Sunny Sunday

It sure was a beautiful day today. Almost unfair, considering that we’re not really supposed to be out in it… at least not around other folks. 72 degrees, sunny, big poofy clouds, and lots of gusty wind to blow through the house. I ran out of pop last night, so I knew I was gonna have to go somewhere today, and that somewhere ended up being the gas station / quicky mart up the road.

They had the front double doors and the side door propped open, so the wind was blowing through the store just like it was outside. They also had signs that let people know that they only wanted five people at a time in the store, and asked folks to wait outside until someone left if the store was already “full.”

There was only one other customer inside the store when I went in, and she was over in the Subway part of the store. (I can guarantee you that I’m not buying a sub with fresh, cold, been-sitting-out-in-a-bin-all-day toppings on it.) So I grabbed some pop, some pretzels, some smokes, and then hit the road. The fella behind the counter didn’t seem too stressed, even though we both stood back from the counter except for the few moments when it was unavoidable.

But I was so distracted by the amazing weather that I found myself just sitting out on the porch, messing around with the phone to make a crude 3D scan of the houseΒ (works best w/touch interface), taking the cat out to smell the trees and the grass, and generally not doing anything productive the whole day. It really felt like a weekend day.

Oh, I did watch the iRacing NASCAR 125 race from “virtual” Texas in the afternoon, and it was pretty darn good like last weekend’s was. The race even had a sponsor, although I can’t remember who it was, and it looked like drivers and teams had some sponsorship deals going on as well. Looks like it might be sticking around for a while.

So yeah, it was nice to “waste” a day when it was as nice as it was, and when there was good stuff on the TV to distract. Getting ready to watch “Bad Boys for Life” here in a few, and then I’ll gather up all my mail and bills and shit so it’ll be ready for me sometime tomorrow after the grumpy from waking up wears off. I hope y’all were able to have a decent day as well.

Vivid Nightmare Tale

Didn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning last night, and I’m not sure if it was something that I saw the day before or something that I had subconsciously heard on the TV while I was sleeping, but I ended up having some awful (but amazing) vivid nightmares. 😯 At least they were situation based, rather than having anything to do with a specific friend or family member.

I’ve always had a knack for returning to the same fictional locations in my dreams, even over decades of time, as well as being able to “pick up where I left off” if I happen to wake up in the middle of a particularly interesting or intense dream. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ There are even a couple of fictional “characters” that have persisted over the years, albeit only on rare occasions. πŸ˜•πŸ™‚ It’s no “lucid dreaming” but I’ll definitely take it, compared to nothing but random, fleeting dreams which can never be returned to.

Last night’s dream, split by about ten minutes of waking up and settling back in, featured two different plane crashes. 😳 (And like I’ve acknowledged before, I know that hearing about other folks’ dreams isn’t always the most entertaining thing, but alas…) The first plane crash was one that I witnessed in the evening from our old house on Shepherd Hill. 😌 I actually had my phone set up in my bedroom window, to record a time-lapse video of the setting sun, but accidentally captured a small aircraft making some abrupt movements a couple of miles away – before crashing into the hills and trees. 😧 … πŸ›©οΈπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ”₯

There was distinct black smoke coming from the crash site, but the sun had set by this point, and a layer of fog had moved in, so rescue / recovery vehicles and aircraft seemed to be having a hard time locating the wreckage. πŸ€¨πŸ”­ I not only knew where it went down, but also had a recording of the event, so after a while of watching them struggle from a distance I decided that I needed to get into my car and go help out.

That’s when I woke up, but with the first part of that dream being so vivid (I’m leaving out many of the detailed details) I was hoping that I’d get back to sleep quickly and be able to pick up where I left off. πŸ₯±πŸ€žπŸ»

Back in the dream, I was already in my car (which was my 1979 Olds Delta 88) and driving up an increasingly narrow road on an increasingly steep mountain. 😬😣 But before I had even driven that far, I heard the sound of spooling jet engines above me – and I looked up to see a rescue oriented 747-200 about 2000 feet above, struggling to climb and avoid a similarly marked rescue blimp that was directly in its path. 😯✈️

The jet didn’t have the power to execute the climb and turn, so while it was able to avoid the blimp – it went into a stall and began to fall from the sky. 😬 I immediately stopped in my tracks, since it looked like the plane might graze the face of the mountain but wouldn’t necessarily hit me. Of course that didn’t end up being the case, and as the 747 fell parallel to the vertical face of the mountain, the belly of the plane banged into my car – knocking it off of the road and sending it falling thousands of feet towards a big lake below.

My car, along with many others from the road above, somehow fell relatively softly into the lake… while the plane crashed hard into the mountain on its way down, which meant there was a constant “rain” of debris endangering all of the surviving people in their cars. πŸ˜³β˜‚οΈ Most of the cars ended up floating, and many people were getting out and trying to swim to shore, but they were inevitably hit by falling wings, engines, landing gear, etc. πŸ˜£πŸ€• The lake was also partially on fire due to the jet fuel, so saying that it was a chaotic scene would be a huge understatement.

But in the chaos, my car and several others floated together, so we used a bunch of bungee cables to connect them all and “fling” them with enough momentum to reach land. 🏝️ The dream fizzled out there, once we were all safe, but it was such a vivid dream that I can still remember the detail of everyone’s faces, the vertigo from the heights, the smell of burning kerosene and plastic plane seats, the shortness of breath while trying to not drown, the pinch of my hand under the tightening bungees, the way it went from unbearably noisy to silent except for the sound of the water… just all of it. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Œ

Not what most people would consider a fun dream by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one that I was still glad to have had. Almost like the way that you can’t wait to see the weekend’s popular blockbuster action movie. πŸ˜ŽπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because that’s what it felt like… like an extended scene from some awesome movie. Unfortunately, as it often happens (especially once things really go off the rails), it never really went back to the original “small plane crash” plot, nor did it provide any resolution to any of the rest… but hey, teamwork helped me and quite a few others survive quite the adventure. πŸ€“πŸ€œπŸ»πŸ€›πŸ»πŸ˜„

(I know… I should save this shit for the dream blog. I mean that’s the whole point of it being there…Β πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ )

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…)

Wait, There’s A Purpose

Yeah, I know I said I likely wouldn’t be doing any more time-lapse videos of the clouds, considering they’re probably only interesting to me… but it was finally cool enough today that I thought I could put the fully charged iPad out back, capturing at one frame every three seconds, to see how long the battery would last. How long of a video I could make on one charge. πŸ€”

I rendered it out at 4K, 60fps… but then adding music to it in iMovie, I’m not sure if it saved it at those same settings or what YouTube will do to the video if it did. But it sat out back for a long time – until the sun started to come into view, causing it to overheat and stop taking shots. πŸ˜’ Once it cooled off, it showed the battery level still at 60% – so there’s a chance that I could shoot a dawn to dusk video once the days are much cooler. It might need my little power bank connected to it, but yeah… there’s a chance.

That’s not really a big deal with the view that’s currently featured, but if I happened to find a space that’s much more scenic – perhaps a place where I could actually stash my iPad and just leave it for the day… πŸ˜―πŸ˜„

I know I’ll probably never actually do that. Just let me do my tests and act like I might some day though.Β πŸ˜…

(Hey, I had to do something nerdy during my “nothing” day today. πŸ€“Β )

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