I Don’t Have a Good Title For This

So I’ll be honest. I’ve never been very good at this whole “blogging” thing. I’m not really consistent with tweeting either. Or posting to Facebook. And I’m even worse about Google+. But I’m trying to change that a little bit. And I’m doing that a couple of ways.

  1. I’m actually planning on posting “regularly.” I used to think that blogging meant posting something daily. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, I’m planning on posting about once a week. Maybe I’ll even post twice in a week if there’s actually a lot to talk about.
  2. Posts don’t have to be really long. But things I post generally are going to be over 500 words. I want to do some meaty writing. Though it’ll mostly be fluff.
  3. I don’t really care about how many people read or whatever. I’m OK with that.
  4. I’ll help myself keep to my goal by stockpiling some content. In fact, by the end of this week I should have about a month’s worth of content written, so it’ll be hard for me to fall behind. How’s that for planning?

Mostly, I want to be able to get my thoughts out there. Even if nobody reads them, I’m OK with that. I just want to write. And I’ll do it by using the experiences I have. Maybe I’ll write about things I’ve learned in classes! Maybe I’ll share some lessons I’ve learned from video shoots! Who knows!

Either way it should be good for me. Even if it’s like pulling teeth to write sometimes.

Thoughts on Life

Life has been… complicated the last few weeks. Complicated is probably the best word for it. There’s lots of contention in my family now, but I feel I’ve learned a few things from all the troubles. I’ll summarize a few of the highlights below.

  • Listen. Actually listen and learn from what you’re listening to. I didn’t listen at first, and things have snowballed out of control ever since.
  • Think before you say. I’m still not very good at doing this one, but if you don’t think your thoughts through before saying them, it is very easy to say things that you’ll immediately wish you could take back. But you can’t take those things back; they’ve already been said.
  • Find support wherever you can. There’s always someone willing to listen, and that can make a world of difference when things start to get overwhelming.
  • Turn to the Lord. There is a higher power looking out for us. If we turn to him, we can find the support he’s willing to give us.
  • On a related note, if you’re LDS like me, going to the temple can make things immediately better. Even if you don’t come away with all the answers you want, finding yourself out of the world for a few hours can make a large difference.

I’m still making plenty of mistakes right now, but I think I’m starting to learn from them. I think I’ve done more growing up (and acted more childish) in the last month than in many years, but I’m trying to make forward progress.

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmastime and I’m hoping it’s a good one for everyone. I have no big plans for my Christmas, but I know I’ll be using my early Christmas present a lot during the next few years: a nice shiny new 2TB external hard drive. I got it right after Thanksgiving and it has come in very handy! Now I have a backup of my computer and won’t lose the projects I’ve been working on.

So here’s a little present: the first photo in the dance pad project. This is just a before pic, so it’s nothing special, but I plan on slicing it open tomorrow (if I’m not too full from the delicious holiday food). Also, I’m painstakingly creating some step files for a few popular songs. It’s pretty time-consuming, but I finished my first one not too long ago. It felt pretty good to get it finished.

Fun fact: it's sitting on my bedroom floor. Yes, that is orange colored shag carpeting.

Dance Pad: Before


The Break of No Responsibility

So now it’s Christmas break. The break is only two weeks, so there’s not time to get anything big going. Instead, I’m stuck with nothing to do. I do, however, have a few things I can do. The first is to get going on this blog. I need to get into some sort of groove. Most of my posts will probably be somewhat short. It’s easier to do that way. The second is a little more exciting.

A few months ago I was at Deseret Industries (a thrift store like Goodwill or… um… any other thrift store like that) and I found a couple of great finds. The first was an Xbox (the original) for $10 with a controller. This Xbox turned out to be an OK buy. The disk drive is broken, but somebody had soft-modded it, so it’s still good for something. The second great find was a “Dance Master 3” dance pad for $3. It is a stupid “plug straight into the TV” game that tried to emulate DDR. After plugging it in and turning it on nothing happened. Another few tries showed nothing. The light was even on, but it simply didn’t work. Then I had the brilliant idea to change the 4 (yes 4!) AA batteries that it takes. I opened up the back of the little black box of the top that seemed to be its brain and stuck in the new batteries.

That was when I got to see the true awfulness of this little “Made for TV” game. The graphics and sound were of NES quality (maybe even slightly less, at least music-wise). The song selection consisted of… I don’t even know. Even if there were popular songs in there, the audio would have of such sub-par quality you wouldn’t have been able to recognize them. The difficulty level was completely laughable. It was only slightly harder than the tutorial level of Tap Tap Revenge (TTR3 would be a current addiction of mine if all the free songs didn’t suck).

It didn’t take long for me to decide that this dance pad needed a new life. A new life separated from its little black box of suckiness. The only problem: almost every tutorial online about making your own dance pad for use with Stepmania (amazing free software that copies DDR) tells you how to hook it up with the fantastically outdated kinds of ports that don’t exist in any computer that my friends and I would have. I need a USB solution. That’s going to be the challenge. The other challenge I have is that I’m using a Mac, which makes drivers a little harder to find. Provided I’ll need drivers. I don’t really know because I’m not sure where to start.

So that’s my challenge for this break: figure out how to make a USB device. I have a feeling I’ll be visiting Radio Shack a few times next week. The only thing I know is that the first step is to cut the thing open and break open the black box. After that, I’m at a loss.

I know I don’t have any readers yet, but if someone manages to stumble across this on the internet and has any hints or tips or knows where to find information, feel free to leave a comment. In fact, please leave a comment.