Animated Pictures In Blog Posts

A little while ago, I put up the post Take Two. Or Is It Take Three?  In it, I had this picture:


A couple of people asked me how I did it, so I figured since the title here is "Scope-Tech" I might oblige with the "TECH" part of it.

Please note:  I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but these are the tools and tricks I used.  You probably don't have the same set of tools, but the ones you use may allow for similar techniques.

The Animated GIF

What you see up there is a series of 4 sequential pictures flipping by in sequence and looped.  They are stored as an "animated GIF" file.  My photo editing tool of choice is Photoshop Elements 7.

  1. Within Elements, open the file that will serve as the first frame in your animation.
  2. Perform a Layer > New > Layer via Copy from tool bar.
  3. In the "Layer Pallet" on the lower right, highlight the bottom layer name "Background" with the lock symbol, right click it and "Delete Layer".  (The locked background layers are always a pain in the ass.)
  4. Open the next picture in Photoshop.
  5. In picture 2, perform a <Ctrl+A> to select all the picture and then a <Ctrl+C> to copy the picture to the clipboard.
  6. Switch back to the original picture.
  7. Perform a Layer > New > Layer from tool bar to create a blank layer.
  8. Perform a <Ctrl+V> to paste picture 2 into the blank layer.
  9. Repeat steps 4 thru 8 adding new layers until you have added all the layers.
  10. Next, resize the picture down to a reasonable size: Image > Resize > Image Size
    (I prefer max length of 6X4 or 6X4.5 with a resolution of 150 pixels per inch)
  11. Perform a File > Save for Web
  12. Change the file type to GIF, change the colors to 256, check the Animate & Loop boxes, and pick a Frame Rate (how quickly you rotate thru the layers) and click the Preview In button.
  13. Adjust the Frame Rate until satisfied.
  14. Then click OK and save it.

Save the GIF Online

This is the real trick to the maneuver.  When I first used the picture, I skipped this step, and when I saved the post, the picture was converted to a static JPG file.  And that pissed me off, after all the work I'd gone to to animate it.  Now, if you compose in Blogger, you may not have the same issue, I don't know.  Haven't used the Blogger editor in about 400 posts, so I don't know.

  1. I have a Flickr account, and I loaded the picture there.
  2. Within Flickr, I went to the picture I loaded, clicked the Share button, then picked Original from the dropdown (since that's the animated GIF, the others are JPGs), and then Grab the HTML/BBCode and copy the HTML code.

Load the Picture To The Post

I use Windows Live Writer to compose my posts offline, and then load them up to blogger when I'm done.  But, the same can be done in Blogger.

  1. Go to the Source tab
  2. Paste the HTML code you copied that contains a link to the picture you just uploaded.
  3. Return back to the Edit tab and resize the picture to the size you want by clicking on the picture and dragging one of the corners to resize it.

And there you go.  I don't know if this will help anyone or not, but I haven't posted much recently, so I thought I'd give this a go.

If you try it and it works for you, let me know.


Random Bits of Random-ocity - II

I've been collecting a whole lot of random bits of fluff and goo around on my hard drive, meaning to share them with you.

I did that a little while ago [LINK], and here we are with round two.

CAR WARS – Back in July, my car hit 50,000 miles as I was driving back from a cousin's wedding.  Big deal?  Well, I back on THIS POST from 2009-04-27, noted that I'd just hit 40,000 miles.  Yes, that's right, I put 10,000 miles on my car in a little over 2 years.


The Most Depressing Restaurant: EVER!


Certainly, this was a one-off to sell investors on the use for the space or some kind of crap, but still, the only tip you should give the staff here is "Run, Forrest!  RUN!"

Target-ing Hispanics:


If you don't want the Spanish speaking population down on the first floor, just say so.  (I've reported the typo in the lower right to them.  6 months later, it's still there.)

The Moaning Tree:


Wonder if it's a myrtle?

Define "Well Duh":


Going In-DOG-nito:


Shedd-ing Light On The Situation:


Saw this cool light fixture while we were at the Shedd Aquarium a while back.

The Amazing Spider-Scope:


Note the date on the caricature.  I told you I was digging deep here.


May The Farce Be With You

In honor of yesterday's Blu-ray release of Star Wars:

If you wish to know more:  LINK

As a guy of a certain age, you know this isn't my first Star Wars post.  Here are some blasts from the past:

- Star Wars Day – Lame Joke
- Star Wars Day II – The ORIGINAL trilogy - Told in 2:13 – With Lego!
- Drunken Ewoks – Live on the Today Show

Have a good weekend, y'all!


Take Two. Or Is It Take Three?

Here's the picture that Blogger failed on me with yesterday.


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Road Trip 2011 – Part 5 – Heading Home

Day 5 – Talk about a low energy day. There's one more scheduled sightseeing stop on the 702 mile par 5 with a dog leg to the right that we have remaining.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. The corn palace is really just the community gym/auditorium. But every year, they decorate the outside of it with corn. It's pretty neat, actually. Unfortunately, there was some kind of street fair going on, so we couldn't really appreciate it in totality.

Detail of the front of the building Front of the building
Wednesday with the the Corn Palace mascot. An example of how they do it in a "paint by numbers" sort of way.
Yeah, they look like dots. Sorry. See, like I said, street fair.

But my favorite picture from Mitchell is this one:

You see, my wife is… well… there's no way to put it… she's UNIQUE. (And I love her for it.)

The prairie sun had been wrecking havoc on her skin. She'd gotten a sunburn on her arms, and her hands had started to swell. So she cowering from the sun between two parked cars before "dashing" to the Corn Palace for pictures. And later, she donned a hoodie and a pair of winter gloves to battle that evil glowing orb.


But seriously, isn't she the most adorable thing you've ever seen?

As the morning drive continued, we crossed into Minnesota, where they were putting those prairie winds to good use.

RT-05-Windmill-01 RT-05-Windmill-02

As the morning turned to afternoon, we passed two signs that symbolize Minnesota.

RT-05-SPAMWe passed up the Spam Museum. I love the stuff, but the rest of the people in the car? Not so much. RT-05-Welcome-Ceylon-01And the people responsible for sending Al Franken to the Senate are also prepared to roll over for our cybernetic overlords.

I kept looking at the estimated time of arrival at home on the GPS (we call him "Croc" because we chose the Australian accent), and realized a few things:

  • It was possible to make it home that evening.
  • That time did not factor in lunch, dinner, or stops for gas.
  • I didn't have it in me to make it home THAT evening.

So at a rest stop in Minnesota (thank you Whiskey Marie and the rest of Minnesota for solving your budget crisis that closed the rest stops earlier in the summer), Cora and I made a deal. Same deal as yesterday, only this time we MEANT it. We would find a place around 6:00, get a room, have a nice dinner, and re-freakin-lax for a few hours.

Crossing the Mississippi into Wisconsin, we set our sights on Tomah, WI as our destination for the evening. It was perfect. We'd get there around 6:00, we'd have about 4 hours of driving in the morning. And we could make "Kindergarten Cop" jokes all night.

(I also was thinking of "Troma", home of the Toxic Avenger movies.)


I loved this barn that I saw as we drove. I grew up on and around farms that had old red barns like this, and Wisconsin is "Old Red Barn" central.


And since it's August, they must be getting ready for snow.

At the hotel, we asked the desk clerk for her advice on a place to eat. She gave us a 10% coupon for the Ground Round. I wasn't expecting a whole lot of the Ground Round. I knew the name, but was thinking it was like the Sizzler (cheap steakhouse) or something. The food was surprisingly good.

After a relaxing night, the next morning was a snap. As we crossed the Wisconsin/Illinois border, I think the sign said, "Welcome to Illinois. Pay up." Ah, the toll road. A sure sign we are entering the Chicagoland metro area! Planning ahead, I'd taken my IPASS transponder with me, so I at least was paying the normal rate, not the double rate for cash. Every mile closer to home, things got more and more familiar, and changed from: "I drove up here once for a wedding" to "I used to go to that mega-cinema when it opened."

RT-06-WaterI know it's hard to read, but the question is, "Why are there all the hazardous material signs on a GE.COM/WATER truck?" RT-06-OHare-01

Our path took us past O'Hare, and Cora got a fabulous series of pictures.

And finally, we were home. 2,233 miles, 8 states, 4.5 days, and 58 gallons (or so) later, we were home.

After unloading the car, we did what everyone wants to do when the get home from a vacation.

We fell upon our beds and took long, solid naps.

Random bits from the road:

  • We checked off the different license plates we saw on the road along the way. Rarest (and about the last new one we got): Rhode Island The strangest one we didn't get: North Dakota. We drove thru all the neighboring states, and were within 100 miles of the state once. 40 US states and 6 Canadian provinces.
  • I wish we'd fueled up before leaving. Our stats are a little off, but basically, we got almost 39 mpg and paid an average of $3.71 a gallon, about $0.09 a mile.
  • Would I do the drive again? Absolutely! Totally worth it. I would do it a little differently. Maybe plan in out as a 5.5 day trip. Taken a whole day at Yellowstone, then a travel day. Then a whole day @ Rapid City/Rushmore/Crazy Horse/Wall/Badlands. But totally worth the trip.
  • Wednesday, while I didn't talk about her much, was a total trooper. Can't remember one tantrum, snit, or whine-fest from the back seat the whole time. Yeah, she listened to her iPod a lot, but she was also looking out the windows, taking things in, and she really got into the license plate game.
  • Cora. Was. Awesome. Cora does not like to drive in city traffic, but give her an open interstate, and the gal can drive.



Just A Little Advice On A Solemn Occasion

For those of you attending memorials for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 Sunday…

Don't go playing "Angry Birds" on your cell phone during the ceremony.


Besides being rude, some people might not find this level situationally appropriate.


Road Trip 2011 – Part 4 – Rushing Less @ Rushmore

Day 4 – Gillette, Wyoming – Having heard that you should see Mt. Rushmore in the morning due to the lighting, we got up early and headed out. Well, after hitting the free breakfast at the Comfort Inn. (They had bacon & sausage, & mini-omelets with cheese!)

RT-04-Hotel-01 Giving Wednesday a ride in from the car. RT-04-Hotel-02And "Yes" that's pink racing stripes in Grandma's hair back there. Proof that when you reach a certain age, you don't give a rat's fat @$$ what anyone else thinks about you.

We set out across the flat Wyoming prairie heading toward Rapid City. Rapidly. Our path would carry us near Devils Tower.

And past Devils Tower. At about 75 mph.

We'd talked about it, and it was about 30 miles off the highway. That was going to add about another hour and a half or so for a 5 minute photo-op just to say we saw it. So Devils Tower didn't make the cut. But technically, we did SEE it on the horizon.

RT-04-Devils-Tower-01 What we saw from the interSTATE, at speed. RT-04-Devils-Tower-02 What we could have see (stolen from the interNET.)

Our route took us thru Sturgis, SD. Home of the famous/infamous "Sturgis Motorcycle Rally". Luckily, we missed bike week by about 10 days. There were still plenty of people around the area riding their Harleys, but they were your typical bikers out on a sightseeing vacation ride with their wives and friends. (Heck, the "Old Faithful Cheeser" picture from the Part 3 was taken by a biker.)

Now, I've been to Mt. Rushmore. It was many years ago, but I recalled parking in a big parking lot, and walking up a pathway to a split rail wooden fence and seeing the monuments.

The place looks a little different now. Fancier.

The parking lot has been replaced by a parking garage, and the pathway and wooden fence have been upgraded, too. Here's a little 360° shot I did.

The weather was perfect. I don't think the sky gets anymore BLUE than that. And the sun was baking the two fair skinned members of my little tribe. Speaking of tribes, after we got home (don't judge), we watched the episode of "Kate + Eight" and they were there in July, and it was cloudy, and Kate kept saying it was Franklin D. Roosevelt up there (it's Teddy), and she bitched and whined about people taking their picture and Tweeting about them as they rushed through with their camera crew and entourage in tow. So glad that freak show wasn't there when we were there.

The obligatory picture. I couldn't resist the urge to get all artistic when I got home.
Some surrounding rock formations. More surrounding rocks.
SONY DSC From atop the benches just outside the parking garage. RT-04-Rushmore-03 George in profile from the road.

When we got to Mt. Rushmore, we did see a "Snooki-wannabee" (heretofore called
"B( . )( . )B Lady"). Let's just say Rushmore didn't have an exclusive on "manmade mountains" that day. But in the spirit of American kinship, we took her group's photo, and she took ours. With each other's cameras. Not with our own like she seemed to think at the beginning. (They posed but forgot to hand over a camera!) Then came our turn.

After Rushmore, we took the twisty turning road to the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial. This work-in-progress sculpture is pretty cool. What really helps it out are the orientation movie you can watch, and the huge Native People's craft hall. If it were just the statue in it's current state, maybe not so much. If they ever complete the sculpture, and since this is as far as they've gotten in 63 YEARS, it's a valid "if", I do want to come back and see it. I just don't see how the arm and the horse's hoof are going to do that.

One thing about Crazy Horse, the guy, is that while they are carving a statue of him, no one really knows what he looked like. Over there on the right is a carving based on "word pictures" that the sculptor got from some people who met him back, "in the day".

Guess they could pull up DMV records from that long ago.

What the mountain currently looks like. Click to enlarge and see that there are people working on it. What the mountain is going to look like.
A model of the horse's head. An model of Crazy Horse's head.
RT-04-Crazy-Horse-01The girls. A UNIMOG! Don't see those every day.

And here's my impersonation of a "steadycam" on a tracking shot. There's some fancy footwork going over the little foot bridge, if I do say so myself.

After Crazy Horse, we drove back to Rapid City, and ate @ Perkin's. It's an inside joke with her father, but the food was pretty good, and we all needed to slow down a little, since it was about 3:00 in the afternoon and we'd been going all day. Earlier, Cora and I had a talk, and we agreed that we weren't going to try to kill ourselves driving over to Souix Fall, SD (about 350 miles away). We were thinking of calling it a day around 6:00 and finding a hotel and a nice dinner. We knew we were wearing out, and we didn't HAVE to make the drive in 4 days.

That plan didn't play out exactly as we'd hoped, as you will see.

Right outside Rapid City a little ways is Wall, SD. Home of the famous Wall Drug Store. We didn't really have time for much more than a pit stop & a few quick photos. We were losing our light, so we posed for a couple of pictures…


And having learned our lesson from the day before, headed off for "The Badlands" well before dark.

For those of you who have never been, the Badlands are really spectacular. You're driving along through absolutely non-descript open grasslands and then, you're faced with something not of this earth.

Suddenly, the grassland turns into this rugged and desolate landscape. Imagine driving your covered wagon along and then hitting this canyon?
Seriously, what would you do? Besides stop and admire the flowers.
Go around? Try to go down?
Or just hang your head… and curse the Fates?
I tried to get a shot of how steep, deep and utter deadly a plop over the edge would be. 3D to 2D fail, but trust me, slipping over the edge would make for a very bad day.
RT-04-Badlands-02I can safely say, Cora was not happy to be wandering around on the edge of the cliff. RT-04-Badlands-03But she didn't mind taking pictures from the side of the road. This is one of Cora's shots. I just love the colors in the rocks.
RT-04-Badlands-01Another "Cora Special". The woman can compose a picture. RT-04-Badlands-04Yes, we were really losing our light as the wife snapped this one.
But we had to stop once more to see what everybody was looking at in this field… PRAIRIE DOGS!!!!

(For more of Cora's pictures, go to her blog [LINK])

Eventually, we bid the Badlands "goodbye" and go back on I-90 heading east.

And crossed into the Central Time Zone, and lost another hour! R@T F@RTS!

But a funny thing happened. While it slowly became night, it stayed "dusk" for a pretty long time. Almost as if the sun was trying to make up for the stunt it'd pulled on us the night before.

We drove on until we got to Oacoma, SD. It wasn't super late, when we pulled in, but there was something horrifying going on:


There were swarms of thousands and thousands of them everywhere. We don't have them around here, so I didn't know what they were until the hotel manager told me. And then I relaxed, because I did know that:

  • Mayflies don't sting or bite.
  • Mayflies last about as long as Lindsay Lohan's rehabs.

We didn't get a picture of them because, well, they're still gnasty bugs flying all over and it gets a little freaky when they start landing in your hair, or flying up your untucked t-shirt and stuff, and we opted to run like the wind (Bullseye) whenever we were near them.

In the morning, one of the maids was sweeping up the piles of mayflies from in front of the entrance way. But better than the mystery stain!