Too Late, Too Early

I stayed up until around 2am last night. Mostly just because I couldn’t fall asleep, but also because I wanted to step outside and see how many meteors I could see from the Lyrids meteor shower. πŸ€“ I stood outside for a little over ten minutes, freezing, and saw a grand total of none. πŸ˜… I know that I was looking where I was supposed to, so they were either lighter than expected or I was just blinking at the wrong time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No big deal, since if I had seen several of them I probably would have been wishing I had figured out the needed settings for my cameras so that I could have captured them. πŸ˜’ But earlier in the evening I did mess with the phone and camcorder a bit, to see if I could quickly figure out how to get a noise-free, well exposed photo of the stars in the sky, while also being able to capture any shooting stars… and it’s not as easy as you’d think, at least not with an iPhone.

It’s funny, I’ve got it down where I can get a decent exposure of the night sky, but I know from trying to also capture a few passing planes in the frame – that the way I was exposing the image requires the stars to “stay put” for about 30 seconds, and any moving source of light just wouldn’t be captured. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Meh… I’m fairly confident with my regular star exposures, so if the sky is clear tonight I might plug up the phone to power and leave it out back to possibly get a decent time-lapse. On a full charge, using just the internal battery, I was only able to get one hundred 30 second exposures, forming this bitty 10 sec time-lapse… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

(As usual, best viewed in HD, full screen… and this time, in a dark, dark room. I’m gettin’ there…)

So it was after 2a before I went to sleep, and then I woke up around 7a because my brain knew I had a doctor appointment at 9:30a – so it was sleeping lightly, waiting for any excuse to make sure that I’d wake up and not sleep through it. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Obviously I’ve had early doctor appointments before, but this one was different, so I’m certainly not complaining that I had to wake up early for it today.

This was my first experience with “telemedicine” as I guess it’s called. πŸ˜ƒ Staci called a little early, at 9a, to see if I was awake and able to go ahead and start… and she then sent a link via text, I clicked on it, it opened a page that started the AV connection as fast as a regular Facetime call would start, and from that point on it was like a regular doctor appointment. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

She did her normal “pre-doc” stuff of all the typical information that they gather before the doctor actually comes in, she then put me on hold for about 30 seconds, and then my doctor clicked back in and we wrapped up my appointment in less than ten minutes. 😊 Still covered everything that we would have covered in person, and in fact – because I didn’t have to experience the anxiety of the in-person visit, I probably felt better than at a “normal” appointment. That also meant that I didn’t ramble on about any minor “this or that” which often happens when I’m actually there and able to bitch. πŸ˜…

So yeah, I could definitely get spoiled by something like that. πŸ€— I realize though that a doctor does have to be able to physically interact with a damaged person at least every couple of appointments (to confirm the level of their damage) but it would be nice if I could do two of these, then a regular appointment, two more of these, then a regular, etc. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• Unfortunately they probably aren’t able to bill insurance at the same rate when they do “virtual” vs “real” appointments, so once they feel that the COVID risk isn’t as high anymore, everyone will be going back to the regular routine. πŸ˜’

Heh… this is probably my longest, most coherent pre-10a entry I’ve ever written. πŸ˜‹

Almost Seven Hours

My sleep has been screwed, so I was actually awake before dawn yesterday… and since my iPad was fully charged I decided to throw her out back to take a time-lapse video for as long as she could. πŸ€”πŸ€žπŸ» Shooting one frame every five seconds, she was able to last for nearly seven hours. πŸ˜ƒ It starts around 6:30a, just a little after dawn, and does eventually go from “bleh and cloudy” to “half-way decent” before it’s over.

(Like all of these time-lapse and sky/astronomy themed vids, it’s best viewed in HD and full screen.)

And I know, it’s essentially the same thing I’ve been doing over and over again here at the house… 😏 although this one was more of a test of the battery. 🀨 So at least now I know that if I set it out there and have one of those booster battery packs already plugged in, there’s a good chance that I’d be able to do a dawn to dusk time-lapse of a single day without it having to be plugged in. πŸ€“ The trick then would be figuring out which day would have dramatic enough clouds without also having pouring down rain.

Meh… all of this stuff is kinda like my brain just tolerating eating generic, frosting-free “toaster pastries” when it would really prefer the brand name, frosting covered, goo stuffed, delicious Pop-Tarts brand toaster pastries. πŸ˜… ie: I still wanna be creative, but I have a hard time motivating myself enough to get away from the house to do it. πŸ˜’ But hey, this one gets kinda pretty around the middle part, so there’s that…

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.

Mini-Vacation Visitor

Disregarding how the entry below this one probably sounds, things haven’t been that bad around here lately. The way that all of my “shit” usually finds a way to land on my schedule all around the same time, this time it’s the opposite – and I’ve found myself with a chunk of time where I’ve got no doctor appointments, no WC stuff to work on, no immediate need for attorney communications, none of my few friends needing anything from me, etc. πŸ™‚ I’m glad it worked out that way, because Genesee is gonna be in town for a few days starting tomorrow and it’ll be nice to not have to work around any other obligations while she’s here.

The weather isn’t looking ideal for it, but she’s visiting so she can attend the Freedom’s Never Free ceremony tomorrow at the fairgrounds. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ In past years I’ve gone with Toni and her family since they had a flag to place in remembrance of Uncle Rick’s service as well as one for Grandpa Shepherd. But this year, Genesee ordered a flag for her dad, and helped me get one to place for / with my dad as well. 😊 It’s a very inclusive thing… for any branch of the military, it doesn’t matter if the person is alive or has passed, and I think they even said that flags can be ordered and placed for “first responders” like firefighters, police, EMTs, etc.

Hopefully the weather will be tolerable enough that Dad will want to go, but the alternate plan is that me and Gen will still go, take some video, place the flags, and then go visit with him afterwards. And once the flags are purchased, they stay with the organization and are used again in each of the following years’ ceremonies. It’s amazing how many flags are added each year, and I think that even for the folks who don’t care to think about / talk about their service time, it still must be a nice feeling to get some recognition for what they did – even if multiple decades have passed since then.

(Especially for Vietnam vets, considering the reaction from the public that many of them got upon returning home… something that I didn’t truly understand the awful extent of until a handful of years ago.)

But she’ll be in Ohio until Sunday, and we’ve got a couple of small plans for things that we want to do, and then she’s got plans with other Ohio friends as well, but all of it will have to be played by ear due to the weather and the relatively short amount of time she’ll be around compared to her other visits. 😯⏰ But it’s nice that this visit is for something good, and not because of someone passing away, or because I’m recovering from a surgery and need babysitting or whatever. 😏

And I’m a little jealous that she’s getting to fly here and back home. I’ve been watching so many different airline / pilot themed YouTube channels lately… (Mentour Pilot, Captain Joe, VasAviation ATC, 74 Gear, CargoSpotter, etc.) giving myself the itch to take a cheap day-flight down to Florida and back or something, basically just a joyride… but between those videos and having not been on a plane since Jim and I went to Kansas years ago… hopefully she gets a window seat so she can use ReLive to record the path of her flight. πŸ€“Β (Not sure how it’ll handle the speed / altitude as it tries to plot the path on its animated map.)

So today I’m just taking it easy. Not gonna even do any light work around here, ‘cuz a lot of times it doesn’t take much for me to unintentionally screw up my neck, shoulder, or knee to various degrees. πŸ˜• It’s only a few days, so I wanna do what I can to make sure I’m good and can keep up with whatever we end up doing. In fact, she’s actually gonna help me dump the small bags of gravel out by the mailbox, as well as help me take the old mailbox off the post and get the new one installed. πŸ™‚ I could probably manage both of those things by myself eventually, but since she offered… I guess I’ll take the help. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I gotta get better at that. Accepting help. Because I’m at the point now, more than ever, where I actually do need help with a lot of things… and more often than I’m currently willing to admit to others and even myself. 😟 Stupid pride. 😏

Usually Unnoticed

No clouds this evening, and I think there’s still at least one “named” meteor shower that’s supposed to be going on, so I went ahead and sat the phone out front for a couple of hours tonight. But instead of grainy long exposure shots, this time I just used Skyflow’s time-lapse video mode, taking a photo every 1/3 of a second, with the “light trail” setting at 20 seconds. The resulting video caught one shooting star at the very beginning, and then a bunch of planes after that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Nothing impressive, but rather kinda peaceful… 😌

(Video is 4K UHD, 30fps, and best viewed full-screen. I cut out a lot of the “dead air” so it’s mostly light trail stuff…)

Learn To Relax

I know it’s only Thursday, but I think I’m gonna mentally start my weekend now. Had all kinds of horrible nightmares last night, even though I can’t tell you a damn thing regarding what they were about. 😟 I just know that multiple times throughout the night I’d wake up in a sweat from whatever I was dreaming about… I dunno, maybe bits will come back to me throughout the day as dreams sometimes do. Just takes hearing the right word or seeing the right image on TV and stuff can start coming back into view.

So, not much sleep, headache when I finally woke up for good… although at least it’s a normal headache and doesn’t seem related to my neck, so hopefully some Aleve will be able to help with that. I think it’s just the stuff that has been occupying my thoughts for the first part of the week kinda building up… worrying about my friend’s surgery, thinking about and helping out another friend who has a custody hearing today… and then despite doing pretty good at keeping my WC stuff out of my thoughts, struggling while shopping yesterday agitated my frustration – by barely being able to handle a few relatively small bags of dirt and gravel – I think my brain just got a little full, and last night’s dreams may have been a product of that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Regardless, I’m gonna take it easy today, stay relatively disconnected from the digital world, and probably do a little work around the house. Lawn guys were here yesterday, bills and paperwork have been handled, no appointments to worry about, no calls to make or people to see… so I can just chill here in my bubble and not worry about any of the stuff that might stress me out. 😌 I mean, I’m definitely interested in politics and all of the “goings on” when it comes to all that, but I’m even gonna try to avoid that today… and today sounds like it could be pretty “big” when it comes to potential news. (I’m sure I’ll catch Maddow later, though… I just like the long-form way that she sums up the day’s biggest stories.)

But yeah, just figured I’d go ahead and get some “me time” before the weekend gets here. It’s funny, even though I don’t have a traditional Monday-thru-Friday type schedule since I don’t work anymore, I still feel like I have to justify it to myself if I wanna take a “day off” during the week. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Hell, even at that, I’m still gonna do some laundry, put away the groceries from yesterday, other light misc chores… and I’ve gotta learn to give myself credit, even for small crap like that, when I’m not feeling great. So, yeah, I’ll probably be a little slower at reading and responding to any messages today… it’s not you, it’s me. 😏