Basement Hero

Here’s a little story about how I was voted Blizzard Lighting‘s Basement Hero 2015.

In October 2014, I saw Blizzard’s post about this Basement Hero Contest. Having just purchased five of their SkyBox EXAs, I was quite interested in the contest (not to mention all the free stuff I would get if I won). They were seeking an individual (preferably a DJ) with an HD camera, a passion for lights, time to make reviews, and ability to post them on YouTube. I was thinking, “This sounds like me!”, and “What do I have to lose?”

So, I grabbed my iPhone, a tripod, my new SkyBox EXA and headed to the garage. After recording take, after take, after take, after take (I think I’m a little bit of a perfectionist) I edited and finished my submission video and sent it in to Blizzard.

Sometime after submitting my video, I received an email stating I was a top three finalist. The winner is then chosen by online votes. So I headed to social media and asked friends and family to vote. After watching my lead go up and down for two weeks (which seemed like a month), I won!

I’m excited to be the Basement Hero 2015! So excited, that I wanted to meet the people behind the brand. Conveniently, Blizzard HQ is only about an hour away. On New Years Eve, I took to the road, to see the space and the people behind Blizzard. I had a great time! I learned about the company and got to see first hand how its going through growing pains (a good thing). Blizzard is planning to move into a new facility in a year or two. If you think the products are great, the people are great too! I got to talk to some of their awesome employees and enjoyed lunch with them too. Before leaving, they honored me with an official Basement Hero sash and had me hold a few random object from around the warehouse for a quick photo…

If you’re interested in seeing my reviews on Blizzard Lighting’s new products, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’ll be posting about one each month. There are a few posted already, so go check them out!

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Print, Pick, Pre-order

iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus? That is the question. I’m on the “every other iPhone” track. So I’ve had the iPhone 5 for about two years, and I really don’t have any complaints. I mean, yes, I wouldn’t mind a larger screen. But how much larger? I’m not sure. And apparently so are others.

To help one decide which new iPhone model to purchase, AppleInsider has posted this to-scale printable. It’s a nice template you can print and cut to help you choose your new iPhone. Go download it, then 1. Print 2. Pick 3. Pre-order!


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Drone goes up north

Drone goes up north

Last weekend, I got a chance to get up north to Omro, WI. I was really excited to bring my drone and take some photos and videos (see below). The landscape was very nice, the town small and quaint, and the Fox River reflecting the full moon.

The first evening, I took the drone out and got some footage of the area we stayed at (on the Fox River) and part of the town nearby. Fun was had by all playing yard games, grilling, and ending the night with a bonfire and s’mores.

The only worry we had was the weather. The forecast showed lots of rain headed our way for Saturday. As it turned out, we only felt a bit of light rain; nothing to stop our fun.

On Saturday, we started with a great breakfast before heading out to the rock quarry in Red Granite, WI. After a short 25 minute drive, we were there. Grabbed a spot on the rocks and enjoyed the scene and the refreshing water for a while. After I couldn’t hold it in much longer, I went and grabbed the drone to record the beauty of this quarry and the fun we were having.

The end of the night had a little precipitation falling, but that didn’t bother. We took the short trip into town to have drinks and play a couple games of bowling. I was able to confirm the old truth that I’m a terrible bowler. It’s still fun though.

The weekend was fun, casual, and very enjoyable. I can’t wait to get back there and take more photos & videos. Next time, I’m bringing my DSLR.

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Fireworks from a drone (No, not mine)

My friend and colleague, Cheryl K. shared this video with me. This person has a DJI Phantom 2 Drone with a GoPro Hero 3 Silver, and apparently, no fear. They took the drone and flew it right in and around a fireworks display. The HD video is amazing. You’ve never seen fireworks like this before.

I also have a DJI Phantom 2 drone that I just recently got last month. It’s an awesome gadget, but a bit pricey to be flying into an explosive fireworks display. So thanks to Jos Stiglingh for taking his chances; it was well worth it!

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Life Hack – Catch the Crud

Life Hack - Catch the Crud

Have you ever searched Google or YouTube for “life hacks”? Some ideas and things you’ll find are quite innovative, some helpful, and some you’ll never use. For instance, in this video of summer life hacks, they show how to make custom snack bowls with bags of chips. Or, this video suggests a proper way to hold Oreos without getting messy!

There have been a couple life hacks that I’ve come across lately, so I thought I’d share them in a “Life Hacks” series on my website. The first hack I’m sharing is how to easily “catch the crud” when drilling into a wall. When drilling into many surfaces, the debris falls onto the clean carpet or tile flooring. This requires getting out the vacuum or rags to clean up the mess. This hack will help with that.

I’ve seen some people suggest holding a vacuum hose right up close near the drilling area to catch the dust, however, I usually need both hands to drill straight and accurately. Just use a piece of tape, preferably painter’s tape, to catch the dust & debris. Just fold the tape at approximately 90 degrees to create a shelf. When finished, just gently pull the tape and throw away. That’s it!

Just the other day, I was drilling holes into the bathroom walls to install towel racks, and I had just finished painting and saw the painters tape sitting out. That’s when the lightbulb went off. It worked out very well, and made for easy clean-up. Give it a try (when you have holes to drill, of course). For projects with larger amounts of crud, use an adhesive #10 envelope to stick to the wall.

More life hacks coming! Stay tuned…

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New logo, new theme

Here I go, trying to find little bits of free time to dedicate to my own projects that somehow always get pushed the back burner. Now that summer is (technically) here, my normal weekly workload (supposedly) decreases some. I’m teaching a new computer programming class for summer school. The material is new & a bit challenging at times since programming is not my usual thing. But my main goal is that the students are having fun while learning, and I think I’ve been successful so far.

Just before the regular school year let out, Danny, a sophomore student of mine was seeking an independent project. He was a great student in my website design class with amazing Photoshop skills and creativity for his age. I told him to make me a logo using my name or initials and a nautical anchor. Not only did he just give me a logo that met my demands, he was able to create variations of the logo for different uses. Some use color fills, some have transparent parts, some are simple, and some advanced gradient colors. His work is impressive. Take a look:

In addition to the new logo, I changed the entire design of my website. I changed it from a custom theme I created a couple years ago, to “Fifteen“, a WordPress theme by Rohit Tripathi. As much as I’d love to create another theme myself, time has restricted me to finding this beautiful one.

Leave a comment below about what you think of Danny’s logos and the new theme.

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