Archive for November, 2010

Yard Work or Photoshop

Posted in gardening on November 21, 2010 by Mike Procario

Margaret asked me to rake the leaves today. We have a nice maple tree in our backyard and two weeks ago it finally reached its maximum color. This was well after many other trees had already lost its leaves.


Well it made up for its late coloring by losing all of its leaves quickly. The oak tree behind it which was losing weeks weeks ago still is hanging on to a few of its leaves.


With no Eagles or Steelers games to use as an excuse to avoid work, I gathered up my iPod, camera, and rake and went out to the backyard. I took a before picture that you see below and I thought to myself. How hard would be to Photoshop the leaves into a nice pile?


It looks great. I left a few leaves scattered around for realism and Photoshopped in a rake. Great. However, Margaret is one of those people who will look out the window at some point before the snow can cover the leaves.  Why she does this is beyond me. I feel no need to look at the backyard. I know it is there, and it’s probably doing something that is going to cause me work. It’s better that I don’t look.

Oh, well I had to rely on my “gardening” skills rather than my Photoshop skills, which is not a good thing. I have a black thumb. Every plant that I touch turns to compost—eventually. Of course, Margaret would point out that this is a good thing for leaves. Curses, foiled again.

Bags of leavesThe final or almost final result. There are still leaves on the trees. This was only a stopgap effort. I will be out there again next weekend for some more battles with the leaves. It is too bad that I actually like our trees, otherwise I could preemptively strike against the leaves and deal with once and for all.

BTW, I noticed that the grass is still growing. Don’t tell Margaret, she will expect me to cut it.


The Pie Ride

Posted in cycling on November 13, 2010 by Mike Procario

The Frederick Pedalers had a ride scheduled today on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The ride was planned with new and slower riders in mind, but it was just the club regulars and one experienced rider who is new to the area who showed up. The decision was made to ride the entire length of the trail, a 44 mile round trip.

It was chilly when we left. I knew it was supposed to get up to 60, so I did not want to dress overly warm. I paid for that in the beginning of the ride. I had mountain bike gloves and no hat under my helmet. My fingers and ears were quite chilly for about 5 or 6 miles. The weather warmed as we rode and it was in the end quite a nice day for a ride.

I rode my old hybrid to help keep my speed down and make it a tougher workout for what I expected to be a 20-25 miles ride. My hybrid is a bit heavier than my road bike. The total ride of 44 miles was the longest I have ever done on that bike.

Of course, the highlight of the ride was lunch at Weaver’s in Hancock, which is known for their pies. Most people decided to have lunch before their pie. I ordered a club sandwich, but most folks ordered chili. I understood when I saw the size of the sandwich. I was a real double-decker club and it came with a mountain of potato chips. I finished the sandwich and left the chips. I had a excellent piece of blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Excess was the order of the day now.

Between the 45 minute drive from Frederick to the trail, the three and half hours riding and the lunch break, I did not get back until almost 4:00 PM. It was a well spent day.

Fixed the Router

Posted in Technology and Software on November 12, 2010 by Mike Procario

I have had trouble with our wireless router, a Netgear WNDR3300,  since we got it.  It has always dropped the connection more often that I thought was acceptable. I spent a significant amount time surveying the signal and found that it was reasonable strong. I switched to channel to 11 for 801.11G, which seems be pretty empty. Most people in the neighborhood were on channel 6. Despite this I still had the connection drop every 30-45 minutes at the worst times.

I was considering installing dd-wrt firmware on my router, but before I took that step I checked to see if Netgear had upgraded firmware available. There was new firmware  available, and it solved all of my problems.  I have now had a rock solid signal that almost never drops.