Just Upgraded and Did Some Bug Fixes On My Blog.

Today is the day of upgrades. Not only did I do my WordPress, but some internal upgrades as well on my PC, including FireFox. Perhaps the biggest was the Kernel upgrade on my Linux OS, and everything seems to be working a bit better there after that. So, all this killed about three hours this afternoon, as I sat glued to my chair in front of my PC watching progress bars after progress bar flash by.

This post is mainly is a test post to see if my Twitter post alert plug-in works. I hope to have fixed that bug where it would send Twitter alerts of new posts from my WordPress, but for some strange reason, it would show the post from five years ago–not very helpful for someone on Twitter following my Weblog. So when I press send, I will see.

Success! I just posted, and all looks great. I checked the short-URL on my Twitter post, and it took me straight back to this post. So happy that worked on the first try. Now my Weblog and Twitter can live in harmony once again. 🙂

Weekend Wrap (You Can’t Eat this One)

I am sitting back, contemplating whether to post some photos, or just go with a general wrap-up of the long weekend’s activities, and the wrap-up won. I guess, since I am just too tired, and have no enthusiasm, to transfer over all the photos I shot this weekend over to my PC for editing, I am just going do a just a simple run-down text post. Clear, and cut, plane and simple, no fancy stuff in between.

This was a long weekend. In Canada, November 11th, is Remembrance Day, so since that fell on a Saturday, we got Monday off from work, as this is now a national holiday. I posted right up to then. Me and Suz., did go out, but only for a little while. I stayed home most of the day, mainly becuase I was feeling a little bit of a head cold coming on, but it was mild. A good night sleep cleared that up!

Sunday, I slept in as much as could, since I knew that the day was going to be a busy one. I finished off the last of my laundry, and did a little cleaning before it was time to pick up Siz. I worked on the Blog as well, after I found out that my Twitter Poster Plug-in was acting up. It was posting alerts from five years ago, not my current posts. So I disabled it, and will try and fix that once I get some time. I also had to work on PC, as that was acting up too.

I am getting lots of nibbles on selling my Pathfinder. I had one fellow out to day, and a couple wanting to look at that evening. There was one fellow, who posted a message to me, saying that he really wanted to buy it, but had to wait until Tuesday. I said, “Sure, but who ever brings their money first, gets the Pathfinder.” So we will see what happens. I am really happy that I get rid of it and have my parking spot back. Yay!

So, after 3:00pm meeting this guy about my Pathfinder, me and Suz., went out into town and looked around, had a coffee and sandwich before we had Sunday Dinner over at her parents place. It was a awesome night! Yes, we played dominoes! Never played it before, which made that more fun for me. We played fairly late. I drove Suz., home and got ready for Monday.

It turned out to be a great weekend after all as far as the weather goes too. It stayed quite nice, since that the weather apps were forecasting snow/rain/wind/minus zero type weather. None of that happened I am happy to report. Today (Monday) was really nice, though overcast, the temperature was a nice 5 to 8C day with no precipitation.

Monday, today, was a slow start. I guess I wanted to sleep in, but that never happened. So I did some more cleaning, and organizing around the house, and also spent some time getting the Pathfinder ready to ship out to the first buyer to take it. I am feeling stoked about that. Then Suz., came down, and picked me up in her car. We had a quiet day up town. We stopped off at the book store, then to the art gallery, and health food store, and even went to some places that sold quarts crystals, which I really like. I did buy a nice quarts crystal, and some tea over at the health food store, so I spent some money. Plus we splurged, and had a small dinner over at the A&W on Keith/Hwy16 in Terrace. Then we decided that we should call it a night, and get ready for tomorrow’s work day, as I am sure that will be action packed: cramming five days into four.

So that is the long weekend wrap-up. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Tom’s Movie Review: West World 2016 TV Series.

It is not often that I get hooked into a movie, or television series for that matter, that I spend some time researching it even before I actually see it. Well, West World got to me, and I was counting down the seconds until it aired. Why? Well, it is simple, West World is based upon the original West World from 1973, and the Television series picks up after thirty years since. So, being that I was a somewhat fanatic of the 1973 version (yes, it is creepy and hits the right notes for me as a Sci-Fi buff) who could not resist robots that go all artificial intelligent like, and start killing everyone they see, following that philosophical argument that if you make a machine that is as intelligent as we are, you treat it the same way you would want it to treat you—right. Right? Not so fast; we build the machine to serve us, no matter how messed up we used them for.

So, I had just seen the first episode. My first reaction is, “Very cool”! I was focused, ready to have my mind blown, ready for the twists and turns that the plots were going to take me on as I spend the next nine weeks waiting for next nine episodes to finish the story. This first episode did what it had to do; I am hooked! I even watch the 1973 version, just to prepare myself for it. The 2016 version is way better. In fact, I was glad that the movie was not overly done with CGI and far out video effects. The actors did what they had to, too sell it to the viewer, and I think they did a pretty good job. So two thumbs up.

I watched my Twitter feeds while the first episode was playing out in real time, and the only real criticism was mainly regarding the “suggested” rape scene by the man in black with the black hat (Ed Harris) as he dragged the main character Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) in to the barn. Sure, I can understand how and why there are some who would think this should not be presented on public broadcasts, but I like to think that for the greater majority of humans, we can see into the narrative and deduce fantasy from reality, fact from fiction. I did not see anyone commenting on the lesbian scene where the female technician sneeks a kiss at one the prostitute androids after she had a good look at its breast. So, here in lays the argument that if a theme park of this type and scope were to become real, and allowed to run, I am sure the protesters would be out in full force to shut it down. But then again, this is an exclusive theme park, only for those who have lots of money and time on their hands.

I was a little weirded out about the nudity at first, but then came to the conclusion that we the viewer were to look at the “hosts” as just machines, or pieces of property. They get shot up full of bullet holes, pumped up full of sexual pleasures, and then they are hosed down with water, and fixed up good as new, ready for another day to entertain. I get that. But still, I think the line of nudity was crossed too many times for my liking in that it stepped on the real acting and storytelling—in my humble opinion. I will see how episode two goes, then make further comments on this.

As a Canadian, I laughed out loud when I read that Anthony Hopkins character’s name is Dr. Robert Ford. For those in the rest of the world, Rob Ford was the controversial Mayor of Toronto a couple of years ago. I should also point out that Anthony Hopkins was another draw for me to see this television series. He is a very good actor, one that gets my respect.

The one liner in the show that seems to be relevant and may have significances comes from Dolores, who repeats the phrase, “these violent delights to (or “and”) violent ends,” that her father told her, just before he went all short circuited, and had to be put off-line. Maybe theses words are what sets off the inevitable? Perhaps this is the queue of things to come? Why not, thirty years later since the 1973 rampage, perhaps we are over due.

So, I give this show 9 out of 10, and a good review. If you are into the Sci-Fi, thriller, (and a Western to boot) style of show, then this is it.

There Should be a Pause Button On Sundays

I was watching my Twitter feed scroll downwards, when one of them caught my eye, saying, “Running out of weekend, Sunday should have a pause button…” I thought, yes I agree, when a long weekend shoots by like this, one should have the ability to hit the pause button, just to make it last that much longer. Sadly, physics does not allow us to do that, the whole time-space thing is still out of reach for mankind’s to control. Probably a good thing–no one would ever work.

Holiday Bells and Ball 2015 Weblog Image

I have a few hours of it left. How should I enjoy them, well, I have not decided yet. There is one awesome bit of hope that I can see–another long weekend is next! I almost think a three, or four day, work should be mandatory. 🙂

Enjoying the weekend!

The graphic I made with Blender.

The Tune Stuck In My Head

This week, it is “Rule the World,” by Walk Off the World (2015) a Canadian alternative rock group, from Burlington, Ontario, who formed way back in 2006 (according to Wikipedia) and are classified as Reggae Rock. I first heard this song while at work, where we listen to pipped music over the P.A. System. For me, it was the super strong female vocals that first made me pay attention to the catchy lyrics, but as time went on, the whole song became more embedded and ingrained.  It was at that point that I wanted to know more, and even made the plunge to purchase the music files.

Since getting their latest release, I have watched several YouTube videos, and followed them on the media. I am just amazed; they are very talented, and are world class entertainers.

FYI: The female band member, Sarah Blackwood, was kicked off a United Airline flight from the U.S. to Vancouver in May, 2015 becuase her 2yr old son was crying too much. Tell me a 2yr old who does not cry and never has cranky days?

CBCNews: “Walk Off the Earth singer Sarah Blackwood kicked off U.S. flight over crying son” May 28, 2015

Another Collision With a Train

This time, at 216th and Glover Road, the same set of tracks that goes by River Road near where I live, where two other collision at the Fort Langley Airport happened, an ambulance was sitting on the tracks before it got hit by a train.  I was on my way to work, travelling down Glover Road, when the accident occurred today. I was probably fifteen minutes after it happened. They were just putting up the barricades behind me after I was sitting in traffic, as all access was blocked off in every direction. The train was  stopped, and I could make out the damaged ambulance.

There were already fire trucks and police arriving by the time I got there. I sat, parked, for about 30 minutes before we were allowed to turn around and leave in the same direction that I came from. As I was making my back, now going North bound on Glover Road, that was when I seen the Air Ambulance helicopters land in a near by field just down the road about a kilometre. I had to pull over and wait while the injured were being transported to the field.

In all, I heard on the news that three people were injured, who were inside the ambulance. This brings up so many questions about why they were sitting on the tracks.

This is not the first time vehicles have had collisions with trains at this intersection. I remember back around 2004, a train hit a dump truck, and the rail cars littered both sides of the tracks, even on the road. That was a bad wreck. It took them a week to clean that one up.

This year, along 88th Avenue, or River Road, in Fort Langley, right by the Airport, two separate incidences involving dump trucks, almost four months apart, had collisions there. This today’s accident is now the third one that I know of on this same set of tracks for this year.

It boggles me as to how and why these accidents happen. Trains blow their whistles, and there are signs everywhere, plus most of the crossings are “controlled” ones.  Why do these collisions keep on occurring?

Source:

Ambulance and train collide in Langley, B.C.” CBCNews.ca September 11, 2015.

Patient dies after ambulance and train collide in Langley, B.C.” CBCNews.ca September 12, 2015.

 

A Funny Thing Happened When I Posted Some Photos.

It was a couple of days ago that I released some photos I shot for a friend who needed some portfolio shots. He posted them both on Twitter and on his Face Book. I don’t do FB, so I haven’t seen them there, but I did see them on Twitter. He gave me credit, and somehow one of his followers from Twitter contacted me via Twitter. That’s when I got the strangest Tweet regarding my work. It goes like this, “Nice Pics… You’re the guy who does those clear photos. What do you use on your pics?” I laughed. That’s like me explaining The Theory of General Relativity in 140 letters, or less.

So I tweeted a direct message back to her (I’m assuming it’s a she) which went something like this: “I use a DSLR, and lots of post editing software. My cameras are semi-pro quality.” So a day goes by that I hear nothing from her. Then today, a flurry of 20 DMs shoot across my Twitter-Feed. The first volley were along the lines of, “why can’t my Smart Phone do that…” to “How do you get the back ground so blurry, yet everything else is perfect…” Then they ended off with, “Do you photograph horses too?”

OK, photography is something that I have being doing for a long time. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve taken it to a semi-pro level, mainly due to finally having enough money to buy those big ticket items I’ve always wanted. But, I guess, you either love it enough that you absorb all the knowledge that comes with it, or you sit down a study it until you master it completely, either way, you get it, or you don’t. I see photography as an art form. I draw, paint, and sculpt, but photography is just an extension of that art form, like the next logical step in my quest of beauty and perfection.

The weird thing about photography for me has been the ability to make some money with it. I didn’t throw up a sign and set out to create a business with it, it (or they) found me after I started posting photos on my Blog and website. I like flowers, so I have thousands of images of just flowers and plants, but that landed me a small contract to do a floral shop’s website. I don’t push my talent, I get emails, tweets, or phone calls out of the blue, asking me to do some work for various people from all walks of life. It started with some simple architectural/landscape jobs, selling houses on a website, to doing modelling shoots with real models in a real studio, then a few weddings. Now I turn down jobs simply becuase I have day job (actually a night job), and I have so many other things going on in my life now. I’m time-crunched. But I do sneak in a few odd job now and then if it really perks my interest.

So, I guess I’m going to photograph some horses in and around Langley City sometime in the near future. This should be interesting. But we’ll see what sort of job it is before I start packing up my camera bag. Business through Twitter–how’s that for networking.

Those Shooting Specks of Comet Dust

The Perseid meteor showers are looking really great this year. Last night I seen about 15 really good ones shooting across the sky around midnight in a  span of a half hour. I think this year, the showers are going to be great, and we seem to have good weather too adding that we have a New Moon too–making the sky nice and dark to catch even the small ones. This year, the peak is going to be around the 13th of August, but there is always that few weeks before and after that the showers can be seen.

Screenshot from 2015-08-10 16:24:39 weblog image

According to my sources, these specks of rocks and dust are from debris left behind from the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet, which by the way, passes by every 130 years. So if you stand looking towards the East, and a little to the North, they seem to radiate from that point. As you get closer to dusk, they will appear to shooting downwards, meaning that you can catch more of them in a smaller viewing area.

Sadly, I never have time to set up my camera to catch these streaks of light for a photograph. Though, keeping an eye on Twitter, many people seem to be photographing them all around the world, and saying that this year is no disappointment. I have seen some really awesome photos of multiple steaks in one image. I just wish I had the time and energy to make the effort.

The Long Weekend I Forgot About

The new British Columbia (Canada) Holiday, known as BC Family Day is this Monday. I almost completely forgotten about this, mainly becuase it does not really matter whether I get to spend it off from work or not, as I can get called in at time, but it is a statutory holiday in the books, so I get paid extra for it no matter what. I do go in to work this Monday, but it is the night-shift, so technically two hours of that shift are considered working in the holiday for me as I start at 10:00pm. Noting that business may have found a loop-hole around this for paying the double time, or not, remains to be seen. But anyway, I do have a four day weekend regardless. Also, there is one week until Valentine’s Day! Also February is packed with a few birthdays of friends and family in there too.

Valentine's Hearts Read for Giving Feb 7 2015 Weblog Image

Playing around with Blender2.73, I created this graphic, just to be funny about Valentine’s Day coming up in a week.

For my friends up in Terrace, BC who are in the midst of a record breaking snow storm, I hope all goes well for you. Some of the news footage of that storm are just amazing. I will not tell you about the 12C weather, with the odd sprinkle of rain that we are getting. I do not want to upset, or boast, like that.

CBCnews

Feb 6, 2015: Terrace, Kitimat experience record-breaking snowfall

ADDED February 9, 2015:

Another Valentine’s Day Graphic I created with Blender 2.73, but this image was not part of the Web Graphic Art work I did for a client over the weekend. I am just taking the Heart Mesh to new limits. 🙂

Bowl of Hearts Weblog Image

This image was rendered using the Blender Cycles Engine, as always, becuase I love the glass shader in Cycles. When I threw this on Twitter, it was quickly favoured many times, even retweeted a couple of times too!

Some Toungue-in-Cheek With 3D Art: The Ghost

I have been trying to create a bunch of 3D images for this Halloween to post here on my Weblog, and today I created a Ghost. You would think that creating a ghost would be easy as eating pie, but relearning the cloth simulator in Blender 2.72 took a bit of time, not to mention using the UV image on the cloth-mesh itself.  Once I got the technical stuff out of the way, making the ghost took just minutes after baking the cloth simulation to form the ghost. So here it it:

Ghost 2 image - Weblog Image - October 23 2014

I could not resist the tongue-in-cheek play on ghosts being let out of prison for one day to reek havoc on the world of the living, sort of adding a modern twist to it. The caption reads:

“It is said that on every October 31st the ghosts are let out of the spirit prison on day parole. Some say they want to play, while others say they want revenge! Happy Halloween!”

I posted this on Twitter too, a much larger copy of the image. Check out my Twitter Feed: @thomasso01

Without going to much into the technical aspects of what I did creating the image in Blender, it is a plane, and three spheres, then animating the plane as a cloth to fall over the spheres to form the ghost. Using the cloth simulator was the hard part, and waiting for the simulation to finish was the time consuming part as well.