Dog Finder


 

So last evening, the dog and I were startled to hear my mom yelling out the window, “Get outta here! Go on!” And we ran out… looked out over the deck, out the windows… “She’s not talking to you,” I told the dog.
“Did you see it?” my mom asked, coming out of her bathroom. What? I was wondering. Was it a bear? I missed seeing a bear!? “There was a dog,” she said. Oh.

A little while later, I had to go get Bear (not the bear), because there were some people in our yard. They had lost their dog. So I got on my boots and all to try to help. Sophia was her name, and she was apparently a small beige dog, a Jack Russel/chihuahua mix. I wandered around the yard. My mom and the people went up to the next yard. I was peering into the ravine, and I figured I’d see something, right? A relatively small dog, but she’d be moving around, right?

Then I went and got Bear on his leash. I figured if there was a strange new dog in his territory, he’d pick up the scent and try to follow it around like he always does. Though he’s not trained to track. And mostly he wanted to follow his mommy and get goodies. But once my mom left again, going up the mountain, he started sniffing around the scent trail. Wandering down the yard. Wandering by the generator shed. Looking across the ravine like he saw something, but I didn’t see anything.

Finally, though, I decided he was pretty useless, so I sent him back inside and went to look by myself. It was starting to get dark out. I thought I would go down into the ravine and along the stream, in case she went down there and doubled back.

Well, I go down the old stepping stones, get to the bottom of the ravine, and what do I find, but a very tiny dog, lying down by an old fallen tree. So I tried talking to her, and approaching, but she was trembling and scared. I had a dog biscuit, but she wasn’t interested. I sat and talked to her a bit, but I could see she wasn’t going to let me get too close or pick her up, so then I said I’d go get her mommy and daddy.

So I climbed back up the ravine and yelled that I found her, and her mommy came to get her. Yes, I’m such a hero! Go me!

 


What a Great Day!


 

Well, I didn’t want to do a blasted THING today! But I sorta forced myself to sit down and do my Tuesday SL/C# project, which was to convert a Forms analog clock program into a WPF analog clock program. Which involves putting in the code, and looking up why the dip it has all those errors. :X

Once I got into it, I really got into a zone… I even knew things! Like if it didn’t know what the dip System.Drawing was, where and how to add the System.Drawing dll. And that you find what bits of the pieces are called, by looking in the form editor little listy thing on the side. Like the WPF “image” has a “source” whereas the Forms “picture” has an “image.” And the Main Window had a “Title” instead of “Text.” Yeah, little things, but I was proud of knowing what the heck stuff was and how it was going on.

I even made my own functions. (Or whatever they decided to call functions in this crazy thing.) I put the coordinate subroutine into a function, and the formatting for the digital clock.

Things got a little hairy with the compiler confused between Images in this include or that include, and not knowing what the heck “White” was. (That was another missing dll.)

Lastly, it is… well, not next to — it’s actually impossible to get an image to display in the image on the form. No, really. The “source” I mentioned is some kind of Media Source. And it can’t convert a bitmap into a media source. *I* can’t convert a bitmap into a media source, even when I tell it to. It seems that you just CAN’T draw a picture (like a clock face) and get it to display, unless… I guess you just draw it? If you have any idea where the upper left corner is.

I kept looking on stack overflow and such… and they kept suggesting to send the bitmap to a media stream, read the media stream, and use THAT as a media source. (Well, it’s marginally better than having to save it to freaking disk.)
I copied the code for one and put it in. And it was formatted as… I don’t know, it’s own namespace or something? It made the compiler freak out about my MainWindow section. So I took it out of that section and gave it its own. Which made things WORSE.
So I said, well, heck, I’ll just turn it into a function, the way I think it would look as a function. Would you believe… IT WORKED!??!?!

Lunch hour was breathing down my neck, but I got the compiler to run through and have NO ERRORS! Of course… the program doesn’t work. But that will have to be a project for another day. :X

Then I went on patrol, had some lunch. Goofed around on Flight Rising and Ovipets. Then it was coming around to be time for my workout. Didn’t want to do THAT, either. Well, I decided to do half in the dungeon, and then take my sock poi out on the deck. That was fun. Did that, and some Tai Chi.

It was so windy and nice out, I decided to fly my kite. My kite, if you don’t know, is a parafoil “pocket kite” and her name is Lyretail Koi. She’s a beach kite; I used to fly her at Ocean City and Good Harbor beach.

Today we got some good height. The wind was around 9 mph. We have a big open yard, but there are trees on the sides. And there was more clouds than sun, so I couldn’t see Lyretail’s shadow. Well, I decided to go for it. We didn’t get out to the end of the string. But we got way up there.

Then she dropped down and, omg, landed in a tree! :( It didn’t look that high from way across the yard, but… she was UP in a TREE, and this tree was down in a ravine! I didn’t really know what to do. I pulled on the string; I was winding it up. Some gusts came and I tried giving some slack to see if she could fly up and out… Not working. Worse, she seemed to be winding around a branch.

I kept up a steady pull. I know from… gah, now I can’t remember what science show, a really old one. About having a rope holding up a cinderblock with a string tied to the bottom. If you grab the lower string and yank it really fast, it will snap off. BUT, if you pull it steadily, it will increase the weight on the cinderblock, which will break the rope. So as long as the string is pulling steadily with the greater weight, we could make it. Um, if it was my weight vs the tree’s we were kinda screwed, though.

But then a good gust picked up, and Lyretail jumped up, and I gave it some slack, and OMG YES!! She flew out of the tree!! YEAH!! I am JUST THAT GOOD!

Except now she’s flying up, and I’m reeling in, and I’m thinking… I don’t see the yellow tail. Yes, she lost a tail on that one :/ It was still in the tree when I went back to check. Maybe it will fall down over night.

Anyway, the forest isn’t the ocean. She got some battle scars on that adventure. I reeled her in on the grass. I can’t reel her back to hand like we did on the beach. Yeah, on the beach, I could launch her, fly her, and retrieve her without ever touching the sand. Ah, those were the glory days.

Well, I managed to find and rescue the cat annoyer after it blew into the ravine one night. I have good hopes for rescuing the yellow tail. Someday.

 


Sony/MAGIX Vegas and Compositing Shots


I have Figured It Out!

When I made my Arrow Crack Video, and when I was making “Everything You Ever,” I tried to use my leet (or at least stubborn) video editing skillz to composite still images into the video.  In the crack vid, I really really wanted to put my logo on the ‘Vote for Blood!’ sign.

Well, it was difficult, because the shot was doing a car-drive by (or simulation thereof), and it was quite shaky.  I did try Vegas 10’s Image Stabilization… but I still couldn’t get the logo to NOT jink and slide around all over the sign.  No matter what I did.  :/  I even keyframed EVERY single blasted frame and FORCED the logo to be in the right spot, and it was just a wreck.

I didn’t try half so hard to try to get a reflection of the moon in the Lazarus Pit, because I knew how sucky it would probably turn out.  Yep.  It did.

 

Today, I was working with the Vegas 14 Pro trial, using that lovely bezier mask to composite two film clips together, Malcolm and the ghost of Rebecca (played by Shelly from The Crow).  The trial doesn’t have image stabilization (gah!) and the Pro version doesn’t have motion tracking at all, if motion tracking would have helped me with my woes.

But I decided to delve deeper into WHY stuff was jumping around all over.  Did the clips have different frame rates?  (No.  But, well, one WAS slowed down to 25% speed.)  Were the frames mis-aligned?  (Shouldn’t be, because I leave ‘Quantize to Frames’ turned on.)

I thought… hey!  I will render out my 25% speed clip and re-import it as a full speed video.  I do think this helped tremendously!  (Actually, I had to get the clip in Vegas 10 and render it out, because 14 kept dropping frames.  What’s up with that?  Video picture going along, then all of a sudden, black frame!  Wut?)

But the real epitome came when I was watching a loop of the composite shots, and I dragged the hand brake whatevever thingy, to slow down the playback to 15%.  That is when I Noticed Something!  The shot I was using as the backdrop would go move,move,move,stop; move,move,move,move,stop.  Three to five frames moved, then one where the frame didn’t change.  (I blame the NTFS 29.7 or some ridiculously NOT rounded number of frames per second.)

How to fix?

Well, I went into the secondary clip’s keyframes, turned on the button to lock the scrubber in the editor and the timeline, and then stepped through the whole sequence.  When I hit a frame on the main clip that didn’t move, I backed up one step, hit ‘Add Keyframe,’ then stepped forward until there was another moving frame.  ‘Add Keyframe’ again, and then right click the keyframe before that, and set it to ‘Hold.’  Where’s my picture?

Step-Step-Hold ends up looking like this.

Step-Step-Hold ends up looking like this.

 

Remember to do this AFTER you set up the basic motion and have refined it to a final stage.  Or what would be a final stage, if it didn’t jink around everywhere.  These intermediary positions will be correct, you just have to add the keyframes to nail them down.   Then the two clips will step-step-stop in time!

 

I hope this looks good when I render it out!  (No, I was so excited to write this down, I didn’t render it yet.)

 

 


A Good Day 2


 

The other day, I was really happy.  I’m making note of this for posterity… like when I’m depressed again.  This time, though, I don’t think I really had any control over it.

It started like any ordinary day on the mountain, where I was doing nothing much.  I was hanging out in Second Life for some reason.  But it was lunch time, and I took the dog for a walk.  It was late October, but it was sunny and so warm!  I laid back on the hill to watch the clouds.  Ah, the dog didn’t cooperate, as he just HAD TO get to something six inches beyond where we were RIGHT NOW.

He actually kinda dragged me a few inches down the hill.  Then I sat up and said, ‘pull me, pull me!’  Of course, he didn’t.  Pfft.

The wind was blowing, and I was in shirtsleeves (a rare occasion), and it was just SO nice and warm.  And windy.  Did I mention windy?  I like wind.

So I came back inside, told everybody online ‘So long, suckers!  It’s too nice out, I’m going to play outside and fly my kite!’

I didn’t get Lyretail Koi (my kite) to launch.  The wind was too intermittent.  We got some low air time, and I was actually getting too hot, so it was time to quit that.

That evening… It was during the week of the Orionids, so I tied my hammock out on the deck.  I was too late to watch the stars come out, I thought, but it was so nice and warm (and I had the grey fuzzy throw blanket to snuggle in).  And I did see more and more stars.

I couldn’t tell if I saw some faint meteors, or if it was just my eyes.  Then I saw the UFO.  Well, you know.  Those are common up here.  There was a bright light, too bright to be a star.  But it wasn’t moving like a plane.  It sorta stayed still (or zig-zagged a little, though that could have been my hammock swaying), and then it kinda faded out.  Perhaps it escaped the atmosphere and went into space.  Who knows.

I did see at least three meteors, bright enough that I could say ‘ooh, meteor!’  (No, I don’t think the UFO was a meteor falling straight down, Orion wasn’t even in the sky that early.)  With the clouds and ‘super moon’ going on during the peak of the meteor shower (two nights afterward), I wouldn’t have been able to see anything, so I’m glad I got to spend some time outside on such a lovely night.

I think… my face felt funny, maybe I was even smiling!

 


Win10 vs Silverlight vs Netflix Vs Pale Moon


These are notes to my future self on what happened there….

 

Silverlight:  Use the stupid useless Silverlight thing.  Make sure you enable DRM.  Because, for some reason, Netflix uses DRM.  (Like me signing in to my account, THAT I PAID FOR, is not enough?)

Win10 Privacy:  Make sure you’re NOT blocking the Microsoft/Silverlight DRM service/webconnect whatever it is.

 

Now this is where it gets weird…  Open the Silverlight page, tell NoScript to allow all.  And/Or, on the Netflix page, tell NoScript to temporarily allow everything.  Start a video.

I saw this when I used the TEST Pale Moon blank profile.  As the show starts to play, it access some sort of silverlight url.  Too fast for me to see what it was.  But this is apparently it downloading its DRM.  Once it does that, Netflix should work from thenceforth onward, without messing with NoScript or blank profiles.  Until they decide to dick with Pale Moon some more.  (Remember to turn OFF allowing top level sites when you’re done, duh.)

 

 

Good Luck!

 


Happy Cat Dream


 

Last night, I had a dream that my cat, Mousie, came into the room with a bunch of helium balloons; with the ribbons in her mouth, under her chest and all, because she was playing with the ribbons.  I said, “Oh, cute, is it my birthday?  Wait, is it your birthday?”
Then she was playing with the ribbons and all… which is not the safest thing in the world!  But I was there, I was watching.  And the ribbons got caught on some velcro on the kitty tunnel, and the balloons pulled up when she let go of the ribbons, and the tunnel rolled towards her.  I said, “Watch out, it’s going to get you…!”  Then she was wrestling with the tunnel.

Then she threw the rememberall at me, and i tossed it across the room.  She ran over and pounced!  But she made sure to jump over it instead of hitting it.  And then one of my snake fluffies had some velcro on its neck and tail, and it got stuck on her somehow… so she was running around with a snake on her back.  It was just so cute and funny!  (I rescued her, though!)

What a happy dream!

 


Bloodsong Triumphs over Technology!


AND over Microsoft!  BWAAHAHAHHAHAH!

::ahem::

 

So last year, my first XP machine, Electric Blue gave up the ghost, and I finally sprang for a new Windows 7 machine.  But I still had Blue Steel, my newer XP machine.  Which still works.  Unless you plug in or unplug anything before it starts, because it has conniptions…. ::cough::

Anyway, I have been thinking… of turning Blue Steel into a file server, as seen here (click).  Because I have a boatload of files on there.  My digital paintings, and tonnes and tonnes of video clips for my music video creations.  And Electric Blue’s surviving hard drive, too!  (With more video clips.  Those things take up space like nobody’s business!)

BUT!  There’s no way to do this NAS4FreeNAS whatever thing without formatting the hard drives.  Uh.  Dude!  Come onnnnn!  What am I supposed to do with the files I want to serve?  If I had them on another machine, I wouldn’t need to make this one a file server, would I?  GAH!

 

 

So then I had to look into trying to network XP and Win7.  I had little hope, here.  I mean, hell, I’ve tried before to get my two XP machines to see each other!  It’s like… brokering peace in the Middle East or something!  Something difficult.  Something impossible.  Something you do all kinds of contortionistically difficult things to make happen, and it STILL fails to happen.  Been there, done that.

But I’m stubborn.  So I looked up one little how-to article, and all it said was to change the XP workgroup name to WORKGROUP, and Shazaam!

Uh, yeah, right.  :P

 

Then I found  this post at How To Geek (click).  Of COURSE it’s not that easy!  You’ll try to connect and be unable to, it says so right there in the instructions.  Aha, but they know how to get around it!  Yay!

Happily, I went to try it that night.  And took several HOURS GOING NUTS!

 

 

Okay, so you make a new user on your XP machine, make it an Admin.  Easy.  Give it a password.  Fine.

Go to your Win7 machine and try to map a network drive, connect, put in your name and password, and boom.  You can access whole drives!

Ha-ha!  No, you can’t.  Or, you could…. if they told you THIS little bit:

If you hate computer user names and passwords, since you’re the only person in your home using your computer, and thus just make the default user name “1” and give it no password…  and you do this for both machines…  The fool XP on the network will think that the Win7 user is trying to use that name, not the name you created for this new network log in.

AND

1: will NOT let you log in, due to disallowing users with no passwords to remote-connect (which you can turn off, but is a security risk I didn’t want to do).

2: will NOT ask you to log in as another user with a name and password.  Ever.  No.  No matter how many times you right click the XP machine in the list or try to check “Connect with different protocols” or whatever.

 

 

So.  You need to create a new user on your new machine, with the name and password you gave as the remote user on the XP machine.  Log in as that.  Then it will allow you to connect.

 

AND

It really won’t let you map any network drives, only shared directories.

UNLESS

you type in the drive name, instead of trying to navigate to it.

 

 

But!  Once I did all that (after searching all over for an hour and a half and didn’t find a HINT about that problem… really, forums?  Check your firewall?  Turn off blank password blocking?  Have the XP machine map to the Win7, and it will miraculously work the other way??  Seriously!?), I got all 7 of my XP drives visible on my Win7 machine!  (It doesn’t work for CD drives, though, it seems :/ )

BWHAHAHAHAH!  I AM MAD!  DRUNK WITH POWER, I TELL YOU!

::ahem::

So the actual instructions.

1: on XP, change the computer workgroup name to, literally, WORKGROUP.

2: on XP, create a new user with the same name and password as your Win7 log-on.  UNLESS you don’t use a password (unless-unless you want to turn off passwordless remote logging denial).  Probably, you just want to give your Win7 user a password.  UNLESS it’s the same user name as is already on the XP machine.  In which case, they have to have the same name/password setup on both machines.

3: Turn on the XP machine; you don’t need to log in.

4: On the Win7, right click Computer and choose Map Network Drive.  Make sure you pick the letter you want, and know the name of the computer that is your server, because you have to type it in.  Hint: use this format “\\ComputerName\C$”  where ComputerName = the exact name of the server and C is the drive letter.
Also, remember to turn on ‘re-connect at log in’ so you don’t have to do it every time.

and THAT is all there is to it!  To think…  Microsoft machines that can see each other over the network!  A MIRACLE!

 


R.I.P Electric Blue


 

Electric Blue was my “downstairs” computer, my secondary.  Born April 24, 2006, declared officially dead November 16, 2015.

The sad thing is… all the components work great!  (Uh, well, the IDE drive finally ran into the ground.  And, yeah, okay, the CMOS battery is dead, but that wasn’t a big deal; I just had to leave an electricity bleed on it, or enter the current date when I booted up…)  It’s just that WinDoze wouldn’t boot from the SATA drive!

The cosmic joke here… the secondary, SATA, drive is what I’ve been running Windows on for that machine.  The IDE was the boot drive, but somewhere in the misty halls of memory, I had it immediately swap the IDE and SATA root partitions using Junction Link Magic or somesuch voodoo.

Anyway, after spending 8 hours trying to get Windows XP to accept the SATA as the root/boot drive… and Windows XP failing…!  I had to decide to get on with my life.

 

 

Electric Blue, and my upstairs computer, Blue Steel (no relation to Zoolander; it’s a line from a Top Gun song) are from AVA Direct.  I don’t get any kickbacks from AVA (wish I did, I always pimp  them out whenever someone is looking to buy a new system), but I have to tell you just how cool these guys are.

I have been using them since… I don’t know when.  Before having them build Electric Blue in 2006, I had ordered a MoBo/CPU combo to upgrade my then-current system.  Then when I was ready to upgrade from Electric Blue, I ordered Blue Steel in 2009.

I found AVA Direct through… well, some search or other.  But what clinched the deal for me was this… I went to Alienware (which was THE huge name in bleeding edge gaming machines… not some Dell subsidiary that they seem to be now??), and I specced out a not-quite-top-of-the-line gaming rig.  Then I went to AVA, where I put together a list of comparable components and it came out about 500$ cheaper.  Yep, ever since then, AVA have been “my boys” for my computers.

 

Not that I used them a lot, sadly.  I mean, heh… I haven’t bought a new computer since 2009. :X  But when I do use them, I get top notch all the way.  When speccing Blue Steel, I had no idea what power supply I needed, but the guy I talked to (techs, not salespeople) told me what it would take to run my uber huge video card.

When I had money to expand my memory in Electric Blue… I was falling badly off the geek-wagon even back then, so I called up and said I’m an idiot, I don’t know what kind/flavor of memory goes in my machine.  Again, I got a tech, not a salesman (do they even have salespeople?), who looked at my order history, and gave me a line on what brand was good that season.  No, not the most expensive.  Bonus!

 

 

Anyway, it has been a while, but I have been planning to get a new machine between now and February of 2016.  Uh, I guess now is good, since I’m down to one computer.  I know things change, and the good ol’ days don’t stay good.  Little companies grow and turn into big conglomerates that suck.

I am hoping AVA is still the amazing group of “tech guys” that I remember.  Because I don’t know when I’ll have money for a new computer beyond this one, so I hope it will last.  I know one thing, when they put a machine together, that mofo lasts!

I was worried when I experimentally specced out a high-end system (with no clue) and it came out to 2500 dollars.  And Dell Alienware were 1200?  Oh my.  But I went to New Egg to see if they were cheaper.  And no, they weren’t.

Then I was reading some reviews for stuff at New Egg.  Not to shine a bad light on them, but there were some reviews about systems being DOA, components not working, etc.  And New Egg just being a distributor not a manufacturer.  Well, AVA will build my machine, partition my drives how I want them, install the OS, and then do a 24 hour burn-in test, to make sure the system and all the components are running.

 

So yeah.  I’m sticking with my boys at AVA!  Stay Good, guys!

 


Bloodsong’s Writing Resource Collection


Oops, I didn’t mean to imply that I made a collection of writing resources.  But I did decide to collect the ones I find the most useful in one spot.  So, here they are!

 

Word Help

Collins Dictionary Online  (I used to use Dictionary.com, but omg, the ads and crap!)

Spellcheck.Net

Chir-Ag Tip of my Tongue  Can’t think of that word you know you know?  Find it with this tool.

 

Phraseology Help

Title Generator   Input some concept words and title phrases pop out.

Word Count Tool   Counts words and analyzes your text.

 

Conceptual Help

Emotion Thesaurus    A sample of how to have your characters express emotion without saying stupid crap like “He was sad.”

Springhole    Includes a boatload of random generators for all kinds of things; characters, objects, super powers…  Plus essays on writing, and research concepts.

 

Character Help

Writers Helping Writers Tools   Character development, characteristics, backstory, etc.

(See also Springhole.)

 

Writing Help

Mind-Melding with the Reader   An essay on the brainwaves of storytellers and audiences, as well as concrete examples of how to put the reader into the story.  This is an explanation of how I write in my ‘really intense close third person’  (aka ‘gut-punch’) style.

How to Write a LogLine       This is for movie pitches, but a very good excercise for (book/story/literary/word-only) writers, as well.

The Great Swampy Middle     by Jim Butcher; how to deal with a bogged-down middle of a story.

25 Turns, Pivots, And Twists To Complicate Your Story     by Chuck Wendig (warning: ‘adult’ language).  Some ideas on how to mix things up and make your story less predictable.

 

 

 


The Auralgasm


 Auralgasm:a state of temporary heightened excitement as a reaction to hearing a sound.

I coigned this term a while ago, but apparently never wrote about it.  Auralgasms are most commonly associated with music, and I think the most common auralgasm people would recognize is the bass drop.

It’s a sound, or a break/hit in a song that just makes you go OOOH!  Or possibly squee.  Or even scream.  The sound just hits your nerve endings, like BAM!

 

Although most auralgasms are produced by music, there are other sounds that may have the same effect.  For example, when playing Quake 3, I would have an auralgasm every time the guy said EXCELLENT!  This happened when you made 2 kills within 2 seconds.  I liked to make him say that a lot.  Like, 35 times in 10 minutes.  :X

I was also addicted to the sound the quad power made the weapons have.  Some kind of echo-y reverb bass boost something or other.  Anyway, I would often run around the map yelling, “Must Have Shiny Blue Thing!”  And, if anyone else got the quad, I would hunt them down in a berserker frenzy to kill them and take it away from them.  Didn’t matter if I only had a shotgun, and they had a rocket launcher.  I really, really wanted that sound!  ::cough::

 

Different people will respond to different types of sounds and music.  I can post some links to songs I find have auralgasm-inducing parts.  Let’s see…

PelleK:  many of PelleK’s songs have auralgasms, because his voice is SO clear, SO pure.  (This is Power Metal, by the way.  Unless you go to his Disneyification of Metal songs section :X)  My favorite is at about 1:18 of “Gentlemen.”  The song starts out with a really strong belted out note, but the best part is just after a really long extended note.  That WAH! is just the right pitch and power….

“Can You Hear Me Now” by Savatage:  John Oliva had a truly amazing voice; he could growl, he could rasp, he could sing so crystal clear.  But this particular auralgasm isn’t from the lyrics, it comes from a break about 2/3 of the way through the song.  The chunky guitar and the power bass start jamming, and then they crash into the cellos and strings like two ocean waves hitting each other in a truly magnificent splash…!  Then the whole thing just runs away like a freight train.

“Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy:  okay, if you don’t like Metal (hey, it happens :X), this is some straight-up rock.  Um… this whole song is just about one big, five-minute long auralgasm.  It starts with a simple tone, doesn’t seem to be much.  Then it runs up your spine to a higher pitch.  And the bass starts in, nice and slow, but strong.  Then the guitar comes in, growling like a panther.
3/4 of the way through the song, it hammers out a power-anthem version of the chorus.  Just vocal, bass drum, and ride cymbal.  The guitar comes back in, and then… I don’t know if it’s technically a bass drop or a breakbeat or what, but the whole band just STOPS for one heart-stopping moment before BAM!  They slam back into gear.  Whoa…

 

Was it good for you, too?