J.P.

Pro.

I’ve taken my next step in my video editing adventures and purchased an M2 Pro Mac mini. I bumped up the GPU on this machine so I could have as much graphics processing goodness as my budget would allow. Apple told me it’d be here on Monday; it arrived today.

It’s a very capable little machine that flies along nicely.

My M2 MacBook Air still does a fantastic job and its duties and will be my go to machine for my day to day stuff. And I have always found the MBA to be quite fast. This new Mac mini blows that performance a bit out of the water.

I know Apple should have an M3 Mac mini coming out soon, but I wasn’t in the mood to wait around for it. For what I am using this computer for, I am more than happy with my purchase.

Strap yourself in for some video goodness. Less than a month until my storm chasing adventure!

Celebrate.

Earl and I have been together for 28 years. For some, this seems like a long time. For us, time flies when you’re having fun.

Actually, our first date was 28 years ago. We had dinner at very nice place called Cielo’s here in Tucson. I look forward to going back.

Fortune.

I am on United 2407 from Raleigh-Durham to Houston. It’s a pleasant flight. The air is relatively smooth, the passengers are calm and my flight status with United automatically upgraded me to Economy Plus at no cost. My connection from Houston to Tucson has been upgraded to first class and I will enjoy that every much. I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne.

I’m sitting here in my seat looking down on the U.S. landscape and I can easily discern that we are somewhere over Alabama. Not only because it makes sense, but because my husband and I have been fortunate enough to have driven in all 50 states and we have experienced each of them. I sometimes forget that the average American had been in only a handful of states and then I realize how lucky I am to be where I am in life at this stage of my life.

Even though we’ve done a lot of traveling over the years, I’m still wanting to do more. The big cities are alright, but I want to see more small cities, more villages, more small towns. One of my favorite traveling experiences ever was driving across Minnesota and coming across the village of Litchfield. It was Autumn 2013 and the main street was closed off to traffic. I parked the car and cheered on a football team and band for a school I’d never seen with people I’d never met. When the band went by and did a small routine I was high-fived by proud parents who didn’t care who I was. I was just there, being me, smiling, and enjoying the experience.

We all need to do things like that more often.

As I’m well into what I assume to be the latter half of my life, I want to seek out more of that. I don’t want to put up lawn signs declaring who to vote for. I don’t want to get incensed by the news. I don’t care who loves who or what does what or why they do it where. There’s so much more to the big picture and I just want to enjoy the big picture.

The big picture is so awesome. Why do people forget that?

Dream.

If I could go back in time and have a conversation with my younger self, it would be to reiterate, “Never lose hold of your dreams”. Drawing out computer and cash register keyboards to pretend typing? In 2024 I can’t get away from computers. Focusing on getting the second hand on every clock in the house in perfect sync? As an adult you have a system at home that does that. Flying airplanes? Yep, even a gay man like you can do that with relative ease.

And your love of Star Trek, including imaging being in full uniform with friends and “talking Trek”? You’ll even do that once in a while.

What worked for the generation before us may not apply to us Gen Xers. We were often left to figure out things on our own and we did. Holding onto a playfulness seems lost in today’s world.

ChatGPT to the Rescue?

As I try to move a little further away from social media, I find my mind wandering a bit while I’m work. Traditionally I’d grab my phone and look at Mastodon or something, but I find social media being a bit cantankerous these days. Watching a YouTube video might be a good diversion, but then YouTube starts recommending “Bewitched” episodes and then people throwing chairs at a wedding or something and I end up going down a rabbit hole with those shenanigans, so I try to stay away from the videos as well.

What to do, what to do.

I’ve been doing quite a bit with ChatGPT lately, mainly in the space of feeding it some code I’ve written and asking it to “make it better”. The results are surprisingly a strong learning tool for me, because some of the time it breaks the code completely and I have to figure out how to fix it, but most of the time it shows me a coding technique I had not tried before. That’s rather nifty.

When I get an impulse to start playing around with social media, I now try asking ChatGPT some questions. For example, instead of jumping on Mastodon after lunch, I did this:

I’m finding having a brief conversation with ChatGPT around a productive topic is helping me stay on point today. And so far I have an impressive Accomplishments list going for a Monday afternoon.

Yay AI!

In The Woods.

I’ve been enjoying the Regional Park adjacent to our friends’ property here in the greater Durham, North Carolina area. I had a nice hike amongst the evergreens today. It was easy to find my center amongst this greatness.

I love evergreen trees. I love their resiliency, the strength, and the song they sing when the wind passes by.

Here in the woods they stand above the maple and other trees that have not yet reached the heights of the evergreens.

Roughin’ It.

I’m currently at our friends’ house in North Carolina. I’m traveling solo this weekend, as evidenced by my flight photos from Thursday evening. The opportunity to travel like this, and keep working at my day job simultaneously, is something I enjoy about the New Economy. I have always wanted to live a “digital nomad” lifestyle. This weekend’s trip approaches that concept. I head back to the desert on Tuesday evening.

Jeff and Mark live in the Raleigh-Durham area. Their home is surrounded by woods. It’s peaceful. It also has one scrap of copper DSL line feeding Internet to their home and home offices. Cable TV is not an option for them, it’s Frontier DSL or nothing.

This type of DSL isn’t know for its blazing speeds. I’ve discovered I’ve been spoiled by excellent Internet access in our last three homes. In the desert we get nearly “gigabit speeds” over our connection with Cox Communications. This Frontier DSL connection here in North Carolina is reminiscent of the connection we had back when we first moved into our home in Upstate New York back in late 2003.

Editing video and sharing content here over their Internet connection is reminding me of some of the challenges I may have with connectivity while on my Storm Hiking Trip next month.

I guess I’ll just spend some time enjoying the Zen like atmosphere in these parts.*

(It took 4 minutes to upload that photo).

Caturday.

Apparently the birds have been going back and forth to a local rooftop. Truman has often stationed himself on Earl’s desk to watch the action. He complains if the blinds are not opened a sufficient amount so he can see what his flying friends (or foes?) are doing.

Eclipse.

I really enjoy Jeff Geerling‘s YouTube channel. His geek related content is awesome, he seems like a nice guy, and his videography skills are top notch.

Like many others in North America, Jeff had a stunning view of the recent the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, and shares his experience through his latest video.

There’s one line at the beginning of his video that particularly captured my attention, “make the videos you love”.

Now that’s inspiring.