The SDS Challenge — Fourth ‘Wrath’ Voting Reminder

Voting is still slow, but that’s usual for this challenge, and I expect a few more votes will trickle in as next week’s deadline nears. Still, here’s another reminder that the voting for the SDS Challenge ‘Wrath’ Stories is underway.

If you are new to the SDS Challenge, a little background.

Three writers will each write one story a month going down the list of deadly sins. The stories can be anywhere from 666 words to 6,666 words in length, although those numbers are not set in stone. If ambitious, the writers will provide accompanying graphics. These stories will not be anonymous because some writers may want to use the same characters for each story and write a series — or book — encompassing all seven sins. Finally, interpretation of the titular sin is up to the writer. Meaning, each ‘sin’ can take multiple forms.

Disclaimer: The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories will likely span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG-rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Some readers might find a few of the stories disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, and if so, stop reading and move on.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins submissions for the Sin of Wrath, and then vote, your gateway is THIS POST <<link. There, you’ll find links to each of the three stories and a poll for you to vote after you finish them (if you be so moved).

I don’t post many videos, but I’m planning to change that, starting with today’s reminder post.

First up, a Northern Mockingbird on my neighbor’s bushes. The background noise (A/C unit and Pool pump nearby) almost mask its vocalizing, but you can still hear it . . .

This next video is from the end of August and shows the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feeding frenzy before they head out for their migration . . .

Those two videos are up to 4K resolution, but unless you have a 4K screen (a large screen), it’s best to view it at 1080p (or whatever resolution your screen supports).

These next videos are from the P900 . . . The resolution is only 1080p, but the zoom makes up for that. The loud highway noise is from about a half-mile away. On certain days and atmospheric conditions, the vehicular traffic noise (and especially trucks noise when they engine-brake) is loud.

The recording makes it seem much louder than in real life, but without that loud gain, you wouldn’t hear the vocalization of the bird. You can also hear when I trigger the DSLR shutter on my D7500.

Once again . . . bigly annoyance with using blocks trying and to embed Vimeo videos. Exactly half the time, it doesn’t work, so I have to save, exit, come back in, and then it works. I got chat support to admit that’s not an optimal way to create content. I know there are fans of the Block Editor, but this — and other instances — reaffirms my beliefs that 1) it’s caca, and, 2) it’s half-baked caca that’s not ready to be served. As a Beta product, it would be great, but I never asked to be a Beta user.

Also, while it looks OK when I edit it, the preview occasionally just shows the link and a big empty space where the video should be, and not the embedded video. This also happens with the YouTube block, but very rarely, probably because the YouTube block gets more users and hence it’s better coded.

I’m hoping that once it’s published, all will work as it should. But, if you see an empty space and a link, click on the link to (hopefully) watch the video.

Of course, WP says it’s Vimeo (and, it might be), but that doesn’t fully explain why some videos play for them and not for me, and others play for me, but they can’t watch them, or why one video embeds OK, but a few hours later, it doesn’t. I’ll get with Vimeo (who I fully expect will say it’s WP’s issue, especially since all the videos have the same permissions), but the bottom line is … Block Editing does not appear to be a mature tool.

For the record, I began composing this post around 10pm last night . . . stopped around 1:45am, picked it up again around 9:00am and it’s now nearly noon. I am sure that if the Classic Editor was working, this would have been at most one hour, maybe two, and most of that time would have been uploading the videos.

Every one of these instances gets me closer to either stop what I’m doing or look for another way of doing it. At the very least, it makes me really, really dislike the decision-makers at WordPress (I hope there’s a special place in the Hell I don’t believe in reserved just for them), and I can’t wait for another platform to start nipping at their heels. I’ll jump ship so fast that I’ll leave skid-marks on the water.

This next video is another P900 video showing that having the long zoom has its advantages. This video, like the previous videos, was shot on a tripod, and if I get into shooting more videos, I need a gimbal head (but they cost more than the P900 itself) so that I can pan and track motion smoothly . . .

Here’s a bit more of a close-up of the hummers sharing … I mean, NOT sharing the ample sustenance I provide for them. This was hand-held and, because it was cloudy and I didn’t use the pre-programmed settings, the video lacks contrast and saturation.

Other creatures like these feeders . . . this video from October 5th showing the issue with having hummingbird feeders with large feeding ports . . . late in the season, the bee’s natural food sources (flowers) are getting scarce, so they hit the hummingbird feeders . . . but only feeders that let them reach the sugar solution, as these do.

The macro shooting with the P900 is pretty good. Here, I was about six to seven inches away. By the way, these P900 videos were shot at half speed, hence why you can see what’s happening.

This next video shows some of the behavior . . . it almost looks as if there are bees from two hives because occasionally the bees push or chase others away. They also seem to be ‘cleaning’ each other, but I suspect that’s a way of getting the chemical signature of the food source (look at me speaking as if I know jack caca about bees!)

The Note 20 Ultra is no slouch when it comes to videos (it may have a bigger sensor than the P900, or at least the same size, and it has more computing power). This was shot from pretty close and hand-held. The bees buzzed me but otherwise left me alone.

You can see how hummingbirds that might chase one or two bees away would find it difficult feeding at this feeder.

As previously shared, the Note 20 also takes super-slow-motion videos (but only lasting 30 seconds). Super-slow-motion works well for fast-moving hummingbirds, but unless I catch something like three bees tumbling, the super-slow-motion videos of bees are fairly boring, despite them being . . . wait for it . . . busy bees!

One of the things the P900 is known for is shooting the moon . . . unlike when humans do it, this is actually pretty cool . . .

And, of course, shooting photos of the moon . . .

But, with the video, I can ‘stack’ the individual frames and output a single image. The following was created using the frames from the above video. The program removes the atmospheric shimmering and grabs what it considers the best frames to build a composite. It also aligns the frames because … well, because eppure, si muove.

That’s my first attempt ever at stacking images from videos . . . I think it adds a ‘depth’ that’s lacking in the single image (both images are post-processed at nearly the same settings.

This next video is to check if the embed codes from Vimeo work any better than the ones generated by WP.

That seemed to work a bit better, but it doesn’t adjust to the width of the post . . . we’ll see what happens once I publish the post. I’ll have to look into modifying the HTML to make it variable (I don’t code, so that might be a while).

I have many videos from Hawaiʻi … if I can get this working smoothly, perhaps I’ll share more.

Anyway, if at all interested in reading three tales about Wrath, you now know where to find them (and where to vote for the one you like best or hate least) . . . you be got about one week left.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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