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. 😎

Transfer

I had a slide scanner, so I’ve already converted all of the family photo slides over to digital on my own, but lately with all these “abandoned home” videos that I’ve been watching on YouTube it’s making me think about things that eventually get lost to time – and the reel-to-reel projection movies in the basement here could easily meet the same fate if they get too brittle, the projector stops working, or if nobody cares to even check them once I’m gone due to it being a pain in the ass. 😏

So I think I’m gonna start looking into having someone professionally convert them to digital for me. It’s been so long since I’ve even looked in that cabinet down there that I don’t know how many there are, or exactly how many of them feature a baby me. Regardless, I’d like to get them all transferred to digital so I have a way to easily share them with people now and then for after I’m gone as well.

I know there are “mail in” companies that do that sort of thing, but I think there’s also a video production company here in town that handles projects for the schools, the city, etc, and I think I remember something about them doing smaller projects like this for anyone that’s in need. More on this later if I actually get around to it.

 

Abandoned Exploration

I’ve found myself getting lost in “abandoned buildings” videos on YouTube over the past week or two… and more specifically in the ones where everything was just left behind, as if someone got up and went to work one day and just never came home again. 😯 I’m not sure why it fascinates me so much. It might be because, like Mom, I can look at any old home and imagine what life it used to hold. ☺ Families, holidays, birthdays, ups, downs, day-to-day boring life, just everything

I think the saddest part about these videos though is thinking about each of the individual items that people come across. Because you have to think… each item had a purpose, a reason at some point. πŸ€” Some more sentimental than others, but yeah… whether it’s old photos, stuffed animals, dolls, toy cars, nick knacks, CDs or cassettes, maybe even VHS or 8mm movie reels… every one of those things has a story behind it, but now those things are forgotten by the world, dissolving to time. πŸ˜”

I think that I may relate a little too much to some of these videos. 😏 Granted, it’s only because of the story that I create in my mind, but when you see an old house that is basically untouched – you sort of suspect that whoever lived there last was likely old and alone, with no kids to gift his possessions to, so for whatever reason the property just sits. That’s why exploring feels important to me, so even when someone is gone and forgotten by time, someone else comes along and does a great documentary and shares it on YouTube for those people and memories to live on.

It actually creates a moral dilemma for me though. πŸ˜’ The “rules” of urban explorers dictate that you take pictures, you take video, but you never take stuff. In theory I agree, because it still does belong to someone else, whoever that person may be… but I struggle with that rule because of the asshats that inevitably discover and vandalize such places. There’s just a large segment of the human population that would rather destroy the things that they find rather than appreciate them for what they are and what they were.

Most of the time it’s stuff that I wouldn’t even want for myself. Just stuff that deserves a better fate than to be overtaken by weather and nature and eventually destroyed. 😟 Antiques, porcelain dolls, old books, and other vintage items… it would be so hard to not collect them up just to donate them away, knowing that they’d then live on in the hands of someone that appreciated them. But maybe that’s not meant to be their fate. Maybe, sometimes, our stuff is only meant to live as long as we do, and suffer the same fate once we’re gone. I dunno… I’ll have to work this one around in my head a while.


  • PS: Having watched enough videos to say this, I think that there’s a lot of folks who don’t know the difference between “abandoned” and “unused” when it comes to the buildings they come across. For example, if you find an office complex that hasn’t been operating for six months, going inside and going “Wow! Look at all this office stuff left behind!” I feel like you’re more “breaking and entering” rather than exploring something that’s truly been abandoned. I guess this hobby has lots of moral quandaries.

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

Oh Hai

It’s 2a and I should be sleeping, but it’s my fault for making myself feel like shit. πŸ˜’ I mean, there really wasn’t a good second option – as not helping Cassi move would have ended up with them possibly not moving. Heh… that’s the problem with those of us who maintain as few friendships as possible – when it comes time for things like this, normal people have a crapload of acquaintances that will come and move your shit for some pizza and beer. Meh, more on that later maybe… but I wouldn’t have done things differently.

I’m just making an entry now because I can. Because I’ve got my laptop back. See, now and then I’ve been updating the 3D objects and properties in the modeled version of my grandparents’ house as it used to be – so it was time to render another animation, which takes forever and a day on a meager ol’ laptop like the one I’ve got. I mean, it’s a good laptop, it’s just that no personal systems are really meant for serious 3D rendering.

But yeah, the animation finished rendering, I’m currently uploading it to YouTube for enhancements, and then I’m going to download it again to do any adjusting that I have to do with playback speed. πŸ€“ It’s funny, like I was telling Genesee – 9 out of 10 people that watch the old rendering followed by the new one, they’re likely going to notice very little change. And I suppose that’s because there is little change… but yeah, I figured it was enhanced enough that it was worth the processing time. It’ll be up here in the blog once I’m done screwing with it. (Damn, now that I think about it, I haven’t actually watched the resulting video – so I don’t even know for sure if it was a success.)

Okay, I’m in a shit mood, so that’s all I’ve really got right now.

This Used To Be My Playground

I had to go in town earlier to work on some annuity claim paperwork that Dad needs, then after I left the bank I went and hosed off the car. Rather than heading straight back home, I decided to ride around town for a minute… something that I actually haven’t done for a while now.

I’m noticing more than ever that this town feels like a different place to me now. I think it’s because I’ve seen too much of the negative of Lancaster, not only through various groups on Facebook but in person as well. The Lancaster of 2017 is nothing like the Lancaster from when I was a kid. (said every old person ever)Β  The difference here is that the younger generations see that the town is turning to shit as well, so it’s not just my nostalgic brain playing tricks on me.

It really wasn’t even that long ago that the town still felt like it was mine. I doubt that there’s a road in this town that hasn’t been touched by my cousin Jim and I on our bikes back in the day. Then once we learned to drive, it was “fox hunting” on the CB… which took us to the edges of town and onward. Everything about this city was familiar to us, and that feeling lasted a long time…

But now, the memories don’t immediately pop up anymore. I could probably sit here and give you a memory for any street that you’d care to name, but when I’m out driving on those same roads now… that’s all they are, just roads. Just roads in a crappy, poor, crumbling, drug-addicted town. Nothing about it feels familiar. I think I’ll try harder to get the feeling back though, at least in part, before time wins and erases it all.