Thursday, April 25, 2019

#OfficialHat2019 First Reminder

I've been doing these Hat of Summer videos for a while now. And I've tried to get a little bit better at them each year. But I'm always hampered by the limitations of the video editing software that I can get for free. (I don't want to spend money on a truly powerful suite of video editing tools when I a.) don't have the video equipment that truly demands it, and b.) I only really worry about making videos for about five weeks a year. 
So, my adjustments are minor. One year it was adding an intro title sequence. One year it was experimenting with outros and cards. One year I was working on embedding links within videos--back to other videos, etc. (But then YouTube made a lot of those features unavailable for mobile phone users. I still do lots of those things, but you probably don't even notice. I assume that most people watch their random YouTube videos on a mobile platform rather than on their desk machines.)

This year, I've added some actual music clips to my videos--both the intro and the outro. I didn't think about doing it with the official kick-off video so that one remains in the style I created last year. But with each new video for the rest of the 2019 voting season, I'll switch between a couple of different music choices that are paired for the intro and the outro.

I hope you enjoy the change.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

#OfficialHat2019 Begins! Vote. Vote. VOTE!

It's finally ready to get started! My #OfficialHat2019 campaign officially begins today with the launch of my first official video of the #HatofSummer voting season.

The rules--

a. Please watch today's video (recorded by Hannah in the car while I was driving the two of us to the Rec Center for swimming and gym time). It gives you a basic breakdown of the rules--of which there are few.

b. Once you've watched the introduction video, use the Google Forms link in the video information area to go and watch the individual videos for each of the hat candidates for this year.

c. MOST IMPORTANTLY cast your vote for the hat that you want me to wear exclusively this summer. The Google Forms page provides a series of voting options for each of the five hat choices.

d. As I said . . . please, please feel free to vote frequently. I want hundreds of votes cast by rabid fans. I want fistfights in the streets as each hat tribe struggles for supremacy. Set up a reminder on your phone and set that reminder frequency for daily. Heck . . . why not hourly? What else is more important?

e. The voting will be open between today and the Memorial Day weekend. At that point, I will close down the voting and I'll make a "reveal" video that announces the final choice.

Thank you for participating and please do let your friends and neighbors know. I want everyone to weigh in.

Here is today's official kick-off video.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bathroom Mirror Thoughts

I used to have a beard. But several months back I decided to shave it off for reasons that don't add up to anything other than the fact that I wanted to change how I looked in the mirror. But THAT is not really what this post is about.

Since I eliminated the beard, I have to shave approximately every other day. And this morning was one of those days. And as I started the face-wetting/lathering/scraping process I had a random thought . . . who was that first person who decided to shave the hair off of their face? And secondarily, was that person a male?

When I first started thinking about it I imagined a GEICO-ass caveman experimenting with a sharp rock and freaking out 2001 style when he (yet, initially he) discovered the consequences of a sharp edge on facial hair. But then as I thought about it more . . . why does it have to be a man? Maybe the neolithic patriarchy enforced female facial smoothness a really long time ago?

Who's going to ever come up with an answer to this?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Presumably John Green's Favorite New Internet Article

Today I read an article entitled "How to Quit Your Phone and Change Your Life By . . . Doing Nothing." 

It profiles Jenny Odell, who is one person advocating for humanity's race away from technological immersion before it is too late for all of us.

It was well researched and made a good argument for why digital addition is a real problem that might be the end of us all if we don't admit the fact of its existence and do something about it. And so it is similar to the Climate Change problem as well . . . something that lots of people argue about, something that lots of people don't want to deal with, and something that lots of less fortunate people don't have the luxury of indulging either.

Halfway through reading it, it occurred to me that this might be--as the title suggests--YA author John Green's new favorite long-form read. Heck, he might even have been reading it when I was reading it this afternoon, as we both prepare to experience the live show taping of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text in his hometown of Indianapolis. If there is a Q & A time during the live show, maybe I'll even try to get to the mic and remember Odell's name long enough to describe the article.

See what I mean?

Now, it is clear that John and I don't have dovetailed views on all things, but I bet he's had some time to read this article and he shook his head in agreement while going through the paragraphs.


I keep telling myself (probably with lots of naivete) that I do a pretty good job of keeping social media and digital interaction at a reasonable level. It is true that I take more time watching old media (television) than lots of people still do, so I'm certainly not without my own addictions. But when I use social media, I do it--comparatively?--sparingly? And I certainly don't spend lots of time cycling down comment rabbit holes and getting into arguments.

I think I use the Internet superficially. And so I hope I hold it a bit at arm's length. I used to have grand designs for the Internet and me (read between the lines of almost every WWYG?! blog post between 2004 and 2010 . . . or later). But I got older, didn't change at all, and internalized my fate. The vast gaps of updates on this very Internet location speaks to that truth in my life more eloquently than anything I might try to type right now.


Finally, as good as the article is, I couldn't help but criticize--and internalize--the second to last paragraph. The author wraps everything up in a nice bow by sitting quietly with Odell, unplugging and absorbing the world beyond our screens. It is a nice mannerly scene but I couldn't help but think that were I to be the author, my mind would be running ceaselessly to mentally capture all of the wonderful details that are described. How is prewriting the article in my head a better use of time? Wouldn't it be even better to switch the brain off entirely and maybe not have a good memory of what transpired?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

#OfficialHat2019 is back again

It's a return to old ways today.

I'm writing on my blog again. Tiger Woods in winning the Masters again. And it's time once more to get started on the Official Hat of Summer campaign for 2019.

If you are unfamiliar with my annual Hat of Summer tradition, I offer up some hat wear choices from my closet, make some YouTube hype videos for each choice, and then throw the voting open to you the random public. I let you vote to select the only hat that I will wear for the summer months.

You can learn more about the tradition of #HatofSummer by viewing this playlist that houses all of the various videos I've made over the years.

I'll be adding new short videos for each of this year's contenders soon. And I'll make a Google Form that you can use to vote for the hat of your choice.