I think when you have a huge, multi-year project you’re working on (like we do), it makes it easier on family when they ask you what you want for Christmas. We have a huge list of boat projects that all cost money, so we’re never at a loss for things we need. Amazon, West Marine gift cards and good old cash have been the staple for gifts for the past few years. But this year, Rich and I really couldn’t think of anything we needed for the boat. Yes, we still have a shit-load of projects, but asking family to buy you a battery for your boat is not what they want to hear.
Rich is terrible at thinking of gift ideas for himself (mainly because he gives it no effort). I, however, have no trouble coming up with things I need or want. Throughout the year I routinely see or hear about things I would like. I find them on Amazon and add them to a wish list. Then before Christmas I move some of those items to a Christmas wish list I share with family. So far it’s worked out great and if I get a gift card or cash, then I can always buy the stuff off my wish list.
All this leads into a couple of changes Rich and I are going to try. We’re both a little burned out on writing blog posts. I’m also burned out on nagging Rich to write something (which is obvious by the lack of posts since November). So this year, Rich and I have decided to try making more videos of our boat projects. I know we have some, but they’re not edited very well (or at all) and really don’t give a lot of useful information.
We’re also going to switch from Vimeo to YouTube. I really like the Vimeo platform, but I’m not super stoked about paying for it, and the free version isn’t great. I’ve never really watched anything on YouTube other than the occasional funny cat video and for the past month or so I’ve been
vegging out watching researching YouTube videos that I think are well done. I’ve even started a YouTube channel with a couple of old videos that I spruced up a little.
Why Our Old Videos Suck
One of the reasons we never did much with video was our computer situation. My old 2009 MacBook Pro could barely handle basic functions like checking email and so that meant Rich would have to edit any videos on his computer and he’s
not very motivated to do that too busy working on projects for that. Now that I’ve upgraded my computer I can do the editing. Also, Rich was using the GoPro editing software which he found difficult and frustrating to use.
So while I’ve been “researching” on YouTube, I’ve also been trying to find video editing software I like. I never really liked iMovie and I didn’t even want to attempt the GoPro software. What I finally settled on is Filmora by Wondershare. It has a lot of functions; it comes loaded with a lot of free elements (like music, transitions, bottom thirds, etc.) plus other ones you can buy; it’s really easy to use and it just seems to work without any glitches.
I also started using Canva. It’s an online graphic design app that’s really easy to use. It has a drag-and-drop interface and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It’s also used for both web and print media design and graphics. It’s one of my new favorite websites.
My Sony a6000 camera takes great video and one of the things I received from my Christmas wish list was a Sony zoom microphone. It attaches to the hot shoe and picks up sound a lot better than the built-in mic. I will eventually buy a “Dead Cat” wind muff, but now I don’t think I need it. We’ll also still use the GoPro and our cell phones.
I also got Sony Bluetooth headphones. They’re really comfortable and one charge lasts about 20 hours. Plus Rich won’t have to listen to me fumble around editing the video (that’s pretty annoying).
With an Amazon gift card I bought myself a laptop desk. Rich’s computer is at the nav table and mine is relegated to the salon table. Unfortunately, the cushions in the seating area are god-awfully uncomfortable for anything longer than about 2 minutes. I get a terrible back ache every time I sit at my laptop so now I sit on the settee with my new laptop desk. Side note: We’re hoping to get new cushions and upholstery eventually, but might wait until we head to Mexico where we’ve heard it’s a lot less expensive.
We also have a variety of tripods, selfie sticks, a chest harness and other miscellaneous gear that we’ve had for a while. I may have to get a wireless mic for times when we have to shoot too far from the camera for the mic to pick up the dialog. I was thinking about getting a basic LED light that fits into the hot shoe as well. Lighting conditions in the boat, especially in the winter, is pretty low so an LED light might do the trick. Side note: Buying a drone is probably in our near future. We’ve seen some amazing drone video footage from some of the YouTube channels we’ve been watching.
We also got some cash for our anniversary and Christmas so we splurged on a new Froli system for our mattress. We had been using Hypervent which worked fine for keeping the moisture under the mattress at bay. But lately Rich and I both wake up feeling terrible with achy backs and sometimes waking in the night with sore hips and shoulders. I don’t know if our mattress is just breaking down (it’s about 3 years old and should last about 10), or if we’re just getting old. Anyway, I thought I would give Froli a try since there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.
Our mattress is so thick (6 inches total) I didn’t think we would be able to tell the difference, but I noticed it almost immediately. When I installed the Froli system I set everything to the middle setting. There are three settings and Froli recommends the middle one for average-sized people. We slept on that for a few days and did feel better; however, I like a softer bed. I adjusted my side to the widest setting and added a couple more of the softer (light blue) springs and it’s made all the difference. The mattress is so much more comfortable now. If anyone is wondering the Froli Travel V-berth Large Kit with one 12-pack expansion kit fits our V-berth with just a couple of pieces left over.
Finally, not really a Christmas present to us, but we recently bought a Honda 2000 watt generator. We were always going to get a generator and northern California has finally been getting the rain it desperately needs. We’ve lost power a few times, but never for very long. We live in a rural, flood-prone area (it’s all islands and levees in the Delta). So we figured it’s a good idea to just get it now. Of course, since we bought it we haven’t lost power once.
Speaking of power, I should have a video of Rich’s rewiring of the AC on the starboard side. He also cut open some dead space and made new storage areas under the nav station. There might be an upcoming written post about that. Up next he’s FINALLY going to tackle the breaker panel (Yay!)