How Could I Not?

Here I’ve been, telling my friends “Nah, I’m not going out for Black Friday. I can’t even think of anything I need, and especially if I have to be out among the sea of people.”Β and I thought I was telling them the truth. 😏 Actually, most of those two sentences are still true… because no wayΒ would I consider going out to fight with the thousands of other assholes at the crack of dawn come this Friday – but it turns out that I did need something, and I didn’t even realize it until a just few minutes ago. (Deja vu… heh)

I’ll go ahead and describe the item, then I’ll get to the “deal” part of it. I already have a Playstation 4, and about a year ago Sony came out with a virtual reality headset for it which has been selling for $299. Also known as way too friggin’ much. Well, now that they’re preparing to come out with an updated version of the headset soon, prices in some places are dropping to $199 for the current model. Still expensive, but much more reasonable.

For me, any VR gaming that I end up doing will just be a bonus. Because, to be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve played a game on that system. πŸ˜• Things over the past couple of years have warped my brain, taking away the desire to do many of the things I used to find fun… but anyway…

I had actually given the PSVR system a brief look when it originally came out, but mainlyΒ  because of the photo and video applications. I have a 3D television, but I’ll now be able to watch 3D movies or videos on the headset. Same thing with 360Β° virtual realityΒ videos. 😎 Does anything start to sound familiar? πŸ€” At this price point, this thing sounds perfect for me since I’ve got a cheap 3D video recorder and a camera that can shoot 360° photos and videos. Honestly, the thing is made for me to own.

But it wasn’t even floating around in my brain as recently as 15 minutes ago, that is, until I saw a post from Cheap Ass Gamer that showed the system available at Kohl’s for $199 – plus for every $50 that you spent, you’d earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash which can be used for in-store purchases later. So I hit the site, put the PSVR in my cart, added a $1.00 foaming face mask (to push the total to just over $200) and boom… $60 in Kohl’s Cash, effectively making the final price only $140. πŸ€“ Giddyup.

This should really encourage my shooting in those alternative mediums.

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Didn’t Know I’d Want It

Clicking around on YouTube, somehow I ended up finding a video of a couple of kids reviewing video games… but these kids just happened to be doing so in 1991 at the Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle in Atlantic City. 😯 I’d have liked to have seen the even older arcade though, because it’s the one of which I have the most memory. It was actually built into the front of Bally’s Park Place casino and looked out onto the boardwalk and ocean. πŸ™‚ Right next to the little art gallery shop where they had sculptures made of garbage on display.

That, of course, caused me to click around a bit longer… trying yet again to find pictures of any of those casino arcades from the mid-80s, but just like usual – I came up empty, other than a few random posts in dusty corners of the web, where people were requesting the same sort of photos that I’m looking for. 😟 And like one of those folks said, “It never occurred to me that I should take pictures of the boring old arcade that I went to every weekend.” And that way of thinking makes sense. πŸ€” Something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you at the time…Β you’re unlikely to bother making a visual record of it, because your brain isn’t thinking ahead to consider that you (or anyone else) might one day wish that you could look back at that stuff from the future.

That refreshed my memory and added a little more spark to my current level of photographic motivation. When I got my 3D camera, I considered going around town and just taking random pictures of anything and everything… providing a 3D snapshot of Lancaster from “a couple of days back in 2014” or whenever, for people to look at in awe decades from now. πŸ˜ƒ But of course I never did it. 😏 Shit, even now there’s a couple local Facebook groups where people make a hobby of finding “vintage” pics of the city, the buildings, the stores, the people, and sharing them with everyone – which ends up getting them 100s of likes and shares.

I’m not worried about the popularity of any shots that I might take now, I’m just using that as an example of how photos that I take now may be looked back on in amazement several decades from now – especially if I compose shots that people haven’t thought of already taking. πŸ€“πŸ“· I’m just not sure if I’d be better off taking “normal” shots with my high megapixel dSLR, or if I should use the 3D or 360Β° cameras just to make them more unique. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I realize that it’ll be much, much easier for future generations to find digital photos from the current age – so if I want them to mean something or to get a special look in the future, I’ll have to figure out what tricks I wanna use. Whether by using an unusual type of camera, or by just giving extra thought to the location and composure of the shots themselves.

This is making my evening fun though… just running all of these things through my head, even when there’s probably only a 10% chance of me actually doing any of it. My brain hasn’t really cared to think about anything photo-wise for many months now, so it’s nice just to have a little bit of “that feeling” again. I’ll have to grab one of my notebooks here in a minute and start jotting down some ideas before it all starts to dissipate.

Another One?

If I hadn’t already bought the tickets a couple of months ago, and had to decide yesterday morning if I wanted to go that night, there’s a really good chance I would have stayed home – but as it were, it was off to Dayton for another Skillet concert. 😏 I’m glad to have been there, don’t get me wrong, it’s just another one of those “Man I wish I could just snap my fingers and be there / be home.” deals.

I swear, each time I do whatever “fun” thing I decide to do, it gets more and more difficult – without any real reason that I can tell. 😐 For this concert road trip, I was honestly only “good” for the hour or so that Skillet was on the stage. Before that it was “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up…” and after it was “Ugh, really wanna be home, really wanna be home…” 😬 And that’s on top of feeling like I’m dying today, since I have no chill and can never keep myself from flailing around too much when I go see a band. (And trust me, it doesn’t take much to bring the pain.)

Okay, but other than all of that… heh… the Skillet performance was amazing. Probably the best show that I’ve seen them do, and I bet it’s close to a dozen times that I’ve seen them in person by now. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€˜πŸ» Originally it was gonna be me, Dez, Athena, and Sean… but Sean went back to Canada, Athena changed her mind, so I substituted Cassi on my end and then Dez brought Ashley. πŸ€” Even though that had two of my different worlds bumping up against each other a little more than I’d like, it ended up being a really good time. 😏

EDIT: (Really impressed with the iPhone 7+ audio, that close to the speakers.)

Whatever Gets You Through It

I’m slowly succeeding at pulling myself out of my latest mood. It helps that I’ve got a scheduled appointment with the estate attorney, so that doesn’t have to be one of the bits of noise whirling about inside my head for now. 😟 But now I’ve gotta get my head right for some fun coming up this week… something that was scheduled literally months ago, something that I know will be fun once I’m in the middle of it – but I’m gonna have that same issue that I always have, of being able to gear myself up for it in the preceding days. 😳

Dez was a planned participant when we originally made the plans, but with the way I’ve gone off the grid for the past month or longer, I was worried that when I reminded her about it (on super short notice) that she wouldn’t be able to arrange her schedule, or that she might just not even want to go anymore – but thankfully she was able to make the needed changes, while also letting me know that she’s missed me since I’ve engaged my cloaking device. 😏 It’s nice to know that you are missed when you aren’t sure that you are missed.

So now I’m transitioning into “get ready” mode, which usually involves a certain amount of cleaning up around the house along with things actually related to whatever activity I’m going to be enjoying soon. πŸ€“ I’ll definitely have to clean out my car tonight or tomorrow, and I’m thinking about getting a haircut. πŸ€” Meh… if I can’t get motivated to go into town to do that, I’ve always got one of my dozens of ball caps to fall back on. We’ll see.

But the past couple of days have been spent quietly working with one of the nerd toys that I’ve previously mentioned. I’ve gone back to the 3D simulation of my grandparents’ house, and I’ve been doing tweaks to the model and to the program to give me much better results in the resulting rendered images. Many of the models allow manipulation of the individual components… like, for the cuckoo clock, I’m able to change the textures on nearly all of the faces, allowing me to use a dark wood texture for the clock body, gold metal for the pendulum, and you can also manipulate how shiny the finish is for all the parts, models, walls, floors, etc. πŸ€“ (And that’s not even discussing the ray tracing, the number of bounces allowed for each ray of light, etc… heh… such awesome nerd brain food.)

I’m totally just doing this for my own benefit, to see what I can learn and what I can do, although I’m sure I’ll end up throwing some resulting pictures and/or videos up here in case the world wants to see what I’ve done. Some people might say this is a waste of my time, or that it would be better spent elsewhere, but right now it’s doing wonders to calm my brain and keep me in a good place.

Wanimation

Playing around with Google Earth again, the desktop application, trying to make a visually interesting animation using Atlantic City, NJ as my source material. This file is rendered at 720p, 60fps, using OpenGL rather than DirectX… I also used the experimental atmosphere projection, although I can’t remember how much interpolation or anti-aliasing I used. I was continually experimenting with settings and resolutions, because I’ve still been unable to get a 1080p/60fps render to complete without glitches.

I didn’t really do much. I just selected the camera angles, altitudes, shot composure… the software generates the flight path between each one. However, depending on how the user lines up each static shot, it will definitely have an affect on the transition between the prior one and the one that follows.

It looks pretty good on the laptop, but for some reason when I use the YouTube app on my XBOX One it looks so much better on the TV. But yeah, I was just feeling a bit nostalgic for the place again, which eventually prompted me to start dicking around to come up with the resulting animation.

Mutate The Hobby

I was talking with one of my friends the other day and mentioned how I’ve pretty much lost interest in photography at the moment, as well as many of my other hobbies as well. He said that after his own battles with depression, that he had to eventually just find a way to “take his fun back” from it… and I like the phrase that he used. Mutate the hobby. πŸ€” Meaning that even if you can’t find the fun in what you used to do, you could try to make some previously-unconsidered changes in the way you approach a hobby to see if it’ll light the fires again. Telling someone to “mutate the hobby” just sounds better than suggesting that they simply try something slightly different.

So when it comes to my photography, I’m gonna try to steer away from the humans for a while… at least when it comes to my primary subject. I’m not sure yet what I’ll replace them with, but I’m just burned out on trying to come up with something fresh with people pics. I suppose I could even try shooting some video with the dSLR, which has its own distinct look compared to phone or even camcorder video.

And then of course I still have the 3D and 360-degree cameras, although both of them are somewhat lacking in quality when it comes to the resulting images and video… but despite having those cameras for quite a while now, I’ve still never really explored their potential any further than basically just testing them out. πŸ€“ The waterproof action cam that I took to Lake Hope was a nice change, and with a few weeks of summer left I suppose I could still try to make use of it in water that is actually clear… meh… but yeah, at least there’s plenty of options when it comes to mutation should I ever feel close to motivated.