Happy Victoria Day! What a Summer Like Day!

When I woke up this morning, I headed into to town to see how full it was of people. Turned out, it was packed by the time got there. So I decided that going back to see the MayDay Parade was out of the question. Sadly, Fort Langley has become a nightmare for parking, so I opted to stay at home instead. Once at home, I focused on cleaning and getting ready for the new week. I did sat on my patio for a while, reading, then taking my camera out to capture these silky ribbon looking clouds, which had moving waves that made them ripple in real time. Then back to more cleaning. 

My road was quiet today. Only a couple of cars travelled up, then back, along the dead street. It was what laid beyond that made me stay at home. When I was going down River Road, or 88 Avenue, there were about fifty cyclists, all done up in racing spandex. And beyond that, was Fort Langley parade. So, for my evening drive, I headed in the opposite direction–Abbotsford. Even that drive was full of people parked at every park and stop along the road. So I only stopped for a few photos, then off I went back home.

I feel rested, but could use some more time off. Tomorrow I go back to work, into the pit. I can only imagine how hot it will be in there tomorrow. Not to mention how grumpy some of my co-workers get when it is too hot inside. Because of security, all doors must be shut, and fresh air is hard to come by while on the floor. Do I look forward to that—not!

Well, at least the good weather will not outnumber the bad days. I hope this year, summer is awesome–but not too hot.

Happy Victori Day!

Bring it!

Oh ya, it’s hot outside. I think Mother nature has set the Sun to “Broil” (praise nature). It feels great…, no, it feels awesome! I think I have completely unthawed from winter now. I have a fan blowing out hot air by my front door, all my windows are opened, and my sky vent it set to “maximum suck,” blowing the hot air out from the roof. It seems to be striking that right balance of cool to warm air inside. I think we are in summer mode now!

I forgot that I left some candles in their holders from the last power outage we had back in mid-April. I noticed something odd when I looked on my counter. Something wast not right. Then it hit me–all of my candles were drooping down to the table. I looked at my “inside thermometer,” and it said, thirty-seven Celsius. It was a bit warm inside when I got back from my short drive out in the country this morning.

So, the long weekend is half done now. So far, each evening, I head of for a short drive, catching the scenery lit by the setting Sun. So beautiful. I headed down to “Two Bit Bar” in Glen Valley, along the Fraser River today. The river was high, and there was no one around–very peaceful for a walk in the park. Below is what I think is the perfect image that captures my general feeling so far this year. Yeah, I know, the chain and the post, so symbolic with so many metaphors. But look at the green, with the setting sunlight, and the shadows cast by the chain–there is my story.

With only a few hours of light left, and still cooling down my home, I think I will spend the rest of the day out on my patio looking at the trees, the sky and maybe finish off my current book I am reading. Happy Victoria Day, from Glen Valley, British Columbia!

The Unofficial Start of Summer – Here at Last!

As far as I am concerned, summer has started! The weather is awesome, it is a long weekend, and I am feeling good. I think with the sunshine outside, that is what is making me feel good. But it is here: the long weekend. I slept like a log last night. I did not get up until noon, although that is when I normally wake up anyway for my day job, but it still feels like I slept in. So many plans, will I have the energy to do them?

I ran outside when the Sun was fall over the horizon, to take this photo. You could say I was going for the golden hour, which creates the best light for photography in. When I saw the sunlight through the tall leaves beside my patio, I went into camera mode. It reminds of the jungle. I like this shot, as it caught my eye when I went outside. These plants shot up in the last week, and eventually they will turn into these awesome red and yellow dragon flowers, which I have shot before and posted on the weblog. They bloom around August and September.

Later on tonight I want to take a drive, and perhaps do some night sky photography, if the clouds are not to bad.

I had more cows last night on my way to work. I call it a Cow-Jam, when the damn animals crowd the road, and refuse to leave, no matter how many times you honk the horn at them. I actually had to get out and push one of them from the middle of the road so I could get by. I know, farm country in all, but sheesh, they do not belong on the road, stopping traffic. I usually give myself lots of time when I go to work. I have two sets of railway tracks, and a hundred intersections with traffic lights to cross, so it can take anywhere from twenty to forty minutes during my commute. I never factored in cows, nor a Cow-Jam, into my commute!

Anyway, it is the long weekend. Tonight, I have a cup coffee going, and a movie to watch in a bit, then off to sleep. Tomorrow, we will see. I have no plans tomorrow, but my end up cleaning. I have lots to clean, and sort out. The never ending battle with clutter.

Second Try: Got it!

As per my May 12, 2017 post, I have been trying character animation in Blender, where I can create a human looking mesh, and make it move in a video. I have been experimenting and learning how to do the rigging and animation, and so far, I am getting it. I mean, I have figured out the basics, such as creating the armature, or bones structure, as they are called, and creating a good mesh to parent to the armature, but now it is the actual creation process that has bogged me down. So many ideas, and so little time to do them with. I mean, rendering out a thirty second video on my machine in Blender Cycles mode, takes about two to three hours. Patients is what I lack now, as I move forward in this newly discovered art form.

But I have to admit, this walk cycle animation is really good in my opinion, although I see room for improvement if I want to master this. Not bad for my second try! And I think I got the motion just right too.

Of course I am only animating legs and body. I want to start off simple, then work my way up to more complex characters later on. I also switched render modes to, using the old Blender Render settings as they are a lot faster to render out, but not as nice to look at as Cycles Render is. On my machine, it takes about two minutes to render out the same thirty second video as it did from using Cycles.

The rigging and mesh only took me about half hour to make from scratch, and the above jif animation took about an hour to create on my P.C. at home. The walk cycle is 20 frames in this one. Yes, I am excited!

My Late Bloomers

What keeps me sane from my job? Well, it is sometimes my photography. Getting outside, away from the house, where I can focus on shooting picture rather than on my day job. Like my working life, the flowers around my place are messed up too. These guys, the red flowers that grow by the well house, always seem to bloom a month later than the same ones do in town. I guess it is becuase I live behind a hill that blocks my Western view. I figure I have about six hours less sunlight becuase of it. But anyway, when the flowers do bloom, I jump on the opportunity to grab my camera and do some shooting.

Now, about work. It is crazy. With the spring season ramped up, I hit full speed, and do not stop until I leave. Right now my body is just in a state of numbness. All I can do is sit here, and type away, or stare at my screen. What a life, eh?

I see the good weather coming. The leaves on the trees are hitting their full size now, and most of the flowers in my flowers beds have started budding. It is amazing how fast nature has rebounded since having such a late spring here in the Fraser Valley. Today is much warmer too, which will speed things up too out in the garden. Now I can only hope that the weather does not go the other way, with to much Sun and not enough rain. I like it nice and even, but who know how messed up our climate is now.

Dial it Down a Bit

It is raining out. My thoughts are on next weekend, the long weekend, the May Day weekend, as we call it here in Fort Langley. But that is a week from now, I still have this coming week to deal with. Where I work, they say, this will be the busies week of the year, and next weekend will be the busiest three days as every property owners will want to spruce up their investments for the unofficial start of summer. It is said that we have the dirt, and you want it, in a big way. But right now, my concern is my own health and well being.

I am still sore from last week. The time off from this weekend is still not enough time to recover from the frantic onslaught of the spring season that my poor body has endured. From my head down to my feet, I am sore. I am also tired.

Sleeping has been an issue too. For some reason, I cannot sleep straight through the night. I could say it is the longer days, but I wear night shades, which seem to do a great job. Then there is stress, which I lots of. That could be it. But then there is my tired aching body, from all the pounding I give when I am working during the day. And I cannot forget about the rain. It is cool outside, and I say that has something to do with it.

My goal, to make it through the coming week, and prepare for the long weekend ahead. Rumour has it, we are to have a couple weeks of very nice weather coming, starting just before the weekend. So, something to look forward to.

Meanwhile, I am going to attempt to hit the bed early tonight, hoping that I can get at least a few hours of good sleep before I head into work tomorrow.

First Try: When You Learn From Your Mistakes

I laughed when I first rendered this. I was trying to create a simple 3D walk cycle animation, re-learning the ropes becuase it had been so long since I played with animating moving objects. When this spewed out, I thought I had created a good animation, but when ran it, it quickly became apparent that I needed to do a lot more work with it. But then I thought, maybe I did succeed with this result, and I was closer to a polished animation than I could have been if I was learning this for the first time. Nonetheless, I am posting this becuase it is funny to watch.

Oh, before you read this, unless you have some knowledge of using 3D software, like Blender, this maybe a pointless post to read. If you are remotely interested, then why not check out the Blender website. Blender is free, and is open source, and works on all major platforms.

The first problem that I saw, even though I was using the Inverse Kinematics Constraint, I made the legs straight. Having that natural bend in the legs would have prevented the way the knees seem to buckle backwards each time each leg moved upwards.

The second issue I see, I should have added more leg meshes (or blocks), so I would have had a dedicated knee mesh–something that would pivot while the leg and thigh moved independently.  If I had five blocks in each leg, then I think the armature (or skeleton) would have worked right the first time. This ties with having a natural bend in each leg. In this case, I kept the legs straight in Pose Mode, so Blender assumed that the knees would work forward or backwards.

Still, I made this in about an hour, from start to finish. After getting used to Blender’s interface and the work-flow, it took no time to create. But tweaking this “Egg man” guy, may take from time to prefect. Will I do it; hard to say.

Hey, it killed a Friday night before it was my bed time. 🙂

Eighty Balls and Cash Trained Employees

What a day. Between work and my home life, things seem to be going crazy for me. Lack of sleep, and having too much on the go, I think it is all having a toll on me. I am taxed right out; low energy and no enthusiasm–at all. Gee, could be time for change? Regardless, today was a bad day. You know when you do stupid things, make choices that are right out of left field, you get that feeling that you should quit while you are ahead. Well, I had that moment, right when I had eighty basketballs bouncing around me becuase I made a bad choice. Yes, I should have stopped, spent a moment to think, then move forward. Instead, I now had a mess on my hands, and that feeling of “stupid” on my face.

When logic and physics clash, it is often when you cannot tell what should go on top, or the bottom, becuase you cannot tell what would hold up, when stacking stuff with a forklift. On one hand, the bigger of the two means it should go on the bottom, when as the type of packaging and the amount of materials that go into the packaging should say otherwise. For example, if you have a skid of say, eighty basketballs, you would make that the top pallet, right? But say you have a small pallet of, say, power tools, that seems to be less than one fifth of the total weight of the basketball skid, then by rights, it could on top without any troubles, right? Well, my poor logic, and lack of thinking, caused eighty basketballs to go shooting everywhere in the warehouse because they should have been the top skid. I cleaned up my mess, but with some criticism from my co-workers. Yes, I deserved it. I am humbled–my bad.

But things did get worse. Because of the demands that are placed on me at my work, I sometimes get sent off to other departments to help out.  On one such excursion, I was ask to man a cash till becuase so many cashiers had phoned in sick. I was never trained on cash, but the day supervisor thought I was just saying that to get out of working up at the front end. It meant that I had to waste time arguing with her, and getting the H.R. Manager involved, while my department was imploding with the back-log of stuff that needed to be done. I was happy to have found out that H.R. had supported me one hundred percent, but a shamed that it took a half hour before I could leave the office to go back to my department. Later, I found out, it was all a mistake due to someone checking off the box that said I was “trained as a cashier” beside my name, when it was clearly a mistake. This seems to be how desperate they are for front end labour. When I think about it, it was funny–me on a till. Gosh.

So, at the end of the day, I thought, maybe it is time for a break.

Right now, I am too tired to think, and too sore to move. I think I need about forty hours of sleep to catch up. Zzzz Zzzz Zzzz

Beware the Scammer

It was a couple a weeks ago now, as I was nonchalantly looking at the rental market up in Northern British Columbia, that I came across an ad that seemed to good to be true. I was delighted when I got a response almost within hours of my query to the ad. I was inspired, and felt hopeful glee, when I was told that this particular home was available, and that I was the only one who has responded. However, in the end, once it was evident that this was a scammer hard at work, trying to dupe me, I whisked away the happy thoughts and moved on.

So, yes, scammers are everywhere, and sadly, not even our law enforcement in British Columbia, the RCMP, can do much about it. It is buyer beware, and due diligence that must be practice when combing the ads of both printed and on-line media. Scammers are everywhere, and they have no moral values; they are human parasites in today’s world.

What was obvious at first for me was how awesome the ad was. It was too good to be true. The price for the dwelling was, unreal, to say the least. So moving forward, looking at the price, and how it was a deal, was the first sign of the scam. In a market that is flush with little competition, where prices were outrageous, seeing a deal that was unbelievably fifty precent below market value, was a dead giveaway. But I kept going with the email exchanges anyway, hoping that this could be the real deal, but doubting it more and more as time went on. Added to this, all utilities were included, even cable and Internet. Yes, he was going to pay for my Internet! My B.S. meter/detector was pointing off the scale now.

The second warning sign came in the form of how fast the acceptance was, and the rush to move to the actual rental agreement form. I should also point out that the replies I received were typed in very poor English, almost to the point that this person was using a spell-checker, while doing “cut and paste” chunks of phrases from other emails. The poor grammar, and ward choice, coupled with flawless paragraphs in the same email proved that this scammer was luring several victims at once. Yes, I had one section where he was speaking to me as a female. Not to mention how basic the rental agreement was, and how little information I had to give, I laughed when he added that to the text of  the email–no attachment or signature in return. It was obvious that all I needed was a pulse, to prove that I was alive, and money, to give to the scammer.

Third, was when I asked to see the place first before I would give out any money for the damage deposit. Now this is where things got murky. In British Columbia, the laws are different from other jurisdictions about what a land lord can, or cannot, ask for as far as money, information and types of contracts rental agreements. To pay for “site unseen” is, well, not the proper way of doing business here in Canada. So when I asked to have the address of the dwelling before I would consider paying with any money, the answer was no: “pay first, then you get the keys” was the reply. The exchange was to priceless. First was the Trans Union Money address in the Untied States, and then the promise of the keys and receipts delivered to me by Fedex. Then was a possible visit, once I was moved in, to see how I would enjoy my new home.

I stopped my conversation with David, the scammer. He never bothered to continue as well. It all stopped as it began. However, I could imagine him waiting for his next prey, another unsuspecting person searching for a place to live here in British Columbia with his deceptive ad.  All I could do was hope that his ad be taken down after my complaint and rid the net of this parasite for about thirty seconds.

Please use your head when shopping on-line, or from printed media, especially about renting. If it seems to good to be true, than it will be a scammer hard at work ready to take your money. Do your research, and please report these ads to the appropriate authorities once you have determined them to be scammers.

May the 4th Be With You!

Other than it being May 4th, today also can be a day Mother Nature (praise nature) turned up the heat on us. Aside from the usual complaining about the weather and work today, it was a good day becuase I upgraded my home PC’s CPU, Yay! I am super happy about that. I ordered the chip about three weeks ago, and the wait almost made me go mad with anticipation. Outside, the day was gorgeous, until the thunder storm crept over top, after that is was a “stay inside day” playing with my freshly upgraded machine, running my 3D graphic software.

The nasty side effects of climate change could not be more apparent than what I see outside, right now, all around me. My thermometer is telling me that it is 21C, with the relative humidity at 99 precent. Heck, why not just say, … 100 percent! It is so muggy out, I feel like I am living back in Toronto, in the middle of July. This is crazy. I have a fan turned on, blowing air outside, so I can get the cooler air into my bedroom. My clothes are sticking to my skin, and my scrotum is welded to my thigh–I am also ready to jump in the shower after I type this out. I ask myself, how could anyone say this is not unusual?

Cool, I just saw a flash of lightning right above me in the sky, by my bedroom window. So, the storm is coming up from the South. This should be interesting. Yup, here it is—hail! Lots and lots of hail.

Oh yes, my new fancy-shmancy CPU. Well, I bought a eight core AMD processor for one hundred clams from a wholesaler on Amazon. I was debating whether or not to keep this Motherboard, or just do a complete upgrade. Since I maxed out the RAM on this board, 64G, I figured I might as well save the money, and just do a minor upgrade instead. I have a Asus M5A97 mainboard, and I guess I can still get parts for it. It is doing a great job for me, so why not keep it for a little while longer. Sadly, it did take a while for the shipping and handling. I did not want to buy it from U.S. becuase of the taxes, so I bought from a place in Calgary. The dirty little secret is, no GST. Heh heh heh. And they seem to be hungry for business, so I went with them instead. It was a great deal. The place I normally do business with, I Surrey, BC, is, well, let me just day that the CPU would have cost me over two hundred clams–and leave it at that. Buying local can be a bad thing too.

So, May the 4th be with you! I hope you enjoyed the day as I have. Adiós amigo!