Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sick of Sticky Adhesives….

I think it was probably someone in the adhesive manufacturing business that invented the term “acid free” in order to put all those magnetic page photo album companies out of business.

Like most people probably, I had never heard the term “acid free” until about fifteen years or so ago. It wasn’t until I took my first scrapbooking class sometime in the mid 90’s that I was fully versed in the pitfalls of using non acid free products. The instructor warned us that those magnetic pages would eventually yellow slowly destroying both the page and everything on it. I didn’t believe her at the time, but looking back through old albums today, she definitely knew what she was talking about.

As a result, I no longer buy those, and they’re becoming slightly harder to find. Now you either go the slip in route (pages with pre-sized sleeves where you slide in your photo to store it) or get really creative and do “scrapbooking.”

I do a little of each depending on how much time and creative impulse I have. Sometimes I even manage to combine the two by adding a sticker or other embellishment to the slip in albums.

Whenever I do scrapbooking, I can’t help but wonder how many hours would be saved if I could simply just lay out everything on the page and then pull the clear sheet over it and go on to the next page. Yes, you can buy clear sticky sheets to lay over your pages, but unless you’ve somewhat secured everything down, static cling will sometimes cause the various elements to be pulled on to the sticky sheet thus disrupting your whole page arrangement.

I know adhesive manufacturers are trying to do everything in their power to make this process easier from manufacturing glue dots, to small sticky squares to spray-on adhesive. However, at the end of the day, it’s still more expensive and time consuming to have to glue down every element of your creative scrapbooking pages. This is what takes all the fun out of it for me. I shudder to think how much I have spent on these various adhesives, never buying enough and running out halfway through a project. No, I’m not ready to resort to ‘digital scrapbooking yet,’ but will continue on my quest to find a cheaper and more effective product to help facilitate this niggling little detail of scrapbooking.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Observing the Total Solar Eclipse, France, 1999

France 1999, #4, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

My Solar Eclipse Experience...

Having read about the solar eclipse in Asia (best observed in India apparently) yesterday (7/22), reminded me of my own experience witnessing not one, but two solar eclipses in the last century.

The first one was while I was in my last year (as a student) at Kent State University (1993-1994). However, unlike the eclipse yesterday, all we witnessed was an annular eclipse. According to Wikipedia, “An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon.”

I remember a large shadow being cast over the campus as if a rather large cloud was overhead, and felt a slight shiver. Still, an interesting first experience observing a solar eclipse.

I was lucky enough to be living in Europe (Great Britain) in 1999 which was directly in the path of the century’s last total eclipse. Although we could have traveled to Cornwall, which was reckoned to be the best place to view it in England, I read about a coach trip to France where the viewing was supposed to be equally good. Having never been to France before, that won hands down.

Our group traveled to the city of Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, and best known as the location where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Although the day started out as rather promising (sunny with a gentle breeze), clouds eventually started rolling in and somewhat obscured the sun during the eclipse. However, we all still took necessary precautions and tried not to stare directly at the sun. Even though we couldn’t see the eclipse as much as we would have liked, we still witnessed the effect of a total solar eclipse.

The square where we were standing gradually plunged into darkness, causing the street lights to come on mid-afternoon. There was an eery silence as all the birds fled to their nocturnal shelter. I’m sure they were completely confused! I just remember being in awe of this spectacle of nature and being so grateful to be sharing it with my husband nearly a year after we were married.

To view more of my eclipse pictures, click on the link here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/authorwannabe/sets/72157621660626787/

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

His funeral is today (7/23/09) in Manhatten. May he rest in peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What a momentous month...

What a momentous month it’s been filled with so many history-making news stories.

First there was Michael Jackson’s very public memorial service watched by millions and attended by thousands on July 7. Now it just remains to be seen whether the Neverland Ranch will be turned into a museum like Graceland.

Although somewhat less publicized, July 16 was the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. whom many remember from the poignant photo of him at nearly 3 years old saluting his father’s casket.

A day later came the death of legendary News Anchor Walter Cronkite (age 92) on July 17. “The most trusted man in America” ‘set the standard by which all others are judged.’

Today (7/20) is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landings. It’s only too bad NASA didn’t have the foresight to keep the original broadcast recordings. Fortunately others did have the good sense to record the moment for posterity – digitally re-mastered and coming soon to DVD!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Harry Potter" comes to town...

Last night my husband and I went to see a movie at one of our local cinemas and noticed a queue forming of eager fans who wanted to be the first to see the next installment of “Harry Potter” when it opened at midnight.

Not surprisingly, most of the people in line looked to be somewhere between maybe 15 and 25 (hence, may not have to get up and go to work the next day). Some were in regular clothes, while many were dressed either in capes and pointy hats or in a Hogwarts school uniform (just the girls). One could be forgiven for thinking that the group were on their way to a convention. Yes, “Harry Potter” conventions do exist, as I recently read somewhere. Remembering back to a couple summers ago, I think there were more people in line for the movie today than for the last book release, but it was still early when we walked by.

Part of me wanted to join them in their anticipation as everyone seemed to be in high spirits. The night was warm and not too humid making it perfect weather to stand outside for hours.

My husband and I, both children of the 70’s, tried to remember any movies which we were that excited about seeing. The only films we could think of was the “Star Wars” trilogy or maybe “E.T.” later on in the 80’s. Even then, none of those had people queuing up overnight, or were based on a book, so it’s really like comparing apples and oranges.

Kids today are fortunate to be able to participate in these momentous events in the history of pop culture, which they probably take for granted. Those of us who are older and wiser know that we’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Take Back your Childhood Day

Last night I was at a minor league baseball game and I couldn’t help but notice how much fun everyone else was having – especially the kids (most of whom weren’t even watching the game). It made me long for my (mostly) carefree childhood. That’s when I came up with this idea: ‘Take Back your Childhoood Day.’ It will be held mid week in mid July. Since we still need some people to work and serve those of us with a day off, it will actually be held over two days. One for everyone whose names start with A – M, and then another for all those who start with N – Z.

The idea is to just be a kid again. You get to sleep as late as you want, eat whatever you want, and just spend the day doing whatever you want. I would be loathe to suggest to people they act like kids if what they really want to do with their day off is spend it gardening or reorganizing their book collection, but each to their own!

As far as what to do about taking care of the children on this day – we’ll designate the grandparents (or hire some seniors to fill in) as caregivers for the day. They don’t need a special day to act like kids when most of them are retired anyway and can do whatever they like.

How would I spend the day off? I would definitely sleep in, then eat a big bowl of sugary cereal followed by whatever sweet pastry I had on hand. I’d probably spend at least part of the day shopping (either at the mall, a flea market, or antique stores), part of the day either at a bookstore or library, and then the rest outside taking pictures and just enjoying nature (and maybe curl up outside with a good book).

In the evening I’d probably attend a baseball game (and eat lots of junk food), maybe watch a little TV, and then go to bed.

I suppose you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy most of these pleasures, except for the junk food since you can’t get away with eating as much of it when you’re an adult. It also probably helps to be an adult in order to afford most of these things.

Sadly, for now I guess I’ll just have to settle for the weekends (after I get my chores done of course! : ( )

Monday, July 6, 2009

Karen in MJ jacket

Karen in MJ jacket, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

It was actually a Christmas present, not birthday, but here it is anyway.