Monthly Archives: November 2011

Krip Kam #3 video released!

This video is a result of my going for shakedown cruise with the wheelchair mount I assembled to allow me to take pics and videos from my power chair using a reasonably steady platform for my camera.

Even though I traveled a mile to the parking lot I use as a flying site while bearing my micro R/C airplane and gear as well as my camera, only to find that the wind had sprung up to a speed too high to fly in, it was a valuable trip for getting some experience with this sort of thing, and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m enjoying the whole video creation process, from selecting suitable music at Incompetech to trimming the individual clips to creating and placing titles, then putting it all together to make it tell a coherent story.

I hope I’m succeeding in this and improving my technique as I go…but you can be the judge of that! As always, comments, questions and constructive criticism are welcomed.

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Just Like Clockwork

So, according to the weather forecast, it would appear that winter will fasten upon us as soon as the calendar flips us into December with cruddy weather and genuinely cold temperatures starting this week.

I swear, it’s like a switch gets flipped somewhere. Maybe it’s Tennessee’s latitude. Maybe it’s sunspots. The change of seasons always seem to coincide with the date change…excepting spring, which always seems to drag its heels emerging from the cold…that could just be an impression due to my impatience for good weather.

I’m always loathe to face the reality of autumn ending in keeping with that love of temperate air. I went out the other morning with the intention of doing some R/C flying even though we were on the ragged edge of chilly. The wind was dead calm right up to the moment I was about to get my Champ airborne, then it sprang right up to a gusty 10 knots, too windy to fly the 1.3 ounce airplane.

It was well worth the trip: as I mentioned earlier I mounted my camera to my newly assembled rig to take it on the nearly two mile round trip to and from my parking lot I use for my aerodrome to shoot some video. It performed as expected and I’m a good way into making Krip Kam Video #3 using that raw footage.

I should have it done by tomorrow, but I confess that I haven’t been in a rush since the video editing process is a lot of fun. Composing the layout for even a simple and straightforward video takes some time to select appropriate music, mesh it with the video, add titles and so on, along with any new techniques I try. One thing I’m doing with #3 is experimenting with speeding up the longer sequences to shorten their length so as not to bore viewers to tears! I think it has a comic look, and as usual Kevin MacLeod and his wonderful Incompetech site offer tons of suitable music. Time will tell if my technique’s improving…

Viva Hanarchista!

Once in a while I run across something or someone that puts me on the alert that I’ve just made a very worthwhile discovery, and I’m pleased to report that this find exceeded my expectations.

I’m referring to Hannah Hoffman, a young lady who I find myself envying not only for her musical skills, but her solid commitment to the cause of liberty. It’s so unfair; I was close to twice her age before I was as solidly grounded in my own principles as she clearly is today!

I’ll introduce you to Hannah as I was introduced to her, via a YouTube video that Jeff Berwick of The Dollar Vigilante linked to this past weekend. As Jeff says, Hannah “…has that artsy look and she is creative and talented – so many of the traits normally associated with liberal artists but don’t be fooled by her age or appearance, she’s a talented artist who’s a serious activist in the cause of freedom.”

How can anyone who’s familiar with the sinister Prussian-inspired public ‘education’ in America not love a line like

“You’re trusting the state to fill your child’s plate

With mindless facts and information they regurgitate…”

in the lyrics of this song?

Intrigued, I followed the supplied kinks to Hannah’s web site, which is a thoughtfully designed place where a visitor can read her writings, download and listen to her music, and explore her doings in the liberty community. She’s written jingles and theme songs for others along with her own creations and isn’t afraid to stand by her convictions out in the real world. Seeing this, I wasn’t too surprised to find that just one of her colleagues is the equally bright and articulate Stephanie Murphy, whose skills as a journalist and freedom activist have inspired me for several years now, and whose efforts as an ongoing advocate for liberty are laudable.

I hope you’ll enjoy Ms. Hoffman’s work as much as I have. There are plenty of surly, self-centered, poorly educated people out there, (as I lamented in my earlier piece here ‘I’m So Bored‘ as well as my recent article for the American Daily Herald, ‘Dumberer and Dumberest’) so encountering someone like Hannah who’s the diametric opposite of these types is a genuine pleasure. People like her are the best hope for our future, especially when they’ve accomplished so much so early, and they deserve to be held in high esteem.

Bravo, Hannah…you’ve got your work cut out for you!

I Heart Craigslist

My mom recently ordered herself a new bed, she put some wear on her first one with all that flouncing her weight onto it over just the past year since she purchased it. It ended up on my nice big screened porch, taking up more room than I expected it would, and I found it getting in my way…I did NOT want to drive my foot into the frame in the dark, not 180 pounds of me plus the chair’s 160 pounds. That’d be a good way to crush a foot.

We tried calling my yard guy but he never got back to us. My housekeeping help lady didn’t know anyone who needed a bed and that put us fresh out of options.

I tell you, this MS addling my brain is so inconvenient…this morning the very very obvious finally occurred to me: CRAIGSLIST! The phone got to ringing after the listing for the freebie had been up for five minutes or so, and I actually had to take it down after the first hour since there was no way to keep track of all those folks responding to it.

Needless to say that bed was gone by mid afternoon!

I do love Craigslist; in the later months of my impoverishment when the Feds were telling me there was nothing wrong with me and disapproving my disability income repeatedly, my home’s hot water heater died.

In January.

Hoping against hope, I yelled for help on Craigslist, and within a couple of days a contractor let me know that the owner of his company had obtained an almost new water heater bigger than my dead one, and another fellow, a plumber, offered his services to install it. This great guy and his apprentice spent almost a whole day in my cellar cutting and brazing copper pipe to get it installed and I had hot water again.

Now that’s what I call a truly caring community.

Craigslist has netted me some great finds just in bartering and sales over the past several years too. Sure, like any other venue there are some flakes and unsavory sorts to be found there, but if you take the usual precautions I doubt you’ll ever have a real problem.

To paraphrase Garret Morris’ ‘Chico Escuela’ character from SNL, Craigslist been berry berry good to me!

Sure is nice to have my porch back.

The Breakfast Club

My friend Karen dropped by today for breakfast after my mom taunted her with homemade waffles recently, and the goods were as tasty as promised. Karen’s not only a good friend, she’s familiar with the ins and outs of neurological disorders like mine and autoimmune problems in general. It’s always good to have friends you can really talk with, and while I certainly count myself lucky to have so many online friends, there’s nothing like hanging out with people in the 3-D world!

I went out earlier, well before breakfast with the intention of doing some flying at my usual parking lot. The weather was unseasonably warm and days where I can be out past my block are short, so it was worth a shot. Not too surprisingly, as soon as I got my little Aeronca Champ unpacked, the wind whipped up. It picked the plane up, spun it around and dropped it. No damage, but flying wasn’t going to happen.

It was a worthwhile trip though, I was able to take my camera with me and took a bunch of video while testing my now-complete camera mount. It’s as good and versatile as expected and I plan to have some fun editing my raw footage into a new Krip Kam video. It should be posted within the next couple of days, so be on the lookout!

Murphy’s Brother?

I swear, it never fails, there are some days when the stars aren’t right or the planetary alignment is a hair from its optimum level of confustication.

Or something.

It’s a gorgeous day out and the air is pleasant, despite a wild looking November sky that’s pretty enough to suit an Impressionist painting. I don’t think I could ask for more perfect conditions for a little outdoor photography.

That last piece of my camera mount that I ordered a few days ago is out for delivery, according to the tracking number the seller provided me. One hitch: it’s going on 3:30 in the afternoon, definitely past my bedtime.

What are the odds that the mail would be unusually late today, I ask? No, there’s something fishy going on.

It’s not quite an example of Murphy’s Law, since technically nothing has actually gone wrong, it’s just that the critical factor, that camera mount, is late enough that taking photos isn’t going to happen today. It must be Murphy’s idiot brother at work…or maybe a cousin from the bad side of the family, running some corollary of the Law in my neighborhood like he’d run a crooked game of three-card Monte.

A pox on you and your family, Murphy me lad.

I’ll Be Hawk for Christmas

My, my…it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet and I’m already looking forward to spring!

My mom noticed me slavering over an item on the Hobbyking site a week and change ago and insisted I order it for myself for Christmas. That’s not too terribly guilt-inducing; she’s decided that getting me an airplane or two is a new Christmas tradition and it’ll give me something to look forward to for my spring morning outings.

The advancements in miniaturization, better construction materials, and light weight electronics and batteries have brought some amazing stuff to the table over the last few years that was pure fantasy a decade ago. Last year’s ultra micro R/C machines have been loads of fun, and now I’m getting a 35mm electric ducted fan jet model. The Chinese company Skyangel has been releasing machines in this tiny size over the last year and they just came out with a  BAE Hawk military trainer in the bright red colors of the Canadian Red Arrows airshow exhibition team.

Remember, this plane is miniscule…its wing spans just about 14 inches and the aircraft’s all up flying weight is only 3.4 ounces! A guy on RC Groups just got some video of his Hawk flying…this looks like it’s going to be a blast. Another fellow attached a midget keychain video camera to his to get some aerial videography done, now that’s cool stuff.

The Plan Evolves

Yow, yet again I’m going too long between updates.  Nope, that won’t do.

I’m enjoying where this blog’s going, I just need to prioritize my time and assets better. I spend a lot of time thinking about, writing and editing my articles for the Herald, and lo and behold I’ve left myself no energy for blogging at the end of the day.

Blogging is supposed to be about fun, so even though my goal is certainly a serious one, that’s what I’ll concentrate on here. I’ll save the more serious stuff for my online essays…and it’ll be a lot more enjoyable just to relax here!

Speaking of fun, I’m only awaiting one part to make my Krip Kam setup as useful as it’s capable of being, and it should arrive in a very few days. I’m really enjoying the creative process of photography, editing and scoring each project. They’re not terribly demanding of energy and yield a lot of pleasure, so look for a whole lot more as time passes and I gain skill.

I do love a good adventure!

Bad Blogger…No Biscuit!

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I posted last…the days really are running together, one of the not-so-pleasant things about being housebound with this late fall weather, I observe to my chagrin.

The time hasn’t been entirely unproductive, I had another article published over at the American Daily Herald a few days ago, and so far it seems well received. I certainly enjoy the writing, but it does take it out of me. To a healthy observer, it must seem like I’m moving at a snail’s pace; lots of breaks to clear my mind, making sure to keep some food in me lest I get even more lightheaded and gloomy than usual, and LOTS of editing. I’m the sort that mainly edits on the fly, not a bad thing when I’m writing a narrative based on my experiences…there’s a strong tendency for the topic to get lost as my mind tries going in a dozen directions at once. A 2000-word article takes me a good two to three days to put together, something that I could have done in a matter of hours in my healthy days.

The satisfaction of putting these things down in print is worth it though, and gives me all the incentive I could want to keep up with it. Still and all, I only have a limited amount of energy even when I’m at my best (remember the Spoon Theory I wrote about a while back?) and I just haven’t had anything left at the end of the day in me to write anything here.

It’s getting better with practice, albeit slowly, and that’s gratifying. Over these last few weeks I’ve also been devoting a bunch of time and effort to getting up to speed on my videography. That first Krip Kam video came out acceptably, but there was and is plenty of room for improvement. It’s not just the editing that’s been on my mind, I also spent some time researching no-royalty music I could use in my videos without running afoul of the  horribly tangled IP regulations that swarm around these creative endeavors.

In this area, I’ve found some fine resources, but one stands out from all the rest: Kevin MacLeod’s terrific incompetech web site…he’s a gifted and prolific musician who’s also very serious about helping people like me (substitute the phrase ‘poor slob’ in my case) find all sorts of great audio for all manner of creative productions. His songs and sounds are available in every conceivable shade of tone and feeling to fit any project, the site is the most user-friendly I’ve come across in a long time, and best of all, he only asks for a properly worded attribution for himself in new works, along with an acknowledgement of the Creative Commons license structure. If you’ve ever wondered how you can find genuinely good music for a video or other artistic endeavor, look no further.

There’s plenty more coming, but I’m out of juice for now, so until I get caught up, allow me to leave you with my latest offering in my Krip Kam© series of videos. It’s my first go at using a wheelchair mounted camera for videography, as well as trying new things with my video editing skills. I hope you like Krip Kam Video #2!