Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Bishop's Wife

Looking for a good Christmas holiday movie? The Christmas Story, It's A Wonderful Life, Scrooge, Miracle on 34th Street—those have been the big Christmas movies traditionally. Try The Bishop's Wife. I don't know why this movie hasn't been as popular as those others. It stars Cary Grant as an angel trying to help out a Bishop and his wife over the holidays. A great movie! Now playing at Hulu.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Rid of Oxidation From Windows

Have you ever seen a dirty window that wouldn't come clean no matter how much you scrubbed? Chances are you have metal screens and oxidation. We used to call it screen burn years ago. It's where rain makes those screens rust (which is why metal screens always look brown and dirty), and then that rust gets carried to the windows where it more or less rusts to the windows and becomes a part of them.

I've always used some special mail-order chemicals to get it off, but I recently tried something on a lark that works really well on removing rust from windows. Believe it ot not, it's brake dust remover. It won't get rid of hard water deposits, but it sure cuts through oxidation. You might have to scrub a bit with a light duty scouring pad, but it'll work just fine.

File under: "The Buckaroo's Helpful Hint of the Day."

Monday, November 22, 2010

What You Should Know About Going to Windows 7/64-bit

Since everyone will undoubtedly go to a 64-bit platform eventually, I thought I'd let you in on what to expect. Everyone's biggest worry is whether their older 32-bit programs will get the kiss of death. My experience has been that some will work on a 64-bit OS just fine. Others will work if you run them in XP Mode (you have to right click on a program and choose to run it as administrator). A few others won't work at all, although I'm told that they may if you're using the Professional version of Windows 7. That enables you to download the free "Virtual Machine" app from MS. It basically does something along the lines of partitioning part of your hard drive as XP 32-bit, and then installs those troublesome programs to that partition. Sounds like quite a hassle to me, so I haven't done this. Also, if you have the Home edition of W-7, I'm sure there must be some 3rd party software that will do what virtual machine does except with your Home edition.

Most of my older programs run fine. Believe it or not, I had trouble with Word 2000, but I still had a copy of Word 97, and that actually runs okay. My old version of Premiere 6.5 wouldn't install, but I wanted to go to another NLE anyway. The drivers for my nearly ten year old scanner wouldn't install either. Scanners are cheap though, so I just bought a new one. If you're an old hand at making and uploading web pages, you'll be happy to know that the ancient, venerable WS_FTP95 LE still works like a champ.

All in all it hasn't been too bad. It's like learning to swim. You just have to jump in and start splashing. You'll get where you're going eventually. There's gonna be some cost involved, but what are you going to do? Things change. I made my last machine build last over seven years. I can't complain. I got my money's worth.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Pics of My Pop

I got some nice old photos from various people in the family after my dad passed away last July. I have a great fondness for old black & white photographs. There's just something special that was captured in those days that's impossible to replicate today.

This first one is special to me. I just got it a few weeks ago and had never seen a picture of my dad with his dad when both were adults. Grandma is here too. We don't know who the baby is. Dad had seven older brothers, so I have a ton of cousins, and the baby could be any of them.
The next two are of my dad, his next oldest brother Vernal, and grandpa. The first is from 1938.
This one must have been around 1945 or thereabouts. Grandpa was a real good trumpet player. You can see he's carrying his case here, and it looks like they have bibles and are on their way to church.
This next one is grandpa during WW1.
Pop as a baby.
Pop as a boy in a flower patch.
Pop with his aunt Mable (He was much closer to her than his mother). Isn't this a great picture? 
This is a really great period photo too of Dad and Grandma.
Me, sis, mom, and dad.
Here's dad with his brothers Vernal, Ted, and Harry, my cousin Dave wearing his police cap, and I'm in back.

1952 Illinois State Jaycees Baseball Champs (East St. Louis)

I'm putting this post up for posterity sake just in case there are other people from East St. Louis back in the day looking for pictures of this tremendous baseball team. As near as I can tell this was in 1952, but it could be a year off one way or the other. My dad, Charlie Seper, was on this team. He's the one sitting on the right sporting a mustache and catcher's kneepads. He was 17 at the time, and his batting average was 667. He was offered a contract with the Dodgers but turned them down saying, "I play for fun, not for money."

Dad told me that everybody on this team was a great player, and others were offered professional contracts as well, but all turned them down. (Baseball didn't pay much in those days, and it was more common to turn down contract offers than it was to take them). These guys were so good that they won every game on the way to state by no less than seven runs and won the state final by ten runs. They then went on to play the Missouri champs at the Cardinals Sportsmen's Park in St. Louis and thoroughly trounced them. Stan Musial and several other Cardinal players came out to watch the game. Dad only played one inning in the game as a pitcher. He threw the ball so hard that nobody could catch him without dropping the ball, so the coach's answer was to take out the pitcher…. Yeah, dad was ticked. :-)

If you know someone on this team or have any recollections of them, please leave a note.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sony HRV-V1U Test Shots at 24A

Here are a couple of stills pulled from HDV footage I shot with the new cam last week. I shot the footage in 24A which is 24 progressive frames per second ala film speed plus using cinema mode. This mode saturates the tape in such a way that it mimics film fairly well. I think the shots are a little soft (as in not sharply focussed), but you really have to work at focussing with HDV, and I just shot this on automatic. And no, I don't own either of these homes. My income would only allow rental of a mouse hole in such places. I really like this cam.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me and My Cam

Okay, it ain't "Me and My Gal", but I still think there's a song in there somewhere. I finally moved into the realm of High Definition this year both in buying my first HDTV and now a pro quality HDV camcorder. I got it used from a guy who barely used it for less than half the price of a new one. I could probably sell it on Ebay tomorrow for a good profit. I've been strongly considering trying to do a full-scale documentary on the works of CS Lewis. I've just re-read the space trilogy, the Narnia tales, and Till We Have Faces in preparation. Now I've got a cam that's fit for doing interviews, so that's a good thing. It'll also shoot in 1080/24P for a pretty decent film-look if I want to do something dramatic.

Work, Work, Work

I don't mean to be so quiet as of late, but work is really hectic this time of year, and I've been helping my nephew and sister with some remodeling after work and weekends, so I'm too bushed to do much of anything but lay in front of the TV when I get home lately.

Speaking of TV, have you seen the new Tom Selleck (can you believe he's 65 now?) TV series called "Blue Bloods?" He plays a police commissioner in NY with two sons that are cops (a third was killed on duty) along with a daughter who's a prosecuting attorney.
His aging father (a former commissioner) lives with him too. After just a handful of shows I'm already prepared to say that it may be the best cop show ever when all is said and done. And a big part of that I must say is because Donnie Wahlberg plays the best TV cop I've ever seen. He seems born for the role. It's also a show that truly relishes family. Every episode seems to end with the family all together eating supper, including spouses and grandkids. They're a Catholic family, and saying grace is still an honored tradition among others. You've really got to see this one. If you miss it on TV, CBS has been posting the shows online.