Saturday, November 6, 2010

9 Reasons to Try Digital Scrapbooking

Digital scrapbooking is the art of making scrapbook pages and books from digital photos and digital "paper" and elements. It works very similarly to paper scrapping, except you do it on the computer. There are many reasons I prefer this method to paper scrapbooking:
  1. All the "mess" is contained inside the computer. Nothing to get out or clean up or buy storage items for.
  2. Nothing is permanent. I can make a page using a photo, and then make a different page with the same photo.
  3. I can re-do pages for different sizes if I want. Like if I made a bunch of square pages and then I found a coupon for a book with rectangular pages, I can tweak the square pages to make them rectangular.
  4. You get your money's worth when you buy kits because you can re-use them endlessly and never use them up.
  5. It's easy to find free supplies, and even free software, so it doesn't have to cost a lot of money.
  6. You can do neat effects with digital photos that you could never do on paper.
  7. You can still get them printed and made into beautiful books.
  8. If you really like a book you made, you can make a copy to send to a friend or relative, with hardly any extra work.
If you want to know more about digital scrapbooking, post a comment, send me an email, contact me on Facebook, or actually find me in person and ask me. I'd be glad to show you how to do it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11, 2001

Do you remember where you were that day?

I was in a Bible study. The first meeting of a Bible study at a church where I only knew one person, and not very well.

But it started before I left home. I remember the Today Show. Matt Lauer had a funny look on his face. "We have breaking news . . . no, we're going to commercial first." I was in a hurry getting ready to leave for the Bible study but I made a point to see what would happen after the commercial break.

They came back with a live shot of the twin towers with smoke pouring out of one of them. They still thought it was a small airplane and didn't have much info.

I remember going into the bathroom. We had a small black and white TV in there, on the shelf above the washer/dryer. My husband was in the shower. I turned on the little TV and pulled it off the shelf so I could turn it and show him.

But, I had planned to leave for this Bible study so a couple minutes later I got in the car. The second plane hit while I was driving down the driveway. I remember the local talk show personality talking about it, he'd seen it on TV. "I'm watching a second plane hit the other tower!"

I didn't believe it. I was convinced that the TV people had found someone who had footage of the first plane, and they were showing it. It wasn't a live shot. It couldn't possibly happen that 2 planes would hit the two towers so close together.

It took 20 minutes or so to get to the Bible study. By the time I got there, I was realizing that it was true, both towers had been hit. But I'm still thinking, small plane, burning building, tragedy . . . but not realizing the magnitude of the situation. Maybe because I couldn't see it with my eyes.

I told the Bible study leader about what I'd heard. Most of those attending had apparently not been listening to a news channel on their car radios. We prayed for the people in the towers and started the study.

About an hour later someone's cell phone rang. She went out and answered it, then came back and told us, "That was my husband on the phone. He said that both towers have collapsed and 100,000 people are dead."

I think I felt like you feel when someone suddenly dies. You don't believe it. Denial. This couldn't have happened.

So then the pastor of the church came in. He gave us more details. More planes. The pentagon. There were at least 6 planes, he said. There was a truck bomb at the Capitol Building.

Bible study was dismissed. I went outside and looked up at the sky. Was a plane going to crash into one of the buildings in the small town of Ballston Spa? What should I do? Where should I go?

I didn't have a cell phone then. But I was within 5 minutes from the school my son attended, so I went there. "Take him home," the Principal said when I entered the school office. "All the parents are taking the kids home."

I went into the church office (the school is a private school on the grounds of a church). They had a TV on, and I was able to see a bit of footage, my first visual confirmation of what had happened.

I went downstairs to the 4th grade class. One of the other students came up to me and asked, "What's going on?" They only knew vague details. I was able to answer that I didn't really know much.

The teacher was in a panic. Her daughter lived in Pennsylvania and she was worried the plane crash there could have killed her. I didn't know enough details to be able to reassure her.

I took my son home. The kids turned on some cable children's channel in the living room and I was very glad for cable channels that just kept broadcasting their regular programming, and also for the fact that we had another TV in the house.

My husband had stayed home, once he saw the second plane hit. No one was going to buy anything from him that day, anyway. We sat in the bedroom and watched the coverage. All the hospitals waiting for lots and lots of wounded people, and only a few actually showing up. People holding up pictures of people who were missing.

And the towers falling . . . they replayed that over and over and over. My little guy said, "There it goes again, the tower falling down." I had to explain that it happened once, but they were repeating it again and again. He seemed to understand -- after all, the channels he watched repeated shows again and agian, so he was familiar with the concept.

I remember for the following month, being still in denial. "I can't believe the towers actually collapsed."

I looked up World Trade Center in my encyclopedia. We have the 1972 World Book, which my parents bought when I was a child. The article about the World Trade Center shows a photo of a mostly-completed building. They were built *after* I was born, they were younger than me and they were gone.

Remember all the flags? Everyone flew a flag. We were all united. We didn't have Democrats bad-mouthing Republicans. But now, looking back, that didn't last that long, did it?

I can remember every detail of that morning. But it feels like we've already forgotten.

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cash Registers of the Future

As I went through the self-checkout lane at my local grocery store, I realized something.

When I was a kid, most gas stations were full service. Remember those? If you're under 40, you might not. Here's how they worked: you pulled in, and a person came to your car. You rolled down the window and told them what kind of gas and how much you wanted. They pumped it and then you paid them. If you wanted to pay by credit card, they had a little plastic tray that hooked onto the partially-open window of your car. The tray contained a multi-part sales receipt and had a slot for your card and a pen. Once you signed the receipt, they took their copy and the tray and left you with your copy and your card. If you wanted to, you could ask them to check your oil and water levels, among other things.

Then came the Energy Crisis and gas prices doubled. To reduce costs, many stations started letting you pump your own gas and save some money by doing it. Within a relatively short time, most gas stations went to most or all self-serve pumps. Now, I can't tell you where there is a station that has anyone who will pump your gas for you.

But the grocery store clerks still man the cash registers. Stores have a few self-serve lanes, but most are manned by a real person.

I'm wondering when someone will realize they can promote lower prices if you scan your own groceries. It might put the cashiers out of a job, but I'm thinking that by the time my children are my age, they'll say, "I remember when grocery stores actually had a person who scanned your groceries and took your money. Now all of the stores have only machines and I don't know a single store that has cashiers."

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pet Peeves About Other Drivers

Here's the way it works, people: If you're driving down the road, and something is blocking your lane, you have to check to see if there is any oncoming traffic before you just veer into the other lane to go around. You see, the driver who is driving toward you is in her own lane. She has the right to drive in that lane. And yes, you can go around the obstacle, but you have to wait until the other lane is clear. You can't just veer into the path of an oncoming car because there's something in your lane.

I'm sure all of my readers understand this principle, but there seem to be a large number of people driving around out there who don't. That's all I'm saying.

Another thing: if you're pulling a trailer, there are some places you just can't try to park. A small convenience store parking lot is one of them, especially if it's a busy holiday weekend and most of the parking spots in the lot are already full. And if you make a mistake and pull into a small parking lot with your trailer, don't sit there wondering what to do next and block traffic while you decide.

I live in a small, relatively rural town that is on the way to a lake that is popular in the summer. Several organizations take advantage of the extra summer traffic and use it as a way to raise funds for their activities.

Now when I say small town, I mean small. Village, actually. One traffic light. Speed limit 35 mph. One of those blink-or-you'll-miss-it towns. During the fund raisers, they have between 1 and 3 people standing in the middle of the road, on all 4 side of the intersection. Today, one of these was a pregnant lady. Often they have teens doing this, too. Apparently they trust that no one will hit them. It makes me crazy, and I never give to them because I don't want to encourage this behavior. They should send a letter around in May, saying "How much will you give it we promise not to stand in the road and block traffic?" I bet they'd make more money that way.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Things I've Learned by Cleaning a Building that's Open to the Public

You can learn a lot about human nature by cleaning up a location where humans have been. For instance:
  • Lots of people don't use the door handles, but push the door open by pushing on the glass.
  • People don't think about what happens to things after they put them in the trash can.
  • A surprising number of men and boys believe that urinals are self-flushing.
  • Women use paper towels and toilet paper at a faster rate than men.
  • The cleanest bathroom is the one used by the littlest kids.
  • Just like at home, some people clean up after themselves, and others leave a mess behind.
  • An amazing number of people leave items of value behind and never come back looking for them.
  • If you even breathe near a stainless steel surface, it will leave a mark. So imagine what it looks like when you actually touch it.
  • The state of a classroom after the class has left is a reflection of the teachers who use that classroom.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Would you like an image with your search?

The answer, apparently, is no. We users don't seem to want a background image on their Google search page. The web is a-buzz today with people wanting to know how to turn off this new feature.

Google took a leaf out of Facebook's page, opting users into something they did not want. Google must feel that Bing is a threat, despite the fact that Google is still well ahead in market share. Bing shows users a different image each day, complete with easter eggs.

I have long thought that
  • People would love the image part of Bing without the search.
  • Bing has gained market share due to being the default search engine in Internet Explorer.
I'm considering making a blog that is sort of "Bing without the search." You'd see an image, and get some interesting information and links associated with that image (similar to the mouseover links on Bing, like where it is found, the history behind the location, etc.). Each day, I would post a different image. The images I'd choose would not be as PC as those displayed on Bing. If you would visit such a blog on a regular basis, post a comment telling me so.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Did you hear who died today?

I don't watch the news anymore.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't care about what's going on in the world. But since the most recent presidential election, I just can't stand to hear about it.

It's not like I don't have a clue what's going on in the world. I live with a news junkie. So, the news is on a lot and I generally know about whatever big events are going on.

But the fact that I don't stay right on top of the news has alerted me to a flaw in the way the news media covers the deaths of those they deem famous enough to mention. Somehow, it's easy to miss the death of a famous person if you don't watch the news every day.

I heard Art Linkletter died. But I didn't know Gary Coleman died. They must not have thought it was important enough to mention it beyond one news cycle.

Unless a person is a legend, like Michael Jackson, they don't rate being discussed for more than a few hours on a single day. If you miss it, tough luck.

I just think someone's life deserves just a bit more recognition than that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolution

I'm going to make a blogging New Year's resolution. When I add a post to one of my blogs, I'm going to post a link on Facebook and Twitter.

I've been too shy to do it before, but if I ever want to get anyone to visit my blogs, I have to let them know about them, right?
I have 109 friends on Facebook and 41 followers on Twitter. Most of the Twitter followers are random people I don't know, people who have followed me, I think, in an attempt to get more followers of their own. I don't automatically follow those who follow me, and I hardly ever tweet, so these people may get a big surprise when they start getting regular links to posts about the Bible and Creation Science and stuff like that. :-)
I've got a sort of secondary resolution. Maybe not a resolution, exactly, but a goal. My goal is to start several more blogs this year. I have this blog and my creation science blog, Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark, and a blog where I very occasionally tell stories about ancestors I've "met" along the way on my genealogy research, called I Love to Tell the Story, and a couple of other blogs that are now abandoned. I want to start other blogs about some of my interests and hobbies:
  • Digital scrapbooking
  • Knitting
  • Bread baking
  • Genealogy
  • Writing
  • Graphic arts
Which one would you like to read?

Happy New Year!