Saturday, January 30, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: How Did You React?

How did seeing scenes from Haiti after the earthquake earlier this month make you feel? Sad, dismayed, horrified, afraid? Thankful? Compassionate? Those scenes on the television made me feel all of those feelings and more.

I mean, can you imagine what it must have been like to live there on that day? The earth shakes for a few minutes and everywhere around you, buildings collapse into complete rubble. What would you do? How would you deal with that?

I thought it was a great idea to try to reach out to those people with a helping hand, an absolutely great idea. I was happy to see much of the world rally around them and send food, water, medical supplies, doctors and other volunteers to help out. I was proud: I'm married to a woman who heard that you could text the word "Haiti" to 90999 and thereby donate $10 to the Red Cross to help out... and the same day she heard it, she texted it.

But then.

Then I heard talk on the radio one day of a certain "evangelist" (sorry, but I won't even repeat his name here, I don't think he deserves the publicity: you know who he is, he knows who he is, and certainly God knows who he is, although perhaps reluctantly...) -- Anywho, he actually had the gall to claim that this earthquake was some sort of divine retribution or judgment on the people of Haiti for actions that their ancestors took more than 200 years ago. Really? Come on. I mean... Really?

Then my wife showed me a posting from one of her facebook "friends" and its follow-on commentary and I just could not believe that what I was reading was actually on that little iPhone screen. They were actually complaining that we Americans were spending too much money and help and airtime on the people of Haiti... and how dare we extend that kind of support when we don't even "take care of our own" here in America. Really? Come on. I mean... Really?

People are people, people. People in need deserve our help. People trapped under collapsed buildings deserve to be rescued. We are the richest country on the face of the Earth and we have plenty to go around. Yes, I understand that there are people right here in this very country, state, county and town who have problems, who are sick, who are hurting, who are depressed... and, I'm sorry, but we do take care of "our own" as best we can. That doesn't mean we should shun others who are in desperate need. And if you think we should, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you were buried in some rubble, would you want your neighbor to come looking for you? Or just sit there and complain: "Ohhhh.... why do they have to show this stuff on TV tonight? Why are they pre-empting my (insert lame TV show name here) to show this crap?"

Grow up, people. This is America. You're an adult. Act like one.

Friday, January 08, 2010

101 iPhotos

I am waiting for my first ever iPhoto calendar made from 101 of our own photos to arrive... Should be cool!

Here's how you can do it too:
  • Open up iPhoto on your Mac
  • Create a new album
  • Put all the pictures you want on the calendar into this new album
  • Select the album (click on it) so you can see just the photos you've gathered
  • Click the "Calendar" button on the bottom toolbar in the middle
  • Choose one of the styles in the list that pops up and click "Choose"
  • Choose from various calendar-y settings in the next dialog and click "OK"
  • Click "Autoflow" to let iPhoto place the pictures for you
  • Or, drag and drop photos from list view to calendar (or vice versa) to add or remove them
  • Drag and drop photos from one place to another on the calendar to swap them around
  • You can even drop photos onto specific days to use a few more photos
  • When you're done fiddling with it...
  • Click "Buy Calendar" and pay $25-$30 for your custom calendar to be delivered straight to you
You need around 50 or so photos in the album if you are going to use the "Autoflow" button to let iPhoto choose/place the pictures for you. Using Autoflow on a typical 12 month calendar, it seems to consistently use the first 47 photos. You need more if you want to put different photos onto individual dates, or if you change the default layout of some months to use more photos.

I added a bunch more photos and changed most of the months to use the smaller print area 7-photo layout because most of my photos are from my old 3 Megapixel camera. iPhoto will warn you with a little yellow triangle "!" if the photos are going to print with "too low" a resolution. I did a few of those anyway, hoping that they don't look too chunky when we see the final print job.

All of these instructions are valid with iPhoto '08, version 7.1.5 (378) - I will wager that they are still valid with iPhoto '09, too, but I haven't looked at that version yet. If you're using an older version, I'm not sure if this works or not. I do not know what version of iPhoto introduced these books and calendars that you can buy... It might be just '08 and later.

I put just my immediate family's birthdays onto the calendar and a little photo of each of us on the day just before our birthdays. I would have done that for all my extended family, too, but I wanted to get the calendar done before the year was up... :-)

I also just wanted to put a bunch more photos on than there was room for, so I put 'em on those useless dimmed out squares that represent the days of the previous and next months, too.

In the end, I paid $29 and change for ours to be shipped express to us so we'd have it by early next week. With standard shipping, it would have been $26.xx. I figured since we're a week into January already, it was worth an extra three bucks.

Try it yourself... after it arrives, you'll be able to enjoy it all year long.

Have fun!