Unrelated to Adulting

Okay, now that I’ve got all that other shit out of my brain for the moment… now I can write about the other stuff from the past week or so. Let me start off by talking about a new toy that I couldn’t resist. 😊 It was only $80 shipped, which isn’t too bad… and considerably less than what the original (with disk drive) would have cost new. It’s called The C64 Mini, and while it’s not an official Commodore product, it’s essentially an entire C64 emulated on a teeny board, in a teeny replica of the original “breadbin” style Commodore 64.Β πŸ˜ƒ And before you ask, no… the keyboard doesn’t actually work… but you can plug a USB keyboard into it and use it as an actual computer – and the company intends to come out with a full-sized, completely working replica soon. 😁

I’ve yet to even power the thing on, because I’m waiting for a spell when I’ll be able to do nothing but mess with the thing… which will include upgrading the firmware to allow me to load any program from a flash drive, and loading it up with all of my favorites from when I was a kid. It does have 64 licensed games built in, but most people are like me and get it so they’ll have the closest thing to an actual C64 – but with HDMI output – for the best looking Commodore 8-bit computer ever. 😊

I suppose everyone has a “thing” from their generation that they loved when they were younger, and therefore want to have again once they’re old. 😏 Classic video games and Commodore computing are definitely my thing, the same way that HAM radio is Dad’s thing… and like me, he’s still got a few toys as well that he plays with to this day.Β πŸ€“ I’m even learning how to take a C64 disk image, open it on a Windows 10 laptop, add or remove C64 programs as I see fit, and then export the new C64 disk image for use on this thing. 😯 That’s how it is with me though… give me something I’m genuinely passionate about, and my brain will start absorbing everything that it needs to know about it.

Okay, gotta keep this entry short-ish. 🀨 Maven is almost completely done with her home-grooming, which means my bathroom and living room carpet areΒ covered with poofed hair for now. 😟 I’m lucky that she’s so cooperative though. In fact, for the most part she loves the process. Bri came for a visit right before Halloween, not only to hang out (she drew the face on the pumpkin and I carved it upΒ πŸŽƒπŸ˜) but to also distract from her mom’s deteriorating health. She’s actually had a couple of good days, so it was nice to see her have a little more energy. However, my friend Greg, his mother passed away this past week. 😒 She was having a rough time, so it’s one of those deals where you’re almost relieved.

Cassi came down to spend the night on one of her days off. Her life is so hectic, between all of the hours that she’s been putting in lately and then having her, her mom, and her (very opinionated) 17 year-old sister all there at her house, making noise at each other. 😏 So coming here, even if half of her time is spent sleeping… it really is like a teeny mental vacation for her.Β πŸ™‚ Plus she helped me out with some chores, including the whole de-flea-ing process with the sprays and the carpet powder, etc. (Plus the most important and helpful thing… getting Maven to swallow that damn Capstar flea killin’ pill.)

As we sat in the living room watching the new “Charmed” show, we also each had our notebooks and were fastidiously jotting down the things that we intend to work on in the next few days. It’s strange how just having her here “working” in the same way that I was, how it helps to settle my brain and let me get down to business without getting as easily distracted by Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. 😡

So there ya go… just so you don’t think my entire existence is grumping and bitching. 😐 There’s always some good sprinkled in there – and even when it isn’t “good” in general, I’m thankful that I have the right kind of friends to help me through those times, and vice versa.Β πŸ™‚Β Okay, carry on…

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Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

Turning The Corner

Well, the last day of the three-day weekend went by a little too quickly. πŸ˜• Got some stuff done around the house, but just as importantly, got the number of a repair guy to come look at the AC unit outside. Rick and Amy used them when they had central air installed in their house, and they’re based on Bauman Hill – not too far from where we lived when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s still been near or in the 80s during the first week of October. πŸ˜“ Thought for sure that I’d be fine waiting…

So tomorrow morning I get to call the AC guy, the pharmacy (of course), the endocrinologist’s office, and Ricart. I have three recalls on my car, including the one that says my steering wheel could fall off, so it’s about time to get all of that looked at. 😧 I might also see about having them repair the cracked plastic around the mirror housing on the driver’s side. But yeah, lots of calls.Β Yay. πŸ™ Oh, and I almost forgot the billing office for my WC doctor, since they accidentally billed me for my last appointment. (As if I haven’t been going there on WC’s dime for over a decade… heh… wth)

Talking with Bri yesterday, she asked if I was going to be going to the fair at all this week. Jim G is already coming down on Friday, so I was planning on at least making an appearance there with him… but now it looks like I might be making a sooner-than-expected trip to the fair tomorrow with her. It’s not a done deal, but if she’s not doing anything else I know she wants to go. And between my stuff, her stuff, her mom’s stuff… we’ve got plenty to catch up on. I just hope I’m up for all the walking.

If I do end up going, I’ll probably take the new camera with me. We were talking about just looking at critters and eating shitty food, but I’m sure I can find something worth covertly recording. 😎 A viewer request has asked for a comparison between “as shot / true 360”, “standard HD with focus points / target tracking”, and “little planet” modes. One of these days I’ll even do the “bullet time” mode, even though I think I’m gonna look goofy. I guess there’s also a hyperlapse mode somewhere in there as well… this camera really is amazing compared to my first 360 camera. πŸ˜ƒ

I dunno… just trying to get back to feeling “normal” and not dwelling on medical stuff each day. 😐 I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten the house straightened up some and got the bills all done up, so now I’ve just gotta keep doing the normal adulting that’s required and just hang out until I know what the next step’s gonna be. πŸ˜” And whatever “big” stuff that I’ve got to do… I’d rather just get to it. πŸ™„ This waiting isn’t doing my brain any favors.

Harsh 360Β° Exposure Test

This camera definitely prefers to be used on slightly overcast days, or at least out of direct sunlight. And I could have used some big puffy clouds so we’d have something to actually look at in the sky as the hour passed. But still, successful true 360° time-lapse test, with many more tricks left to learn before I try to shoot my first “real” whatever-it-is-that-I’m-gonna-shoot eventually. Click to steer the video.

I think before I shoot any additional test video, I’ll probably go take a handful of still photos to see how the exported resolution looks compared to the old Giroptic cam that I had prior to this one.

New 360 Cam Tests

Not gonna lie, I’ve felt miserable ever since the surgery. Zero energy. I’ve only been out of the house a couple times. Once to go through the drive thru to get some pop, and then another time to stop at the BK and gas station near Rockbridge to pick up some essentials and a Whopper meal. Not a big fan of everyone staring at the huge stitched gash across my neck… but the stitches come out tomorrow, and I’ll hopefully get the news about how bad it is or isn’t. I suppose it’s a positive sign that I didn’t get an early call from my surgeon before my appointment tomorrow, but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself.

But while I was in Rockbridge I took my new Insta360 One camera for a test drive. It’s a 360 camera like the last one I had, but it also has software that allows you to “control the camera view” after you’ve recorded – since it sees and records in all directions. This creates a standard HD video, but the “movement” of the camera has been dictated by either control points that you select yourself or automatic focused tracking. I’ve only done the editing on my phone so far, and there are some glitches, but at least I had the energy to try it the other day.

I haven’t had the oomph to go out and shoot a traditional 360 degree video that the viewer can control, but maybe I’ll set it up out in the front yard in time lapse mode and cover that type of test as well. So far I’m impressed, even though I really don’t know what I’m doing with the software yet, and I like how it erases the selfie stick – making it almost look like you have a drone that’s following you rather than a camera on a stick. And their stabilization algorithms are amazing from what I can tell so far.

Fun Facts: Since the surgery I’ve essentially done nothing due to the lack of energy. And there’s only been one day where I haven’t accidentally fallen asleep in my chair at least one time. Feeling tired, but not sleepy, but ploop… I’m out. It hasn’t affected my sleep much, thankfully, because it seems I can’t get enough of it. I also haven’t shaved, so I look like a hobo… being worried about shaving around my incision and slicing up all the stitches. That’s on the docket for tomorrow evening though.

Meh… that’s all I’ve got really. Just wanted to check in and drop this test footage. I don’t even have the oomph to go back through and insert emojis… heh

Slipped My Mind

When Toni and Matt were getting ready to move into their new place, Matt had gotten in touch with me and asked if I had any security cameras that he could use until everything was moved and they were totally settled in there. Now, at that time they didn’t have the internet activated, so there really wasn’t much I could provide that would be helpful. I had one small camera that could record to a microSD card, but it wasn’t meant for 24/7 monitoring – and besides, if someone broke in, they’d just take the camera along with whatever else they wanted, and nobody would be the wiser. 😏

Well, they’ve been living there for months now… but for some reason, after that one time of me and Matt trying to figure something out for security cameras, the whole idea of it had completely left my thoughts. 😐 Even after I set up my own house with multiple cameras, and after I got a camera for Genesee, I still didn’t think until just earlier tonight that Matt and Toni are probably the two people that need cameras like that the most. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I wouldn’t say that their area of town is that much more sketchy than any otherΒ neighborhood you might pick on a map, but it’s an area that’s definitely more activeΒ – with random assholes on the street, on the sidewalks, in the back alleys… 😯

I don’t need to justify it, but Toni really does a lot for me, Mom, and Dad, and she’s always been that way. A “helper” like her mother. πŸ™‚ And that is just the excuse that I need to get her and Matt a couple of the security cameras like I use here at my house. If I was a good cousin I would have thought to do this for them months ago, because Toni works hard for her stuff, Matt works hard for his stuff – and neither of them should ever have to deal with any of their stuff going missing… at least not without video to show them who did it. πŸ“ΉπŸ˜―

I’m still amazed at the features of these “Yi” branded cameras, which you can still get for about $20. They’re the older models, and only 720p resolution, but they’re still absolutely fine for basic security needs like theirs. And like I told Toni, when she said she’d pay me back… I told her that I was happy to get them a couple of the cameras so they could play around with them and see what they thought – and then rather than paying me back, I told her to just take that money and put it towards a couple more cameras if they end up becoming fans and wanna expand their web of surveillance. 😎