New Year’s Resolutions – 2015

For the last couple years I’ve posted my resolutions in the hopes that it would kickstart me into actually following them.

My resolutions for 2014 were:

  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Create a will, living revocable trust and a financial power of attorney
  • Participate in a photography project – either one photo every day or at least one photo each week

The first resolution didn’t happen as I haven’t lost any weight since last year. Like last year, I hadn’t gained any weight either.
I never got around to creating a will, living revocable trust or financial power of attorney, honestly because I’m not sure of the best way to do it (lawyer, Suze Orman’s package, LegalZoom, etc.)
I initially started a Project365 but with traveling for work, it got harder to take one phone a day. At first, I would take seven a week, most on the weekends, but after a while, it got harder to find something to photograph that I haven’t already done. With the crappy winter weather, and the fact that I don’t like the cold, I wound up giving up on this before spring. My wife and I did adopt a kitten over the summer and I’ve found her to be a semi-willing subject.

For 2015, my resolutions are:

  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Create a will, living revocable trust and a financial power of attorney
  • Learn how to use Photoshop

The first two are carried over from last year, which will be the norm until either one is completed. The third resolution comes from the fact that I’m paying $10/month for Lightroom and Photoshop yet I use Lightroom all of the time. I’d like to learn to use Photoshop and tweak some of my images using it.

Billy Joel Concert

Tonight, my wife and I went to see Billy Joel in concert, which has been on my bucket list for a long time, at Madison Square Garden. Jamie Cullum opened up and did a few songs, including his hit ‘All At Sea’ and his covers of Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’ and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘The Wind Cried Mary’.

Billy opened with ‘Miami 2017’ and closed out with ‘Piano Man’ beforing coming back for an encore. The entire set list was:

  • Miami 2017
  • Pressure
  • Everybody Loves You Now
  • Zanzibar
  • Vienna
  • Entertainer
  • Downeaster Alexa
  • Allentown
  • My Life
  • New York State of Mind
  • Summer Highland Falls
  • Just The Way You Are
  • Big Man On Mulberry Street
  • Movin’ Out
  • Always A Woman
  • Don’t Ask Me Why
  • Crumbin’ Down
  • River of Dreams
  • Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  • Piano Man

The encore consisted of:

  • Uptown Girl
  • Still Rock & Roll To Me
  • You May Be Right
  • Only The Good Die Young

Overall, it was a great show and I would definitely go back and see him again.

Sleepy Hollow

Today, I decided to take a trip up to Sleepy Hollow in New York. I wound up picking the one day that almost all of the typical points of interest were closed, including Washington Irving’s house. The only touristy place that was open was Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I plan on traveling back to Sleepy Hollow another day when there are more places open to the public.

iPhone 6 Plus

I pre-ordered a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus today to replace my Motorola RAZR which I use for work. The RAZR has been lagging, freezing and generally pissing me off lately. I thought I’d try an Android phone to see what all the hype was about and am positive I will never go back to it. I’m planning on switching my personal phone (iPhone 5S) and the iPhone 6 Plus so I have the latest phone for personal use and the previous phone for work.

iPad mini

I picked up an iPad mini today from Target. They were running a sale for $100 off. Since I have an iPad Air, I don’t mind that the mini doesn’t have the retina display as it’ll mostly be used as an e-reader.

MacBook Air

I got an 11″ MacBook Air for “free” after registering for a training through work. At first I thought it would be a little too small but I kinda like the size. It only has 128GB of internal flash storage but since it’s not going to be my main computer (my Mac Mini is), it doesn’t bother me.

So far, I have been very surprised at how long the battery lasts. Apple states that it should last 9 hours but I’m so used to my work laptop going through a full charge in about two hours that nine hours feels like an eternity.

It came with Mavericks pre-installed but I’ve since “upgraded” to the public beta of OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”.

Amazon Prime

About a month ago, I decided to watch an old show, Veronica Mars, to see what the talk was about since they had recently filmed a movie version using funds from a Kickstarter campaign. I first checked Netflix but they don’t have the previous seasons. My remaining options were to either sign up for Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime so that I could get the instant video. Since Amazon Prime has the added benefit of free 2 day shipping on all purchases, I chose Amazon Prime. I wish I’d signed up when it was $79/year instead of $99/year.

Seeing If I Have A Green Thumb

One of the first things my wife and I discussed after moving into our house was starting a small raised bed garden. Last fall I purchased an inexpensive raised bed kit from Home Depot which gave me a 4’x8′ bed. I then filled it with garden soil and planted a few cloves of garlic since everything I had read indicated garlic would grow bigger if started in the fall as opposed to waiting until spring.
Early this spring, I purchased seeds for some herbs (basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and spearmint) and vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and bell peppers). I started the herbs indoors (on 4/6) as well as the tomatoes and peppers (on 4/7). It didn’t take long before most of the herbs popped up. It took a little longer for the tomatoes to sprout and almost a full month for the peppers to break through the soil.
Once there was no longer a danger of frost, I planted the rest of the seeds and transplanted three of the tomato plants outdoors (if they get eaten early on, I still have a few plants inside that I can replace them with).

Next year, I’m not so sure I’ll start the tomatoes by seed since I can get bigger/taller tomato and pepper plants from my local grocery for about $3 per plant. I’ll most likely still start the herbs from seed next year. I may even keep them going all year round, if I find a suitable pot for keeping them in on the window sill. I’d like to get four small pots which sit in a single long tray. So far, I’ve only been able to find three pots in a tray. I did find small individual pots with a blackboard type area on them which lets me write which herb is in the pot using chalk.

Giving Lightroom Another Try

A little over a month ago, I compared Lightroom and Aperture and decided to use Aperture.  Since then, I’ve been watching several videos on YouTube, which has helped me understand Lightroom a bit more, so I decided to try Lightroom one more time.
To start out, I exported the images out of Aperture to a new folder. While importing them into Lightroom, it was then that I noticed that most photos were missing the keywords I had tagged them with in Aperture. After do some research online, I learned that JPEGs and TIFFs need to have the metadata embedded in the files while RAW files would have the metadata in XMP sidecar files. After re-exporting the JPEGs and TIFFs with the metadata embedded, I re-imported those files and the keywords were there but I still lost the hierarchy I had established in Aperture. I did have to re-tag the TIFF files as there was an error when exporting them from Aperture with the metadata embedded. Luckily, the TIFF files are only family photos I scanned to preserve so that task wasn’t so bad.
I’ll continue to use them both side-by-side since I prefer Aperture’s integration into the OS and also like that there is more training, plug-ins, and presets available to Lr. Even though I’m still testing out Lightroom, I decided to sign up for the photography package from Adobe for $10/month which gets me access to Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as the new Lightroom mobile for iPad.


After I started loading all my photos into iPhoto on my new Mac, I started looking into Lightroom and Aperture. I downloaded the trial for Lightroom but didn’t like how it was laid out. It may be because I got used to iPhoto having one catalog for all photos and I could put photos into separate projects/albums within that catalog. Lightroom seems to want each project into it’s own catalog. Because of this, I started leaning towards Aperture but Apple no longer offers a trial version. After searching online, I was able to find the last trial version available from Apple and tried to install it on my Mac but because I’m running Mavericks (OS X 10.9) it wasn’t compatible. During the install, I was forwarded to the App Store where the latest version of Aperture is offered. I was then able to download that version for free.

I’ve been using Aperture for a couple months now and if/when Apple releases v4 of Aperture, I will definitely pay for the upgrade since I’m used to the functionality of the program. The way Apple is going though, the next version may be free to everyone anyway (Mavericks was a free upgrade, iLife and iWork apps are free, etc).

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