So in an effort to help showcase some of our writing staff here at dragonblogger.com I decided to come up with an Interview series for some of most frequent contributors and writers who have been with the site more than 6 months, many have been with the site for several years and contribute not only written content for the site, but also YouTube video content and even Twitch live game streaming content. For those who are new to the site, or may not know, my name is Justin Germino and I am the original Dragon Blogger who started this site in 2008, yes can you believe that I have been running dragonblogger.com for 8 years this August! I will be personally interviewing the various members of our team and showcasing them here.
Today our Interview is with Raymond Stapleton
Raymond published his first article with dragonblogger.com on April 28th 2013!
Justin: Introduce yourself to our audience, tell them a little about yourself and where you live
Raymond: Hi, my name is Raymond C. Stapleton. I am 53 at the moment, and am the father of six children. Only four by birth. No, the other two were not hatched or anything, but were delivered as full grown teenagers. (We took them in off the streets and gave them both homes) I have one wife of 29 years, and 7 grandchildren. Four live in Texas, one in Alaska (I am both his grandfather, and his uncle, but that is another story for another day), and sadly two who are no longer in the family and their location is not known.
I live in Lubbock Texas with my wife and the four children by birth, although two have moved out of the house. My sons stayed home, and we have one granddaughter in house as well. Lubbock is not the most active town, but the people here, for the most part, are nice, and we have made it home.
Justin: What do you do on your spare time? What hobbies do you like or games do you play?
Raymond: I sometimes do not know what spare time is, but here goes. I am disabled but am a full time college student. I am also a full time grandfather so that keeps me hopping. When I am not doing that and reviewing products for Dragonblogger.com, I like to draw and paint. I also do computer art, some from photos, others fractals, and some drawings I do on a drawing tablet I reviewed and found very useful.
Just a few months back, I discovered soap making. I have made several hundred bars so far, and will be making many more real soon. I find that is combines my love of art with keeping clean which is nice. And it is a great way to get rid of idle stress.
I do play games, but they are not real action packed. I have trouble with the fast passed games so I stick too many of the older ones that do not cause motion displacement issues.
Justin: What first interested you in becoming a writer or product reviewer for Dragon Blogger?
Raymond: I remember telling a group about a tablet I bought, and why I did not like it. I went into detail and was approached by this guy who said he had a blog and thought I might enjoy writing for him. I have always liked writing so, I agreed, especially since it was not going to cost me anything besides my time. It was not long before I was hooked, and really enjoying the work.
It is nice to be able to share with others what I think about a product in my own words. I have read other bloggers from other sites who seem to mirror word for word what someone else says about a product, or movie, or game, placing their name on it, and to me that bothers me. I never read what someone else says about a product I am reviewing. That way when you read my words, and see my video’s and pictures, you know that what I am saying is truly my words.
Sometimes, I discover a feature while reviewing it on video which takes me by surprise, and at other times, I do not know an answer to a question I have but when I learn, I share. Life is too short, and things cost too much. If I like something I will tell you, maybe that is why I enjoy blogging.
Justin: When reviewing products what do you look for and what methodologies do you use to test a product?
Raymond: It depends a lot on my familiarity with the item. If it is a movie, I watch it, and I do not judge it on the merits of any other movie even if it is a remake. So many try to compare the remake to the original. I hate that. Maybe the original was better, maybe not, but the new movie has to stand on its own or fall flat the same way.
As for games, I use the same thought. I may not truly like the genre but if the game is good, and well made, it deserves good remarks. I don’t do many of the newer action packed one due to motion sensitivity issues, so I cannot always do the really popular ones, but that is ok, as I am sure there are others like me out there.
Lastly with a product, I look at the makers claims. If they say “waterproof”, I have been known to drop it into water to see if it really is. I have destroyed a few in the process, and forced them to change their descriptions. I do a lot of headphones and speakers, and while it would be easy to say they are all alike, they are not, and each deserves a fair unbiased review. Besides, it is fun.
You can see an example of Raymond doing a waterproof test with this product:
Justin: What are some of your favorite brands that you have worked with and/or want to work with in the future?
Raymond: This changes all of the time, some drop from the list while others remain. I love my Vinsic Power bank. I use it more than any other item. Until just recently I would have had my Samsung WB350F digital camera at the top, but software issues forced it to drop, and a new camera I have not yet reviewed will take its place. I have owned many android tablets, and one has always performed well, and that would be my Kindle Fire 2nd Generation, but I also have owned 5 or 6 others that are remarkable.
It is hard to place one over another as almost all have served useful to me. All have a place in my heart as special aside from the few, and I do mean few, that failed so miserably I will not talk about them ever again. One I have not reviewed since it was done by another writer, I use every day, and that is my Dragon Touch M10X. It goes everywhere I do, and I like to use it with a portable Bluetooth keyboard I reviewed. That and a speaker by the name of “Taco”, serve me well.
Justin: Do you enjoy doing written content more or video/rich media content when doing reviews and why?
Raymond: Wow, writing is easy, well, to me it is. Video is a bit more of a challenge. Sometimes doing a video does not do the full justice to a product that it needs. Some things require time, and equipment I simply do not have. In the end, and sometimes it takes just a bit longer than I like, when it all comes together, it is magic. Well, again, it is to me. I did a review once, using a camera from a tablet that I learned later was not aligned correctly, while I was lying in a hospital bed 100 miles from home. The company that got the review done un-asked for, was thrilled, and while not my best work, it is one I was pleased to do.
Justin: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a writer/reviewer for Dragon Blogger?
Raymond: Time. There is never enough, and always more of it wasted than I like. Being a full time student means I have to set aside study time to write, but I do it. Sometimes classes get busy and a review has to take back stage even though there is a deadline. Real life takes priority most of the time especially when children are involved. Not to mention recently being in a car wreck and losing the car just before Christmas.
Time is an enemy that shows no mercy when lost. Cannot truly be made up for without sacrifice, and is always slipping past faster than we can keep up with.
Justin: What is the #1 item that has been on your wish list for a while that you haven’t had a chance to get yet?
Raymond: That would be my Cricut Explore air. This device is amazing, and until I saw a short video showing off what it can do, I did not know how incomplete my life was without it. It will be the only product I will have reviewed that I saw another’s review on before doing my own, but wow. When I do this review, I can only hope that you can catch the excitement I did, and will want to go out and get one yourself.
Justin: Where do you see yourself in 5 years personally (regardless of the site) what do you see yourself doing?
Raymond: In 5 years, I can hope that I will be working full time. I am studying to be a minister. I truly feel it is the right path for my life, but more importantly, I see myself still married to the same wonderful woman, and enjoying even more grandchildren. I would hope to be in a new home, (not the kind they put old people in mind you), but a better one where I can work on more reviews and make more soap, art, and memories.
Justin: Yeah, man cave to the max I wish I could have a fully decked man cave too. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about yourself, if you wanted one thing from readers or our fans what would it be?
Raymond: I love sharing what I get with those who read my reviews. I am still new in all of this even if I have done over 100 reviews, but I love the craft. Some things I review are given to me to review by various companies, but a number of item’s are things I look at, think might be nice, and purchase without talking to anyone beforehand. When I review something I buy opposed to something given to me, I do not make a distinction between the items. All have equal value to me. I want you to know how special I consider the opportunity to do this is to me. I hope that for as long as I can do so, I will be able to continue to share with you my thoughts and insights on a wide variety of products. If you have questions about any product I review, you can always ask.
Justin: I love your attitude toward receiving brand products and the fact you treat each unique unique to stand on it’s own merits. You are humble and appreciate while still being objective and very fair to point out if a product doesn’t live up to what you think it should, or has clear and noticeable defects. Thank you for your time with the interview Raymond and keep up the good work.
I encourage our readers to check out Raymond’s Dedicated Playlist on our YouTube Channel and leave a comment asking Raymond any questions you have.