Change of pace

Age of the Geek Column: So I'm an award winning journalist now. Neat.

Specifically, videos I put together last year for the Pioneer Enterprise landed me the award for best video content for that particular category of papers at the recent Iowa Newspaper Association awards.

It's nice to win anything, but I'm especially happy to have gotten recognition for that work as video editing has been a passion of mine for several years now.

I've spent countless hours staring at timelines in Adobe Premiere, trimming and layering video clips frame by frame. I've uploaded hundreds of videos to my YouTube channel, from my weekly pop culture news video to movie reviews to just random things I thought would be fun to try. Entirely self-taught and using my own equipment, I'm always excited when my job allows me to put the skills I've developed in my hobby to a practical use. And, apparently, I've gotten pretty good at it.

There are few things I enjoy more than rendering a finished video.

Also, I haven't made a video in months.

Long and story short, since attempting to upgrade my PC last year, I've been on a rollercoaster of frustration trying to troubleshoot problems with my machine. This has resulted in several periods of time, which includes the immediate future, where I am effectively without a fully functioning PC.

This is a problem. Video editing aside, my PC is central to basically everything I do at home. It's how I watch movies and television, it's where I play video games, it's where I work, and where I write recreationally. Not having it is extremely disruptive to my daily routine.

But that's not always a bad thing, right? It's good to shake things up every so often.

On the bright side, not having my PC around has encouraged me to find other ways to fill my free time. I've never stopped buying books, but I do find myself accumulating books faster than I read them. I have shelves of novels that I've always intended to 'get around to later' and without the distraction of video editing to occupy my time, 'later' has become 'now.' I've read more books in the last couple months than I have in the last several years.

It's also not like I've stopped playing video games entirely just because I don't have my PC. After all, that's what Nintendo consoles are for. I have a couple hundred more power moons to collect in "Mario Odyssey" and a whole catalog of Wii-U games I never got around to finishing.

My love of anime has also been rekindled thanks to my PC drought. As a habitual multi-tasker, I naturally gravitate towards activities that I can stack. For instance, I rarely play videogames on my PC without a video of some kind also running on my second monitor. If I can clear a few rounds of "Overwatch" while catching up on my YouTube playlist, that's two birds with one stone. Following subtitled anime, on the other hand, generally requires more attention than that, making it low on the entertainment priority list until those other options were taken off the table.

And, though it's a little embarrassing to admit, my house has gotten considerably cleaner now that I'm not spending several hours of my Saturday every weekend cutting together a pop culture news video. It's amazing how much easier it is to get around to doing dishes or just picking things up when you've really got nothing better to occupy your attention with.

So yes, there are positives to disconnecting from the PC and finding other things to do. But, as I said, there are few things I enjoy more than rendering a finished video. While it's been refreshing to take a vacation away from my self-imposed weekly upload schedule for my YouTube channel, I miss the video making process. I'm constantly finding myself thinking, "That's something I should mention in my next video" or "That would be a fun project to try."

And then, like the books on my shelf, that idea gets catalogued in the back of my mind as something to try later, when I have the capability. I fear I've only traded one backlog for another.

One day I'll be back in business. I'll get my PC sorted out, or buy a new one entirely, and finally be able to return to my old routine. Or maybe I'll come up with a new routine.

In the meantime though, I'm just looking on the bright side. Beats the alternative.

Travis Fischer is an award winning video editor for Mid-America Publishing that can't edit video.