Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Nefarious Mister S (part 3)

After a few weeks of designing, testing, and building a camera rig to catch an idiot co-worker in the act of tossing trash in my car...I had nothing.

That's not quite right. I had a bag of cracker wrappers--oh, and Mister S went to Taco Bell one time, so I got that dumped in my car, too.

I went back to thinking of how I could get a camera into the Tracker. A camcorder would do the trick, but mine would only tape for 90 minutes. A VCR could go for 6 hours...and I had an inverter for making AC power, a car battery to run it. All I needed was a monitor: a cheapie black & white TV from the corner drugstore. Since I'm an Apollo Program geek, I started calling this the Block II and the still camera/motion sensor the Block I (Block I command/service modules were used for all the unmanned flights and Apollo 1; the Block II CSMs were the complete moon-rated item).

The Block II Project came together pretty quickly. I spent several lunch breaks tinkering with the layout. The battery went in back, the inverter sat on the back seat under a hat, and the VCR and TV would be in a tool bag on the floor. Turns out it's hard to hide an old VHS-C camcorder. That didn't matter so much, because the camera kept shutting off.

Another wait for another paycheck, and by October 11, I had a replacement camcorder and a revised name: Block IIb. On October 12, 2007, I set the camera up on a tripod, wedged it between the back seat and side wall, set the VCR running, and left it when my lunch break ended.

Mister S took his lunch as soon as I was back on the clock. I made a few runs, checked the VCR (still running), looked for trash.

There was a cracker wrapper right where previous ones had always landed.

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