A quiet Old Year’s End

We went to Torah Study and services this morning at Shir Hadash. This week’s Torah Portion is Vayigash, where Joseph reveals himself to his brothers; it’s a rich portion, with lots to discuss, and I enjoyed both the discussion and Rabbi Schwartz’s drash during the service. He started with a recent article in the Forward about Stan Lee which asked whether Lee was a “Jewish Icon” – and soon enough, he was drawing parallels between Joseph and Iron Man. It was a most enjoyable drash!

Today is Diane’s birthday – normally, we’d celebrate by going out for long walks (and maybe even a meal). But it’s been raining all day, so we celebrated by staying in and watching TV. Our TiVo was un-cooperative when I turned it on, looping through its startup screen. I unplugged it so it would do a complete power cycle and it got all the way through bootup, but I have my doubts about the integrity of its hard disk, which is eight years old. I’m in the process of downloading whatever I can before the disk gives up completely.

As I was looking at what was on the disk, I found an old MSNBC special we’d recorded when it was broadcast in 2018: “Betrayal: The Plot Which Won the White House” about Nixon’s successful attempt to impede the Paris Peace Talks until after the 1968 Presidential Election – it seemed like the perfect thing to watch tonight, though it didn’t tell me much I hadn’t already learned from John Dickerson’s Whistlestop.

We’re going to ring in the New Year at ComedySportz – see you in 2023!

Something different

When I went out to pick up the paper this morning, it was still a few minutes before sunrise. The weather had predicted rain all day (and it had rained overnight), so I was surprised and pleased to see a patch of blue in the sky, along with lots of dark clouds.

It did rain much of the day, but we managed to get a couple of walks in between the storms; the neighborhood vultures were gone, but the ducks in Ross Creek were happy!

I cleared out my inbox for the first time in weeks; I even managed to merge photos from a few days in early 2020 and get rid of the duplicates I had in different formats (JPEG, HEIC, and RAW), or with different filenames.

Shabbat Shalom!

More of the same

Today, I started the next phase of my photo consolidation project – photos from the Apple library for days which already had some photos in Lightroom. I knew that a lot of the photos that I’d be looking at were ones which I’d already rejected, so I wanted to figure out a workflow that would make it easy to sift the photos quickly.

About half of the photos I’m looking at have the same filename as a photo on the same day that’s already in Lightroom – I’m going to deal with that batch later. Right now, I’m going through the photos which have unique filenames, a day at a time.

I import all of the orphan phots for a day into Lightroom and mark them with a purple color label so I can identify them quickly as I scroll through the day’s photos.

Something in the past duplicated a LOT of photos and added a “-2” to the filename of one of the copies; those are easy to get rid of.

I have found a few photos which weren’t duplicates that I decided to keep, but very few.

I got through three years of candidate photos in a bit over an hour this evening. I think that’s a good sign!

Progress on many fronts. Success on one.

It was a busy day and I made a lot of progress on bringing all my photos into Lightroom.

In the process, I realized that I needed a bigger SSD for the photo library, so we went to Best Buy at The Plant to pick one up; I chose that location because I thought traffic would be light and parking easy (unlike, say, Santana Row) – and I was right. It was lunchtime, so we had lunch at The Halal Guys – I wasn’t terribly impressed, especially given the amount of hype that accompanied their move into the Bay Area.

Somehow, a few hundred of the files I’d exported from Photos didn’t have a creation date embedded in them, even though the information was in the .XMP sidecar file that the export created. I found a way to use Phil Harvey’s invaluable exiftool to fix the problem so that Lightroom would put the photos in the proper folder when it imported them; it’s a simple script:

if [[ $# -eq 0 ]] ; then
elif [[ $# -eq 1 ]] ; then
    echo 'Too many arguments!' >&2
    exit 1
echo processing $target
exiftool -q --ext xmp \
    -if '-e "$directory/$filename.xmp"'\
    -if 'not $CreateDate' \
    -tagsfromfile %d%f.%e.xmp \
    -@ ${SCRIPT_DIR}/xmp2exif.args \
    -GPSLatitudeRef -GPSLongitudeRef -overwrite_original -r "$target"
if [[ $? ]] ; then
    exiftool '-filecreatedate<createdate' -r "$target"

So now I have the new SSD and have copied my old Lightroom library and catalog to it. I’ve imported all the photos from Photos for those days where I didn’t already have anything in Lightroom (progress!). I will have to go through the days where there’s overlap to avoid bringing photos into Lightroom that I’d already imported and didn’t want to keep (I never went back to Photos to remove those pictures), but I’m retired and have plenty of time!

I haven’t mentioned the success for today, have I? Diane finished creating a digital scrapbook from our Iceland trip last year and sent it off to be printed. I’m looking forward to seeing the physical book!

We’re officially middle class!

Today’s USPS Informed Delivery email included an image of the above envelope. I was, of course, curious; a quick search took me to the FTB’s California Middle Class Tax Refund page, which explained that it was NOT a scam and that there’d be a debit card in the envelope to pay us a one-time payment to help compensate Californians for the high price of gasoline this summer (and to make sure the state budget surplus stayed below the Gann Limit.

I also found out that, unlike many rebates-by-debit-card, we could actually withdraw the cash or transfer it to a bank or credit union. Transferring the money required me to set up a login at the issuing bank’s website, including answers for two secret questions – but the whole process only took a few minutes, and now the money is on its way, and I should be able to throw away the debit card in a day or so. I guess I don’t even have to cut it up, since there will never be any money in the account again!

ETA: Most people’s payments were direct-deposited; only those of us who didn’t get a 2021 refund via direct deposit got debit cards.