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…

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.

Above and Beyond

Lemme take back a couple of the things I said in my most recent entry. 😏 I figured that Cassi (et al) would be completely wrapped up in everything surrounding their move, and that I probably wouldn’t hear from them or see them until it was all over, since she knows I can’t really help with anything heavier than a couple of pounds, plus I didn’t wanna absorb any stress if “stress” was the vibe of the day. πŸ˜πŸ€” Well…

I ended up going up there today to provide some help after all. πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Not much stress, and nothing strenuous… but Steven had to work during most of the day today, and with no car at the house – that left Cassi feeling (correctly) like it would be a precious day wasted if they weren’t able to continue moving stuff over to the new place. πŸ˜• And considering the deadline, I definitely agreed.

Since I honestly had nothing planned (well, other than lying around the house, enjoying a total day off 😏) and since I can relate to the feeling of wanting to “get shit done” but having something outside of your control stopping you, I couldn’t really say no when she asked. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yeah, it ended up totally sucking the air out of my day off, but that would be a lame reason to not help a friend in need. πŸ™„ (Moving sucks. Especially the older we all get, the more stuff we all accumulate… yeah, it just sucks.)

I don’t know if the Soul would have been better equipped, size-wise, for the trips back and forth that we made, but we still ended up getting quite a bit of stuff over to the new place. πŸ™‚ Lots of little bitty things and boxes, since that was the easiest stuff… then once Steven got home he was gonna recruit some relatives to continue the work with the bigger stuff tonight and tomorrow. πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ» But yeah, still better to have moved the shit that we did, rather than having that time completely wasted.

And while I’m glad to have gotten back home, kicked off my shoes, and gave the kitty some attention since she was excited to see me… 😌 in the back of my head I’m thinking about all of the work that they’re still gonna have to do tonight and tomorrow. 😟 I don’t blame them for wanting out of that shitty neighborhood, but I also don’t envy them for all the aches and pains they’re gonna have once the job is done. 😳

Feels Good

Being only a couple of days before Steven, Cassi, Athena, and their mom start moving, Cassi asked if I’d wanna come visit one more time in the afternoon yesterday – since she knows that once the process starts it’s unlikely that I’ll be making any appearances until it’s over with. πŸ˜• It’s just that I’ve already told her that I can’t risk trying to help them out, possibly hurting myself in new and exciting ways. And just hanging around while they all hustle about… yeah, no need to emphasize my uselessness in that situation. πŸ˜’

But since things are about to get pretty crazy for them, I figured I should go up for one more chill visit (and my last time at that apartment) to serve as a distraction for both of us. πŸ™‚ After hanging out for a while, I remembered that I had a little bit of free play on my casino card. And since money is obviously gonna be tight as they move, I figured I’d go over and play $100… twenty bucks at a time, cashing out any time that I’d double my money, and then whatever “winnings” I ended up with – I’d share with her. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Maybe it was karma paying me back for helping Jim out with a little money this month, and then offering to share my winnings with Cassi… but the very first machine I played, I hit for over $500. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ Hell, if that was all that I won during that trip I would have been happy, but then the same machine – just a few pulls later – hit again for over $300. 😁 Since I was way, way ahead, after that I decided to try a few different machines that I’d never really played before, just as a change of pace.

If I wasn’t hitting decent little wins, they at least kept me “even” so I could keep playing. I eventually left not because I was losing, but because it was getting later and I wanted to spend a little more time with Cassi before it started to get dark dark. After all was said and done, I ended up going home with $700 (including my original investment) and was able to give her $400 to help with moving expenses. 😌

It always feels good when you can win enough that you can plop down a wad of bills in front of someone, and go “Here.”Β πŸ˜…πŸ˜ŽΒ (Especially when it’s legitimately helpful and appreciated.) And in times past when we’ve gone to the casino, I’ve noticed that she breaks down her winnings into five dollar bills before leaving… so I even went to the cashier and had him count out $400 worth of fives for me. πŸ˜πŸ’΅ (I did give the guy a tip, ‘cuz that was admittedly a slight pain in his ass for him… heh)

So that definitely made yesterday better than average. Didn’t anticipate things turning to shit overnight and waking up feeling like I do today, but I keep reminding myself that other than the lack of sleep and awesome new neck pain – nothing else has changed since that “goody” feeling of yesterday, so I’m trying to get the feeling of this day turned around. 😏🀞🏻 It helps that the weekend is essentially here, so I can recover without any obligations hovering over me.

Trying To Be Productive

Cassi and Steven came down for a visit yesterday evening. πŸ™‚ It was kind of a short notice thing, and they ended up staying a couple of hours, so it had my brain wound up to where I wasn’t able to fall asleep until around 2am. 😴 Me and Steven ended up talking about car stuff almost the entire time, so that was nice to pick his brain about this and that… but they’re getting ready to move, and they’ll be busy with all of that for a good bit – so after last night it’ll be a while until things get settled enough for me to drop in for a visit.

I woke up again after only about an hour of sleep, so I tumbled out of bed and I stumbled to the kitchen… to get myself a bottle of water. 😏 Heh… I used the “9 to 5” lyrics for the previous sentence, but “tumbling out of bed” was exactly what ended up happening. πŸ˜…πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I nodded off with the water bottle in my hand, still sitting up, and (likely) a short time later I woke back up as my dumb ass was falling out of bed. Not my most graceful moment, that’s for sure. I’m surprised I was able to fall back to sleep so easily after that. πŸ™„πŸ˜

Despite that, today started off well… if a bit later than originally planned. Went in town and grabbed some burgers for a visit with Dad around lunch time, and then after that I finally… finally… made it to the Walmart vision center and got my new prescription and glasses ordered. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€“πŸ₯³ I’ve only been “planning” to do that for about a year now I think? I tend to be rough on my glasses, so I spent a little more to get titanium frames with double hinges on the temples. πŸ§πŸ‘πŸ» More of a squared off look than my last few pairs, so I’m excited to get them to not only see how I look, but also to actually be able to see with 20/20 vision again.

They did do eye-health tests along with just getting the Rx, since it’s been a few year since they last saw me, but everything apparently looked good. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ However, the combination of the glaucoma test and then the drops to dilate my eyes… 😳 I ended up with a huge headache which still hasn’t gone away. Luckily I only had to run through the store real quick to grab some cat food, litter, pop, and some other grocery essentials – but then I was able to head straight home, pull the curtains, and turn off all the lights. πŸ€•

Since my IC hearing got postponed, that leaves tomorrow free for me to call (or go visit) the pharmacy to get this month’s WC med situation taken care of… 😠 plus I’ve gotta make a call regarding a stray insurance policy that’s taking far too long to process. (Another thing that I’ve been meaning to do for months.) Those calls will be mildly-annoying at best, but it’ll feel good if I’m able to get these things handled. 😎

Okay, headache is starting to flare up again… time to get away from my screens.

Move/Buy/Sell/Apartment/Hotel

In the relatively small circle of folks that I talk to (along with those who I might not talk to, but still kinda know their business) there’s been a lot of thinking about, talking about, or actual “moving” going on. One cousin already moved from where he was, aunt and uncle are selling their original house now that they’ve moved into their “retirement” house, and then me and a couple other cousins are feeling just restless enough with our own situations that the thought of moving does pop up now and then. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Oh, and I almost forgot yet another cousin and her hubby who recently purchased their first place together on the edge of town.

Then there are other folks who are considering or planning to move, even though it might not have been in their original plans. Whether job situations change, family situations change, relationship situations change, or the neighborhood itself changes enough where folks just want out… yeah, it’s become a common topic among a whole bunch of us. 😟 Even a couple friends in NJ have been taking a “serious, but not that serious yet” look at other potential homes around their area. It’s like a seed has been planted in all of our brains. πŸ˜‹

I’m not gonna get into “all that” much more right now, other than expanding on the reason why I started this entry in the first place. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Now, this is something that I’ve heard of happening in bigger cities, but I wouldn’t have thought that my relatively small town would have been affected by it already. 🀨 But investors will swoop in and buy up all the “cool” apartment properties, do a little bit of renovating, and then rather than living in them or renting them out in a traditional manner – they use those properties as short term, almost “vacation-like” quasi-hotel type rentals. 😠

In particular I can see that this has happened to many of the downtown apartments that used to be available above businesses, retail, restaurants, etc. A few years ago you would see a couple of them become available every few months, but now the majority of what I see are listings by folks who rent them by the week, weekend, or even sometimes by the night. πŸ˜•Β And in a way, you can’t blame them. Why rent a place out for $900 a month when you could average $100 a night by renting it out as an AirBNB or similar-type destination for well-off folks who only come to town for a few nights? πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ“ˆπŸ€‘

It’s exactly what already-expensive rental markets in bigger cities are experiencing. Locals, who actually want a home, who want to rent via traditional terms, are priced out of the market by the influx of investors who buy up apartments for higher priced, short term rentals. 😯 I guess in some cities on the west coast, more than 50% of the apartment market has been gobbled up in that way – and the only thing that might be able to stop the practice is if local ordinances are put in place to prevent it. πŸ€” But, to me, short-term renters would probably sound appealing to a city council, since that type of traffic would also be the type that would be spending money while they’re staying in their nifty vintage loft, or at least more so than a regular monthly tenant probably would be.

But yeah, all of this rambling just comes from one evening of quickly browsing through a few different apartment search type sites – so I may be assuming too much without having done enough research. 😏 But after that hour or so of browsing, when the net result is “Well… that seems like some bullshit.” πŸ˜… it only makes sense that it would also end up here in the blog, eh?