Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bigger Picture

Still not 100% happy with it, but I'll figure it out.  It's still overexposed just a tiny bit (the lights on some of the letters, for instance).

A Rant, Squee, and a Review

Okay, first things first.

The rant.

It's Autopia.

As in "auto" and "utopia."

It is not auto-topia.

It is au-to-pi-a.

Four syllables.

Anything else is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

Now, second.  The squee.

Nighttime photography is still very difficult for me.  For one thing, I'm too lazy to lug a tripod around.  For another, I've been more or less using my point and shoot because it has a self-timer (I've now figured out how to have my SLR delay a shot, so that my finger on the shutter release doesn't cause blurring).

But I was still limited, as far as I could determine, to what the camera decided was the best exposure.

Until last night, as I sat holding a table at Plaza Inn, exploring the menus (I was bored...), when I noticed that the menus are different for each mode.  (Duh.)

In the semi-manual mode, I noticed an on/off toggle for "long exposure."

I clicked it on.


One second to fifteen second exposure.  Yee-haw.

(Larger version available later...I clicked the wrong setting when I exported from Aperture.)

So I spent the rest of the night wandering around Main Street, finding tree stakes, trash cans...anything that I could possibly brace my camera on.  I played around with exposure times up to 10 seconds (way, insanely overexposed...whoops).

My only complaint right now is that I can't find a way to mess with the aperture so that I could get one of those longer exposures without overexposing the lights and such.

Also?  My oh my does it eat up batteries.  Yikes.  I guess a few more of these need to go on my Amazon wish list.

Now, the review.

Toy Story Mania (a.k.a. Midway Mania) is very fun.

The video game aspect of it was very fun, especially since I'm fairly certain the "practice game" at the beginning actually determines your skill level (I'd read that the difficulty would be adaptive so that kids could feel successful at the ride).  My accuracy was lousy (40ish percent) but I think that was because I was deliberately aiming for the higher-point-value targets, instead of whacking the heck out of the cheap ones.

The inside of the ride is nifty.  My favorite was the big Candy Land board, but I think Patrick will enjoy that his Adventureland board game is featured too.

It's very much like the Buzz ride, except that instead of shooting as you go, it stops for five (?) mini-games, like throwing rings at the three-eyed green aliens ("The claw!  The claw is our master.  The claw chooses who will go and who will stay.") and trying to smash plates.

My only complaint is that as you whip around from one mini-game to another, you get tossed around a bit.

(Also, speaking as someone who has to worry about such things, the cars are much bigger than they seem.  When I saw the opening to get in, my heart stuttered a little, but it must be an optical illusion.  It was pretty comfortable.)

There was a group of adults with Down syndrome in line.  One of the guys, who was about sixty, is so what Patrick is going to look like in 40 years, right down to his Disneyland t-shirt, and rolled-eyed exasperation when the person with him gave him a hug.  Another looked like Superhero in fifty or sixty years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Note from me to Motrin: WORK FASTER PLEASE.

Note from me to science:  Please invent the fake pregnancy thingie Huxley talked about in Brave New World, 'cause then I wouldn't have to take 3 Motrin every four hours for three days a month.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vid Rec and Heroes

So, I made it through the first season of Heroes, and the premiere of the second.

A few thoughts.

*  Hiro is awesome personified.  He did what all us geeks wish we could do: wake up one day with super powers and have the strength of will to use them for good.

*  I used to say, "Every Frodo needs his Sam."  That is now interchangeable with, "Every Hiro needs his Ando."  Ando is also made of awesomeness, especially when he goes to confront Sylar alone.

To that end, check out the first vid on this page, "Sawatte Kawatte."  I downloaded the subbed version, but it would probably work just as well as an "instrumental" -- possibly even better.

*  I like that no one is one hundred percent good or bad.  I really, truly felt bad for Sylar when he was with his mom, even though he'd been slicing open people's heads (GROSS).  I vacillated with Mr. Bennett -- which, I think, is what I was supposed to do.  Mohinder was mostly so focused about helping people, but then almost killed Sylar.  No easy answers.  Nifty.

*  I find it interesting that Peter and Sylar both have the same gift.  I like the idea (was it the dead guy Peter saw at the end of the season? I forget.) that it's ultimately empathy that's his gift -- and through that, he absorbs others' powers.

*  The LA police officer...hmm....  I mean, what an awful power, if you can't shut it off -- can you imagine hearing a stray unkind thought about yourself?  Even if the person who thought it was just frustrated?  I don't quite get him working with Nuclear Dude -- it seemed like a plot device to get all of them in New York so Peter's dream would be mostly accurate.

* I find myself wondering if Hiro's dad had a gift.

*  I also found it interesting that Hiro can't be that much older than Claire -- when he was playing his Game Boy as Hiro's dad handed 1-year-old Claire to Mr. Bennett, he didn't look much older than 7 or 8.  That means current Hiro is in his early 20s.

*  Sylar.  I don't buy that Sylar's dead.  If Peter had absorbed Claire's healing powers enough to jump off that thing at Homecoming, and he had just been fighting with Sylar -- wouldn't Sylar have absorbed it too.

*  Mrs. Bennett and that dog drove me freaking insane.  And, yes, I know her brain looks more like Swiss cheese than a brain, thanks to Haitian Guy, but...seriously?

*  I warmed up, a bit, to the Nikki/Jessica story-line.  I think it got old, and I'd like to know if it was multiple personalities, or really Jessica's spirit, but...I did stop fast forwarding through them.

* Mohinder could say the alphabet for me, and I'd be enthralled.

* As if I weren't having enough trouble with the upcoming Star Trek movie....  The guy who plays Sylar had better be, like, the second coming of the Acting muse, if he wants me to look at him and see Spock, and not Sylar.  Geesh.

* I am endlessly fascinated (it's that language thing) by the fact that Hiro pronounces his last name differently when he's speaking in Japanese than when he's speaking in English.  I don't know why -- I just find it fascinating.  When he speaks in Japanese, the accent is on the "ka" -- NaKAmura -- and when he speaks in English, it's on the "mu" -- NakaMUra.  Coolness.

* I want to talk to ATM machines.  Seriously.

* I'm not quite sure whether Nathan -- or, actually, most of the Petrelli clan -- are in the "good guy," "bad guy," or "motivated self-interest" camp.  Which, I guess speaks to the above that no one is wholly good or evil.

*  Obviously, the symbol that keeps cropping up -- Jessica's tattoo, on Hiro's sword, and so forth -- means something.

* I felt absolutely awful for Hiro when he couldn't save the waitress.  :-(

*  I still don't quite get how saving the cheerleader = saving the world.

*  Will Claire age and die?

*  And, finally, having seen just a bit of the second season:  I rather thought for a moment that the Japanese hero guy would be Hiro's dad (revealing his power was immortality).  Now, I wonder if Hiro either talked the British guy into doing the heroic stuff, or did them himself.

Now, go watch the video.  And smile at Hiro's awesomeness.


So, the biological clock conspired to make me extra tired during the first week of summer school.  Oh well.

Two of the applications I sent in the last week of school vanished into thin air; one of these was for Sleeping Beauty, whose parents were all freaked in the first place about sending in the application late.  :-(

So far, my summer school class consists of (are ya ready for this?) Bulldozer, PH (who is on my roll but has not shown up yet), Hair Girl, Superhero, Mr. Voice, Sleeping Beauty (as of today), and, for one hour a day, 3rd Grade Girl B, who needs a nickname (I wanted Whining Girl but she actually hasn't yet....).

We're doing...okay.  The office had no idea who my staff was supposed to be -- but, then, they seem to know very little about anything having to do with summer school this year.  Anyhow, as it stands right now (unless Elastigirl's parents decide to send her), it's me, Aide L (the sub who came to our school the last three weeks or so, who I would keep in a heartbeat if I thought I could convince someone to combine two positions into one 6.25 hour position), Aide Mrs. B, and, for an hour a day, Aide D.

Bulldozer had a couple of meltdowns so far -- over the being told he couldn't put his Capri Sun on his Cheerios when it wasn't snack time.  As gross as it sounds, I'd have let him at any other time.

Superhero's been really, really, REALLY close to channeling his Red Kryptonite, but hasn't yet.

Hair Girl...hyped is the...restrained way of phrasing it.

And Mr. Voice got pushed into total meltdown mode this morning by Speech Aide C.

Anyway, the combined result of not knowing who on Earth was actually going to be in my class, combined with being kicked out at 4:00 on Friday, means I've been playing catch-up all week, when what I really want to do is GO TO SLEEP.

Oh well.

For amusement purposes, has a trip down memory lane.... (My side! Your side! My side! Your si -- whoops.  Wrong show.  Shut up, quote brain.)