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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Thoughts for 2019 & re-invigorating this blog

It's extremely difficult for me to fathom the concept that months have passed since my most recent post here, but the date stamps do not lie!  Truth be told, this site hasn't provided the value to readers it should have for quite a long time.  Most of my posts have been simple links to new videos I've published.  Sadly this can be a more reliable way to get notified of new content than subscribing directly to my YouTube channel and even "clicking the bell," since YouTube's algorithms these days are positively torturous and often seem simultaneously anti-viewer and anti-creator (unless you make or like exploitative compilations of other peoples' content or over-the-top insane conspiracy theories).  That's a rant for another place & time, though.

It's a new year and I'm finally ready to pull out of its slumber by giving it a new life closer to its original intended purpose.  I'm going to start (again) focusing on original, free-form text content here, almost as if it's a blog or something.  I've never been a fan of doing videos for the sake of doing videos, especially when a lower-bandwidth medium seems more appropriate, but I do occasionally have random thoughts I'd like to share, and this will again be the place to share them.  I'll begin presently!

Right now the parts of my life that intersect with brick-built construction toys and the "Jangbricks" brand are very well sorted, in some cases both literally and figuratively.  Here are some of the important things I've accomplished over the past couple of months alone:
  • Revived the "my thoughts" content format that I formerly used back in my days as a Hero Factory blogger.  Just six videos of this type got me comfortable with the production work and generated some of the strongest positive viewer engagement I'd seen all year, a fantastic result that I'll reach for again in the future.
  • Bumped up the actual visual quality & detail level in my standard videos.  If you're using a device/browser/app combo that supports it, you'll see a "1440p" video quality option showing up frequently, but even at the previous 1080p HD setting, you'll notice crisper edges and less noise & blotchiness.  I installed minor software & hardware updates on my main work PC and overclocked the processors to help me keep rendering times in check even though the output files now have significantly higher bitrates than before.
  • Bought and/or developed equipment & processes to capture more, and better footage in New JANG City, as previewed recently.  This was a challenging, but fun effort that should pay dividends for years to come as I tune hardware & techniques.
  • Completed a huge round of cleanup around the periphery of the studio, and in short-term product staging and intermediate-term storage.  Basically, I have a lot more space to move about and also to stage 2019 sets before & after their reviews (a bigger deal than it sounds like), and most things I interact with on a regular basis are better organized.
  • Created "Studio B," a very compact, yet very configurable space in which to comfortably film the building of sets with different visual styles.  Also finally soft-launched a YouTube channel just for said builds, something I'd been inching towards for well over a year.
While I'm on the topic of the new build channel (!), I'm really liking the setting and the freedom to be just a tiny bit more creative with regular work even though it technically has slowed me down to initially set it up & dial it in. I'm actually feeling really happy overall, and I'm not sure what all it's about, but there's a sense of general optimism lingering around.

It's a good start to the New Year.


  1. Great to hear Jang! I'm really looking forward to more blog content from you in the future! I've recently been going through lots of your old BIONICLE/Hero Factory blog posts (part of research for an upcoming project of mine) and I'm stoked to hear more from you in the coming year. You're a much-needed voice of reason, maturity and positivity in the LEGO community. We're very lucky to have you.

    -Dan "legomaster1378"

  2. I am excited about you having the Studio B set up. One of the types of video I miss is the speed builds of your custom MOC's with commentary. (Such as the ones you did for the instrument store and lazertag arena building).

  3. I would be interested in your mocs builds, would love to learn as much as I can! I don't normally watch build videos but mocs I will

  4. Jang I may be taking your words too seriously but I am honestly surprised to read that you are not sure why you're feeling happy and optimistic. I'm a 28 year old guy from Australia and as an outside observer for several years I have always thought of you as successful, funny, chill, interesting, intelligent, insightful, unique, dynamic, hard working, and genuine.

    My intuition says to me that you are someone that enjoys collecting, cataloging, sharing, and engaging in community and in each of these areas of your life there is a strong focus on achieving lofty goals with a level of perfectionism.

    That is all wonderful except when it gets to a plateau that is detrimental to your personal well-being.

    It is my hope that you remain well, optimistic, and all around happy. And it is my hope that you also recognize all those qualities I mentioned above. AND it is also my hope that you recognize that you are not "jang the lego reviewer" you are "JANG" the guy who is FUNDAMENTALLY a creator - not in the wanky youtube sense of clickbait trash - but in the true-blue sense of creation, that is, bringing something to life, an experience, an idea, a dream. It is JANG that is the core of your youtube and the core of JANG is the creativity within you. I humbly but steadfastly believe that if you were to cut back on reviews, or keeping up with the rather intense lego output at times, you would without a doubt shed some viewers who simply watch for reviews - but I firmly believe you would retain all the many viewers who visit to share in some JANG, your creativity, you. I hope you always know that brother.


  5. I guess I now have a good reason to check this blog more frequently!