Going Bonkers

Well, my WIP is on D3 now and out for the second round of reviews. Normally, this is also when I’d be starting in on the next Pa’adhe tale, but for some reason I just can’t get going on it. I think, but don’t know, it might be in part because things have just been too busy for me to want to focus on writing as well.  That may just be an excuse and not the real reason.

Over the last few days I’ve re-written sections of Keylim, the latest Pa’adhe short story, ninth of that line if you count the unpublished last voyage. Based on feedback, I realized I’d downplayed a scene in a way that it came across as if the Captain didn’t know how to do something. That wasn’t the intent, but that’s how it got read so a re-write was necessary there. I also confirmed something I’d known but wanted to test anyway: don’t invent a new word just because you can. Only do that if by doing so you contribute to the story or the world-building lexicon. I’d modified “sourdough” into “s’dough” but got similar feedback to when I’d tried to use an accent in The Mercenaries. In this case it was too close to the original word and since I wanted it understood I was talking about sourdough pancakes, it was too much of a hiccup in the reading flow. Fixed. Other tweaks had to do with a timing issue (the Captain said something started later than it did) and poor descriptive text. I fixed the timing and pulled out the problematic action, replacing it with what was in hindsight a more natural action.

I’ve also been working on my nephew’s Arduino project. Pretty much all that remains there is to incorporate the mic input. I totally control those GE Color Effects lights now, I can make them do pretty much anything I want except clean the house, do the dishes, and take out the garbage.

Sunday evening twilight was clear so I spent an hour photographing the moon and Orion. Of the 57 photos I took, none of them were any good. I had set out to test some camera settings and see how they interacted, and I got that information. Unfortunately, since I was focusing on keeping everything the same and changing only one variable, I kind of lost track of the actual picture and didn’t have it properly focused. Plus I was shooting with a pretty long exposure time. Still, it was valuable data and I learned what I wanted to from the session, so it wasn’t a bust.

Monday I did a photo shoot of my granddaughter’s student government (she’s on it). Some of the pictures are for PR, others for the yearbook. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. I told my granddaughter to pass on that I’ll be happy to re-shoot any of the individual shots if they don’t like them. That shoot would have been way more fun if the wind hadn’t been blowing. With temps in the high 30s and a steady wind of at least 15 mph  it was COLD in the wind.

At the school I teach in, the daytime teachers apparently complained in the past about how some people were using the system so the school says use a thumb drive and the teacher’s computer for anything we want to display. Since I can’t use my laptop with the school projector for my astrophotography class, I had to use screen capture software to create videos of the three programs I use the most for planning, verifying, and controlling the camera on my astrophotography outings. Being new to the software, I wasn’t sure how to get my audio into the video as I created it. I’m not even sure how well it would be heard in the class, so I gave my spiel as I moved through the three programs. Hopefully, that’ll give me the proper time between events shown to explain things to the class. Assuming I can remember what it was I was saying. If not, well, there’s the pause button.

It’s hilarious, to me, in hindsight, but it wasn’t until I was creating the video of the PK Tether software I use to control my camera from the laptop that I realized with this software I can set up the camera on the tripod, run the cable from the camera into the car, and then sit in the warm car and take my pictures using the laptop. And I’ve used this software numerous times in the field. If you have a Pentax and want/need tethering, a laptop intervalometer, or to store your pictures on the laptop instead of the camera I really recommend this software. I’m able to run PK Tether and also run Stellarium, view the pictures on the laptop, and generally use the laptop in the field all at the same time.

I also went to the junkyard and for a mere $11 I was able to fix both cars. The Tahoe had a busted shock on the tailgate so I replaced both shocks before I realized only one needed replacement. Yep, replaced the good one first. At least this way the two shocks match properly, as they came off the same junkyard vehicle. On the Tracker I replaced the connector in the door that fastens the outside driver door handle to the rod inside the door that works the latch so you can open the door. This time I replaced it with a metal version from a different brand vehicle.  Ironically, I was looking forward to driving my Tracker to work again only…it had started right up Friday but this morning the battery was too lifeless to start the car. I’ll have to remember to put the charger on it as soon as I get home tonight.

Tomorrow’s the final astrophotography class. Then I will start preparing the time lapse class materials. I’m looking forward to that and have to keep reminding myself to just jot down notes but don’t work on that class yet.

Oh, and Sunday on the way to my sister-in-law’s for BBQ ribs I shot a time lapse of the drive. It takes about 15 minutes to go from my daughter’s house to my sister-in law’s house. According to my time lapse, my wife did it in 13 seconds, blasting through all but one stop sign. Heh! Heh!

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