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Sunday, February 18, 2018


Here's something to make you think a wee bit...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Deleting a Third of a Million Digital Photos

Did you know that a few days ago was "National Clean Out Your Computer Day"?

"DAY"... yeah, that one made me laugh.  I've been cleaning out my computer and external hard drive since the beginning of January.  Just in photographs I have deleted ~ brace yourself! ~ about 350,000 photos!

I've mentioned this in a few of my Facebook groups and have had many ask how did I do it?

First thing was for me to come to an understanding of just how that mind blowing number came to be.  The answer: laziness.

Remember the old days (and some of you probably don't...) when you loaded film into your camera?  You might have 12 shots you could take, or maybe 24.  The very most was 36 and that was almost decadent.  Then you very carefully selected what you wanted a photo of and very carefully took one...maybe two shots because that film was not cheap!  When you took all the photos for that roll of film, the next step was to take it to be processed.  More not cheap.

Picking up your photos was always a butterflies in the stomach time.  How many turned out OK?

Digital photography.  If you feel it, you can take 1000 photos of your kid's soccer game.

Here is where the problem arises.

I didn't have 350,000 photos to delete because I've taken a half million photos.  I had that many because of lazy back-ups to my external hard drive.  I'd just keep backing up and backing up and backing up the same darn thing with only a few new ones each time.  And I never went thru those photos I had taken to pick the best 2 or 3 from the 200 or 300 shots I'd taken at that soccer game.  Ditto the trip to the park.  Ditto again the birthday party.  See the problem?

And trips... oh goodness.  My 30 day trip to Scotland produced 9000 photos.  Now it gets really sticky because 8000 of them were good photos of amazing places.

Folks... I travel a lot...

So it goes until I was completely overwhelmed with where to start.  Here is how I accomplished my sorting and culling...

I started with just looking at what sort of things I take photos of.  What are my main topics/themes?  These I wrote on paper first.

Yearly is a no brainer.  Sub files of each year (ie 2011), then sub file that with the months.  That to me is the most basic organization.  

The next major file for me was Travel.  Sub files Overseas or US trips.  Within those sub files for locations.

After that I just came up with various topics that I do... "Family and History", "Creative", "Blog", "Photography" (those shots I want to use for selling/contests/etc), "Home", and so on.  You can always add more as you work~ these first one just help make for faster sorting.  

Now I was ready for the big sort-cull-organize to begin.  I started with my external hard drive.  I had done save after save of the same files, so I picked the largest and latest folder to drag the duplicates into.  "Merge" and "Move and Replace" are wonderful time savers.

I kept busy at that until I had one large folder of unique files.  

Then I copied over laptop drive files using the same method.  This way I ended up with files on the external drive of every single photo.  Oh... I added Dec 17 to the end of every file name (cause I started this the beginning of Jan).  An incredible amount of photos were deleted during this time as I ditched the duplicates or sub-files I knew I didn't want to keep.

Now back to the laptop drive...

First folder I made was 000 Hold (those are zeros).  So named so it would always be at the top.  Due to extreme paranoia, I dragged all the photo files into this folder for safe keeping ~ even tho technically I also had them on my external drive.  Don't know if that was needed but it made me feel better!

So at this point, I had one folder showing in my file tree.  

Then I added in all the new files I had brainstormed earlier.  

At this point I dragged over one folder at a time from the external drive... adding 00 to the front of the file name to put it on top.

I worked on that file one photo at a time, until each photo and sub file was completely culled to just what I wanted to keep.  The finished files were dragged into the new blank files.  

Once the transferred file is empty, I deleted it.

I did this over and over for several weeks until I had gone thru all the photos I was going to.  As I finished each yearly folder I renamed it with DONE at the end of the name.

OK, that sounds a bit strange when I say I'm done culling my photos.  Except for the travel photos, (which I am working thru month by month making photo books out of after which I will do the cull), the important photos are done (ie yearly, family history, etc).  

I discovered as I worked there are photo files I really don't consider important such as "projects" (photos grabbed from the 'net that I want to do) and I don't care about backing them up per se.  Maybe later but probably not.  I can always go to Pinterest.

My final steps were to copy back to the external drive all my finished files or untouched consolidated files (like "Travel") that now had the name ending Feb 18.  The files named with Dec 17 on the end were deleted.  One last check to make sure I had all files in both drives, and the final copies were deleted.

Was it fun?  No.  Was it easy?  Oh no.  Was it needed?  Absolutely yes!

I worked on this almost every day for 1 to 4 hours a day.  When I was tired of it, I walked away because that is when you start making stupid mistakes.  But when I started this I pledged to myself I would complete the task, which I did.  It might have taken less time to do if I hadn't been simultaneously going thru those 8000 Scotland photographs for my Blurb book of the trip.

If I could go thru that many photos and get them arranged, so can you!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Easy Fruit Puff Pastry Tarts

Here's a fast, easy, and spectacular looking dessert for a few or many with just a few tweaks of the recipe.

It's starts with pre-made puff pastry shells.

Doesn't it look great?  It tastes even better!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Brat Bowl 1

Today there are no snacks being prepared.  The TV is off.

There will be no Super Bowl here at The Sticks.

Because I am totally disgusted by the 'players' of the NFL and not one penny will be accorded to them out of this household.  That anthem is about this COUNTRY and not about any politician or grievance.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

What's In Store For February

It's time to move into the February challenges.  Since January went so well, it has really motivated me for this next round.

With the upstairs KonMari repeat done I can now focus on making each room "sparkle".  Not just sparkling clean but a sparkle of personality too.  In other words, I'm going to do some redecorating/rearranging.  Starting easy by doing both bathrooms.  

My outside project is going to require three or four warm days.  We are putting in a planting bed on the south side of our house.  I want to plant flowers for cutting.  We got it started but hot weather stopped our progress.  (When you are working on the south side of a house in TN anything over 80*F becomes too hot fast.)

My kit of the month was inspired by the terrible train crash in Washington state.  We are putting together a compact trauma kit to keep in the trunk of our car.

For my personal fitness challenge I'm going to add some serious stretching to my routine.  I'm getting a little too stiff lately.  Besides basic stretches, I'm looking at learning some beginner yoga.

February is nails and make-up month.  Last month I KonMari-ed out a lot of my old products.  This month they will be replaced much more thoughtfully.  Less will be more, so to speak.

My spiritual challenge is to start (and keep going) a gratitude journal.  I have several ideas for this one!

My creative challenges are a bit easier this month.  For my mixed media project I'm going to work with dream catchers in many forms.  My creative project will be learning to weave.  I'll start small and hope by the end of the month to have progressed to working on a scarf.  Writing will be about some very personal events that I will publish for myself in a small Blurb book.

Photography challenge is to get some great shots of frost, ice, and snow.  (Should have had this one last month, eh?)  My photo album that will be worked on is our 2004 trip through the SW United States.  I just need to get my journaling done.  And my photo book for this month is Alaska.  I've been there twice and will get both trips done.

February is 'collecting' month for bonsai.  Meaning we go out and start digging up trees to start working with.  I have 7 right here in my yard that Himself is going to get for me.  I'm going to poke around in our woods to see what is there too.  Bonsai club has a couple collecting field trips lined up for March so I need to get my personal ones done now.

My continuing challenges are the KonMari ~ this time in my studio.  Want to have this FINISHED by the end of February.  Fitness ~ sloth running.  January was a bust and I have my 5K on the 17th of March.  Appearance ~ hair and skin.  Gotta remember to add to my routines!  Mixed media ~ again a January bust.  Want to get 2 done.  And finally, need to finish the photos cull/sort on my hard drive.  I am so close!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Look At The Sky: February

The Planets for FEBRUARY 2018:
HERE IT IS!  Maybe the ONLY time in your life that you can say that you have experience ALL  of the main objects in the SOLAR SYSTEM being 'visible' (as in, "in the sky") for you at one time.  From ASO calculations for mid-northern latitudes, at about 10 a.m. on February 14 of this year EVERY object in our solar system will be in the sky at the same time.  Starting EAST to WEST we have:
Earth (you will be standing on it!), Uranus, Neptune, Venus, the Sun, Mercury, Moon, Pluto, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter stretched across our skies.  Of course at 10 a.m. because of sunlight you will not be able to actually SEE all of these, but look up and imagine this string of mighty worlds stretched in front of you like a celestial rope from the eastern horizon to the west.

Mercury - Mercury is unfavorably placed in the sky and is in very strong twilight all month - in CAPRICORNUS

Venus - our brightest planet will not be away from solar glare throughout the month of Feb. 2018  - in AQUARIUS.

Mars - Our Red Planet rises about 2:30 a.m. local time and will be high enough for telescopic observations around daybreak; Mars is slowly getting closer to Earth and growing in baby steps in size as it approaches for a very favorable opposition in late 2018 - in OPHIUCHUS

Jupiter - Now rising in the EAST about an hour ahead of reddish MARS, the largest of all planets will be high in eastern skies by dawn local time; although gaining apparent size as it gets slowly closer to Earth, Jupiter in Feb. is still very small (37") compared to what it can size up to at maximum - in LIBRA

Saturn - Very low in eastern skies and rising about 3:30 a.m. local time, the ringed planet will make its yearly debut in predawn skies by midmonth - in OPHIUCHUS/Sagittarius

Uranus - distant planet Uranus is setting in the west near Mars and Venus at mid-month.   It shines at magnitude 5.9, but not bright enough to spot in good binoculars because of its lingering in strong solar glare throughout the month - in  PISCES

Neptune - Our most distant world, outside of Pluto, is now in strong twilight in western skies and will not be viewable for a couple of months.. - in AQUARIUS

Pluto - at magnitude 14.3, our most distant planet ( is a planet) will not rise until about 5 a.m. at mid-month and be very low in the east.  - in SAGITTARIUS

METEOR SHOWER for February 2018:  .

February 26 -  DELTA LEONID METEORS - With the moon being nearly full on both days on either side of this date of this minor meteor shower, 2018 will prove to be an very poor year for observing the Delta Leonid meteors (or any meteors) it appears......and..this one is the only meteor shower that February has to offer each year.   The Earth actually intersects the cloud of cometary or asteroidal (the actual source of the cloud is not known at this time....) as early as Feb. 5 each year and seems to be encountering meteoric material as late as March 19; nonetheless, there IS a definite peak each year that seems to center on the last few days of February.  These are moderately slow meteors, traveling at about 24 KPS, and only about five per hour can be expected at most.  The radiant, at astronomical coordinates: RA 10h 36m / DEC +19 deg, is found about midway between the moderately bright stars Zosma and Algeiba (the two that make the long stretch of the Lion's Back in Leo); look for these stars and the meteor shower to be nearly overhead for mid-northern latitudes about 11 p.m. local time, with most meteors seen well after.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

From Resolutions To Challenges

As I explained at the beginning of the month, I'm doing monthly challenges instead of resolutions this year.  January is at its end so it's time to see how it has gone for me.

Overall I am very happy with what I have accomplished.  I've discovered I was a bit ambitious in just how much I can do in a month so I have made adjustments here and there.  And as I explained to Himself, some challenges are to be finished by the end of that month and for some challenges the goal is to get started and continue... perhaps for the rest of my life.

My 'home' challenge was to KonMari the upstairs and our downstairs laundry room.  Got it done!  I was amazed at what I missed from the first go around.  This is one of the challenges that continues after the first month.  February I will finish my studio.  I've already started and am making huge progress.  A big part of that comes from deciding what creative projects I really want to do and enjoy doing.  Stash that doesn't work for those is going away.

For the yard I planned on pruning my lilacs.  They had gotten WAY tall and Himself took down about a third of their height.  I realize I won't have the best flowering this year but I'm OK with that.  And while he had the pruner out, he lowered the crepe myrtle and the hibiscus.

Making a shopping price guide was the kit of the month.  I'm not done with this one because it is pretty labor intensive.  I will be finished by mid-Feb and will show it then.  But so far it is proving rather interesting...

It has been so cold that my "sloth running" has been more like "stone running".  Snow, ice, and temperatures that didn't get above freezing stopped that.  Even the elliptical was a no go... my basement studio where it sits average 48*F.  No thanks.  

A new hair and skin routine didn't get far either.  Kept forgetting.  But earlier reviews of the coconut oil for skin is good.

In the creative challenges, that went a bit slower.  Didn't do a thing with my assemblage projects.  Again, too cold to work in my studio.  The quilting project I got started... the components for the two quilts I'm going to do this year have been gathered and put into a tub each.  And I decided to do a small lap quilt for Himself's auntie in MN.  It's called a "Fidget Quilt" and is a very tactile quilt that calms dementia patients.  That will also be done in a couple weeks and you'll see it then.

My writing challenge was haiku and this was definitely a 'starter' month.  So easy but so complicated too.  I'm working on a piece for an EHC writing contest, the deadline is the end of Feb.

Photos... oh my goodness!

For basic photography I made my first challenge to deal with the photos I've already taken... both on my laptop hard drive AND on my external back-up hard drive.  What a nightmare.  Double...triple... even quadruple mass saves from different times.  It all had to be consolidated and then the duplicates deleted and then deleting of all those photos I just didn't want (like when you take 50 photos of the baby playing with her new toy).  I worked every single day of January on this.  Seriously, I have deleted at least a quarter million photographs.  I have learned a lot in the process.  Not quite done, but I will be by mid month Feb.  This is NOT going to get this way ever again!!!

I finished ~ as in done-stick-a-fork-in-it ~ my photo album from my Mexico trip in 2006.  Journaling is complete and excess photos have been dropped in the trash.  Done!

My photo book on the Scotland 2011 trip is also done.  Blurb has put up a 40% off coupon so I am doing my last proofreading today and hitting 'publish' tomorrow.  (I'm only going to publish when they have a good coupon!)

And finally my bonsai.  I have planned my new bonsai garden for when they wake up in a couple months.  I've cleaned up my tools, taken stock of my pots, and reorganized what I have.  I'm ready for spring!