Hang up and drive!

iOttie Easy One Touch 2As I’m sure has been well established by now, I’m particular when I buy things. Picky, even. I had my car for several years before I was able to find just the right one. And then, to rule out possible mistakes, I asked for it for Yule from my might-as-well-be-sister.

She always gets me precisely what I ask for.

My car came with a mounting disc. I’m not sure if the previous owners had a GPS, an MP3 player, or a phone mount; all that was left was the disc. Also, it appeared to be fused to the dashboard – the two were one. So, I needed a phone mount that had a long enough arm to be mounted to the disc, and wouldn’t let go of the phone on bumpy road, or anything else that would make me a sad panda.

Enter the iOttie Easy One Touch 2.

Two years of casual research later, and I stumbled upon this bad boy. Pressure-triggered switch activates the clamp on the phone, and the rubber grips hold my Otterbox tightly in place. Push on the releases, and the phone comes right out. A bumpy road is no match for its Kung-fu Grip.

It has multiple joints, a telescoping arm, and can make me a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Okay, maybe not that last one. And sometimes the joints need tightening. THat’s just the nature of road vibration.

So, overall? VERY happy with it, and I’d recommend it to other picky shoppers. Give it an eyeball, if you’d like.

Talking shop

Not writing shop, this time. Not even parenting shop. I want to talk about my other creative outlet, of late. Sharing video games.

Let’s put aside the question of whether or not playing video games and sharing the experience even is creative, and assume for the moment that it’s been answered in the positive. Let’s talk about hosting and sharing platforms. Let’s talk about monetization. Let’s talk about audience availability.

I’ve been uploading my gaming videos to YouTube because that’s where my vlog went. Everybody knows YouTube, and every social media, blogging, mobile, and console platform bends over backwards to make sure videos play and play well. They’re huge, and despite their roots in small-time producers, they’ve shifted focus to their subscription service (YouTube Red) and their live TV service (YouTube TV). This has, by necessity, changed their attitude toward advertising.

I’d only heard of Twitch in passing, and had considered it a place for more hardcore gamers than I’d ever be. I started watching when a friend (more so since I started watching, to be honest) returned to streaming as a job, and discovered that I’d been really wrong. Twitch has streamers that are at all experience and intensity levels. They have competitive communities, communities surrounding fandom, and non-toxic communities, just to name a few. The only things they lacked were video archiving for viewing later, and an app that was anything other than frustrating. But I had YouTube for that, so I started live-streaming to Twitch, and exporting to YouTube for non-live viewing. And it was working great! I was even bringing in some pennies from ads on my more popular videos.

And then I logged in to YouTube’s Creator Studio and got a banner notification that my monetization had been revoked. They had removed it from all creators with less than 10,000 total views. This would have happened earlier, but there had been a bug and I’d slipped through the cracks. That was all the communication I received.

No grandfathering in of current creators, no heads-up emails, no appeal. Now, this is entirely within YouTube’s rights, and makes sense with the business pivot I noted above. That didn’t make it any less irritating.

So I started looking for alternative platforms, with no luck. Until I took a look at my past videos on Twitch. Some that I’d thought deleted were back, all the way to August. There was a new option for collections, which is their implementation of playlists. The decision came down to this – was I ok with the trade-off of a less well-known platform and a problematic non-browser viewing experience for great communities and a business model focused on sharing gameplay?

Yes, I was.

So, I’m going to be uploading and streaming through Twitch for all of my gaming stuff. I’ll still be putting my vlogs on YouTube, and my blogging will stay here.

Let’s see how this goes!

Local Politics

I’ve voted in the primaries, and here’s a quick breakdown of who and why:

Lansing Mayor – Andy Schor. Not only does he have a plan, he has a downloadable PDF on his site detailing his plan. DETAILS. Twenty-three pages of details!

City Council, 4th Ward – Brian T. Jackson. He wants to focus on social justice. He has a practical, straightforward outlook that appears to me.

City Council, At Large – Kathie Dunbar, incumbent. I like what she’s been doing, and I want her to keep it up. Kyle Bowman. He wants to focus on police relations with the community, and police accountability to the community, including measures like personal cameras.

Writing Journal

Written 23 July 2017

So, there’s a really jarring jump in the first chapter between Susan struggling with her thirst and Adam’s arrival. She just completely drops everything that’s been tormenting her because she loses herself in the bike. I give the shift a half of a sentence and that is just not enough.

It’s got to be more gradual. The forces in her need to duke it out. The thirst vs. The mesmerizing, this Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!

Instead of one defeating the other, they should be neck and neck when he sits down.

How did I miss this?

There’s another geared-for-adults Transformers show! It’s called Combiner Wars, it’s been out since August of last year, and it’s made up of five minute episodes.

Two sequel short series are planned: Titans Return and Power of the Primes. Just look at the voice actors!

Even though it’s on Verizon’s Go90 network, and is animated terribly (just… it’s bad), go watch it. Because Transformers, that’s why.