Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
First up is iMovie, which lets you make photo slideshows that you can publish for web streaming, Quicktime download or burn to a DVD. Windows has a similar program called Movie Maker, but it's not quite as user-friendly as iMovie. With Movie Maker, you have to upload every photo and then individually set all of the titles and transitions. iMovie gives you this really neat set of templates for you to use throughout the process of building your movie, and they're pretty top notch. You can open your movie with a template that looks like scrolling through scrapbook pages, or several travel templates that show things like passport stamps on the background behind your photos, and you can set the whole thing to music, which is fabulous. It's a snap to use and I love it.
And last on my current list of amazing programs is the internet based program called Blurb. This program allows you to make beautiful hardcover bound books of photos. Imagine a National Geographic style coffee table book full of your own pictures printed on high quality glossy paper. That's what you get. After using this, I will never scrapbook again. These are so much more durable and turn out so nicely that there's no reason to deal with the hassle of time consuming scrapbooking, or investing in expensive scrapbooking materials. I've made these books for my friend Kara's new baby, for the parents of my godchildren with photos of the girls growing up, and for my friend Sara's wedding. You have free reign with the layout of the book, for the most part. You have to work within their templates, but it's really easy to adjust. You can add quotes, photos, stories or whatever you feel like adding to make the book personal to you. I will caution that you get much better results when you use digital images as opposed to scanned ones, but aside from that, I swear by this program. The books are so much cheaper than making them with Apple's software (Blurb charges by page groupings, so you'll pay about $40 for 40 to 80 pages, and you can cram as many photos into those pages as you want) and they're pretty good quality so they're something you could really be proud of. Plus, if you use a Mac, the program automatically uploads your photos from iPhoto and marks which ones you've already used so you don't duplicate photos. I can't say enough great stuff about this site. If you're interested, check them out at www.blurb.com
Monday, July 21, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I've been ordering this book into our warehouses for a week or so now, and I happened to stumble across a free copy this morning. Now, when I order things, I just see the titles, not the covers, so I read "Napoleon's Privates" and thought it was in reference to military rank. Nope, as it turns out it's about his actual privates. His "baguette" as the liner note description puts it. Basically, we have a book about weird stuff from history that you may not know about. Most of this stuff is too strange to be true. For example, the title comes from the fact that the author heard that Napoleon's "little Napoleon" was removed by his disgruntled doctor after his death, so he went to New Jersey where a collector was keeping Napoleon's little friend in a suitcase under his bed because he'd bought it at auction some years prior to this encounter. HOLY COW. So there's a whole section of the book called "Where are they Now? Celebrity Body Parts" that talks about body parts that were taken from people and handed off to other people throughout history. A couple of examples:
Oliver Cromwell's head was passed along between collectors until 1960.
Galileo's finger was removed by an admirer in 1737 and then put on display in Florence.
Jesus's foreskin was supposedly given to John the Baptist, and was stolen from Rome in 1557 and put on display in Calcata, until it was stolen. Again.
Einstein's brain was removed and studied and now resides in the University Medical Center at Princeton.
King Charles I's vertebra was not returned to his coffin when he was exhumed in 1813, and was kept by Sir Henry Halford, who kept the item on his dinner table and used it as a salt holder. His heirs returned it to Edward VII who reunited it with the corpse.
Ok....so these are just a few, but HOLY CRAP! Who just says "Hey, let's take a body part from this person, no one will notice right?" This may be the weirdest and funniest book I've come across in a very long time. I want to do dramatic readings of this thing at social gatherings because the history in it is just so shocking. Most of the chapters deal with strange sexual facts, but then you have things like "What was J. Edgar Hoover's favorite party dress?" or "Are champagne glasses really modeled on Marie Antoinette's breasts?" which are just too funny.
So, this may be my favorite free book discovery so far this week. I might have to put down my novel to read through this thing, because everyone needs a good laugh every now and again right?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Thou shalt worship thy EW Magazine and pay tithings to the Entertainment Gods.
So, given my love of movies, one could probably understand why I'm counting down to this Friday when the newest installment in the Batman franchise will be released to eager fans across the country. The Dark Knight is sure to be the blockbuster film of the summer, and with the reviews it's been getting, it's unlikely to disappoint fans. I adored Christopher Nolan's first installment, Batman Begins, and I've been waiting for the latest installment since they first began filming it. The whole thing is going to have a note of sadness to it due to the death of Heath Ledger earlier this year, and I have to say that from watching the trailers, I've found myself regretting that Heath is no longer around because the performance looks amazing.
But, the release of this film is bittersweet for me, because it marks what is essentially the end of my Summer Movie Frenzie. There is almost nothing noteworthy coming out from now until November, which makes me really sad. But, there is Harry Potter to look forward to in November, which is exciting. Part of me is glad that nothing great is coming out until November because I'll be devoting so much time to school in the fall, but another part of me is sad that I don't have anything to look forward to as a break from the crappiness of studying. I'll probably be much happier and look forward to things more once I get a Harry Potter trailer, because that will give me something to be excited about. But, until then, I'll be salivating in anticipation of The Dark Knight, and I'll be at the theater on Friday the minute I get off work, so at 4:30 all of my anticipation will be rewarded. And I may squee myself.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Has anyone else seen the promos for this show? I saw a commercial about it and thought it was a hilarious concept. Basically, they take a ton of teenage couples, who all think they're ready for children, and then they actually give them children. I know right?! So they set these couples up in their own house where they have to pay all of their bills as well as cover expenses for caring for the child and themselves on one job that pays $100 per day. Then they stick them with kids. They go through stages where they get kids from different age groups. They take care of infants, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers and then the elderly. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen doesn't it? That's because IT IS!! Oh my gosh! I was flipping channels last week and came across the first episode in the series, and I was hooked. No joke. I was eating this show up with a spoon. They did two back to back episodes and I didn't move from my couch for two hours.