the WAFFLE page

June 30, 2012. Bye bye June. This morning I received an email from an old colleague from my radio days, Bob Hughes. I saw you mentioned on Facebook with a link to your pages....wonderful memories of your career (and thanks for the flattering mention!) Heard you weren't too well - so sending you my thoughts and good  wishes. In case I've never said it to you: You consistently wrote the best copy I've ever read.

See? You've gotta be on your death bed (or worse) before anyone says anything nice about you! Oh well... But it was good to hear from Bob, and a buzz to know that the Scrapbook pages on the web are being occasionally discovered by my cohorts from the old days. They were crazy days, for sure.

NC Art commented about digitizing rectums: Is digital diddling akin to prostate procedure a proctologist calls digital rectal exam? Crudely, a finger up the butt? In another context I was nearly diddled yesterday by some smart-assed bastard who got my personal info and charged $958.00 to my credit card. The bank raised a flag and called me before I got out of bed. Result is cancelled card with me on a cash only basis until a new card arrives some days away. I’m snakebit, cos that’s the second time in two months!
    Incidentally you are right about most things anyway. Some magazine layout editors have gone nutz about what is possible with type styles, colors, borders, blocks of reverse print and other frippery resulting in an unreadable product. pfutz.

Yes, some ladies do that with their makeup. And some people do that with their emails... using various font styles and colors in an effort to impress.

After an absence of some weeks, Jamie wrote again asking me to resend Cody's description of riding the Green Room. So I replied by asking him about the weather in Baltimore. That should give him a jolt hehe. Hopefully, I'll never hear from the whacko again.

Incidentally, Bob Hughes watched Driving Taree and suggested I might have a career on Youtube. Dunno about that. I think I'm well passed any "career" stage of life. But it was nice of him to say so.

Watched Planet America last night and there was an interesting discussion about the differences between American and Australian psyches, prompted by the controversy surrounding Obamacare. In Oz, we're pretty laid back. Ask an American how he's doing and he'll say, "Fabulous, couldn't be better." Ask an Aussie and he'll say, "Not bad." Hehe. Americans are more driven to succeed than Aussies (not that Aussies don't punch above their weight). Americans believe that if you work hard and succeed, the rewards are yours to keep, and no government should be telling you to share your wealth with others. Aussies have the attitude that everyone deserves "a fair go". That's why we have several social programs such as Medicare - free medical treatment and hospital care for those who can't afford it. Many Americans don't believe they should have to pay for someone else's medical care, and resent being taxed to pay for it.

A woman, born in Ohio of Australian parents, came back to Oz as an adult, got into politics here and became the Premier of New South Wales... Kristina Kenneally. She was on Planet America last night talking about how surprised she was when she first arrived in Oz to see a government funded advertising campaign on telly urging kids to wear hats in the sun and to "slip, slop, slap" sunscreen on exposed skin. Her initial reaction after having been raised in the States was that it was none of the government's business to tell people how to live their lives. But that's not the way the Oz government sees it... if people expose themselves to too much sun and suffer skin cancers and melanomas as a result (Australia has the highest rate in the world) - which places a heavy burden on free medical care - then it sees it as legitimate to fund any campaign that reduces that burden by encouraging people to protect themselves.

Another example of the American psyche is the country's absence of compulsory voting. It's compulsory in Oz. Americans don't like to be told what to do. In Oz we see it as our civic duty to participate in the running of the country. So there ya go, never the twain shall meet. According to an Australian politician I heard on telly, compulsory voting allows politicians in this country to focus on central issues rather than those on the right or left. He was referring to the recent primaries in the US where excessive coverage was given to the Religious Right and other minority groups.

He went on to say that the good thing about the primaries system in the US is that the long and arduous process weeds out the wannabes and those who can't last the distance. If you want the top job, you gotta be made of pretty stern stuff.

Many Aussies have a nasty habit of cutting down "tall poppies". They often resent those who have raised themselves above the level of the average Joe. Our Prime Minister would never be treated with the same kind of reverence and pomp that Americans often use to treat their President, for example. "Mate" is the great equalizer. It applies to everybody from the top down.

Moving right long, I checked the camper again after recent rains and no worries...dryzabone. It doesn't even smell the slightest bit damp. I don't call it Chateau Mobile anymore. Bleh. Camper will do. I'll probably think of a common name for the combo ute/camper at some future stage. Meanwhile, I'm still delighted with my purchase, and confident of being able to call it "home sweet home" on my travels. It feels right, if you know what I mean.

The online retailer who sold me the GPS answered my complaint about the SD memory card, which surprised me. They said they've asked their supplier for an explanation and will get back to me when they get an answer. Well, I'm not holding my breath.

Some of the latest GPS units include a reversing camera, which is a great idea. Wireless, even! You attach the camera to a suitable spot at the rear of your car, connect a couple of wires to your reversing light and, whenever you select reverse gear, the GPS screen automatically switches to the camera. I'll definitely need one of those when I'm carrying the camper, as well as extra wide wing mirrors. But the thing some people forget is the 2-3 feet of extra height above the driving cab! Low overhanging branches, folks. You don't need to tangle with those.

The memory cards - no bigger than a postage stamp - used in devices such as digital cameras and GPSs are 4 to 8 gigs and getting bigger. In GPSs they can record heaps of information, including complex maps of whole countries as well as spoken street names. Remember when there was a saying about not having much to report; like I could write the story of my sex life on the back of a postage stamp? Well, now you've got up to 64 gigs. Hehe.

Off to Sydney July 9 to have the head/neck specialist check "progress" in my mouth. He didn't perform the operation but he appointed an assistant and (I think) oversaw proceedings, probably from an arm's length. Anyway, it'll be the overnight train (with all the snorers) leaving Taree at 1:30am and reaching Central at 6:50am. The appointment is not until 1:45pm so I'll have time to wander around the city and shoot some video footage of this and that, and take a few stills. Here comes another movie! Two days later, I'm due at the dentist in Taree. The following week, I'm due at Newcastle (half way between here and Sydney) for a PET scan. Then a week after that I'm due at Port Macquarie hospital. Sheesh. Busy month. And I'm not looking forward to it! The movie of Sydney should be fun to put together, though.

Actually, I'd like to get some footage of people arriving for work aboard the Harbor ferries and the city trains. I'll get some footage aboard the buses as well... the kinda stuff you don't see often on touristy vids. Six hours sounds like a lot but by the time I travel to various locations around the city, the hours will quickly disappear. And I certainly don't wanna miss my appointment! I'll get an all-day city pass (public transport - buses, trains, ferries) which only costs a few bucks (cos I'm a pensioner). That way, I can get around town pretty easily, even during peak hour.

I expect I won't be doing a voice over, though. I'll use text captions to name various locations and buildings, and maybe to write a few short comments. And no music, just natural sound. Hmmmm, I think this will be my most ambitious movie project so far. Better take plenty of freshly charged batteries. Sound exciting? I think it does, especially when you consider the unexpected - the things you might capture that aren't in the script, the surprises.

And here we are again, after five-ish. Time to post this Waffle and think about food and telly and bed. And making movies. Gary

June 29, 2012. And there goes half the year. I've had a few comments about using stills in a movie... problems with size, portrait versus landscape, the number of edits required, etc, but Live Movie Maker allows you to do some tricky things with stills, such as a pan, zoom, wipe, giving the impression of movement even though it's a still. I think a combination of video and stills can work quite well. It depends on the subject. A still of a stationary object like a painting or building works, but you wouldn't wanna use a still of people crossing the road or entering or leaving a building. However, despite the variety of transitions and effects available, and there are many, I think it's wise to use them sparingly. You don't want too many tricks spoiling the smooth flow of the vignette (as one bloke called it).

As with everything, it gets down to content. If you have interesting content, you don't need to dress it up. Keep it simple stupid... the KISS principle. Some music vids I've watched use way too many effects in my opinion. But maybe some audiences prefer it that way.

I was thinking the other day about how I'll do interviews. For example, I may be at a beach and ask a bunch of surfers about surfing techniques or whatever. If one of the guys talks about riding styles and different kinds of waves, you want to be able to cut away from him talking and show vision of what he's talking about. But that would mean cutting off the audio attached to the footage. From what I understand, WMM doesn't give you the option of using overlays on top of footage you're already using, sooooo smarty pants here figured he'd use his little digital voice recorder as well as the camera to record sound. That would give me two identical audio tracks, one on the footage and the other as a separate .wav file. The interviewee could then continue talking under the overlaid footage and then reappear on camera later without interruption to his remarks.

The pros use overlays all the time but I think they have a way of copying the sound track from the original footage and using it separately. For me, a second mic would have the same result. I could use the same technique if I do a stand up to camera, and then cut away to footage that syncs with the narration. Yeah?

Here I am getting ahead of myself but, on the other hand, it's not a bad idea to figure out solutions before problems arise. Back in the old analogue days, film makers would have to return to homebase to do all their editing, whereas I can do it on the spot, and upload it to the net within hours or the next day. My "base" will be wherever I happen to be - a laptop, a solar panel and a wireless modem. I remember finding it curious as I read John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley that he used a portable typewriter to take notes, and then had to wait till he returned home 3 months later before he could finish writing his book. But this is the digital age, dear Breth, for which I'm mucho grateful.

Most of the utes I've seen for sale on the net, in my price bracket, are 15 to 20 years old, with over 200,000 clicks on the clock, but so is my present ute and it runs okay. I reckon a well-maintained vehicle should be able to reach half a million clicks. On the Odyssey, I can't see myself covering any more than 1,000 clicks a week at most, so what's that work out to be? 4,000 a month or 48,000 year? That's kilometers, not miles. Anyway, 1,000 clicks is roughly equivalent to driving from Sydney to Melbourne in a week, and there's no way I'm gonna do that, not with hundreds of different towns and localities to visit in between. I reckon 1000 clicks a month will be more like it, which makes 12,000 a year. Moreover, there'll be times I might spend several days or a week in the one location.

Don't mind me, folks, I'm just thinking aloud... trying to get a handle on the logistics. Besides, there's not a lot else to do. Oops! Yes, there is... well, not a lot, but I need to whizz up the road to get an SD memory card for the GPS. Anything else? Nah. Once I have the SD card (not supplied) I can get the GPS happening, which should be fun. It's got a touch screen but you use an electronic pen to activate the functions. It's all a bit of a mystery at the mo...another learning curve.

Okies, back. 2GB SDs are "a thing of the past" according to the salesperson, so I bought a 4GB for $8. No worries. I formatted the 2 gig in my little Fuji compact camera, slotted in the 4 gig, and now I can use the 2 gig for the GPS. I can? I bought the wrong kinda card... a squarish one instead of a narrow one. Oh well... now I have a spare card. Ah, but the plot thickens. After some investigations by phone and online, it seems the right kinda card is no longer available... the older type SD. I tried various stores plus eBay. They just don't make 'em anymore. So I've been diddled. The GPS is useless without the card. I've written to the online retailer but you can bet they'll avoid the issue. As they say in the classics, too good to be true. $50 up the spout.

Nothing more to do now except feed the face, watch a bit of telly, and get a good night's sleep. Gary

June 28, 2012. Gray and dreary again. But that's winter for ya. Only two more months to go before new blossoms begin to emerge and little chirpers in nests cry for their daily worms. This constant renewal by Nature is a bit of a worry, though. It affects us humans as well. We come, we conquer, and then we get the flick.

NC Art wrote: Technology moves like a falling object: 32 feet per second per second. Too fast for the average brain to follow. Thus,  hard-won expertise gained yesterday is useless today. And so despair is the lot of the hapless user. Still, your frustration is familiar and gave me some chuckles in my struggles to get stuff done that's not even close to the complexity of your projects. Anyway, keep on truckin.
    Incidentally, your professionally trained voice on the Taree movie was quite evident, even with the 'hairlip'. Think ahead to that day when the mouth tissue is not an impediment and you have a set of brand new choppers. The tees, esses, and kays will be crisp and clean. Just make sure about fitting the teeth in properly.

Ah yes, one of my all-time fav Brit sitcoms, Steptoe & Son, with Wilfred Bramble playing the quintessential toothless grump.

Professionally trained? Nope. In my early 20s, I figured I could do the radio thing, no problem, hehe, so I jumped in at the deep end and furiously splashed about in a frantic attempt to survive. I trained myself out of desperation. I've always been that way, and still am. I've never been formally trained in anything. Imagine how different things could have been if I had. But I did my daily practice in the early days... how now brown cow stuff. Actually, it was ming mang mong mung, and ning nang nong nung, using the diaphragm and pitching the voice to the front of the face. I used to make an mmmmmmm sound, with mouth closed, and project the voice to the nose and forehead. It's a bit like playing a trumpet. The sound that goes into the mouthpiece is not the sound that comes out the other end. Have you ever heard a person with a tracheotomy trying to speak through a gizmo implanted in their throat? Go figure. Facial cavities and bones act like the body of an acoustic guitar that amplifies the vibration of the strings. Exercising vowel sounds is also important, as is practicing sentences such as peter piper pickled pepper and sally sells sea shells by the shiny sea shore. Hehe. I haven't done any of that stuff for years cos I've not been involved in using my voice professionally.

TX Greg was watching the Taree video on Youtube and decided to try the CC button, the first button below the screen on the right hand side. It's a translator of various languages and/or dialects to written English. As Greg says, my voice is giving the sub titles a hard time. Hehe. If you care to see what happens, click the CC button before the movie starts.

I'm not alone in being self-trained ya know. But if you insist on being self-trained, you need to be careful not to develop bad habits. I also taught myself to speed type, using all fingers without looking at the keyboard. "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." But I developed a bad habit of using my right index finger together with my left little finger on 'shift' to type capitals, and I've never been able to correct it. It's not a big problem but it's not the correct qwerty technique either. I can type about 60wpm... even more after a couple of glasses of dry white hehe. Lubrication, ladies and genitals, it works wonders. I can also transcribe a printed document to the comp by looking at the document and not the keyboard or the monitor. Clever little dick, am I not.

Anyway, now I've got this thing about making movies. Not much point in that, though, if you don't have interesting subject material. Remember slide nights? We had relatives who used to travel a bit and return home with a million slides of their expedition. Hehe. Then they'd invite my parents and us kids to their place for a slide night, and we had to endure hours of boring landscapes and people they'd met. That experience taught me to make everything I do, creative-wise, as interesting as possible to an audience. In other words, what interests yourself doesn't necessarily interest others, UNLESS you make it so. That's what I used to tell my clients when I was writing advertising scripts... forget about what you wanna say, tell the people what they wanna hear. Mind you, I'm not always a diligent adherent to my own advice.

So where did I go wrong in my career? I didn't understand business. I didn't understand business politics. If I'd teamed up with a savvy business manager, I'm sure things would have been very different. Too late for all that now. I don't even think about what I'm doing nowadays as a business. I just do it cos that's what I wanna do. And the government pays me a pension so I can. I'm a person of independent means. :o)

Dunno if I've told this story before but when I was in my mid-20s I recorded a series of radio ads for Cobb & Co motor inn. I played the part of an old bloke, the son of an original Cobb & Co coach driver, who told stories of his father's life driving a team of horses and taking passengers over rough dirt roads in country Australia back in the 19th century. I was only 20 something but did the character voice so well, the client was astonished when he heard the ads and said, "That's brilliant! Where the hell did you find that old bloke?" Hehe. Yeah, well, now I don't have to act.

How To Eat A Baked Bean Sandwich, by Gary Kelly. I'm researching the book at the mo, and it's not easy. But also not impossible. I've always liked baked beans but never thought of them as being a serious challenge. Oops! One bean just fell out of the sandwich. They have a habit of doing that. So far, I'm about 2/3rds done. Some of the bread is sticking to the roof of my mouth because I'm not producing enough saliva. The very thought of saliva and food being mixed together is now causing my brain to visualize mother penguin, home from the hunt, regurgitating slops into the open mouth of her chick. How totally offputting. Whenever parish priests give their Sunday sermons, and talk about the miracle of God's creation, they never mention the way mother penguins feed their young. Meanwhile, you'll be thrilled to know that I managed to finish my baked bean sandwich.

Well, Sue's not a well girl. She's been in the living room watching telly and tried to change channels with the remote. Pressing all the buttons without success caused her to become frustrated, agitated and then hysterical. When I entered the room, she was kneeling on the floor crying uncontrollably, furiously stabbing the remote buttons with her finger. I woke Lindsay and after he saw her condition he panicked and asked me to call an ambulance, which I did. But as I chatted with the operator and later with a nurse, things settled down again. Sue has severe brain damage caused by a lifetime of alcoholism, and she sometimes behaves like a child with a tantrum if she can't get her own way. Lindsay has often told her not to touch the remote but she forgets. There's no point in telling her anything. So there ya go, dear Breth, another day in Taree with L&S. Hehe.

I wonder if I'll ever think about all this L&S crap when I'm on the road and traveling Oz. Maybe not. I guess there'll be too many other things going on around me to bother. I can't say my time with L&S has been all bad because it has also included Cody, MrB and the birth of Aussie Odyssey. And of course, you guys, my faithful congregation, quietly sitting in the pews and listening to my sermons. Hehe.

I suspect, when I'm on the road with my Ute and camper, I'll be thinking about how good it feels to own 100% of myself again. To be in control again. To not have to compromise. To be free. Sounds pretty cool, yeah? Mind you, I might be swapping one set of problems for a new set. Flat tires, running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere, rain falling on my campfire and ruining my bangers and eggs, a camp neighbor playing yodelling music at a zillion decibels, a kangaroo stuck to my bull bar... who knows? Anyway, I'll risk it. Gary

June 27, 2012. Another wet and cool day. Bring on summer! TX Greg asked about the shirtless kid in the Taree vid walking away from the Mall entrance. Greg says where he comes from, it's no shirt, no shoes, no service. Taree is a lot more relaxed than that, and it's also just a 15 minute drive from the beach areas. I've not seen many shirtless dudes in the Mall but I've seen a few. Always teens... kids showing off. At the beach, of course, being shirtless and barefoot is almost obligatory.

Well, here I am thinking I've got no more problems and everything is rosy. How boring! So I decided to learn how to set up the DVD player built into the digital TV. Big mistake. Using the computer, I copied the steam loco movie and the Taree movie to DVD yesterday to give to Averil, and thought I'd check the playback using the TV DVD player to see what the quality is like on a bigger screen. Turned on the TV, inserted a USB drive into the slot, pressed the DVD Setup button on the remote and... nothing. Zippo. Also, being impatient, I forced the DVD into the player slot and now it's stuck there. Why on earth are these things so damn complicated? So there goes my rosy day with no problems. I phoned the local electronics store and they suggested I bring the TV around to them so they can show me how to use it.

Earlier, I started to read the instruction manual for the GPS. That's not simple either. Gotta get an SD card for starters. Whatever happened to plug and play?

Back from the electonics store. Using the DVD player is too easy. But not according to the instruction manual (probably written by some Chinese guy). It carries on about USB drives and whatever and is very misleading. It says NOTHING about pressing the source button on the remote and then selecting DVD. It's that simple. So why did I have to take the TV to the electonics store to find out? Why couldn't they have told me that on the phone? Anyway, the DVD I recorded for Averil won't play. It needs to be converted from .wmv to DVD format.

I phoned the store again and they suggested a program like Nero. Nero? I had Nero on my old desktop. Found the Nero disk in my drawer, shoved it into the CD player and discovered that the program has incompatability issues with my version of Windows. In other words, forget Nero unless I'm prepared to fork out for the latest version.

Late afternoon now. I checked the WMM forum to see if I could find anything there about converting .wmv to DVD and whaddaya know? There was a short entry about a DVD converter thingy in Vista, so I checked. In my version, it's a U-lead program. So I gave that a shot and, after a short learning curve and more than a bit of choice language, I finally figured it out. Then I tried the DVD in the TV player and voila! It worked! I tried to copy the second movie onto the same disk but U-lead didn't like that. No worries. Blank disks are only about 50 cents each. Then I phoned Averil and told her the story. Oh well... at least I've learned a thing or two, so I guess all the crap was worth it. Ain't easy for Fossils to keep up with all this technology, though.

Oregon Richie wrote: The vid of the Taree drive was GREAT !!  I enjoyed that a lot, and how driving scenes would be placed at intervals throughout.  It's very good for sure, and I really enjoyed it !!  Looks like the Super Ute is a good fit and match, too.  I like the shape, size, and design of the steering wheel it has, too.. and that felt-like fabric thing which goes over the dashboard material.  Most nice !!  I knew you put one helluva lot of work into that movie, and the result was excellent !

Thanks, Richie. When I watched the movie again on the TV I almost cringed at my voice being soooo slow and sounding like someone with a hair lip. But, them's the breaks at the mo. Nothing I can do about it. It's just that having been a pro announcer, I'm obviously a lot more sensitive about such things. As to the carpet dash protector in the Ute, that was there when I bought it. The Oz sun plays havoc with vinyl dashboards and cracks the hell outta them, so probably half the cars on Aussie roads have dash mats. I had one tailor made for Bluey... $59. They're cut to shape, heat pressed, and fit like a glove.

So there ya go. Today started out with no dramas. Then for several hours it descended into chaos. I still can't believe that bloke at the electronics store who asked me to bring the damn TV into the store to be shown how to operate it. It's their own brand for god's sake. Why couldn't they show me on one of their own TVs? Anyway, despite all the crap, I emerged at the other end wiser and more knowledgeable. Before you know it, I'll be telling TX Greg and Francois how to solve their own technical problems hehe. Smarty pants ME!

One guy on Justin's blog told me I should get my own travel show on TV. Yeah, right. Been there, done that. It was called Blue Water Dreaming, and it was the reason for my financial and professional ruin. It cost about $100,000 an episode, and there were 39 of them. It managed to recoup its costs from sales, but there was no profit. I was surrounded by money grabbing, power obsessed nitwits. Never again. How much did Driving Around Taree cost? Zip. Nought. And who wrote the script, shot the footage, did the editing, recorded the voice over and did the audio? Hehe. You're lookin' at him. And this is only the beginning, ladies and genitals. Stay tooned.

That's why your comments and suggestions are so important to me, dear Breth. They give me encouragement; they inspire me to keep at it; to keep my eyes on the prize, as Richie says. Cody was the first to inspire me. I met him when I was at my lowest ebb, and he kicked my butt. None of what I have accomplished over the past decade or more would have happened if it hadn't been for The Codeman. Gary

June 26, 2012. A star is born...

Thanks a stack, TX Greg: OMG AWESOME :) NOW I understand why you had sooooooo much trouble. That's a BIG movie !!! I love the way you start out of the driveway and end pulling back in the driveway. Work something like that into other vids!!! And you even gave it a proper name without the .wav stuff at the end or hyphens!!! Had to turn the volume up to hear you, but your voice is OK, could understand everything great! I never dreamed Taree had all that stuff. I always thought of it as a small town. AND I GOT MY GAWK SHOT, I never dreamed one of your vids would give me a boner, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HERE'S YOUR AWARD.............

Small town? Well, it is compared to Sydney where I was born and dragged up. You wanna see a small town? I'll shoot a vid of Croki, (pronounced Croak-eye) a village not far from here. It has about 10 houses.

NC Art wrote: Good for you! Finally! Between my poor hearing, your Aussie accent and swollen tongue, I still managed to get the drift of this moving pitcher. Keep up the struggle and don’t let the bastards get you down.

Aussie accent? Gimme a break! I should have asked Francois to do the voice over, then you'd really be in trouble! But thanks for the encouragement.

And speaking of Francois: Don't worry for the level of the sound: it's good. And for your voice, as you're speaking very slowly, I understood quite everything: not common with english, I read very well and write sometimes not too bad, but for understanding someone speaking, it's an other thing.. don't think to me speaking! And yes you've the voice of an elderly man, but that's not really an inconvenience for me. Good job Gary! Congrats to arrive at the end of the job! very nice suroundings in Taree: I didn't imagine a town as this. Small  buildings and mansions, and many yards and vegetations: it seems very quiet. It reminded me some little towns in USA Ohio (without the big river) . Not as quiet as my neighbourhood anyway hehehe

Elderly man? It's a wonder I can speak at all! But you're right... I have enough trouble pronouncing words without trying to sound animated as well. Francois went on to give me some tips about future movie making... technical stuff to make the editing and uploading processes easier and quicker. But I'm glad you enjoyed my efforts. Yes, Taree was very quiet when I did most of the shooting. I think I shot the interior of the Mall late on a Sunday. Normally, it's busier than what you saw, but rarely is it overly crowded, except during the holiday tourist seasons. It's a very pleasant place to live.

Justin (from the Dunes blog) posted a comment on Youtube: THANKS, GARY, for the tour of Taree. Kudos! very well done. A very clean/tidy place to live. ;-) JustinO

Thanks for the comments, dear Breth. They make all the effort worthwhile. It's also important to me to be as professional as I can using the tools I have at my disposal. As Francois says, And btw my 2 comps are very good ones, I hate to find probs as you'd, because you ask too much to the comp's possibilities...
True... I do have an infuriating habit of pushing the envelope hehe... or trying to race a Ferrari in a Beetle. But, when you can't afford the best, it's a matter of finding ways to make lesser things do the impossible. Remember the link to the video of This Is Sydney I posted the other day? TX Greg says it probably took a dozen people to put that video together. Well, I don't have a dozen people... just li'l ole me.

The only thing I'm a little pissed off about is forgetting to add this pic, which was in the original edit:

Incidentally, all the pics in the vid are mine except the pic of the oysters, which I downloaded. Those trees in the background are Moreton Bay Figs, which in Biripi lingo is Taree. They've been there forever.

It's a good day. My GPS arrived. I told the young delivery bloke that I bought it refurbished on line for $39, and that I couldn't wait to try it. "I'll give it a trial run here in the house. I'll type in 'bedroom'." Hehe. I hope he didn't think I meant.... never mind, let's not go there.

Just back from a spot of shopping on a cold and wet and miserable day. How I long for a roaring log fire! It's been many years since I sat in front of a log fire, toasting my digits. Lemme see... the last house I lived in with an open fireplace was at Dundas, on the rural outskirts of Sydney. That was 1995. My job was to chop the firewood and bring it inside, and then get the fire going before my two flatmates arrived home. The next time I light a fire will be on the Odyssey... a campfire. I'll shoot it on video, and maybe even throw a shrimp on the barbie.

I was just thinking about doing a How To vid for breakfast... How To Serve Rice Bubbles For Breakfast (I think Americans call them Rice Pops). First, take a bowl from the kitchen cupboard. Add one rice bubble at a time to the bowl... or, do as I do, tip the box and pour in a heap of rice bubbles. Saves time. Then (open fridge and produce a bottle of Johnny Walker), add milk. Oops! Wrong bottle! Never mind. If you run out of milk, which I'm forever doing, scotch is the next best thing. Then take a slotted spoon, and remove all the rice bubbles from the scotch. Discard. Pour the bowl of scotch into a coffee mug (if someone comes into the kitchen unexpectedly, you can tell them you're drinking tea), and consume.

Yes, ladies and genitals, I'm full of creative ideas. I think another great idea for a How To video is to have two naked gentlemen with their backs to the camera, demonstrating how and how not to wipe one's butt after doing one's business. No need to show the actual doing of the business, of course, just what happens afterwards. After all, we want the video to be for general exhibition so the kiddies can watch and learn a thing or two about decorum.

How am I doing so far? How about I dress up in feathers and a grass skirt and do a How To vid about cooking a missionary in a large pot? That should attract quite a few viewers. Or how's this for an idea? How To Mount A Horse. The video opens with team of shirtless lads using spades to dig a large hole about 12' long, 6' deep, and 3' wide. A crane arrives with a horse attached, and lowers the horse into the hole. I think that video would have enormous appeal to elderly equestrian fans, especially since there's no risk of the horse bolting and galloping off at high speed into the distance. At the end of the video, all the shirtless lads form a circle, join hands, and do the Irish jig.

Yes, folks, I think I've got the video bug. Can't wait to let my imagination run wild.

Well, the a/c is on, warming the house. Too bloody cold to wait any longer. A certain appendage was beginning to shrivel alarmingly. Tonight, I can relax again for the first time since my obsession with the Taree vid over the past couple of days. I wish I could tuck into a nice home-made meatloaf with roasted vegies and lots of gravy but my mouth ain't up to the task. I'll have to settle for a mug of pumpkin soup and a chicken rissole. Hehe. What the hell am I laughing at? Oh well...

Thanks again for the nice comments, and particularly to TX Greg for the Award. How cool was that? He's now aware of how we pronounce Taree. It's no surprise to me that Americans thought it was pronounced differently. I remember the days of FunTB and telling Kostik I couldn't pronounce his home town of Dnepropetrovsk. He told me not to worry cos he couldn't either. Hehe. Seeyas all tomorrow. Gary

June 25, 2012. Well, well, well, guess who's a clever little dick? Have you figured out what kinda medal I deserve yet? I finally worked out how to do a voice over on the Taree movie. My Olympus software doesn't work on the Acer (despite being there with updates and a new driver), so I used Windows Accessories Sound Recorder and the Olympus voice recorder as an external mic, and recorded the voice over on the Acer's HD. Then I imported the wav files into Live Movie Maker as a subsitute for a music track. There are 28 separate wav files, but I discovered a way of positioning them at the appropriate point in the storyboard so that they synchronize with the correct vision. Then I saved the whole thing as a wmv and am uploading it to Youtube as we... sorry... I speak.

The voice is still a bit of a worry but it'll do. It'll have to. Even with my swollen tongue and inability to pronounce words properly, I still sound better than Lindsay. Besides, he couldn't do a voice over in a fit.

Also, the audio level during playback is pretty low, which I hope is not the case on Youtube. I couldn't find a way on LMM to increase the level during the edit. As Oregon Richie and I often say... there's always SOMETHING.

Earlier, I took my GP's paperwork to the dentist and have my first appointment on July 11. By August some time, I'll be gummy. What a wonderful birthday present for my 68th.

So, how about that? After all the frustration of buggerizing around over the past month, I FINALLY got the Taree movie to happen. Determination and persistence, ladies and genitals... that's the key. Never say die. And that's how I got MrB started back in 1999. I had two "helpers" with the site who kept letting me down, so I decided no matter what it took, that I would learn webmastering myself.

The thing is, once you've learn something, no matter how long it takes or how frustrating it is, you've got it forever. All I gotta do now is figure out what my next movie will be about and where to shoot it.

The movie is now about a third uploaded, and that's taken more than 2 hours. Bloody hell. At this rate, it'll take at least another 4 hours! The file is 116MB. I don't understand why it's taking so long! The steam loco vid uploaded in about half an hour, and that was 83MB.

SF Bill wrote: If you're going to buy a new comp for video work, don't settle for anything less than an Intel i7 chip with as much ram as possible, ie at least 8 gig, preferably more. Will be expensive but there's no getting around that if you want to do smooth and fast video work.

Thanks, Bill. But as you are now aware, at least I can struggle through with the equipment I have. A new comp is the last thing on my mind, at least for the time being. I gotta get me a new Ute first. Then there's the electrician and the gas man.

It's 6pm now. I waited an hour for my ISP to answer my call to ask why my connection speed is so slow. The ISP technical support dept. is suffering major overload so my call was answered by a guy in the Philippines. What the hell would he know? He suggested pulling the plug on the upload to Youtube, shutting down the comp and trying again. I couldn't think of anything better so that's what I did. Well, the connection speed is still painfully slow, but at least the resumption of the upload to Youtube began where it left off, so it's half uploaded. I'm talking 5 hours to upload half a 116MB video? How long will the rest of it take? And forget about Waffle. That won't happen until the movie finishes uploading, which could be when I'm fast asleep in bed.

Just when I thought I'd solved all the probs, THIS HAPPENS!

Tuesday morning now. I left the computer on all night, uploading the vid to Youtube... or so I thought. It hadn't budged 1% from where I left it at 75%. The online speed was dreadful yesterday but even so... Anyway I rebooted the comp and saw that my external HD was blinking. Oh? Turned out to be a loose connection, the one into the back of the computer. Fixed that, canceled the upload of the vid, logged in again, started the whole process from scratch and the thing finally seems to be working normally. It's half uploaded already and it's only taken about half an hour. No wonder I was having so much trouble uploading before... the external HD is the source of the file! Also, my online speed seems to be back up to normal.

Don't you love it when you have a prob and someone says, "Well, it could be any one of a number of things." Where to start? With me, it was a case of getting a good night's sleep and trying again in the morning, fresh. Fresh? Not according to the mirror. I look like I've been in a brawl with a mob of Ladies from Lesbos and lost. It's the lymphodema ya know. Not a good look.

Well, it appears so far that today will be normal, which will make a most welcome change from yesterday and several other days from the past week or two. Apart from everything else, NC Art is missing his daily Waffle fix. And for some inexplicable reason, outta the blue I received an email from Oregon Richie posted over 2 years ago! I wondered what on earth he was rabbiting on about until I saw the date. I'll forward it to him as a bit of unexpected deja vous.

The vid is about 75% uploaded now which is lightning speed compared to yesterday, so I'll post this Waffle pretty soon along with the link to the vid, and all shall be well again.

Hmmm, just 5% to go, so I'll mention our money. The Aussie 1 cent and 2 cent coins got the flick some years ago. Now they're talking about flicking the 5 and maybe even the 10. It's all worthless shrapnel anyway. Even our 1 and 2 dollars are coins. Okies, all uploaded so I'll check Youtube and paste the link. Imagine that! You'll be going for a ride in my Ute! Gary

June 24, 2012. Bloody cold this morning, but it'll warm up. Getting outta bed for a pee in the middle of the night is such an irritating inconvenience. Pees are very determined ya know. I try to wish the damn thing away but it doesn't work. I like my bed on winter nights. Best place in the house.

So here I am on the Toshiba again. After giving the Acer a rest yesterday, it was still slow and jerky when I tried to replay the movie. So I checked out Windows Help and clicked on System requirements... 2.4 giggle hurts. The Acer is 1.6. So there ya go. I've been running a race wearing jackboots. Now why, I ask you, would MS bundle a program like Live Movie Maker with Windows 7 and load it on a machine with only 1.6 giggle hurts? Beats me. No wonder the Acer was struggling. The Toshiba is 1.6 as well.

So I decided to give Francois' suggestion a shot, and downloaded Pinnacle video. No good. It was even slower than Live MM. I think the only way I'm gonna solve this Taree Tour problem is to split it into two parts. I'm sure if I ever get to upload this thing to Youtube you'll watch it and say, "Now why on earth did Gary bother to persist with this thing?" It's no Academy Award winner, that's for sure. But it was my unwillingness to be beaten into submission by machines and software that drove me on. I simply had to show them who's boss.

It seems from now on, unless I invest in a powerful new computer, I'd better lower my sights and settle for movies that require less edits. That's the prob I reckon. Taree Tour has an edit almost every few seconds. Even the action clips only run 10 seconds or less. Nothing runs longer than about 15 seconds (except for one shot), and most shots run about 3 seconds. How's that for busy?

I used to work with a cameraman/editor in Sydney who had one of the first Avid edit suites. Even that used to crash quite often... and it involved about $100,000 worth of equipment! Plus a Sony broadcast camera worth about $70,000. He was a freelance stringer for a TV network in Sydney. If something newsworthy happened in his area, they'd phone him (sometimes in the middle of the night) and he'd whizz out to shoot it. He made a fortune doing that. But he was one of the most irritating people I've ever had the misfortune of knowing. However, he was a good cameraman. He'd hang out of helicopters or light aircraft, no worries. He was also a SCUBA diver and some of his shark footage was scary as hell. He had no fear.

And here's me with about two bob's worth of gear trying to match the pros hehe. Good thing I did the steam loco vid though because that worked well and has given me the confidence to continue. Now here's a great example of the kinda thing I wish I could do. Dream on, baby. 

Well, I just halved the vid to 4.5 minutes as Part 1, saved it under another name, and it crashed again. I think I'm getting battle weary. The only other option now is to try the same thing with Live Movie Maker on the Acer but that can wait. I think Francois is right... too many fishes to eat.

Speaking of running races wearing jackboots, I'm reminded of Cliff Young, the 61 year old potato farmer who won an 875 kilometer marathon in Oz, trimming almost two days off the previous record. He said he trained by rounding up sheep on his farm, sometimes for days at a time without sleep. He became a national hero.

It's 6:30pm now, and I've spent several hours farting around with Taree Tour. Do you get your best ideas in the loo or shower? I was lathering the bod when I thought about trying to save the unfinished project in Live Movie Maker on the Acer. It was 6 minutes worth and running very slowly so I wasn't confident about being able to save it to wmv. Well, lo and behold, ladies and genitals, to my utter astonishment it went through the saving process without a whimper. Cool. So I started a new project, added another 2.5 minutes of editing to the end of the wmv, and saved that too! Then I copied it to my external HD, went back to the Toshiba and WMM6, imported the new wmv into a new project, added a voice over, put the whole thing together and... do you really wanna hear this?... tried to save it and it crashed again because of DEP. Fair dinkum, I can't understand why WMM would reject a wmv created by Live MM.

I would have added the VO in Live MM on the Acer if there had been a button or a timeline audio track, but I couldn't see one. There's a button to add a music track but no VO. So I've written another entry on the WMM forum asking how I can add a VO using Live MM. Can you believe all this? Anyway, at least I've been able to create a wmv of the whole 8.5 minutes with all the edits and transitions and whatever. It's all ready to rock and roll if only I can add a VO. 

I reckon I'll deserve some kinda medal if I finally get this thing uploaded to Youtube.

So that's it. Time for a bit of din dins, a bit of telly, and a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another day. Hehe. Gary

June 23, 2012. Time for a coffee... with whipped cream. I've been using the Acer all day. Did I say I could edit the Taree Tour vid in half a day? Yeah, right. The thing is bigger than Quo Vadis. Sooooo many edits! Maybe that's been the prob all along... just too big a project for laptops and freeware to handle. I'm doing stuff I used to do in million dollar edit suites. After editing about 3/4 of the vid using the Acer, it slowed down to almost a crawl, so here I am back with the Toshiba, giving the Acer a rest... and also copying the Olympus digital voice recorder software to the external HD. Olympus allows you to download the updates and drivers for Windows 7 but not the original software.

Did a little shopping... stuff I've been putting off for ages cos I've been too busy. I had breakfast today at 2pm. I was gonna buy a plug in CD/DVD player/recorder for the Acer but the guy asked if I had a second comp, and then suggested copying the Olympus software, which I've just done. I hope it works. I also needed an 8 gig memory stick so he sold me two SanDisks for $10. How cool is that? Those things were close to $20 each not all that long ago.

Francois wrote: I see your probs each day with this crap microsoft program: common with Micro$oft freewares...

Why don't you try an other freeware? As this one: Pinnacle is the specialist of the big videos progs and this one is a light version but you can do what you want with it. Don't give it too many big fishes to eat... I hope it'll not crash if you try it hehehe not sure! I used once (last year) the complete pinnacle video studio (cracked) and it did anything I was thinking to and never crashed. I made a complete DVD in HD (in french) with it: I sent it by post to my friends and family. 

Courage, Gary, it's well for us to have goals: I've mine, you'll see many new pics (maybe some lit vids) in september after some trips with my boat running towards North mid July. My goal remains to see new fishes, new wild islands and true kanaks' tribes.

Yes, too many fishes to eat. I think that's my problem. If the new edit with the Acer (which has Live Movie Maker - and which took a bit of getting used to) crashes, I'll stick to smaller simpler movies, and maybe try splitting this one into two parts. The Acer has a much smaller screen than the Toshiba which is a pain. Oh dear... me and my crazy ideas. Champagne tastes on a beer budget.

NC Art's life with Billy Gates continues to be a struggle:  In other matters, I wrote that little bio you suggested awhile back (for Art's Art on AO). To get it done I finally busted my way into WordPad, wrote some deathless prose and saved it. Bill Gates tossed out Word in Windows 7! NOW I can’t find the blasted document! So woe is you and me too. Also WordPad does not support Spellcheck, another bummer.

I'm using Windows 7 on the Acer, and it has WordPad. But I also have Word 6 on disk, as well as installed on the Toshiba. Anyway, it's just as easy to use email to write your bio and I can copy and paste it. All the pages on AO are written in Netscape's Composer anyway. It's an HTML editor... a 10 y/o freebie. In fact I've been using it since I first started MrB back in 1999.

Jim M wrote as well: Im no expert in this mess, but maybe you can upload just the video, then edit, adding the stills. Check the link:

Thanks Jim. Had a quick look but I reckon it needs more time to understand what it's all about. Another time.

It's late once more, and I gotta get back to the Acer. If my Cecil B efforts are successful this time, I'll treat myself to another shrimp on the barbie. Otherwise, I'll pour a very large drink and dive in. Gary

June 22, 2012. Well, what a day. Most of it was spent re-shooting the footage of driving around town, and then converting it from .avi to .wmv with Freemake Video Converter. A bloke on the movie maker forum said WMM prefers working with .wmv format. No worries. It's worth noting that converting the .avi file to .wmv reduces the size from almost a gig to 185MB. Then I rejigged the movie, added the voice over, and tried to save it. Ready for this? WMM crashed again. By then it was about 3pm so I thought to hell with it. I also started to copy the other .avi movie files to the memory stick but it filled up after just 10 files so I ditched that idea as well.

SF Bill sent a link to an article about how to change DEP settings. Thanks, Bill, nice of you to pitch in, but I've been there and done that and it didn't work... at least not in my case.

So now I've decided to start again. I'll copy all the RELEVANT files to the external HD (cos it has tons of room) and use the Acer to edit the movie from scratch. I know it back to front anyway, and it's all too hard using the original project file because it remembers where all the files are stored on the Toshiba. So I'd rather start fresh. There was something wrong with the voice track as well. It was breaking up, so I'll re-record that as well.

At least I have all the material I need and don't have to reshoot anything, or fiddle around with stills. I can probably edit the whole thing in half a day. So, provided WWM on the Acer doesn't chuck a wobbly when I try to save the movie, I'll be a happy chappy. Otherwise... well, let's not go there.

One funny thing happened. As I was backing out of the drive while shooting the new footage, there was a Hawaiian love song playing on the radio hehe, and I thought how cool it would be to leave the audio intact instead of muting the clip. But I had to dump that footage anyway cos I hadn't noticed till I got back that the box of tissues on the dash was obstructing the camera's view. I had to do a Take 2 and drive around again. Woe is me.

Now all I need is for someone on Youtube to comment with something like "What a load of shit! A 2 yo could shoot a better movie than that crap."

NC Art wrote: All I know about high technology is that I can’t run fast enough to keep from being rear-ended and flattened by a runaway steam roller. Looking at its ass end a mile down the road does nothing for my self esteem. Sorry about your woes in trying to get your travelogue to behave. Graphics chew up gobs of memory; adding color, motion and sound strains the capacity to the crash point. If you were going for High Definition I guess you would need a zillion dollars worth of equipment.
    My son is working on a “film” which is being shot with hi def digital camera and new wonders of lighting. Scenic painting is a bitch because the tiniest flaw will stick out like a boil on the butt of the Mona Lisa.
    Meanwhile Windows 7 has about fought me to a standstill. Seems harder to do the simplest things and some other things can’t be done at all. Frustration is a word you are also familiar with!

What on earth gives you that idea, Art?

I also saw the doc this morning and he supplied me with all the paperwork I need for the dentist. Didn't charge me either. I also told him about my lymphodema, so he added that to my file on his computer. "It's good having all these things wrong with me," I said. "Now I can join all the other geriatrics and bitch about my aches and pains just like they do. I was feeling left out before all this cancer business."

Actually, the massage I do around my armpits and neck is improving the swelling quite noticeably. The massage does the job of the lymph glands that were removed during the cancer operation... over 80 of the buggers.

Oh well, there goes another crazy day. Have I learned anything? I suppose so. What happens when you convert .avi to .wmv. What happens when you leave the tissue box on the dash. What happens when your doc appointment is for 10:15 and he doesn't call you until after 11. What happens when you try to fit a Sumo wrestler into a 2 gig memory stick. And... well, that's about it, really. Tomorrow will be a whole new day and a whole new learning experience. Gotta catch up on shopping as well... food, DVD blanks. Maybe a 16GB memory stick. It all depends on how much time I spend farting around with Taree Tour. Why the obsession? It's a challenge, and so far I've bounced off the ropes more times than I can count. Gotta lick this thing. Gary

June 21, 2012. Well, between TX Greg's suggestions and the WMM forum, I'm still stuck with a dud movie that refuses to be saved. The only alternative is to copy all the files to a memory stick and send it to someone with a faster computer to save the movie (or try to), and then return it to me. Otherwise, I'll have to scrap the project and try something else. Greg is pretty sure it's the number of stills (about 100) that's causing WMM to haemorrhage.

I'm not the only one who's experiencing comp probs. NC Art writes: I don’t know WMM or DEP or much else, and I don’t know what the hell the jokers at Microsoft were smoking when they designed Windows 7. Half the stuff I once knew is useless and most of my old documents can’t be read in the new program. Billy Gates will be glad to send me a translation program for $193.00, and there are ‘free’ programs...which don’t work.
    A lot of function keys are hidden or moved, and it takes three clicks to do the work once done by only one. But this a marvelous improvement MS says, so it’s gotta be true! Pfah. If you’re running older Windows, watch out cos support and programs are to be phased out soon.
    Uh, maybe ZYX adopted the Viet Nam lad to take care of him instead of other way around. [Why the heck did this thing suddenly change fonts from my usual, I wonder.]

You could be right about ZYX, but what the hell if it's a two-way street? Just as long as it works. As to changing computers and/or software, I've always been loathe to do that. Once I settle into a routine, I hate to change. Back in the mid 90s a guy tried to sell me his IMB laptop with Windows 95 installed. I tried it for an hour or two and hated it. In the early '30s, Chrysler introduced the Airflow, a radical new auto design bristling with mechanical innovation. The public rejected it in favor of the more familiar boxy coach-style autos. Ironically, other auto makers started copying Chrysler's innovations. That's the way the cookie crumbles, ladies and genitals.

However, the digital age is here to stay. One of the major news stories in Oz at the mo is about two of our leading newspaper organizations suffering huge financial losses through poor sales and diminishing advertising revenue. Both are restructuring their operations to meet competition from the internet and the digital age, which means the sacking of a third or more of their staff. Journalists are up in arms, of course, complaining that if you want "quality journalism" you have to pay for it. True. But it seems the public ain't interested.

Meanwhile, advertisers are using the internet and targeting their messages to specific audiences because they get direct feedback. They know whether or not their campaigns are working, which is something they can't quantify as accurately by using print media. And the cost of advertising on the internet is cheaper. Some commentators are predicting the demise of newspapers within 5 years. Others are wondering what the hell we're gonna wrap our fish 'n' chips in.

It's a beautiful day, sunny and blue. But what to do? Lindsay's at the pub (pay day) and I can't leave Sue here alone. I'm itching to shoot another movie, especially after all the experience I've had lately, both good and bad. The weekend's weather is looking pretty good albeit 5 or so degrees cooler, which is probably a bit too cool for the beach areas. Surfers don't mind because they wear wetties. Wingnut was the exception cos he insisted on being a non-wuss, at least until Cody bought him a wettie for his birthday. And what a wonderful occasion that was - one I hope Winger will treasure the rest of his life.

Have you ever tried fig yoghurt? I'm eating some now. Yum! There are figs galore around here... Moreton Bay fig trees. The fruit is edible but dry and tasteless. The trees are enormous, and some have been around since Billy the Conqueror invaded Britain.

Well, TX Greg wrote again and suggested I zip all the files pertaining to Taree Tour and put it on AO for him to download. But I got another idea. Remember the Acer Netpad I bought as a spare? The one I take to hospital with me? Yeah. Well, it has a 250GB HDD and Windows 7. Not sure if it has WMM loaded but I can download it no worries. Soooo, I'll copy all the movie files to a memory stick and transfer it to the Acer, and then try to save the movie there. If successful, I can upload it to Youtube from the netpad. Sound cool to you? Sounds cool to me. I'll give it a shot later. Reminds me... I need to get another USB hub and a few more of those memory sticks. They're very handy. The netpad doesn't have a CD/DVD player.

And there I was earlier thinking "who do I know with a faster comp..." when that person was me! Dementia can be a bit of a worry ya know.

Hang on... the Olympus digital voice recorder software is on CD. Is it downloadable from the net? Try Google. Yes it is.

Okay, if I'm gonna do this thing there's no time like the present. So I'll post Waffle, shut down this comp, connect the Acer and see how I go. Checkyas later.

Nope, changed my mind. When I tried to copy one of the files (a vid shot from inside the car driving around Taree) to the memory stick, it was rejected cos it was too big, 1.7GB. Hmmm. And it's all one big 25-minute single file. In the movie, the video footage used is broken down into 4 short clips, but they still originate from the one big file, which sits like a Sumo Wrestler in the contents pane. To re-shoot the clips I used (as separate short takes) would be a piece of cake, and much easier than buggerizing around with stills, copying and yadda yadda. All the footage I shot for the steam loco movie (including stills) is 2.4GB but comprises many short clips, not one single biggie. Am I making sense here, TX? So I reckon if I re-shoot the video of driving around in the car as 4 short takes, flick the original biggie, insert the shorties, and leave the rest of the stills, etc, as they stand, then WMM might just cooperate and save it all to wmv. Yeah? Bit late now but I'll do it tomorrow. Gotta see the doc anyway about getting all my dental work done on Medicare. Lots of forms and crap before Medicare gives me the nod.

BTW, the resized stills have gone from 3 or 4MB each to about 70KB each. A 10-second video clip is about 13MB. I reckon if WMM can handle about 2 gigs of material for the loco movie, then it should handle Taree Tour once I get rid of that Sumo file. If not, I'll substitute the new video footage anyway, and then transfer everything to the Acer like I planned to earlier. One way or another, ladies and genitals, I'll get this damn thing done! Most of those stills I used could never be shot again. Like this one...

Or this one...

I hope I'm onto something here. TX Greg should email me by morning to let me know what he thinks. Problem solving can often be simply a series of trials and errors, which ain't so bad cos you learn a thing or two along the way. And I really do like this movie making bizniss. It's exciting and rewarding, not to mention challenging.

Anyway, the ol' 5-ish PM has rolled around again so I better attend to the normal evening routine at the Kelly Household. Gary

June 20, 2012. Not a good day, dear Breth. I finished downsizing all the stills in Taree Tour, flicked the biggies and added the littlies. So far so good. Then I re-did the voice over (croak) and added it to the timeline. No worries. Watched the replay and was happy. Then I tried to save it as a wmv file. Same thing as last time. WMM crashed because of the DEP thing. Tried a couple more times and no luck. So I shut down the comp and restarted it. Then I did as TX Greg suggested the last time and did a disk cleanup. Tried saving Taree Tour to a wmv file again. Crash. So I removed all the voice over wav files and saved the file without audio. Tried saving it to a wmv file again. Crashed again. Then again. So I changed the name of the file to see if that would work. Nope.

I have no idea why this DEP thing is getting in the way. The steam loco movie worked a treat. No problems. The Taree Movie is about the same size now... maybe 50MB with all the downsized stills. It's 8 minutes long. No music. The wav files are miniscule - or were before I removed them. Is it the number of stills and effects? There's about 100 stills. But I don't see why that should matter. Anyway, the movie is pointless without them. 

I can't begin to tell you how frustrating this is. I've posted a new thread on the WMM forum so I hope that helps.

Meanwhile, ZYX wrote. I haven't heard from that old bloke in ages. He has a happy father's day story to relate:

Hello there fossil,
          This is yur old nemesis "ZYX" writin at ya.  I  really don't get on line too much any more but I have a message for you. I have a young man from Viet Nam living with me now who aspires to be a writer.  He is extremely talented and I have no doubt that his name will become a household word in the literary world in the not too distant future. I told him about you and the books you have written and about your success with getting your books in print through LuLu.  He seemed impressed but said very little about it since then.
         Two days ago (on Fathers Day) he went into my bedroom ostensibly to get something he needed.  I paid no attention until I heard him scream and come running out of  my bedroom yelling "Dad, there are three dead rats on your bed!".
         I ran in, only to find a package wrapped in pink foil and a message printed on it........."Happy Fathers Day!"
         I opened it and couldn't believe my eyes.  It was a copy of "Green Room II". I have been so out of touch with things that I didn't even know you had written it.
        Gary, that boy, Gary Kelly and Green Room II made it the most rewarding Fathers Day I have ever experienced.
        I certainly hope this letter finds you in good spirits, good health and good company.
       My best to you always...........................Jerry AKA "ZYX".

Isn't that sweet? Obviously Jerry doesn't know about the cancer and stuff, so I'll reply and let him know. But I was very pleased to receive his mail today despite the frustrations of DEP and whatever else. I dunno whether to laugh or cry hehe. Jerry's about NC Art's vintage, and a widower after many decades of marriage. Seems like he's adopted the young Viet guy for company and someone to care for. Sounds cool to me.

That said (which is a fav saying of politicians), I'm still pissed off about whatever WMM deems DEPable about Taree Tour. It stands for Data Execution Prevention. Bleh. Who the hell's in charge here? Billy Gates and his dopey programmers, that's who. Can you even begin to comprehend how much frustration that guy and his dimwits have caused millions of people from all over the world? Read any one of the thousands of forums about Microsoft on the net and you'll soon realize just how problematical their products are. Or ask TX Greg. He'll tell you.

Earlier today, after I'd put the vision and voice over together for Taree Tour I was sure I'd be able to upload it to Youtube for your listening and dancing pleasure, but no. DEP raised its ugly head again and put paid to that idea. Dammit.

Oh... and the surgery this morning? No worries. The doc referred to the patch of skin that needed to be excised from my back as "crusty". It was about the size of a largish coin. He stabbed me a few times with anaesthetic, whipped out the scalpel, did the needle and thread trick, patched me up, and that was it.

Well, I'm gonna pig out on junk food tonight, two sausage rolls, and watch a bit of telly before hitting the sack and hoping some bright spark from the WMM forum answers my query by tomorrow morning. I thought I did a pretty good job with Taree Tour and I'm disappointed I can't share it with you. Besides, I put a helluva lotta work into that thing. Gary

June 19, 2012. There ya go, all the Taree Tour stills are now in a separate folder and downsized. What a BORING job that was! Later, I'll ditch the biggies and substitute them for the littlies and everything should be fine. Big job though, so I'm not gonna rush it.

NC Art has been suffering computer probs again: As for Fathers day, it was a mixed blessing. Children sent money, some much needed shirts and trousers, and a Kindle Fire. [That touch screen operation is another learning experience.] But my computer took the opportunity to screw up royally, so I gave myself a present of a new one. Have been out of business since Thursday. New composter is an HP running Windows 7, which I don’t know yet how to navigate. But worse, my printer decided to go to sleep forever at the same time. These new fangled hi tech gadgets just don’t cut the mustard like a 1921 T-Model Ford!
    And I know where the old guy and his grandchildren are coming from. My son breezed through, changed all my settings, so I’ve just to learn the crap—again! Ah well, he means well.

Art also comments on the video of the steam loco: It’s been 60 years since I rode a train, and most of them were still coal fired smokies. Troop trains were pretty stuffy, sweaty and redolent with military bean fed farts. I asked a conductor what L & N stood for, and he said “long and nasty boy, long and nasty.” Actually, it was the Louisville and Nashville railway heading from Georgia to Laredo, TX. But I got a kick from your vid of the choo-choo. Thanks.

My pleasure. I sent Justin a link to post on his blog and one old bloke said it brought back a lotta memories for him from the mid to late '40s. He lived near a railway depot. He even remembers the old steamers bringing the American troops home from WWII. Which reminds me of something one of the old blokes on the 3237 said. He was talking about the Newcastle Flyer (on the Newcastle/Sydney run) which could do 80mph+ on the straights. No wonder they called it the flyer. None of the modern trains are allowed to do those kinda speeds. It's all very strict these days. However, there's talk (and has been for decades) of building a high speed rail link between Sydney and Goulburn/Canberra which would reduce traveling time to about an hour, compared to 3 hours by road.

Speaking of Sydney, I have an appointment on July 9 with Dr Johnathan Clark, the head and neck specialist who diagnosed my cancer late last year. I'll take the overnight XPT (that blue train that passed the loco in the vid) which arrives in Sydney at 7am. The appointment is at 1:45pm so I'll use the time to shoot a vid of various parts of Sydney. After I see the doc, I'll catch the 4:10pm XPT back to Taree and arrive here about 9pm. About a week later, I have an appointment in Newcastle at the hospital there for a PET scan. I'll be driving so won't have much time for pics.

How's the oil in the Ute? Full. That's six months after the service. Can't complain about that!

What was I saying about not rushing it? I relented and started rejigging the Taree Tour movie with the downsized stills and managed about half so far. It's such a boring job. But it also gives me the chance to improve a few things. I might do a bit more later, and again tomorrow. With a bit of luck, I'll upload it to Youtube tomorrow. Howzat? Two movies in one week! Eat your heart out, Cecil. I really have to thank TX Greg for giving me the tip about the large stills. I would never have known otherwise. And it makes soooo much difference to the way it plays back. It was all jerky and ikky before.

So with all that buggerizing around, ladies and genitals, it's way after 5pm and time for me to start thinking about stuffing something down the screech and watching a bit of telly. Got an appointment with the doc tomorrow for a bit of surgery... a yukky thing on my back. Nothing major. It'll be all over in less than half an hour. Ya know, if the doc keeps snipping bits off me like he has for the past 5 or 6 years, I'll end up about a foot tall! Gary

June 18, 2012. Another lovely day, weatherwise. But July and August will be a different story. Whatsisname, a well known Australian actor, was talking about his dad during an interview and said, "My father used to say that the crowning glory of life is the here and now. And we're here."

TX Greg and Oregon Richie thought the loco vid was pretty cool. Greg even said it was awesome. And my doc enjoyed it as well. I emailed him the link. My main prob was with wind noise. Next time, I'll try a bit of sticky tape over the camera mic holes to see if that makes a diff. Oh... and I also heard the lens cap banging around in the breeze. But nobody mentioned my version of "steadicam" which is my $10 eBay monopod from China. It really does make a difference to shake rattle and roll, while allowing easy panning left or right. Vertical pans are another matter.

Greg was impressed with the footage taken with me leaning out of windows hehe. Yeah, well what he didn't see was me kneeling on the floor of the corridor, getting in the way of other passengers, and having my hair blowing around like I was battling a cyclone. Anything for a good shot ya know. "He's a cancer patient? You're kidding me! He should be home in bed!" Bugger that.

Just received an interesting mail from Ohio Jace: You mentioned on waffle that peeps want to “believe something badly enough.” That applies to politics too. There are still those who believe that Obama was NOT born in the U.S. and therefore not an American or that he is NOT a Christian even though it has been proven several times. The mere fact his mother is American makes him an American citizen no matter where he was born.

The Constitution states “The President must be a natural born citizen of the U.S. or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, at least 35 years old and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.” (The first American born president was Martin Van Buren who was born in 1782).

The Constitution does not define what “natural born” means and does not specify if the citizenship is based on parentage or birthplace so.... The naysayers are using this vagueness to interpret the Constitution the way they want it to be.

Since only one parent has to be an American in order for the child to be an American; Obama is an American no matter where he was born (with a few exceptions). Actually neither parent has to be an American if the child was born in the U.S. the federal government considers the child to be American.

Yep, people will believe what they want to believe. Hitler said that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will believe it. He was right, of course. Just look around and you'll see the evidence everywhere. I'm sure Jace's comment will illicit a bit more commentary from other Wafflers.

Jace also has a new set of wheels after his last truck was accidentally re-modelled: is two years older than mine and another pick up truck since I can get in and out when my back is bothering me. Something I can not do with a car. The previous owner was a women so it is in very good shape with just a few rust spots, which mine did not have. It also has over 120,000 miles while mine had less than 32,000. So as you can see I did not drive much, especially after retiring. 

Yes, I've noticed getting out of my Ford Ute is a lot more difficult than alighting from my last vehicle Bluey, the Nissan Nomad which was a van. The Ute is so low to the ground I can almost crawl in and out. The ol' legs ain't what they useta was ya know. Jace also says the Ohio Gang is well, which is always good to hear. And for Father's Day, Jace and June were treated to dinner out by their two sons.

Last night's episode of How To Grow A Planet was about the rise of grasses and how they flourished. Herbivores that nibbled on the leaves of trees evolved into grazing animals that ate the grasses. But there was one type of grass that changed mankind - wild wheat. Once man was able to harvest the seed and make bread, he changed from a hunter/gatherer to a farmer, and planted crops. He domesticated animals and bred them. Villages became towns, and towns became cities. Civilization was born.

Ages ago I watched a doco about grass; how resilient it is, and hardy. It's eaten, trodden on, crapped on, mowed, burned in bushfires and yet it survives, even thrives. Amazing innit... the sun feeds the plants through photosynthesis, and the plants feed the animals who in turn feed us.

Just back from a chat with Averil. She phoned the other day wondering where the hell I've been! I've been making movies, darling. Anyway, she's okay. She thinks it's good that I'm doing interesting things despite the cancer biz. Some people fall in a heap and become maudlin but I don't see the point in that. It's like Jack Thompson (the actor) said when he quoted his father, the crowning glory of life is the here and now. And we're here. Anyway, while I was at Av's I gave her a heap of that bolognaise I made the other day, together with a stack of parmesan, so she's happy. I made way too much for just lil ole me.

Speaking of names.... Were we? Oh... well we are now. Here's the trouble you can get into when you're looking for Mr Ponting of Ponting Punting.

Spent a bit of time searching for the stills I used in Taree Tour... those from years ago on my external back-up drive. The rest should be easier to find, and I'll get those later. They're all going into a new folder which will make them easy to access. And once they're all there, I'll downsize them. This is all TX Greg's idea ya know. He's the bossy type. By the way, Greg, when I wanna create a new folder in WMM, how do I do that? Anyway, once all the stills are downsized, then I'll rejig the Taree movie, add the new voice over, save it, and upload it to Youtube for the clamoring hoards hehe. I should be famous ya know. I can't understand why I'm not. If I were, I'd have a monster garage full of collectable cars, a massive house with servants, a giant swimming pool overlooking Sydney Harbor, and god knows what else. On the other hand, if I had all that, I wouldn't be driving a $2000 20yo ute, I wouldn't be living in Taree, I wouldn't have a 30yo camper sitting in the drive, and I'd probably be as boring as batshit. So maybe I'm better off being a poor unknown. It's true ya know. The Bible says rich and famous people can't fit through the eye of a needle. Now fancy going through life without being able to fit through the eye of a needle. That would be terrible.

You see? People like me can write a whole load of codswallop and it dozen madder. If I were rich and famous and wrote all that nonsense, it would be splashed across tomorrow's front pages. Hehe. GARY KELLY SUFFERS MENTAL BREAKDOWN. But nobody cares about me cos I drive a 20yo ute. Oh well... at least I've got character and I can fit through the eye of a needle.

It's something past the hour of five, and time to post my bit for the day. And being Monday, the regular TV programs are back. I like to watch THE DRUM on ABC News 24. It's a program that features a group of journalists, politicians and other notables discussing the day's events. It gets pretty lively and I like that. Gary

June 17, 2012. Is this kid a whizz or what? The vid of the steam loco is being uploaded to Youtube as I write this, and I think it turned out pretty good. I couldn't wait to start editing the footage so I spent 2.5 hours last night putting the first 7.5 minutes together, and edited the rest this morning. It runs 13.5 minutes. No probs with saving it to wmv either. It all went very smoothly. Cecil B de Kelly, that's me.

There's a scene where the conductor leans in to our booth to check tickets. I was a bit late getting the camera organized but managed to get him handing my ticket back to me after he'd punched a hole in it. Nice little impromptu touch.

I must say that I really enjoy making movies. Stills are fine for landscapes and various pics of buildings, bridges, rivers, portraits, etc, but movies are much better for subject material that MOVES. So I'll be happy to do both on the Odyssey. Next, I'll try some tips TX Greg suggested for getting Taree Tour saved as a wmv but if they're unsuccessful, I'll have to go back and downsize all the stills. I used about half a dozen stills in the loco movie and downsized them beforehand, which worked a treat. Shooting 80+ action clips for the loco movie was no biggie. I shoot like an editor, keeping the clips fairly short, so it's pretty straightforward to join them all together (and edit out all the boring bits). All those years of writing scripts, attending shoots, and sitting for hours in edit suites has come in handy. I may not have had hands on experience in shooting footage or editing, but I observed enough to get the gist of what those guys were doing, and why.

It's taking a long time to upload the vid to Youtube though... 90 minutes or more. I think it's about 50MB or so.

TX Greg wrote: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY !!! Well I'm sure it's not the same as when Cody said it, but hope that was a surprise. And besides you are old enough to be my dad, hehe :)

Me, a father? Yeah, right. FatherLY maybe, but as far as I'm concerned kids are fine provided they're somebody else's. The oldies on the train yesterday were talking about computers and how useful they are. But they also bitched about all the problems they encounter, and the frustrations involved. Some of them had grandkids. "I ask my grandson to help me with a problem and he goes click, click, click, 'there ya go', and dashes out of the room while I'm going 'hang on, hang on, what the hell did you do'?" Hehe.

However, NCArt and Ohio Jace are fathers, so HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

It's another stunning day weatherwise, sunny and about 20C. I should be out there shooting another movie! But what? And where? I'll think of something. The little Fuji S1800 doesn't shoot High Definition but it's not bad. It also has an 18x zoom which you can use while shooting but, if you do, the motor makes a bloody racket. Best to zoom before filming. I'm thinking I might take a trip to Old Bar or some other beachside town and do something on surfing. Even though it's winter, surfers still surf.

Yes, there's something very satisfying about making movies... kinda like writing a book. It's permanent. You can get lucky with taking a still shot of something, but that kinda pot luck doesn't apply to shooting a movie or writing a book. There's quite a lot of work involved, and when it all turns out to be a job well done, you feel a great sense of accomplishment.

I remember well the days I sat in edit suites (raiding the company fridge, of course) and watched the editor at his desk. Those guys live on fast food. Their focus is so intense, they can't leave the desk to eat a proper meal. They grab a slice of pizza or a sandwich or whatever, shove it in their mouth, and continue working. In fact, it was the Earl of Sandwich who loved playing cards so much he invented the sandwich because he couldn't abide being interrupted during his card playing sessions. I was like that last night when editing. It was dinner time and I settled for a bottle of high-protein something or other so that I could continue working. Writing is the same. Can't let anything get in the way of one's train of thought.

I recall Cody telling me about doing his homework in his room while listening to music. How he concentrated on his books and listened to Just Jinger (pron Ginger, and now known as Just Jinjer)) at the same time is beyond me. In fact, if I listen to music, that's it. I'm literally all ears.

So, ladies and genitals, you can expect lots more vids from uncle G. I can't understand why I wasn't doing more vids years ago but I guess it's better late than never. I suspect it has something to do with my natural fear of trying anything new... which is strange because almost everything I've done in my life has been the result of jumping in at the deep end. Certainly, I'll do one of the new Ute and camper when the new Ute arrives. Pity I didn't do one of Tough Titties. Even more's the pity all this digital technology wasn't around when I bought my first car! Kids today have no excuse not to preserve memories of their lives for posterity.

So there ya go, a fruitful weekend after all. And now it's time to post this Waffle, think about what I'll have for dinner, and watch at bit of TV. How To Grow A Planet is on tonight. It's a great show about the significance of plant life on Earth and how every living thing depends on it. Just ask anyone who smokes dope. Hehe. Sorry 'bout that. Just popped in. Once upon a toime, all plant life was green. Noice but a bit boring. So plants evolved color. Matter of fact, the English couple on board the 3237 loco yesterday said they'd spent a month or so camping in Australia's outback desert country. If you choose the right time of year, after good rain (it happens sometimes), the wildflowers are prolific... a magic carpet as far as the eye can see. Now that would be something to witness! I'll set the camera up on a tripod and do a vid of me leaping through endless fields of rainbow colors. Gary

June 16, 2012. Back! I've had a quick look through all the footage and I'm pleased with what I shot. There are about 90 clips and a couple of stills. But not once did the engineer blow the damn whistle! We also broke down at one point... a problem with an axle bearing, so that'll put paid to any more steam trips this weekend. I'm lucky to have booked the first one. There was a diesel loco at the ass end so it pulled us back to Taree.

We also had to pull over to a siding to wait for the XPT to pass on its way to Sydney, so we were stuck out in the sticks for about an hour. I shared a booth with 5 talkative and jovial people so we managed to pass the time okay. There was an English couple in their '80s, a retired pilot, an arty type of bloke who lives at Tinonee (a small country village just outside Taree), a retired Italian and me. The English couple and the Italian have been living in Oz since the '50s. When I first arrived at the booth, before we left Taree, I poked my head in and said, "Oh, no, I'm in a booth with a bunch of old blokes." They all looked at me and said, "Whaddaya think YOU are!" Hehe.

Ours was carriage #1 but it was at the tail end, so I got more wind noise than loco noise. Still and all, I shot some decent footage, especially on the platform before the journey began. There were a million people, most with cameras, but the commotion added to the atmosphere. At one stage I stood on a bench (despite the wobbly legs) and shot over the top of the crowd. On board the train, I knelt on the hard floor and did several shoots leaning outside an open window (bit hard to lean outside a closed one). When I stood up again, it was a real struggle and I had to hang onto the window sill. I ain't getting any younger ya know. But it was all worth it.

And what can I hear now that I'm home? THE BLOODY WHISTLE. Thanks very much, Mr Engineer.

It's mid afternoon and too late to finish the movie today. It's a pretty big job, actually, with over 80 clips to edit and sort, so I'll spend most of tomorrow doing that. I think it should turn out pretty well. As to footage of the loco racing along, shot from outside at railway crossings and other vantage points, forget it. The train will need its axle bearing repaired before it goes on any more lengthy trips. One of the passengers in my booth said it'll be done at an engineering workshop here in Taree.

TX Greg wrote with another idea that might save the Taree Tour movie but I haven't tried it yet. Gotta re-do the voice over first. But I'm itching to put the steam train vid together before I do anything else.

NC Art wrote: No apologies needed. As the Jamie story progressed my skeptic antenna began to quiver a bit, but what the hell; I wanted the tale to be true. We are often victims of our need to believe that a speck of  sulfur colored dust is pure gold. Actually, the mako photo looked rather too good, eh? So, Wingnut is still one of a kind.

Very true. When we want to believe something badly enough, we tend not to let the facts get in the way of a good story. That's why religion is so successful. And I like the way Art pointed out that Wingnut is still one of a kind. I'll drink to that.

Steve W commented: Being a fisherman I must admit that I was sceptical about the picture ………a shark that size being "poked to death" by dolphins, yeah right. And secondly the damage and blood around the sharks jaws, would indicate being caught by hook and line as apposed to a fatal "poking"!

But back to the Taree Tour vid, one of these days I might put all the stills I used into one folder and downsize them. Then I'll replace all the large stills in the vid with the downsized ones. It's a fairly time consuming job but... well... Anyway, that's a project for another day. In the interim, I hope I don't encounter any more WMM probs with the steam train vid. That would be the last straw! Gary

June 15, 2012. Well, well, well. Here's a pic of a mako shark taken in 2004 that looks suspiciously like the pic Jamie sent yesterday... the one he said he had to send asap. And the pic of the pod of dolphins surfing a wave? That goes back to 2003 (scroll down to almost the bottom of the page).

I've been had, folks. Sooner or later, liars bring themselves undone. Two of Waffle's readers became suspicious of Jamie's claims and did a little investigating. So I think we can forget all about the 13 y/o who claims to be the Grommet from Maui. Am I annoyed? Nah. It's his problem, not mine. I'm just a little embarrassed about telling NC Art that I can read email text like some people read body language, and that I can spot a fraud in just a sentence or two. Hehe. Oh well...

Remember Luke? He was a prolific liar. One time he admitted that he told so many lies he'd forget them, and couldn't remember what he had said. I think there's an old saying about lying... that if you wanna be a good liar you need a good memory.

Meanwhile, it seems like I'm stuck with my problem of saving Taree Tour as a wmv file, which means it won't see the light of day on Youtube. Not all is lost, though. At least I've learned how to put a movie together... shooting all the footage and editing the whole thing, using various transitions and effects, and adding a voice over. It's a skill that will come in handy... in fact, it'll come in handy tomorrow when I ride the steam train. I know now that any stills I use need to be downsized before being included in the storyboard. And I've learned how valuable the monopod is when shooting action to minimize shake. A couple of weeks ago I knew bugger all about putting a "proper" movie together. Now I'm streets ahead. Mind you, Windows Movie Maker is a basic program that produces basic movies, but it's good enough for my purposes. Or should I say current purposes?

Awesome weather today... bright sunshine and 21C, which is pretty good for June and early winter. I had a quick look at used Utes for sale on Gumtree and there are quite a few in my price bracket. I'm not quite ready yet but it's good to know there are plenty to choose from. I'm kinda booked up to at least the end of July with medical stuff so maybe August/September I'll be ready to think about a new Ute. No point in getting impatient at this stage. Oh... and there's the dental stuff. Not sure when that'll happen or how long it'll take. But I think it's fair to say that 2013 will be the Year of the Odyssey. G'daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Astraaaaaylya!

Gary just ate a banana. What's so great about Gary eating a banana? Last time I tried to eat a banana it was a bloody struggle. So there! They were cheap too. A hand of six for just two bucks. And I bought some fruit yoghurt as well to keep me healthy... 4 tubs for $3. And also some shredded parmesan cheese for the bolognaise I'm having AGAIN for din dins. Yeah... din dins and beddy byes and wee wees... even without a dog I talk weird.

One more sleep before my ride on the choo choo. I'm really looking forward to shooting the movie. Got a fresh set of recharged batteries in the camera, and another set spare. The forecast is for "rain developing" but I'm taking the early trip. I'll also make an effort to shoot extra footage of the train during its later trips from outside vantage points along the route. There are plenty of them at a number of railway crossings. Hello? I just heard a steam loco whistle! It must be arriving in Taree tonight and staying over. When I was a kid, I heard those whistles all the time cos I lived only a few miles from Enfield marshalling yards. Steam locos were no big deal during the 50s and 60s but they sure are now. Kids absolutely love 'em. Yep, there goes the whistle again. And again. Casey Jones is back in town.

BTW, no more probs with line dropouts since switching over to wireless broadband a few weeks ago. No worries about usage either. I used 11% of my plan last month (mid month to mid month) and only 1% this month so far. 

It's THAT time again, but it's not been the most fruitful of days... except for Jamie's exposure as a fraud, I suppose, thanks to my two intrepid Sherlocks. Anyway, I'm glad I'm me and not him. Apologies to NC Art, Oregon Richie, SF Bill and others, including me, who were sucked in. Gary

June 14, 2012. Jamie wrote: My friends and I had a close call yesterday.  We were out surfing and a big pod of dolphins suddenly surround us.  Adam and I said "damn dolphins," and rode on in.  Then the life guard, put out the black flag.  I ran up to him to complain that he shouldn't close the beach because of a few dolphins. Then he showed me maybe three large shark fins in the water, in the surf, thrashing on what later came to be a dead adult mako.  The scientist thinks it was killed by the pod of dolphins.   There were few teeth marks on it, just a lot of indentations (as if from the snout of a dolphin).  After UH (University of Hawaii) took the dead shark out of the water, both the other sharks and the dolphins disappeared. Now I think the dolphins saved our lives.  While all this happened UH was studying sharks around the point of Maui where we were surfing. Mom freaked out.  I can't surf for the rest of the day.  I included a pic of the Mako.

Do you think Jamie's mom over-reacted a bit? Hehe. Kids have no fear.

Meanwhile, TX Greg is trying to figure out what's causing my problem with trying to save the movie so that I can upload it to Youtube. He thinks part of the problem is that I didn't downsize the stills I used... dozens of them at 3 to 4MB each. So there's something else I've learned (after the event). I hope I don't have to do that now because those pics came from all over the place in different folders and it would take forever to find them all again and downsize them. Some are shots I took years ago.

Until this movie project came along, I hadn't worried too much about the swollen tongue and speech problems. It was an inconvenience I could tolerate. But after having recorded the voice over for the movie, I now realize just how important my voice is to me. It's an integral part of my independence as a movie maker. The one man band trick. But to make the situation even worse, during the coming months all my teeth will be removed and I'll be fitted with a set of dentures. Hehe. Dammit. How the hell I'll ever get my voice back to pro standard I'll never know. What a pain!

I guess some would say I should be thankful I'm still alive. But there's not much point in being alive if you can't do anything.

We've had a fair bit of rain lately, with more to come. So I just checked the interior of the camper. Dryzabone, which is good.

Well, well, well, guess what's happening in Taree this weekend? I just had a look at the Council's events page. I shot stills of the train the last time it was in town, and also did a short movie from the station platform. Maybe this time I should do a movie of the trip itself. Mind you, there'll be a million other photographers there, creating havoc and getting in the way of my lens. People armed with a camera forget that there are other people around them. Last time, I was filming the loco when a bloke stood right in front of my camera, blocking out the whole scene. The bloody drongo was totally oblivious to my presence. Grrrrr.

Okies, back from getting my ticket for the 9:40am ride on the steam train, Saturday. I'm in carriage #1 right behind the loco. The train is almost fully booked which will be good for some shots, but perhaps a bit hectic for others. There are two more trips scheduled for Saturday and more on Sunday so I can go back to the station for pick ups if need be... especially arrivals and departures... maybe even some shots from various vantage points along the route.

TX Greg tells me that I'm not the only one having probs with movie maker crashing. He checked out a forum specific to the prob I'm having and it's had 30,000 plus hits already. That's a lotta pissed off peeps! Anyway, I'll press on regardless. During all the crashing and whatever, the voice over disappeared so I'll have to record it again. No biggie. At least all the vision is still there.

I rather like that little Olympus voice recorder. You've probably seen similar ones being shoved into people's faces at impromptu outdoor press conferences. Mine's about 1" wide, 1/2" deep, and 3" long. Ain't digital kiff? I also have a Sony cassette voice recorder and it's as big as a fridge by comparison.

And here we are again at almost 6pm and the sun has set. Actually, it hasn't set at all. This bloody planet keeps rolling around like a drunken sailor. I hope I can tidy up a few things tomorrow. I hate loose ends. But I suppose all the crap I've been through with the Taree Tour movie will stand me in good stead when I shoot the steam engine on the weekend. I'll use natural sound on that one. No voice over. Lots of whistles and steam and chugs and choofs. Fancy that... $20 for a ticket to go nowhere hehe...Wingham, Killawarra and back to Taree. 'Till then... hooroo. Gary

June 13, 2012. Figured out how to do the voice over bit... record each paragraph individually and save it to a separate file. Then place each file along the timeline to sync in with the vision. Too easy. Didn't solve the prob with the swollen tongue though, and me sounding like some dude on his deathbed. 

But then, when the project was finished and ready to save as a wmv file to upload to Youtube, movie maker crashed. I tried it again and it crashed again. Then again. Help said it was to do with a program that protects the execution of certain tasks in order to prevent the house from falling down and to ward against swarms of mosquitoes spreading malaria. I tried to change the protection thing but was overruled by a bunch of techno babble. So I emailed TX Greg. And here I sit, fuming and cursing because I was so close to finishing the project before this happened. I've spent weeks putting all the various elements of this thing together. And I'm stressed to hell.

Jamie's been keeping me busy answering his email as well. I feel responsible because he's confiding in me, and it would be unforgivable to ignore him... or tell him I'm too busy with other things or whatever. When he told me his mother freaked after he dyed his hair orange, I mentioned that I once owned an orange Super Bug. He had no idea what it was so he Googled it. Hehe. He was amazed that I actually drove one of those things. I promised him I would read two of his essays and I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Jamie's a twin. I asked him if he and his bro were identical, or if his bro was the ugly one. Of course my brother is the ugly one.  But we are identical.  I was born six minutes ahead of him.  I love my brother.  Usually he's the last person I say goodnight to.  He's straight as they come, but we've always slept together.  He has a girlfriend already.  I mean he will hold my time trial banners in the pouring rain when I race in the triathlons and root me on and never complain. I like my brother a lot.  Besides we're always getting each other out of trouble.  One time he took my test for me so I'd pass.

He has two brothers, one older. One plays piano and the other the violin. Jamie plays piano as well. We are all musical some way.  I play piano too.  Mom pays for the lessons and I have to do it.  Oh well.  My brothers are really good and love it. His dad sent him to karate classes to toughen him up. But one day he was late in arriving to take him home. That's when Jamie saw the ballet classes going on in the same building, and decided to join in. Hehe. Never a dull moment with that kid.

He sent me another pic this morning: I wanted to get this photo to you asap.  It was a bang out day in the surf with company!!!


I've seen pics of surfers and dolphins before, but never with THAT many dophins! What an amazing sight.

I've met him--the real Liam Neeson--and he's a great guy.  He was filming a movie here.  I'm always walking on movie sets.  They know me and no one bothers me.  I was born here so I'm Hawaiian.  Just a light skin Hawaiian.  I like showing off and goofing around and becasuse of that I've been an extra before.  One man--who liked combing my hair a lot--was a casting director and put me in the new Hawaii Five-O.  I had to swim in a pool.

Yeah... just another day in the life of Jamie the Grom. There's a lotta stuff I don't paste here cos it's a bit too personal... stuff about his folks and friends, etc. He's a very bright kid, which is not surprising. His dad is a scientist and his mom is a pharmacist. I must admit, Jamie's life has oodles of material for a story. My imagination is already brimming with scenarios that involve him and Wingnut. But time is the prob. And once I'm on the road, there'll be even less of it.

Ohio Jace wrote again after he wrote the other day and sent the link to the crash vid on Youtube. All the gang is well and getting up to their usual tricks. One of the littlies, Ryan, just turned 1 and celebrated his birthday by "wearing" half the birthday cake. Hehe. Grandma intended to save that part, it had his name and age. Ryan had other ideas, he is very mobile now and climbs everything. Attempting to get onto the table he fell face first into the cake. Code and Stevie are about to celebrate b-days too and are just as ornery as ever.

NC Art has been intrigued by my Jamie reports, and was a little suspicious at first. Jamie sounds too good to be true. Ballet, karate, surfer. But actually not a surprising combo expression of talent. All require suppleness, hair trigger reflexes, balance, etc., and a shitload of practice. Dedication maybe too. Tell him I think he's cute. That said, my old newsman's skepticism gave me a twinge. He's too good, writes too expressively for a grommet--a trait I sometimes questioned in reading purported missives from Cody, Wingnut, et al. all wrote with an abundance of wit, awareness and depth of experience most teeners lack. Add skill too. So, did you manufacture Jamie?

Nope. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I could never in a million years have invented Cody, Mark, Steve, Wingnut or any of those guys and their shenanigans. And the same goes for Jamie. He's as real as you and me. I'm always suspicious of young guys who write me, and say they're huge fans of the stories. I can read email text like some people read body language or eyes. It only takes a few words for me to instinctively know whether someone is genuine or not. Jamie is a bright kid, for sure. But's he's still a kid. I suppose there's always a chance of him not being who he says he is, but I very much doubt it.

Anyway, Art had second thoughts, and goes on to say: I need to modify my musings on what kids know and can do. Far from what I experienced at that age--and even the culture you grew up in according to your own account. This wide open information age didn't just happen with the Internet, but kids were better prepared for it than their elders. In my teens there was a lot of talking about sex, but most of it was ignorant talk. [Wingnut badgering Cody about how "it feels to....]
    Homosexuality was barely mentioned except to call some dude a cocksucker as an insult. Two guys I thought were gay actually were. And one I just knew was straight was not as I discovered later. Cody was right about labels! Boasting about screwing the gals was mostly that. The ones in high school who had steady bed partners never mentioned it. Erotic stories and poems were circulated, but it sure as hell lacked literary polish.
    Now, I find that teens are more savvy and confident than I was--even from observing farm animals at their reproductive games. And today's kids aren't a bit reluctant to express themselves clearly because the culture permits it. And that's better by a ton than it was way back when. What we thought were "no-nos" are open and ordinary topics now. Oddly, occasional sex contacts between boys were not unusual and "circle jerks" were just innocent pastimes. One of my friends had oral and anal sex with a guy I didn't know, but he mentioned it once when we were 11 and I didn't care one way or another. Remember, I grew up in an orphanage environment where boys and girls were kept as far apart as possible. I expect the gals got up to--or down to--their own games.
    So, Jamie could very well be light years ahead of my old mental stereotype. Hell, I believed--for about a week maybe--that masturbation would make you insane or at least grow hair in the preferred palm. Keep us posted on Jamie's Journey and keep him writing. Sounds like a good story!

Before he came out to his parents, Jamie said he watched tons of vids on Youtube on the subject. So he was very aware of what he might expect from his own folks. Education and research is just a click away these days. Jamie also has lots of older friends in the surfing fraternity, some of them quite famous and worldly... guys who travel the globe on a regular basis. BTW, Jamie is due in Sydney soon for the world surfing champs. So he's not naive like I was at his age. And he has fossils like me to confide in. Hehe. I enjoy "chatting" with Jamie. He's a constant source of amusement (if not astonishment). For example, this is what he wrote about dying his hair orange: My brother suggested I dye my hair because it turned light greenish because of our pool water and I swim so much.  I did it without telling my parents.  Bad idea!  But it was a good idea too because I never had to ask permission ever again to freak out my hair.  It's been Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Black, Yellow, and multi Pride color before I came out.  Weird they never figured it out.

Now how on earth would I find a kid like that lurking somewhere in my imagination? No way, Jose. I think Cody musta sent him.

Well, thanks to the Jamie diversion, I think I've calmed down after all the earlier drama with movie maker crashing and ruining my day. I can't begin to tell you how pissed off I was. So close and yet so far. Hopefully, TX Greg will email me and give me SIMPLE instructions on how to solve the prob. At the same time, I'm happy with the progress I've made so far. In a few short weeks I've mastered quite a few skills in relation to shooting and editing, and I'll be interested to hear your comments about those things. It's no masterpiece, and the subject material ain't all that thrilling, but it's the mechanical aspects of putting the whole thing together that interests me at the mo. Just being able to DO it... voice over notwithstanding. Notwithstanding is an Oregon Richie word. He's very formal.

And here we are at posting time again, soon to be followed by din dins and a bit of telly. Fair dinkum, I've hardly had time to scratch myself lately. Actually, I better read Jamie's essays or I'll be in deep poo. Kids can be soooo demanding! Gary

June 12, 2012. So who's a bloody drongo then? ME! I had TX Greg and the Movie Maker forum trying to help me with my audio prob but I finally discovered a volume control I hadn't noticed before, and when I clicked on it, the volume slider was set to zero. Hehe. So that's fixed. I spent today fine tuning the vision and voice over script so that everything SHOULD be in sync when I re-record the VO tomorrow.

So who does ballet? Jamie. But before you jump to conclusions, he also does karate, and is a green belt. He writes well too. He sent me a short story he wrote for class. The kid's bristling with talent. He came out to his folks last night (my time). He was in tears. His folks were in tears. But it all ended okay. His dad said: ...any moron can be a father or a mother.  Very few can be a Mom or Dad.  I have the coolest parents.

So it all sounds pretty cool. Jamie wrote again today after things had calmed down a bit: So Mom and Dad.  Well they cried.  Not surprised but glad that I was able to tell them.  I was really scared and cried.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I wasn't worried about Dad.  Me and him are close.  I mean he and I are close.  But Mom was another thing.  She is stubborn a bit.  When i died my hair flaming red in Grade 7 she freaked.  She asked me if I was gay or something.  I said 'something'.  Ha Ha.  That was a long time ago.

Yeah, right... a long time ago... now he's in grade 8. Hehe.

They asked "Are you sexually active?"  Shit I hate that question.  I asked Dad if he made intercourse with Mom this week.  NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!! he said.  And then he was quiet. What was really weird about my parents is that they were not only supporting me but not worried about me.  I read a lot about coming out.  I watched a ton of YouTube vids about it too.  But my parents acted like I just told them that my favorite color was orange and not blue.  Btw, it is orange.  So you see I got really weirded out. Mom says I am still her little boy--just with fashion sense.

So there ya go. I can't believe this kid has just rocked into my life outta the blue. He blows me away. BTW, he says his pics are all over the net because he does pretty well in surfing comps, and there are always people around with cameras. So he's not fazed by that any more. Besides, he has oodles of local surfer buds who keep an eye on him, and who would seriously rearrange anyone who tried to mess with their fav grom.

NC Art wrote to remind me that email relationships with grommets are tenuous, which is true. Kids can change like the weather, and move onto new interests at the drop of a hat. But that's okay. It's happened before and it'll happen again. The thing is, enjoy it while it lasts. Art also suggested I get someone else to do the voice over on the vid. I thought of that too, but it wouldn't be the same. Putting this whole thing together myself is part of my piss off the cancer therapy.

Anyway, it's been another full-on day but at least I got the audio probs sorted out, and maybe I'll be able to upload the Taree Tour vid to Youtube tomorrow. Oh yes... I know what you're thinking... how did the bolognaise with all the tomatoes and mushies and onion and garlic go? Pretty damn good. I'll have some more tonight. The stuff I make is always better than store bought. Gary

June 11, 2012. This swollen tongue and stiff jaw biz is driving me crazy. I recorded the voice over for the movie this morning and it's terrible... makes me sound bloody ancient hehe, and a lot of the words are almost incomprehensible. But I was gonna use it anyway when there was a prob. The wav file has no sound. It does when I play it by itself by clicking the file, but when it's imported into the audio track of movie maker I can't hear a thing! I know the speakers and volume are working okay because I can hear the audio on the video clips (before I mute it).  I buggerized around with Help and articles on the Forum but couldn't find anything specfically related to my prob. It's soooo frustrating! So I decided to be patient (not my style) and join the Movie Maker Forum. Then I posted a new thread. Hopefully, I'll get an answer soon.

Jamie the Grommet wrote again. It was quite a long email. Some of his surfer buds are famous, like world champ Tom Curren. Jamie wants me to write more Wingnut stories, like The Winger Meets Jamie hehe. But I dunno if I could get motivated. Besides, I have a bunch of other stuff that occupies all my time these days. However, I have to admit that Jamie sure leads a pretty exciting life, and one that would undoubtedly intrigue Winger. Check out the grommet doing his thing in Maui.


He's 13 now but has been riding since he was 5. Here's another one.

Pretty impressive, huh? Can you imagine Cody and Wingnut raving about those shots? It's a sobering thought to think that Jamie was 2 when Cody was killed. By the same token, Jamie has now become a fan of Wingnut by reading his story. In fact, Jamie writes: Oh, and by the way all my friends have read your story too.  Actually I read it to them. Every once in a while we would build a fire on the beach. We made a fire and I read your story on my iPad.  Gotta tell you there was a lot of closeness.  But we would read it and talk a lot about the surfing and stuff.  It was great.  Some of my friends read more of your stories themselves. Jamie sent a couple of shots of him in the Green Room as well. BTW, he addressed his email G'day Mr Gary. Hehe.

TX Greg wrote: Now how can you say the stories are getting "long in the tooth". And the bible is how may years old, hehe. The stories will live on in cyber space for many to enjoy long after we're gone.

On the subject of the Gary Kelly logo, Greg said: What would Cody have called it? That's too easy "Fossil Films" hehe :) Hmm a simple G under the hat, that really doesn't tell peeps much. Yea you need to toss that around some.

Yeah, well that's what happens when you're a modest, unassuming shrinking violet like myself. I think the G under the hat is cool hehe. Kinda understated. Come to think of it, I rather like Fossil Fillums hehe... that's the kinda thing a dottery old bloke would say.

Greg also mentioned Ohio Jace's accident: WOW, I was thinking about Ohio Jace the other day, and that I hadn't read anything on the waffle from them. Glad all is ok.

Well, the truck's not too flash after having been slightly remodelled but the folks are fine, albeit a bit shook up. A mate of mine was in an accident where the car flipped. He said his initial reaction was like you could press rewind and go back to where you were before. Like it never really happened.

Meanwhile, this soundtrack to the video has got me pissed off big time... for two reasons. 1) I can't talk properly and 2) there's a technical problem. Patience has never been one of my virtues, I can tellya. Grrrrr. I can hear my voice in my head like it used to be, and I'm finding it almost impossible to comprehend why it won't come out of my mouth like that. I mean, I KNOW why but that doesn't help. I want the damn thing fixed, and I want it fixed NOW. It's bad enough when machines won't do what they're told, but when my body doesn't do what I tell it to, that's even worse!

Now there's an opportunity for NC Art to comment if ever there was one.

Oh  yes... last night's sausage rolls. Well, they tasted good (at least the one I managed to get through did) but it was like trying to eat Spackle (putty filler for walls). I don't produce enough saliva and the pastry sticks to the roof of my mouth. Dammit. So today I made some bolognaise with ground veal and lots of onion, tomato and mushrooms. And a couple of bay leaves thrown in. It's very wet so I shouldn't have any trouble tossing it down the screech. I'll pass on the pasta... just the bol will do. I made a stack so I'll have plenty for later.

Okies, time to vamoose... or skiff, as Jamie says. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring some answers to the video probs. Gary

June 10, 2012. Wingnut has a new fan. He's 13 with a blond mop and whacky sense of humor, is built like a pretzel, lives in Maui, has an "older" bf, and loves to surf. Amazing innit? After all these years, along comes Jamie. I have a boyfriend and he's in the 11th so your story was OMG head on!  We are a lot like that. But I'm not as brave as Wingnut. 

Yep, just when I'm beginning to think that the Cody/Kyle stories are getting a bit long in the tooth, along comes a grommet who says: I just want to tell you how much I love Wingnut.  I've been reading him all semester.

Got a bit of a shock this morning. Opened up Taree Tour and a lot of the pics were missing! Oh no! But then I realized I hadn't plugged in the external HD from which those pics were accessed... stuff from '08. I'll shoot the remaining pick ups today and that should be it. The vid will be about 5' 30" in length. It's amazing how much you can fit into 5 minutes, using short clips and stills. Even so, it takes a lot of effort to shoot all that stuff and edit it together. Still not sure how the voice over will go... I sound like I've got a sock in my mouth, and it's difficult to pronouce certain words properly. I also have to speak quite slowly. With a bit of luck, the finished vid will be ready to upload to Youtube by tomorrow.

Another full on day. It's almost 5pm and the vid is now about 8 mins. So much for five and a half. It'll probably go 9. There's a stack of stuff in it, which explains why I had to do so many shoots, and a lot of the shots are barely 3 seconds on screen hehe. I also spent a heap of time looking for old stuff on the external HD. The laptop has been working overtime and almost grinds to a halt by the end of the day. Programs (ACDSee and Movie Maker) keep crashing. Also, I'm still worried about my voice over. I sound like I'm about 110. Oh well...

And now to something far more dramatic. I hadn't heard from Ohio Jace in quite a while and was wondering how he and the Ohio gang were going. I found out today. He, his brother and nephew were returning home from the Motocross races when this happened. Check out the vid before you read any further.

Needless to say I lost my truck, but everyone survived with just bumps and bruises. The peeps following said they thought the worst, and never expected anyone to crawl out of the vehicle, when the truck flipped after hitting the guardrail, going airborne (flip), landing atop the guardrail, and rolling over, ending up on the roof with us hanging upside down in the seat belts. Fortunately, the truck fell back onto the highway instead of going over the embankment. Last thing I remember is being slapped in the face by the airbag (initial impact with the guardrail) and then my nephew trying to release my belt.

From the look of the passenger side it also slide some distance on its side.

The little guy was taken to the hospital to be checked out with grandpa going along in the ambulance. I had to ride in the back of a police car to the hospital an hour or so later (very uncomfortable seats). Tried to get hold of my nephew who was about five minutes ahead of us, but no one had his new cell number so.... He got all the way home, then began to worry when we did not show up. Eventually, the hospital called and woke my brother-in-law to contact my nephew.

That was the best vehicle I have ever owned. Eleven years old and it still had the original battery.

I'm sure fellow Wafflers are thinking what I'm thinking... that no one was seriously hurt. Machines are easily replaced but people aren't, as we well know from Cody's experience. Thanks for letting me know, Jace, and I hope nothing like that ever happens again. Sheesh! So much for the quiet life in Ohio where nothing much ever happens. And bugger the original battery. That's the least of your worries.

TX Greg has been playing with graphics again... I love the hat idea... a stroke of genius, yes? Not sure about "Gary Kelly" though. I wonder what Cody would have called it... G Productions maybe... with the G under the hat? I dunno. Actually, I rather like the G under the hat as a stand alone logo. I'll have to take another pic of my hat and send it to Greg.

Meanwhile, I have a bit more editing to do, which I'll do tomorrow. Long weekend in Oz...Queen's Birthday. I should have the video fully edited by mid morning or so, and then I'll try the voice over. That's gonna be a giggle, for sure. But I'm pretty happy with the thing so far, and hope I haven't overdone the effects and transitions. It's just that I wanna keep the vision moving along so that it doesn't become boring.

Junk tonight... sausage rolls hehe. Zilch vitamins and fulla cholesterol. But I'm in the mood for rubbish. This movie making biz stresses the crap outta me cos there's soooo much to think about and do, and there's no room for error. Averil phoned earlier with "where the hell have you been?" Oh well, two weeks ago I was wondering how I'd survive the boredom of winter, and being in between utes, and having this DREARY cancer to deal with. Then the Cecil B thing hit me hehe. A bloke's gotta keep himself busy... and creative. Yeah? Oh... and productive.

So that's it for Sundee, dear Breth. Gary

June 9, 2012. D'ya reckon I've been busy today or what? It's after 5pm and I'm just back from shooting more footage for Taree Tour, after spending this morning adding another minute or more to the current edit. Star Wars ain't got nuthin on this production lemme tellya! And there's still more to shoot... but not all that much. By the time I got to do the shopping, the crowds had gone and some of the shops were closing for the day... so no interior shots.

As it happened, I was taking a few shots of the Sailing Club (no boats though, dammit) when I spotted a bloke and his dog. The bloke was being sensible, eating his take-away lunch on the grassy bank while the dog kept chasing a stick in the river. Dunno what the bloke's name was but the pooch is Macka.

Anyway, lots still to do, dear Breth, so I'd better get back to it. Seems I've inspired TX Greg to participate. He created a pretty impressive opening to the movie using a synthesized didgeridoo and a logo he created (plagiarized?).

Checkyas tomorrow! Gary

June 8, 2012. Lindsay and I have an arrangement... he's out for a couple of hours, and then it's my turn. I have to say that this Movie Maker thing could become a serious addiction. I find myself thinking up ideas for improvement all the time... adding a bit of this and that to the existing edit to make it work better. Just now I joined a bit of a vision I shot yesterday afternoon to something I shot two days ago and it worked really well... just like a real movie, folks! It's only a matter of time before I'm standing on the dias, accepting a Golden Globe ya know.

Years ago I was doing a voice over for a basketball video. The recording studio had a polished wooden floor. The audio guy didn't have any sound effects for a basketball court, so I got him to record me making squeaky noises on the floor with my Adidas sneakers. It worked a treat. I can't remember what it was now, but I watched a doco about the making of Harry Potter movies. The sound effects guy was talking about what they used to create the sound of something or other. It was an uninspiring item commonly found in the home. Imagination and adaptability, folks, that's what it's all about.

Anyway, today I hope to get all the shots I need to finish this movie. And the Olympus digital voice recorder? Piece of cake. I read the instructions, STAYED CALM, followed the procedures, and it's all too easy. Sort of. I've had the recorder for 4 or 5 years and never used it. Now where did I put the software disk? TX Greg referred rather disparagingly to my filing system the other day hehe. My stuff is in a million different places, and I can never remember where I put things. However, after a bit of searching (and profanity) I finally found the software. ... Okay... installed, so I'm all ready to rock and roll (provided my voice is up to scratch. This tongue is still a bit of a bother).

Once the movie is edited, I'll run it on screen and record the voice over as I watch the vision, so that I pause where appropriate, etc. That way, the voice should match the vision without further editing. I'll do test run or two to make sure. It's all happening, folks... or should be once I get this new footage in the bag. Music? Nah... too many copyright probs.

It's 5:30 now and I'm buggered after shooting a bunch more stuff and then returning home to edit another minute of the movie... so that's two minutes thirty so far. Very time consuming business ya know. AND FIDDLY! But I enjoy it. I still have a bit more stuff to shoot, including interior shots of the mall and shops, etc. I'll use the Fuji compact for that because it attracts less attention.

Anyway, it's time to turn on the telly and watch Planet America. It's an Aussie program that looks at the Presidential race from an Aussie perspective, and it's quite humorous and well as informative. Until next time.... hooroo! Gary

June 7, 2012. I did a bit of shooting this morning but only up the road... a couple of churches and the court house/police station. It's pay day and Lindsay has decided he needs a break from looking after Sue, so he's at the pub, which means I can't go anywhere because she shouldn't be left home alone. She has a new trick now... stuffing used toilet paper inside the cardboard tube. Charming. I had to remove the toilet roll holder from the wall months ago because she kept using it to lift herself off the toilet seat, and pulling it out of the wall. Maybe I can put it back now because she's got a frame with arms that sits over the toilet.

Anyway, looks like I'll have to wait until tomorrow to shoot more stuff. The movie's kinda stuck where it is until I do, although I did a little bit of fine tuning to the existing edit this morning. It's looking okay.

I wrote this to Richie this morning: I remember my days working in video edit suites, with lots of staff, banks of expensive machines, and tapes whizzing backwards and forwards. Now it can all be done using a PC. And no analogue... all digital. Bloody amazing.

Speaking of bloody amazing, TX Greg sent this link to a performance on America's Got Talent. Now there's a dude who won't have to hide his light under a bushell ever again. 

What's that sitting alongside me? Ooer! A bowl of chicken flavored noodles! Good... just in time for lunch. A 2:30pm lunch, that is. I have a little trick cos I can't suck the noodles between my lips very well. I roll some noodles around on a fork, then use scissors to snip off the long bits hehe. I saw a chef on telly doing that with bacon rashers as she drops them into a pan to cook. She does the same thing with spinach and other things that need to be roughly  chopped. Hello? I just heard the door. Guess who's home.

My little sponsored bloke in Nicaragua wrote a letter which I received today. He's going to pre-school now, and he says they all sing and have lots of fun each day. He thanked me for remembering his birthday, which was last January when he turned 3. And he hopes God is looking after me and my family. Isn't that sweet? World Vision does a sterling job of caring for poor communities around the world, and they're now focusing on Aussie Aborigines as well, especially those who live in outback communities. Australia is one of the richest countries in the world, and it's a national disgrace that we have some Aboriginal communities living in poverty.

Okay, since Lindsay's back home, albeit snoozing his silly head off, I decided to walk down to the corner and take some shots of the Martin Bridge and traffic. The wind is a bit chilly, though. Anyway, the Fuji S1800's days are numbered as a video camera. I tried a zoom across the river to one of the original houses in the area known as Twin Pines (for obvious reasons), but the focus takes a while to play catchup, and so does the exposure. No good. So a dedicated video camera is on the shopping list - one with a stabilizer. Not for a while though... got too many other things I need. Besides, I can make do with the S1800 in the meantime by keeping the shots fairly simple. Ben Hur will have to wait.

The forecast for tomorrow is looking pretty good so I'll shoot some more stuff then and hope that I haven't forgotten anything. With a bit of luck I'll have the movie finished by Sunday and ready to publish on Youchewb... provided I get the hang of the Olympus digital voice recorder and software. I hope I'm not raising anybody's expectations hehe. Yes, I'm hoping to do a good job with this thing but, after all, I am a newbie.

Well, time to get stuck into tonight's tucker, which is the same as last night's because I could only manage one small pie and half the mash, and watch a bit of telly. By the way, according to J who commented on Justin's blog about Andrew De Leon, the singer is a countertenor, which is a rare talent in classical music circles. Gary

June 6, 2012. It's been a good day for a change. I started to put the Taree Tour vid together using Windows Movie Maker this morning. It was a bit frustrating at first, but I eventually began to get the hang of it. I've edited about a minute and a half so far. I still have more shooting to do but that's okay. It's a project in progress so I can add stuff, delete stuff, and change stuff as I work on it over the coming week or so. There are a few continuity probs such as having a cloudy sky during one sequence and cloudless blue the next hehe. But I don't think I'll worry about such trivialities. I'm learning quite a bit about transitions, effects and other tricks, and also how to eliminate wind and other extraneous noises from the original footage.

Last night, I discovered a Windows Movie Maker forum and checked out some questions and answers there, so there's no shortage of help available. I'm pretty confident that I'll have this movie making thing in the bag before much longer. A couple of years ago I made a few vids, but they were pretty straightforward. This one has several components taken from a number of sources, and is more complex.

My next challenge is to learn how to use the Olympus digital voice recorder and software. Training this old fossil brain ain't that easy hehe. The damn things lose their suppleness and you've gotta massage them into being sufficiently pliable to learn new skills. However, the prospect of adding this new string to my bow is pretty exciting really. I'm sure it'll be a great asset to the Odyssey. As well as a great source of fun.

I heard on the radio news that deputy Al Qaida leader Abu Yahya al-Libi has been "eliminated" by an American drone flying over Pakistan. The Pakis are not amused as expected, but they really shouldn't have these terrorist types living in their own country. What's their excuse? Last year, it was Bin Laden himself. There are a couple of questions that need answers here: 1) Are the Pakis working in cahoots with Al Qaida? And 2) What gives Obama the right to target a suspected criminal and have him executed without access to a fair trial?

We live in a complex and dangerous world, dear Breth, and I'm glad I'm just sitting back watching the show. Who in his right mind would wanna be involved in all the drama of high finance, business and/or politics? All I wanna do is drive around Oz and take pics. A simple man pursuing a simple dream.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II, along with the rest of the UK, has been celebrating her Jubilee... only the second monarch in UK history to have reigned for 60 years. Betty's grandmother, Queen Victoria, was the first. Anyway, I watched much of the highlights on telly and it was a most spectacular show. Unfortunately, Prince Phillip became ill with a bladder infection and missed the last day of the four-day celebrations. I think the huge spectacle and its enormous coverage both in the UK and around the world will put any republican thoughts well and truly on the back burner for quite some time, including here in Oz. Betty and the rest of the Royal Family have never been more popular. There's certainly something to be said for "being British", and no one can deny Britain's influence on the world over the past few centuries... even more amazing to think that Britain's population at the height of the Empire was less than 20 million.

Well, ladies and genitals, tonight I'm gonna go downmarket and eat junk hehe. I haven't had a meat pie in ages, and there are a few frozen mini pies in the freezer. They've been there since before Christmas. So tonight I'll throw two in the oven and mix up some instant mashed potato, and smother it all with tomato sauce (ketchup). Not sure how I'll go with the pastry and chewing but there's one sure way to find out. Gary

June 5, 2012. Can't complain about the weather. Sunny and blue. But I can complain about the wind. It's a chilly wind from the south, and it's one of those winds that makes your eyes water and nose run. Not fun while you're trying to shoot scenes around Taree. Winds W/NW 25 to 35 km/h, reaching 45 km/h at times, tending S/SW up to 65 km/h in the S later in the evening. The wind plays havoc when shooting video because the mic picks it up. I checked set up to see if the mic could be turned off but no. You know those big furry wind socks camera crews use on their mics on outdoor location shoots? Go figure. Unlike me with my simple equipment, pro audio guys and cameramen use headphones so they can detect extraneous noise. During one pan of the Manning River and parkland, there was an ambulance siren but I didn't notice it at the time. Sheesh. Reminds me of those Hollywood directors: "All quiet on the set! *Pause* And..... ACTION!"

TX Greg wrote: Maybe you need one of those helmet cams, or would that be a fossil cam, hehe. Was watching some vids on youtube like youre trying to do. Lots of wind noise in most. Noticed some would come back and edit in a new audio track with music and or commentary.

I wonder how many German guys are named Helmut Cam? But yes, I thought about the helmet cam idea... strapping a compact camera to a baseball cap... but decided against it. Not a bad idea if you're a skier or a sky diver though. I saw the results of using one on a soldier's head in Afghanistan on telly last night. Doesn't work too well if the wearer is constantly looking to his left and right. Can you imagine me using one on a beach during a Surfing Carnival?

However, using the monopod made a huge difference. It's still difficult (if not impossible) to get a completely smooth sweep, but at least the monopod minimizes shake and wobble. 180s are also not easy because it's impossible to keep my eyes on the LCD monitor during the entire arc, so short pans will have to do. At least they're a change from stills. Also, the lightweight monopod is much easier to use and carry about than a tripod. When collapsed, it becomes a camera on a short stick.

I shot a mix of stills and vid today but noticed that the Fuji S1800's electronic viewfinder is not so easy to use. Also the quality of the stills is not as good as the Fuji S7000, which has an optical viewfinder. I could use the S7000 for both stills and vid but it doesn't allow use of the zoom during recording like the S1800 does. Trial and error is what they call it, ladies and genitals. Frustration.

Speaking of frustration, NC Art has had more than his fair share recently: Nicad or Alky batteries for a camera is about the only thing that did not frustrate me today...and yesterday. I ordered an update for a program which cleans registry errors. My card was charged but the program will not download and the buzzards won't answer my queries. Links will not open, etc. The company headquarters are in Corsica and their bank is in Cologne, Ger. And a squabble between Windows Explorer and Google has screwed up my computer right royally. Google is blocked from opening.
    Somewhere in all the setting changes, your blog got knocked out and hung up on May 31 post. Just got that unscrewed. Tried to re-install Google, but was told it's already on my system. Still won't open! There are assholes which need a large enema of boiling sulphuric acid.
    Speaking of the movies, my son came in steaming this arvie. He got climbed on by a big boss about wooden prop finishing that went all wrong. He does not enjoy being made the goat, so he told the guy that he knew it was bad work...but that he was overruled by a middle size boss and left them yelling at each other. Ah what we do for paychecks! Steve had the best job: just fetch and carry and stay out of sight every chance you get!

I haven't seen anyone use "arvie" since Cody and Steve.

Showers and wind will abate tomorrow according to the forecast so I'll return to my Cecil B impersonation on Thursday. Actually, I've read stories about shooting movies in outback Oz. Sometimes they've required a particular kind of sky or weather pattern for a scene and have had to wait weeks for the right setting. The thing about Taree that I'm quickly discovering, is that despite being a smallish country town there's a HELLUVA LOTTA walking to do if you want to photograph everything! And to think some of those shots will be on screen for maybe two seconds.

So far, this shooting business is like going to class for practical lessons and learning something new each day. Hehe. I hope it doesn't take too much longer. This morning, I wanted to take some stills of a building that was half in shade and half in sun. Way too much contrast to get a decent shot. It needed early morning sun. See what I mean? There's always SOMETHING.

Remember the lymphodema massage exercises I have to do daily on my neck and armpits? It's only been a week but there's some improvement already, which is encouraging. However, there's also a bit of stiffness in my neck and shoulders so I'm doing stretch exercises. 

I've often mentioned my friend Mieke from Western Oz and her photography. She's just won a prize in an Australian Geographic competition. Clever girl. I also favorited another of her shots this morning.

And that reminds me, I meant to try a pano of the Manning River this morning and forgot! And why didn't I do a pano the other week when I took all those sunset shots? Jeez I'm a bloody drongo.

And there goes another day of buggerizing around. A lesser man would quit. Hehe. But I'll press on. Gary

June 4, 2012. Lovely weather, almost summery, so I spent an hour or two shooting various scenes around Taree this morning. And then? Batteries went flat. They'd been in the camera for a while so, before I left the house, I changed them over to a freshly recharged set. Oops! The camera refused to operate so I figured the fresh set had had the sword and binned them. Later I realized it wasn't the batteries... it was the setting in the camera. One set is NiMH and the other is Alkaline. If the setting is not right, the batteries don't work. So now the "fresh" ones have been un-binned and are back in the camera. I bought a new set of NiMH batteries anyway.

Speaking of learning curves, I had another serious one this morning. I should have taken the monopod with me. All the shots had unacceptable shake and wobble, especially the pans. The audio is a bit confusing as well. When you get one shot with heavy traffic noise and another with birds singing, that could be a bit of a worry in a busy montage of several short clips. I'm not sure how much control I'll have over audio levels in Windows Movie Maker. I guess I'll find out the hard way. So much for being an instant expert. You know why those lists of credits at the end of a film are so long? And why it can take weeks or months to make a movie, even a short one? Audio, cinematography, editing, continuity, music, narration, script, lighting, etc, etc, etc? That'll be me, folks... the bloody lot!

Anyway, I'm determined to do it. It'll be a very useful skill once I get the hang of all the different roles. Now I realize how easy I had it when all I had to do back in my TV days was write the script hehe. In fact, when ever I went on a shoot with the crew, I'd be bored shitless, standing around like a spare prick at a wedding. Spending hours in an edit suite was even worse. Remember when Steve got a job as a gofer on a movie project? He was having the time of his life but he was DOING something.

Something else I learned this morning is that all shots don't need to be in movie mode. Stills are fine if the shot is only needed on screen for a few seconds. Conversely, I recorded the drive across Martin Bridge and realized that it's too bloody long. Once the shot is established, it can dissolve into a pan of the bridge or something. In the final edit I'll use a mix of action and stills. 

Soooooo, it's back to the drawing board. Well, not quite... I've learned a few valuable lessons. And if there's a perfect time to be going through all this bullshit, it's now while I'm in recuperative mode from the cancer treatment and between Utes. I've got plenty of time to spend on developing new skills. Furthermore, to be honest, despite the frustration of having made so many mistakes so far, I'm quite excited by the prospect of being able to put short movies together... and not just standups. Depending on how it goes, I might even invest in a dedicated video camera one day.

All of which reminds me... last night I watched a documentary about a woman who was diagnosed with cancer. She said her whole world as well as her attitude suddenly changed. Material things - possessions - lost their value. Suddenly she realized how precious life was... friends and family, etc. In my case, nothing has changed. I'm still doing what I was doing before the diagnosis and operation. I'm still babbling on about Aussie Odyssey. I have no thoughts of carking it before I get a chance to put it all together. Dying is not on my agenda. Hehe. Well, not yet. I wanna give NC Art a run for his money, and he's 86 and still going strong.

But this idea of learning how to put mini movies together all by myself is just another example of my determination to make this project work, and to make it worth doing, not only for my sake but for the sake of my audience. I love to entertain, and you can't entertain people if you're in a box lookin' at the lid. Well, Houdini did but that was different. So bugger the cancer. I've got things to do! Not to mention a few things to prove.

And now it's time to post this Waffle, send some macaroni and cheese down the screech, and watch a bit of telly. Gary

June 3, 2012. I didn't expect the electronics store to be open today, Sunday, but it was. I also didn't expect to be served by a charming young man, but I was. So I'm now the proud owner of a 4-port USB hub.

I've also been busy writing the Taree Tour script. I'm trying NOT to make it sound like a typical travelogue but I suppose it needs to include certain information that sounds a bit formal. Once I'm satisfied with the script, I'll use it to compile a shot list, then I'll attend to the various shoots. It's coming along quite well, actually, and taking shape. Yeah, I know... patience is a virtue. It's also a pain in the ass.

Meanwhile, here's a little surprise... a collection of 1930s Fords.

See what happens when you fiddle and fart around all day with scripts and albums and comments on Justin's blog? You get a short Waffle.

Did I tell you Sue's home from hospital? Yep... twice already when I've been desperate for a pee, she's been in the loo. And she takes forever. There was talk that she would spend time in rehab at a place in Wingham with hydrotherapy and that kinda thing, but the doc reckons she's unsuitable because of her memory problems and lack of mobility. Actually, I was surprised she remembered me when she arrived home. She even called me by name.

But back to loos, she has a frame thingy which sits over the loo that has handles and its own seat, to make sure she doesn't topple off the throne like she used to. It means Lindsay and I have to be a little more careful when we pee.

By the way, how are those $39 refurbed GPS gadgets going? Lemme check. Sold out! That didn't take long. Can't wait to try mine out.

And that's it, ladies and genitals. Time to attend to other matters. Checkyaz tomorrow. Gary

June 2, 2012. Well, late yesterday 20 of those refurbed GPS devices had been sold. This morning it's over 80, so I guess the word is getting around. I've only been in one car that had a GPS installed, and that was a taxi. It was in Sydney and I asked the driver to take me to the main entrance of Royal Prince Alfred hospital. He wasn't sure where the main entrance was (it's a huge complex) so he used the GPS. I was most impressed.

It would have come in handy during my first couple of visits to Port Macquarie hospital as well. I got lost a few times, and ended up in the middle of town. 

Here's something interesting I spotted on Red Bubble this morning. A bit of wildlife in the Oz countryside.

It's mid afternoon now. I'm tired of buggerizing around with that old modem so I've installed the wireless modem I bought last January for my spare netbook. Remember that? I was in Sydney at the time and my ex neighbor from Glebe delivered it to me in hospital. The landline connection is redundant now (and has been for several months) so I'll cancel it and stick with wireless. That'll save me $50 a month or something. The prob with this Toshiba is it only has 3 USB ports at the back and the wireless modem is too wide to allow its neighbor enough room. I'll have to get a USB hub.

I've also been thinking about the vid of Taree. Driving around in the car is not good enough. It has its problems including shake, focus and heading into the sun. So, I'm afraid I'll have to get off my lazy ass and do it properly with a mix of short vids shot outside the car, and some from inside. It'll mean writing a shot list and script, and spending time in the "edit suite" but that's the way it is. I also have an Olympus digital voice recorder that I can use to record a separate voice over... it'll be a mix of "live" and "studio". It's not a bad idea really because if I time the audio to a max of say 10 or 15 minutes, I can edit the vision accordingly. So there ya go... it started out as a simple fun idea just driving around and ad libbing, but now look at it... it's getting bigger than Ben Hur.

A lot more informative content can be included in an edited vid, though. Interiors of malls, outdoor pans of parks, rivers, streets and various buildings, close ups of things of particular interest... and the entire shoot doesn't need to be done on the same day. All this reminds me of my days in the television biz. In any case, if I do a reasonably good job, the vid will attract more viewers on Youtube which in turn will promote the Aussie Odyssey web site. AND, as a bonus, the more shooting and editing I do, the better I'll get.

That's one of my major problems... I'm far too impatient and wanna get everything signed, sealed and delivered in 5 minutes. So, first up, the script, then the shot list. As each of the shoots is completed, I'll tick it off the list until they're all done. Then it's into the "edit suite". If there's a need for one or two "pick ups", no worries.

Sound like a plan to you? So now it's time to vamoose and attend to things domestic. Gary

June 1, 2012. Is it June that's supposed to be busting out all over? Anyway, here it is but I didn't hear a damn thing. Typically this morning, I got a couple of emails from on-line retailers flogging their wares. I usually take a look and then delete them. But this time I noticed the letters GPS. Hello? Refurbished for $39 + $7.95 postage? That'll do me. So one's on the way to my place. It'll come in handy when I drive to Newcastle for the PET scan. I lived and worked there briefly in 1973, and it's a BIG place.

I talked yesterday about putting fine sand in hose, and using it as a support for the camera. A friend once said something about such a device, so I wrote to her on Red Bubble. She uses rice. Rice? How sensible! So last night I got an old sock (washed and no holes) and found a pack of Basmati rice. I half filled the foot area with rice, tied a knot at the heel, and now I have a small "bean bag" to rest the camera on when I'm shooting vids in the car. My friend also uses hers to place on rocks and other uneven surfaces when she doesn't have a tripod, and needs to take shots at a slow shutter speed. She got the idea from a bloke who used a small beanbag when shooting from the car on his travels through Africa.

If the weather stays reasonable today (slight chance of shower), I'll shoot a vid of driving around Taree but this time I'll keep it to 15 minutes. It'll save editing time, which I'm loathe to do... opening and closing credits, that's it. And no script... ad lib all the way.

Steve W commented on the Julian Assange case: I absolutely agree with the support for Assange, this will be a major platform for free speech but as you suggest, the Oz Grovelment will do as the US requires and again let one of our citizens be locked up for absolutely doing nothing other than telling the truth. And, who I may ask, has so far been harmed by the truth, other than a few diplomats who shouldn't have either been in the job in the first place or should have kept their thoughts to themselves? This will be very interesting and I hope a turning point. He certainly has my support.

As I understand it, this whole business started with Bradley Manning leaking classified documents and videos that revealed war crimes committed by US troops in Iraq. I would have thought that exposing criminals in any circumstance was a fair and reasonable course of action, and not something you'd ask permission to undertake for obvious reasons. Ultimately, bureaucracies and those who work for them are responsible to the people, and it's the people who will be the final judge.

Steve goes on to say: Oh, by the way, London Cabbies still need to pass "The Knowledge" - no GPS allowed and they are brilliant Govner!

Back from driving around Taree and just checked the vid. How do you spell TAKE FOUR? I went too early while the sun was still low in the sky. It played havoc with the lens every time I turned a corner and headed into it. Also, there was a constant rattle which I'm pretty sure was the lens cap vibrating against the camera body. I didn't notice it in the car but the camera mic sure did. And now it's raining! Oh well... put it all down to experience. I'm also getting a bit stale with the ad lib so I think I'll leave Take 4 for another day when I'm fresh.

Lindsay bought some groceries this morning cos Sue's back home from hospital. He was talking about her breakfast of Rice Bubbles and toast. Toast? I haven't had toast since before the operation in early January! So I thought I'd give it a whirl... toast with butter and spreadable cheese. And yes, I managed to get through it... cut it into fingers and ate a little at a time. Progress, ladies and genitals! I know what's gonna happen, though. Just before I'm ready to tackle a burger with the works, the dentist will book me in to have all my teeth removed.

Not the most fruitful of days, dear Breth, but at least I got me a cheap GPS. That's something. And I managed to munch my way through a piece of toast. And now I'm gonna watch Planet America on ABC News 24 to see what you guys over there are getting up to in the race for the Presidency. Gary


← Older posts      Waffle Index      Newer posts →
Return to Home Page