Seattle Shiba Life 1

Trying out a “silent” video and Mozilla makes for a good subject.


  • First time taking the gimbal out. It’s really annoying to carry around, but the shots are great.
  • Shots are actually across a few days… debated if I should keep on building up more shots to tell a bit more of a story, but I decided to just stop here and go with it. Fairly satisfied with this short version.
  • It’s difficult filming Mozilla while holding a leash
  • Wish the day had a bit more clouds. The sun was really harsh, but I think the shots turned out okay
  • I added some light/flare effects to give some of the shots a bit more character and counteract the harshness. Fairly happy with those shots
  • I shoulda petted Mozilla closer to the camera
  • Maybe next time I’ll get a bit more travel/transit shots

Part 2: Las Vegas

Second part to the Phoenix/Vegas trip:

Vlog notes/observations:

  • Tinkered with some voice-over processing here a bit more… does it sound better? I dunno haha…
  • Holy shaky cam… I need to gimbal and/or get better at camera holding haha
  • Viraj is also a good main character
  • Really noticed auto white balancing messing with me at Bazaar Meat… will manually set it from now on
  • That said, I think I got a bit better at color correcting here… getting more used to FCP’s tools
  • I need to pause a bit longer on my food shots
  • Mentioned this in the last one, but I liked when I had some traveling shots in between locations and missed them when I didn’t… will try to be more intentional about grabbing those in the future
  • The transition from Bardot to pool time seems abrupt… seems like something in between could have helped
  • Similar for the one out of Shang… 🤔🤔🤔
  • I wish I had more footage of the yelling and of Janae going up/down escalators lol
  • I like the lighting at Esther’s
  • I didn’t pause long enough on the spaghetti pomodoro shot so I kinda hacked it a bit by slowing it down and then adding some camera shake effects… not sure how noticeable it is, but reinforcing my mental note to pause a bit more on each dish
  • Voice-overs are feeling a little more comfortable
  • There were a lot of different LEDs at Ichiza and I couldn’t find any shutter speed that would eliminate the flickering so I just gave up on food shots there haha
  • Mozilla needs his own video

Part 1: Phoenix

I went to Phoenix and Las Vegas with old friends to celebrate retirement.

Vlog notes/observations:

  • I originally intended on combining the whole trip into one video, but my friend Wendy suggested I split it, so I ended up doing that
  • Learning more about videos and general practices there, I’m not used to caring about shutter speed much, but I started to use variable ND filters to darken the image so I could use the desirable shutter speed/aperture/ISO for video even when it’s really bright out. In the plane shot here, I could really tell the downside of the VND as there’s some funky colorization going on.
  • I liked the intros I did in this video
  • Final Cut’s stabilization worked really well on the plane landing shot (while Sam is talking about lounges)
  • I don’t know why I didn’t brighten up Jen’s intro… it’s so dark!
  • Trying to find the balance between how I naturally talk and enunciating well and not slurring… I think I did okay, but some parts sound awkward to me!
  • I started to use different pieces of music and tinkering more with audio transitions… I liked the lead into Bacarona and the transition into Mark juggling his apple at Chase Field
  • Didn’t love the transition out of the baseball music…
  • I think I need to stop using auto white balance
  • I need to get better at color correcting with a bit more intent (rather than fumbling around with trial & error)
  • I wish I had a faster lens or something like the FX3… it was rough taking some of latter shots at Binkley’s cause it got so dark
  • Liked labeling each dish
  • Love the audio transition out of Binkley’s and into hotel breakfast. I just learned how to do that lingering echo from a YouTube tutorial and just happened to use it here to test it out and I loved it.
  • I thought I had my Sony ECM-B1M mic set to record from both the front and the back, but I messed up, so my voice is muffled… oops
  • Sam is a good main character
  • I should take more traveling/setting shots so I can better storytell going from one place to another

The Last Day

As I mentioned before, since retiring, one of my goals is to try vlogging and see how goes. I don’t really care for it becoming popular, but I do want it to be targetting somewhat of a general audience as a creative constraint. I’m somewhat of a digital packrat and if nothing else, vlogs are nice to look back in years in the future.

I’ve made a ton of videos on my personal channel over the years, but definitely very amateur. I don’t have any formal training in editing or shooting, so I’m mostly just winging it. With my recent vlog series, I’m trying to up my game a bit and learning along the way. I’ve been keeping mental notes of each video, but I figured it might be nice to just have an accompanying blog post to each vlog I release… kind of like some director commentary. =)

My first vlog was one I made on the day I turned in my laptop and badge to Stripe:

Some notes/observations:

  • Talking to the camera in public by yourself is weird!
  • I generally like the colors in this video
  • First time really doing voice-overs… I think I did ok?
  • I could probably get better at hand-holding my camera… a bit more jittering than I’d like. I have a gimbal but it’s such a PITA… maybe I’ll force myself to use it in future videos
  • In contrast to my predominantly Taylor Swift soundtrack from my personal channel, I started to use Epidemic Sound, just for the off-chance I do eventually end up monetizing the channel. I burned a ton of time searching for music. Content with the results for now.
  • Feel like I did alright with the edits/transitions
  • I could maybe smile more haha
  • Viraj had called me right before I headed to the Queen Anne library to congratulate me on retirement so I think that helped me appear a little more relaxed there
  • I like the Hot Tips?
  • Wish my camera had focused on “Dry Humping” a little bit faster


I pulled the trigger and had my last day at Stripe a couple weeks ago. It’s been an incredible ride and it sounds cliche, but literally life-changing for me.

I’m trying out retirement life and last week was mostly my first week settling into it. The week after I quit, I headed to Phoenix and Vegas with a bunch of the old crew to celebrate. As we get older, these types of trips seem more and more special and I’m glad everyone was able to make it.

I’ve also started up a vlog at @owiblabla where I’ve got an episode on my actual last day of work and I’ll have both Phoenix and Vegas up eventually. I don’t actually care that much if it becomes popular, but I’m going to make them as if they’re for a general audience as a bit of a creative constraint and see how it goes.

In talking about transitioning into a post-work life, I’ve mentioned that it feels a lot like graduation. There’s a big unknown ahead of me now and I’m excited about exploring it and seeing how it goes.



Last week I went to a surprise birthday party for Andrew in Oklahoma City. Also took the opportunity to swing by Dallas and visit Oriana and Kevin and meet their new pup, Potato. Short video of the trip:

Everyone was not sure why Andrew likes the OKC Thunder, but we conclusively determined this was because of Durant. I bought a Seattle Supersonics cap specifically for this trip and gifted it to Andrew before I left haha.

This is a weird feeling milestone. Most of my friends and I are turning 40 this year (or shortly after). 40 always seemed “so old” and now that I’m about to hit it, it kinda feels like it is, but also it’s not? Perhaps some of this is due to me not having kids of my own - I suppose “being 40” as perceived as a child was always the “adult with children” age. When I look back at all my friends from this trip, we don’t really seem that old to me, although we all agreed that we now can’t “act young” and invincible anymore. We can’t eat whatever we want, there are some knees hurting, etc. etc. But it was also obvious we also have more resources now than when we used to take group trips back in the day. We had a box for the game, a nice hotel suite to hang out afterwards, etc. etc.

It was really great seeing everyone. I joked that this was basically a high school reunion for many of us. It’s so cool to just snap into being comfortable with good people that you’ve known for over half your life even if years go by in between. The whole trip was really refreshing and lovely.

Later this month, Jonney and Kate will be getting married and I’m looking forward to catching up with another mix of friends in Houston! A month after that, I return to Houston again for:

This next year or so will likely be a milestone year for me too in various ways. Here’s to 40 and beyond!


Well, 2022 has been a year of settling in with change. Moving to Seattle has given me many “firsts” - first time moving to a new city, first time in a long time of living alone, first time voting outside of Texas, etc. etc.

Before I get into anything else, I’ll start out with a set of videos starting with my actual move from last October:

After that, I spent most of the winter/holidays alone (intentionally, since I did a lot of travel before the move), but I met some new friends and we had a wonderful New Year:

March and April were busy with back to back visits from friends and family:

Which is also when I unfortunately finally got Covid and had to skip out on some further trips/events. But, I managed to survive!

I’m looking into taking some time off of work this summer with plans TBD. I feel like life in America/the world right now is just filled with back to back traumatic events and we’re all gaslighting ourselves into somehow still being productive and moving forward.

In many ways, I feel like America is moving backwards and that’s tough to see from someone who grew up with seemingly unstoppable progress. I know I took that for granted now and I’ve typically been an optimistic, but it’s hard for me not to be pessimistic about the country since 2016.

In contrast to so much of what’s happening elsewhere, my personal life has been going well, which brings on some amount of guilt and feelings of helplessness. I’m hoping I can resolve a lot of that positively in the coming months/years. There’s still a lot I’m thankful for and potentials I’m excited about, so we’ll see…


The end is near

I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the state government in Texas. While a difference in opinion of policy is one thing I can generally live with, it has been increasingly obvious that Republicans across the United States and particularly in Texas are attacking the right to vote. Then, they use the reduced accountability to enact unpopular policies.

Perhaps in years past, I could give the benefit of the doubt in that we disagreed with election procedure rules, but the latest batch of proposed bills are so obviously anti-voting it is beyond the pale. In a historic year for a multitude of reasons, cities like Houston increased voter turnout by running 24/7 voting locations and offering drive-through voting. In Austin, we’ve used mobile voting centers that went to churches, parks, libraries. All of these demanded the same voting requirements as normal locations and no proof has been presented that these led to significant amount of fraud.

In the past legislative session and the current special session, Texas Republicans are trying to ban all of these efforts in addition to other election changes in the name of “election integrity.” On top of that, AG Paxton outright insinuated that if they had not blocked efforts to make mail-in voting easier, they may have lost Texas in the 2020 Presidential election. While Republicans, including Trump, love to conflate ballots and ballot applications, we were talking about applications in Texas. In order for these to have been used, these voters would have already had to be registered, submit the application to get a mail-in ballot, then fill out the ballot and return it. The clerks merely wanted to pre-emptively send the applications, making it easier, particularly for the poor or elderly to request a ballot. The issue here is not that these votes would have been from illegitimate voters. The right for these citizens to vote was not questioned. While the Texas courts sided with Republicans here on what clerks were allowed to do, this was not an effort to prevent illegitimate votes. It was a legal maneuver to suppress legitimate votes.

Texas voter turnout is, by most metrics, horrible. Despite record number of voters in 2020, it still stands at bottom 15% when compared to other states. About 40% of elligible voters in Texas don’t vote. There’s a plethora of low-hanging fruit we could implement to dramatically increase voter turnout. Instead, Republicans are committed to implementing further voter restrictions that have an outsized negative impact on urban voters. That is anti-democratic, not the America we should be striving for, and outright despicable. When those in power are no longer accountable to voters, the whole system falls apart.

I’ve loved Austin, my home and neighborhood, and many people here that I’ve known for most of my life, but I’ve had enough. I will no longer share my financial success with a state that is outright oppressive to its citizens and rigs the game in order to avoid accountability. Texas has shown it is afraid of the will of the people and so I will no longer entrust it my taxes. Godspeed to those sticking it out and fighting the good fight.

I have weighed various options over the past few months. This past week, I visited Seattle and pulled the trigger on a house. It’s exciting and bittersweet at the same time. I’ll be moving later this year and would welcome visits - I’ll have plenty of space for guests!


Since 2016, I’ve had the juxtaposition of many aspects of my personal life going rather well, but watching the nation around me succumb to the whims of a maniacal TV host. I will not enumerate the atrocities of the Trump administration or the multitudes of lies and character failings of this self-obsessed psychopath now, but I do want to reflect on these past few years and this election.

2016 and the following years were a wake-up call to me that progress is not guaranteed and the America I thought I knew did not exist. Perhaps most disappointing, I saw the complete failure and hypocrisy of the American Christian culture that I was immersed in through many of my adolescent years. Say what you will about picking the lesser evil in 2016, that’s no excuse to double down on supporting a blatantly evil man as it became increasingly apparent there would be no surprising positive changes in character. The campaigning and businessman Trump was not simply an act.

Regardless of how the election went, we’re barreling into further disaster. COVID infections are back on the exponential growth and this administration has literally given up attempting to contain it. We may very well be past being able to at all. The stock market seemingly isn’t aware we’re in a pandemic killing 9/11s worth of Americans every few days. It along with the economy in general are a ticking time bomb.

This election brings relief. At least we’ll have an Executive willing to govern instead of just shooting for TV ratings, but 2021 will not be instantly rosy or easy either. Biden/Harris is inheriting such an utter mess.

I had hoped 2016 was a fluke and surely Americans would realize their mistake. Perhaps the America I thought I knew was there, but just slipped a bit? I couldn’t fathom how a significant number of Americans could see these last four years and decide that, yes, now I will go out and vote for this man. Trump ultimately obtained record numbers of votes. The Republican party came away virtually unscathed in their complicity. 2016 was not just an accident and election night was heartbreaking in its lack of an immediate repudiation.

I went to DC in 2017 to protest the inauguration and to be on the right side of history. Someone had this poster and it still resonates with me.

As the disappointment of having to be dragged through a nail-biter of an election due to a broken system fades, I have to acknowledge that millions more Americans voted against Trump than for. There are incredibly heroic efforts of many Americans to resist this heinous administration resulting in dramatic shifts in states like Georgia. Despite the failures and ineptitudes of the Democratic party, we beat the fucker and come January, he’ll be leaving the White House like it or not. We’ve got our FIRST WOMAN VP! First black VP! First Asian VP! There is hope to be had here.

I’ve realized that the America I thought I knew was a fantasy. But, there are still inspirational heroes here and many of them already knew my America wasn’t reality and fought to make her better anyways. If they haven’t given up, my privileged ass certainly has no excuse to either.



I just finished watching Becoming, a documentary about Michelle Obama’s recent book tour. It really puts the feels on ya.

Regardless of whether you agree with the policies of various leadership, it’s really hard to deal with the juxtoposition of someone so poised and strong yet loving with leaders who are so blatantly dishonest, arrogant and spiteful. We took a huge downgrade and I hope we manage to course correct, at least a bit, this year.

Similarly, it’s been odd handling personal success contrasted to general calamity in the world right now and with America showcasing a complete lack of competency and leadership at its highest levels. We have 9/11 numbers of deaths every other day due to COVID-19 in the US right now and we have officials shrugging about that and claiming that more lives lost is an acceptable cost of business. “All lives matter” huh?

Even though he broke my Taytay mug, I’ve been committed to helping Sam develop his King TISA brand and created some mugs for his side business of wedding people.

A few weeks ago, before all the COVID-19 terribleness, Viraj invited a bunch of to Houston with no specified reason. We figured there’d be a big announcement like maybe an upcoming little Viraj or something, but no, it was nothing. I suppose it was nice to have done that before having the option taken away, but man, what a cocktease.

In other news, right before everything started to shutdown, we got a bunch of solar panels installed and activated. You can see our power generation on this public report page.

Well, here’s hoping for a better 2021.