Thursday, June 7, 2012

Waiting for the Personperson

The Sorting Hat, webcam, computer & monitor.
"The personperson" is the nonsexist way to say "mailman," as in "the personperson delivered the person to my personbox."

So I was expecting to get my remaining stuff from Amazon - the Harry Potter Sorting Hat, the liner for the shopping/laundry cart (the came yesterday via UPS) and Brian Froud's The Dark Crystal Creation Myths, Vol. 1.

I can see the personboxes, (OK, mailboxes) for the apartment complex from the window next to my computer, but only if I get up and look. Sometimes I get so involved in the computer that I forget to look, like yesterday when I never noticed the mailman's visit. So I decided to get a bit high-tech about it. In hooking things up, I probably expended more energy than just getting up and looking every so often, just in case you think I was being lazy.

I have one Windows machine, which I don't really turn on all that often. It had been sitting on top of the computer desk hutch opposite the Linux machine I use most often, and it was hooked into the same monitor. The Linux machine connects with DVI, the Windows machine connected with VGA, so all I had to do was push a button to on the monitor to switch that, but I also had to unplug the USB cables from one machine and plug them into another.

So I switched the Windows machine to the computer cart to my left and next to the window and put another Linux box up on the hutch. Whatever machine is on the cart has its own keyboard, mouse and monitor. I needed to have the Windows machine next to the, um, window because my Logitech 9000 webcam works on Windows but I never got geeky enough to make it work with Linux.

With the physical switches done, I fired up the Windows machine, downloaded the Logitech software, installed it and bingo, the webcam worked right off the bat. So I put it on the windowsill, propped up a bit, and pointed it toward the person, um, mailboxes and zoomed in. I tested it before dark last night, then fired it all up again this morning. I tried using a mirror so I wouldn't have to remember to turn my head, but that wasn't comfortable, so I just resolved to keep looking at the monitor off to my left.

Sure enough, before too long I spotted the mail truck next to the boxes. I got up to look and noticed the mailman and the on-site manager talking, then they began heading in what looked like my direction. They had to go around the other end of the building I'm in to the locked door. My view of the boxes is out a West-facing window while the locked door that gives access to four apartments is on the East side. I went downstairs and intercepted them at the door.

Rincewind by Paul Kidby.
The Sorting Hat is actually pretty neat. It looks a bit beat up, which is just what I wanted, except I'll need to change the color from brown to red. It also has some lighter brown "patches" that I may remove to apply instead to a pair of pants. It has wire in the brim so it can have an uneven, worn look.

My version of Rincewind may look more like Sir David Jason's portrayal in the movie The Colour of Magic than like Paul Kidby's illustration. The robe may look different also. The old grey one I have has faux fur trim. Since it isn't new, I won't mind making it look a bit worse for wear. I'll have to look around to see if I can find some appropriate appliques to put on it. But I think I may have a yellow butterfly to add to the hat.

One thing I noticed about the hat. It looks basically similar to the wizard hat I've been wearing for several years now. There's a good reason for it. They're both made by Elope. I ended up paying less for the new hat than the older one, plus the HP version just looks cooler in its natural state than the faerie-covered grey hat looked before I started adding stuff to it.

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