Recovering Faded Photos (photoshop)

First let us make it clear at the time of this I am not a photoshop expert. I learn by showing others, so this is my inaugural photoshop trick/lesson. This time we are going to be trying to recover an old faded photo (misnomer, it is actually compacted, but faded is what everyone catches innately). This is done in less than 10 minutes (probably less than 5). There are multiple ways to do this, this is the one I know at this time and is pretty simple. I will also touch it up a little at the end.

Setup: In order to setup, make sure your image is scanned with the highest pixel count you can get (this photo is 600px scanning resolution), and scan it as RGB.

    1. Select yourself a nice faded photo for your use. Here is my grandfather and his mother in 1952 
    2. You will need to edit out the entire border area, the extra white space will from the photo will cause problems, so just crop it out. 
    3. The first thing you will do is make an adjustment using the levels tool located usually on the right of your workspace. Click it open and you will see how will show a histogram.

      Histogram for level adjustment
    4. The histogram graph should stretch from 0 to 255, but in older photos the black gets pushed into the middle, leaving it almost zero before and after the histogram in the middle. This effects how your photo looks. This is why it is actually not a faded photo, but the information has been compressed and doesn’t fully stretch out. From here it is going to be simple, select Adjust Levels, then where it says RGB click on the drop down menu and you will want to do this for each of the three levels, the R, the G, and the B.

      Selecting each section of the RGB
    5. You will want to pull the arrows on the bottom to be at the start of the actual histogram and the end of the histogram. The result is you would drag the left arrow until you get to the start of the histogram on the left, and drag the bottom arrow on the right (under 255) towards the left until you get  them to be at the start of both ends of the histograms. Once you are done it should look like this:

      Where to move your arrows to.
    6. From there I utilized the spot healing tool to do some cleanup on the photo (there was a couple of fold marks. However that isn’t required and I will cover how to use that in another quick tip. I just wanted to show you how I got rid of some of the bends if you noticed them.
    7. This is the final image, it is less than 10 minutes work (that includes a quick healing tool use.

      The final 10 minute or less quick touch up.
    8. This is a comparison photo between the two for the difference. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. I also found having to order it in a written blog format made it easier for me to remember as well. So be prepared for future things.
      The difference less than 10 minutes makes

       

      So there it is, my first quick photoshop tutorial. I love suggestions, comments or tips.

One quick note!!!  This logic works on other things as well, such as Mac’s Photos apps too. So I would follow same logic, same tools if you can and that should work if you don’t have photoshop.

Rough Feeling

manager
So much truth right now

I have been kind of quiet lately. Work isn’t working out the way it was presented so now I am stuck in a job that seems about as intolerant as other jobs made me worry about. Plus now I commute 2+ hours a day, working a set shift and for $20k a year less.

It has been a disappointing experience, and I will also admit my emotions have been all over the place. I suspect it is the holidays, stress, and my damn testosterone levels keep fighting my estrogen levels leaving everything a battlefield.

That being said, I have a wonderful husband, and great family made up of people I choose. Everything is going well logically. Our finances are fine at the moment, I am going to a consult for FFS on Sunday (maybe that is also adding to my stress), we are out of debt other than car and student loans. Life is good, just my emotions are lying.

I decided I needed to kind of blog about my emotions too. I have talked about doing it privately, but I find the only time I am good about recording things is if its publicly. Maybe I am just an exhibitionist. 

So it has been a rough few weeks, I am tired and I think I am starting to feel depressed again. Although I broke that big depression and I can feel emotions and I think that is also contributing to it. So maybe it is a sign things are getting better. I had a great Thanksgiving and I will probably post about that. It is good to get positive things posted.

Things will go well (and other than the work front are going well). 

How We Met

I wanted to post something about how Wolsey and I met. This is actually already posted on my AG account a couple years ago, but I felt it stood up to time well enough to be reposted here instead of completely rewritten.

(Wolsey and I talked, and thought it would be easier to refer to him with feminine pronouns. It helps paint the picture of what he presented as, and how I’d have interpreted his gender back when we met. This was a long time ago, and neither of us had any concept of what being transgender even was.)

A common question I get is how did Wolsey and I actually meet? Was it fate? Was it some quirky romantic comedy? Was it maybe even a horror show? The answer to all of that was no, or maybe yes in parts. Overall though it was pretty straight forward, or at least that is how it seems now.

I had recently moved up to Bellingham right before I turned 17. The first thing I did there was meet a group of friends that I played Dungeons and Dragons with. It was a household that several friends lived at, almost a flop house. A middle aged single mom owned the house, and was taking rent for all the teens she moved in. Most of these kids were near homeless, and this was a viable option for them. One of those people I met was my future husband.

Wolsey was a damn cute punk rock girl, at the time. She was a sassy smoker, drinker, and very alternative in her outlook. She had that intensity you only see in movies. She was something between a hard rocking Joan Jett and a manic pixie dream girl. Strangely enough, even with all that, she seemed to like me and wanted to hang out.

Yep, that is hubby

Over the next couple of years, she ended up dating my best friend, Doug. I was pretty shy and had ran away from a few different girls that approached me with my Dungeons and Dragons books as a shield. It wasn’t much different with Wolsey, when she showed interest in me.

Doug has the “slash” like hair and Wolsey is sitting beside him on his left before they went out. Remember these names, you will be tested.

Funny enough, Wolsey was the one who enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons with me the most. Her tough exterior was captivating as she roleplayed a cleric full of healing. She really wanted to help tell a story. Unlike all my male friends, who just liked to kill everything they encountered in my games. Even Doug would give both of us a hard time for liking the storytelling aspect of the game. I should have known that this was a good since Wolsey and I continue to play these kinds of games, thirty years later.

With Wolsey dating Doug, at the time, I was around her a lot more. She became my best friend, while Doug drifted off into a world I didn’t want to follow. I would be lying if I didn’t say I had a mad crush on her for a long time. We would wander off by ourselves while her boyfriend decided to hang out at home, and I just liked spending time with her. I had no expectations she would date me. I just felt like she was a really good friend.

Hubby

It was sometime during this time period when my parents had met Wolsey. They already knew Doug, and he brought her over, and they liked her. For a time, Wolsey lived a half a block down from my family and my father went over to borrow the phone regularly. That is when he noticed that Wolsey, who was presenting as a woman at that point was cute, and seemed to be focused on me. This went on for a while, when eventually my mom and dad asked how serious Wolsey and Doug were as a couple, and that they thought Wolsey would be perfect for me. I could not take the suggestion seriously because they were my friends and dating. I also just couldn’t believe that she was interested in me like that.

Eventually Wolsey and Doug broke up, and Wolsey asked me out to meet her for coffee. I freaked out. I wanted to be with Wolsey and I was positive she didn’t feel that way about me so I ditched her . . . at least twice. I look back now, and I can’t help but think I was such an idiot. At the time, I felt there was no way in the world someone as cool as Wolsey would want me and that I would just be making her uncomfortable.

This is me, with my dog Mucho and no clue about girls

Some time went by and I lost contact with Wolsey, as I became involved in my first live-in relationship. That partner decided to jealously block several communication attempts by Wolsey, something I hadn’t heard about until I broke up with that partner a few months later.

After this first major relationship breakup, I moved into a room at the same house I had met Wolsey. This time I was the one living there and not Wolsey. During this time, I had jumped four or five jobs in the space of a few months and was working in the paint department of Kmart.

That’s when I got an announcement over the intercom saying there was a phone call for me on line 3. I remember it with clarity.

I pick up the phone and it is Wolsey’s voice. She seemed excited and maybe a little out of breath. All she asked was what time I was off. I was confused and excited. I hadn’t seen Wolsey in months. I had missed her but I figured she was off dating someone and doing her own thing. Her words to me on the phone were, “Don’t go anywhere.” It was a pretty commanding tone and I agreed to wait.

Seriously, I worked for Kmart, I was not really good at life choices on my own, I am glad she made some of the decisions.

Twenty minutes later I hear stomping boots coming down the aisle and there she was dressed in a leather jacket, facial piercings, a very tiny shirt that revealed her feminine body quite explicitly, a mohawk, makeup, and the cutest purple crinoline skirt. I was getting off work about this time and she came up and hustled me to her truck and took me home.

We spent the next hour and a half talking. Over the next couple of weeks, we talked a lot and she kept showing up at my room. Wolsey was homeless at the time, but that didn’t bother me. I invited her in to my room and let her stay on my single-wide bed. I left out cans of ravioli, with a can opener and a spoon, for her to eat if she was hungry. Wolsey was always hungry and this was the one thing I knew she liked to eat.

Within a couple of weeks and we were fulling dating and she moved me out of that horrible room and into our own apartment. We had a tumultuous first seven months and spoiler alert… ended up breaking up for six months. I had been working graveyard shift as a taxi dispatcher, and it had created a huge scheduling problem between us.

There I am, in my full asshat bloom.

While I might have dated another woman and lived with her, this was the first relationship I wanted to last permanently. I had a lot of preconceived traditional, unexamined, views and expectations. I was confident though, so I asked Wolsey to marry me. I was surprised when she said no. I think I was too surprised to be crushed. I wouldn’t be crushed until later.

Now as I am older, I can admit I didn’t handle the relationship in the most mature way, and I suspect she thought I was someone I wasn’t. I kept putting forward this ideal of a relationship that didn’t exist anywhere. Instead of following my parents lead, or maybe one of my friends in a successful relationship I clung tighter and dug deeper.

Wolsey during our brief seven month initial relationship

The whole time, these decisions felt like a mismatch that would almost fit, but not quite. Wolsey was trying to get her hair styling degree and I pressured her a lot to pay attention to me. I was trying to work 18 hours a day and I can’t do 10 hours a day, let alone 18, without becoming someone I don’t like.

The relationship ended quietly a few days before Thanksgiving, and our third roommate decided he was going to move out with Wolsey and one of her friends who didn’t like me. I was left without roommates, in an apartment I couldn’t afford.

I ended up living with my old best friend, Doug. Unfortunately, he had developed a more serious drug and alcohol problem, and I still ended up paying all the bills on my own. When I complained, he brought me pizza he had found in a dumpster. This was not an easy time in my life.

The next six months were brutal and I drifted through multiple jobs and had multiple places to live after I had grown tired of living in that situation with Doug.

Trying to walk away from my junkie roommates

I ended up living with that same ex-girlfriend from before and her boyfriend. This time I was just as a roommate with another person sharing my bedroom.

Throughout all of this, all I could really think about was Wolsey, and how I had made things bad and how I could have handled things better. Even the things that really bothered me during the relationship now seemed insignificant.

What I knew was that Wolsey had gone hitchhiking with another gutter-punk down to California. I didn’t know if she was ok. I didn’t know if she was dating the guy, and it really did rip me apart. It bothered me so much I ignored other women that pursued me.

Our town was small, and I heard Wolsey had gotten back from California when I noticed her in the video store. I did everything I could to avoid her, my heart was pumping so loud in my ears I couldn’t hear the TV’s on display. I didn’t say hello, but turned away.

A couple of days later I was told I had a visitor by a very annoyed ex-girlfriend and roommate. I came downstairs and answered the door, and there was Wolsey. She looked tired, hungry and a bit sad. She looked worried. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen and sadly enough I almost shut the door on her right there. I was so terrified I didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately she did, and she stayed in my room a couple of days while we talked about things. I followed her back to her new place (the one with my old roommate and supposed friend.) Their household broke up within a couple of days of me visiting Wolsey and it ended up with Wolsey and I renting the house, with new roommates who were much better.

Wolsey decided to change, I can’t tell you exactly what happened but she cut her mohawk off, and got a job at Mervyns at the mall in the shoe department. We started working out our finances and she made it clear how much she loved me.

An actual photo of her getting ready to go to Mervyns. Also of me braving my death.

She asked me to marry her on the couch while I was playing one of the iterations of Megaman on a Nintendo gaming system. She said she never wanted to be with anyone else in her life and I replied the same. There was no way I wasn’t going to accept the proposal, she was everything I had dreamed about for years.

a picture of her the day she asked me to marry her.

We were married on Halloween of 1992, it had been less than four months since we had gotten back together and while we were married by a judge who was inappropriate, it was the most fantastic evening of my life. Marrying my spouse is the only decision in my life I have never regretted.

Getting married, still a lot of white male privilege there in me, but it would eventually be scooped out.

To this day I can’t see a cute girl in a mohawk, a can of ravioli, or smell the smell of cigarette smoke on a person without thinking about Wolsey and how much I loved him when we met.

That my friends is how Wolsey and I met and got together, well in a few words at least. Oh, and here is how we are now. Just as much in love.

First Time

Well it happened for the first time today, something was said about my transition in front of me in a negative way and it was at work.

I was stepping into an elevator and with four other guys who work somewhere on my floor but not in any of my areas. I noticed as I stepped in that they were all sort of staring at me, not a big deal, I know I am hot. I turned around facing the door and the words, “What the fuck is that” were uttered. 

It was pretty clear what was being said and why. I looked over and they were all looking away. I am sure whoever said it didn’t mean to say it aloud in my hearing but it didn’t matter. I had heard it.

The weird thing is I shut down immediately and just wanted to go home. This is not my normal reaction. Normally I will get mouthy, in people’s faces. Hell I have cornered other people in their van (while I was on foot) when they made a shooting gesture at my husband and got in their face. The just shutting down thing is not a reaction I would expect from me.

Problem is, I can’t prove which one said it and there is the off chance it is because of the clothing I am wearing (I definitely don’t worry standard business casual) but I know exactly why and I just wanted to go home.

I didn’t like that feeling at all. The rest of the day at work was great, but I didn’t feel great. The only other time that day was when I walked into the bathroom in front of someone and they immediately veered away, that was awkward but that has happened a couple of times.

I know this is the least I will have to put up with, and now that the initial shock to my system happen I think I will be fine in my reaction. However this has me totally reassessing what I want to do for a living. Working in close quarters in an office is going to be like this and that is fine.

I am just frustrated this shit was why I left the DoD, and funny enough I think this wouldn’t have happened in my actual office at this time because everyone knows me (it definitely would have happened at a minimum if I changed offices or went to training, let alone no work protections, so no regrets leaving anyways).

The funny thing out of all of this is I had one other occurrence happen a week or two ago. I was at the urinal and a guy stepped up using the one beside me and turned towards my chest. His eyes were at my boob level (and they are starting to be obvious) he stared at them for a few seconds. Then he went back to peeing and I never saw him again. I thought that was hilarious… but yesterday not so much.

Mental Health

I have always had mental health issues. These have included such things as diagnosed depression, diagnosed severe PTSD, I can be manic and I wonder if I am bipolar like my father (never been tested for this). I have known something is off mentally for my whole life, and to be honest that is partially why I never confronted being transgender. I was worried that it was all wrapped up and my being trans was a sign of mental health problems, not of who I truly was. I can say categorically now that isn’t true. Transitioning has saved my life, and I don’t think I am being hyperbolic. The only unfortunate thing is that it comes with some unexpected side effects.

I couldn’t tell you how much of my mental health is genetic/chemical and how much is how I grew up and what I saw. Either way, it isn’t anyone’s fault. The portions I was born with isn’t anyone’s fault, and my parents tried as much as they could (with their large mental health issues) so I cannot blame them for my upbringing. No matter what though, the mental health issues are there.

I am not sure if it’s the fact that I have to relook at every aspect in my life and change to be who I need to be as I grow into the woman I am, or maybe it’s just the estrogen helping me change how I think. Either way it doesn’t matter, it is just happening. This means I have bad days and good days. I think that is better than before when I had “nothing” days.

“Nothing days” were normal for me. Most everything was by rote and sort of blended together for me.I didn’t hate anything, and while I loved some things greatly, I always felt fake, a liar and undeserving. This meant I buried all my feelings and just went about my day. I would wake up not wishing I was dead, but ok with that happening because then at least my hubby would get a cash payout and he could live debt free. The only times I seemed to snap out of it was sometimes gaming, and usually when a crisis hit.

The changes over the last six months now mean I have a lot of thoughts and feelings from childhood on up to a few months ago that are pushing on me, and I can’t shove them back in the box. That makes me panic sometimes, I have relied on the box for close to fifty years and I don’t have a tool kit to deal with emotions.

This new set of emotions both up and down results in more days that I want to just hide in bed, and some days where life is great and I feel awesome. However, I almost never have a “nothing day”. I think I would rather have real emotions then to just wish maybe things would go away and the hubby might get some money. So I know this is better, even if I have to deal with things.

I was going to write a lot more, but weirdly enough it took a lot out of me just to write those short paragraphs. I suspect this will be a slow unpacking, so this is only part 1 of many.

Transition Consult Stuff

Lately I have had a deluge of things happening, the biggest thing was my first Facial Feminization Surgery consult. It was with a well known/renowned Seattle surgeon and it went fairly well.

This is me in the consult room, I am trying to train myself that I don’t look bad so you are all stuck with lots of pictures for me.

The first pro is I think he knows what he is doing. He has the typical smarmy “I know it all” that almost all surgeons have, but he comes across trying to be friendly. His office is gorgeous when you walk in, very high class, and he is very well known for soft work (muscles, fat, hair, etc). He talked about some of the facial bone stuff I need, and agreed to do stuff for me. He would do it in 2 surgeries to minimize how much it hurts.

Unlike the quick review I got by Ley, the local doctor focused more on my fat placement and face lift use as opposed to bone work (Ley wants to do a jaw shave, and more in depth brow work). I know it can be done multiple ways so that didn’t bother me.

The first con is his price. I got a partial consult back in May from Dr. Ley/Meltzer and it was super quick. The “quick” assessment was about $20k in a single surgery (plus 9 days recovering down there). This Dr’s price was almost three times that, close to $60k. That is about what I owe on my student loans. I think this doc is a little more money orientated, no shame in that, but the first thing he did was try and sell me on a nose job, whereas Ley/Meltzer both dismissed the idea of a nose job as a waste and mine was great.

I figured it was going to be more expensive because of locality costs and the fact that this local doctor likes to show off the famous people he works on. I assumed closer to 30k… but the almost 60k was a shock. There was no cut deal for combining several procedures together (Dr. Ley/Meltzer’s was a lot cheaper because they were already there working on me and the other procedures were just “time on the table”). He quoted me the same total price as if I did each procedure separately.

That slowed my roll immediately and right now I am not sure if I would do it. He does great work, however he is not quite the bone experience that Dr. Ley is (she was a cranial/facial reconstruction expert for children before doing this) and she was very informed about my bone structure. The local doctor mistook my forehead for muscle not bone (Ley knew it on sight) plus I have heard he doesn’t do much bone work, and he really pushed a lot of soft tissue/face lift instead.

However, I do need to say he does excellent breast implants. He also stated he could do them with my insurance coverage. He had me try on some implant prosthesis and I found it looks like 650cc boobs is great, but not overly huge on my chest.

 

I may very well go to him for my breast augmentation when my year has passed and insurance will pay. However, not so sure about the FFS. I am still withholding judgment until I see Dr. Ley/Meltzer for a complete/in-depth consult on December 3rd. They are wonderful surgeons and unless they stick me with another 60k bill I suspect they will be the winner. However, we will have to see.

Goodbye Ghost

I had a bunch of posts I wanted to do, I have been traveling for work, hanging with husband. Sadly though Ghost had taken a turn for the worst. Yesterday he wouldn’t really get out of his blanket area except to go check out the outside when we opened the kitchen deck door (he hated outside before this apartment).

So yesterday we contacted The Good Life, the same vet that helped him a few weeks ago to have her visit today and help us say goodbye. However, Ghost will do what he wants and he passed away after we went to bed last night.

The hubby has been sweet, he tried to keep me from having to see it or deal with it. I have helped with all our other animals and while it is a lot harder to not cry right now and I appreciated his effort, it was my duty to help.

Goodbye old man cat, Mr. Pinchy, Ghost… We love you very much and I really do hope something like the rainbow bridge exists. Take care.

Prepare to be bombarded with cat pictures. We will get back to my regular thoughts after I can get back to it.

Taking it Easy, shadowrun group (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Spook, and a bunch of characters I don’t remember, Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Shadowrun Group, pencil sketch 1991

At that time in 1991 this was actually one of my favorite pictures. In it is our shadowrun group. On the left is Wraith, my combat decker. Beside her is Spook, an asian cat burgler.. sort of (it’s hard to remember). The other two characters I think were Ben’s whose name I think was Mist… maybe. The other was Drew’s and I have no idea at all the name of the character.

The game was pretty cool, the group was a lot of fun but a lot of problematic things now that I am 28+ years older. Spook… that name would have had an objection from me now, but honestly we didn’t even consider other racist commentary possibilities.

As for other characters, Spook and Mace (Weylin’s characters) were really the only ones I liked in game, considered close and would protect. Ben and Drew’s characters were not liked by Wraith (or by me), they were just sort of filler/backdrop. 

The funny part is hearing other people’s stories, and its always intriguing to hear different points of view. I am sure Wraith was annoying to other characters/players just like they were to me. Just as humans we rarely look outside our own point of view to take it all in.

It was a good set of games, well at least until we started having bad things happen… then waking up from it like it was a dream. That pretty much killed the campaign for me.

Wraith, combat decker (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Combat Decker (before they were a thing) Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Wraith was my first female pc. I had run as a GM several female NPCs and they had always been my favorite to fall back on. Once I ran Wraith as a player I never really went back for male characters. After that point I can only remember three male characters in thirty years. One was Grim, an ex-FBI sorcery adept in shadowrun, one was Shaan from my most recent Battletech game, and a very short lived character in a hubby game.

This was probably the first adult indication of who I was (not her personality), and that I preferred to be a female character in a game. I knew at this time what I felt I was, but in no way did I ever think I could jump the divide so I buried it.

I think the image is based on an in-game situation when we were imitating being a special forces team, or it could have been Bryon’s “Abyss” run, a shadowrun mission roughly based on the movie the Abyss. A lot of his games tended to fully imitate movies/tv shows for missions or characters this is not unusual, every GM does it, but I try to hide the details enough that at first glance you can’t tell.

Rage (artwork, sketch, 1991)

RAGE, Summoning Shaman, Shadowrun 2nd Edition

Rage, pencil sketch 1991

Rage was a 2nd edition Shadowrun character, a summoning adept that I had for a short time in a game hubby was running. It is horrible, and I admit it, but like I said I want to post the things I did in the past.

Her chest sucks (and the fact her chest is bare was originally going to be clothed but I wanted to practice breasts… obviously didn’t work).

The character itself was a bad guy, worshipped dark things and really wasn’t that fun past a couple of games (hence why it ended so quickly).