I think you will agree when I say that time flies. Sheesh… A year and a half since my last upload on my channel? Feels like I recorded that yesterday. Don’t worry I haven’t been sitting on my hands. In fact, I have been so busy prototyping new gadgets that I have not had time to set up my lights and cameras to capture all that I have been working on. However, you are not missing out on much because these projects address VERY specific problems in my biomedical PhD research that would have little appeal to a general audience. Compared to two years ago, I know so much more about designing and prototyping computer controlled (CNC) machines. I hope this new-found knowledge results in more informative videos!
A few of you may be thinking, “Hey, I am in the biomedical field, and I would have liked to have seen you build some biotech devices.” If this is you, shoot me an email (email@example.com), and I can share some pictures of the automated PCR and flow cytometry prep machines that I have built. Saying that I am too busy to film is only part of the truth. I have also been unwilling to film, which largely stems from my lack of a dedicated workshop/studio. Whether it was at my apartment in Charlottesville, VA or my current shared house in Nashville, TN, I have been filming all my videos in my bedroom. When filming, my room quickly became a 3D maze of power and audio cables that were impossible navigate after I turned my lights off and searched for my bed. The tripods and box lights were a constant reminder that I needed to film a video when all I wanted to do was relax after a long day of work. I packed up all my video gear threw it in the back of my closet and my stress levels dropped drastically.
While less, my stress was far from inexistent. Most PhD programs are front loaded with classes. Usually, you satisfy all class requirements in the first two years and then work on your dissertation for the next three. Even when their graduate students have classes most advisors expect at least 8 hours (9am to 5pm) in the lab. By the time I finished my lab work, ate dinner, and did the bare minimum amount of chores I had just enough time to finish my homework and still get seven hours of sleep. Back in my undergraduate degree I would burn the candle at both ends, sleeping only a couple hours a night. I would catch a couple zzz’s in my large lecture classes. However, graduate school requires a much higher level of attentiveness. My experiments demand precision and mistakes can be costly, so I have put a priority on being well rested.
With my second year finishing up, a couple hours each night have been freed up (don’t tell my advisor!). I tried playing an hour or two of video games. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed battle royale games as much as the next guy, but I was feeling the creative urge to make videos again. This urge was bolstered when my girlfriend, Andi, recommended that I convert a section of the garage at my house to a workspace. Andi even said that she would lend a hand (score!). As with all projects the garage conversion took about 10x the amount of time and 5x the amount of money that I had originally estimated (I blame Murphy’s Law). I am very happy with the end result (see the banner of this blog post for a sneak peek). We framed the concrete wall, added two 20A electrical circuits, dry walled, installed lights, and added a lot of organization and bench space. This workspace will be the catalyst for many new videos.
To end this post I wanted to talk about my “word of the year”. I stole this idea from Andi after regretfully making fun of her for it. At first I did not understand how one word could define an entire year, but obviously, that is not the point. If chosen correctly such a word could act as a focal point for one’s thoughts and actions. Let me explain through an example. My 2019 word is sustainable. As I begin to work on YouTube videos again I want to make sure that the time I put in and my goals are sustainable. Producing many videos in a row and then dropping off the face of the planet for a year and half is neither good for my psyche nor for the community I am trying to build. Further, I want to design projects that are sustainable. In this instance I am not only talking about producing less waste and using “greener” materials, but also producing content that is maintained for longer. This includes fixing links on my website when they go down and answering questions in the comment sections and on the forum. I challenge you to come up with a “word of the year” and allow it to permeate through your year.
I will talk with you again soon. I promise it will be less than a year and a half.