Saturday, March 28, 2009

new blog

I decided to change my email address to something more grown up like my name. While I was at it, I made a new blog, my name. Go check it out. I'm going to update that blog instead of this one from now on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Frustrated!

My car overheated this morning. It sucks but it's my car karma. Last night I blocked in some asshole parked horizontally in three parking spots.

Plus it is inevitable that I get car problems when Dan is away. It happens every single time.

Luckily I have awesome friends here!! Miranda picked me up and dropped me off for class and Courtney offered her husband to translate car-speak for me. Thanks guys!

Car problems are not making me blow my top. It's my biology class. I am so frustrated. I failed my midterm as well as 98% of the class. From an informal survey the top grade was a 74.

If the teacher gave us the material and we blew it on our own, that would be something different but that's not what's going on here. My teacher is not prepared at all. He repeats the same information in classes and then skips whole sections to catch up on his "time-line".

His notes and lectures are barely indicative to the tests. The point value of tests and quizzes do not reflect his syllabus.

Now, I understand this is a college level course and I understand there is a lot of studying that has to happen outside of the classroom. That is not the problem. I see students making flashcards off the notes in lecture.

The problem is inconsistency. We can't learn or study if we don't have all the material.

He even confessed that he does not make the tests. He uses another teacher's test. He doesn't get the test until a few days before. How are we, as a class, supposed to score well if our teacher doesn't even teach the material on the test because he doesn't write it himself or get it until the last minute?!

Friday, March 06, 2009

A Time-Lapse Photography Project AND Tutorial

Last weekend instead of tackling my kitchen I was perusing the web and came across this site about 6 creative approaches to photography. I took a look since I haven't been growing as a photographer. It's pretty interesting. I especially loved the time-lapse photography of the baby playing: how adorable! Then I came across this site where a lady used time lapse photography to capture her cleaning the kitchen. What a terrific idea!

Instead of moping around on the Internet, I jumped up to do the same. I did a similar project when I first got my camera but it was about as boring as watching ice melt, which happened to be my subject :P

Here is my video. After the video will follow a tutorial so you can do the same!

video


This site was greatly helpful to me with putting together my project but I still feel the need to write my own tutorial on how I did it.

1) Figure out your subject matter

Since my husband's been away (Navy) my kitchen has gotten out of control so naturally it was a good subject for me. Pick something where the camera can be stationary and something that changes often but not too frequently so the camera can capture it adequately. Here is a great link for 12 creative examples.

2) Camera Settings

Every camera is different so check your trusty manual. I certainly did! I have a Canon Powershot S3IS (pictured left courtesy of letsgodigital.org)


2a) The Dreaded Math!!!

(I'm not good with numbers so I tried my best and then fudged it and went with that.)
This is where you need to figure out how many pictures you are taking and how long your session will be as well as the "wait time" between exposures. You don't want your camera continually taking photos. Otherwise I'd have 43,200 pictures and my memory card isn't that large!

This site helped a lot with the math but if you'd like more help, here's another one I found.

Total Film Time = 30 minutes (again some fudging)

This means how long will the project take. To clean the kitchen I estimated 30 minutes. (it was pretty messy).

Total (compressed) video time = 30 seconds

The videos here
last anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes. Use discretion here. I didn't think 5 minutes of watching me clean would be captivating so I kept it short to 30 sec to a minute tops. (more fudging)

For film, it's common knowledge that you get about 24fps, which is frames per second. So that means when you are watching a video, TV or a movie you are seeing 24 (very similar images) for every second. Video is many still images stitched together.

Convert total film time to sec.

30 minutes * 60 sec/min = 900 sec

Convert Total Video Time (in sec) to frames

30 sec * 24fps = 720 frames

Film Time/Video Time

900 sec / 720 frames = 1.25 sec wait between each shot.

(Again I fudged my numbers; it's a good thing I don't take care of the finances in my house.)

It turns out my camera can only shoot through intervals of minutes so I would have to capture an image every minute. This is where I gave up on math and just hoped for the best.

My Camera Settings

1) Power on (make sure it is on a manual setting like P, M, Av, Tv etc.. )
2) Menu
3) Scroll all the way down to Intervalometer and hit SET
4) Set Interval time and No. of Shots. (Mine has an interval range of 1 min to 60 min & No. of Shots 2-100
(Hit set to set or cancel to get out of here)

3) The fun part
When you are ready to start, maker sure your subject is ready and take the first shot. The camera will automatically power down. When the next interval approaches; it powers on, focuses and takes the next photo and will repeat until finished.


After some elbow grease, soap and the help of my camera, my project was finished, NOT. I had to put it together. Okay, great. How do I do that?

4) Turning it into a Video
If you have a Mac this step is easy. Use Quicktime Pro or iMovie. But since my pocketbook is empty I do not own a Mac, yet.

I ended up using Windows Movie Maker. It is free but equally frustrating as using Windows. If you deleted if off your computer, no fear, here is a link to download it for free.

Since I use a laptop with no mouse, I had problems manually adjusting the length of each photo. I wanted them to all show for a sec instead of a full minute for each photo. (That would be incredibly boring!)

I deleted my project (which did not delete my photos in a separate folder) and started over.

I found a program called JPGVideo from here. It's freeware which means a kind computer brainiac created this program and released it to the web for free. Be careful though, some freeware is created with malicious intent. Don't download anything untrustworthy; that's how you get a virus on your computer.

This program puts my pictures into a video with the configuration that would please me.

If you use this program these are the steps:
1) Go to Configure
2) JPEG Directory is where the pictures are. Click on the (...) icon. (This is where you tell the program to find the pictures.)
3) Click Output to find/create a folder to store your new video.
4) Configure the settings :
-Sort the files anyway you would like. I sorted mine alphabetically because my camera names the files alpha-numerically.
-For frames per second I did 2 per sec. It doesn't really matter what settings you choose as long as you keep a copy of the originals. Tweak with the settings until it looks like what you want.
5) After you are done configuring click OK. Then Run. It will put the pictures into a video so just wait a moment.
6) Hit close when you are done and the new video will be ready in your selected folder. You can view it with windows media player.

Now open up Windows Move Maker
Import Video
Import Music, import anything you want.
I played around here and made a few title screens and a credit screen. I wanted to give credit to the person that provided the music for free, yes FREE.

This article is a great resource about free sound.

When finished with the tweaks, save it and you are now a proud producer of your first time-lapse photography.

Give it a try and upload it online. Let me know, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A morning startle!

I woke up this morning around 10. Not a big deal. I don't usually have classes until the afternoon. So this morning I was peacefully allowing myself to wake up when I suddenly realized that I have a Biology lab at 8am.

At this point it didn't even matter if I rushed to school because lab would be over at 11. I am super pissed at myself. Lab only meets once a week and usually very important in learning certain features of biology that I can't learn from a book.

I'm beating myself over it. How can I be so forgetful lately? I missed a Dr's appointment and I almost forgot my biology test on Tuesday. Then I realized I didn't have go to Wednesday classes yet. Because TODAY is Wednesday, not Thursday like I had thought.

Let me tell you what, that adrenaline rush is intense. Now I am sure to NOT miss lab tomorrow.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I never did get a cute picture of my haircut back in December so I got another haircut.. haha. Well I got a haircut because all I was doing was putting it in another ponytail. My hair is now too short to fit into a ponytail so now I have to style it which is what I was aiming for. Plus since Dan is away I can play with my hair a bit. It'll grow back by the time I see him again.

I had my week of moping around and now it's time to pick myself back up again. While I was browsing the internet, I came across a video of a lady cleaning her kitchen using time lapse photography. I was officially out of bowls and spoons so I had a project on my hands!

After I gathered the photos I put it together in a video with music and I am going to share it at the next photo meetup. I'll post it next week so I don't spoil it.

I think it's time for a nap :P

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A conglomeration

It's been awhile since I've posted a blog. The first part of the year I was pretty busy with school and working on the school newspaper as well organizing stuff for my club too. Then Dan had leave before he left for Rhode Island so I spent every waking moment with him.

Now he is gone and I am coming back down from my high. I silently sulked for a week but now it's time to start all over again.

Dan said one good thing about him leaving is that I'll blog again. Haha! I'm only blogging because he said that. I don't feel like I have anything interesting to blog about anymore. I'm spending my words on the school newspaper so at the end of the day I don't have anything to share online, which is a good thing I suppose.

I'm still around and I still read your blogs and such. I've been twittering more since Dan is using it. He found Dane Cook's twitter so I am now following Dane Cook. He plays Call of Duty! I love him! He's a sexy dork!

In other news since Dan is gone, I cut my hair. He hates short hair and since mine grows like a beast I went ahead and got it chopped off. I feel ambivalent towards it. It'll take me a few days to get used to it i suppose.

In Dan news, he has a major migraine from lack of caffeine. Poor guy. Those are KILLER! I guess I better head to class now. The teacher is always late though and holds us up till the last minute. Bad form. Haha. See ya later!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red squiggly lines are not allowed!

The start of the new year jump started my schedule and I've been busy every since.

As President of Roots and Shoots I've been busy organizing several events and making sure communication is happening and all that jazz. In between classes I have also been wearing the hat of Co-Editor for the school newspaper. I only have one semester here but I want to leave behind a good foundation for the next person so it won't be like starting from scratch. It's fun to have people email me their stories and checking up on various assignments. I love being a college student and I love being a college student at Trident Tech.

This evening I am working on writing a submission for an award letter when Microsoft Word decides to start acting funny, you know, in that funny foreign way. Word 2007 started marking red squiggly lines.

Red squiggly lines are not allowed! So I get to work: I hit IGNORE repeatedly but it changes nothing. What's worse is that the suggested words aren't even English words anymore.

I already figure out the culprit. Since they are all French words I figure they came from Mrs. Newman's computer who happens to be a French Teacher as well as my advisor. The document she sent me must have been encoded in French which is fine, I am a smart girl, I can figure this out.

About an hour into this problem after audible grunts and groans, a dying laptop battery, and furrowed brows that will no doubt give me deep wrinkles, my husband ever so patiently and lovingly asks "Is everything okay?"

Although he is a computer genius, I am not a computer moron in comparison. So feeling only slightly annoyed, a sharp disdain of "no" leaks from the corner of my mouth with my eyes transfixed to the computer screen.

To prove I am not a computer moron I perform the same function that Microsoft Help informed me 45 minutes previously in front of his eyes only to befallen all the squiggly lines disappear.

Completely acute to my womenly "charms", my husband slowly shrinks away from my line of view and dares not to say a word instead only offering a warm compassionate smile to my angry grief striken face.

Puff with rage at the irony I turn to look at Dan and instantly melt into a giggle. I have to laugh at the situation. The Universe (or God) sure has a funny sense of humor and methods of humbling me.

Why is it only after I try to prove the fail that I fix the problem? Why is it that Dan only needs to glance at the screen and it instantly fixes the problem? I told you he was a computer genius. No you may have him. Get your own computer genius. Sometimes he works for free food and ice cream.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Suffering from "Insomnia"

Only tonight though, it hasn't been a problem lately. I will mark it up to medication, shifting to a new sleep cycle and nerves. Good nerves though, not bad ones.

The nerves are due to being excited and nervous about moving. I know what needs to get done, it just now needs to get done. April is going to be a fun month for me.

We scheduled the movers to come the 2nd week of April because I have finals the last week of April. Then I want to fly to see Dan graduate then I have to come back and take finals. Then Dan has to report to Penn State May 2nd but my last exam is May 4th. I'll sleep on the floor for a bit and have to drive up myself unless we want to pay for Dan to fly back here but that would be a ridiculous waste of money.

Good news is that Dan does not have to work overnights again for at least another FOUR years! Woohoo!!

Tomorrow I start classes again which Dan is grateful for. Although he appreciates the extra cleaning I've been doing around the house, I'm sure he'll be glad to not have to fight me for the video games now. Speaking of; I think I'll play a few rounds until I get sleepy eyes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In-Laws

There is no more terrifying word that stops spouses in their tracks than "in-laws" other than "in-laws" with "visiting" in the same sentence.

Luckily for me, I love my in-laws. Although Dan and I are our own family, his parents and his brother are an extension of us. I feel absolutely at home and at ease with them.

For Christmas this year Dan and I spent a week with his family and it ranks as one of my favorite Christmas. There was relatively small drama but overall it was comforting and relaxing. It seemed we were busy going and going but I managed several naps somehow.

For gifts I scored a iPod nano and Bare Minerals makeup. They were the only two things I asked for and I got them! Dan's mom got me a few winter accessories for next year. I also scored a few backpacks that were on sale from Kmart. One of the best surprise present was a book light. Dan bought it on a whim but I had wanted one for ever.

The drive back to South Carolina was excruciating! It was the Sunday after Christmas so we were prepared but experiencing it was still tough. Several times we stopped on I95 for about 10 miles because the cars needed to rubberneck. If cars are pulled over to the side of the road, there is NO NEED TO SLOW DOWN. Please KEEP DRIVING.

After an eternity we made it home safely. The luggage is unpacked and groceries purchased. All I have left to do is vacuuming and some space clearing. We have friends staying with us after the first of the year so I'm making room for them.

After that I still have 2 weeks until I go back to school!! In the meantime I will clear out the "office" and get our stuff in order before we move so we can know what goes in storage and what comes with us when we move. We will probably move into a two bedroom apartment so we have to condense A LOT. It's amazing the amount of crap we've accrued since moving here.

We are super excited about moving! It's been four years of living in Charleston so are definitely ready for a new location. We will miss our wonderful friends we've made here but with Myspace and Facebook it'll be easy to keep in touch. The bonus is that we'll be closer to family :D

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Slushy Weather

It's currently 21 degrees in PA. It's not too bad but then again I have socks on and am cozy on the couch with a warm laptop in my lap. The kitty came with us and Dan found him asleep on our futon under the covers. 


The sodas are kept in the garage to save refrigerator space. Dan just came back with a Mountain Slush instead of Mountain Dew. Hehehe. 

Other than keeping cozy I have nothing on the agenda for today. We're going to take a family portrait later so I should probably try to look decent for that. After dinner Dan and I are meeting a friend. It's so hard to see everyone when we get in town but we are trying.