Down the Truffle Rabbit Hole

For Valentines day, I decided to make chocolate caramel cups.  They didn’t turn out too well – weren’t sealed at all, and caramel dripped everywhere, so I thought why not use my left over caramel sauce to try and make truffles?  I was going back and forth about whether or not to do the cup or truffles, and after making them out of chocolate and caramel sauce, I’ve been truffle obsessed.  I can’t stop looking up different wayt to make truffles!  They’re so easy to make!

So at first, I had 1/4 of a cup of caramel sauce left and used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to  have as my ganache to roll.  That one had absoutely no problems, was super easy to rol, coat, and delicious to eat!  So I figured, since I rolled those in cocoa powder, why not try dipping them in melted chocolate next time?  The caramel truffles had to say cold or else they melted, but having them cold I liked a lot better honestly – at room temperature, you couldn’t taste the blended fudgey awesome that was caramel adn chocolate.  I usually am not a fan of cold chocolate, but for those, I made an acception.

 

So I figure, try some more on Sunday Crystal.  You can use heavy cream, do the traditional recipe, and it’ll turn out just as great!  So I did that today, and…

 

They weren’t hard enough to roll.  I had them in the freezer for five hours, and they just weren’t rollable.  I realize now that I should have upped the chocolate in a heavy cream recipe, because heavy cream is probably thinner than caramel, but I figured at the time that I could just rolls them and it’d work!  But nope – no matter how hard I tried to freeze them, they just weren’t solid enough for said rolling.  Putting them into my candy melts while the melts were too hot was a baaad idea too, because it just made the chocolate melt.  So instead, I froze the candy melts for a while to see if that would work.  But nope again!  Like I said, they were just entirely too soft to roll or work with.
So, as an artist usually does, I improvised!  I mixed the ganache and melts togehter, instead of trying to coat the ganache, and it worked!  It didn’t keep the flavors seperated, but it did make a truffle.  Tasted like a black and white cookie sort of truffle with a soft center.  Since it was a test batch, I only got four of them, but glad I was able to figure out a way to rectify the situation instead of just be discouraged about the situation, which is what I’d normally do.

 

As much as I’d love the experiment more, and try a 2:1 chocolate to heavy cream ratio, I’m honestly truffled out!  THey’re delicious, but bo, are they rich.  The candy melt ganache combo wasn’t nearly as weet as the caramel chocolate ones, but they still were very decadent and full of ooey-gooey truffle goodness.  I thought it was really interesting to see that the ganache still kept it’s softer shape amongst all of the candy elts, and likewise, the candy melts got hard.  So, I think maybe if I upped the flavor profile in the ganache and made it stornger tasting, doing a truffle that way would work?  I’ll have to intentionally do one that way and see how it comes out to see!

 

I’m really enjoying making chocolates, and can’t wait to do more…once I take a break.  It’s me and my brother eating these because my Mom doesn’t want to get hooked on them, and I don’t blame here because they’re so god and hard to not just want to eat them all up after making them XD  But I definitely will be making truffles, and experimenting with them throughout this year!  Didn’t realize how easy they were to make~ I got a little discouraged about making them after the year befor elast and botching them at Christmas, but I think I’m at a far better place in my baking journey atm so I can fix things that go wrong, as I did today.

 

That’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen!  I say I won’t be making anymore chocolate things, but my brother really wants some chocolate oatmeal cookies…
What have you been up to in your baking?  Would love to hear in the comments!

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1000 Words Final Fantasy X-2 Fandub/Cover, Happy Valentines day!

 

I really wanted to do a cover for Valentine’s Day this year, but doing a traditional love song just isn’t my cup of tea.  What is? Video game music!  And since I’ve been on a major Final Fantasy kick, and have always wanted to cover this song, I figured why not?  Forget Eyes on Me, this is the true classic FF love song that transcends time!

 

I don’t care what anyone says:  I adore FF X-2.  It was one of my childhood RPGs, and despite it’s flaws I just can’t hate it, especially for giving us this gem of a song, and this gem of a scene.  I’ve always wanted to do singing fandubs, but never had the equipment to do so…until now!  So decided that this song would be my first one because it’s so iconically linked to the scene in the game for me.  It was tons of fun to do, and honestly, making music videos out of the game scenes, or just syncing up with where the song plays in game has been something I’ve been really enjoying…and I’m tempted to adopt it as my main video style, but we’ll see!  Not ruling out any video styles honestly, this year, I want my channel to be super chill 🙂
So yeah, hope you enjoy this cover/fandub!  And have an amazing Valentines day.  I’ll probably be making some cookies with left over caramel sauce from the caramel cup chocolates I made yesterday!  I’ll see you after I leave my sugar coma rotfl.

Learning to Use the Midi Editor More Efficiently in Reaper

Usually, when I have problems in a track, I re-record until I get it down right.  With a recent track I’ve been working on I tried that, and it just wasn’t working.  No matter what I did, there were still breif timing issues here and there, and it had gotten so bad that it just wasn’t worth trying to re-record.  So I did my second best option, using the midi editor.  And in doing so, I learned so much!

 

Before I only knew the basic controls of using the midi editor, which was making big jumps with my notes.  But through using the shortcut help mode in Reaper, I figured out how to move it by tiny lengths, and man what a difference!  I had always been annoyed by the midi editor because I thought you could only do big jumps, but now I see how much control it gives you to just go in and edit parts you don’t like.  There were a few sections that I would have never been able to fix via recording, and all in all the control I had over my midi notes was really exciting to be able to do.  It’s just another skill in my toolkit that I’m so happy I can use, and it majorly enhances my composing flexability!

 

I’m so happy I can use the midi editor to it’s full potential, now I see what people mean by midi being really easy to control and use!

Getting Into Yet Another Hobby, Drawing!

Since I don’t have enough things to do in my life (if you’re new to the blog, that’s total sarcasm, I have more hobbies than I know what to do with them) I decided to get into yet another thing!  It’s something I’ve thought I’d never be able to do again, but after reading a few articles on the subject, decided to give it a go because I used to do it when I had vision and really enjoyed it.  That my friends, is drawing!

 

It all started when I saw news that a 3D Doodler pen  was accessible to the blind.  I found this out through a blind gamers forum I joined recently, in their off topic section.  I expressed interest in how cool it would be to be able to draw again, and a user commented with alternative ways to draw that the blind have utilized, and linked to a few source’s.  The one that stuck out to me most was this one  and it got me thinking…why not try it again?  Of course I’m not going to start out as a Mozart  or anything, but I really would like to just draw and color, and see what happens.  So I ordered a sketch pad, some art grade pencils, and am going to start watching drawing tutorial videos on YouTube to get a general idea of how to do things!  I know there’s no surefire method to drawing, and practice is key, but I’d just like to learn some basics I can use as building blocks to start sketching.
How am I going to outline my drawings?  Is something you may be asking.  Well, let me show you!  The user who replied to me mentioned these and how the blind use them to outline their  work.  They then take a pencil, and draw with the wikki stix still down, and color in with them down also, and when everything is done, you pull them off, and you have your drawing!  I had used wiki stix in the past, like way back when they weren’t even remotely popular.  In high school, my brother would use them for his geometry class, and his assistant would make raised shape outlines with them.  So when I saw that people used these for that same sort of purpose, only with drawing, I was like “Duh, because that’s how we used to use them”.  So I bought a pack of wikki stix along with my sketching supplies, so I can do that method.  The 3D pen would have been cool, but I’m more into hand drawing than making 3D models and stuff.  Plus, with the wikkis, you can make 3D models too, so win-win with having both around the house.

 

I already have colored pencils, even though I would have liked to buy some prismacolor ones lol.  But they were just an added unnecessary price tag, since I have some already.  I’m more excited about the artist grade pencil set, that’s going to be cool to use!  And I got 2 sketchpads, so plenty of paper to work with – which I read is a must for beginners.

 

I’ll keep you guys posted on how this goes!  If anything, I’ll do it as a relaxing hobby.  I’m really excited to be able to even do this though, and it’s all thanks to finding other inspirational blind people on audiogames.net.  I’m so happy to have found this community, because there are tons of fellow blind gamers, musicians, game creators, and it’s just such a nice breath of fresh air as opposed to older blind communities I’ve been a part of back in the day.  Of course there’s forum drama, because what forum doesn’t have that, but all in all, a great community, for both sighted and the blind.  If you want to check it out and are sighted, go ahead!  There are some sighted people on the boards that hang out too, which I find super cool.

 

I’ll be sure to post my pictures when I get started!  But don’t be surprised if when I start, it’s just a ton of colored in shapes haha.  But excited to add drawing to my long list of hobbies in 2018!

My Thoughts on the YouTube Partnership Changes

I tried to condense this into a tweet but 280 characters is too small for me on this issue so time to blog about it!

 

If you haven’t heard, YouTube has changed their guidelines for becoming a YouTube partner – aka, putting ads on your videos to make one billionth of a cent on each view of your video.  Because of a big YouTuber doing something incredibly stupid, (which happens entirely too much), YouTube has decided to “crack down” on…everyone who has done nothing wrong.  The new Partner guidelines require a channel to have 1000 subscribers, 10000 overall channel views, and 4000 hours of watch time within a 12 month period.  They’ve sent an email out to all their smaller creators, myself included, and have said if our watch time doesn’t get to 4000 in a month, then our partnership is terminated.  If I get to that I can reapply for partner, but seriously YouTube?  Punish everyone who has a smaller channel and let the bigger people who caused all of this drama get off scott free?

 

I have such mixed feelings about this.  Was I planning to be a full time YouTuber?  No.  Is it going to effect my channel?  No:  I put monetization  on my videos because I could, but have only made a dollar on it and you need 100 to be paid out by Google.  I have to reach 20 dollars on Soundrop, and have, because it’s a far easier goal to reach.  It’s conflicting because it’s not like I was making any money at it, and not like I was planning to be a full time YouTuber – it’s just a hub for my music, which I sell elsewhere and a creative outlet for me.  But what it makes me feel like is a piece of trash that YouTube could care less about.  Why upload videos to a platform that decides to change the rules to hurt everyone, accept the person/people that did the wrong thing?  Oh wait, YouTube is the only massive video hub, so you’re stuck with it if you want to post videos people will actually run across and possibly watch.

 

I’m not going to change the way I run my channel, but I legit was getting pumped about getting back into making videos.  I’ve been enjoying making let’s play videos, was planning to start recording choice videos of me singing on camera, wanted to live stream some mini concerts, was going to start vlogging eventually.  Like I said, I’m not going to stop doing any of this, and am still going to post on YouTube, but after they showed their utter lack of consideration and care for any small creator, I’m not going to put all of my eggs in one basket so to speak.  I’m glad I was already planning to distribute my music more openly this year on Spotify, iTunes, etc etc, and I’m going to make a more active effort to promote my patreon, as well.  Because if YouTube isn’t going to support ALL of their creators, then why should their creators support them?  It sucks that they are the only big video distribution platform out there, but I don’t see that changing so it’s between dealing with their garbage policies, or not making videos at all.  I love making videos, and stopping making videos I feel is letting YouTube win, so to me the best alternative is to use YouTube for what it originally was intended for:  posting and sharing videos, and not making money on it.  Make money elsewhere, where you’ll be treated far better.  Heck, with as little as spotify pays out per stream, at least once your content is on there, they don’t yank your chain when they feel like it.  I’d much rather build a spotify following because of that, and since my medium of creation is audio, it’s a win-win for me.

 

So yeah, TL;DR:  I’m just going to use YouTube like I usually do, and branch out to better oppurtunities for actually making money.  I’ve had this mindset of post whatever you want on YouTube, and if they are going to treat everyone like this, that just reaffirms to me that I’ve made the right choice in not trying to bend to their whims.  My channel won’t be adversely  effected – I’m pretty sure.  I saw someone mentioning that a demonetized  video is harder to search for?  But I highly doubt that.  Hey, look on the bright side:  It’ll save me going to another tab while uploading a video!

 

Do you have a YouTube channel?  What are your thoughts on this change.  If you wanted to make a channel, does it make you second guess doing so?

Took a Little Break from Music

And by little, I mean liiiiittle.  I took a week off from arranging this ambient album, and went to do some other things.  It really helped me re-center what I wanted to do with this ambient album/EP I’ve been working on, and how to approach it.  I also discovered some nice new tricks I can use for videos, and that will also help me in the future!

 

I have a decent amount of covers I haven’t posted, so decided to work on getting my backlog out.  Linked below is the first part of that series of covers!

 

 

Working on ambient tracks is certainly an adventure all it’s own.  I’m realizing covering dungeon/cave music, or more atmospheric sounding stuff in general is a far better route to take.  Also, I realized you can be a lot more liberal with the chords you leave in and out of the arrangement, and in listening to some other ambient tracks, and some awesome advice from friends, I realized that I can try and combine some sparce strings with vocal layers as said chord progressions in the covers, and see how that sounds.  All in all, ambient tracks are a lot more experimental, and I’m going to take advantage of that and experiment with different approaches to each track.  I just went and made 2 soundscapes to play with for arranging over,, and have to go do a third one to tinker with too.  But I’m not going to stress too much over arrangements in this style and just go with the flooooow~

 

Blue Fields is one of the tracks I’m going to have on my ambient album of Final Fantasy tracks, so I hope you enjoy it!

Let’s Play Blind Love, Blind! Episode 1 of my Let’s Play series

 

So this is the type of content exspansion I’ve been talking about, and I’m super excited to share it with you guys!  I decided to play this visual novel because the name was something I couldn’t pass up, and playing it blind has been really fun.  I’ve already gotten the 2nd episode recorded, and have to edit it, didn’t think I’d have as much fun recording these as I do!  It’s super chill, relaxing, and fun just recording how I react to these things, and I hope you enjoy this ride with me 😀
In other news, I’ve learned 2 very valuable skills.  How to record and use OBS, and that I can edit audio for videos in Reaper, my DAW of choice.  I love it!  With Reaper, I can sync up audio for videos and do it easily:  Just hear if I’m talking with myself at the same time, and bam!  Video sysnced and ready to go.  This is going to work wonders for me, because I used to have to find an editor to do something that basic, but now that I can do it myself, I think I’m a lot more open to recording myself singing on camera.  Having to find someone to sync up audio was an extra stress level that made  making cover videos not enjoyable for me, so I’m so happy that that is over!  I’m still testing doing different videos, and recording with OBS, just learning the software, so I can use it optimally.  Maybe I’ll bite the bullet and do a live stream eventually, who knows!

 

2018 is shaping up to be a great one full of changes for the better for me.  I’m getting out of my comfort zone, and really liking the things I’m doing, I wouldn’t normally do.  It’s stretching my creative brain too, I can’t wait to get back to doing some covers in a style I came up with that I am going to test, and see how it works!