Posts tagged ‘video blogging’


Plans within plans. Gears withing gears.

So today I came to a few big decisions. The first one is to put off building my website ’til next Spring, maybe even Summer. Why? Well that’s the other decisions, though in truth they all boil down to one overarching decision.

The rest of this year is going to be about building up enough content to make a website worthwhile.

I started blogging again this week; it felt good to be writing in that style again. So I’m intending to write at minimum one 1,000 word post here per week, and look at that! A second one this week.

I’m going to get back to video blogging as well. I’m planning one short 5-20 minute blog a week for the time being, and once I get faster at editing, building up to Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

I finally found the right modpack for a series of Minecraft Lets Play videos, so I’m planning to do one 1 hour session per week (edit everything in one session) and put it out in 20 minute segments Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The idea will be that once I have a basic base built I’ll ask the viewers what I should do next, all the while riffing on whatever sparkly topic catches my eye on that given day.

Finally I plan to keep working on my drawing skills, and speed up my page updates. I’ve been struggling with it lately because my my migraines, but I think I’ve hit on a way of working that allows for those. This is in part with the intention of having my skills at a point where it becomes worthwhile to start sourcing a secondhand (though hopefully relatively recent vintage) Wacom Cintiq.

So yeah, that’s the plan. Of course the blogging has started, the next two pages of my webcomic are getting there, and video blogging will start as soon as I work some kinks out of my equipment (most notably the sound and video not synching without a shedload of jiggery pokery), Minecrafting…as soon as I figure out how in the hell the program for recording it works…*sigh*

I’ve an awful lot of work ahead of me; but I feel at peace with this plan of action. It feels like the right amount of output, while leaving me enough time for writing, rewriting, and gaming. So wish me luck folks, after all when I pull this off it’ll end with all my stuff on one site, and a lot more of my weirdness for you all to enjoy.


An update on my many and varied projects.

After over two years, and 300 articles I feel it’s time to shake things up a little in my creative life. I will still be blogging, but I am frankly running out of handy topics to write passionately about. So starting next week I will be writing a regular, normal blog article for each Tuesday, and when I have a topic that enthuses me Saturday also. But those weeks where I find myself struggling to find a topic for my Saturday post I will instead be setting up a linkstorm of the various things that really caught my eye over the previous week.

This is to reduce the amount of wasted time, spent staring at a blinking cursor with no absolutely idea what to write about. This time is going to be used on getting back to my webcomic.

The past few months have definitely not been wasted in that regard, I have been working hard on my drawing skills, as well as experimenting with different page layouts, lining styles, and even *gasp* colour. Beside this I’ve been developing the storylines so that they mesh, and hopefully read better. I am planning to get back to posting finished pages by the end of the Summer. I intend to restart with an honest to goodness cover page, and by redrawing the original 5 pages with my new skills, before moving on with the story. (The originals will still be on the site, more as a testament to how far I’ve come than anything else.) I’ll be putting up new pages as I finish them, rather than having a regular posting day.

Video blogging will also be restarting, I hope, in the Autumn. Again I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months experimenting with lighting, editing, and generally brushing up those skills I was seriously lacking in in the past. The end result, I hope, will be a better quality vlog, that will be more enjoyable for the viewer, while being more fulfilling for me to create. I currently have four separate streams of vlog I intend to make videos about. So, rather like with my webcomic, I won’t be adhering to a set rota, I’ll make what interests me in the moment, and post as they’re finished.

Which brings me to the main thing I’ve learned in the past 6 months of reduced output. I need to work on what I feel passionate about at the time, rather than forcing myself in to an artificial time-plan. That path leads me to slowly losing both the plot, and interest. Much better to stick with what I feel a passionate need to create at the time. Much better work always results.

And that’s what’s going to be happening from next week on.

Thanks for sticking with my blog, and don’t worry there’s still plenty of madness to come.


I came to a big decision last week.

Most of the people reading this will have seen my very short-lived video blog. A few things have killed it off after only 3 parts.

First I became too ill, for a period of three months, to either sit in front of a camera or to want to be seen by the world when I felt like I was dying.

Second my old PC finally gave up the ghost, succumbing to a full-scale motherboard failure. My PC was eventually replaced by a nice shiny new Dell 17″ desktop replacement laptop. Though admittedly weighing in at almost 4 kilos calling it a laptop might be, stretching things a little.

Finally when I did receive my new laptop, and set about recording a new video blog I ran in to some horrible technical problems. Not least the fact that my audio was completely out of synch with my video. That wouldn’t be much of a problem except that I have ZERO video editing knowledge, and in fact had used Windows Movie Maker to record, and produce my first three videos, none of which had actually involved much in the way of editing. End result, Amanda tearing her hair out after a full day of trying, and failing to synch them both up.

Well last week I was having a chat with a really lovely girl I know from the U.S., and she gave me some damned good advice. And that advice was as follows…


And do you know what? She had a pretty good point. Up until this week I have been doing the following, every, single, day. (Barring Sunday, and any day I have an appointment anywhere. So probably it’s more like 95% of every, single, day.)

* 1 hour of ukulele/mandolin practice. Scales, followed by working on one piece for at least 30 minutes.
* 1 hour of writing exercises. Time spent learning new words/trying to learn grammar/punctuation, (with minimal success I have to admit) as well as writing, and rewriting the same piece over and over as many times as I can, each time with different sentences/words/structure, while always keeping the content and message the same.
* 1 hour drawing practice. Which is literally what it sounds like.
* 2 hours working on a novel. This can be writing, researching, or taking down notes.
* 1 hour on one of my pet projects Lately this has been learning about airsofting, but in the past it’s included learning to build PC’s, building things, stuff like that. But it had included video blogging. And finally.
* 1 hour of research every evening. Actually this usually runs to about 2 hours. But that’s because I really enjoy finding out about new things, and expanding what I already know, all so I have a vast wealth of random information to use in whatever project I’m concentrating on.

I think you’ll agree that for a girl who has a really debilitating chronic illness, that’s kind of a lot of stuff to take on. And don’t get me wrong I love doing almost all of it. I enjoy working. I enjoy making, creating, writing, learning. To me it’s actually just as much fun as kicking ludicrous amounts of ass in Skyrim. But lately I’ve come to realise that it’s just too much for me to handle. Not least because those “* 1 hour”‘s usually overrun. I start out intending to do one hour of sketching, then look at the time and realise, “Oh shit! It’s been 3 hours!” It’s taken together, all too much.

So I listened to that girl, and then out of curiosity I went back to watched my own video blogs. Something I had never done before. And they’re, okay. Actually the transphobia one is pretty good. But they’re not what I had intended my video blog to be. And worse, they’re less than I know I’m capable of. So I’m stopping recording new video’s for the time being. I’m also putting my music practice to one side, and letting go of my writing exercises for a while. The former because It’s really just a hobby for me, not something that drives me. The latter because I honestly don’t believe I’m reaping much, if any, benefit from them any more.

That’s 2 hours each “working” day freed up, right away.

So for now there’ll be this blog, my webcomic and the work needed to bring that to where I feel it should be, the novel I’m currently trying to get written, and the extra time is going to go in getting ready to relaunch my video-blog at some stage in the future.

I know precisely what I want it to be, and while I know it won’t be exactly that instantly, it can, and should be much better than it currently is. It just needs work, and I have a lot to learn in order to be able to do that work. You know, minor things like basic video editing, lighting techniques, basic camera work. And I need to sort out equipment for it also, I need to make as much of it as I can, and source the rest for as little money as possible. I’m determined that when I go back to it, it will be what I truly want it to be, not the milky, watered down version it’s been to date.

So rest assured, my video blog will return in the future. It will be better than it was. It will probably be considerably different to what it used to be. But most of all it will be something I can be proud of.

But for now I hope that you’ll keep reading my blog, my webcomic, and some day maybe even my novels. (Goddesses and a publisher willing.)


My Random Video Ruminations – Month 1

As I said I a few weeks ago, when I returned to blogging from my holiday, I’ve decided to set up a video blog and a YouTube channel to host it. Well YouTube until I can get a decent independent site of my own running. Anyway here’s my first video, feel free to comment here, or on YouTube. Enjoy.


It’s time for a change.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a change has happened. That’s right, the name of my blog has shifted from “Random Ruminations on a Mad World”, to “My Random Ruminations.” There are a few reasons for the change, but none them is my not liking the original name.

I’m shortly intending to launch a video blog aspect to this blog. It will of course be hosted on YouTube, the place dignity goes to die. But after going through all of my favourite video blogs there I realised that the original name of this blog was a bit…wordy. It needed to be shorter, sharper, edgier, okay not edgier, but you get the gist.

After going through the search terms which have led other people to my site I realised that NO-ONE has ever searched for the full title. They’ve always searched for “Random Ruminations”, the rest of the title is a bit superfluous.

Mostly I changed the title because it was time for a change. The way I write my blog, the topics I cover, even the feel of it has shifted in a very marked way since I began over 18 months ago. And I felt the title needed to change with it. Change can be good, this time it definitely is. I just hope it doesn’t screw my traffic. 😉


Ancient Tech – Philips SPC300NC Webcam.

Yes, I know today was supposed to be my first video blog, but it was my attempt to produce that video blog which led directly to this piece. You see it once more brings us back to my deep abiding love for Cretaceous Era technology. I’ve spoken at length about my graphics tablet, which is so old that I believe it may have been used by Nabopolassar to design the inspiration for the Tower of Babel. And I’ve given a eulogy dedicated to my beloved Asus Eeepc 701. However today it’s a very different piece of ancient electronics I wish to speak of.

Yes there it is above these words, standing in all its glory! The Philips SPC300NC webcam. A piece of technological wonder with its amazing resolution of 320×240. It’s hard to use “Still” button placed on the side, where you hand WILL cover the lens if you try to use it. It even comes mounted on a base that is almost impossible to get to sit quietly on the desk, because of how stiff it’s cable is (pauses for the moans to subside).

And yet I have been using this webcam for since 2009, and my Partner in Crime had used it for two years prior to that. I’ve maintained two long distance relationships via its pixellated eye. I experimented with animation using it with Windows Movie Maker…I don’t recommend it as anything other than an object lesson in how make things hard on yourself.

I also made my first attempt at a video blog with it. Let’s speak a little of that attempt. I’m sure most of you reading this have watched someone’s video blog on YouTube, and thought “Hey, I should do one of those!” I know I have. In fact I decided a few months ago that I needed to add a video element to this blog for several reasons. The main one being that some topics just don’t work through the written word, to have your viewpoint truly understood your audience has to hear your voice, see your face, and the emotions conveyed by both. Hence my attempt this week to record, and edit my first video blog.

My webcam is almost old enough to have been used by Cleopatra to chat up Julius Ceasar, and Marc Anthony when they were off on campaign. I can totally see her lying on a bed, cupping her breasts, and promising to share Ptolemaic Egypt with them, as she licked her nipples. I can also see the two boys (separately of course…though when it comes to those crazy Romans who knows?) watching this, and wondering what the hell they’re seeing. Because frankly unless you keep the received image TINY, you’re going to find yourself wondering why Cleo is showing you a fully grown seal, and promising you half of her kingdom.

Yes, the image from my attempt was that bad. At best I looked like I’d been drawn on a very badly damaged Atari 2600, at worst like I’d contracted leprosy, smallpox, and had been whacked in the face with every branch off of the ugly tree for good measure. Now, I’m not Charlize Theron. But I’m not a bad lookin’ bird, and so it was with utter horror that I watched the raw video of my first attempt at YouTube immortality.

“So how does this story end?”, you ask dear reader.

Well, probably with this…

Or something similar, has anyone any suggestions? (Seriously, all advice cheerfully received.) And with my old webcam being given the end it deserves, ending up in a box filled with electronic spare parts, waiting for the day when it might be called back into service…it’s how it would have wanted to go.


Puppygirl’s busy moving, so back on Tuesday 3rd

Yes, that’s right. Your intrepid heroine is moving home this week, and so I am taking a short break from blogging while I move the ridiculous amount of possessions I…possess. Yeah. Well anyway, just to keep you all interested, and possibly a little excited in some cases, a small smidge of news to tide you all over.

Once my move is completed, and I have my new home sorted out, (probably the first week in May) I will be starting a, to begin with, bi-monthly video part to this blog. You read that right, Amanda Harper will once a month, over time expanding to twice or even more, be on your computer screens, actually speaking to you via the evil witchcraft that is YouTube embedded video. It will be replacing one of the written blogs for the week it’s released in, and will be as random, and hopefully as entertaining as the rest of my blog.

Me, being me, this is of course only another in a sequence of planned steps leading to an absolutely huge, and kick ass project which you will be hearing a lot more about in the near future. Anyway have a wonderful weekend.

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