Time Lapse: 4th Street and San Fernando

I managed to get out for another time lapse shooting session this last Thursday evening. I headed to MLK Library with my gear, and one significant change in the equipment. I decided it was finally time to shoot a time lapse with my widest lens, a Rokinon 8mm F3.5 fisheye lens. Given that I’m shooting with a 50D, a cropped sensor camera, it doesn’t give the full fisheye effect. So, while it’s not as wide as it would be on a full-frame camera body, it is still incredibly wide and gives the fun distortion. It’s a lens that’s slightly more challenging to use, due to manual aperture setting, but the quality and price of this lens make it a real winner.

My original intent was to shoot from inside the library, at the 4th Street and San Fernando side. The sheer width of the lens would be able to capture all of the people passing by, entering and exiting, going up and down the stairs, as well as the traffic, crosswalks, reflections on all of the glass, etc. My goal was to capture as many different types of movement as I could. I took some test shots before setting up the tripod to get an idea of what settings to stick with for the duration of the shooting period. Nobody paid me any attention while I was doing this, but once I set up the tripod, a library security guy showed up. Apparently, I need to obtain a permit from the library administration to capture photos in the library.

Frustrated to lose what I thought was a great perspective from the inside, I moved outside. Eventually, I found a spot that I was mostly pleased with, and began the shoot. The lack of rain and my kindle made waiting for the shoot bearable. The aperture was set to 11, ISO at 800, and shutter speed at half a second. My intervalometer was taking one photo every second for an hour, so the constant shutter clicking resulted in 3,611 photos. I’m pleased with the end product, but I’d like to know what others think. Please, give me your thoughts. I hope to do lots more time lapse videos in the future, including more around San Jose. Feel free to give suggestions, as well!

Be sure to watch it fullscreen, and in HD! Comments and suggestions welcome.

FREE HUGS, in Hibiyakoen, Tokyo Prefecture, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More Hugs at SJSU

FREE HUGS, in Hibiyakoen, Tokyo Prefecture, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FREE HUGS, in Hibiyakoen, Tokyo Prefecture, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had been meaning to get back on campus with my free hugs sign for quite some time now. Last week, I finally managed to do so. This time, I would stand in front of the entrance to the MLK Library, on the campus side. I was on campus, sign at my side, headed to the destination before 9 a.m. Despite having done this before, I got incredibly nervous and didn’t hold up my sign once I got to the spot I had decided upon. I went over near the bike racks and texted Leslie, who provided some words of encouragement. After lollygagging for a few minutes, Tower Hall’s bell struck 9, and I decided it was time to man up and start offering hugs. I walked back over to the spot I had chosen, held up my sign, and smiled.

The first responder was an older man who asked if I’d take a handshake. I responded with “Of course!” and we exchanged a hearty handshake. The next person appeared to be a student, and seemed a bit nervous of approaching me for a hug. She told me not to pickpocket her, and I assured her I would never do such a thing, and we exchanged a hug. I was there simply to give honest hugs to whoever might want them. Even in the chilly winter air, the hugs continued.

During my time out there, I got a variety of interesting reactions, spanning the gamut. I got the typical questions that I receive every time I’m out there. Why are you doing this? Is this for a class? Did you lose a bet? Are you that hard up for a hug? When asked why I’m doing it, I usually respond with something along the lines of “Why not? The world needs more hugs.” Often, guys think I’m doing it as a way to get attention from women. One guy just walked by and said I was “trying way too hard.” I asked him what I was trying for, and he just shook his head and kept walking. Whatever, dude. I’ve already got a girlfriend, if that’s what you mean.

The positive reactions I receive from people are reminders of why I like doing this. The people who thank me for the hug. The people who tell me how awesome it is that I’m giving out hugs. The people who tell me they’ve been having a bad day/week and really needed a hug. The people who tell me that I’ve made their day. These interactions with people make it easy to forget the naysayers and those who walk by and give me odd looks.

Unsurprisingly, the hugs often came in sets of two or three. Less so because friends walking together want to participate. More so because people aren’t sure what to make of me. When they see someone else’s positive interaction with me, they determine that I’m harmless and want a hug after all. Sometimes after hugging one person, I would find another person waiting for theirs. At one point I hugged what I thought would be the only person for a few minutes, to suddenly find two new people wanting hugs as well. Awesome!

In the end, I was out there for just over an hour and a half, and I’m pretty sure there was around 40-45 hugs given, with a surprisingly evenly split gender ratio. There were even a couple of people who came back for seconds, and even a couple of dudes who gave me an unexpected hug sandwich. I enjoyed the experience, and look forward to doing it again soon. I have thought about how being out there more often would probably result in it being even more fun as fewer people are wary of it.

Shortly afterward, I had even found a post on the SJSU Confessions page about it:

I feel bad for the guy standing in front of the library entrance with a “free hugs” sign today. Didn’t see anybody hug him while I was walking to class….I wish I did now.

Well, whoever you are, I hope to be out there again very soon. Though, probably not until after Valentines Day.

Your Not-So-Merry Maid

I live in an old house with ten bedrooms, each containing a different tenant. Unfortunately, I’ve cleaned up after people more times than I could possibly count. I’ll go into the kitchen to make some food, and find a messy sink or countertop. I take pride in my living space, even if it is shared, so I tend to tidy up. The trash and recycle containers are regularly full, but ignored, as they seem to hope someone else will take them out. This is despite the fact you couldn’t possibly place them any closer to the outside receptacles. The trash can lid gets all sorts of icky with remains of food and such, and stays that way until I can’t take it anymore and thoroughly wash it.

There are small labels on the stove, not placed by me, reminding people to clean up anything they dirty, but they’re conveniently ignored. I was recently up late one night, and went in the kitchen for something. I was disgusted by how dirty the kitchen had gotten, and knowing I wouldn’t be going to bed anytime soon, started cleaning. I made the kitchen sparkle that night. Countertops, microwave, stove top, oven front, sink, and trash can lid were all thoroughly washed. Still grossed out by the floor, I then swept and mopped it. My roommates probably thought magical cleaning fairies arrived during the night and made the kitchen look that way.

We’ve had ants showing up when there’s a reason for them to be there. Namely, edible messes left by messy roommates. Not long after my thorough kitchen cleaning, I spotted a trail of ants coming up to the counter to yet another mess left by someone. Where where they coming from, though? I saw a trail of them coming from the kitchen drawer next to mine, as well as the cabinet below it. I pulled the drawer open, and found a used kitchen knife that was placed back in the drawer without being washed. While the ants surely appreciated this, and other messy roommate habits, I did not. I took a few photos and finally emailed the landlord to complain about this situation, and general messy roommate issues. While I wasn’t sure who the guilty parties were, I at least knew who was responsible for the latest round of ants. And honestly, if you have habits like that, this is probably not your first offense.

I’ve complained about this roommate before, and perhaps I’m not the only one. The landlord indicated they would be asking them to move out. I am doubtful they are the only messy roommate in the whole house, but I’m curious to see what happens when they leave. Part of the problem with living amongst this many people is figuring out who is leaving messes. As the person who keeps common-use items like toilet paper, hand soap, dish soap, sponges, and trash bags stocked, you can imagine I get frustrated when I find the messes people leave behind. I’ve even purchased bags for the vacuum, and tried fixing it when it wasn’t working properly. I’ll occasionally run into the guy who fixes things around here, and he said the vacuum had been used to suck up items like used condoms, and even a sock.

Do people really have such disregard for cleanliness, and respect for others who share the residence with them and have to use the same bathrooms, kitchen, and vacuum? I keep the bathroom stocked with toilet paper, yet I regularly walk in to find an empty roll. There are tons of rolls underneath the vanity, and you can’t even take ten seconds to put a new one on? Speaking of toilets, there have been several times I’ve entered the bathroom to find someone left their business behind, un-flushed. There’s also the messy vanity with what appears to be facial hair trimmings left behind, along with the general buildup of grime, and remains of something dumped down the sink at some point. It’s also frustrating when someone prepares food in the kitchen, and leaves behind pieces of food in the sink. I could go on, but it just serves to increase my frustration.

I get really annoyed when I find myself cleaning up after other people. People have told me to simply stop doing it. Sometimes I am successful in this regard, but not always. As someone who doesn’t care for living in a messy environment, and takes some pride in their living space, this is easier said than done. By instituting a laissez-faire attitude about it, I feel as though the messiness would be increased, or somewhat encouraged. I don’t want to become part of the problem.

Who would have thought cleaning up after yourself would be so difficult, or need to be instituted as a rule? I wish this particular rule wasn’t so difficult to enforce.

Medications and Driving Restrictions

Various pills

Various pills (Photo: Wikipedia)

I’ve completely stopped taking both of the first two anti-seizure medications at this point. The first one didn’t work, and the second one began having a bad reaction. It was causing some minor issues, as well as a skin rash that concerned the doctor. He prescribed a temporary medication that essentially weakens or disables my immune system. I inquired about the danger of doing such a thing, but he indicated it was necessary to get rid of my body’s reaction to the medication. He wanted me to stay at home during the six days I was to be taking it. He had called me on Saturday and Sunday, from home, to check up on me. Apparently, my body’s reaction was worse than he had seen on other patients. It continues to go away with each passing day though, and today he said we dodged a bullet.

I only need to take the immune system medication for two more days. Just last night, I began taking the new, third anti-seizure medication. I can only hope this one lacks serious side effects, and actually does its job. I’ve got an appointment with a new endocrinologist tomorrow. I need to fill them in on all of the nonsense that has been going on with the seizures and so forth. Including the fact my blood sugar has been all over the place due to my body’s bad reaction to the medication, as well as the immune system medication toying with it. I can only hope that if the seizures are indeed related to my diabetes, they can shed light on this. I sure would love to know what is causing the seizures and why. Of course, if we can find medication that keeps them from happening, that’s also nice.

Frankly, the most disheartening piece of news for me at the moment revolves around the paperwork that came in the mail. When I was admitted to the hospital for the first seizure incident, they reported me to the DMV. This is state law, and any medical professional who comes across a new seizure patient must report them to the DMV. I’ve heard that it can take the DMV a really long time to catch up to some people, though they eventually will. I wasn’t so lucky, and received the paperwork the other day. I filled out my part today at the doctor’s office, while he filled out the parts he needed to. I need to mail the paperwork to them no later than two weeks from now. Especially given that we’re still experimenting with medication, and can’t say it’s been a long time since my last incident, they will likely remove my driving privileges. I’m sure they don’t care if I can drive fine, or that my seizures occur at night. However, ignoring the restriction and driving anyway is sketchy territory that opens up an ugly can of worms. I’m just going to start trying to figure out who at work lives closest to me, and see what I can arrange.

Sudden Seizures

Brain on MRI

Brain on MRI (Photo credit: CaptPiper)

I recently had a seizure during the early morning hours. This was the first seizure I had ever experienced, but of course, have no recollection of the event. My girlfriend Leslie was with me, and woken up by the shriek-like sound I made. I was shaking around, and there was blood on my face from having bit my tongue. I nicked myself on my nightstand, right on the eyebrow as well. This terrified her, leading to a 911 call. I have a slight recollection of being on the ambulance, but nothing prior. My memory was jumbled, and I was feeling especially disoriented during the early part of my hospital stay. I was asked if I knew my address, or what day it was. I didn’t have an answer for either of these pieces of information.

Leslie had followed the ambulance to the hospital to be with me. She brought items I might need, like my phone and wallet. As the nurse was getting me set up in the room, she asked if I knew what happened, or why I was there. Feeling incredibly bewildered, I had no idea what was going on, and answered as such. She indicated my girlfriend would be in the room shortly, and could fill me in. I didn’t even know I had a girlfriend, and was delighted to hear this news. A few minutes later, she came into the room, and looked vaguely familiar. I wasn’t entirely sure who she was, other than what the nurse had told me. She was cute, which was a relief, but I didn’t even know her name.

After a while, my memory started to come back. I figured out it was Friday and I was scheduled to work. It was still early in the morning, and I was hoping to get out of the hospital soon so I could go to work. I called work and told them I had a seizure, but expected to leave the hospital fairly soon, and still be able to work. Unsurprisingly, they instructed me not to come in, and asked me to call them back the next day with an update. My family members had been informed of the situation, and my father and sister came to my house to check on me. Leslie refused to let me sleep alone at home, and I agreed to sleep at my brother’s place instead. A lovely way for her to meet the members of my family, right?

Fast forward to today. I’ve had two more seizures, and I was alone for the second and third. Each incident has been approximately two weeks apart. They have all occurred during the wee hours of the morning. Each left me confused and disoriented for a while. During the second seizure, I clenched my teeth very hard, causing my bottom teeth to be sore for about a week. I also managed to chip my top two center teeth. The same day, I had an appointment with my new neurologist. Since I had had a second seizure in a fairly short period of time, he prescribed an anti-seizure medication. We had no idea what the cause of the seizures was, as the list of possibilities was long. He set me up with appointments for an EEG and MRI. Both of these tests came up clean, which is good news, but also left us wondering the cause. All we know is it’s not epilepsy.

During the third seizure, I bit my tongue worse than the first time, and was in pain for a couple of weeks. The neurologist has changed my anti-seizure medication, since the first obviously didn’t work. I’m temporarily taking both, but will stop taking the first one soon. I’m really hoping there isn’t a fourth seizure, but there’s no telling at this point. One theory is my blood sugar may be getting too low while I sleep. It’s possible, but it seems strange this has never happened before. Am I supposed to snack on something before bed, and not take insulin, allowing my blood sugar to go higher? This may prevent a seizure, but will not have positive long-term effects. Like I said, this is only a theory, and I’m hoping it turns out to be false. I’m going to a new endocrinologist soon, and will fill them in on the situation. I’m really hoping we can figure out the cause of the seizures and eliminate them as soon as possible.