Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Side of Lower Valley Trail

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Another way of seeing sights along the Lower Valley Trail. Just to keep you guessing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Computer Feeling Unloved

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My computer screen hasn’t felt much love in the last week. My recent relationship with the computer has consisted mostly of setting up files to copy or move and leaving the room to handle other chores. Then there was the maintenance business a few days ago, opening the case, cleaning out the dust bunnies, and installing memory. I guess that is a sort of love being shown, but not much looking at the monitor.

As if that weren’t enough time away from my desk, there was a rash of errand-running lately. I have mentioned before that a trip to the supermarket—even if you only grabbed a dozen eggs)—chews up over an hour. Naturally, neither of us ever makes the trip for just a dozen eggs.

Just ten days ago, we drove to Bakersfield (that’s two hours round trip); on Wednesday the cupboard was pretty bare, so that meant Tehachapi (over an hour); then yesterday was an LA day. That’s a biggie. At least, for us. Under the best of conditions, it is a four-hour round trip. If you have the misfortune of hitting peak traffic hours or you encounter an accident or car breakdown, it is more like a five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hour jaunt. Fortunately, we get to set our hours when we are simply errand-running and avoid the worst of the mess. Keep in mind that morning rush hour in LA starts about 6:30 AM and lasts until 10:00 AM. Evening rush hour chews up 3:00 PM until 7:30 PM. Obviously, we invariably catch a portion of the travel at risk of your sanity periods.

Still, we accomplished quite a bit yesterday and, of course, the best part of the trip is always lunch at Viva. In some ways, it’s like dropping by Mom’s on your way somewhere for a quick meal. You know she will be there and you can depend on good vittles. Moreover, there is no need for formalities. Especially if the restaurant is a little slow—and it often is as early as we arrive (usually around a quarter of twelve). On those occasions, the hostess often simply greets us and hands us a couple of menus inviting us to seat ourselves. We head to the back room to pick our own table. On the way back, we say “hello” to the waiters who have been there, in some cases, for close to thirty years.

Yesterday the food was typically delicious and the back room was pleasantly quiet. However, if you should happen to drop in on a Saturday night, don’t have your heart set on a tranquil meal. The margaritas are large, sufficiently potent, and the atmosphere is often raucous.

Weekend evenings are usually noisy because of the riders from Sunset Ranch, a rental stable, located in the basin (the ocean side of Los Angeles). Angelenos, who are feeling adventurous, can sign up for the Friday or Saturday night horseback ride across the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and Griffith State Park, have dinner at Viva in the San Fernando Valley, then ride back to the stables. As you might imagine, most of the riders are greenhorns and by the time they get to Viva, they are exhausted, sore, and often relieved to still be alive. Celebrations are usually in order. Too many margaritas are consumed and the place gets lively. Let’s sum things up by saying that, on more than one occasion, cabs are called, and some of the horses make the trip back across the foothills riderless.

Yesterday, most of the tables were sans margaritas and our lunch was peaceful. As always—along with the beans and chips, there are the memories of so many other meals. Peaceful ones, noisy ones, joyful events and sorrowful ones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tackling the Piles

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For much too long, I was verrrrry bad and let chores pile up. Sooner or later, one has to face up to those piles and dispense with at least a portion of them. It doesn’t matter how much you dread it. You can only postpone things so long.

Some of the catch-up work centered around file storage. I set up a couple of new hard drives that had languished in the cabinet a while and continued moving files for better organization. What tedious work.

I also installed more memory in my computer. Truth: I assisted (mostly with prep and clean up). The Husband installed. You can only imagine how chicken I am when it comes to poking around inside a computer. If I planned to do much of this sort of thing, I would dig up an old machine, then take it apart—wreck it most probably, get another and work until I could break one down and successfully put it together again. Unfortunately, I can’t work up the enthusiasm for the project. There are too many other things I want to explore that are higher priority for me.

I enjoyed very much the responses to my query on a backup scheme and have decided to follow through with that plan. I posed a couple more questions in my responses to the comments on that post, and I expect to be tweaking this strategy over time.

I’ve also spent time recently on some test shooting and checking a couple of locations in preparation for a shoot some time in the next couple of weeks. For one of the test sessions, I was at the BVS Equestrian Center and got distracted by the trees there. Let’s face it. I am frequently distracted by trees.

Finding an ideal location for pictures of horses with riders hasn’t turned out to be as easy as I had hoped it would be. There are number of reasons for that statement, but I won’t open that can of worms today. Those chores are piling up again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Backup Scheme

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I have a plan for file backup and I thought I would publish it here. My motivation is that I would like to see if everyone in the group says, “Whoa there. You are about to make a monumental mistake because….”

So here goes. I want at least two copies of everything. (My natural scaredy cat nature is to have three or four copies, but I just can’t deal with it. So, two it will be.) Favorites, Classics, whatever I am calling them at the moment pulled from each year will rate three of four copies, including a spot on the C drive. The first copy of everything will be processed then moved off to a desktop external drive. For the second copy or backup, I am going to experiment with those small, portable drives, such as Western Digital’s Passport.

Why the small portable drives, you ask? Space for one thing. Too much of my desk top is already devoted to the book-type hard disks. On the other hand, the possibility of storing those drives in another room doesn’t appeal to me either, because I hate crawling around under the desk plugging in the power sources and rigging the things up to the computer. I have had a Passport for a couple of years and have found it handy and reliable. It takes up little space, and all I have to do is plug it into a USB port and ta dah! I’m ready to go.

For the moment at least, it looks like a practical plan. Of course, one drawback is the cost. The price per gigabyte of storage space is lower with the larger drives, but I’m thinking that storage space and convenience of set up may win out. By the way, I also believe that the little portable drives are slower. That means that I wouldn’t want to use them any more than necessary.

Please wave me off if you know something I haven’t brought up. Otherwise, I’m headed to Best Buy next week to pick up a couple of those little guys and jump into this experiment.