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September 2018
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Alex is NINE!!

Well, he turned 9 yesterday… we aren’t celebrating this year until the 21st because of all kinds of scheduling things that also are my excuse for not having this post go out at the exact moment as usual. But at September 12th at 21:03 UTC (2:03 PM Pacific, 5:03 PM Eastern), Alex was exactly nine years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!!!

So first, the traditional annual interview. He is uncooperative as has been normal for the past few years. In the first half of the video (recorded a few hours BEFORE he turned 9) he pretends to be 3 and does not speak in full sentences and hides a lot. In the second half of the video (recorded a few hours AFTER he turned 9) he speaks more fully, but spends his time climbing all over my office and jumping on me and generally being unresponsive to actual questions. Then he spits. I miss the years where he actually spent five minutes giving honest answers to my questions! But those days are long gone! :-)

Now, a few highlights of what Alex is like at this milestone. Each year of course the I provide less details, as it is more up to him to talk about himself. But I’ll allow myself a few highlights.

  • Alex’s YouTube channel is now up to 50 subscribers. Help him get to 100. Subscribe now!
  • We are still years behind publishing his videos. We have 7 external 4 TB hard drives almost completely full of videos he has recorded. I just bought an 8th. We’re still publishing videos from the FIRST of those hard drives. Videos he recorded when he was 6. He’ll do live streams occasionally, or publish something out of order when he really wants to though, so there is current stuff on the channel too, in between the old stuff.
  • But, over the last few months, we’ve upgraded our kit. He is now editing the videos he puts out with Final Cut Pro X, professional level video editing software, rather than us just posting things right off the screen recording, or using something simple like iMovie. So more and more titles and special effects, animations, and other fancy things are getting added in. Now, we still haven’t quite gotten to the point where he realizes that sometimes less is more in terms of those sorts of things, and that perhaps we can edit out some of the slower bits from the videos, but his technical aptitude is increasing by leaps and bounds as he figures out the tools. I help occasionally with bits and pieces, but MOST of what you see in his videos is all him…
  • He is also doing lots of image editing. It is for his videos too, as he is making “custom thumbnails” for them rather than accepting whatever YouTube picks by default. This usually means taking several screenshots from the video, then composing them in collage style in Pixelmator (a nice image editing tool for the Mac), adding in the episode title and such. Just like Final Cut Pro X, he has been getting very proficient in using Pixelmator to get the results he wants. Some of the thumbnails he puts together are quite complex.
  • Alex is now in third grade!
  • Sometime a few months ago, his primary TV watching switched from YouTube, where he used to watch lots of DanTDM and Stampy and such, to binge watching various series on the various streaming platforms. Recent shows he has binge watched from start to finish are the new Voltron series, Transformers Prime and Transformers RescueBots, Ninjago, and everything ever put out in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
  • He and his dog Miley are still best friends. Well, Miley likes him best when he is asleep or chilling and calm. When he is excited and bopping all over the place, Miley tolerates him. He still is a bit rougher with her than she should be as she gets older, but she is VERY good and puts up with everything.
  • Alex still does Minecraft. He has some worlds that he has been working on for over three years. Incredibly elaborate, including red stone contraptions, behaviors he programs with command blocks, and all sorts of other things.
  • The whole family went to a “family camp” together at Camp Seymour for a long weekend this summer along with Alex’s best friend Kaylin. Alex and Kaylin (and Amy!) had a blast. All sorts of traditional camp activities. They were running around flat out having fun for the whole time. Alex still insists he doesn’t want to do it again next year, but…
  • Lego is back in the picture with a vengeance! He is doing things with Lego sets every day almost. Sometimes straight out of his imagination, but often building sets following the instructions, sometimes large complex ones that he does over the course of many days. There is Lego EVERYWHERE right now.

As usual, there was certainly much more. But this is enough.

Happy birthday Alex!!!