Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»

Pretty Good For A Phone

250 frames, 10fps, each frame = 30s, ISO 100, high noise reduction. Decent… then the clouds arrived. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

(Enable HD mode and expand to full screen before playing. Too much white around the dark video…)

 

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

Family Tree

This should make my cousin happy. πŸ™‚ I got some mail yesterday regarding my aunt (who passed away some time ago) which required me to rummage through my old file drawers for some info that they needed… and while doing so, I came across all of Mom’s genealogy stuff. 😌 That’s something that Shannon has actually asked me about a few times, since she has become the unofficial official “keeper of the history” on that side of the family. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» Mom had done a ton of research over the years, some of which may have even been done with Shannon’s help, so she’s excited at the thought of being able to look at everything again now that it’s all in one place. And like most of us, she’s got some “bleh” in her life that she’d appreciate a distraction from, and this is definitely the type of thing that can do that. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦πŸŒ³πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦

Toni sees Shannon pretty regularly, or at least way more often than I do, so I think I’ll give all of Mom’s papers and folders to Toni tomorrow (while I talk her into giving me a haircut) so she can give them to Shannon next time she’s out that way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ I’ll admit, even as I briefly look through it all, it’s a struggle for me to piece everything together. So many names of relatives that I’m just too young to have known… but, especially with Uncle Jay’s help, I know Shannon will be able to take all of the research and really tighten it up into something we’ll all be able to follow. πŸ™‚ Plenty of “filling in the blanks” that’s yet to be done, but she says she’s looking forward to it. So I’m glad, and I’m sure Mom’s happy, that the research, refinement, and continuation will… well… continue. 😌

Creeping Beauty

Lately I’ve just been using my phone to capture various (weather-based) time-lapse videos, long exposures, lightning, etc… πŸ˜―πŸ“·β˜οΈβ˜οΈπŸŒ©οΈβ˜οΈ basically anything that can be done a few steps from my front door, which unfortunately is about the extent of my “hobby of photography” at the moment. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

But last night after the lightning clouds passed through, I decided to grab my camcorder to remind myself what it’s capable of when it comes to low light and time-lapse video. πŸ“ΉπŸ€” Now, when I say camcorder, what you’re picturing is probably not what I’m actually talking about. It’s a JVC digital camcorder with 40x optical zoom, 80x “decent” digital zoom, and then some ridiculous 800x digital zoom that makes everything look like garbage. πŸ˜… But it shoots in 1080p/30 HD and saves to a standard SD memory card, so it’s good enough tech for what I’d want to use it for.

The video below… it’s theΒ firstΒ true test of that camcorder in a couple of years. I just slowed the shutter as much as possible, boosted the exposure, tried to manually focus it properly (since it will lose and regain focus over and over in the dark), and then set the time-lapse interval to 5 seconds. πŸ€“πŸ˜’ I didn’t realize, when I pressed record, how fast the clouds were already moving… so from now on I’ll shoot with an interval of one second and then just speed it up if necessary. But yeah, this is what I ended up with…

(You might need to click the little “HD” and “Full Screen” in the bottom right for highest quality)

It was a full moon last night, and will look essentially the same tonight, so I’m gonna go ahead and charge her up in case I’m awake that late – to where I can plop it out in the back yard, hit record, and let it run until the batteries are empty. πŸŒβ˜οΈπŸ“ΉπŸ€“πŸ€žπŸ» Right now, in the afternoon, there is a good mix of open sky and random clouds… so we’ll see if that stays true through the evening and into the early morning hours.

The storm came along at the right time last night to distract me from my “meh” thoughts of the day, to where I just let myself get lost in watching the ominous looking clouds and lightning as they approached from the distance. 😌 (It’s in my DNA… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I just love severe weather.) The rain did me a favor, so I didn’t even have to scramble to grab my phone (or the camcorder) before it all got soaked once the storm got here… since it never actually got here, passing just to the south instead. πŸ˜³πŸ™‚

So, wish me luck… gonna try to capture somethin’ perty tonight. 😌 And God willing, if I start feeling good enough and my motivation returns for at least a few nights, maybe I’ll actually go out somewhere to do a similar experiment. Somewhere more “scenic” than home. 🀨 The views from my house are fine… they’re just a little bit cluttered due to trees, nearby buildings, power/cable lines, etc… on top of the stray, unwanted light from cars’ headlights as they pass by. πŸ€”πŸ˜’

So yeah, even though I’ve done a ton of these over the years, I’m counting everything as “testing” still… 😏

How It’s Supposed To Be

Okay, gotta change the mood to something lighter… just hopped onto Facebook to see a thread over 100 comments long, everyone arguing about how the police treated the man who was firing a gun in the city as the cops looked on. Wanna see a thread where every damn person thinks that they are absolutely, 100% correct and everyone else is an idiot or moron? 😏 Go find that thread in one of the local Lancaster groups. πŸ™„

But like I said… changing the mood. As I’m sitting here on the floor with my knee in front of the space heater, Maven just jumped up on the couch behind me and started staring and purring at me. 😏😸 See, I started the process of grooming (shaving) her a couple of days ago… and she’s gotten to the point now where she actually likes it. At least to a point. πŸ˜„ So I think she’s trying to give me a hint that she’s ready for a few more swipes here in a bit. Oops… no… she actually just curled up on my mail and fell asleep.

It still amazes me, how far she’s come from when I first got her. You couldn’t even pet her belly when she first got here… and now I can lay her on her back between my legs and shave her belly with a loud trimmer and she’ll mostly just take it. πŸ˜… Although the twitchy tail does reveal that that’s probably her least favorite part to be worked on. But I’m lucky… I’ve got a couple of throw carpets in the bathroom, and when I go in there she’ll usually follow me for a few minutes of grooming, and then when she’s had enough she’ll take a few steps out into the hallway where she knows she’ll get the good hair brush treatment which she loves. 😻

I think it’s partly that, in general, I’m pretty boring when I’m just hanging around the house with her, so she really eats up all of the attention that I’m then giving her as we go through the process. She only gets twitchy about it when it comes to her belly and her butt. I think that’s just because it’s probably a weird feeling… and a very vulnerable position for her to put herself into willingly. But yeah, so far so good, because I’ve taken more fur off of her in the first two days of this process than I’ve usually been able to do over the course of an entire week before. πŸ˜ƒ I think between it getting warmer, and her getting tired of licking and cleaning all the time, she’s actually as anxious to get this done as I am.Β 

(Day One, Session One: Already waiting patiently by the door for some more swipes and brushing… 😊 )

I think the good trick this time is that for the times when she doesn’t just follow me into the bathroom, I snatch her up either right when she’s falling asleep or right when she’s waking up… when she just doesn’t have the oomph to give me too much shit right away. 😁 I’m probably gonna give her a break from it today though, to also continue giving my knee a break. I’ve got two loads of laundry to (hopefully) bring upstairs and fold, and I wanna do that while I’m still feeling decent and before I let more hair loose into the house.

I’m so glad that Genesee decided that I needed her when I moved in here. 😏 Whenever you’ve got a critter, and then lose that critter (😒) part of you says that you don’t wanna do it again. The inevitable heartbreak of getting and loving a critter that you know will eventually end as it always does, as much as you don’t want to feel like you’re just getting a “replacement” for a critter that you just lost. πŸ˜• If it would have been up to me to decide, I probably wouldn’t have gotten another cat after Kitty B. But just as any true “critter person” will tell you – I can’t imagine what life would have been like without all of the years that I’ve had with ol’ girl here. 😊

I Want Smear

Every now and then I muck around with a new time-lapse app to see if I can get a really “smeary” lighting effect that I want – but for whatever reason I can’t figure the shit out. It makes sense… on a bright day, even at the lowest ISO, you can’t have a long shutter speed because everything will just get blown out. So I try to do it digitally, but you can still see too much clarity in the smears… but still, this is an interesting looking video.

(This should be available at 4k 60fps, but you can at least change to 1080p 60fps up here β†—)

Once it is actually night time you can use much longer shutter speeds and the smear looks like a true smear, so next time there’s a perfectly clear night and decently “full” moon I’m gonna maybe have to try it again – but only after dark. Another option is capturing a sunset (and clouds, and car lights, and plane lights) from Mt Pleasant… but that means, a) climbing the damn mountain, which I haven’t done for a couple of years, and b) hoping that they don’t have those damn LED flood lights lighting up the face of it while I’m trying to do my shit. I’ll have to see if there’s a schedule for when they do or don’t do that.

Oh, and obviously if you lock the shutter and ISO for the brightness of the scene when it starts, you’ll probably get some super dark and super bright parts as clouds pass. The alternative is auto exposure, which causes some off jumping around of the exposure during the video – as well as making the whole thing look considerably less dramatic since the phone is always trying to make the exposure appealing. Meh… this is me, trying to find something fun to do… something to have interest in again. Carry on.