I attempted to start this weekly thing a few years ago and didn’t have the following to get it off the ground. I still don’t but here we go. But it’s not up and coming creators and artists it’s already established ones.
Since the practically meteoric rise of the social media platform that sounds like a refreshing breath mint, I’ve noticed many of my favorite YouTube Creators have lost the views they have been used to getting. I firmly believe it’s this other social media website’s catering to a world’s ADHD tendencies that has created this issue.
So I decided I’m going to spotlight these creators, regardless of my lack of following or influence. There are conditions. These creators aren’t going to be the biggest names in the biz. No Mr. Beast or Sepsis’s Eyeball or Cut the Pie or whoever. These will be creators that craft, or make you think, or teach you something. Creators that work for your views.
This week’s Spotlight is on a YouTube Creator named Chris Ramsay.
Chris Ramsay is a Canadian slight of hand artist/magician/ and puzzle, uh, guy? Puzzler? The Puzzler. Sounds like a Batman villain. Lol wait there’s a video.
He also commissions puzzles, has his own line of merch, decks of cards, escape room puzzle, the list goes on. The dude also spend what cannot be a small chunk of change creating his own studio/workplace to create in that honestly looks like the coolest place to work ever.
I first came across him three years ago, I think. YouTube recommended me one of his puzzle solving videos. And the puzzles have gotten even more complex as the years have gone on.
One of the most important things to note is the intros. He and his team can create absolutely stunning, movie quality puzzle intros. Like, if they do not one day make a full length movie with the skills and equipment they possess it will be a disservice to the world.
I enjoy watching him solve puzzles because I would never have the patience to finish one without throwing it, or taking it apart. Some of the puzzles he solves are absolutely so elaborate and expensive that I’ll never lay hands on him. So I’ll live vicariously through his videos.
He also has an entire series (there’s a playlist) of “future me” puzzles, where he received a message from his future self and he has to solve the puzzle.
And I cannot forget the entire escape room he had built just to solve with his buddy Wes Barker.
Like I said, though. He’s not just puzzles. He does magic too.
He managed to snag a small role in the movie Spiral with Chris Rock, because of his magic.
He does videos reacting to people doing magic, he teaches card tricks, which to be honest I’ll never be able to do, and shows magic tricks.
Chris’ most recent video was one where he honestly and vulnerably shared how the change in engagement on his channel(s) has been affecting him. And considering the movie quality level of his videos, how hard they have to work, and the money spent on them, it’s understandable.
Understandably Chris is taking a break right now. But I highly recommend checking out is videos on YouTube and Instagram, and his website!
Things I’ve learned and will hopefully remember next time.
How to add in an image or video Picture-in-picture style: I use VideoLeap to edit my videos, and there’s an option called overlay. I used it to add reference images I used, as well as a TikTok video I “borrowed without permission” because I like the sound of duck feet slapping around.
Edit your actual video completely to your preference FIRST, and add in extras later: editing piece by piece and adding in your features, like Overlay, graphics, sounds, voice over etc, and then having to go back in and rearrange and scale extras to fit and sit where you want will increase edit time.
When using screen record as your primary source of content, you probably don’t need everything. Just snippets: the unholy amount of footage I have of doing the same thing over and over again, that I had to cut, is astronomical.
DON’T MARATHON EDIT: trying to get all the work done in one session is going to exhaust you, and lead to poorer work. Take your time, over multiple sessions, and step by step.
Remember why you are doing it: if my niece hadn’t been so excited about the whole thing, I don’t think I would have done it. It’s hard to quit when a kid has expectations.
SPEEDING THINGS UP IS YOUR FRIEND: this is not an instructional video. You can go at ludicrous speed if you want too, or need too. And it cuts down in final runtime.
In the end
My niece, who seems to be the only one who cares about it, actually watched the whole video this time, at least once. And she chose the next drawing. A dragon. I’m gonna start by doing some research tomorrow.
If your a little behind the times, first off same. Secondly, I’ve recently decided to punish myself challenge myself and try to get better at drawing. Specifically digital “art”.
My niece was asked to pick from three options and she chose a duck so that’s my next punishment challenge.
She currently has the Flu and I sincerely hope she feels better soon.
A duck is an animal I have never been in super close proximity to. In fact, my general rule of thumb is that if I do not know them I should keep my distance, out of respect for both of us.
However it is important to note that it’s on my bucket list to touch an elephant. I will never do it but by golly if I’m not tempted.
An animal cannot give you direct and clear permission to touch it. It can touch you, but that does not give you permission to touch it back.
The same cannot be said for people. They can give you permission. They can also deny you permission. A good rule of thumb, unless you know the person well, is no touchy touchy.
So I am suddenly reminded of this dude’s Tikie Tokies. About how to pick up a duck. Go watch it. It’ll either make you laugh, or make you do that, “huh, I’m not sure how to feel about this” thing.
Back to the topic at hand, I have no preconceived notions that the duck I am going to draw, eventually, will be any good. It’s gonna 100% be cartoonish and silly. But, you know, I’m not here for perfection, I’m here to have fun.
I’m gonna try really hard not to try to hard, to not let it get the best of me. The sunflower I completed in one session, and I’m sure I could have done more for it in more time. But the duck I’m gonna practice with. I’m gonna erase and start over a lot.
Honestly the goal with this second drawing challenge is to, in the end, be able to look at it and go, “Hmm, I ain’t mad at that.”
And also like the sunflower, it’s gonna be a sticker. Couple of suckers maybe.
I’m gonna learn how to do that too. Because right now the only thing I can afford to do for entertainment and betterment is learn. Through the Google of course, and Wikipedia. Although, because the founder of Wikipedia pretty much dissed Ol Musky, I really should donate.
Anyway, the melatonin and heated throw are telling me to say goodnight.
This whole video would look better if I’d spent more time on it. And if my iPad would have stopped telling me it had no memory and stopping my screen recording!
The Drawing Challenge
I needed a creative outlet that I could feasibly do that had very little expectation, for myself and others. And because I love that random generators take some of the work out of whatever it is I’m trying to do, I pulled my favorite website up and found their “Random Things To Draw” link (go to “more”).
I wanted to use Procreate on my iPad because I knew I could screen record some of the process.
By doing the challenge I hope to improve my very poor drawing ability and my knowledge of the Procreate app. I also completed the whole thing in one sitting. So, I know it’s not gonna be great.
But here it is.
I tried to make it shorter by speeding it up.
My iPad kept ending my screen recording, so the videos are all over the place. Then I got a “memory is full” warning. I’ll have to go back and delete a lot of nonsense if I do this again.
I now know, though, to screen record in bits and pieces as opposed to the whole process. I’ve also learned to adjust and crop videos before adding text.
Should I do voiceover next time? Or just music and text? Also, last time I used app provided music, I got a warning from YouTube as someone reported my use of a song even though it was provided in the app.
We’ll see what happens!
Also, my niece will hopefully see my little message to her in the end. Lol
Like any good, well-intentioned parent I told myself, before I had kids, that I would not let my child spend its time with its nose in a device.
And like most parents that was a bold faced lie. “No devices” is a fib we unwittingly tell ourselves because we want nothing but the best for our children. But then we ourselves spend all our time with our noses in a device. And guess what?
THEY LEARN FROM US. Children learn by seeing and hearing someone else do it. That’s one of the first ways humans learn. So they see us with a device and they want one too!
My child divides her (device) time between YouTube Kids and Roblox. I have her Roblox account set (I’m pretty sure) so she cannot communicate with strangers. I need to double check that.
But YouTube Kids is pretty well half decent filtered content. But as a grown adult person who has used and posted on The Tube, I have seen some things that can slip through the cracks.
So I decided I would “look into” some of her favorite YouTubers. My first victim—I uh mean subject is LogDotZip.
What’s The Kid Think?
Who is ‘LogDotZip’?
Before getting into the deep research into who this feller is, let’s first state what I know. By side-eyeing The Kid’s device screen, I can gather that he is an expressive, chatty, Minecraft player. He has made her laugh a few times, and his videos are some of the few that she will either watch in their entirety or over again.
When you google “LogDotZip” the first things that come up are, of course, links to YouTube videos. The next thing that comes up is Google’s helpful “People Also Ask” feature. And the first thing right off the bat is his name. “Who is Tyler Pappas?”
Of course I knew his real name isn’t LogDotZip, which, by the way, google has informed me is his gamer tag, which he derived from “LordofGods” which comes from “Yu-Gi-Oh”. After he tweaked it so as to not offend anyone, and added .zip, it became LogDotZip.
To be perfectly frank, the first time I heard The Kid say the name I thought it was jibberish. Lucky for him he picked something super unique.
Mostly because he turned a fun time with some games into a business.
Tyler Pappas now owns what appears to be multiple companies, all because he became popular playing games on the Internet.
I also found an article from 2018 on Tubefilter.com, where he discussed starting out playing RuneScape at 14 years old. It took years for him to start playing Minecraft where he really developed a fan base.
The four year old article also talks about some plans to work with Microsoft (who own Minecraft) and the original creators of the game. This turned out to be his own game, which was released on MineCraft Marketplace, called Block Island. I can only assume my child doesn’t know about it, or else she would have said, “Mommy I wanna play that.”
But lets get to the real dirt shall we? What’s the fastest way to find out what you can about a perfect stranger? Social Media of course! And Mr Pappas has an Instagram!
I have learned several things scrolling through his instagram. First of all dude is in his 30s. I would have guesstimated him to be mid to late twenties at the most. That means half his life has been on YouTube in some form.
Second. He as a beautiful family, who he spends lots of time with. He posted an image from December 2021 where he met some fans. LogDotZip, which is the name of his company, hit 30 staff members that same year.
A quick glance at the only valid next social media site, Twitter, shows me that he is religious. As someone who is decidedly and wholly open about being absolutely not religious, I’m not mad. Or judging. From what I’ve seen he doesn’t seem to put any of it into his videos. But he does display it, not overly, in his social media presence. Which he has every right.
Okay, so I’ve found absolutely nothing to tell me to immediately go block this dude from my child’s YouTube Kid’s account. The next logical step is it *shudders* watch his videos.
While I enjoy playing Minecraft myself, I tend to not watch videos about it, and I also don’t typically watch videos that might be made for kids. That’s not to say that I don’t watch absolutely ridiculous stuff there either. But, it’s time to stop avoiding the high possibility that I will completely ruin the YT algorithm and search for LogDotZip.
The first video that comes up is one from four years ago.
This video is about the number on piece of advice one has for a newbie playing Minecraft. DON’T DIG STRAIGHT DOWN, and when to completely ignore it. To make this short and sweet, you should never dig straight down because you might land yourself right into a situation that, well, might kill ya. From lava to a ravine. This particular video has over 33,000,000 views. If this man made a dollar off each view that’d be over 8 million dollars a year. I don’t know how getting rich of YouTube works, clearly, but that’s a lot.
This post is not about the things you should and shouldn’t do in Minecraft (I mostly just like to build and craft things), it is about the creator of the video. And the first thing I must make note of is one of the things briefly mentioned by The Kid in my video. Tyler Pappas’s voice. Dude has a voice fit for voice work. He has a unique voice that makes watching the video interesting. But he doesn’t do a simple voice over, he does a picture-in-picture type of situation where he floats himself up in the corner as he plays on the screen.
His facial expressions and reactions when something’s not working or doesn’t go the way he wants it too are kinda funny too. That adds to the watchability. I think it adds to it especially for my kid because let’s just say, momma has a funny face, and The Kid likes funny faces.
This video is almost right at 15:00 minutes long, and there wasn’t a single boring moment, there was always something happening, or he was saying or doing something dunny. He describes everything he’s doing and instructing on how things work.
From my brief scrolling and watching of his YouTube page, he does nothing but Minecraft videos there, and those videos are mostly mods or other code related features, and often reviews and detailed descriptions of new updates to the game.
With over fifteen years on YouTube, and more than one channel, the dude is doing something right, and I’ve not encountered anything that could be considered negative at all something children shouldn’t encounter.
While I’m not entirely comfortable with how much device time, whether it be YouTube Kids, Roblox, or whatever my child has, I can with mostly confidence say that I’m not mad at her watching just about anything LogDotZip or Tyler Pappas himself puts out.
Ap Harbor is musical group from Eastern Kentucky. Their Facebook page describes them as “whimsical and weird music from Kentucky.” Which I think is very accurate! They are a new updated “rebrand” of a former group called “The Woodsheep”. If you’ve been with me a minute you might know about them through another post. The rebrand is due to many factors, including but not limited to the Pandemic, life changes, and updating their sound.
The Overthere Chair*
The Wind That Blows Through Its Branches*
The Mountain Wayfarers*
The Amygdala Goes “Auck, Auck, Auck!”*
The River Drane
Don’t Burn That Bread (So Help Me God)*
10 Watt Moon*
Winter in the Tire Stacks
The Album “The Wiser Moon” is a compilation of old and new. The old being rerecorded and updated versions of previously released original songs. These songs were released in different forms on other albums.
I enjoy all the songs on the album. I should, considering I’ve been following along with Andrew Preston (The Ap in Ap Harbor) and all the iterations of his music career for a while now. But I think on this album my favorite is “Fiction”. One of the new tracks, written with his grandmother in mind (who might be his biggest fan) and an elementary incident with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. The track includes audio of her, and not only does it help bring the story home, but her voice also reminds me of my own mom, and home. Watch the very clever video below.
The first time, and every single time I hear this song in any form, my first is that it is a lullaby. It’s a children’s lullaby. The vocals are soft and pleasant, and the whistling adds to the peaceful relaxing feel of the track. Also, as a someone with a writer brain, I visualize “Cranberry World”. I have been tempted many times to sing this to The Kid when she’s falling asleep. In fact, The Kid also approves.
10 Watt Moon
It’s the visual for me. In this song is about bad men coming and stealing the moon, only to replace it with a lightbulb. Can you imagine waking up to the moon, whom we all recognize, being replaced with a 10-watt lightbulb? What would that light look like?
The vibe that this album gives me is indeed weird and whimsical. As someone who tends to listen to only the music on her iTunes, which rarely changes and has song’s I’ve had for literal decades, the unique feel that Ap Harbor provides on “The Wiser Moon” is not what I would have sought out. And had I not known Andrew previously I might never have encountered it (I am old and set in my ways after all). But that’s not to say I’m not glad to have enriched my playlist with this album.
When I listen to The Wiser Moon in its entirety, I see a mix of fantasy worlds, with a little The Wind in the Willows, a little fairytale, and with just a little bit of sea adventure. It’s a fun, curious little trip around a quirky world with interesting characters and sounds.
She sees a thing and wants said thing. She’s had it in her head before, but it’s been a while. I’ve had to explain to her multiple times in the last 48 hours that it costs money we don’t have.
It goes without saying that she has, at least once, said, “But were RICH!”
I understand that kids her age don’t really understand how hard money is to come by, or inflation and gas prices. But she’s just repeatedly reminding me how broke I am.
Even though she’s had some trouble the last year or so, she is an amazing kid, and she deserves all the things she wants in life. I just don’t have the means with which to give them to her.
But here’s how silly my child can be. She asked, when we were supposed to be going to sleep, if they (Build-a-Bear) has unicorns. Unicorns are the be all end all for her. I said I don’t know, probably. I told her if I were going to Build-a-Bear, of course I’d want to make one, I wonder if they have T-rex’s. She said, but what’s your favorite animal? BESIDES a TRex. I said, I dunno, a bird probably?
So we insisted that we look at their offerings. We saw a lot of animals, including a TRex and a velociraptor. We had to search for it, but we found a unicorn, and she loved it.
My hope and goal is to save up enough to take her to Build-a-Bear for her birthday. It’s toward the end of the year, so maybe about six months is enough time. The closest location to me, I believe is in Charleston. it would be an amazing thing to be able to give her.
Memorial Day started as a day to remember and honor the lives of United States military personnel lost in service. But like all national holidays, Memorial Day has morphed into something else.
Now, every year families get together and purchase mass manufactured (questionable quality) Memorial Flowers from big box retailers.
Now while, in my decade plus of working in retail, I have seen the quality of these flowers improve, they’re still expensive. Especially if you’ve got a lot of graves to cover.
This post is not about Memorial Day. This post is about how life and death are both expensive.
My Mother-in-Law, a widow, every year spends hundreds of dollars on handmade memorial flowers. She buys them for her husband, her son, and her daughter-in-law, who all passed in the years I’ve known them. But she also buys them for her siblings and parents, and a little brother (I think) she lost when he was very young.
She usually buys them for her In-Laws, but another family member took care of those this year, making travel and expense easier. She purchases these off one of The Husband’s cousins.
I recently asked The Hubs, “when your mom is gone, are you going to buy all these flowers and put them on yourself?”
His answer was that probably definitely for his parents and brother and sister in law.
When my mother passed, she was cremated. It was one of the things she said she wanted, more than once. She had a habit of not making her mind up, and she also didn’t want a financial burden put on us. And she knew that cremation was much less expensive than burial.
And I’ve been asked on occasion if I’ve felt like I’m missing out because I have no where to put flowers, or visit her. My response is always no.
Why? Because not only do I have what I like to affectionately call a shrine—a little shelf on the wall with her picture, a framed lighthouse postcard from a friend (hi, Selena), a figurine of the lighthouse where we spread most of her ashes, a small bottle of her ashes, and a really weather beaten Pepsi can—but I feel like she’s with me every day.
But also, these physical forms we walk around in, these squishy, fragile, sacks of meat with faulty parts and an expiration date, these are nothing. Even those who are not religious know that we do not linger here when our bodies expire.
And eventually there will come a time when we are each forgotten. For some it may take long, some are forgotten in a single generation.
No, do not buy flowers for to decorate a marble or granite slab of stone resting atop six feet of dirt. You might on day but a body in that box, with a full suit, nicely done hair, and makeup to hide the death. But eventually that box will hold nothing but old bones and ratty textiles.
Not only do I not want to be an expense or a burden while alive—at some point I’ll no longer be able to work and will be taking up space—but don’t waste your hard earned money on something I’ve left behind.
Like a hermit crab out grows it’s shell and leaves it behind, once we die we don’t linger. So, unless necromancy becomes mainstream, compost me (unless of course state law STILL forbids it). Otherwise, toss me in an oven and roast me at 1400 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy.
Then take what’s left and do with it what you will. There are options.
Before mom died, she’d said, amount other things, to spread her ashes at a lighthouse. She had a particular one in mind but could never remember it. I know she’d have been happy with where we chose.
But, I also think, that despite her desire to not have money “wasted” on her, she would have been perfectly content with the money spent. Because all four of her kids were under the same roof, and did something together, because of her.
Amount of Money doesn’t determine how much love there is.
Just because you spend hundreds of dollars on flowers, every single year, to decorate a stone above a box in the ground, doesn’t mean that you’re honoring that memory any better than anyone else. There are more meaningful less commercial ways to do it.
But as I always say, I’m no expert, and I’m no one’s boss (except The Kid, but that’s a post for another time). If it makes you happy, and you have the means to do so, honor the memory of your loved one how you see fit. Just don’t judge others for the way they do it.
And don’t wait until THE WEEKEND OF MEMORIAL DAY to do it and expect YOUR LOCAL RETAILER to still have what you want.
Broke like the broomstick of an elephant wizard learning to play quidditch. Okay I didn’t mean physically broke. I mean broke like I reach into my pockets and moths fly out cartoon style broke.
But the physically broke thing applies too. However, this post is amount money.
Despite the fact that I make a decent living at my Day Job, I have very little money at the end of the pay period. It’s mostly because of a truck with a growing list of problems and a thirst for expensive things.
I can’t just blame it though I eat and like to buy The Kid things.
Anyway, I’ve decided that I needed to engage one or more of my 72 side hustles. And since I can’t afford to upgrade this website suite to monetize it (I would LOVE TO), it’s gonna have to be one of the 71 others.
Now, I know I have never made a significant amount of money off jewelry making in the past, and I’m not delusional enough to think I’m gonna ride a wave of earrings straight to the bank.
But I have several social media outlets at my disposal.
Feel free to, you know, check me out.
I enjoy jewelry making and I have probably about a thousand dollars worth of jewelry making stuff. Okay I might be exaggerating. But I might not.
I stopped making jewelry because I got disheartened that no one wanted anything. Or they all wanted the same thing and I didn’t have enough. Or the large pieces I made wouldn’t sell.
Anyway, I’m going to try to mass produce as many different kinds of earrings as possible and hope something sells. I’ll use my socials to advertise (freely not paid) and hope I make a dollar.
So I was sitting here, I’ve been up since 6am, and I’m trying/struggling to not fall asleep because The Kid has been sick and I wanna be awake if she needs me.
And I decide to do I tiny bit of self care and massage some of my homemade all natural nail and cuticle balm (shameless plug) into my nails, and the lavender scent is not helping my wakefulness. My whole plan was to stay awake as long as possible by reading. Haven’t stayed up late reading in a long time.
But somehow I manage to start thinking about how sometimes when my dad would drive me back to college after my bi-weekly home visit (I was unlicensed to the extent my learner’s permit—which took five tries to get the first time—expired, and grocery and laundry money coincided with Dad’s paychecks) we would stop at this little ice cream stand in a small town not far from home, and we’d get milkshakes.
Dad also liked to count the dead animals, laugh about “shoo poke cat” skunks, and point out flocks of turkeys in the hills.
He also quite enjoyed the “scenic routes”. That man knows how to get anywhere in all kinds of ways. I swear there’s a hillbilly GPS in his noggin with the longest routes with the best views highlighted.
He can fix just about anything and if he can’t do it he know someone who can. He knows literally everybody, actually.
Except the time he told me I didn’t need to flip the breaker to change a ceiling fan, I’d trust him with anything. Almost.
He’s put new doors on our house—cutting them to fit when necessary. He installed a new-to-us window when I was angry and threw a popcorn tin on my bed, which bounced into my window. He wasn’t happy about it.
There was this one time, we bought a computer off my uncle. It worked fine (for Windows MILLENNIUM EDITION) but I wanted to use the floppy disc drive (yes, I’m old) to save stories too. But I couldn’t get the disc into the drive.
So my dad, who could barely read, never touched a computer, got a screwdriver, opened it up, popped the face off , and shined a light inside.
My small cousins had shoved A PLASTIC MILK JUG RING AND A DORITO into the floppy drive of the computer. No wonder we got it so cheap. They thought they ruined it with the millennium edition update.
From swapping out engines and transmissions in vehicles, to using black electrical tape on open wounds, to knife making and wood carving, my dad could do just about anything.
Also that “can barely read” thing? Yeah he taught himself how to read so he could get his concealed carry permit.
Oh and can’t forget to mention how proud he was of his new dentures.
No idea why my daddy suddenly came to mind. I don’t call him enough, and I feel like a bad daughter for it. But I do think about him a lot. He’s almost 70, his health isn’t what it used to be, and after a heart attack, a quadruple bypass years later, diabetes and a lifetime of smoking it wasn’t much to begin with.
He retired after mom died, and I’m starting to believed when he says he shouldn’t have stopped working. Not that he could have worked much longer, but it kept him busy and gave him a purpose.
Thanks for reading this mini tribute to my silly old dad. Had absolutely no plans to post today, but he came up. I’m gonna see if I can convince my kid to come sleep with me.
Here’s a poorly shot and zoomed in video of a cardinal.