My RODE PSA1 Microphone Stand Review

September 18, 2017 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Despite having bought a brand new microphone, and that microphone coming with a very nice stand of its own, I found myself needing a studio arm stand instead.

This is because I found that in order to get the best quality recording, that I needed to set the gain very low and speak close to the microphone. As a result, I had to either hold the microphone very close to me, or else lean forward into the mic. This wouldn’t do, and so I researched what the best mic stand for the Blue Yeti USB microphone was.

There was one clear winner – the RODE PSA1 microphone stand. It works perfectly with the Blue Yeti and will support its heavy weight. It costs about $100 USD on Amazon and is well worth the price, as you will see in my video review and demonstration below:

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Posted: September 18th, 2017 under Videos 4 Comments

So What the Hell Happened? Part 4 of 5: Airbnb

September 15, 2017 Posted by Tyler Cruz

In part 3 of my “So what the hell happened?” series, I wrote about how I started running a homestay. After our first homestay student, we decided to become Airbnb hosts as well.

So why Airbnb when we were already homestay hosts? Simple – to fill in the voids for when we had no homestay students.

We’ve now been Airbnb hosts for one year, although so far we’ve only ever hosted during the prime tourist season, which here is in July.

What is Airbnb?

 Unlike being homestay hosts, I doubt I have to explain to you what Airbnb is, but for those of you living under a rock, Airbnb is an online service that lets people rent out part or all of their home, just like a hotel. People will book a room (or entire house) just like a hotel, pay Airbnb, and Airbnb will pay the host.

Both guests and hosts leave reviews for each other, meaning that it is very safe for both parties, as you will likely be very satisfied with somebody who has an average of 5 stars.

The Fee

One thing that surprises me about Airbnb is just how small the fee is for hosts. According to the Airbnb website: “it’s generally 3%, but may range between 3-5% depending on the cancellation policy selected by the Host.” — this is a miniscule amount, especially when Airbnb is doing all the hard work of getting you a paying guest.

So if you were to list your downtown apartment for $75 a night, you would receive $72.75.

To be honest, I would be fine if Airbnb charged 15%-20%, as my main concern is getting guests period.

How Much Can You Make?

This will of course depend on a number of factors including: your location, the size of your listing, the quality and features of your listing, and the season. A listing in downtown San Francisco will obviously be a hell of a lot more expensive than a place in rural Nebraska, for example.

For me, I live on an island in British Columbia, Canada, and in a house which is about a 10-minute drive to downtown. The listing is for the large downstairs unit, then they have access to our shared spaces such as the living room and kitchen upstairs as well.

Again, we have only ever hosted during the prime season so far, but after expenses (little shampoos and soaps, for example), that 1 room brings in about $1,000 a month profit.

When you compare this to what you can make running a homestay, it’s not even close. However, running an Airbnb listing has its pros and cons as well, which I will be blogging about in an upcoming scheduled post.

Since we were booked solid (something like a 90% booking rate) this month, I raised our unit’s price by $5, but that room won’t be available for likely at least a year due to homestay students arriving in a couple of days.

$1,000 a month is most definitely nothing to sneeze at. While I’m not factoring in taxes for simplicity’s sake, that’s $12,000 in one year you can add on top of your normal income. So two years of Airbnb you could earn enough to put a down payment on a small apartment or even house depending on where you live, then rent that out (either to standard tenants, or again on Airbnb!). Then rinse and repeat.

How Has Running an Airbnb Gone so Far?

First off, I’ve only run an Airbnb by listing the downstairs “room” in the house that I live in, so I have no experience in running an apartment-based listing or a listing in a property that I don’t live in, which are a fair bit different from running one out of your home.

So far, things have gone very well. We’ve had no negative reviews (our lowest rating so far has been a 4/5 (which is very low by Airbnb standards), and actually became a superhost after our first month!

This was actually from a guest that had just checked out this morning!

Due to the review system, we have never had horrible guests. I require positive reviews as a guest requirement, and it’s simply difficult to get bad guests this way. I do not accept unreviewed guests (I only did for my first guests since our listing was also unrated at that time). I did have one guest that I didn’t care for, but he made a lot of bookings and wasn’t terrible so I could live with it.

The two hardest things about running an Airbnb has been:

  1. The cleaning between guests. This is when you turn into a hotel maid. Fortunately, most guests leave the place extremely clean (this differs from how a guest might leave a hotel room, as guests are rated on cleanliness!), and a lot of the cleaning is redundant. For example, a guest may have just arrived at 11pm and then checks out at 7am, and despite having only been in the room for 8 hours, you still have to clean everything in the room – all the sheets, pillow cases, bathroom, etc.
  2. We share our kitchen, so it’s a bit of a pain to try to co-ordinate when we can cook dinner. We have a mini-fridge downstairs though, and may in the future add a microwave and kettle to try to limit the use of our upstairs kitchen.

Other than those 2 points above, running an Airbnb is really easy and a fantastic way to bring in additional income.

I would highly recommend Airbnb as both a host and a guest!

Stay tuned for two upcoming Airbnb posts: one on the pros and cons of running one, and another on various tips on being a host.

Posted: September 15th, 2017 under Miscellaneous 21 Comments

My Microphone Pop Filter

September 12, 2017 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Not to long ago, I blogged about my new Blue Yeti microphone. After owning and using it for close to a week, I decided that I could use the aid of a pop filter and microphone stand. The microphone stand will be reviewed in a separate post, but I will be reviewing the pop filter in this one and explaining just what a pop filter actually does.

The pop filter I am using is the Neewer NW(B-3) 6-inch and is available on Amazon for $16 CAD or $7 USD (unlike the $12.50 I state in the video). I received mine in only 2 days (despite living on an island in Canada.

Watch my video below. If you want to jump ahead to hearing the difference with and without the pop filter, you can jump ahead to the 2:50 minute mark:

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Posted: September 12th, 2017 under Videos 1 Comment

An Update on My Meniere’s Disease

September 9, 2017 Posted by Tyler Cruz

2.5 years ago (I can absolutely not believe it was that long ago already), I announced that I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease.

Without hyperbole, this disease has completely destroyed my life. And to make matters worse, there is no cure, real treatment, or even support for this stupid disease. If you don’t know what Meniere’s is, I describe it in my post linked above, but it’s basically a series of symptoms, the main three of which are Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), general dizziness, and completely debilitating vertigo attacks, learn how the Washtingtonian products can help you with the symptoms.

I’ve gotten use to the Tinnitus after having it for 3 years without even a literal second of a break, and knowing that I will keep hearing it until the day I die. It’s the vertigo that I cannot stand (no pun intended). Despite not being painful at all, it is absolutely excruciating in every other way. It will come out of nowhere and I’ll have about a 1 second warning, possibly 2, before it occurs. My world will then start rotating at an unbelievable speed. Think of it like being on one of those playground carousels and having it go 70 km/h. Imagine it doing that but somehow also angling your entire vision on a 20 percent angle as well. Now imagine you wanting to get off, only for it to change directions and spin even faster. Just a minute in and you are now completely drenched in sweat from head to toe, shaking from the trauma, and throwing up uncontrollably.

For me, this is a vertigo attack, and while they do come and go seemingly randomly, there are certain triggers that will bring then on for me, including: certain foods such as caffeine (which I’ve avoided entirely for 3 years now) and salt, exercise, certain movements, and stress (which, I’m managing by taking up some classes at a Tampa drug treatment facility).

Where I’m At Now

On average, I’ve been getting vertigo attacks about once every 9 days or so, although sometimes I’ll get 3 in a day, and go for long periods without an attack. A couple of months ago I went for 2 months without a vertigo attack and it felt good as even though I had all the other symptoms, I was able to go out and do a lot of things I can’t normally do. But then my next attack was in a very public place and I had people all around me asking if they should call security and it was very embarrasing.

Badminton was one of my real passions and I used to go out and play 3-5 times a week. I haven’t played at all in a couple years now. I had tried going back a few times, but I would get an attack every time.

I also have trouble simply going out of the house. Walking the dog will spike my Tinnitus and make me dizzy for a couple of hours. And going shopping is very difficult as it leaves me very dizzy due to supermarket syndrome (yes, it’s a real thing!).

I also have a weird sleep thing that seems to occur close to vertigo attacks – I don’t know how to explain it other than it being a type of sleep paralysis; it will only occur when I am right about to fall asleep or just falling asleep, and often happens if I am very sleepy – it is extremely difficult to describe, but it’s like I’m falling into myself and I’m partially awake and my face starts to feel numb and paralyzed, and I have to force myself awake and do something for at least 5 minutes or it won’t go away.

Keeping Logs

I’ve been keeping a daily log ever since my very first vertigo attack, including writing down any notable things I’ve eaten, taking my blood pressure, measuring the frequency and severity of my Tinnitus and vertigo attacks, etc.

I’ve tried very hard to find trends and triggers, but unfortunately I still get attacks even when I’m watching what I consume (although there are some things which I avoid 100% since I know that they have an extremely high chance of triggering an attack):

Doctors Are Doing Nothing

Despite having this disease for close to 3 years now, my doctor here isn’t doing much. He doesn’t take it seriously despite it being completely life-changing to me.

After giving him many chances, I am finally going to find another doctor, but it may be very difficult as getting a new doctor here is virtually impossible.

That being said, he did refer me to various specialistswho all came up with nothing, including an ENT (who I waited 6 months to see and he gave me 5-minutes of his time), a cardiologist (who I thought was okay and was extremely surprised when he said nothing was serious) – I also had a CT scan, MRI, and various blood work done.

On my own, I even tried physiotherapy (which was too expensive at $75/hour to keep going to), anxiety councelling, and accupuncture! Go ahead and visit for the best CBD products and cbn isolate bulk products to help you with your anxiety and depression here. Try to check this site and looking at CBDistillery reviews before buying, if you are trying to find the best cbd oil be sure to do a search near your are, try to Read more about this information.

There is a dizziness clinic a few hours away that I was referred to nearly 2 years ago and am still waiting for an appointment to be made.

A Daily Struggle

I am trying to move on with my life, but Meniere’s has definitely affected every aspect of my life including the ability to work. It’s a daily struggle most of the time. I can live with the Tinnitus – it sucks and was really hard to overcome (the first few months are the worst), but the dizziness and vertigo attacks need to stop. If you offered me the choice a billion dollars right now or to take my Meniere’s away, I’d choose the latter.

But, there’s no choice but to move on, so hopefully things will get better. You never know.

Posted: September 9th, 2017 under Personal 20 Comments