Smile

It is Friday, and on top of that, a long weekend ahead. The day is going smooth, with no real issues, and the people around me have been awesome. The office phone only rang twice today, and no messages were left when I started the day. Outside, it is weirdly warm for November, here in the Skeena Valley, a whopping 10C on the building thermometer. It is overcast, but the sunlight pokes through often.

Tonight, the plan is to spend the evening with Suzette, have dinner at her place, see a movie, and get lots of hugs from her two cats, Neesa and Oreo. Also, we make do a walk through the Mall and check out some other stores in town before they close up for the day before dinner. The sleepy little town of Terrace, is pretty much asleep after 9:00pm on Fridays.

I did more back-ups on my 4TB hard drive that I was having trouble with last year. For some reason, I managed to get it to format. I run Linux on all my machines, so usually I have more luck with getting hardware to work, than I do with those other “U Pay For it” operating systems. However, this time I tried formatting with FSNT, and the drive took. I was formatting with EXT4, witch is  Linux format, and I could not get the drive to work. Oh, by the way, to transfer 4TB of back-ups, is a 18hour operation.

Well, the day is moving into evening, and it is time to get ready for Suzette. I bid you all good evening!

The Local Snot Bug Making Its Rounds

With the cold weather now upon us, and the threat of snow just days away, with that comes the flu and snot bugs. This year we have a treat, a strain that I call, “The Skeena Valley Snot Bug: 198D.” As the kids go to their schools, they bring back these little gems of misery, right to their parents laps. You walk into a store, or gathering place today, you will meet a victim, as they give back to the community which they received. You touch a door handle, hand rail, table top, or toilet flusher, and then stick your fingers into any orifice on your body, guess what? You got it.

Fortunately I do not have it. I know my turn is near, as many around me have it, and are carriers of it too. With the cold weather, I crank my heat up at night, and wash my hands often. I wipe down most objects that people touch, that could potentially harbour these snot-bugs. But all it takes is just one snot-bug to get you.

My poor Suz., is currently suffering from the bug. She has it, full on. Runny nose, post nasal drip, red eyes, sore throat, sneezing, and general crankiness. Still, with her contagious state, I welcomed her at my place for dinner with open arms. I think it helped her with the symptoms. It is hard to say for sure.

Needless to say, the bug is making its rounds, and coming soon, for you. Beware, and do your best to keep it under control. This one seems like a doozy.

Wet, Soggy and a bit Moist In Spots.

As I write this out, I can hear the rain pounding on the roof, and my office is within the building, one level down, at the ground floor. When I drove in this morning, the rain was bouncing off the road by about 10cm. And it has not let off since I was awake this morning; so for about four hours now. With out a doubt, it is rain jacket wearing weather.

When I drove to the mall for some office supplies, I could see snow mixed in with the rain on my windshield of my car. And I had the wiper going at full-speed, and even then it was hard to see ahead on the road. Happy November!

Halloween Day!

We made it! The spooky day is now upon us now, and to night: we roar! I got most of my costume done early this morning, using a couple of prosthetics, and lots of fake blood. Plus I am using sprite-glue for the latex bits that I have stuck to my face, for the first time. The stuff works. I may post a photo later on tonight.

Since I get off work early, I will head home to finish my costume, then drive up to Suzette’s place where we will greet the Trick or Treaters, and then have dinner there, as she is cooking something yummy. Because it is a work night, I will probably get home early for bed. I am hoping that this glue comes off with out any troubles.

So, Happy Halloween! Have a scary night!

ADDED: Spent the evening at Suzette’s place for dinner. It was an awesome meal, the best chilly in the Skeena Valley. 

It was funny to watch. As Suzette was preparing and during the cooking process, the interruptions from trick or treaters, seemed like everything five minutes. In all, from the time that I was there, and estimate of thirty kids were asking for the sugar loaded treats.

A note about the kid’s costumes here in Thornhill, BC. From what I seen, I can say that the kids are better dressed here, than from what I remember whan living in the Lower Mainland. Also, it appears that the kids here spend more time on their makeup and appliances from what I have seen. I did not see any indecent costumes, and I can say this might be in part to how cool it gets here in the evenings on the North Coast.

It was a good time. I am too tired from my busy day, so I am calling it sleep-time early.

Doing Some 3D Work at Home

It has been a while, leaving my rendering and animation hobby sit on the shelf for nearly a couple of months now. I was not too busy for it, but I did have other “likes” I wanted to pursue first before I jumped back into doing 3D art work. So, being I was talking a one week holiday, this week, from my “real job,” I made it a week of rendering on my 3D software. And rendering I did.

So I completely recreated it from scratch, again, my Egg Head character, but this time making it as a female. So, her she is, Ms Egg Head.

Those first few steps were hard. 3D Blender is not an easy piece of software to learn on. Setting up the rigging for the mesh, I had to go right back to my help files to relearn the process, as I completely got stuck with the Inverse Kinematics settings on the armature. The other issue I had was setting up the mesh, so it matched the armature the way I wanted it to–that took a day to get it the way I wanted it to go. But, I was pretty happy with my results. The mesh, and rigging, took less that an day, and I was doing basic animating the next day. The stuff I am doing here is “kindergarten” stuff to what the software can do. You can do Motion Picture grade work with 3D Blender–it is everywhere.

Anyway, I am currently rendering out a small “Dance” video. We will see how well that goes. More to come.

The Long Weekend is here: We Made it for Another One!

I have been basically preparing for it, getting as much done ahead of time as I can, here at my work, so the short week coming up will be a smooth one. Normally, I get the “Friday Rush,” as everyone else from other businesses, that I deal with, are trying to do the some thing. My Friday was filing up with just the little items of work that normally precede a long weekend. October 8th, will be Thanksgiving Day, here in our neck of the world, so most of the country will honour it; there are few places that are hold-outs, but I am sure the people will stand and demand it too as a statutory holiday. And finally, rain, it is happening, the clouds have moved in above, and there is the odd sprinkle when I drove home. The badly needed moisture could, once again, soak us, giving the forest the rain it needs. All of this is making the next seventy-two hours looking great!

So, work, I was feeling great when I locked the doors for the weekend. As you know, I deal a lot with logistics, so getting all my shipments out to their destinations, is a big part of my day. But I received stuff too, and the normal rhythm of every long weekend is getting hit with an extra amount of incoming goods to process. Hey, I do it too, as I go through the shipping flurry, on long weekends too, no doubt causing extra grief to my counter parts in the valley. Today, was different. My receivings was just like any other normal work day–just a few items, taking only a small part of my day them processed. I will say that this is just part of the season, though my experience is still short, comparing to last year, it was a slow time too. Nonetheless, I was happy knowing that I have no loose ends to deal with when I come back on Tuesday.

Apparently not all of Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day with a stat. holiday. I was, some what shocked, to learn that there are provinces that only “observe” it: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. But we are also several weeks early from our neighbours down South too, from when they celebrate it, but my point is, it is nice to have it off from work. I do believe we will be having turkey also on Saturday, so Monday is just a day for getting rested up, and doing lots of household cleaning chores.

The rain has come. So far, just overcast skies with the odd sprinkle here and there, but we are scheduled for some significant rain showers throughout the long weekend. The Skeena River is super low, and many here in the valley are noting that too–finally. And the mountains all look like the Southern mountains becuase they have no snow on the tops of them yet, just dry and dusty looking. This is not normal to go so long into the fall season without seeing snow covered mountain tops here in the Skeena Valley.

Well, I must go and get organized for the day. I am doing laundry right now, having a few issues with the washing machine–dealing with that right now. Everyone, have an awesome, super great, long weekend, (you to on East Coast) and Happy Thanksgiving!

Some Like it Hot, and Some Maybe Not.

Having lived in Ontario, and the last twenty-five years in the Lower Mainland, hot up here on the North Coast, is a walk in the park. I have been to Spain, France and Brazil, during their summer periods, and have experienced heat beyond belief, so you might have to excuse me if I am not too overly excited about our warm weather. The air is hot, but nothing close to the extremes that I have experienced. Yes, I have been in weather that would make lawn furniture melt–I am not kidding.

There are tricks to keeping cool that I find really work, like drink lots of water, and keep to the shade, but sometimes an air conditioned room is the best place to be. For me, it is sleeping at night, during heat-waves, that is the problem. If it is hot and muggy, sleeping is rough, and I never get that quality of sleep that I need. I am also lucky that my work is in doors. I used to work outside, or in closed in warehouses, and found that learning to sweat was a big part of it, and dealing with heat rashes too. In general I slow down and take it easy, and sometimes telling the boss “I quit,” as part of that process, when they want you to double their production of shipping air conditioners out. Either way, dealing with the heat means doing everything you can to keep cool and hydrated.

Back on Monday, I heard of some kids, at one of the summer day camps here in Terrace, trying to fry an egg outside. It did not work for them as well as they thought it would. I guess it was still not hot enough for that. Perhaps next Friday, as rumour has it, we could get our hottest day yet, a whopping 34C, but I fear that might even be hot enough to fry an egg on the side-walk.

I for one will be enjoying this very nice weather. I have some time booked off from my work, so I might stick around town for it. We have our week long River Boat Days festivities then, so this might be an awesome time! Oh yeah, summer time!

I Solved My Sci-Fi 3D Art Issue – Happy Friday The Thirteenth!

First, Happy Friday…, the Thirteenth. I know, for those of you who are supper superstitious, I feel for you. I really do. But it is all psychological. Trust me. Now that we got that out of the way, I finally solved my 3D art issue with masking 3D objects onto a photograph, or movie clip. Actually, I am kind of embarrassed about it because I learned this a long time ago, but completely forgot. So I had to relearn how to use the compositor all over again. My argument, 3D Blender has a very steep learning curve, and you just do not pick it up in one day–it is that huge!

So, here is my image. Obviously it is a composite, or as they say in the U.S., a fake image. But I think if we had a large planet, with rings, very close to us, this is what it would look like. So I was going for as “real” as I thought it would be like, as possible.

My issue with 3D Blender was getting the 3D image, the planet, behind the mountain, which I shot in Rosswood, BC. I had the Mask working, but I could not figure out how to get it work properly. My solution was to use the Alpha on the background, or Alpha out the World View, making the background fully transparent. It worked, and it worked even better then I would have expected it would. I am happy with this.

Now I just need to work on better textures and colours for the planet, and get some better stock photos that I have on my hard drive. Hope you like the photo.

Crazy Camera Effects (Shooting at Lakelse Lake, BC)

We had left town (Terrace, BC) for a trip out to the lake to walk the beach. We head to Furlong Beach, on Lakelse Lake, one of the usual spots we like to go. I brought the camera, thinking that I would try and get some shots of the water lilly that grown near the shore, but noticed that the “Function” button started working on my Sony A77. Now, for the record, the A77 is a nice camera, and with its faults, the shutter button breaking, I still keep using it. The reason why I never got it fixed was that Sony charges half of the camera is worth to fix it, so I just use it as a general use camera. Last year, while shooting fireworks, the shutter button broke, and the focussing set-up stopped working working, so I had to use the manual focus instead. Then that started working, but the camera itself is not working at one hundred per cent.

When I was noticing that I could get into the Function settings on the camera, I started re-exploring all the different filters and effects I had on it. The first one I wanted to shoot with was the “Miniature” mode, of fake Tilt-Shift lens effects. Even the way my camera was handicapped, the images were nothing short of awesome. None of these images were given any post production, other than the digital water mark I added.

The above shot was actually a mistake, as I was trying to adjust the colour filter in the Miniature settings, so I had to point at different light sources to see if histogram was reading right. Right-a-way when I opened this image on my Desktop, it screamed out, Mermaids (jokingly of course)! Like I said, this shot was just one of the test shots I made while setting up the camera.

Here is where the power of the filters shines. Once I got all the filters and effects set-up the way I wanted, this was first shot. This is one of the “cottages” that dot along the lake that you can see from the beach. It does look like a miniature hose inside a model country side.

So I was getting very creative–layering the filters settings , and adding the miniature effects with it. Remember, this was al done with the camera alone. What I really like is the way I could bring out the various colours, like the reds and greens and blues at specific wavelengths.

Anyway, it was a great at the beach, and I did get lots of shots of the water lilly, but I sort of lost track of time when I saw I got all my functions back on the camera working. After all it has been nearly a year since the shutter button broke on the A77, and it seems to be working again. I just will not press the shutter button so hard from now on.

The Machine Heart (Years of Neglect Catching Up)

Well, this is shocking. I just learned today that one of my neighbours just had an implant put onto his heart a few weeks ago, and he just got back to his home on Friday. Sure, I do not really know the guy, and I perhaps talked to him once or twice since I have lived here, but I see him every so often, so that must count, I guess. Anyway, he looks to be about the same as when I last saw him, but he does show his discomfort. I guess what really jumps out at me is his age–the man is only in his thirties. That is quite young to have heart implants, you think?

So this got me thinking about my mortality, and lifestyle. My poor neighbour’s lifestyle choices are poor one, from what I have seen in these last few months. He is over weight, and stays inside his compartment almost 24-7. I hear he plays video games–a lot. I know he smokes, and I hope he has quit by now, but I am sure his past has caught up to him. And I know for sure that he does not do regular exercises. And I I have seen the pizza delivery service at his door on numerous occasions. So I look at my life. I do not smoke, and I try to get out as often as I can, and I try and eat healthy. But I am also in my fifties, so I feel I have lead a good life, and I am on the “home stretch,” as it were, in my life.

Anyway, I am sitting here, thinking about this, having just received the news, so I thought I would compose this Weblog Post.