centered on a wall and the speakers the same distance from the walls.  Next I’ll need to pull down some of the acoustic treatment and find the first reflections.  Once that is done I will then focus on fitting in the rest of the pieces.  For instance moving where my guitars are mounted on the wall, my speaker cab, etc.  I’ll post more as I go through each.  Maybe I’ll even try to do a video walk through at the end.
And we come to the end.  I have not done anything like this before in terms of serial writing, especially something that is a bit more serious.  It has been interesting to go through both the process and taking a look at myself in a semi public light.
I’ll post my actual mission statement in a few days.
12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.
I love this as well.  I know that not everyone has great circumstances when starting out so it is absolutely critical that I keep that in mind as I go through my daily life because there might be a reason someone is grumpy when I talk to them.  It probably has nothing to do with me.  Will it make me want to match moods, probably, but I cannot control them only my reaction to them.  It also goes back to numbers ten and eleven in looking inward to my motivations.  Like the US Constitution it really is the foundation for everything I do.  From how I interact with others to how I form my opinions of people and events.
It is also a realization that I am equal to those who I might look to as role models.  What they do is possible for me as well.  It might not be easy but they had to start at zero just like me.  So it should be motivation to both explore those desires as well as put in the work to bring them to fruition.  Of course, it also means that they have flaws just like I do so I cannot blindly follow everything they do.  I have to look to them for inspiration but make my own way.
It is funny that in going through this it really is keeping to those things you learned in kindergarten.  Play nice, share your toys, and don’t hit.  As adults things get “complicated” when it really is simple set of rules that make everyone nicer.

SWEAT Pledge Part 6

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Personal-Development
Heading down the home stretch.  To me these two are related in that they deal with giving credit where credit is due and looking inward when there are outward forces beyond my control.
10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.
I think this one is obvious when I think about it, but at the same time difficult in that it is less work to blame a situation on fate or someone else’s behavior.  That blame allows me to not look into my own reasons for doing the right thing.  Sometimes I am tired and it is easier and sometimes I just do not want to hear the answer.  I get that not every single action during the day requires introspection but even those do add up over time and it is important to reflect on those periodically.  A quick example would be fitness.  For myself, I am well out of shape and while I could blame a desk job and family responsibilities, if I look deeper I can see that even though that is true on the surface there are choices I make every day that reflect my attitude toward it.  Doing the work to get fit is not really that fun and I do have 30 minutes a day where I could be active.  I just watch that next show, YouTube video, see that it is raining, or I do not have enough money for a tennis club membership.  These really should not be enough to stop me but it is easy to allow them to stop me.  It still boils down to my choice.  Other people get fit in the same or worse circumstances so it is worth looking at my own thought process.
11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.
I think for me what comes to mind is what my parents would say to me and that is you cannot control what others do, you can only control your response to it.  What I take from that is that there will always be someone smarter, faster, richer, better looking, etc than you so you have to understand yourself and how you will tackle whatever you do.  If you are looking outward for excuses or motivation for what you can and cannot do, you will spend your time resenting what others are doing.  I know this is not easy because that is how people generally gauge how they are doing and then compare themselves to that measurement.  While some of that is fine, if you use that as the only measurement you will end up jealous and not look at how you can work to achieve those same things.

SWEAT Pledge Part 5

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Personal-Development

More than halfway through!

8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.

This is a fantastic sentiment. I know I find myself getting into this. I have to remind myself I do have control. I am not forced to work for a specific company and if I am unhappy I can work to make the change. Is something like that easy? Of course not, but the point is that rather than complaining about it, I should be figuring out what I want and how to get it done. Which kind of leads to the next one.

9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.

This is probably the one that rings most true for me. With few exceptions in my life, there is not much I did not think I could learn. It boiled down to a desire to learn that specific thing. That is not a knock on whatever that was, but there is only so much time to learn stuff and at some point you have to pare it down. For me it started before I was 10 with my bike. I learned how to deal with a brutal crank system (who uses a two-piece crank with a small bolt?) and as I turned 10 I was tearing it and the other neighborhood kid’s bike to the frame. I wanted to know how it worked. From there it was helping my dad finish our basement. That meant framing, sheetrock, and finishing work. After that it was the next logical step from bikes, cars. I helped my dad tear down a 75 Celica to rebuild the engine (head gasket) and then onto my own vehicle (75 Chevy Luv). That included taking the engine out multiple times. After that came computers, then programming, and on and on. In each of those it involved reading, asking questions, and hands on experimentation. Youtube today makes that a bit easier in the research part, but I find myself doing the same thing today with music (home recording), woodworking, and even a small amount of metal working. None of that was done in official “school”, except for some of the computer stuff.  The programming was almost exclusively my own time at least until I got a job doing it. To me learning is not just the fact of learning new skills, but I feel it keeps my mind sharp and it provides an opportunity for something new.

SWEAT Pledge Part 4

Posted: September 21, 2014 in Personal-Development

This is another post in my continuing my jaunt through the SWEAT pledge from Mike Rowe.

6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.

I like this one in many ways. Mike Rowe was coming from a work safety take and that definitely is important, but I feel this really can go much further. Some examples are personal safety away from the job, making sure you have emergency food and water (earthquakes here in Washington), and doing routine maintenance on vehicles and systems in the home. I am not there yet but it is something I have been going through myself because it is important to be prepared even if I am afraid I’ll seem to be paranoid. I could see this related to financial preparedness as well. Stuff happens and it isn’t anybody’s responsibility but mine. Like the right insurance and savings against the unexpected. Again I am not perfect but it has been the last year or so that I have been thinking about this with my wife.

7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.

This is another one where I mostly agree. In the mindset I absolutely agree. In practice you have to be careful. Be happy as you volunteer, it sets you apart. But make sure you have a goal in mind otherwise you may burn out for no real gain. Should I be taking the “what’s in it for me” mindset? Ultimately you do but you should be thinking win/win. If you are doing crap jobs that just get you more crap jobs then you have to think hard about that. Can doing the jobs nobody else wants be a breakthrough? Of course. But working, being strung along in a dead-end job while being promised a raise and never getting it will not help you achieve your goals. Work hard but have a goal in mind to measure against.