Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cameraphone Zen


Monday, September 17, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

The end of summer

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Various Thoughts

After the scare with Inkwell the other day, we decided to finally get him chipped. It was a mostly painless process. I had to take him in for his vaccinations and asked the vet about chipping. I learned it was only about $35 and the vet would be happy to do it, but maybe we should get Inkwell a little drowsy/painkilled first. So he gave me a medication to give to Inkwell the night before and the morning of the chipping. The night before, Inkwell realized there was something in his food and didn't want to finish it. I had to bribe him a little with treats that I let him smell, the put into the wet food. That night he was drowsy. He tried to "tuck me in" but kept falling asleep while he massaged me (he sits on my chest, usually right after I go to bed, and purrs loudly while massaging me). Eventually he gave up and wandered off.

The next morning, Inkwell was having NONE of it. He sniffed the food, then moved away and sat there glaring - at me, at the wall, at anything except the food. Eventually I got him to eat it, as it was food and Inkwell is part piggy when it comes to food. By the time of his appointment, he was drowsy and feeling no pain. I picked him up to put him in his carrier and he sort of melted in my hands. It wasn't his usual defiance, more of a 'I can't be bothered' feel. Once in the carrier, he huddled in the back and made only one weak protesting meow on the way to the vet. I decided against going in to see the chipping, because they had described "a large needle" and I had enough trouble watching him get his vaccinations. He came out looking fine, and the vet said he was perfectly behaved. No problems. He barely even bled.

He's recovered now, but for a very short time it was disturbing to see him so limp and sleepy. At least he's chipped so hopefully if he manages to get outside again he'll be quickly found and returned.


In other news, the security camera is working very well, but does have a few little quirks. The alarm checks for differences in light between seconds in the areas set to be watched, and that's enough that an insect flying right in front of the lens will set it off, as will a car driving by late at night with brights on, or, as I learned today, a quick change from sunny to cloudy. As the alarms aren't too frequent to stand, it's still a good cam and a fun toy as well as a nice little investment for security.


I'm just going to quote myself from Facebook: September 13 at 12:11 PM

Oh dear.

I'd heard of this, but I finally saw it in action myself for the first time. Pokemon Go nerdism coming up.

So in the game, you visit Pokestops. The locations of the Pokestops are usually historic markers, city buildings, churches... that sort of thing. Now, I know a lot about this city, so when I saw a Pokestop that said "Historic Windmill" I was confused. As far as I knew, there was no such thing.

After a pain-shortened walk this morning (only a half mile) I decided to hunt down this mysterious Pokestop. I had memorized the location on the map, so I headed out there and drove down the street. I parked, and opened the game, and there's the Pokestop. But I don't see any windmill.

I kind of sighed and took one last look, then drove a ways down the road to turn around. When I got turned around, I finally saw it.

It was a tiny windmill in somebody's yard.

Yes, it matched the photo on the Pokestop - which was clearly taken from below to make the windmill look bigger.

I spent the next few minutes laughing my guts out, then headed home. I don't plan on reporting it, since whoever managed to get it through their system did a good job with it. Nor do I plan to go out there again, since it's out of the way (which is probably why they did it).

I did make me wonder, though - If Eric and I were to build a TARDIS and put it in our yard, could we eventually get a Pokestop if we made it public enough? And would we *want* to do that?


DC Universe went live, and to my dismay the app won't run on my old iPad Mini. First world problems, of course. Eventually I should be able to get a new iPad. But in the meantime, if I want to watch DC Universe, I can't do it while playing DCUO easily.

I checked out some of the comics on DC Universe and was sad to see that, although they have some early More Fun Comics, the books are incomplete. I don't recall seeing any Aquaman stories in anything but More Fun #73, and it was the recolored version, not the original.

Still, the amount of video content they've got is very impressive, and I'm sure I'll get my money's worth out of it.


Speaking of More Fun Comics, I recorded an episode of the Fire and Water Podcast with Rob Kelly today. We talked about several issues of More Fun Comics, along with another Golden Age book. It should be released in about a week, so go check it out.


Lastly, I've been keeping up with my walking, as you can probably see from my Cameraphone Zen posts. Each post means at least a half mile walked that day. One day I got a half mile in, then later that night decided to walk around the neighborhood catching Pokemon. My Facebook post: "Long evening walk, catching Pokemon. I got 39 Pokemon, walked 1.4 km, and am sweating like nobody's business. And I feel great."

I've done the neighborhood walk a couple of times when I felt like I didn't get enough of a walk in downtown. If there were any Pokestops within a half mile of walk of my house, I would have started with those and worked up to walking downtown. I suppose it's just as well.

I can report that I now have visited all the gyms and almost all the Pokestops in this town. I also have at least a bronze badge at all the gyms (which just means I put Pokemon in them, or battled a raid in them, or something like that). I also have a gym badge from another nearby town, since we went there for cheap gasoline and groceries the other day.

I will be headed to Walla Walla on Wednesday for Adam West Day and pulled up the Pokestop map. I'm delighted to see that a museum I wanted to visit last year, but was closed on Adam West Day, will be open this year AND it has a gym. Yay, at least one new badge! The plaza where the opening ceremonies will take place also has a gym, so as long as we get there in good time, I'll have a little Pokemon hunting to do along with the Adam Westivities.


So, that's been my week. I hope yours has gone as well or better.

Cameraphone Zen


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Cameraphone Zen


Friday, September 14, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Manhole cover near the Trinity Church

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Bonnie Dunbar bronze statue detail

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

A flower fair

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Hand Rail

Monday, September 10, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Crow sentry on a church cross

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

The Sunnyside Museum

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Security Cam Fun

I overdid it yesterday, Friday, by running around and doing too much, including some work in the heat that caused me to quickly run out of energy. I woke up this morning with a massive case of fibro, which fortunately eased rapidly into sheer exhaustion. So I didn't go on a walk today, which means I didn't get a Cameraphone Zen.

But that's ok, because I've got photos of/from my new security camera!

I was hoping to get it set up by Halloween so I could record the massive crowds we get. Well, I have it set up already! It's running and recording as I write.

I bought a SV3C HD 960P WiFi Wireless Security Camera, based on the reviews and the very low cost at Amazon. The camera arrived Thursday (as I mentioned when I wrote about Inkwell sauntering out the front door).

Set up wasn't exactly simple. It's definitely a do-it-yourself kind of camera that requires a bit of tech skill in a couple of areas to get it to work.

The first issue: It won't record or send images to FTP without a micro-SD card installed, but installing the card takes much more effort than is reasonable for a product meant for consumers. You have to take off the cowling (one tiny screw), remove the lens cover, remove a protective film, remove the entire camera from its housing (four tiny screws) and then you can reach the slot. And while the video on the manufacturer's website showing how to do this is ok, it doesn't show how to get those tiny screws BACK IN. I ended up using tweezers and some profanity as I failed multiple times. It took maybe three minutes to get the thing apart, but about ten to get it back together.

The second issue was more about networks. I didn't realize my router was using the 5 Ghz channel - and this camera doesn't work on that channel. So I had to figure out how to shut that off in my router, which was annoying. But hey, it worked. Eventually.

Setting up each of the features of the camera took some time as well. However, I thrive on that sort of problem and really enjoyed myself a bunch with the software aspects.

No, the biggest problem was punching a hole in our garage wall big enough to fit the power cord through. I had to go buy the drill bit, because we didn't have one quite big enough. Then I figured out I have serious difficulty holding my hands above my head to drill a hole while standing on a stepping stool in 90F weather. Fortunately, Eric helped me out, and by Friday evening I had the hole drilled and the camera itself mounted. Huzzah!

The hole is drilled, and the wire fits through!

The camera is safely in place! Huzzah!

Annoyingly, after mounting the camera, there are still some extra wires sticking out of the camera that need to be hidden. Especially since one of them is the reset button and another is obviously the power cord. So I needed to get a junction box to hide the wires in. However, all the junction boxes I found didn't have openings big enough for the ethernet connector to go through. Lucky for me, I found a little box that was just big enough.

That looks a little better.

With the wires all connected and the camera running, I had some fun setting the alarm sensitivity so I didn't get constant alerts from insects flying in front of the camera all night. I got a lot of alerts the first night, including a few that were apparently due to a lightning storm that passed through town. I also caught some interesting video of what appears to be a bat hunting down insects on our porch.

I'm pretty sure it's a bat.

The camera has excellent video, both during the day and at night. Here's a couple of screen shots to show you what I mean:

Day view from the security camera.

Night view from the security camera.

My current plan for Hallowe'en is to turn off the alarms and set up a website which will show snapshots of the walkway during the evening. I haven't yet decided if I want to make the URL public or something just among Facebook friends... I'll also save any good videos from the night to put on Facebook in the morning. It should be amusing at least, to see crowds of people on the walk up to the door.

Hopefully I'll be back to walking again tomorrow. I've got Pokemon to catch.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Flowers at Centennial Square

Thursday, September 06, 2018


Inkwell scared the snot out of me today.

As you know, Inkwell is an indoor cat. He gets very nervous at noises from cars and such, and when I've had him out on a leash for a short time, he's had the inclination to panic and run. Whenever anyone knocks on the door, he growls and runs upstairs.

Anyway, today we got a LOT of packages. One of them was my new security camera which I'm planning to install right outside the front door, looking down our walkway.

It isn't the easiest camera to set up... I had to unscrew bits just to put the micro-SD card in, but after several tries and a couple of frustrated growls, I managed to get the SD card into the camera and get the camera connected to our network.

With the camera in one hand and my phone in the other, I opened the front door and started to work on figuring out where I would need to position the camera to get the best view of the walk up to our door. I noticed something move out of the corner of my eye...

...Inkwell was happily walking across the yard, headed for the plum tree.

I panicked. I almost dropped both the camera and the phone, stopping myself at the last second to just set them down before going after my wayward cat. I was too scared to yell at him - I was afraid he'd take off running.

I managed to snag him before he got far and put him back in the house. THEN I yelled at him while I picked up my camera and phone and closed the door. He looked up at me and started grooming himself.

Clearly I need to think through how I'm going to figure out the positioning of the camera a little more thoroughly. Maybe Inkwell will get some undeserved locked-in-the-bathroom time.

In any case, I need to remember that Inkwell has a vet appointment tomorrow for his annual shots. I think I'll also have a little discussion about chipping him then.

Cameraphone Zen

Bronze statue of Bonnie Dunbar, local girl and astronaut

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Pokemon Go and Cameraphone Zen

You may have noticed that I've been posting images in the last week that I simply label "Cameraphone Zen". The original concept of my Cameraphone Zen is just a slightly interesting image that I saw while out walking or being out in the world that I caught with my phone. My first phone didn't have a camera, so having a camera and being able to take photos with my phone was cool. As a result, most of my Cameraphone Zen in the past has involved me being out for exercise - a nice walk or something.

This past week I started playing Pokemon Go with my new phone, which I got on August 28th. There was a slight kerfuffle figuring out that GSM coverage really sucks in this area, so I switched to a CDMA card that Ting thoughtfully sent with the phone and the GSM card and I have excellent coverage now. Ahem. Anyway, I'm playing Pokemon Go and walking at least a half mile almost every day because the obsession with the game is nicely motivating.

The phone on the left is my new Moto G6, on the right is my faithful old LG.

The Cameraphone Zen photos I have posted so far this year each represent about a half-mile walk. I am proud of getting out and walking, since I was despairing of ever getting the motivation to go out again. I don't know yet if I'll be able to lose weight with Pokemon Go, but I needed something to get me out and walking, and this game has definitely worked that way. It's not even that I "gotta catch 'em all", it's that I'm having fun cursing the ones that get away and visiting the various Pokestops around town, most of which are at statues or memorials or churches.

So, my new phone is basically my new personal trainer, insisting I get more Pokemon and Pokeballs and stuff. It's kind of crazy if you think of it that way, but hey, whatever works to get me moving!

In addition to Pokemon, I'm also getting LOTS of photos of Inkwell, who cannot avoid me having a camera I'm happy to use (the LG's camera was difficult to use). I have been posting them to Facebook, but at some point I'll make a nice compilation post of Inkwell for folks to enjoy here, as well.

Cameraphone Zen

Construction at the memorial

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Detail from Morning Chores, a bronze sculpture in Sunnyside

Monday, September 03, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

US Post Office, Sunnyside, the problem with flying the flag at half mast

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Sunnyside City Hall (flag at half mast)