Made Kind Of A Day Of It

I used my saved up energy yesterday to rearrange some of the furniture in the living room. Not originally part of the plan, but after dicking around with the blog, I guess it carried over into the real world where I also felt some changes were needed. Nothing drastic, obviously, since I can only do so much without killing myself… but the important part was getting the recliner away from the window and against the opposite wall. It just tends to get chilly up against the glass during the winter, and I’ve been known to sleep in that chair instead of my bed on some (*cough*most*cough*) nights.

The weather was kinda miserable today, compared to the last several days, but I still ended up going out for a little bit due to Steven and Cassi being on this side of town. She’s been working a ton of hours, but she got off early today and was keeping Steven company (outside) as he worked – so I figured I’d go ahead and squeeze in a visit too. As the holidays approach, and as the COVID precautions get a little more serious with each week that passes, I’m pretty sure that will be the last visit that I’ll make for a while.

After that it was straight back home, getting to work on a little bit of this and that, but then I jumped on the laptop to get on IRC. The old Internet Relay Chat networks, where I’ve talked to some of the same folks for well over two decades. It’s been a couple years since I really got in there and mixed it up with old friends, so it’s been nice to get back into that routine of jumping into our channel for a little bit each day over the past week or so. It’s amazing how many friends are still regularly in there, even throughout the whole time that I wasn’t. And it’s nice that I can jump back in and everything feels the same as it did way back when. Familiarity is what I need right now.

I’ve been sort of a recluse when it comes to social media… I suppose it started when I had my diagnosis and surgery and such. It just wasn’t something that I cared to talk about, nor did I want to have to make excuses or seem like I was avoiding anyone or anything if I just wasn’t feeling it. Plus, much of the stuff that was being posted seemed more and more negative… to the point where it seemed like it was doing more harm than good, spending time on there. But getting my feet wet with long time friends in IRC again… it’s sorta reacclimating me to “social” so maybe I can get back on Facebook and try to squeeze some good out of it again.

Meh… I dunno… just thinking out loud. It was just nice today, a short open-air meet up with them, and ending the evening with a bunch of the assholes that probably know me better than some of my newer friends do. But my neck has been acting up… hopefully just from moving furniture, but I think I better try to hit the sack earlier than usual tonight, so hopefully tomorrow I can wake up and be worth a shit. 🀞🏻😏

Might Be A Good Night

I’m not sure if this is going to become a trend, but yesterday I fell asleep around 6pm and slept all the way through to 6am this morning… and now this evening I fell asleep at 6pm again, although this time it was just a nap – and I woke up just after the sun had set. Noticing that the sky looked super clear, I grabbed my phone off the charger and threw it outside for another time-lapse video.

I’m using the same settings as the most recent video, 1 second exposure, 2000-ish ISO, and 60 seconds of enhanced light retention… and I’m going to render it out at 4k 30fps and 4k 60fps. Some devices will be able to play the 60fps video from YouTube, but older devices might still play it at a standard 30fps while just dropping every other frame to keep the speed increase. Meh… just little different things I can mess with in the process, so we’ll see what I turn up tonight. Looks good though, with minimal city light, and no moonlight at the moment…

If I’m lucky enough to have a clear sky again tomorrow, that’ll be when I switch to the wide angle lens and go back to traditional long exposure with no digital light retention. I think I’m gonna do 10 second exposures at around 1000 ISO, and then I’ll have to compile all of those high resolution images into a video. The app I use for that will only output 1080p, but if I can figure out how to get iMovie to batch change the frame duration for thousands of images, with at least .1 second as an option, then I might be able to output at 4K.

But this will be the first night that I’m awake enough to probably be able to let the phone sit out there, shooting, until the battery runs down… or perhaps until I run out of room for storage. πŸ€” I didn’t think about that until just now. Not only do I need to not run out of room for the shots, but I also need to allow enough storage for those shots to be rendered out to video. I can do the 30fps, upload it, then delete it to make space for the 60fps one… or vice versa. Anyway… I’ve got some stuff goin’ on tonight as long as those clouds stay away. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ» Plus I smell a bonfire and can hear a band playing somewhere off in the distance toward the east. I’m wondering if there might be a party of some type over at the fire station on the outskirts of town.

Another Method

My previous time-lapse video of the stars was meant to not only capture them in a way that showed obvious motion, but also to capture the background “dust” of stars along with the brighter, more prominent ones. This also had the side effect of really illuminating any clouds that passed by, plus any airplanes or shooting stars that went through the frame were so quick that they were difficult to notice. That video and method did what I intended, but last night I decided to do something different.

You’ll need to turn your brightness all the way up, and possibly wait until your room is mostly dark, in order to see what I ended up capturing. It doesn’t help that YouTube’s compression has filled the video with artifacts and essentially erased many of the dimmer stars, but you can still see what I was going for.

(Expand to full screen, switch to 4K, and maybe drop the speed by 50% for best results.)

Last night I shot each frame of video as a 4k, one second exposure, with the highest ISO that the iPhone 11 allowed. That on its own wouldn’t really do the trick, so I also applied a method of shooting that artificially extended the brightness of anything that moved through the frame. With an additional 30 seconds of “light retention” it allows a time-lapse video to be played at 30 frames per second, resulting in “enhanced” light that follows the original object in real-time for one second.

That allows the much higher resolution time-lapse video to move at a pretty good clip, while still making any moving object much more obvious to the eye. And in this video you’ll see several airplanes, which are unmistakable as they travel across most of the frame – however you’ll also see shorter, and possibly quicker, streaks of light that only happen in a small portion of the view, which are quite likely “shooting stars” from the Perseid meteor showers that are happening over a few days right now.

I like how the airplanes look, so I think tonight I’ll start shooting one of these videos before it even gets dark dark… hopefully catching a few more planes as they pass by, since not only am I already in a low traffic area, but the later it gets, the fewer flights that will be passing overhead. I’m also going to increase the enhanced light, doubling what I was doing last night, so we’ll see how it turns out. I’ll probably have to also adjust the brightness and contrast of the resulting video, something that I also did for last night’s video, but I think it’ll end up being another unique looking video shot from here at the fortress of solitude.

Weird Dream

Had a weird dream right before waking up this morning, and the details are sticking with me so I may as well throw it up here for y’all if you’re bored enough to read such things. Not gonna bother with emojis or italics or any of that crap… posted “as is.” (Although I should really be putting these things in that old “dream blog” that I started forever ago, and have kinda sorta kept up with over the years…)

The dream started at the end of a long road trip that I had apparently taken with my friend Jim Gilkerson and a few others. I believe we were going to a big stadium to see a baseball game… which makes sense, because I fell asleep to discussions on the news about how MLB is planning on starting their season somehow I’m three different “hub” cities. But anyway…

We were all right outside the stadium, and I realized only at that point that I had forgotten my ticket at home, hundreds of miles away.Β  For some reason though, the guy scanned Jim’s ticket and it allowed us all to get inside, as if his was some sort of master ticket for main entry. However, when we were getting ready to claim our seats, there were groups of armed security guards that were checking for tickets.

It turns out that Jim was the only one who remembered his ticket, so the guards forcefully removed me and the others in our group from the line. We were told that we needed to go down to “processing” and the guards pushed us towards a flight of stairs that led to a darkened, creepy basement with cinder block walls painted beige.

Once I got down to the bottom level I realized that everyone being sent down there was being “derezzed” (aka deresolution, from the Tron movies)Β … and for whatever reason, everyone milling around down there, waiting to be killed, were all strange digital characters as if they were all from some discount, dollar store video games.

They chose to try to kill me by throwing digital spiders all over me, but I was able to flip many of them off of me, although a couple of them were able to spin super strong webbing that they’d circle around my arms and wrists – tightening the loops until it started cutting off my circulation. But luckily, even though they were digital/mechanical, they were no harder to kill than regular spiders… so I ended up squishing the remaining few that were wrapping me in webbing and ended up running outside through a hidden door.

It started making less sense at this point… outside the arena there were huge, ridiculously high bridges that allowed pedestrian traffic to go over the nearby highway. But before I could leave on one of those bridges, a group of women stopped me to ask if I could help them find their dog. They said that they had left him in the trunk during the concert… (it was a concert now instead of a baseball game *shrug*) and they couldn’t hear him scratching anymore, so they assumed he was no longer in there. I, of course, assumed the dog had met a different fate than they were thinking, but then I woke up.

Fun stuff.

Tron: Legacy – Main Theme

This is gorgeous, and I’m totally jealous of this guy’s ability to play, the light up keyboard that he’s got with the excellent piano samples, and then the “Guitar Hero” type player-piano roll that comes down to tell you which notes you’re meant to play. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Š Obviously he already knows how to play this, so the falling notes are just a bonus… but take a close look at them each time a note is played. 🧐 The digital “gel” that contains the particle effects, where the “dust” from a recently played note gets “pushed out of the way” by the next note’s exploding dust. πŸ€“ Should be played full screen, in HD, maybe with headphones, and definitely in the dark…

More Moon Stuff

Making a a little more progress with the $99 digital camcorder with the stupid good zoom… 😏 with its only major drawbacks being the purple fringe around some things in certain conditions, the lack of 4k resolution, and then of course the more you zoom the softer the image looks. πŸ˜’ I thought I had the focus as sharp as I could get it, but I’m thinking that there may have been a haze that was also affecting the output video. Might try again tonight, probably just full-zoom stuff, since the time-lapse in the beginning here is pretty meh.

(Make sure this is set to play in HD, full-screen, for the best results.)

Since the moon was lighting up the clouds, I did some more fiddling with the phone to get the brightest exposure possible (while still using only a 1/3 sec shutter speed) and I was gonna get a much faster time-lapse of the clouds out back… but of course they cleared up shortly after I started recording. However, you’ll notice a couple stars bright enough to be picked up, so I’m hoping that on a clear, moonless night I might be able to capture the rotation of the earth in the movement of the stars with this new method. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€“ Will have to wait a couple weeks to give that a shot, but even though the video’s overall speed is too slow – you should still be able to see that there’s some movement in the stars.

Before I Fall Asleep…

Last night the moon seemed particularly bright, with a shadow being cast onto the lawn by the big pine tree out front. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ I knew the camcorder still had some juice left in it, so I went ahead and put it on a tripod, set it up out there in the driveway, and aimed it up towards the top of the tree. πŸ€“πŸ”­πŸŒ•πŸŒ²β˜οΈ

(I set it to record one frame every 5 sec, for however long it stayed powered on. Best viewed in HD / full screen.)

I wasn’t expecting anything amazing, but I was just curious if the clouds would spice things up by time the video was complete. And then I fell asleep about 15 minutes later and slept all the way through to 8am. πŸ˜³πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ As soon as my eyes opened I realized what I had done, so I went out and grabbed the dew covered camera, dried it off, and then put it near the space heater to hopefully dry everything out. 😬🀞🏻

The video isn’t bad… there’s one part where the clouds look more like bubbling water flowing across the sky and over the moon. But the battery did last long enough for the moon to make it out of the frame, and the camcorder itself is now dry and currently charging as we speak – so with any lucky I didn’t accidentally sacrifice it for a mediocre video like the other dozen I’ve done just like this one. 😏

Anxiety Dreams

Third night in a row that I had a “too real” dream revolving around COVID-19, isolation, distancing, etc. πŸ˜’ And it’s getting old. 😠 Plus last night I only got about four hours sleep again, although that’s partially my fault since I’m taking half-hour naps during the day. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But man, this “stay at home” crap is actually starting to get to me, even though “stay at home” is basically what I did anyway before all of this.

I usually pick a video on YouTube (on the TV) and then let the auto-recommend / auto-play take over as I’m falling asleep, and I know for a fact that what I’m hearing (in my sleep) from those videos ends up leaking into my dreams and influencing them. 😳😟 So I’m gonna have to start avoiding the news once it’s a little later in the evening, and probably switch over to playing music instead of “random TV” as I fall asleep. πŸ€”

I wish I was one of those folks who can sleep in complete silence, but this house just makes too many weird noises that would wake me up. 😏 Clunky compressor on the fridge when it shuts off, pinging water heater… which, by the way, stopped leaking and acting like it was going to die. (I’m still gonna have it replaced, but I’m not in a rush about it at the moment.) But yeah, I need at least sound, if not light and sound. πŸ™‰πŸ“Ί Ooh… I think I’ll break out that sound machine that I got from Amazon last year. πŸ€”πŸ˜ƒ It’s supposed to be pretty good, and it never fully made it into my routine after I bought it.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got for the past 24 hours or so… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ Β stay safe, all.