So, this musical instrument may have arrived on my doorstep yesterday. I will admit I’ve been a wee bit excited at the prospect of having it in my hands and I may have read a dozen websites and watched about 20 hours of YouTube video in the last couple weeks about “what to do when you get your new violin.” I unpacked it, set it up, spent about an hour tuning it, and mucked around playing random notes. After about an hour of just making pointless sounds I figured I may as well do something more productive, so I learned how to play exactly one song (though not especially well): Twinkle Twinkle Little Star screeched through the house for the better part of the evening. My wrist, which has discovered a new way of twisting as I reach for the strings, is sooooooore this morning.
Photo of the Day Theme
A light-toned photo of a person or people.
“Dad, can I make a Minecraft video?” She asks.
I sigh. “I guess.” And then I hand over the keys(board) and let her log into the game and start recording. She’s making a YouTube video of herself playing video games. If I’m not careful, she’ll be a success and pulling in a bigger annual salary than me soon.
I opted for an overhead shot. I couldn’t quite get the over-the-shoulder perspective to capture the right glow from the monitor, and besides she wouldn’t stop playing for the two seconds required to look at the camera.
June 13 – Something You Are Reading
aka. Post 13 of Those 30 Posts in June Blog-Every-Day Posts
First, my apologies if you came here looking for instructions. I haven’t figured this damn thing out yet. These are not actually the steps for how to solve this infernal puzzle, but instead a short little story about how we spent our evening… reading about how to try to solve it.
And trying to rationalize with an eight year old that our inability to conquer said toy was nothing near approaching the end of the world.
She’s been a little obsessed lately. Her class was on a field trip to the local science center and they had a display there with a robot that solves these things in a few frantic, whirlwind-of-motion seconds.
She came home with her own from the gift shop, a 2×2 model neatly packed into a little blister pack… and promptly mixed it all up. That was a couple months ago.
I admit, I’ve taken my turns, absently spinning and twisting it while something is playing on TV. I’ve managed to solve a couple sides, but short of looking up the cheat codes from the net, the thing is unlikely to get solved in my hands.
And Claire was content to do the same… until today. Today she took it to school and one of her classmates, a little boy with autism borrowed it and inside of thirty seconds had solved the thing. And… boom goes the dynamite!
So, after re-shuffling it, she comes home this evening and after dinner we catch her (on no screens day, which was the original problem) watching YouTube instructional videos on how to twist and turn this thing to a solution. To no avail, of course. The instructions if you look for them (and many of you probably were looking for them when you found this disappointing post with no such instructions!) are a confusing mass of codes and algorithms and weird notations.
We concluded our evening (after a tearful rager about how “she’ll NEVER be able to solve it!”) transcribing at least one set of those instructions into her notebook in large-tipped felt pen.
Somehow I have a feeling my days of reading Rubiks solutions online are far from over.
I lost track of the time. Not really. I was just dawdling, watching YouTube and I got into this video that turned out to be twenty-five minutes long, so that when I looked up it occurred to me that I should have left to go running five minutes ago.
No biggie. I knew the route: Tuesdays meant tempos, tempos meant the little lake, the lake was closer to run to than actually driving to catch up.
So… I was running a bit late, arrived a bit early, and then when we all converged at the start of the tempo-stretch, standing beside the lake in the sun looking down along a busy trail littered with goose poop, we charged up and ran some hard threshold work: thirty-six minutes of fast.
That niggling soreness was gone & the calves were still a bit tight… but that’s to be expected.
And after not-quite-eight klicks I looked at my monthly total: less than two klicks short of two-hundred in April. I guess I can’t hang up my shoes for this month yet.
My little social media guru has been busily promoting her efforts. She’s been telling all her friends that her and her dad are still making Minecraft YouTube videos.
This means that (a) not lots but SOME people are actually watching these things and (b) this is now officially the most successful YouTube channel I’ve ever been a part of.
And while you may not be inclined to spend your free time hunting down videos of random people playing video games, apparently it’s media catnip for this generation of pre-teens.
So we play.
We recorded our thirteenth episode this past weekend, and –given that it’s spring break and there is no structured extra-curricular this week, no dance, no swimming lessons, no school work to do– my co-star has grand plans for at least a couple more episodes before the week is out.
In the meantime, we had a little (post) Easter fun in episode 13:
If you’ve been to our house, you may already know that we record and “produce” a lot of home movies for our own offline private viewing. Daily movies, vacation videos, random films, and other fun thing captured in high definition.
Over the years the production value on these has increased, largely due to a lot of practice putting them together by your’s truly. And to make them “fancier” we’ve got into the habit of adding our own little “Family Features” bumper to the front of those videos. A bumper is a few second clip that shows off the video like we’re some little studio putting these things together. It’s fun.
Part of my inspiration to learn the 3D animation software Blender was that I had the idea of producing a 3D animated bumper. I’ve got a few ideas, but the process isn’t nearly as simple as you might expect. I’ve got those ideas in the works, but the most time intensive part by far has been the rendering.
This first attempt took 9 hours to render, and though it is a little simple I like the idea of adding some kind of personalization into the clip: as you can see, I textured the cubes with photos from my collection:
A day after our last episode I was feeling well enough to play through some Minecraft Let’s Play.
Sadly, our first attempt –let’s call it episode 9a– was lost to the failures of bad setup: I set something wrong and it was a soundless journey through the deep, dark pits of our little world. The sound didn’t work at all. It was without sound. Quiet. Which was a shame because Claire fell into lava and we had a few minutes of solid gold production going on: screaming and genuine panic, and then a bit of a meltdown. Which is ok, then I suppose for her sake, that there is no record of that.
Instead, we picked up a few minutes later and tried again on episode 9b:
Bronchitis being what it is, my voice took a turn for the worse on Saturday and Claire — eager as always to record some Let’s Play — did a solo episode.
I won’t vouch for any aspect of it. It may be pretty random. It may be little more than a glimpse into the mind of an eight year old girl. But she made it, and she’s darned proud of it.
We decided to just keep playing and recorded a second episode with just a short break to reset the recording equipment in between…
And you’d think that would mean that we would have kept working on whatever it was we were working on, right? Well, yeah actually… Claire finished her minecart roller coaster and we took a few giggly rides on it.
But then… well, she saw a cow floating in the nearby lagoon, and next thing you know we’re goofing around with a new –um– pet… I guess.
Enjoy episode seven, but beware… we got a little weird.
Another busy Saturday, and this time she was on a bit of a roll…er coaster.
In the first of two Saturday episodes, we were poking around in our new-ish world again, for the third weekend in a row. All my behind the scenes work is paying off, I suppose, because she robbed the larder and started to build.
First on the agenda: a little roller coaster. She got to work collecting all the bits of train tracks, which took most of our twenty minutes, and really just kicked things off before I called it.
Check out our sixth episode…
It’s still really cold outside, and having looked out the window –and at my phone for all the people who were skipping out on the morning run– I told Claire we could make another couple Minecraft videos instead.
Plus, YouTube had unblocked my account (huzzah!) so after a day of delay we seemed to be back in business.
Our plan is make (at best) a new 20 minute video every week. That’s not tough, finding twenty minutes to record yourself playing a video game. What is going to be tough is keeping my partner on track and from getting to wired up while recording.
I mean, check out when she breaks into song part way through Episode 3:
Claire woke me up at 6am because I’d promised her that we would FINALLY start recording for her YouTube channel this morning.
Aren’t parents supposed to be able to sleep in on Saturday morning? I’ve still been nursing the tail end of this cold, not because I’m really sick, but because this cough just doesn’t seem to want to go away. I feel fine… just with the coughing and throat clearing.
Anyhow, we launched into a new world and started exploring… and then Claire got lost just as we were trying to find a good place to sign off.
Enjoy Episode 1…