It's only mine because it holds my suitcase.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Stereo Photography is Keen

A few years ago I realized that taking a stereo photograph of a stationary object is as trivial as taking a picture, locking the settings, moving your camera a few inches to the left, and taking the same picture again. The first shots I took I used a tripod and a ruler laid against the front of it and it worked out fairly well. Unless you have a controlled environment, though, this is all really elaborate and burdensome. Some years later, I thought to myself, "How precise do I really need to be?" Turns out you can get a fairly decent 3D effect freehand. It's pretty simple, actually. Stand squarely in front of your subject with your feet about a foot and a half apart. Favor your left foot. Frame your shot and lock the settings, Take the pic. Shift your weight over to your right foot and take the shot again. Mission accomplished.

As far as looking at the things goes, you have a few options, two of which require no special tools, and one of which requires no special viewing skills. The first is called the cross eyed viewing method:

It's not hard to view one of these once you've worked out the technique. Fundamentally it's the same technique used to view those old 3D steganographs - you simply relax your eyes and slowly cross them, as if you were focusing on something in the middle distance between the screen and your face, until the left and right images merge. It's kinda headache inducing, but it works well.

The other technique, something that I briefly thought I'd discovered myself, is to simply alternate between the two images and let the viewer's brain fill in the blanks. It's a bit iffy for pics with a lot of depth, and not much less headache inducing than the cross-eye method, but it's pretty cool for its ability to convey the illusion of a 3D image with no special tools.

By the way, I composited the animated gif using Stereo Photo Maker; it's a pretty good dedicated tool that also does anaglyphs and the like. Check it out if you want to try this at home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It goes without saying that I am easily amused.

Can you run with our crowd? - mmm4w - 58

We've been through a lot together, the three of us, but there's something missing. We didn't really realize it when we first met, but then again, we didn't really meet under the best of circumstances. In fact, we all ended up in the hospital that same night. Adversity brings people together, I guess, and we've been inseparable since.

I'm the independent type. I've seen my share of humanity and I'm not entirely sure whether we're better off without them. I know how to take care of myself, but I'd rather have someone I trust cover my back any day of the week. My friends are . . . well, they're eclectic. They're also younger than me and don't seem to share my dislike of running up and down stairs. You'd think I'd get along a bit better with the biker, but he's just such an asshole. He's always whining about something. I know that, deep down, he's just afraid, and he's a great guy to have around in a pinch, but he's just not an easy person to spend time with. My other buddy is a bit more easy going - he tends to overdress though, and he is a little bit arrogant. I know he used to work in an office - computers, I think. He hangs on to his dignity, but deep down he knows we're all he has.

Let me be clear here. Things tend to get physical with us. It's not always the intent, but it always ends up happening. We went camping in Pennsylvania a while back. One moment it was all picnic baskets and moonlit nights, but one thing led to another and before we knew it we were hip deep in tongues and fingernails and bodily fluids. I'm not saying this to brag. I just want you to know what you're getting into.We're not looking for a delicate woman, and we're definitely not looking for somebody who can't take care of herself. What we are looking for is somebody to complete our foursome. Somebody who can stand up for herself in a rough environment and preferably somebody with a wry sense of humor. We cover each others' backs, even if we seem gruff. A thick skin will definitely be an asset.

We're planning on going for a little trip soon - get out of town for a bit, you know. So, maybe, if you're into it, you can head down to the airport with us. Hell, if you got the grit, we'll even let you take point.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Felicia Yay!

Point the first: There is nothing unlikeable about Felicia Day. Point the second: Clan Whedon bears responsibility for pretty much all the epic the internets have to offer these days.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Musings on a piece of vellum

The Kirkby IndentureI picked this up last weekend and have been researching it off and on since. And by researching I mean "trying to read it." I'm not sure I'm doing terribly well.

It starts, "This Indenture of Defeazance made this seventh day of September in the Four and Twentieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second," but my reading comprehension kinda goes downhill from there.

What I have worked out is this: It's a defeasance, which would release the parties involved from an earlier contract. The agreement is between Richard Kirkby, 18th lord of Kirkby, Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace, and his daughter Agnes (spinster). It pertains to a gift of 300 pounds given in trust to Richard by his wife's father, David Murray (According to "The Antiquities of Furness", David was a servant at the court of Charles I) as part of his last will and testament in 1658.

Richard was bankrupted in the first civil war, even losing his estate (but rewarded well by Charles 2 after the Restoration). It seems, however, he had no way to repay Agnes her three hundred pounds plus interest (566 pounds now). This document seems to nullify the debt, possibly in exchange for something already provided.Something to do with Boulton? A manor?

Whatever it actually says, it's a fascinating look into 17th century British history, and you can play along at home! I posted a great big version here.