Monday, October 31, 2016

The Vacuum Trick (Fix For Malfunctioning Camera)

This commentary is a followup to my 10/18/2016 post "Rising Water" (PPP #40). This was a post written 13 days ago, immediately after receiving the 10.2 megapixel camera that I purchased used on eBay for $16.

Purchased because I slipped in mud and my old camera got dunked in water (the exact same model). Then wouldn't work. So I stuck it in a bag of rice (which I read on the interwebs might fix it). So today I took the camera out of the bag of rice... which it had been in for 18 days (5 days waiting for the "new" camera to arrive, then 13 days of using it).

I chose today because I took the the "new" one on a walk. A walk on the nature preserve I live near. Well, after taking a few pictures it malfunctioned. What happened was that I took a pic, then pushed the power button to preserve the batteries. When I originally purchased the camera (the original camera) back in 2007, I found that leaving it on drained the batteries REALLY fast.

I was concerned about the lens going in and out would wear it out, so I'd leave it on while using it. But, as it turned out, the batteries didn't last long leaving it on. So I decided to turn it off between shots, and that fixed the problem (at first I thought there was something wrong with the camera, as the batteries were draining so fast).

So, what happened was that I turned it off... after which the lens is supposed to retract and then the protective shutter over the lens closes. But the lens only retracted part way, the shutter didn't close, and the camera beeped twice (indicating a malfunction). I turned it on and off a few times, but it kept doing it.

Oddly, the camera lens would fully retract when I turned it on (completing the action it was supposed to have taken when I shut it off), then extend again. So... broken, I thought. I never should have purchased a USED camera. I had worried that this might be the case (that it would malfunction within a few days). But I decided to cross my fingers and hope to get a good one.

Anyway, being without a camera (and absolutely HAVING to have one for my eBay business), I decided to first try the old one. I took it out of the bag of rice when I got home, transfered the batteries from the malfunctioning unit into it, and pushed the power button.

The lens extend part way, then beeped twice. DAMN! I tried it again with the same results. I tried it a 3rd time and the same thing happened. So it's junk I thought. I was going to give up, but decided to try it a 4th. And this time it worked! The lens is no longer fogged up (water in the lens) and it appears to be working.

Now back to the other camera. I decided to use the vacuum trick. Perhaps some grit was preventing the lens from extending? Who knows? I have used this trick to fix my camera previously (the first one. the one that got wet). Years ago I noticed a spot on pictures I was taking. Looking at the lens closely, I noticed something INSIDE the lens.

No way to get that out, I thought. Anyway, I decided to try the shop vac. Placing the hose over the lens, I HOPED to suck out the speck. Not that I thought it work, given the fact the speck had somehow gotten inside the lens. Well, it did work!

Not that this situation was similar, but both situations did involve a problem with the lens. Anyway, I tried it, and the camera (the one I purchased on eBay and then malfunctioned), now appears to be working as well. Not that I trust either one. I'll go back to using the eBay purchased one for now and see if it keeps working.

When it malfunctioned the FIRST thing I thought was that I'd contact the seller about a refund. I figure that 30 days is a reasonable amount of time to test it out... and get my money back if there is a problem. I mean, a camera that works for 13 days surely isn't acceptable. Not to me, anyway.

But to the point of the story (the title of the post). If you find yourself with a lens problem (dirt in the lens, lens won't extend), you might want to try the vacuum trick. Note that I used a powerful shop vac (lots of suction). It's worked for me twice now.

Although, if the malfunctioning camera continues to work remains to be seen. I certainly hope it does. Also note that, as far as the "rick trick" working goes, I also opened up the camera (removed the back panel) and the screen. And there was some water there. Which I used a tissue to absorb. But it still didn't work after putting it back together.

Apparently the front can be removed (and I'm sure there was some water in there), but I've never done that before and was leary about trying to force it. It didn't appear to want to come off. So I decided to try the rice. And it worked. It may malfunction later, however. Who knows if the water damaged the camera in some way that won't be apparent until some later date.

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PPP #43

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

TWD S07E01 Fake Out

This commentary concerns the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead titled "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" which aired Sunday 10/23/2016. Do not read further if you have not seen it yet and don't want to read spoilers. Not that I think anyone will read this, but just because giving a spoiler warning is considered good etiquette. And someone MIGHT read this. Someone who is a fan and has not seen the episode yet. Unlikely, yes, but it COULD happen.

Anyway, consider yourself warned (hypothetical but likely non-existent reader). Do not continue if you are concerned about spoilers. Also, don't click the link (which is the episode title) as it goes to Wikipedia, where there are also spoilers. Now, onto my discussion of the episode and my previous predictions regarding what happens in it (PPP #38 & PPP #41).

I predicted two things: the first was that Abraham would die, which he did. And, secondly, I predicted there would be a fake out. The two possibilities of what could happen was that Negan would chop off Rick's hand with his axe. The second was that more than one person would be beaten to death by Negan with his baseball bat.

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I wrongly predicted the fake out would be that Negan would kill two or more of the main characters. He did. The fake out (of which there was one) turned out to be Rick getting his hand chopped off. The Sneak Peak did strongly suggest it might happen, but it did not. A 2nd limb cutting off fake out occurred when Negan, in an attempt to break Rick (after he said he'd kill Negan for what he did) told Rick he had to chop off his son Carl's arm with the axe.

That did break him. But Negan stopped him just as he was about to do it (it appeared). Because Negan told his men to shoot everyone if Rick didn't. In the preview of episode 2 Rick is show saying that he (Rick) is no longer in charge but Negan is. Although Maggie (whose husband Glenn was killed by Negan) said they should fight (at the end of S07E01).

(Comic book spoiler warning, next paragraph).

In the comic Maggie (later) attempts suicide by hanging but is stopped by Rick. Anyway, I should have known that the hand-chopping off was the fake out, because... what was shown, together with the title of the Sneak Peak, made it clear what they were telegraphing. They were implying it too strongly for it to actually be what happened.

I guess I just didn't want to believe that Glenn was going to die. I was thinking that if they add another Asian character, that might be sign that Glenn's time was up (given that he's the only one). But he's dead (and now there are no Asian characters on the show).

The Wikipedia page notes that there were complains over how gruesome the deaths were. Negan hit Glenn in the head with his bat, knocking him down to the ground. He pushed himself back up (to his knees) and he had a dent in his head and his right eyeball had popped out. Then Negan finished him off as he had with Abraham, by beating his head to a pulp.

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Images: Abraham Ford, portrayed by Michael Cudlitz (1st pic). Glenn Rhee and Maggie Greene, portrayed by Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan (2nd pic).

10/27/2016 Correction: I said that (in the comic) Maggie tries to commit suicide after Glenn is murdered (something I thought I read on TWD wiki), but Wikipedia says this happened after her family died... and Glenn was still alive. Also), Maggie's sister Beth attempted suicide (by cutting her wrists) previously (shortly after her character was introduced on the TV show). Point is, I doubt there will be an upcoming suicide storyline for Maggie (given these two facts).

FSM discussion: Indiana Jones 5, Walking Dead, Alien. 10/25/2016.

PPP #42, TWD #9.

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Take On The Walking Dead S7 Sneak Peak

This clip played on Sunday 10/15/2016 after the "the story so far" retrospective/clip show. Season 7 begins Sunday night, 10/23/2016. BTW, don't read any further if you don't want spoilers. I don't know anything, although I'm going to speculate on what's going to happen. Speculation based not on reading the graphic novel, but on reading about it.

Because I'm not into graphic novels or comics. I've got zero interest in TWD in it's original format. That said, you've been warned. Stop reading now to avoid "spoilers", AKA my speculation based on the following video.

Video1: AMC "sneak peak" scene from the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.

Given that the episode is called "Right Hand Man", and given what happens in the comic, I say Rick is going to get his hand chopped off (with his own axe) by Negan. After Negan kills #whoisit (note the bloody bat, AKA "Lucille") and promoted by Rick's threats ("I'm going to kill you. Not today, not tomorrow"), Negan drags Rick away by the hair (and into the RV).

What happens next is that Rick gets his hand chopped off (I'm guessing). It already happened in the comic. A lot earlier, in fact. In the comic it was the Governor who did the deed. And he also raped Michonne. Something that was changed (for TV) to threats of rape against Maggie.

But in the TV show Rick wasn't among those initially captured by the Governor. It was Michonne and Andrea instead. And the person who lost his hand was Daryl's brother Merle. Although he cut it off himself after being left handcuffed to an unmovable object on the roof of a building (earlier).

Anyway, I read that the actor who plays Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) said that Negan kills multiple people, and not just the one shown at the end of season 6 (although from the POV of the victim, and NOT from the POV of the audience... so we don't know who it is. Hence #whoisit).

That said, I previously speculated that the victim was Abraham (PPP #38). I did, however, identify Daryl and Glenn as possible victims. Not all of them, but one of the 3. Now (and maybe it's a fakeout) it's being floated (by JDM) that more than one person might be killed by his character, Negan. Although I think it's likely a tactic to build suspense and get people to tune in.

I heard that many viewers were unhappy with how season 6 ended. Someone was killed, but you've got to wait months to find out who. So they might have said "screw this, I'm not going to watch anymore). Me, I didn't care. It's the nature of the show that characters are killed. And, when whoever who it was that is Negan's victim was not revealed, I didn't care either. I knew I'd find out eventually.

I just don't like it when people are killed stupidly, like with the death of Beth Greene (PPP #35). But, if they kill off (say) Abraham, Glenn and Daryl (or 2 of these characters) for the SHOCK... I'm not sure I'll like that either.

But I think it's likely a fake out. TWD actors have done it before. The actor playing The Governor (David Morrissey) suggested (on Talking Dead) he might be reformed/not interested in revenge. But it turned out he was fibbing.

Video2: Emily Kinney (the actress who played Beth Greene) is also a recording artist. Below is a music video for the song "Molly" from her 2015 album This Is War (2:42).

10/25/2016 Correction: The title of the Sneak Peak was "Right Hand Man". The Season 7 premiere episode was titled "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be".

PPP #41, TWD #8.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rising Water

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(Click image to enlarge).

A picture of the path I walked 5 days earlier. This would be the same day I posted the muddy feet pic. That day, none of that water was there. I walked along the edge of the cornfield. The yellow arrow points to where I went. So, as you can see, the water level rose quite a bit in 5 days. There is a river if you keep walking (a road that runs parallel to the now underwater path).

Walking down this path for awhile I eventually came to a place where it was flooded. I should have turned about, but I pulled up my pant legs and kept going. A short while later I slipped in some mud and fell to my knees. At the time (when I realized I was going to fall), my goal was to not land on my ass and end up with wet underwear.

When I found myself in the water I - after a few seconds had passed and I took in the fact that I was soaked - I thought, what about my camera? It was around my neck attached to a lanyard. Sure enough, I looked down and it was submerged. So I pulled it out and brushed it off.

It hadn't been in the water too long, so maybe it was OK? I had just been thinking about how long this camera had lasted. I've owned it since 2007, when I purchased it on sale at a Black Friday sale. I did replace the screen a few years ago after it went bad. Although, not being sure I could do it, I first purchased a "new" camera (same make/model) off eBay.

The seller said it was new/new. Complete in box with all accessories. Unfortunately it began malfunctioning a few days after I received it. So I sent it back for a refund (taking a loss on the return shipping). That is when I decided to try and replace the screen myself. Which, as it turned out, was a little difficult, but not that hard.

Now I think, after never dropping it or having any other mishaps, the camera won't work again. Of course (after brushing the water off) I had to see if it would work, and turned it on. Which is what you're supposed to NOT do (according to the Google search I did). Apparently a wet camera can short out.

Which isn't what happened, I think. The lens extended, but only only half way. Then the camera beeped a few times and turned off. The screen came on briefly (before turning off) and appeared grayish white. Which, after examining the lense under a light, I found was caused by condensation (water) inside the lense.

In any case, it's currently in a bag of rice. I haven't tried it since. I did go on eBay and purchase another one. Same make and model, which is the Samsung BL103. A really well made sturdy camera, IMO. Instead of plastic, the body is metal. I also like the color (the camera is red instead of black). And it takes 2 AA batteries (I use rechargeables). Instead of 3 (which I've seen) or (worse) a battery designed for the specific camera (think Sony, which also has unique memory "sticks"). I ruled out a Sony for those two reasons when initially looking at cameras.

Anyway, given that I purchased it used and the fact that it's an old model, the price was a low $16.95 (including shipping). Although I contacted the seller and offering him $12.95, he dropped the price by a buck. Although (and this did make me unsure of buying it) he said he was not the original owner. Instead he said he buys and resells used cameras.

So maybe the original owner treated it roughly and it won't last? I went on Amazon and found the price for the same camera is close to what I bought it for new (around $65). Hopefully it won't start malfunctioning like the other one. Although, now that I think of it, the eBay seller's description for that one might have indicated that it was a floor model.

I don't remember what the description said. I do remember thinking I was safe if was new in the box (with all the accessories). But that turned out not to be the case. BTW, when I replaced the screen on my original camera, that screen (purchased off eBay) arrived cracked. Although I didn't realize it was cracked until I installed it and turned the camera on.

As for slipping in the mud, it's only happened to me twice previously (in the last 10 years), and never while walking in water. And I have walked in water before. So, yeah, what I did was probably stupid, but I have previously walked in many places where slipping in mud could have happened, but didn't'.

Point is, I was thinking I wouldn't slip in mud. Although it did occur to me. But I thought my camera was safe, given the fact that (attached to the lanyard), I couldn't drop it. Or, I could drop it, but it wouldn't hit the ground. I thought that was a very good precaution that would protect my camera from damage.

Anyway, 5 days later the used eBay camera came in the mail, and I decided it needed to be tested right away. I walked back to where I slipped and took a picture (as close to that location as I could get). The pictures I took look good, and no malfunctioning... so far. I'll have to do more testing.

PPP #40

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Feet

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A picture of my feet after I stepped in mud. Bulldozers were clearing more space over the weekend on the nature preserve down the road from where I live. Paths and space for more corn, I presume. For ducks to eat? I really don't know. I went online to see if I could find any info regarding what they're doing, but couldn't find anything.

Anyway, I walked back and took a look. Brought my dogs, because they like running around off leash. I'd walked this same path the day before, so when I saw the mud I didn't think much of it... until I sank in up to my ankle (right foot). BTW, yes, I like being barefoot.

PPP #39

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On #whoisit Re TWD S6E16

This commentary concerns the 16th episode of season 6, which was the season finale of the AMC zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead. This episode, titled Last Day on Earth, originally aired on 4/3/2016. Do not proceed if you do not wish to read any spoilers.

This episode is titled "Last Day on Earth", I presume, because it is the last day on earth... for one of the characters. One of the major characters dies at the end, although it is not revealed who dies. The head bad guy, Negan, after giving a long speech (for which the episode was extended by a half hour to accommodate) beat someone to death with his baseball bat (wrapped in barbed wire/nicknamed "Lucille").

The actual beating was show from the POV of the person who dies. Whoever it is sees the bat come down, and we hear Negan say that is victim is "taking it like a champ". According to the episode synopsis on Wikipedia "from the seemingly unknown victim's point-of-view, Negan proceeds to beat them... Blood starts streaming down the screen while the screen fades to black".

The hashtag #whoisit was revealed on the aftershow, "Talking Dead". The top guesses being Glenn, Daryl and Eugene. But I don't think it's going to be any of those characters. My guess is that the one who dies is Abraham.

The person who dies in the comic/graphic novel is Glenn. This I know because I read about it on the Walking Dead Wiki (I have not read the comic). But, as the creator of TWD has said previously, he considers TWD TV show to be a "remix" of the comic. In the past various deaths that occurred in the comic occurred on the TV program, but who was being killed changed (while the mode of death stayed the same). For example, Tyreese is killed by the governor (who chops off his head with a sword) in the comic, while on the TV show the person killed in this manner is Hershel Greene.

So, if this death is "remixed", it won't be Glenn. Besides, they already killed off Glenn (which turned out to be a fake out). Glenn appeared to die (the screen fading to black after showing his apparent death). But it was later revealed that he lived (PPP #37).

Which isn't to say that I don't think Glenn won't die (perhaps in season 7). I only think his death will be delayed. There are repercussions that drive future storylines after Glenn dies, so if he were to live (be a "safe" character like Rick and Carl are) that would be a big departure from the comic. Something that has not happened (at least thus far). The TV show has basically followed the comic (although "remixed").

All of this points to the character who died not being Glenn. My opinion is that the clues point to it being Abraham. Clue one is the fact that Abraham does die in the comic. Although it's by being shot in the head with an arrow/crossbow bolt (I think it's the latter but I don't recall). I am not sure when this happens (before or after Glenn dies by being beaten to death by Lucille), but there was such a death on the TV show. The doctor Denise character is shot in the head with a crossbow bolt in S6E14.

Was this a "remix" of Abraham's comic book death? (where Denise was subbed in for Abraham). I'm not sure, but I think it was. Which likely means Abraham's death was only delayed (while Tyreese did not die by having his head chopped off, he did die a short while later).

Another clue that #whoisit is Abraham is that he had several "moments" in the show (2 that I noticed). Moment #1 was a discussion between him and Sasha in which he revealed he was open to starting a family (as Glenn and a pregnant Maggie had decided to do). This represents hope for the future. Someone expressing hope (in a TV series concerning the apocalypse) is likely to have that hope crushed.

Moment #2 occurred when he made peace with Eugene (with whom he had previously been arguing). Argument stemming from the fact that Eugene tricked Abraham into thinking Eugene knew how to combat the zombie plague (thus getting Abraham to protect him/get him to Washington where he could meet up with other experts where they would put into action the secret government plan to fix things).

These 2 moments, IMO, are in line with other characters having "moments" just prior to being killed (I'm specifically thinking of the Axel character's conversation with Carol in which he discusses his life prior to going to prison/the apocalypse, just prior to him being killed).

The purpose, of course, is to remind the audience who this character is (or, in the case of Axel who had no backstory up to this point, introduce the character) so the audience is either reminded of why they should care or given a reason to care about the character's death. Although that impact was (obviously) blunted by their decision to keep who dies a secret.

By the way, my second choice for #whoisit is Daryl. The only reason being the fact that the actor who plays him, Norman Reedus, was recently given a AMC TV series of his own (Ride With Norman Reedus). And I do remember that right before Tyreese was written out I read that Chad Coleman (the actor who played Tyreese) had joined the cast of the sci-fi series The Expanse.

So, it could be Daryl who died. But, given the popularity of the character, I doubt it's him. And his program is a reality show in which he rides his motorcycle around. Reality shows being the cheapest types of programing to create. Due to them having no special effects, sets, or other things that push up the costs on conventional TV shows (so, it isn't as if it a "real" show). That, and Wikipedia says this series is a scant 6 episodes. He could do this series in the break before TWD returns (6 months from now in October).

The character that dies COULD be Glenn, but I'd be surprised. He WILL die (as I already noted), but his death will (likely) be "remixed". Although, given the fact that I was convinced that he had died in S6E7... but that wrong guess was due to bad writing, not due to me not being able to pick up on the clues (the ones I previously noted). Which is why I'm pretty confident the character who died was Abraham (and this is what will be revealed to have happened when S7E1 airs).

Video: Negan kills #whoisit. (1:56)

PPP #38, TWD #7.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Glenn's Fate In TWD S6E7

This commentary concerns the 7th episode of season 6 of the AMC zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead. This episode, titled Heads Up, originally aired on 11/22/2015. Do not proceed if you do not wish to read any spoilers.

This episode resolved a cliffhanger concerning whether or not Glenn survived episode 3 (Thank You) which aired on 10/25/2015.

The season 6 episodes summaries from Wikipeida note the following.

THANK YOU (S6E3, 10/25/2015) Glenn and Nicholas end up being trapped atop a dumpster surrounded by an army of the undead. Seeing no way out, Nicholas thanks Glenn and shoots himself in the head; his falling body knocks Glenn off the safety of the dumpster into the ravenous horde.

HEADS UP (S6E7, 11/22/2015) After being trapped by a horde of walkers, Glenn manages to survive by crawling under a dumpster while the Walkers are occupied with consuming Nicholas' corpse.

3 episodes aired in between "Thank You" and "Heads Up", leaving the question as to whether or not Glenn was dead unresolved. During this period of time I wrote a blog post in which I stated my belief that Glenn had definitely died. Because he was surrounded, and even if it was Nicholas' guts who were ripped out (see video below), Glenn's head and legs were still exposed, and SURELY multiple Walkers would chow down on those parts of his body shortly (after the episode fades to black).

As it turns out those who guessed that - although it appeared as though Glenn was getting his guts ripped out - those guts actually belonged to Nicholas were right. And Glenn did crawl under the dumpster. My issue with this sequence of events is that the camera never showed why no Walker ever bit Glenn's legs (or his head) as he lay under Nicholas or as he pulled himself under the dumpster.

The way the showrunners cheated their way out of the situation was simply to never show anything from an angle that showed Glenn's exposed legs. But they were exposed and that he did not get bit is quite unbelievable IMO. And, even though the Walkers saw him under the dumpster and he killed some of those who were grasping at him (how, I do not know, as Glenn's hand was out of the shot), the other undead got distracted and wandered away after Glenn hide out under the dumpster for a few hours. A empty can rolling by in the background was one such distraction that supposedly distracted (at least 2?) of the many many undead that comprised the "army".

Everyone (guests and audience) on the Walking Dead post show, Talking Dead (a talk show on which the preceding episode of TWD is discussed), only expressed relief that Glenn was alive. Nobody asked, "what about his legs"? And, "why didn't he get bit in the face"? Either everyone was so overjoyed that Glenn didn't die that not one person ever thought to ask that - or the Talking Dead people put a lid on any such discussion.

Which is to say that I do not buy it that Glenn could have possibly escaped the situation the writers put him in - and he should have died. Not that I want him dead (I do not), but I find what happened to be not believable. Not that people dying and coming back as zombies is believable. But if one suspends disbelief in order to accept the premise of the show, then the rest of it should be handled in a realistic manner. Which I don't think happened with this episode.

As for that post I wrote in which I said Glenn was definitely dead... I never got around to publishing it. On the day episode 6 aired I thought that I'd better finish writing my post. Because I figured that the fate of Glenn might be revealed. What ended up happening was that I finished it RIGHT before the episode began. And then, when they revealed what happened to Glenn immediately (he lived) - there was no longer any reason for me to publish my post in which I got it wrong (and gave my extended explanation as to why I was sure Glenn was dead).

Turns out he lived because the writers decided they could gin up some interest in the show by making it look like Glenn died. Which they did, resulting in a ratings increase for episode 3. Then they had to cheat and keep Glenn alive when there was CLEARLY no way he could have escaped getting bit. Because Glenn is a fan favorite.

But does this mean Glenn is safe? The character that kills Glenn in the comic book (on which the series is based) has been cast and is scheduled to appear shortly (that character being Negan). Will Negan kill Glenn? I have not read the comic. Because I have no interest in comic books. I've only read online (many of the Walking Dead wiki entries) and that's how I know that Glenn does eventually die (and how).

In any case, even though I disliked how the character Beth Greene was written out of the show (PPP #35) and found Glenn's survival (given the situation he was in) not quite believable, I will continue to watch. I still think TWD is a pretty goods show, despite having a few issues with some of the writing.

Video: Nicholas and Glenn die. (2:27)

PPP #37, TWD #6.