Learning from Dogs

Stray dogs are common around here. They roam, scavenge, and breed if they are lucky. Puppies, especially the weaker ones, regularly get left behind.
These two pupsters probably weren’t, but they refuse to leave their dying sibling’s side.
Animals might not have spirit, but their souls are often more compassionate than ours. We could learn a thing or two from them.



Technical Aspects of Editing

This one is the best episode out of nine so far, when it comes to technical aspect at least.

1. The original audio had lots of wind noise, despite the deadcat windshield. Izotope audio plug-in software did a nice job removing almost all of it, but the narration sounds a bit tinny and digital. Like all other aspects of video editing, it will get better with practice.
2. Drone flying is getting smoother, especially with manual camera movements.
3. Google maps animation enhancing the narration.
4. Color grading is more natural, mimicking film. It took 8 nodes (layers) to achieve the look, but heck, whatever it takes! 🙂
5. Bible verse references help the narration move along nicely.
6. Lots of b-rolls!
7. Accompanying graphics – simple yet effective.
8. Low light drone footage with video noise removal and heavy color correction – takes a long time to render, but it looks pretty good for 1/25 shutter speed with minimal natural light.
9. Narration – good mix of history and Bible stories.
10. Mimicking the “Star Wars” speeder biker chase scene footage (1:22), but through the palm trees! 🙂

Sewage Line Blessing!

When you are out of shape, any hill becomes a major obstacle. There is no such thing as ‘runable’ flat stretch of land around here to get you started again. BUT, then, there is this – a newly constructed sewage line that stretches out for more than a mile. It’s like a custom made flat trail just for me! Oh.. the city of Beit Jala/Bethlehem or whoever is responsible, you have blessed your people in more ways than you know! )


Hot Flatbread on Hot Stones!

One of my favorite foods here is stone baked flatbread seconds out of the oven, too hot to touch. You can probably guess the best part – it only costs a shekel (about 25 cents)!
Every town/village has at least a couple of bakeries like this one. There is no need to use preservatives since just about everybody buys a fresh batch every morning.

How to map Alt-C, Alt-V to copy and paste on Windows.

Alt-C, Alt-V = Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V !!

I’ve used Windows operating system for years before switching over to Mac when Final Cut was at its peak. I then switched over to Premiere when they premiered (pun intended) Mercury engine, enabling me to edit smoother with a relatively low-spec mac. I replaced my MacBook with a faster model since, enabling me to scrub Panasonic GH4 4k footage relatively smoothly. I then switched again, this time to Davinci Resolve, mainly due to its awesome color grading capabilities. Unfortunately, it was a bit much for my 2013 MacBook pro. It choked badly when GH5 4k 10-bit and DJI H264 footage were laid on a timeline.
So, it was time to upgrade again. A 2017/2018 MacBook was out of my budget, so I settled for a 2017 Razer Blade which I picked up at a Best Buy for cool $1130 since it was a display model.
Since purching it 6-months ago, I’ve been pretty happy with it, but I still use my ‘old’ MacBook for photo editing due to its much better color accurate Retina display.
So, I chug away with what I think is the greatest editing/color-grading/compositing software – Davinci Resolve 15 on my little 14″ gaming laptop.
One relatively major problem, however, bothered me for months – I am used to Mac’s Command-C and Command-V as copy and paste shortcut keys. Trying to remember to hit CTRL for windows and Command for Mac every time I switch from one OS to another was a major pain in the butt.
The solution was obvious. Why not remap the windows keys so I can use either Ctrl-C/V or Alt C/V?
After the little research, I find that it’s not possible, at least from the Window’s side, HOWEVER, it IS possible using another piece of software, AutoHotkey. It took a bit of effort to learn how it works, but it was time well spent.
Here’s what you need to do to enable ALT-C/V to function just like CTRL-C/V (sectioned copied from their website)
1. Download AutoHotkey at https://www.autohotkey.com/
2. Right-Click on your desktop.
3. Find “New” in the menu.
4. Click “AutoHotkey Script” inside the “New” menu.
5. Give the script a new name. It must end with a .ahk extension. For example: MyScript.ahk (I named mine “MacCtrlAlt_script”)
6. Find the newly created file on your desktop and right-click it.
7. Click “Edit Script”.
8. A window should have popped up, probably Notepad. If so, SUCCESS!
9. The body of the file looks something like this.

#NoEnv ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
; #Warn ; Enable warnings to assist with detecting common errors.
SendMode Input ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.

9. Add these lines after the last line.

LAlt & c::Send ^c
LAlt & v::Send ^v
LAlt & a::Send ^a
LAlt & n::Send ^n
LAlt & s::Send ^s
LAlt & z::Send ^z

10. Save the file. If you are lazy like me, then you can simply download the file I already created here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UpVKAPsJ7_27cw8avie9hEr-dSM3hy9k/view?usp=sharing
11. Run the file by double-clicking on your newly created *.ahk.

That’s it! Now you can copy and paste using EITHER CTRL or ALT key!
If you want to use this script every time you start the Windows, create a shortcut of your *.ahk file and put in in the startup directory by,

Press Win + R
type “shell:startup”
A new directory will open. You then simply copy and paste (using new available alt-c and alt-v, of course!) the shortcut file you created into the directory.

Once you have a shortcut in the startup folder, the ALT-C/V script loads automatically so you can get to work right away!

I will be creating a step-by-step video soon!

Camel Meat for the First Time!

Had to pick up a pound of camel meat when we saw this in front of a butcher shop in Hebron. Yes, it’s pretty grisly, but this is the way how the shops do it around here, showing how fresh their meat is.
How did it taste? It looks and tastes almost indistinguishable from beef. It even has a slight hint of pork flavor. I prefer it over lamb, the most prized meat here, which is a bit rich for my taste.



Food – Universal Language

Sonnie knows a little Arabic. A couple of these sisters speak decent English.
They can, however, communicate perfectly using a universal language – food!
Here’s Sonnie, demonstrating how to assemble a perfect kimbap (Korean California roll). The sisters learned real quick! Two of them liked the taste, and the other two didn’t.
It was a success no matter; it brought two very different cultures together.


Dabke in the Middle of the Street!

Dabke is an Arab folk dance performed at weddings or any other joyous occasions. It was in the middle of the street today, a couple of blocks from our place. It stopped traffic, but that didn’t matter. It was cause for a jubilant celebration!

Bethlehem Shepards

This is not an uncommon sight around here during morning runs, seeing goats guided by shepherds, seeking pastures where the grass grows, as the wind blows.

Jericho, from the Air to Water

Jericho is a fascinating city. It has an endless supply of water. It is a place where the following occurred.

The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken. (2 Kings 2:19-22)

This is the spring, spouting thousands of gallons of pure water an hour. I don’t know if the locals realize it or not, but with today’s precious water supply, it is golden.


There are two ways to get to Jericho from Jerusalem; the easy superhighway, or the twisty bumpy way. Guess which one has spectacular scenery?

..and here’s how the footage above was used in for the web series, “This is the Holy Land.”