2020 05 11 RIP Little Richard
It’s been a good while in pandemic terms since I have posted on my blog. Quite a lot has happened, in my opinion. At least I’ve felt busy. Most notable is I had been practicing, and since taken and passed my FAA Part 107 Drone Certification test. I am awaiting the actual certificate to register my drone, which is below the legal weight limit to require registration. But if and when I add modifications it will be required. Plus I think it would be helpful when applying to waivers, which I will be needing to do in order to fly in a good part of Warner Robins.
I have taken some practice drone shots and am quite happy with the product. I will want to continue to hone my skills to find the best angles for marketing purposes.
I admit I never really listened to a lot of Little Richard’s music other than the biggies Tuti Fruti and Good Goll. I generally haven’t liked or listened to music of that era very much. But after his demise I have done a bit more research and listening to his music, and he was truly great. And I came to find out that Little Ricard was a musical hero to one of my musical heroes Lemmy Killmister. I think my musical tastes have changed a bit since I last listened to Little Richard, and I am listening to some of his deeper cuts and he truly does Rock n’ Roll. RIP and thank you for what you did.
I’ve been doing a bit of practice at home the last few days. I am practicing real estate photo techniques. I am nearing the end of my Mark Twain book “Roughing It.” I have been studying for the Part 107 drone certification exam, and trying to get a seat. And I’ve been taking my walks. Of Course I check the news and Facebook daily. I guess since I am mentioning all the stuff I Do, I should add games. I play my Clash of Clans game everyday. And I play Blizzard’s Hearthstone almost every day. I take a nap almost everyday. And today I have an appointment to donate plasma. I try to donate plasma twice a week, which is the limit.
For the sake of adding some photographs to my photo blog here are a few of the practice real estate shots I have done. This group of practice shots was created using a D5500 with a 12-24mm 114 Nikkor. These are a combination of shots that include flash, ambient and composited shots.
The Covid-19 self isolation is taking a bit of a toll on me at this point. While I am trying to keep myself busy with relatively productive things, not getting out of the house has been a bit maddening. My, mostly, daily walks do get me outside for an hour, and that is indeed nice. I have been enjoying the fresh air. And while I dread the first few steps, I enjoy, for the most part, the walk in general. I do sometimes wish it was over with about 2/3 of the way through my walk, because of aches and pains. My right knee is sometimes stiff and sore. I have had problems with my knees since I was a kid, and I broke a knee cap jumping over a branch while doing exercises at soccer practice. My morbid obesity puts a lot of pressure on my knees. I try jogging once in a while, and wish I could do so more, but I worry about the pressure I put on my knees. And my bad knee is always sore after a little bit of jogging, so I don’t often do it.
I hope the bicycle I ordered actually gets delivered. I had previously ordered a bicycle, and the order system said well it will be delivered in 2 weeks. But after two weeks I got a notification that it was out of stock, so sorry. That was frustrating. This second bicycle I have on order is in a bit of a similar situation. I ordered it about two weeks ago, and it is supposed to be delivered in another week and half. I pray it goes through as it should, and I don’t receive another late response saying they can’t do anything for me. Of course this is just one of the many negative aspects of how this virus has affected the supply of goods. I know my problems are insignificant compared to many people, but this kind of thing is still frustrating. I would love to do some biking during this time of isolation. Despite my obesity, I actually very much like to exercise at times.
The testing centers for the FAA Part 107 drone certification are indeed closed due to the COVID-19 virus and the resulting restrictions. Based on their parent web site the local testing centers may reopen on May 1, which only a couple days from now. I hope it does indeed open, so I can set up my test. I am ready for it now, and don’t really want to restudy in a couple months. Not to mention, I really could use that certificate to add drone services to my business. I realize I’m being selfish, but I suppose that is human nature. The whole fracas about to re-open or not to re-open things is complicated at best. And I see, and sympathize with, both sides of the debate.
I guess I’ll weigh in with a few of my thoughts about opening up or not. So, for history’s sake, at this time the USA, and much of the world, are in full institutional crisis mode. There are restrictions over much of the country. There are debates about states rights vs federal authority. At the moment the states seem to have the ultimate ability to decide what and when business, and other institutions, should be closed down for the safety of civil society. The country is divided, as usual, about the government imposing its mandate on civil society at large. Fully grown adults are acting like children throwing temper tantrums on both sides of the argument. It is a powerful issue at hand with far reaching consequences, and emotions are running high. The media is naturally fanning the flames of division in an attempt to create drama so it can get more eyeballs and charge more for advertising.
At the moment the state I live in, Georgia, is at the center of the public debate. The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, was the first, I think, governor in the USA to lift many of the restrictions being imposed on local businesses. There is a lot of controversy involving his decision. He is being derided in many forums. Conversely, he is being celebrated by some. I think overall most people think his action is premature, and too wide in scope. There are many factors at play, which I will leave to the reader’s imagination, as this is just a simple blog no one will likely ever read anyway. But the die has been cast. At this point the Governor’s will has gone into effect and many Georgia businesses are reopening. They are required to reopen, but they have the option to do so. I’ll state that one of the controversies surrounding the Governor’s decision is that with state lifting mandatory restrictions it will free them from being forced to pay unemployment benefits to people who do not return to work now. I will refrain from posting political opinions. Anyway, there are a great deal of implications when dealing with policies of this scope.
I am fairly moderate in my view of the COVID-19 pandemic response. As I said earlier I see the point and sympathize with both sides to some degree or another. I tend to think that caution should be the rule of the day, but as with all things there should be moderation. And I think for the most part the USA and Georgia have done a good job. I don’t agree with draconian measures, and despite the potesations of many on the right, I don’t believe the response has been draconian. People are still free to travel in most places without being molested by law enforcement. Some cities and communities are more strict than others, but as I understand it they are allowed movement for necessities. Many right wing protesters are being huge babies about this whole thing. But naturally the left wing reactionaries are equally despicable. I guess it comes down to not much liking extremists in general, but again I see how they both benefit society in their own way. Or at least have some effect on society, for better or worse. It is unfortunate though that such terrible people on both side of the arguments of the day get so much clout.
My sister is into crafting and such, and has made some virus protection masks for us, which she sent recently. They are well crafted. She is good at that sort of thing. I took a photo of our Mom modeling one of the masks, which you can see below.
04 26 2020 Sunday Food Etc.
I got my bookmark problem worked out between my iPhone and my iMac. I’m pretty happy about that. There was a problem with the two communicating like they should. The IMac had a bunch of bookmarks, but they would not sync up with the iPhone. I talked to Apple support, and they didn’t have an answer exactly, but we determined it was likely due to the number of bookmarks I had, which was a lot. So I exported all the bookmarks and have them stored in a html file for posterity. Then I deleted a large number of folders and bookmarks. I got it down to the ones I use the most at the current time. And now it syncs. There was a little more to it than that, but I don’t feel like detailing every last little thing I did. That was the distilled essence.
I’ve been studying for the FAA part 107 drone certification test the last several days. I am feeling pretty comfortable with the material at this point. I plan on some more study though. I want to find some free practice tests. I will work on that today.
I just attempted to schedule a test for the Part 107 exam. It is done through a testing/proctoring service called PSI True Talent. There weren’t any readily available seats at the moment. I put in a request for a seat. We will see if it is honored. It could be they are not testing due to the current Covid-19 crisis. I pray that accomodations can be made. There doesn’t need to be much contact, I would think, to take the test, and it should be fairly safe. It would be unfortunate if I had to wait until this crisis is over to get certified. This truly is a complex, complicated and dangerous time in the world
One of the ways I’ve been using my time during the self isolate during the Covid-19 crisis is to experiment a bit with cooking. I have always enjoyed cooking. And I like to think I am pretty good at it. As someone who likes to eat, I know what I like. And I usually like what I cook. So there’s that.
My most recent cooking experiment is making “sun” dried tomatoes. The sun is in parentheses, because the sun played no part in the creation of these tomatoes. They were produced using a food dehydrator. I won’t go into the process. It is easy enough to google how to do this. There are many variations. I am quite happy with the product.
I plan on using this batch as is, and making a new batch to let soak in olive oil with some herbs and spices for a few weeks. Umm, delicious.
For dinner last night I cooked a roast of some sort. It was beef, that is all I know for certain. It had been in the freezer for a while. It was probably about 3-4 lbs. I let it defrost two days in the refrigerator. I neglected to look at the packaging before disposing of it, so I’m not sure what cut it was. It was pretty lean, the thought is it may have been sirloin. I cooked it in the crockpot with some red wine, onions, chopped garlic, and spices. It was pretty dry once done. But I cut it up anto slices, and pulled it apart a little bit. Then put the meat back in the wine juices in the crockpot on warm for a while. Once we ate it it was pretty good in my opinion. I smothered it with the wine sauce, of which there was plenty. I didn’t take pictures of the plating, but I can assure you it was a fine meal.
And here is a picture of one of my cats for good measure.
04 20 2020 The Drone Has Landed
So I got my drone working, yay. But first.
I got a new phone because as you may recall, my old Samsung S8 had a bad battery. And most of the info I read suggested that iPhones worked better with the DJI Fly app. So I decided to get an iPhone. While that was the primary reason for buying an iPhone, I had other reasons. I have been an Apple guy from way back. My first computer was a Power Mac 8500. Oh how far technology has come. And I currently have an iMac. I am not a die hard fan boy though. I’ve had several Windows based computers in the past also. But now I am moving back to the Apple realm. The biggest reason for going back to Apple products is that I can, which is to say I am working on starting my own business and I have the prerogative to use what I like, not what is common in the world at large. And now my phone and my computer work together more or less seamlessly. I’m still working some stuff out, but with iCloud most of the things I do on my phone automatically update to my computer and vice versa. I’m having a problem with Safari bookmarks, but am going to call about it after writing this. But again I digress.
So the new iPhone did in fact work with my drone perfectly the first time I tried to use it. And I was a happy camper. Not to mention I really like my new phone. So naturally I took it out for a test flight. What you see here are the fruits of my initial drone outings.
The drone worked great, once I got it working. It takes off and lands very easily. It holds its position quite nicely. I haven’t looked at the video I took yet. Maybe that will be tomorrow’s project. The battery lasted long enough for me to do what needs to be done. By which I mean, take photos and videos of real estate for my business. There is more than enough time to shoot a home quite nicely and then some. I couldn’t be more excited about this development. And I intend to capitalize on it.
I now need to get my FAA Part 107 commercial drone operators license. I have been studying a bit already. And I am working on studying more now. The test costs $140 to take, so I want to get it right the first time. But you can take it again pretty soon, I think 14 days if memory serves correctly. I’m not sure, but I suspect the testing centers where they proctor the tests are probably closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic response. So it may be awhile before I can take it. Which makes me sad, but is a small price to pay for public health.
04 14 2020
This batch of photos are the last from the AE Harris Rd excursion. They aren’t super exciting I admit. But they have some merit in my opinion. There usually isn’t too much interest in photos of power lines. And I imagine there aren’t too many of them out there, especially not good ones…
Well I imagined incorrectly. There are a ton of good photos of power lines on Google images. I should have known before I opened my mouth. Heh, but I took the time to write it, so it stays. Anyway, to me, these aren’t the most interesting photos of the group. But they have some merit.
I had some fun in post playing with these. I kinda messed them up to give them more character. I’m not sure this can be considered lomo or lomography style, but that was the inspiration for most of these. While not a toy camera, the lens I used here is pretty cheap and not technically that great. It is not bad, just not great. And on these wire shots with the sky as the background some of the imperfections seemed more visible to me, so I used them. It was sprinkling out when I took these, and the spots are water drops.
Actually, the more I look at this group the more I like them. Well that stream of consciousness writing. And my consciousness is forever changing for better or worse.
I tried a new way to post photos on my blog here. Instead of posting them as a set that you click then look through, I posed them each as its own set so they should display larger on the initial page. I haven’t even look to see how it looks before adding this piece of writing. But I know what I anticipate. Whatever it looks like I’m not going to change it. This is done in the interest of experimentation.
I use a third party web site hosting and software template company for my page here. I like it. It has done what I wanted and expected it to do. But there are a lot of variables when it comes to web development, at least it seems so to me. I have no real interest in learning and keeping up with web development, so I am more than happy to let Format do that. So I am not sure what this will look like, but I think it will be cool. If it is I may use this method more often when I only have a few photos to post.
For the diary portion of my blog today I will say that I am about half way through “Roughing It” by Mark Twain. He is incredible, and I will certainly read more of his work. He was a true American treasure. Apart from the general enjoyment of reading his well crafted prose, I learn a good deal of history with every page. He lays out a portrayal of the time in which he lived with alacrity, comprehensibility and a sense of complex simpleness that delights me.
My phone is on its deathbed. The battery is swelling up, and I noticed it was unusually hot last time I charged it. No, I didn’t charge it after I noticed it was swelled up. The heat was noticed before the puffiness. Anyway, it is powered down. I have turned it on once a day to check for messages, then immediately turned it off. It is difficult not having a phone readily available, but I’m sure I’m more equipped to handle this scenario than many. I’m pretty much a hermit anyway, and grew up in a time when cell phones were only on Star Trek. But I have ordered a new phone, but it is going to take a while to get here. I should have it in a couple more days. I hope it works as intended, I bought it on eBay. I’ve had pretty good luck on eBay, so I think it will be fine. It is a fairly big purchase though, probably the most expensive thing I’ve bought on eBay yet. So we will see how well this works out. The item is supposed to be new with an original warranty. Not sure how that works, but eBay also has a warranty and I expect that if the phone is junk I will get made whole somehow. I do look forward to the new phone though. Isn’t a new phone always fun?
It is interesting the timing of my old phone giving up ghost at this particular time. I also got a drone that I was trying to get working. The drone uses the phone as part of the remote control system. I was having problems with the phone connecting to the remote control unit, rendering the drone useless. I was beyond frustrated. And the customer support was closed due to the holiday weekend leaving my high and dry, heh. It was actually while playing with this whole system that I noticed the battery puffing out. I wonder if there is a causation. I did a lot of internet searching and there seems to be some problems with Android phones and the app that controls the drone remote system. I saw several complaints from people who had Android phones complain about various things including the issues similar to the connection problem I was having. I didn’t see anything about causing hardware problems though, that was mostly just a random thought.
Anyway I am taking this time to change to IOS phones, and hope and pray that my drone investment will work with this new phone without having to jump through more hoops with the manufacturer. For what it’s worth there were plenty of Android phone users that had glowing things to say about the drone product. But the vast majority, and it was significant, of complaints came from Android users. So hopefully with Apple’s tight controls on hardware and software compliance the integration between drone and phone will be flawless. So much hope rests on this phone. I pray eBay comes through, as it saves me a good amount of money.
As usual I’m not sure why I wrote all of this. Actually it is because I have a lot of free time with the quarantine. I hope to soon have drone capability to add to my fledgling business. I spent a good part of yesterday studying for the part 107 FAA drone test. I may have to wait a while before the testing centers open up though. I’m not sure. But I want to be able to offer this. And I would like to do so before a serious marketing push. But I am playing it by ear. I’ve said more than enough for now.