Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A weekend of getting things done

OK, who's tired of waiting for summer? I'm up North and while technically it's warm enough to go for a swim, it's not really. 24°C is OK, but with the breeze coming in off the water, I wasn't that warm. THe house is cool, too, since the nights have gone down in the low teens (I'm sitting here in sweats, not shorts, and I've laid in a fire to start this evening), so I don't really feel like going in the water. I went for a short motorcycle ride, with a fleece vest on under the mesh jacket: where's summer?

So I spent this holiday weekend catching up and getting some things done. Mostly computer stuff. I did my month-end backups: actually, it's been 3 months since I did a proper one and I feel much more secure now that it's done.

I'm writing this so that YOU will start thinking about what you should be doing. How about you? Isn't it time to do your backups?

I know I don't do things in the most efficient way but here's what I did:

  • I copied my "Documents" folder in its entirety to my 1TB external backup drive
  • I created a backup Outlook .pst file and put it on the drive as well
  • I burned the May, June and July photo folders to DVD (6 of them!)
  • I copied them to the external drive, then deleted May and June from the computer
  • I defragged the hard drive, archived a bunch of old emails and
  • I copied more photos -- ones from the past 6 months -- to my favourites folder, a slideshow of which serves as my screensaver.

I have one thing left to do. I need to update the 'image' that I have of my hard drive programs and operating system and store it in a safe place. Iris's laptop hard drive failed last week and she had to start absolutely from scratch. I can't imagine (or unfortunately, I can) how difficult that would be so I have to take steps to prevent that from happening to me.

By the way, I take copies of my critical files -- there are two of them, my Quickbooks accounting file for the company and the student database for the firearms courses -- every day. I keep the copies on USB drives, with me at all times. Just in case...

The other project I've spent some time on is my book. I'm finally past the planning stage: I was trying to decide what theme to use, and the format of the chapters, but I'm there now. The target is between 100 and 120 pages, divided into about 5 sections and the working title is "Pathways". I've done one section, about 15 or 20 pages worth. I'm trying to target end of August to finish it, so watch this space for progress reports. The book will be for sale through Blurb.com and I plan to do a multimedia show based on the book.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures as I always do. Nothing exciting, I'm not really inspired right now. I've been trying to get a shot of a bald blue jay who's been visiting my feeder, but he's elusive. Either he's a juvenile, or something happened to him because he doesn't have the usual plumage above the neck. Really ugly! We'll see if I can get him next time.

This is my new BBQ. The old one died of, well, old age. There are 3 burners
inside and one outside and the starter thingy actually works (sometimes)!
Photographically, it is a really straightforward image but I used
Photoshop's Vignette action on it which makes it much more interesting.

By the way, the vignette effect looks a lot better on a white background
than it does on a black one. Click the image to blow it up and see it
on a white screen.

After breakfast, but before the cleanup. Cooking with gas is so much better than with electricity. The food comes out much better, probably due to the even heating. I wish I had propane in the house...

I picked up this little rollaway computer table at a garage sale on the way up on Saturday -- for $3! It's perfect for when I want to sit on the deck or out in the gazebo working on the laptop.

I did a quick-and-dirty job on this photo. I created a layer copy, applied a heavy Gaussina blur, then added a layer mask and painted black over the sections of the new layer that I wanted to hide (white on a layer mask is transparent, black is opaque).

A little fresh fruit for lunch today. I ended up buyng too many fresh berries and need to eat them before they go bad.

A bunch of cottagers on the road along the lake got together and bought these little fluorescent green figures. I think they're cute and very effective. I don't know if the little tricycle was there by accident or on purpose but it sure sends the message!

That's all for today. The grey, threatening cloudy skies and thunder rumbling in the distance don't really make me want to go out and shoot pictures or ride my bike, so it's time to get some work done.