Different Distraction

I was a potato all morning, keeping the curtains closed, the doors shut, attempting to keep out as much of the bright daylight as possible. Just wasn’t ready to start the day. But once I did open up and got the cool breeze blowing through here, it gave me a little motivation to do something today. Already did the laundry, don’t really wanna just clean the kitchen or bathroom, so I think I’m gonna make this an “office” work day.

I recently moved Grandpa’s desk out to the living room so I’d have a “real” work space, along with making the desktop more practical to use… but all my little “mail holders / sorters” and misc paper trays have far too much crap in them. I couldn’t tell you off hand what it all is, since I take care of the bills as they come in – but yeah, I’ve got a buttload of papers that I can go through as I sit here and watch the race.

And when I say trays, I actually mean these nice metal / mesh things that I picked up at a thrift store a while back. So I’ve got trays, sorting things, a pen / pencil cup – and all of it matches nicely. So if I go through everything and get rid of all the crap, that’ll put me at a nice “starting point” as stuff starts to open up again. (Which probably means the workers comp situation will be coming back to life again as well.) I dunno, something about having everything tidy makes it easier to tackle whatever the next project may be.

And speaking of stuff being closed down for months… I’ve actually been doing some back and forth “mail stuff” with a certain company, trying to get some things taken care of, and I’ve been sitting here wondering what’s been causing the delay – since all of the paperwork has been completed and all of the needed documents sent in. I guess my brain was just assuming that it would be business as usual at a place like that, but now that I think about it – their offices are probably no different than any others, so I imagine that they’re either shut down or running with reduced staff just like everyone else.

Ugh… these commercials, man… more than half of them, during every effing commercial break, refer to the current situation in one way or another. Do any of those ads actually make anyone feel better? Are you relieved that the local burger joint is telling you that they’ve got your back? No. We watch TV to escape the thoughts of what’s going on outside our doors… and we sure don’t need to be reminded repeatedly during every damn commercial break. Heh… okay, time to be slightly productive… and sorry, I don’t really have the oomph to bother with text formatting or emojis… heh

Poison Ivy

Okay, I’ve had it for about a week now, so I think I’m entitled to do a little bitching. Well, probably not, actually… since it was my dumb ass who went out to clip a few feeds from the flower beds without wearing gloves. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ What makes it worse is that it’s not the first time that I’ve done it. Every couple of years something motivates me to cut some of the crap out of the flower beds, and each time I end up with poison ivy, poison oak, poison whatever on my hands… πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Thankfully most of it is on the back of my right hand, with a little bit on my left and some random spots on both of my arms. But I’ve got some topical steroid goo that I’ve been using, and then I have calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream waiting on the bench. But lemme tell ya… even though I know it’s not a good thing for it, having hot, hot shower water hitting itchy poison ivy areas is the most awesome yet most horrible feeling possible, but at the same time. πŸ˜πŸ˜£πŸ˜‹

I’ve never claimed to have any allergies, but I’d have to say that whatever this is breaks that idea. I can see the puffy on the back of my hand, and of course some of it is blistering, but while it’s annoying… really annoying… it makes me think of the poor folks who are allergic to peanuts, shellfish, etc- causing a similar reaction all over. 😯😬 I guess some people have to even go to the ER if they get poison ivy… but with folks like that, I guess I’m just not sure when you know if you should go. πŸ€”πŸ˜³

I guess that’s because mine isn’t near that point… and also because it really seems like one of those things where you’d sit in the waiting room for an hour and a half, and they’d send you on your way with a prescription for whatever poison ivy goo you’ve probably already got at home. 😏 Meh… distracting myself now with a movie that Dad suggested. I was gonna fall back on a Bond movie since I couldn’t think of anything that I “haven’t seen yet, but should” until Dad reminded me about Age of Adaline. That’s one that I remember wanting to see even when it first came out in theaters, so I don’t know how it has stayed under my radar for the past five years or whatever it’s been… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Tnx, Easter Bunny (Bok Bok!)

The Easter Bunny totally spoiled me again this year. πŸ°πŸ˜ƒ It was probably the combination of a bunch of candy, lots of little neat / weird / random goodies, some scrunchy / puffy catnip dolls for Maven, and then all of it coming during this time when we’re all bored of seeing and doing the same thing day after day, meaning that whenever anything new and unexpected gets thrown into the mix it’s gonna be a nice treat. 😌 I won’t even get into the details of the “goodies” in the basket, since they’d probably seem rather strange to someone that didn’t know me and Genesee… er… me and the Easter Bunny, rather… πŸ€“πŸ˜ but it’s a perfect little collection of weird stuff for the sake of mental distraction.

I think the EB also caught word that I don’t exactly keep my shelves and fridge stocked with “real” food, so along with the regular basket of goodies I also got two huge bags of food from The Olive Garden. 😯🀀 I ate the cheese sticks as soon as I unpacked stuff, but then there are five more entrees waiting for me, a couple more salads, a ton of bread sticks, and a big piece of cheesecake. 😁 I had no idea that any of it was coming, other than being told to expect a delivery, so it was a great addition to the other stuff from the bunny.

I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that should merit me getting spoiled like this, and I do feel bad that I haven’t been able to include Dad in the surprise company and surprise food, but it’s sure gonna be nice to have that “real” food for most of the days coming up this week. 😌 Like I told Gen, I really am stocked up on foodstuffs. πŸ€” Frozen stuff, canned stuff, boxed stuff, etc… and I would have been okay with only that… but this was just really good timing and I really appreciate it.

In other news, a few days ago Wendi had me download Facebook Messenger, that way she could video-chat me and I could see one-month-old Matthew Jr live and in person. 🀀 And after telling Wendi that I’d “try to get back on Facebook” soon… I’d swear that my words got picked up by the wind and were subliminally scattered to my friends. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because not long after, I had two different friends “find me” on YouTube and Twitter, and then a couple different friends texted me directly… all wanting to know if I was okay, if I was gonna get back on FB, etc – since I really have neglected folks for a long time. 😟

(Honestly, I think that re-installing Messenger after so long may have caused notifications like “Robert Batina logged on for the first time in six months. Say hello!” or some similar shit like that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

On average my anxiety is still high, but I’m trying to handle the bits of each day in little chunks – rather than worrying about all of them from the moment I wake up. 😳 Cousin Jimmy was another one that hit me up after a couple of months off, and he helped ease my concerns regarding getting back into the social swing of things. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He reminded me that everyone on Facebook is now dealing withΒ at least one shitty, significant “life” thing –Β so I might be able to sneak back in without any fuss or questions about why I vanished. 😬 I may get into that here sometime, but I’m hoping to keep my eventual return to FB quick and painless.

Okeydoke, enough rambling… heh… I was (good) wired after the surprise company from my cousins yesterday, and now I’m feeling (good) wired from the Easter Bunny totally hooking me up with goodies and a ridiculous amount of food food this year. πŸ˜… But it is starting to get late, so I should go ahead and shift my brain into neutral and start getting ready for bed sometime here in the next one to eight hours. πŸ˜πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I know everything kinda sucks right now, and it feels nearly unavoidable… but I hope y’all had at least a little unexpected good stuff pop into one of your recent days like it did mine today. 😊 Take care, stay safe. ✊🏻

Display.Land Tests

I fell asleep around 7p last night, woke up a few times during the night, but didn’t truly wake up until 7a. Twelve hours of sleep… finally. Between that and the nice day, I decided to grab my phone and get to work making some crude 3D models (w/improving results) with this photogrammetry app called Display.Land

(Sorry about the vertical video… it’s the only way it’ll spit ’em out. I suggest going full screen.)

It’s easy to collect the images that are used to build the models, as it works on video rather than photos… I mean, it uses still images from that video, but it’s all done in the cloud so you don’t need to leave your phone open to do all of the calculations. Once the render is done, you do have to go and crop each one in 3D space and create a camera path “trailer” for app users to see. (If you make your scans public.)

If someone sees your preview and thinks it looks interesting, they can click on it and be presented with the actual 3D model that they can pan, scan, zoom, etc at their own whim. I dunno, another totally not-useful thing that I’m trying to get better at. It has been a nice little distraction throughout the day though.

BTS Comeback Trailer

Guess I haven’t made an entry for a little while. Been feeling a little sick, sleep has been screwy, and then of course I had my monthly doctor appointment yesterday which means several days of bullshit in order to get my meds. 😠 I was able to pick up one of them today, but I’m not doing the “pay for it first and then we’ll refund you” thing like I usually do. Gonna try to wait them out until it is approved, since it legally has to be eventually. Meh… I’ve already explained and complained about that shit, and this month’s no different.

But there was something that put me in a good mood the other day. πŸ˜ƒ BTS released their comeback video for their next album, with a song featuring Suga called Shadow. If you’re a fan, you’ve probably already seen it, but if not… watch it first, before you read everything that I have to say about it below the video. 😏

(Make sure you turn on captions by hovering over the video and changing the selection at the bottom.)

I’m a huge BTS fan now, thanks to Cassi subjecting me to their music long enough to where I began to like and appreciate it, but I’m probably just a bit short of being considered Army. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ My bias in the group is Jungkook, but with this video I think Suga just jumped ahead of J-Hope for second place. But for as short as this song is, to squeeze in three distinctly different styles… along with all the visuals… it’s just impressive for a “sneak peek” into their next album that drops on February 21st.

Okay, here’s the shit I wanna comment on, sorta in order as it happens in the video…

  • First thing I noticed is that the music is actually the background for the chorus of Fake Love. 😯 Also, the way he runs down the hallway is a flashback to Jungkook running in the Fake Love MV.
  • Second thing: Suga rapping in English. 😳 Wat? πŸ˜…
  • As he runs down the hallway, it’s him taking all of the ambition that he’s thinking about, and choosing to break through to where the lights are bright and the shadows are waiting. Clothes change from light (good) to dark (bad).
  • Once he’s broken through and found himself in the spotlight, gained the fame, he feels the weight of the shadows of what his life used to be like – before he became a celebrity… making him question if it’s all worth it, basically abandoning who you once were in order to become what he now is.
  • Once he’s on the stage, all of the people in the audience are just blank, still, and holding their phones in the air to record – rather than fully experiencing what he’s doing. πŸ₯Ί He even looks dejected as he looks down on them. (Kind of a burn to some of the fans.)
  • At different points in the video, “ORUL82?” pops up for a few frames… which is obviously a reference to that track on a much older album, which was about following your dreams no matter what it takes – but it didn’t have the dark spin of Suga now knowing the negatives that go along with fame. 😟
  • Then you see the two versions of him… one on stage performing, and the other in the audience – apparently representing the younger version of him that would watch other performers and want to be famous like that.
  • Then the “shadow” version of him takes over, telling him how those feelings of uncertainty, regret, insecurity are always going to be there, that there’s no escaping the bad feelings if you’re gonna also strive to get the good things that come with being at the top of your game.
  • Even though the shadow side is portrayed as being “dark” or “bad” … that’s the side that has his confidence, that knows both good and bad are inside of him, and that those two sides are gonna fight sometimes – but that if he learns to accept it he’ll be able to move forward with more peace. 😌
  • But with the way the song ends, it looks like he still hasn’t been able to reconcile both the good and the bad, as he just gets lost in the crowd of swarming fans.

So yeah, in a way it’s the typical “be careful what you wish for” or “it’s so hard being famous” type narratives that a thousand other songs have, but the visuals in this video really do tell a compelling story. Lots of callbacks from when they were younger and much less in the spotlight, using cues from Fake Love in both the music and visuals, but with their shadows now stalking them all right outside of their hotel rooms, the visual reminder of “ORUL82?” which had a much more optimistic view on striving to hit your goals in life, etc.

It really makes me wonder what the album is gonna be like. πŸ™‚ The current phase of releases is under the “Map of The Soul” theme, and this album has “Shadow” and another track that will be called “Ego” – so I don’t know if it’s gonna be a half-and-half album where the first part is all optimistic and light, and the second half is all hard and dirty, tackling stuff like anxiety and depression and loneliness or what. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Heh… I say that I’m not Army, but as soon as that video came out I began noticing this, noticing that, catching all the references, etc… so maybe I am getting closer. 😁 I actually tried to get tickets for me and Cassi when they were touring in the US, but they sold out so damn quickly. πŸ™ By the time I was able to access the Ticketmaster site and try to select two seats side by side – after “You are in the queue” for about 15 minutes – all that was left were single seats scattered around the stadium. 😟 Hoping we get another chance this year.

If you wanna see a ridiculously well-choreographed concert performance from them, click here. 😌

No Skill/Participation Required

I really wish I could take credit for what I’ve thrown together in this little clip, but the extent of my participation in capturing these three clips was setting a few things on the camcorder, pressing record, then slowly backing away and leaving it alone while it did its thing. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The first clip suffers from a huge amount of chromatic aberration – something that I can’t do a damn thing about – but I hadn’t recorded the moon going behind the trees before, so I didn’t realize how bad it could be affected by it. πŸ˜• I probably shouldn’t have pointed it out, ‘cuz now that’s all you’ll see.Β Β 

The second clip was a time-lapse at 20 second intervals… and yeah, I knew the clouds would be moving way too fast to be “peaceful” looking, but I wanted to show the motion of the moon across the sky in that particular clip. πŸ€”πŸ€“ β˜οΈβ˜οΈπŸŒ•πŸ’¨Β And then the third, it’s much like the first, just using less zoom – and unfortunately the camcorder just struggles to maintain the correct brightness level, so unless you’re zoomed in with the 80x digital you’re just not gonna be able to get the detail of the surface. πŸ˜’

But with this last test, I think I’ve kinda done all that I need to do when it comes to shooting the moon (*giggle*) or working with time-lapse videos of the sky, whether in the day, evening, or night. Meaning, there’s not much more new that I can do without leaving the yard… so I’ll probably put these projects on the back burner for a while, until I’m feeling in good enough shape to actually take the show on the road and set up for something with a more scenic view. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ Figuring out this stuff helps to temporarily take away some of the stress I’ve been feeling lately… really looking at this stuff, realizing how small we are, and how vast “everything” truly is. 😌 But yeah, back to boring and/or bitching posts after this, I guess… πŸ˜…

Alternate Tests

So… no clouds tonight, so no “clouds zipping past the moon” time-lapse test was possible. However, with the sky as clear as it was, I figured I’d try a different app for my phone that let me set the ISO to 64, the exposure to 30 seconds, and let it run for about an hour and a half – capturing images of the SW sky with the top of my house and some trees in the frame for a bit of context. It was a success in theory, since I now know how to get all my settings right to capture stars and planets – but since the moon was lighting up the sky, it left everything looking washed out. But yeah, I can see potential in this method…

Then the other thing I tried was an 80x digital zoom time-lapse of the moon as it crossed the field of view of the camera. Another thing that I should have realized, was at that zoom level – the motion of the moon would be visible enough to the eye in real-time… so doing a time-lapse with a one second interval made it cross through the frame way too fast. πŸ€”πŸ˜’ So, that’s why this looks all jerky… it’s actually a time-lapse that was slowed to 1/4 of its original speed. But again, decent test – which unfortunately reveals there’s not enough manual control available in this camcorder for exposure and brightness. You’ll see how it comes into the frame overexposed, looks good for a bit, and then gets blown out again as it exits the frame. Still, pretty good for a cheap ass digital camcorder. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ (And another nice distraction for the evening…)

Don’t forget to click the little HD icon as well as making it full screen for the best result. πŸ€“πŸ˜Ž

Short North Adventure

As is typical any time that I go out and do something fun, the first half of the day was spent dreading the idea… the waiting, the getting ready… but once it was in progress it was exactly the distraction that I needed for the evening. This “hang out” was even a little more significant than usual, since not only was it me, Jim, and Adam… but Brad came along this time, and so did Rick. I’ve been the missing component, but it’s been a long time since all four of us hung out together. It’s nice still having friendships today (even if the communications are a bit less) that were formed decades ago.

Brad’s currently living in a group home near Bremen, so I went and got him before I headed up to Columbus. Jim already has a long way to drive just to get to Columbus, and there was no sense in him going all that rest of the way to get his brother. He seems to be doing really good there, and that makes me so happy to see. Brad’s been through some shit, most of which is his business alone… but it was good to see him doing well, and the drive to and from was actually nice thanks to the conversation.

The main “spot” for the evening was a store called Big Fun in Columbus’ Short North. Adam had been there a time or two before, and he wanted us to see it – so that was where we met up. Man what a store. I don’t think there was a horizontal or vertical surface in that store that didn’t have some sort of kewl vintage toy, doll, or game on it – and that’s not even counting all of the different retro spaceships hanging from the ceiling. You could spend an entire day in that store, looking through the glass cases, digging through the tubs and drawers of vintage toys and goodies – and you’d still probably not have seen everything.

Transformers, GoBots, HeMan, SheRa, Thundercats, Voltron, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, My Little Pony, Smurfs, MUSCLE, Care Bears, GI Joe, Batman, Superman, etc. Loose things, boxed things, NIB things, pieces for things, things with all their pieces… there’s just no way a few paragraphs or a few dozen pictures can even start to do that place justice. So yeah, Adam was definitely right… that place is truly amazing. (I’m even considering offloading a bunch of my own shit to that place, should they make the right offer. Better than eBay’ing one piece at a time…)

After that we walked up to the Short North Food Hall. What a bizarre place that ended up being. 😳 We knew it was a restaurant. Actually, it was several restaurants, all cooking out of the same kitchen… multiple burgers, dogs, philly steaks, fries, tots, pizza, nachos, subs, varieties of tacos. But when we walked in there was club music playing, and we could see that a huge bar occupied the center of the interior. Okay, great. But then in the seating areas all around the bar… children. And lots of ’em. Parents, drinking at the bar, while their children wandered around inside. 😧 Granted, most of the kids were with family that were just eating… but what the actual eff? Ohio law allows a big-ass bar to have probably two dozen children just hanging out, eating, wandering around, sometimes looking lost? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

We all ordered different stuff. My tacos arrived in about 10 minutes. Adam’s burger and mac and cheese took 30 minutes. Jim’s burger and tacos… well, at least his burger… 45 minutes. And Rick and Brad’s food took nearly an hour. 😠 It was completely inexcusable. Oh, and they forgot Jim’s tacos, so he had to wait even longer for those. Adam finally gave the manager a piece of his mind, and she just replied about how many people were there, and how most people come here and chill before they plan to eat.” 😐 So, see, we were doing it wrong. πŸ™„ Thinking we could order food and receive it in a timely manner – or at least at similar times for our party of five. Heh… Adam was livid, and plans to contact a higher up tomorrow… I think he felt sort of bad, since that’s the joint he originally chose.

But it was all fine… “adventure” as I said, a couple times on our way back to our cars. The toy store was amazing, walking around the Short North or campus is always interesting, and despite the clusterfuck with the food – it was all really good. We had to hustle back to Adam’s car, since his meter had run out a half hour before we even got out of the “food hall” but luckily no ticket. So we parted ways, I got Brad back home, and got my happy ass back home as quickly as possible. The whole evening probably passed my brain’s tolerance point by about an hour, so I was ready to be home when we had only just gotten to my car to leave. 😬 But I’m home… home is good… mmm… home.