Green Screen

green screen

I bought some fabric today and made a green screen. Payton and I did a test video and it worked really well, even without any lighting. The kids have been making nonstop videos the past week. Mostly puppets and stuff. But we got on the subject of green screens and I told them how easy it is to do, one thing leads to another, and I’m buying fabric. It’s a lot cooler than the green screen out of posterboard that Herman and I made a few years ago. Who knows what we’ll do with this though.

Here’s our test video with the green screen. It’s very spotty since the lighting in the garage is dim:

And here’s my favorite video of theirs so far (not green screened):

Spring Break 2008

It’s been a fun week. The kids and I drove to Idaho for most of the week, Spokane for most of a day, and then Seattle for two days. Today we did touristy Seattle stuff. Visited the Space Needle, the science fiction museum, and a bunch of shops along the pier. I’ve seen RijilV every day I’ve been here and will see him tomorrow too. I haven’t seen him since he left Alton 4 years ago.

We brought our cat with us for all of this. He did great in the car and with the other animals. The kids have probably spent a total of about 5 or 6 hours in the hotel pool since we’ve been here. And we’ll probably hang out there for another 3 tomorrow before we start driving back to Oregon. It’s been a fun trip and I’m glad I finally got to take the kids to Seattle like I’ve been meaning to do for the past 2 years that I’ve lived in the Northwest. Next on the list…San Francisco.

Here’s a few pictures of this week.

1000 Tiny Things I Hate

My latest favorite blog is 1000 Tiny Things I Hate. Each post is some bizarre pet peeve of the author’s, hilariously written. He’s currently up to #84 (Trying to take a photo when your camera is set to video mode) and I plan to read backwards until I reach #1. I’m about halfway there and none of them have been too disappointing yet. He’s an awesome complainer!

This weekend was filled mostly with Geocaching and bike riding. Gotta love free entertainment. I bet we rode about 5 miles. (More for the kids, since they’ve been riding by themselves every day.) Most of it was riding to Geocaches. We found one in the woods by the park and then one right next to our apartments. We also biked to the college to try and find a couple near there.

This is my first time Geocaching with my Blackberry. When I first switched to a Blackberry for my cell phone, I purchased a program called Spot. I paid $50 for it and it’s never worked right. I exchanged a few emails with them, hoping to get it going, but no luck. I thought it would be the perfect program for Geocaching since I’d gotten rid of my PDA. This weekend I learned that GPS coordinates could be entered into the Google Maps application for the Blackberry. So screw Spot, I’m just going to use Google Maps for free. It worked out great for us this weekend.


Spam has gotten a little crazy on my homepage lately. None of you see it because I moderate all comments. But it got annoying enough that I set up the word verification plugin so autospammers wouldn’t be able to post things anymore. Problem solved, right? Nope. I’m still getting just as much of it. It’s weird, because I’m using the same plugin on and I hardly get any spam there. So why are they able to bypass the verification here? Guess I should change the word and see if that helps.

I read something last week that said spam robots are now able to recognize captcha images. I thought they were referring to random letters in crazy, jumbled fonts with lines running through them. Maybe they can recognize pictures of trees too, though.

I’ve been working on website things again lately. Miscellaneous stuff on, such as this Captures page. It’s got a few good old-school PLA things in it. I’ve had a directory full of captured stuff since the very early 90’s and I’ve always wanted to throw some of it up online. I’ll have to make one on this site that is more me-specific. I’ve also been converting old pre-Wordpress entries from this site to WordPress posts. This has caused me to accidentally post really old entries to the main page a few times. Sorry for any confusion.

Payton finally knows how to ride a bike on his own! He’s still a little wobbly, but he’s doing 100% of it on his own now. I ran up and down the street with him a couple times today but he barely even needed me to. Some neighbor kid showed him how to get started. So that’s great! We can all take rides together now, once it gets warmer.

Sold a couple monitors on Craigslist today. The guy was a Geocacher, so he hung out and talked about geocaching and GPS stuff for awhile. He’s the 3rd Geocacher I’ve met since I’ve lived in Oregon. I guess Geocaching is just more popular here than it was in Illinois.

Superbowl Sunday is tomorrow!!@##@$#$@

Just kidding, I don’t give a shit about the Superbowl. In my 35 years, I’ve never watched it. Last year I was at the gym on Superbowl Sunday. I was in the room by myself and a lady came in, looked at me, and asked me if I wanted her to switch the T.V. to the Superbowl. I had to turn off my Ipod and ask her to repeat herself.

“No, I don’t watch that shit,” I said. Yeah, I cursed. I could tell that she wouldn’t be used to hearing the Superbowl referred to as “shit.”

“What?? Why not??” She asks me, not believing what she’s hearing. She was in shock. We exchanged a few more words. I think I told her I wasn’t very good at being a man, or something like that. She finally went away and I went back to listening to my podcasts. I bet she told all her friends and family about the guy she met who didn’t want to watch the Superbowl.

This week I got a dresser on Craigslist to put in my closet. I’ve been needing one for a long time now and I’m glad to finally have one. $25, 5 drawers, and all my clothes fit into it. Also a week or two ago I found a dining room table at Salvation Army. A really nice one too. I’ve officially got all the furniture I could possibly need now.

Payton rules. He’s been reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for months now and he finally finished it this week. 652 pages. I wasn’t reading books at all when I was in 3rd grade. I discovered reading in 4th grade and stuck to tiny Judy Blume-like books until Jr. High when I switched to Stephen King. He’s been reading Judy Blume this year too (all the Fudge books), but I never thought he would actually finish a Harry Potter book when he brought it home. I’m surprised and proud. He said he would read the 7th Harry Potter book if I bought it, so I found a used copy of it on Amazon and it should be here next week. It’s 784 pages. That just seems like a lot for an 8-year-old.

A couple days before he finished it, I told him I would take him out to eat at a place of his choice once he finished the book, to celebrate his first large book. He picked Pizza King, so we went there this evening. Between food and games, that place is crazy expensive. We had fun though. I blew tons of money on the crane machine and won a couple things.

I finally finished reading every single entry on Violent Acres. Her latest entry is #328 and they’re usually pretty long entries. For me to read all 328 of her posts, you know it’s gotta be great stuff. So everyone should go take a look at her site. Wow, 328 entries. Probably 2 or 3 pages per entry. I bet her collection of stories is about the same size as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Cute tiny dogs

You know what I’m seeing a lot of these days? Cute girls walking around in stores carrying teeny dogs in their arms or in carriers. Like they’re all inspired by Paris Hilton to get tiny dogs and take them everywhere. I saw one in Home Depot today and one in Target a week or two ago and at the post office numerous times. Are non-service animals even allowed in places like this? Why don’t the rules apply to these girls? I want to trip them.

Worked with Payton on riding his bike today. He doesn’t know how to ride yet, but he’s inspired by the awesome bike he got for Christmas. He’s getting really good at it now. A couple more days and he’ll be on his own. But since it rains just about every day here, a couple days will probably take a few more weeks. I got quite a workout, running next to his bike for 30 minutes.

Pumpkins, Cat, Podcasts

Last week I bought a new cell phone. It’s a Blackberry 8830 and it rocks. It’s got the best web browsing capabilities of any cell phone I’ve ever owned, it tethers internet to my laptop and it easily syncs all of my Outlook data to it. Plus it does really cool things with Google Maps and GPS. There’s even a geocaching program I can buy for it. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have a camera. I was able to sell my old LG phone for more than half of the cost of this phone. And since this phone is a replacement for my Pocket PC, I’m selling that too. In the end, I’ll be making almost $100 from buying this new phone.

Listened to a couple episodes of a podcast tonight called Public Nuisance Radio which isn’t the best show ever, but it introduced me to a new song I like. It’s by a band called The Vandals and the song is called My Girlfriend’s Dead. It’s in their playlist so go listen to it. It seems like all my favorite podcasts have really slowed down or quit lately. I need to find some new ones to listen to. At least the first one I tried gave me some new music, even if I’m not crazy about the show.

Yesterday the kids and I bought a couple pumpkins and they carved them. The one on the left is Emily’s and the one on the right is Payton’s. I was surprised to hear that they’d never done this before. I don’t know why I never got them pumpkins before, I guess I just never thought of it. I think it’s been more than 10 years since I carved one. In fact, I think the last time was when Sylvia and I stole a giant one from a pumpkin stand, not realizing that carrying it 2 miles to my parents house on foot would be really hard. Part of the time we made a sling out of our jackets and carried it between us.

My cat climbs on everything. He climbed up the side of one of my shirts to get to the top of my closet in that picture. It’s annoying. I’m really torn on the issue of declawing him. But I’m starting to think it’ll have to be done soon. I thought that I wouldn’t care before since I don’t ever intend to own any nice furniture that he would scratch up. But I can’t have him destroying my shirts.

I throw him out of my office 3 or 4 times a day and shut the door to keep him out. He loves to go behind my desk and chew on wires. He’s also chewed on the plants a little and once spilled a little dirt on my laptop. It’d sure suck to have the whole plant come crashing down on the laptop keyboard. So I have to lock him out of my room when I leave. This evening he was playing behind the desk and stepped on the main power supply to everything, shutting off my desktop. Not that I was using it, but I wanted to kill him. Tonight I put my large collection of Priority Mail boxes to good use and fenced him out of the area with the wires:

The boxes were the perfect height, and I was able to use the sticky strip on the top of them to stick them to the desk so they don’t fall over. We’ll see how long this lasts. Right now he’s laying on my lap, purring. Normally I would have thrown him out of the room by now so this is looking good.

I guess his name is Charcoal since that’s what the kids are insisting on.

Right now I’m listening to Episode 7 of Haxor Radio. It’s probably one of the most informative shows I’ve ever heard, covering radio shack policies and a bunch of cell phone stuff that’s interesting to me. Plus they hax0r MY Radio Shack account info. Go listen to their shows.


Saturday the kids and I stayed inside all day playing Xbox 360. Sunday we drove to Frys, then decided to go to Portland after that. Spent the day in Portland, wandering around downtown and visited the Saturday Market a few times. Went to the downtown mall and ended up in the Apple Store for awhile. After playing around with the new Ipod Nanos and the Ipod Touch, I noticed about a dozen Iphones on display. They all had service on them so I used each one to call my own cell phone so I would have their numbers. When I got home, I added the phone numbers to this thread:

This evening I was sitting at the laundry mat, reading the paper, when my phone rings. It’s a 503 area code. Apparently someone managed to find my cell phone number in the Iphone and called me. So I answer and talk to some guy. The conversation goes a little like this:

ME: Iphone support, this is Steve Jobs. Can I help you?
HIM: Yeah, uh, how do I do internet on this thing?
ME: Hit the F7 key.
HIM: Oh… Okay… Do I have to use Itunes to activate the Iphone?
ME: No, Itunes is built in so you don’t need a computer at all. One of our salespeople can activate it in the store. And the phones are $149.99 off today!
HIM: Really? Wow. Do I have to use AT&T for service?
ME: No, we’re compatible with all carriers now. Even Boost Mobile and Cricket and Sprint PCS. In fact, AT&T canceled their contract with us so they’re the only ones we don’t work with now.

It goes on and on like that. He had a zillion questions for me. He was wanting to know all about how they worked in Europe and stuff. He asked where I was and I told him I’m in San Francisco. I told him that I was the inventor of the Iphone. He didn’t seem to recognize the name Steve Jobs. This makes me want to go back there and put my phone number into the speed dial of every display Iphone.

Xbox 360

Got back in town last night around 1am. I’m not crazy about driving at night, but the drive was good. Lots of tumbleweed flying around in front of me, making me even more paranoid of deer. Listened to lots of Skeptoid and Blackalicious again. Also listened to about 30 minutes of a church sermon while flipping through stations. Those are hilarious.

Had an Xbox 360 waiting for me in the mail. I bought it broken from Ebay a couple weeks ago. Turns out the only thing broken on it was the power supply. Other than that it works perfectly! Score! It cost about $100, which is right around what I expect to get for our old Xbox. So free Xbox 360! Aside from having to buy a couple controllers, that is. The broken one didn’t come with a controller. Some guy won our old Xbox on Ebay a couple weeks ago but never paid for it. He did the same thing to 5 other people who were selling Xboxes. What a jerk. His rating is now -3. I haven’t rated him yet. I should give him a positive rating, just for the hell of it.

Tonight we got pizza from Little Caesar’s and went to Blockbuster to rent some Xbox 360 games. Emily got Kameo, Payton Bioshock, and I got Rayman. Holy crap, Rayman is funny. We’ve been passing the controller around, taking turns playing rounds. I’m not really into gaming myself, but I wanted the 360 because the kids love the Halo games so much and the new Halo comes out this month. But Rayman is great. This is the first I’ve ever seen it, aside from that bizarre clip on Altalp’s avatar on the PLA Forums. I think our entire weekend is going to consist of playing with the Xbox 360.

Renting games is expensive! $6.99 each? Damn! I’ve been looking on Ebay and it seems that I can buy the games for not much more than that. We get them for a whole week, but it’s still pricey. I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore renting. Speaking of video stores – we went to Blockbuster because the one we usually go to went out of business. It’s the one that I used to wander around in while Little Caesar’s was cooking my pizzas, snapping pictures of all the new releases that I intended to download once I got home. I think it’s been about a year since I’ve rented from anywhere. I think I should feel guilty about them going out of business since I quit renting in favor of downloading.

Gaming aside, the 360 is about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s media capabilities are really impressive. I bought 3 months of Xbox Live from Blockbuster and it appears we can download movies and TV shows from the net. Plus wallpapers, themes, and all that junk. Plus it can stream all the media from my other computers on the network. I’m not sure if this includes Divx video, but that’ll sure be a bonus if it does. So far only one directory of my photo album is showing up on the 360, but I think it’s slowly adding the rest. It’ll be cool once it’s all done. I had no idea the Xbox 360 was this cool! I HEART MICROSOFT! (If anyone wants to school me on cool things the Xbox 360 can do, feel free to in the comments!)

A few days ago I found my new favorite blog. It’s called Behind The Counter and it’s about a guy that works at the Wal-Mart return desk and all the craziness he has to deal with from people. He’s got some great stories and his writing style is hilarious. So far I’ve read almost all of his 2007 entries. They go all the way back to 2003 and I plan to read all of them. So everyone should read that. (I know I posted this previously, but that was in a private entry and I want more people to discover the awesomeness that this blog provides.)

Car, water, open house

The window for my car was FINALLY put in today. It was supposed to be done on Monday but it didn’t arrive. Same thing on Tuesday. Wednesday it was finally there so I sat in the waiting room for an hour before the guy discovered that the wrong window came in. Argh! Today it’s done, though. And it was fairly cheap so I can’t complain too much. It was just a pain in the ass trying to make left turns with the passenger window all saran wrapped.

I think I found a good stereo to put in the dash today. It’s a factory stereo from a 1999 Ford Explorer and it seems to fit in the dash okay. It was only $7.00 at Goodwill. Problem is that nobody sells the wire connectors I need to wire it into my dash. Couldn’t find anything on Google or Ebay. Maybe I could try a junkyard. I’m determined to have a crappy and/or factory stereo from now on so there won’t be as much of a reason to bash in my car window. Wish I could just drive to Illinois and get my original factory stereo out of storage.

Today I noticed a big red scratch on the back side of my car. The kind of scratch you get when a driver scrapes against your car because they don’t know how to pull out of a parking space. And I really don’t care but ARGH! Cars are just more trouble than they’re worth.

I lost 5 pounds this month on the Get Off Your Fat Lazy Ass Diet. I bought a scale about a month ago and noticed that I’m just a few marks below Big Fasto – about 40 pounds overweight. So I’m tracking daily calories and I’m jogging and/or walking about an hour a night. I couldn’t run more than a block at first. Now I can do 5 or 6 easily.

And I’ve never paid attention to calories before. I signed up for a website that tracks them all for you, along with tracking exercise and water consumption. I never realized how many calories soda had in it. I’m down to about a Pepsi a week instead of my usual 1 Pepsi a day. I’m trying to completely quit Pepsi but every once in awhile I feel like I’ll die if I don’t get a Pepsi. I’m drinking no less than 60 ounces of water per day. Apparently water is good for you. The way they talk about it, I can’t believe I’m not dead yet. I rarely ever drank water.

Tonight was open house at the kids school. It was boring and pointless. I registered for college a week or so ago. Had orientation on Monday and went and bought my books today. I’m taking just English 3 days a week and class starts this Monday. I’m hoping to move up to 2 classes a week next semester. I’ve been putting off this college thing for the past 15 years or so.

Oh, and Jammie and I broke up.

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