Flying on Vacation

Posted in Life, RC Aircraft at 4:33 pm by Acorns

Over labor day weekend I had the awesome opportunity to visit with friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 7 years. Although it took up 80% of the space in my car I took along almost every plane and heli I owned. Unfortunately it was hot then rainy so I only got to fly a little; but a little is a lot better than none! Below are some videos that I compiled, mostly from my new X650 QuadCopter.

For reference, here is what the quad looks like:

All shots are more or less in chronological order, although I did move some segments around. Forgive my lack of musical editing skills, music is not my specialty. In this video, my favorite shot is the shadow of the heli as it is being caught. I didn’t even know the shadow was there, but it worked out perfectly by allowing us to see what was happening as the quad moved directly over a person to land.

View on Vimeo in HD:

Or watch it here in a lower quality:

Yes, I crashed the Quad at the beginning! That was before I left my home, I had it repaired in time for the trip (although just barely). If you watched closely, at the baseball field the guy hit a baseball and it was caught. But it’s really hard to see even in HD on Vimeo.

In this next video I chase around my RC car. Not a lot of great shots, but the concept has a lot of potential; I’m going to try it again soon with the intent to film the car.

View on Youtube (Vimeo only lets me upload one HD video a week):

And finally some shots of the farm, and one of the college’s I attended. The shots at the end are from a Marriott that we stayed in; the wind was blowing at 15-20mph, gusty and swirling around the building. So my stability was very poor.

View on Youtube:

Although we had to move rooms (hot water wouldn’t work 🙁 ) I still managed to get some night shots off of the Marriott balcony:

That blimp at the end showed up in the third video, although just as a dot in the sky.


4th of July Flight

Posted in RC Aircraft at 5:29 pm by Acorns

Since getting into FPV I have always wanted to take video of 4th of July fireworks from the air. I just wasn’t prepared enough this year; my camera can’t record in the dark. Next year I will get them!

In the mean time, I was able to fly over the lake as the parade was going on. No shots of the parade itself, but lots of the carnival and people all around the parade route. The most exciting thing in this flight happened within 2 minutes of takeoff. Right after I had finished my first climb, two jets zoomed right in front of me!  I actually spotted them in the camera before I heard them on the ground. For some reason, the HD camera didn’t pick up any noise from them, even though they were very loud. It did pick up sirens from the parade, so the wind wasn’t completely drowning everything out. Much worse, the HD camera was aimed too low to see them, so I only have SD video of them. But, very clear, clean SD video at least.

The wind was about 5-7mph on the ground and 12-15mph above the tree line, so the ride is a little bumpy. I’ve included some of the smoother and more interesting pieces. The song and editing were kind of thrown together quickly, next time I do a video I will take more time. Thanks to my father for introducing me to AVS Video Editor, which is quite easy to use.

For a much higher quality version of this video, please watch in HD on Vimeo:


Making an Iced Coffee / Latte

Posted in Food at 9:01 pm by Acorns

I’ve never been a fan of straight coffee (it tastes kind of stale to me) but I love coffee as a flavoring. About a year ago I started getting McDonald’s Iced Coffees. Easy to get and very good. But not healthy and not easy on my pocket book. A little research on the internet turns up a few hundred DIY Iced Coffee recipes. Here is what I settled on as working the best.

Start with cold brewed coffee. Cold brewed coffee is coffee made without heat; it turns out you can get the flavor of coffee into water without heat, it just takes a long time. The advantage of doing it this way is the flavor is less acidic – the part that always tasted stale to me. It is easy to make too.

You need:

1. Coffee (Ground; fresh course ground is best, but anything will work. The quality of the coffee is important, but much less so than heat brewed coffee)
2. A container of any sort with a cover
3. Another container that can hold as much or more as the covered one. This is just for sieving.
4. A sieve, the finer the better (To some degree…)
5. Some coffee filters

Fill the container with water. Filtered or bottled will taste better. Add between 1/4th and 1/8th as much coffee grounds as you add water. 1/8th works fine, but needs to soak longer. Cover the container and let it sit out, at room temperature. If you use 1/4th, you can do as little as 6 hours but I recommend 12. 16 hours for 1/8th. Some recipes recommend using the fridge, but then it takes even longer (24+ hours).

After it is done soaking, just filter the grounds out. I poor it through the sieve into the second container, then empty the sieve and the first container of grounds. This takes care of most of the loose coffee grounds so they don’t clog up your coffee filters as bad. Now add the filter to the sieve and pour through slowly again. If the filter clogs up, you can squeeze it to get the remaining coffee out and then switch to a new one. When you are done, the refrigerate the coffee in the covered container. It can be stored for around a week at most before it starts getting weird flavors.

You can drink the coffee right like it is, and it is good (but VERY strong). Dilute it with water 1/1 for a better flavor. Heat it up for an amazing, not-stale tasting coffee. Supposedly the caffeine content will be about the same as a normal cup.

For Iced Coffee, use 3/5ths water to 2/5ths coffee, poured over ice. Add some sweetener for something similar to what you get at StarBucks.

My favorite is an Iced Latte. For this you need:

1. Cold Brewed Coffee (I find a flavored coffee works best; Cinnamon Hazelnut is amazing)
2. Milk. Even fat free works fine, but the more fat the better the taste, obviously 😛
3. Sugar or a sweetener
4. Vanilla Extract (Real has the best flavor, as always)

Fill a cup or container 2/3rds full of milk. Add sugar; I use two heaping spoonfuls for a 1.5 cup glass. You might have to experiment to find your preferred sweetness. Add  several drops of vanilla extract; not too much or the drink will taste sharp. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the remainder of the cup with the cold brewed coffee, and stir a little. Add an ice cube or two to chill the drink (it tastes better cold!). If you want to, you can freeze the cold brewed coffee and use half water, half frozen coffee. This way when the cubes melt you can drink the result. I don’t usually bother because I drink it really quick.

Enjoy an amazing Iced Latte at a fraction of the cost (both $$$ and health) of a McD, BK or StarBucks Iced Latte!

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