Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Coasting for oysters: Lostboater's Oyster Tour

I know some of you have been anxiously waiting for episode four of the vlog.

But first I have incredible news!!

On Monday, February 27th, 2017, I rode my Vespa all the way to the south western end of greater Toronto to fetch some parts for our living room lighting. That was a first. I feel almost bullish about global warming (no, not really).

Well back to the matter at hand. Wait no more, here is episode four. If I were a more proficient producer, director, editor, sound man, camera man, script writer, and cinematographer, episode four would have landed in your inbox yesterday.

Subscribe to my channel:
One episode a week is about all I can muster at this point. Man, this is demanding, to say the least.

In this episode, the intrepid travelers have lunch at Pouncey's Restaurant in Perry Florida, then make a beeline for Florida's panhandle coast. Along the way there are sights I'll cherish for years to come and new friendships I'll treasure forever. There was a hazy dream-like quality to the ride along the coast that I tried to convey with some transparencies of snapshots I took as we rode along. I hope you appreciate the cameraman's prowess, barrelling down the road managing a Vespa with one hand, and a camera with the other.

Maybe that's why on this tour, I managed to learn to ride a Vespa with no hands.

I owe a special thank you to Bill Leuthold for capturing this bit of momentary insanity. I also owe a note of appreciation to Piaggio for re-engineering the Vespa's front suspension and eliminating the infamous Vespa GTS wobble. Finally, I'd like to thank Ken Wilson for lending me his brand new Vespa 300 GTS with ABS and traction control so that I could learn this stunt without putting my own Vespa at risk.

And now for the show notes:

The music for this episode is from the YouTube music library. It's Moonshine Town by JR Tundra. As soon as I heard it I knew it set just the right mood for this little adventure.

Though the reference to this small town was left on the cutting room floor in the video, we rode through Panacea. I could feel all of my troubles evaporate as we sailed through town. Maybe Panacea should host the next meeting of the G7, G8, or G20 (or whatever the government of the world calls itself these days). Imagine the problems they could solve in a town called Panacea. 

If you want to take a little trip and feast where we feasted, here are some links:
To see Ken's and Bill's take on this little adventure check out their blog posts:
Here are links to their rider profiles:
There are still two episodes to come before the excellent Life on two wheels 2017 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Meeting Legends wraps up its run at the box office.

In episode five Ken unveils some truly unique Florida sights and experiences for our lucky band of Vespa travelers.

Until then (production has not started yet) you will just have to sit tight, savour this episode, and watch re-runs.


In response to comments, I went back into the cutting room and worked on the video a little more, tightening things up, re-doing the voice overs, stuff like that. Then I uploaded the video again as a second take, this time without Google's helpful de-shaking algorithm that I suspect buggered things up a little last time.

I think there's an improvement. One of the changes is using the iPod camera to record the voice overs instead of the computer. It keeps the voice tracks more consistent.

You be the judge: 


redlegsrides said...

Nicely done.

I wonder if any onlookers gazed upon the group of you taking pics of each other with bemusement and curiosity?

Oysters...ugh, but I liked the sign: Free Oysters and Beer, Tomorrow". Nice "fast motion" effect for the chowing down on the oysters bit.

David Masse said...

Thanks for the kind words Dom.

I have to say that vlogging, basically taking video selfies in public, requires that I take a deep breath and do my best to forget that 'normal' people may be judging me as somewhat of a fool. I helps that I have to concentrate on what I want to say, keep myself in the frame, and avoid walking into traffic, poles, furniture, and those potentially judgey people.

I think that a part of the appeal of vlogging and vloggers is the vulnerability and openness of the vlogger. When the video is too slick, and the vlogger lacks that vulnerability, the video is less appealing. Unless the video shows material that is a) really wrong, b) painful, c) stupidly brave and daring, or d) boobs.

RichardM said...

Contrary to Dom's view of oyster, I think that they were the best part. (You can never have too many oysters!) The talking to the camera would seem odd for me to do but not necessarily for others. I must admit that I have watched a number of vlogs and have met and talked to more than a few over the years. Though many of the moto-vloggers seem to just use helmet cams and talk while recording. If there is a way to position the camera without getting the upper edge of the windshield that would be great. The bouncing of the upper edge in the middle of the frame was pretty distracting. Do you narrate while recording on the road or do voice overs?

Unknown said...

Great production, David! It makes me want to try oysters--looks like another good excuse to eat hot sauce (is that what you're splashing on 'em?).

Oh, and...

"Finally, I'd like to thank Ken Wilson for lending me his brand new Vespa 300 GTS with ABS and traction control so that I could learn this stunt without putting my own Vespa at risk." :D


"...we rode through Panacea. I could feel all of my troubles evaporate as sailed through town. Maybe Panacea should host the next meeting of the G7, G8, or G20 (or whatever the government of the world calls itself these days). Imagine the problems they could solve in a town called Panacea." :D :D


"...the video is less appealing. Unless the video shows material that is... d) boobs." :D :D :D

Thanks for giving me some laughs at the end of the day.

David Masse said...

Thanks Richard.

The Vespa I was riding had a tall windscreen installed and that made keeping it out of the frame consistently difficult. There's that and the fact that riding and filming simultaneously is already tricky business.

As for narration in the riding videos, they are separate recordings. There is a way to get simultaneous narration, I know because others do it, but I'm just not there yet.

As for the oysters, they were huge and could not have been fresher.

David Masse said...

Ah yes Ry, dashes of hot sauce, lemon juice, lime juice, hot sauce plus lemon juice, hot sauce plus lime juice... yum, yum, yum!

Glad I made you laugh, that was my hope.

Steve Williams said...

I enjoy watching your video episodes. They are a great vehicle for storytelling in a manner that you can't easily achieve with just words and pictures. I admit an envy of your work in this area. But as you said, it's hard work. That has kept it at a distance. Perhaps after I retire I'll imagine things differently.

The panhandle coast looks lovely. I'm reminded though of the reasons I don't often ride with others. It probably would have taken hours for me to go a few miles because of stopping to see the water and shore. The stop for oysters was great but like Dom -- oysters, ugh. I found myself watching and wondering how I would apologize for turning them down in favor of something more like chicken -- shrimp.

You get a real sense not only of your trip, but of you. I'm not sure what motivates your decision to produce the videos but for me, this kind of work is always self reflective. I learn about myself and my experience in ways that I would not otherwise.

As always, looking forward to the next one. Get to work!!!

David Masse said...

Steve your praise means a great deal to me. After all, I began my blog largely because your blog inspired me to follow suit. I owe a debt to you, and Dave Dixon. You two were responsible for convincing me to take the plunge and try commuting on a Vespa. Having taken that plunge, I figured that I had a responsibility to record what I learned in a blog of my own so that in turn I might inspire others the way you inspired me.

As for video blogging, I was egged on by my son Jonathan, and my good friend Andrew. What sealed the deal is that I imagined that if I could teach myself to vlog by trying the patience of my loyal blog readership, I might be able to tackle some semi-professional vlogging aimed at the corporate governance community.

As for oysters, you never know until you try. There are few treats that I like more than a chilled bottle of Pro Seco and a dozen oysters on a sunny patio (ideally in Italy). An ice-cold beer and a dozen oysters on the Panhandle coast comes a very, very close second. I doubt I'll ever have oysters as good as those were though.

Should you find yourself at Lynn's Quality Oysters at some point in the future (I'm sure the guys would welcome you with open arms), you can tear a page out of Jim's book and have a basket of fresh shrimp. I tasted one and it was to shrimp, what those oysters were to oysters. Just amazing.

David Masse said...

Hmmm... I just noticed that the video images have a wavy distortion to them that is not present in my original version.

I got the usual prompt from YouTube offering to fix shakiness in my video. I clicked OK, but I suspect that the shakiness-correction algorithm actually made things considerably worse. I see no less shakiness in the corrected version, but that distortion was introduced.

I don't know whether it makes sense to upload the video again and delete the distorted one.

Maybe I will... and maybe I'll leave it be.

That's what they call experience. It's what you get when you were expecting something else.

bocutter ed said...

Oysters ... yum.

Other direction: "On Monday, February 27th, 2017, I rode my ..."Beemer to West Pearce St, near Leslie & Hwy 7, in Richmond Hill.

Ken said...

The Vlogs are improving weekly and they are great already. I, like Steve, if alone as I usually ride, would have made many more U-turns. In the next edition I am sure David will show a U-turn I could not resist even with all the ducks behind me

SonjaM said...

Meanwhile in the Black Forest... the snow is back on the hills, and high winds make riding and most other outdoor activities impossible.

You are getting really good at this stuff, David.

The last time I had oysters it was on New Year's Eve 2008. I liked them alright but that might be because of the sauce...

Bill Leuthold said...

The oysters were among the best ever. Sort of like the BLT. Food was good this trip. I truly hope we can repeat it some day.

Bill Leuthold said...

You know me and stopping, but I must say that the stops were the highlight of the trip, Whether eating or taking group photos or just hanging out, the stops were all good. I am learning.

David Masse said...

Yessir Ken! I'm not one to disappoint, there will be a U-turn (or two even) featured in episode 5, I promise.

David Masse said...

Bill I heartily agree. That's why that whole Lynn's Quality Oyster segment featured virtually all the footage and photos I have. That stop in particular was "ground zero' for the tour, I believe I heard you utter that sentiment.

David Masse said...

Thanks for the kind words Sonja.

If you and Roland are still planning a visit, I am sure we could find a terrace (in Montreal) or a patio (in Toronto) for Pro Seco and oysters.

David Masse said...

Let's see Bill... I'm retired, retirees are drawn to Florida... yes, I do believe there will be another Florida tour in my future.

Steve Williams said...

I appreciate the idea of being part of a community and giving back. While you owe no debt to me it's gratifying to know that I am part of a far flung community of Vespa riders and bloggers. I wish that club was available in high school.

Video blogging is attractive as a way to communicate. The learning curve is daunting. But I'm sure your readers are happy to indulge your experiments. I am at least. Part of me wants you to talk me out of going down the video blogging road myself and part of me is looking for the little inspirational nudge to pick up the video camera.

Oysters. No. No thank you. Don't see myself trying them. But the basket of fresh shrimp. I can imagine that right now. Maybe one day I'll get to the panhandle and meet the legends myself.

RichardM said...

The YouTube shakiness reduction is designed for slow moving hand-held videos. With moto blogs it really tends to mess them up… I would try another upload just so you can see if the waviness is there without Googles "help".

David Masse said...

Ed I have a lot to learn about making the most of these Toronto winters. I could easily have gotten a fair bit of riding through January and earlier in February.

As for oysters, I'm beginning to think they're one of those things that separate humanity into two camps: the yums and the ughs.

bocutter ed said...

It's also easy to get 'caught' regardless of how carefully one monitors the weather ...

I have photos ... haha.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.