Friday, June 25, 2004
Odds & Sods ...
I printed up an order of 20 notecards the other night for a lovely woman who had already bought two framed 8x10's last month. I have Dave Beckerman to thank for the ease of this task, as it was in his photo blog that I read about Red River Paper and the very fine inkjet greeting card stock they sell. Once I set up the card in Photoshop, a snap when following their online directions, it took me no time at all to print the order (it was 20 copies of the same image).
It's actually kind of a good news/bad news thing - the good news is that I now have an easy and less expensive way to make quality note cards of my photographs. Before, I used to use Strathmore Photo Mount cards. They are very nice cards, with an embossed border around where the image gets mounted. But the little gummed squares they provide are terrible, and even using my own gluing methods, like 3M spray mounting cement, it's still labor intensive and messy to cut the photos just right and glue them on. Also, the Strathmore cards don't hold inkjet ink very well, so it's not practical to run them through your printer to imprint the back of each card.
The Red River card stock solves all these problems - they are prescored sheets, so all you do is layout the front and back of your card in a photo editor, configure your printer for the right size paper, and print.
So what's the bad news? Any way you slice it, you can't get rich on these cards as I see it. I charged my customer $40 for the order of the twenty cards with envelopes, and I thought I was pushing it (you can buy a nice boxed set of 10 fancy photo cards at Barnes & Nobel for eight to twelve dollars.) But 50 cards plus 100 envelopes from Red River cost me $37 shipped, or 74 cents apiece. Ink cost likely boosts this to about $1.00 each, so I'm only making $1.00 on each card. On the other hand, I may never need to visit a Hallmark store again!
Because I'm a Blogger.com user (I guess,) I was invited to test Google's new web-based email service, GMail. You probably already know that Google gives you one gigabyte of storage space for your mail (this has already motivated Yahoo! and Hotmail to greatly increase the paltry amount of storage space they had been offering.)
What you may not know is that GMail scans your incoming messages and based on a secret algorithm, sticks small text-based advertisements in the left-hand margin of the web page. As a June 21, 2004 New York Times article, The Internet Ad You Are About to See Has Already Read Your E-Mail put it,
So if your friend sends you a message about his vacation in Florida, you will see text ads for beach resorts to the right of the message. When your mother writes about her new digital camera, photography ads appear.
Now some people would find this annoying, or even frightening. But I could care less (or is it "couln't care less?") No human is reading my email, and I hardly ever even notice the ads, anyway. I figure that if it really bothers you, you shouldn't be using this free service.
On the other hand, it does sometimes lead to amusing situations. Like the email I got from Dave Beckerman with the subject line, "Frogs, Pigeons, etc." The email talked about his experience shooting some damn nice B&E photos of pigeons recently, and also mentioned, en passant, his cat and frogs in general. Here are the ads I saw:
Pest Pigeons a Problem?
Complete Bird Control Product Line Call 800-503-5444 for Expert Help!
Dove & Pigeon Keeping
Information on breeding and care. Where to buy them!
Shop for Magazine Subscriptions! Find, Compare and Buy
Entry Index Page 297. The American Heritage Dictionary of the ...
Entry Index Page 297. The American Heritage Dictionary of the ...
PhotosByFeist.com Gallery: Water
PhotosByFeist. Browse dozens of galleries, with hundreds of artistic ...
Some pretty good information on pigeons to be had at the click of the mouse! But why no frog links?... and where did PhotosByFeist come from?... oh, I see, there were three or four instances of the word or word fragment "photo" in the email, including Dave's email address.
Hyundai Hunt Trumps NYC Trip
Bummer! I was going to take a day trip this Saturday to NYC - to take photos, of course - but it looks as if my 1988 Mercury Sable is on its last legs. So this weekend, Sandy and I will go out car shopping - at least looking. We drive cars a really long time - the last time we bought cars was in 1994. The '88 Merc was Mom's - she gave it to us when she bought a 2002 Accord. It was supposed to be for Ben, as he was just starting to drive, but he requisitioned my '94 Cavalier, and I've used the Merc ever since. It still runs OK, but it's at the point where it's becoming a money pit. It's just time to put it out to pasture.
Not being very interested in cars, and being cheap at that, I thought we should take a look at Hyundais. Their quality seems to have gone up quite a bit in the last few years, they're significantly cheaper than the competition, and there's that long, long warranty. Maybe we'll even buy two, as Sandy's '94 Voyager is getting pretty long in the tooth. Been there, done that - in '85, we bought two Chevys the same night - a Cavalier (natch!) and a Celebrity wagon - we drove out with those two new cars for about seventeen grand and our old K-car. Sandy wants a car she can sit up high in, so maybe we'll look at the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Odds and Sods. I love that expression. In case you were wondering what that meant, it's "Canadian" for "odds and ends." It was one of the first expressions I learned from Sandy shortly after I met her.
Sandy is an honest-to-gosh Canadian! She was born, raised, educated, started working, and got married (to me) in Montréal. Sandy grew up in an Anglophile neighborhood in Dorval, a suburb of Montréal.
Canada seems, on the surface, so much like the United States that I found it jarringly amusing when she would use a "local" expression or name for common things or brand names. For example, "Javex" instead of "Clorox." "J Cloth" instead of "KimWipes" or "Teri Wipes." "Canadian Tire" instead of "Pep Boys." "Depanier" instead of "convenience store" (well, that one is local to Quebec.)
(Editors Note: mockery backfires on the mocker - to this day, 26 years later, I still call woven paper reusable towels "J Cloths".)
On the other hand, sometimes I wonder just how Canadian that girl is... unlike her parents and brothers, she doesn't say PRO-ject (pronounced with a long "o") or SHED-yule for "schedule."
But that's life, eh?!