I Am The Eye In The Sky

Had a bit of a setback with my back yesterday. πŸ˜₯ The pain woke me up around 4am, and a quick trip to the bathroom made me realize that the strength/ability in my right leg wasn’t really there. I probably just slept on something wrong, but rather than dwell on it and get upset about it, I decided to devote the first half of the day to staying in bed, watching movies, and eating a few boxes of that ready-to-make chicken salad and crackers. πŸ– I could still find certain ways to lay that would alleviate the pain, so I just did that and totally plucked myself from what would have been my “normal” routine, and plopped myself into this “being a potato in bed” zone that was outside of my normal timeline. πŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ My weird way of trying to explain it anyway… but it worked… that half day of removing myself from everything but Netflix and the cat actually helped – and I was able to get up and around by the early afternoon.

As I was lying there though, I started pondering my various aches, pains, and disabilities… wondering which ones will get better, if any of them are starting to just stayΒ with me, and how I’m gonna be as I get older and have to deal with compounding issues like this. 😟 Like I told Dad, I ended up coming to the conclusion that I’m only complaining as much as I have been because I still feel like I can recover or at least improve. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If the “bleh” feels temporary, it’s easy to bitch about it when it’s slow going… but honestly, and my neck is proof of this, I can learn to live with pain and disability – to the point where eventually it’s “just there”, sucking, but something I can compartmentalize for the most part. 😐 For the most part… ‘cuz there’s always super painful exceptions. Summarized, my bitching will eventually slow. 😏

In the evening I went in town to deliver those two Yi security cameras to my cousin. I’m obviously more excited about any kind of A/V tech than they would be, but I could still tell that she was having fun playing around with the one as she went through the setup process. πŸ“ΉπŸ‘©πŸ» Matt’s already running through the possible installation locations, so as soon as they get a couple little memory cards they’ll be ready to roll. It’s crazy how even just five or ten years ago, creating any kind of home video security system was expensive and a pain in the ass. There’s no way that Yi makes any money off of these cameras. 🀨 I’m guessing they’re banking on people like me to sign up for the monthly cloud storage fee – which I don’t mind doing at all.

So anyway, despite feeling pretty rotten for the first half, it actually wasn’t that bad of a day overall – and it definitely made me happy to gift those cameras to Toni and Matt. ☺ I really hope that they never have any bad reason that they’ll need any of the footage that they record… but I’m glad that they’ll have those cameras just in case they do.

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Slipped My Mind

When Toni and Matt were getting ready to move into their new place, Matt had gotten in touch with me and asked if I had any security cameras that he could use until everything was moved and they were totally settled in there. Now, at that time they didn’t have the internet activated, so there really wasn’t much I could provide that would be helpful. I had one small camera that could record to a microSD card, but it wasn’t meant for 24/7 monitoring – and besides, if someone broke in, they’d just take the camera along with whatever else they wanted, and nobody would be the wiser. 😏

Well, they’ve been living there for months now… but for some reason, after that one time of me and Matt trying to figure something out for security cameras, the whole idea of it had completely left my thoughts. 😐 Even after I set up my own house with multiple cameras, and after I got a camera for Genesee, I still didn’t think until just earlier tonight that Matt and Toni are probably the two people that need cameras like that the most. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I wouldn’t say that their area of town is that much more sketchy than any otherΒ neighborhood you might pick on a map, but it’s an area that’s definitely more activeΒ – with random assholes on the street, on the sidewalks, in the back alleys… 😯

I don’t need to justify it, but Toni really does a lot for me, Mom, and Dad, and she’s always been that way. A “helper” like her mother. πŸ™‚ And that is just the excuse that I need to get her and Matt a couple of the security cameras like I use here at my house. If I was a good cousin I would have thought to do this for them months ago, because Toni works hard for her stuff, Matt works hard for his stuff – and neither of them should ever have to deal with any of their stuff going missing… at least not without video to show them who did it. πŸ“ΉπŸ˜―

I’m still amazed at the features of these “Yi” branded cameras, which you can still get for about $20. They’re the older models, and only 720p resolution, but they’re still absolutely fine for basic security needs like theirs. And like I told Toni, when she said she’d pay me back… I told her that I was happy to get them a couple of the cameras so they could play around with them and see what they thought – and then rather than paying me back, I told her to just take that money and put it towards a couple more cameras if they end up becoming fans and wanna expand their web of surveillance. 😎

Staying Busy

I woke up early this morning so I could go up to Columbus and help Leona out with a ride to one of her appointments. No other family was available, and this particular appointment was all the way on the opposite side of town – and, without putting all her business out there, taking a bus with the unwashed masses and trying to navigate her way there while doubling the time required to do so… that just wasn’t really an option. Silver lining, it took long enough that I was able to see Cassi after she got off work, right before I had to take off to make it to my dentist appointment on time.

  1. Two dumb birds, risking death for whatever it was they were doing.
  2. Many dumb birds, risking death because lounging in the road is fun.
  3. Dire-looking rollover accident near one of the bridges on the bypass.
  4. Semi car transport jams on its brakes and smokes out all of I-70 eastbound.
  5. How do you rear-end a car that hard on the freeway?

I’m really happy with how things went at the dentist. πŸ™‚ My teefs aren’t in the greatest shape, but I didn’t get even a hint of “Shame on you for not taking care of your mouf!” from anyone in their office. πŸ™Š It was an emergency appointment, so it was strictly for my single damaged toof, but we went ahead and set up another date for a cleaning, exam, x-rays, with a little time afterwards also scheduled for the fillings I’ll likely need.

The fix that they had to do was actually at the top of one of my upper teefs, at the gum line, so I was nervous that it would be too difficult to bother saving it. 😯 But she drilled it out, the other girl carefully glopped the filler composite and hardened it layer by layer, and now you can’t even tell that it was damaged. 🀩 (I told them just to match the color that the toof is now, because it kinda just “is what it is” by this point… heh…)

Feels good to get back to a dentist to get things started again. Like I told her, I’m not worried about looking pretty, because that ship has sailed, but I’d still like to keep as many of my original teefs as possible for as long as possible. Oh, and it didn’t hurt at all during the process… but wow… once I got home and the numbness wore off… holy cow. 😣 And to top it off, the pain moved from my mouf to behind my damn eyeball. Looking forward to going to sleep tonight and being a lazy bum tomorrow.

Latest Animation Rendering

Well, here’s the finished product. I’m pleased with it… all of the added touches are there to be seen – it’s just a shame that animation is sort of an afterthought with this modeling program, so the camera movements are a bit jerky and unnatural looking. But for anyone who had visited this house prior to me moving in, I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty faithful to the original… particularly the living room. πŸ™‚

These are the things that I believe I’ve improved since I made the first animation:

  • Fixed paint colors, correcting walls and making the ceilings white
  • Adjusted color and texture of all the doors
  • Updated the textures of the floors for more natural hardwood look
  • Changed sizes (particularly in the bedroom) of furniture for more accurate scale
  • Added lamp, clock, and ceiling fan w/light in bedroom
  • Added lighting, shower curtain, curtain, and changed bathtub/fixtures in bathroom
  • Also added more accurate texture for vinyl flooring and shower tiles in the bathroom
  • Picture window changed to wood w/more accurate sheer curtains in living room
  • Changed lamp on round table and square coffee table changed to oval in living room
  • End table lamps changed / now functioning, cuckoo clock now present in living room
  • Console record player under big mirror changed, vase/flower and newspaper added

In each room I also tweaked all sorts of things when it comes to object shading, colors, levels of reflection (matte/glossy), and lighting levels (spot/ambient)Β in a way that I think makes the whole thing look slightly closer to realistic and accurate to the way things were here in the past. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things that I changed or adjusted, but yeah… there ya go. 😏

Oh, and I know – both times that I’ve created one of these animations, it’s been done where the house is assumed to be lit by dawn / pre-dawn light. I do that because I prefer to see how the internal man-made illumination sources and shadows are handled by the program, although I suppose one day I could render it out in broad daylight with fake ceiling lights (just a source light w/no visible fixtures) being activated in every room. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Didn’t Know I’d Want It

Clicking around on YouTube, somehow I ended up finding a video of a couple of kids reviewing video games… but these kids just happened to be doing so in 1991 at the Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle in Atlantic City. 😯 I’d have liked to have seen the even older arcade though, because it’s the one of which I have the most memory. It was actually built into the front of Bally’s Park Place casino and looked out onto the boardwalk and ocean. πŸ™‚ Right next to the little art gallery shop where they had sculptures made of garbage on display.

That, of course, caused me to click around a bit longer… trying yet again to find pictures of any of those casino arcades from the mid-80s, but just like usual – I came up empty, other than a few random posts in dusty corners of the web, where people were requesting the same sort of photos that I’m looking for. 😟 And like one of those folks said, “It never occurred to me that I should take pictures of the boring old arcade that I went to every weekend.” And that way of thinking makes sense. πŸ€” Something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you at the time…Β you’re unlikely to bother making a visual record of it, because your brain isn’t thinking ahead to consider that you (or anyone else) might one day wish that you could look back at that stuff from the future.

That refreshed my memory and added a little more spark to my current level of photographic motivation. When I got my 3D camera, I considered going around town and just taking random pictures of anything and everything… providing a 3D snapshot of Lancaster from “a couple of days back in 2014” or whenever, for people to look at in awe decades from now. πŸ˜ƒ But of course I never did it. 😏 Shit, even now there’s a couple local Facebook groups where people make a hobby of finding “vintage” pics of the city, the buildings, the stores, the people, and sharing them with everyone – which ends up getting them 100s of likes and shares.

I’m not worried about the popularity of any shots that I might take now, I’m just using that as an example of how photos that I take now may be looked back on in amazement several decades from now – especially if I compose shots that people haven’t thought of already taking. πŸ€“πŸ“· I’m just not sure if I’d be better off taking “normal” shots with my high megapixel dSLR, or if I should use the 3D or 360Β° cameras just to make them more unique. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I realize that it’ll be much, much easier for future generations to find digital photos from the current age – so if I want them to mean something or to get a special look in the future, I’ll have to figure out what tricks I wanna use. Whether by using an unusual type of camera, or by just giving extra thought to the location and composure of the shots themselves.

This is making my evening fun though… just running all of these things through my head, even when there’s probably only a 10% chance of me actually doing any of it. My brain hasn’t really cared to think about anything photo-wise for many months now, so it’s nice just to have a little bit of “that feeling” again. I’ll have to grab one of my notebooks here in a minute and start jotting down some ideas before it all starts to dissipate.

Wanimation

Playing around with Google Earth again, the desktop application, trying to make a visually interesting animation using Atlantic City, NJ as my source material. This file is rendered at 720p, 60fps, using OpenGL rather than DirectX… I also used the experimental atmosphere projection, although I can’t remember how much interpolation or anti-aliasing I used. I was continually experimenting with settings and resolutions, because I’ve still been unable to get a 1080p/60fps render to complete without glitches.

I didn’t really do much. I just selected the camera angles, altitudes, shot composure… the software generates the flight path between each one. However, depending on how the user lines up each static shot, it will definitely have an affect on the transition between the prior one and the one that follows.

It looks pretty good on the laptop, but for some reason when I use the YouTube app on my XBOX One it looks so much better on the TV. But yeah, I was just feeling a bit nostalgic for the place again, which eventually prompted me to start dicking around to come up with the resulting animation.

Mutate The Hobby

I was talking with one of my friends the other day and mentioned how I’ve pretty much lost interest in photography at the moment, as well as many of my other hobbies as well. He said that after his own battles with depression, that he had to eventually just find a way to “take his fun back” from it… and I like the phrase that he used. Mutate the hobby. πŸ€” Meaning that even if you can’t find the fun in what you used to do, you could try to make some previously-unconsidered changes in the way you approach a hobby to see if it’ll light the fires again. Telling someone to “mutate the hobby” just sounds better than suggesting that they simply try something slightly different.

So when it comes to my photography, I’m gonna try to steer away from the humans for a while… at least when it comes to my primary subject. I’m not sure yet what I’ll replace them with, but I’m just burned out on trying to come up with something fresh with people pics. I suppose I could even try shooting some video with the dSLR, which has its own distinct look compared to phone or even camcorder video.

And then of course I still have the 3D and 360-degree cameras, although both of them are somewhat lacking in quality when it comes to the resulting images and video… but despite having those cameras for quite a while now, I’ve still never really explored their potential any further than basically just testing them out. πŸ€“ The waterproof action cam that I took to Lake Hope was a nice change, and with a few weeks of summer left I suppose I could still try to make use of it in water that is actually clear… meh… but yeah, at least there’s plenty of options when it comes to mutation should I ever feel close to motivated.