Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Everybody... everybody get naked"

(line borrowed from an interview I did while in college)

I just finished watching a 1961 "sexploitation" video called Diary of a Nudist. Amazon is currently pairing it with a title called The Naked Venus. I haven't seen the latter movie as I found the former on one of the cinema apps I've got downloaded on my Roku.

The whole premise of Diary is a young lady, working at a newspaper, is given the task of exposing a local nudist colony. Her boss had wandered onto the property one day whilst hunting, and found himself other areas of game to play with. He sets up the woman to interview at the colony and she's able to spend time there, getting to know the residents. Lo and behold, it's not what she expected and she actually likes being there. How does her article fare? Well, I suggest trying to find the video.

But in the meantime, I've got some areas to pick at. It definitely shows it's age - 1960's (possible 16mm) movie film. It's surprisingly nicely squared out on a flat screen TV.

My first problem is the simple fact the color is deeply faded in various scenes. Yes, it's a color film, and no, it wasn't added digitally later on. Not all the cameras seemed to be white balanced together... meaning... in the same 10 minute scene, there can be three camera changes (three different views). None of the views are the same contrast and color. One can be too hot (the person's body looks like it's drenched in a white spot light. Yes, I'm sure it's not the sunlight, so don't ask that question. There's a difference between sunlight washout and studio lights washout) while another looks like it's drenched in some kind of contrasting low light (too dark in some places but trying hard to over compensate for it). I feel like no one tried to "color correct" this when they attempted to re-release it to the digital masses.

I think I wouldn't have so much of problem if I didn't work at a couple photo studios and transfer old movie film as my job for four years - I'd not be such a stickler for better quality.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with the random mold spots and dust flying through the picture, however, this being a 70 something minute movie, half of it is bad coloring.

On top of that, my second problem is that the production company re-dubbed the actors, so it was like watching a badly dubbed Asian movie. Sorry for the comparison, but I'm sure you know what I mean. For an American made film, they didn't use the voices of the American actors. If they did, it wasn't recorded with the film, it was recorded separately and added after the fact. The silent era ended 30 years prior to this movie; I'm sure the current state of celebrity had better speaking voices than those trying hard to transition into talkies.

The third and final thing is the simple contorting everyone had to do. According to research, nudie films were illegal and prohibited across the country at this time, so if you were going to make something, it had to attempt to be tasteful and not overly pornographic. Production companies got away with showing a lot of "T&A" by way of what is now referred to as "sexploitation" "cult" films. Women and men were placed in very specific positions, as not to give away the entire farm - the women were able to bare their breasts, men had their torsos exposed, but anything further south of the belly button got a nice little cover up. The person either held a sun hat, a newspaper, or a beach towel (or whatever was needed to further a scene). In some scenes, it was how they were laying on the lounge chairs or how they stood behind shrubbery to watch beach volleyball (which was shorts vs butts. Guess why!). Outside of that, we got to see everyone's (un-suntanned) white tushies in all their (in some cases flabby) glory, but peens and vajayjays were off limits.

For a movie based on "sun worship", some of the residents needed to work on their tans. There were a few who had nice, evenly bronzed skin; while others had their white markings of prior clothes usage.

Will I watch this film again? Quite possibly, only to make sure some of my film buff friends are able to see it, and we can discuss it further. It's camp enough that you do have to give it an eye roll in places, slow enough where you may want to fast forward in places, but over all, it's a decent try and I can see why it's put into different cult genres.

*** I did find a single version of the movie here on Amazon.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I'm on a boat!

This past Thursday, I got to audio tech a small meeting on the boat that my hotel owns. According to internet research (because I simply don't know all the information), the boat is a "100 foot private luxury yacht" that can comfortably "accommodate 120 passengers in two temperature controlled indoor upper and lower salons as well as two outside observation decks. A private salon in the bow seats 16". Sounds pretty swanky when you think about it. When you look at the boat, it looks pretty nice as well. It is definitely kept up, and people seem to like it, as it sails every day. 

The meeting I got to sit in on, was one of those marketing meetings, where they wine and dine you, and expect you to sign up for their company. This was for ophthalmologists and the new lenses that can be put in to frames. The woman was pretty energetic about what she does, and the entire spiel lasted 40 minutes. We got to set sail for over 3 hours and people got to enjoy their dinner, drinks, and a sunset to boot. 

You wouldn't believe the amount of people that go out on the deck when the sun starts touching the water. It's hard to imagine that humans have been on this planet for eons and yet the sign of a sun setting seems new. There's nothing wrong with it by any means; I usually take photos when I can. I then send them to my friends who can't enjoy the big bulb in the sky meeting Florida waters. I don't take it for granted; once you have seen one sunset, you've seen it all. It is just like snow - once you've seen the flurries, you've seen them all. Although, being down in America's Wang for so long, I miss the change of season. 

With regards to the sunset  (and the whole point of my post), I'm adding some picture videos today. Because I now have an iPhone 6S, I have the ability to do something called Live Photo. What that means is when you take a picture of something, it also takes a 2 second video (roughly). When you text it to someone (especially when it goes to another iPhone), all you do is hold down on the picture and it starts moving. I'm sure you've seen the ads on television when the 6 first came out. But since I'm new to the 6 game, Live Photos still allude me (they're neat as hell but it's still odd to use). They also save differently in the DCIM folder for when you want to pull them off your phone and onto your computer. It is saved in two parts - a photo and a video. Typically, photos (,jpg) and videos (.mov) are named "IMG_XXX" (the XXX is a number). With Live Photo, it's saved as "IMG_123.jpg" and "" (or whatever number your camera roll is on). 

I've taken two Live Photo pictures from the boat trip. I did use Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate to edit the still photo with the video, as well as try to match how it would look in a text message to someone (i.e. still photo to begin with, then when you hold down on the screen it moves [video] and then still photo again). 

Here's what I got:

(YouTube link is here)

(YouTube link is here)

Outside of trying my hand at Live Photos, I've also got a couple videos of both pre-sailing (a pelican's dive bomb) and sailing (3 pelicans by the Causeway).

While we were still docked, I had some time to look around. I happened to see a pelican waddle down the dock and stop close to where the boat is. I quickly grabbed my phone and started taking a video. Wait for the dive bomb at the end...

(YouTube link here)

Last but not least as far as videos are concerned, 3 pelicans hanging out on the causeway bridge. We had passed them on the way out to sea, and they were still waiting for us to return... hours later. I'm standing outside on the bow of the boat, watching life (and birds) pass me by. You'll see me pan over to my hotel at the end.

(YouTube link here)

My photo blog posts can not be complete with out actual still photos. All photos taken with an iPhone 6S and edited with Adobe Photoshop (just put my name on them... no other editing - WYSIWYG).

That's it; time to go home! 

Until next time...


See also:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Who knew Dexter could sing?

Especially on Broadway?

I recently picked up the original cast recording of Lazarus and have listened to it just a couple times. I still can't bring myself to listen to a lot of recordings, original or not *. Nor can I visit a lot of the old fora that I used to - TW currently being defunct does not count; it's been dying a slow death for years. It's still hard to swallow that pill, some 15 months later. I know it's time to move on, but there was always something that could be relied upon, knowing the possibility of a new album being dropped. Even knowing there are plenty of CDs at my reach that I can pop in my laptop and jam to, without questioning life with new eyes. With  being the last "major" thing put out, it seems odd to see all the "rare" songs released in new form (see The Gouster and Tired Of My Life**). Someone is trying to make a quick buck and I'm sure the family doesn't need the money.

But at any rate, the whole reason for tonight's post: the aforementioned Lazarus. I was in the gym tonight when the MP3 roulette shot out the first song off of the album (Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart)). Second song is Dexter Michael C. Hall belting the title track (which he does a decent job with, truth be told). As I biked through the song, I came to realize how unedited the song felt. Meaning, there are points in the production where Mr. Hall and the orchestra sound unfinished / not properly smoothed out. The moments I'm talking about are a small faction of times when MCH finishes singing and the horns come in blaring. It's like Hall is faded out and the brass and woodwind sections jump in and do their bleating. Another way I can possibly describe it is that it sounds like MCH was in a recording booth and the orchestra was added later, or they were in the next room and felt like playing whenever they wanted.

I honestly can't really describe it without trying to offend people. I'm doing the best I can at being polite and getting my thoughts out. I just can't wrap my head around the couple parts in the song that sounded so not finished. That's as best as I can really explain it - "unfinished". I am definitely going to have to listen to it again, perhaps with different headphones, because some live YouTube recordings seem more smoothed out... like the crew had more time to rehearse for the various guest appearances on the TV shows.

It's really mind boggling and I know I shouldn't have to apologize if my opinion offends or confuses anyone. Everyone is entitled to hold conversations about life itself, and as I stumble through this entry, I am thinking I need to re-listen to the song again and try again.

The truth is, it just bothered me that there are parts of the song that makes it appear rushed. Someone wasn't paying much attention to the final edit and making transitions run smoothly. If in fact the day of recording, Michael C Hall was in one room and the orchestra was in another, the two recordings weren't dubbed correctly. It seems like Hall is recorded at a lower (softer) volume than the band. Even when the two are synced together and Hall sings over the orchestra, he's softer in places.

More reason he sounds like he's bursting his vocal cords belting out the lyrics than just cruising through the song at a steady pace. Maybe he's still in Hedwig mode, maybe not. I can't make excuses for him nor can I make excuses for the album. The rest of the songs seem decent, but the more I listen to the rest of them, the more it really sounds rushed. Like, my throat hurts just listening some of the screaming. Hall can sing, I can assure anyone reading this, as he proves it with most of the album, but there is a slight... erm... what do they call it? Screecher music? No... screamer music? It's that genre where alt rock / death metal  / metal singers scream out their lyrics in a guttural fashion... Some points of the album sound like this. You know... uh, growlers (not the glasses that beer comes in). It's not those deep growlers you hear in underground mosh pitters, but a more main stream scream match, I suppose.

I really don't know, truth be told. I have to listen to the album in its entirety and rethink my stance on it. But for now, I think I'm going to lay the issue to rest and figure out my next big move.


* See Also (via Amazon):
Keyword phrase: Tribute to David Bowie
Keyword phrase: David Bowie

** The Gouster is part of the Who Can I Be Now? [1974 - 1976] multi album release. Tired Of My Life was the original form to It's No Game. Tired Of My Life is not found on Amazon. I know I've seen a Youtube video...

Yes, I know I have issues. Thanks for sharing. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I got a little bored...

... and did some shooting yesterday morning. Try as I might, I'm still working to get all the kinks out of my camera. I'm no professional by any means, but I want to try some things with my Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR before life completely takes the best of me and I have to upgrade to whatever the current model may be (Amazon links say there are numerous bundles starting with the T5 and and going up).

That being said, I decided to go out and try my luck at the flowers that are outside my garage door. Attaching the Fotodiox Canon EOS Macro Extension Tube Set for Extreme Close-Ups (there is a Nikon edition for the non Canon people. Yes, I know there are also attachments for other camera brands and even auto tubes. One of these days I'll break down and buy one of those.. try out any of the other auto focus macro tubes the "off brands" put out), I put the dial into manual mode, tried some various ISO balances and did some shooting. I even tried using the flash, however, nothing came out spectacular enough to want to share (I only took 24 pictures).

However, thumbing through them on my computer, I did find seven I thought were okay enough to pass around to people and the comments have been positive. Therefore, I figured I'd share them up here, as I've not had an update in a while and there hasn't been any pictures lately.

Again, the listing of materials used:

No use of a tripod; all hand held camera use, but I would highly suggest purchasing one if the decision is made to delve deeper into macro photography. I've talked to camera professionals who all agree the number 1 rule after purchasing attachments: get a tripod (I have an older version of the VANGUARD Espod Cx 203Ap Tripod with Ph-23 Pan Head).

Pictures or this rambling went to waste:

Until next time...


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Way to over sell...

I was at a local home and garden show today (ironically sponsored by Home & Garden TV), where you had to pay $5 to get in and go booth to booth and see what type of snake oil these vendors were selling, in order to update / renovate your house.

Truth be told, each booth had a lot of pamphlets and candy, and a lot less of examples of work (and verbal information). Sure, I was there right at 10 this morning when the doors opened, so no one had their A Game on yet, but once you have seen one exhibition hall, you've seen them all. There really wasn't any one vendor in particular at this event, where I had to go back and spend time talking to them.

The only thing I found to be really scammable, was the fact there was a Droid table - "Android TV Boxes Sales and Repair" says the tag line on their card. The gentleman at this table had a nice hook up - 55" flat screen TV, plenty of Android TV boxes to sell, a box hooked up to the TV (and connected to his phone for internet) and a long list of examples of how to use the streaming device. According to this guy, "the box retails for $200" and that's the price he's selling it for, but "there is an additional 2 year warranty" for a price I can't quote, as I don't remember. He went over what this box does and how you can "access all sorts of live TV any time and any where you want". If you don't want live TV, "you can watch premium channels or even past shows". We asked him how that is possible, and he said "you pay once for the box ($200) and you get a multitude of channels for free and for life". We asked how again, and he said "all you need is an internet hook up. I'm using my cell phone right now to show you how it works" and the person I was with said "you're using data from your phone plan" and the guy said "yes, but you don't have to. You can connect to your internet at home", where I said "it's similar to other streaming devices, right? You connect to your [let's say] Comcast Internet, and then you're online with this box?" and he said I was correct. He was using his phone for the purpose of not being connected to the arena's wifi. But... once you're connected, you've got access to a plethora of stations - HBO, sports stations, normal cable stations... without having the need to pay anything for it. $200 is all you pay and that's only for the box. No more, no less. Being really skeptical, we walked away from this guy after thanking him, because we knew better than to trust this guy.

How can a streaming device cost 200 bucks and you get the premium channels for free? What about Netflix, Hulu and those apps? What isn't this guy telling us? Seriously.  Considering HBO and the like have two separate apps: one is non gratis with your cable subscription (but you have to sign in with your ISP user name) and the other is a paid app, should you want to cut the cable cord and pay the standalone app. For as long as Netflix has been around, it's always been a paid subscription service - regardless if you got the DVDs back in the day or you're currently streaming everything. If this Droid box is able to give the farm away, why do you have to pay for it on every other device? What and where is the logic behind that?

After being home this afternoon and researching the guy and his business, what he's selling are boxes loaded with a program called KODI. According to multiple websites, KODI is an open source, downloadable program that lets you steam any and everything your little technology heart wants. The major down side is the fact is yes, this is an open source program - anyone with coding knowledge can tweak it. It's the next step above Wiki sites. The next "issue" is there are plenty of countries that want to ban KODI use  - make it 100 % illegal, as it's essentially a pirating program. Meaning, it's taking the open source theme and moving it over to the torrent side and using crawlers to find what you want to watch. Some of the articles I read, link to other articles saying torrent sites are on the fence about this program because of the fact it's making file sharing more main stream but not so nice. People use torrents as a work around to get video or audio, not as their main source of entertainment. KODI gives you movies that are currently in theaters - albeit "cams" or screeners. Cams are when someone sneaks in their video camera and uploads it to the internet to share. A screener is when someone obtains the disc directly from someone who has voting privileges in the Oscar world (people get the discs that are nominated for best movie, typically, and they have to vote which movie was better. The movie with the most votes, wins. At least that's my understanding).

I know a guy who has KODI on his Amazon Fire Stick. He loves it, and says the same thing these articles say - sometimes you get cam versions and sometimes they are under pixelated, but he doesn't mind since he's seeing the movie before it comes out to DVD or any streaming site.

KODI allows you to cheat the system in such a way, that you think it's okay to illegal obtain the information. More reason why countries want it outlawed and any one caught using it gets fined or jailed - it's a copyright infringement type of ordeal and I can see the point (although I'm no angel, I do have to say I disagree with this program).

I would suggest researching things before you jump on board and get "the latest and greatest". Make sure you know what you're signing up for, since majority of the Android boxes I'm finding on Amazon are well under $60, with only one being $99.99 and $79.99. I do have to admit, as I link to Amazon, I am seeing other boxes that are over $150 in the "recommended" categories in each page. The more expensive ones come with a keyboard (and the packaging is way too flashy to make it look legit), while others come with a time display and 3D / 4K ready (and look like a VCR, Computer and DVD player got together and shat out a baby the size of an alarm clock)

I thought people wanted to downgrade equipment so they can get rid of wires and extra technology, but upgrade to the newest invention? Some of these $120+ boxes are massive - both in size and added ports.

Truthfully, the more I dig around and find these boxes, the more leery I get, Honest truth; I don't want to link any more about these boxes right now because there are so many things that seem so wrong with each one. I don't want to keep giving credit to these sellers because the items look like scams (especially once I passed the first page on Amazon). There is no way to describe the slight uneasiness I feel in looking at all of these, since you never know what you're actually buying.

It's like when you go into a store and the employee tells you to buy the item online because it may be cheaper or it may be better with add ons (services they can't offer), you really have to take it with a grain of salt. Do your research before you buy in haste. I've heard horror stories about people buying things like smart phones online because they thought they'd get a better deal. An example of this is an the "typical phone sales analogy": buying an unmarked smart phone allows you to shop around for the best contract you can get. For example: Verizon marks their phones with their logo, so you can't take the phone to AT&T for a better contract deal once your Verizon deal is up. You have to start from square one with AT&T, and by that time, you're shelling out the same cost as you did originally. It's got to do with "proprietary information", apparently. The same goes with all devices these days. The company brands their device with their logo so you can't hack and modify it or take it to another company for fixing / upgrades. The only thing I can think of that goes against this is when the geeks make their own PCs. I don't know enough or have heard enough about fanboys modifying Apple computers, but I've been around one too many geek to know that creating the ultimate home super computer is fairly common. Even with the rarities such as Linux. It's this opportunity where you're starting from scratch, you can use whatever internal pieces you want because you're harvesting from multiple sources and are not subjected to one companies' stronghold.

All in all, I guess I can say that today was eventful and made me research something a little more than I normally wouldn't have. If I can't say it enough, I'll say it again, and even in the future: please make sure you do your research on everything in life. I know I write about random things and make numerous suggestions for stuff, but I'm not the only source of information, nor do I claim to be. I can only help you in a sliver of a direction of where to look, and hope that you heed some advice and take precaution when necessary.

Until next time...


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Go play day: AV style"

I had an opportunity at having a slow day yesterday at work, so I decided to bring my Roku 3 with me. I spoke to my boss, and we both agreed that the day could be utilized to learn "what the future may hold with technology" as well as "should the need arise / a client pop up a streaming device, someone should be somewhat versed in how to hook everything up". Therefore, in between random client interactions, I was able to figure out a way to get my player hooked to the work equipment, and "play".

Quick run down of equipment used (via Amazon):

Notes: The products with the ** are what I could find on Amazon that are comparable / compatible to what we use at work. 
  • The projector screen listed is an older version of what we are using at my property. 
  • I used a 25ft HDMI cable that I connected from the Roku to the Projector, as it was the first cable I grabbed from the wall in the office (plus the fact it's going to be used tomorrow for an event, so I needed to use all this equipment anyway to set the room). 
  • The XLR is not the brand we use at work, and I had picked up a 50ft cable instead of a 25ft cable, which I realized I needed to add as the 50ft will be too long. 
  • The power extension cord and surge protectors are similar in the sense I did use a 25 foot AC power (but different brand).
  • I linked to a black power strip for blog use.

To take all this down a notch and explain what was going on, there is a meeting tomorrow in one of the conference rooms at the hotel. I had to set the room up in accordance to what the banquet department was doing with their tables and what AV equipment was rented to this group. 


Out comes the 8ft tripod screen, a wireless microphone kit (not used in my "play" situation), the Allen & Heath mixer, NEC projector, 8" Electro-Voice speaker, a speaker stand (not listed in my breakdown, but an array of different stands can be found here), various XLR, a power extension cord, 2 power strips (one for projector, one for audio table), projector stand (not listed in breakdown) and a roll of tape. 

After all of the main event basics were set, I was able to plug in my Roku to the projector. I went HDMI out from the Roku to HDMI in to the projector. An aux cable from the Audio Out of the projector to the Audio In on SwitchCraft box, ran an XLR cable from the SwitchCraft to the mixer, and then another XLR cable from the mixer to the speaker. I forgot to turn the internal volume up on the projector, so I ended up listening to audio at a lower volume than I wanted. Especially when I'd then need to use this setup and play with a set of lights. 

I ran everything mono, although the ability to run stereo audio is there. Tomorrow's event doesn't call for two speakers in the room and it would have been wasteful (both time, resources and energy) to set up stereo for a play day. It's all a matter of running one more wire from the SwitchCraft into the Mixer and then add another speaker. Simple enough.

* All pictures shot on an iPhone 5S and edited in Photoshop (my watermark name) *

Skewed top view of video setup
Top view of video set up
Back view of video set up

Front of Speaker

Back of Speaker

Allen & Heath ZED mixer

Upon Roku start up, I needed to access the Wifi. I got the following message (see picture):

Connection please!

It was hard to get connected at first because the internet is hit or miss some days, depending on where you are in the hotel. But the ability to have a hotel or dorm room connectivity in the Roku is great; it's an awesome resource for those who travel and want to bring along their streaming device, or the students who can get onto campus wifi and not want to pay for a cable subscription. The down part? The "need" to have a smartphone or tablet to get the Roku connected to the wifi. Although "you will not be charged for mobile data", it's a little bit of a downer that you've got to have a smart device laying around - what happens if you own a dumb phone? What if you have a laptop? I luckily had my iPhone, so I was able to connect, but it was still awkward, as there is a timeout limit with the wireless setup. Your phone connection has to be pretty good in order to connect to the Roku right away. However, it can drain your phone battery real quick as well. I started with 90% around 12:30 and by the time I left at 6, I had 40% battery. I don't know if it was a combination of taking 3 videos and 10 pictures plus connecting to the Roku, or it was something else. I factory reset my phone Monday night, so I know it should be okay. It was odd that I lost that much battery life in five and a half hours.

But once I was able to get everything wirelessly connected, it took a few minutes for all my apps to appear and be working, as everything needed to register on the internet to play. First thing I did was try Vevo for some music videos and I got them to play.

* Videos shot on iPhone 5S and edited in Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate * 

(The video shows my entire set up)
Youtube link HERE for those who don't have Flash on a device. Also, the video seems washed out with Blogger's processing... apologies for that! Youtube video is cleaner.

Confident in my setup, I opened my A&E app and started Monday night's season premiere of Bates Motel. I sat in the back of the room to make sure all my settings were comfortable, and I watched the first 20 minutes of the episode. "Unfortunately", I ended up having to pause and then stop the show so I could help clients in other rooms and then work on some brand of lights we have and why they don't pick up audio so wonderfully. 


Youtube link HERE for those who don't have Flash on a device. Also, the video seems washed out with Blogger's processing... apologies for that! Youtube video is cleaner.

Panoramic view from "the back of the room"

All in all, it was a great test of where the future can go. It's not the set up I would love for my own home theatre system, but it's a start in trying products out and figuring out how to hook things together to make them work. I'm sure someone has some better equipment out than what I use / used at work / this situation, and maybe someone can make everything be heard and seen so it just pops, thus allowing users to have an amazing experience in their audio and video moment in time. 

At least I now know how to get everything hooked up and talking to each other and am confident enough that I can work with clients and provide exceptional service to them, should the need arise that they bring a streaming device and want a "theatre mode" AV experience.


See Also:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I think I need more friends

...and some sort of studio.

As I mentioned the other day, "in a perfect world", I would want a low key home theatre in my basement. By happenstance, yesterday I was thinking that the other thing I would like would be some sort of video editing / photography suite. Something to create videos in and then to be able to edit them. It doesn't have to be some place I own; maybe I can rent a building space or something. For the amount of work I want to do, it's not necessary to get financially invested in a building or even monthly rent. I would just need working space to produce the video (floor space, lights, cameras, backdrops, etc) and then a room to edit the video. I don't want to have a desk in the same room because I might want to utilize the entire space for whatever I'm working on. Outside of the space needed and all the equipment, I'm thinking the main thing I would really need is some sort of faux hardwood floor - something that resembles a good dance floor without the hassle of constantly dealing with a real one. Sometimes the fake looks better than the original. In total, after all said and done, we're talking maybe a week's worth of time and a couple times a year. I wouldn't need anything for more than a combined total of a month. More reason it's not worth investing in a building... the reward isn't worth the risk because I'm not looking to sell my finished product; all I want is to do something fun with my friends for a few days.

I guess being out of the photography studios for over a year, I "didn't realize what good I had" now that it's gone, simply based on the ease of ability in using my last employer's equipment. How many times did I run into her studio from my desk, take a quick couple photos with whatever background was left up, and run back to my editing in the blink of an eye? It's all about learning what you can do in a literal flash.

Why am I bringing this all up? I've been listening revisiting David Bowie's The Next Day this week and one of the latter songs on the album, Dancing Out In Space, made me think of wanting a studio. Had I more friends here (with dancing abilities), I'd create some sort of music video for the song. I've got fun, creative and willing friends, but they're all a straight 22 hour drive and 1500 miles away, at the very least. As the Poland Spring radio advert used to say "you can't get there from here". Especially since it's a long drive away. Doesn't make my wanting a studio helpful if I have to go to them, and because they all have kids (sans my favorite ginger.. even though he keeps telling me he wants some), I wouldn't want my friends to have to pick up their rugrats and drive here. Unless the in-laws would be willing to watch the babies for a few days. But knowing my friends' in-laws, it can be questionable. Haha.

I don't want to sit here and give all my secrets to this video away (I Can't Give Everything Away), because secrets still have to be be kept hidden until they can be talked about, but just being able to think and plan is worth something, right? The experience I've had in prior work will follow me through the rest of my life; it's all relative and a matter of how I utilize my skills going forward in whatever I do. Dreamers can dream and doers do... I have to figure out how to manage both!


See Also (aka "Keyword Search via Amazon"):

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

If all the world were under his heels

It's Valentine's Day
© 2013 
David Bowie
from the album The Next Day

Yes, it's Valentine's Day. It's like any other day around here. I had to be at work, and one of the things I did today was set up a room that has a 180° view of the ocean. This room had a specific brand of up lights at 8 different columns around the panoramic window (I can't link to the exact model of lights in Amazon, because it doesn't seem to exist on the site). All in red. Had this been a dinner event instead of of a luncheon, I would have taken pictures to prove the All Hearts Day meal took place (because you know it's "picture proof or it didn't happen"). I will take pictures at the next time I set up lights for this room; I guarantee I'll make good on it.

So, it being the day for lovers, I don't have any plans after I write this. (Un)Lucky me? Save on candy and cards? Who knows; one day my answer may change...

Maybe today is a good time to revisit a pair of jazz musicians that try to escape the South Side (Chicago) mob in the 1929 St Valentine's Day Massacre (for a movie made in 1959, it plays on a lot of "What ifs" at points. Nice nod, Wilder). Considering this is one of my "go to" / "favorite" movies, I've got to (re)start my tradition of watching it on Valentine's Day. I used to have the soundtrack playing when I was at school; I'd start my morning with it before classes, and let it softly run in my room when I'm not there. I was leaving my laptop on anyway - might as well let people think I was there... no one bothered me as it was... people were too busy in their own worlds. Things happen.

As I type this and think of it, the really cool thing I wish I could do, in a perfect world mind you, is a simple matter of not having a Vizio TV in my room. I'd have a nice theater room to watch movies in... nothing spectacular, though. We're talking a general basement / den; not a lap of luxury refurb you do when you've got money. I'd have a projector on a coffee table from whatever throw distance I'm looking for (yes, facing a white wall), attached to whatever streaming device I want (whether it's a DVD player or an actual streamer. I don't know how one of the HDMI sticks would fare in an HDMI port into the projector, but I'm certain it could work). Attach some sort of surround sound for audio out, and I'm good to go. All I need is comfortable furniture and I won't leave my house!

(Note to self: Next slow day at work, see if you can replicate any of this with the work equipment)

Although, truth be told, in today's ever changing technological world, the power of projection is in your hands. Literally. The once massive powerful heating optical devices have become Polly sized and can fit in your pocket (bug out bag, purse, etc). Attach that to your phone somehow, and you're showing your family the new video you shot (before posting to social networks). Long gone are the days when people gathered around some sort of screen (or white sheet on the wall), set up the Kodak or Bell & Howell, and let the group "ooh" and "ahh" over static images (let alone, put some wax on the turntable for background music). Craziness is the simple fact it's all done in one program... to the point a 4 year old probably edited it.

Now that I'm working more in the AV field, I'm meeting with clients who are bringing in their own projectors and renting our screens. The most popular projectors are from the Epson line and a small cube like projector, that is rather cheap in concept because it's hard to focus it on a large screen. You need to tilt it in such a way, as it's connected to your source, that it makes video casting troublesome. That's one of the things I definitely wouldn't recommend - unless it comes with tripod stand legs. Even then, it's not so hot to keep standing.

Outside of that, beggars can't be choosers. "I guess I have to survive" with my TV, DVD player (which is used on occasion now) and Roku 3. Until I can move and upgrade my equipment (and house) the way I want, all that I am using is sufficient enough.

Ramble over; TV on, cue some 1920s hi-jinks.

Cheers (and don't worry, nobody's perfect);

See Also:

Couches and Sofas

Various video projectors version 2

Polly Pocket


Vinyl Records

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Git - R - Done...!

I had one of the best laughs of the morning today. Here I am, trolling the interwebz, looking at job postings, and what do I see? An "Operations Manager / Cider Master" for a cidery in Massachusetts. It was click bait solely based on me wanting to see what the job description was (the site I was on has an option to preview the first line of the vacancy posting). I know someone who might be interested in it (not me, but hi SK. Check your email), should it sound like a reasonable job.

The description allows for some explanation of what the candidate will be walking in to, in regards to the business; however, the way it was written, made me chuckle. Considering whoever wrote the advertisement started off on a jolly foot right out the gate - "I hate job descriptions. Do you hate job descriptions? If so, you might be a good fit here", it's almost questionable how decent the job is. Yes, allegedly it's a full time, benefit open / 401K position, but the posting seems like it's going to attract the wrong kind of flies with this vinegar. Don't get me wrong; it's funny as hell to continue reading, but what kind of person is this company really looking for (outside from self starters and innovators)? Especially when the line after the 'I hate job descriptions' says "The ideal candidate will get shit done. They will seek results and efficiency while maintaining a high level of quality, safety, and employee satisfaction"! Get shit done??? Really? Who writes that in a reputable posting?

It certainly did what was needed, I must admit. I clicked on the link, I read that the business is a fairly new sales start up (six years old) and has under 40 people in the company. The job candidate will report directly to the owner, so there's no confusion on who you're going to be working for and with. You're going to be the person in charge on a daily basis, making sure everyone works properly and the cider gets made. More research seems like the job description fits their way of thinking - very casual, very up front, and very social. They seem to be a "no holds barred" type of cidery - open to suggestion and striving to make a hell of a hard cider. I know hard cider is a fairly new hipster addition to the drinking craze, so this place has strong competition. Reading their blog and checking other pages on their website, the employees seem young enough to want to make things happen in ways that makes their Boston location quite excellent. The central hub of everything needed to accomplish every set of goals they can imagine. I think that the only other place they could have done this, would be in New York, but they would get lost in the city. Boston (and its suburbs) is becoming a boom town for breweries and cideries.

I wish I was up in New England; I'd give the cider a try... just to say "the place wrote a job description that made me research them and want to try their wares... and it was [enter positive or negative remark here]".

With the sun beaming in my eyes, it is with much haste that I shorten this post. Thus, I give you picture proof of the job description so my dear readers can choose their own adventure in whatever life brings you today.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Look what the tide brought in"

'Business first': I know what today is, and as much as I don't want to acknowledge it, I have been wearing a different db shirt every day since Sunday. I will most likely round out the week with them. I've also got 4g ★ plugs in my ears. There's a rumor that we might play either the Ziggy movie or Velvet Goldmine in the office this afternoon, providing things aren't hectic. I just hope the person bringing the DVDs didn't forget. I also have to report that the TW forum has officially been taken down. Well, the page is still viable, but the Conversation Piece isn't. Mr. Torrie's email or ISP or something is broken, giving an error message... I noticed it a couple weeks ago, and even with emptying my browsing history, the same error message appears. I guess this is another thing "we" can add to the list of places that are no more...

I also can't believe it's been a complete year. Where did the last 12 months go? It seems like just yesterday my friend texted me "the news". Yet, celebrity deaths steamrolled the year and one after the other, people dropped like flies. I read that New Years Eve, William Christopher passed away (Father Mulcahy on the TV version of M*A*S*H). I could stand corrected, but I think he ended the year. That's not to say other big names didn't go to better studios during Christmas week - George Michael (on Christmas, no less), Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher (a day apart), and too many others to do a full list. The "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars is going to be about 45 minutes this year, if not longer. Plan your night wisely. 

Ok.. so on to happier news:

On the weekend of July 4 2016, I was in Captiva for work. We were setting up a sound system for a fireworks event on the beach. During a slow moment on July 3, one of the managers took his 3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter out to show everyone what it can do. He was planning on taking aerial footage of the event Sunday night. As we watched him hook everything up - practice pads, the Go Pro to the drone, he did some test flights around us. As we "oooh"d and "aaaahh"d, it got to his head a little, and the next thing we know, he says "watch this!". He zips it high in the air, past some trees and it didn't return. It was supposed to circle back to us and land in the middle of a grassy area. As we all headed towards the water, we heard someone say they saw a drone crash into the water. Oh great; a combined total of $700 in technology has now been plopped into the ocean. 

Almost immediately, the manager runs to his car, grabs his swim trunks and gets changed so he can dive in the warm Gulf and find his toys. By this time, the drone had sunk to a point that it can't be seen by the naked eye and he has to call in a few favors. In comes a friend who has scuba experience and they both go swimming. The scuba diver can't find the drone and it's dark already. Early the next morning, the manager and I hop in to a golf cart, speed to the beach and troll the shore. The only thing we found were baby sea turtles and a lot of seaweed. 

The $300 drone and $350 Go Pro were eaten by the Gulf of Mexico. 

Speed up to January 9, 2017. I get a phone call from the new manager of the property I was at, saying he was on his way to drop off equipment at my property. And guess what: "Remember when [name with held for blog] flew his drone into the ocean on July 4th? Well, someone who worked at the property then, found it washed up on shore. I'm bringing it to your property for him to pick it up". No way... not possible. Six months later, this thing washes up on shore??? That's crazy talk! 

Sure enough, when the manager came by, he had his normal drop off, and then a special delivery. Surprisingly, the drone was still together and holding up quite nicely. It reeked like hell... rather, it smelled like a bad ocean fart, and it was covered in barnacles and shells and other bottom of the ocean stuff. It's amazing that it survived the way it did; I'm kind of shocked it is not in pieces. Curiosity wants to know whether that mess of shells and sea stuff contains a video capturing device or it's just layers upon layers of the oceanic environment. Time and truth will tell, especially if it's cracked into....

Specs for Video:


See also:
3DR drone items via Amazon
Go Pro items via Amazon