Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In the news

A Dutch TV show is raising some controversy with it's crazy antics. A woman is going to have a game show to see who will get one of her kidneys while she is alive.

It interesting that in the article people are quoted saying it disgusting that this show will air and they want to shut it down. Yet, no one offers any suggestions on how to fix the issue of people waiting so long for an organ. In the Netherlands, their average wait is 4 years.

It's great that someone took some outside thinking to bring about an awareness. Here in the US, our numbers are significantly higher than those in the Netherlands. Currently the accepted (average) number is 17 people die every day waiting for an organ. That puts us around 6,200 annual deaths. Right now, there are 96,470 people on the waiting list.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Link of the day


Southern hospitality

In all honesty, I was a mark. But (I hope) it became more than that.

"C" needed more numbers. And truthfully, the first words that I digested were "5,000 free miles".

Funny, that's what I need to get a ticket back home for my 20 year reunion this summer. She asked me to fill out a credit application. Quickly showing me where to sign, fill in and check there, there and there. It was rushed but if I actually had time to think about it, I am sure I wouldn't have done it....but that 5,000 free miles was my enticement.

I slowed and tried to have a conversation with "C". She had numbers to get and I wasn't helping by keeping her from the "zone". Airports are a target rich environment, but time is fleeting. Her numbers were impressive. Much more than I would have thought.

After I filled out the application, I watched her. Well, I watched for a couple of reasons. One, she was dynamic. Very engaging. Secondly, she's beautiful and had an incredible southern voice. She would engage the passengers as they went from gate to gate. Some would slow and several would approach. Her style was all charm and hospitality. In between her attempts to get applicants, we would engage in small talk. Before long my plane was ready to board so I had to move along. After I checked in, (I was flying stand by) I returned to ask if I could take her picture for a project. We discussed the One A Day project and her standing on organ donation. She got involved many years ago when a family member got sick. Organ donation wouldn't have helped in that case, but it was still something that was near and dear to her.

Currently, she helps raise money for sick children. She had contacts to celebrities and creates events involving these celebrities and the children. But she is a behind the scenes person. Ironically, I put her front and center in my camera and she shines.

You can see her picture here:
or all the OAD images here:

It's over

It finally happened. After 13 years, of a hot and cold relationship it’s done. Lately, I just couldn’t wrap my hands around it. The years made the middle pretty wiggly. We be doing our thing and if I didn’t treat her just right sometimes she would end up on the floor with a big whump. The kids would run in and ask if everything was okay. I would mutter out a “yes”. But alas after 13 years, the iron has died.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's been a week

First off, I got bored with the blog look so I changed everything. I still like the black background best but it's not the best for reading. I will stick with white until I find the right combination of text and color.

I am back from Nashville TN and wasn't all that impressed. Granted, I only saw Stones River civil war site and was downtown on Broadway during the day. At night with the sights and sounds, I am sure it's a much better place. I ate at a dinner theater restaurant that started to serve breakfast and lunch. Wellllll, lunch specials are last nights dinner covered in gravy. Probably would have had a better sandwich at Subway. It would have been fresher for sure.

In another post, I mentioned a bit of chaos in our lives.....good God was I right. After three days away, I came back to a house that looks like something you would see in a reality TV show. We have SEVEN people living on our rental house right now. Five adults and two kids. I am not hammering on anyone, it's just so many people and so much stuff. There just isn't anywhere to put it. We have bags of food on EVERY counter. The refrigerator....well, I am OCD when it comes to the kitchen. Everything has a place and dammit, make sure everything is in it's place. When I opened the door this morning, things fell out and I was about to freak on all who could hear. There was medicine, half opened bottles (with lids) and containers falling out. It was all I could do to not literally throw EVERYTHING AWAY and start over. I was not in a good mood at that point. Sooooo, I followed suit and picked the crap off the floor and THREW it back in the fridge. I didn't care who, or what. If you are missing something that is supposed to be in there, find it your self. It's probably in the back under what ever you put in there before that isn't supposed to be there but somewhere else.......DAMMIT!!

Okay, I have vented and the next post, being a few days late, will be regrading organ donation and the One A Day project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When it rains...it pours

May 15 - Tuesday - (wife) close on 28 Station St. (new owners want to take possession May 20)
May 15 - Tuesday - (me) sign loan paperwork for 1635 4th Ave (will not close on 1635 until week of 5/21 (note the gap))
May 16 - Wednesday - pick up U-Haul begin filling it with lots of sh!t
May 17 - Thursday - (wife) work 12-14 hour days, pack U-Haul, wife sick, has been for three days, the recipient cannot pick up more than 30 lbs (me) work 10 hour days but not home until after 7pm pack U-Haul at night
May 18 - Friday - (wife) work 12-14 hour days, pack U-Haul, wife sick, has been for four days, the recipient cannot pick up more than 30 lbs (me) work 10 hour days but not home until after 7pm pack U-Haul at night
May 19 - Saturday - (everyone) adult soccer at 7:30am, youth soccer at 9:00am, softball at 9:00, mandatory dance practice at 12:30pm
May 20 - Sunday - (everyone) new owners get keys to 28 Station St (old occupants (the recipient and spouse) have no where to live) Looks like a hotel for a week, 2007 dance recital most of the day Sunday
May 21 - Monday - (me) head to Nashville for the week, wife still sick, kids tired of us being tired and short tempered, the recipient and spouse still in a hotel, every one says sh!t a lot and vow to sell everything before we move again
May 21-25 - week of - close on 1635 house and can't move in because the renter is (probably) still living there, we have unloaded all the sh!t from 28 Station St and it sits in the storage unit. We moved it once and have to move it all again into the 1635 house within a week.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Neat story

I was talking to someone today and they told me about story of their relatives, co workers spouse.....whew...was diagnosed with a liver disease. Not long after, they said they need a transplant. VERY shortly after that, they received one BUT they were asked if they would be willing to donate a portion of that new liver to a pediatric patient waiting for a liver too. Of course, they said yes.

Sorry i don't have any more details, it's pretty much how it was told to me. But the fact that more and more of these transplants are happening is pretty neat. Since the liver regenerates from any size, the pediatric patients only need a very small portion and it will grow to it's proper size once implanted. The adult can live without a that small portion given to the child too since the larger portion will regenerate to it's proper size.

That's soooo, cooool.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Encore, encore

"I called out Sue's name twice, and the second time she raised her hand," he said. "I announced we had to get her to Pittsburgh, to the children's hospital, that they had a heart for her little boy." - Pennsylvania State Police

That is an excerpt from this Fox News article about a boy getting an opportunity at life from a live saving organ donor but also, because of technology. They were at a concert and his mother had a cell phone that was able to be located from GPS, but I think it was triangulation. GPS is a receiver, cell phones send out signals that can be triangulated.

If the venue that she was at had a cell phone jammer (which is illegal right now in the US but some want to change that) or if her phone was turned off, he may have missed an opportunity at a new heart.

Jammer info:
http://www.slate.com/id/2092059/ This is an old article, but may still apply.

The important thing is the fact that someone donated their heart to John.
Our current numbers are:
Waiting list candidates as of today 10:59am
All 96,371
Kidney 71,598
Pancreas 1,683
Kidney/Pancreas 2,356
Liver 16,855
Intestine 231
Heart 2,778
Lung 2,756
Heart/Lung 124
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - February 2007
Total 4,424
Deceased Donor 3,414
Living Donor 1,010
Based on OPTN data as of 05/04/2007

Donors recovered January - February 2007
Total 2,274
Deceased Donor 1,266
Living Donor 1,008
Based on OPTN data as of 05/04/2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"I kept leaning down to smell the top of your head, so thrilled that I was home." - Heather "Dooce" Armstrong

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dream job

1) Independently wealthy.

2) Work part time for a couple of corporations as the representative on the boards of non profit organizations that receive the donations from the corporations. Not as a meddler, just to ensure the money is being spent wisely.

You also see no differences

Okay, I have away from the organ donation part of this blog it's crazy. You will have to live with it for a month or two more. Then it's back to the right stuff.

Reading the headlines today I would really like to..........

Okay, I wrote a post and re read it, then I edited it, re read it then deleted most of what I wanted to write......

Of the two articles I was going to reference one was about some group in Austria that want to declare a chimpanzee a human. The other was a 17 year old Kurdish girl being stoned for having a relationship with a boy with a different religious background.

I cannot (well I can, but I won't) say what I really want to say on this blog. It would move the content so far away from the focus of Organ Donation.

When the subject of "differences" comes up with many people I deal with, I ask them to close their eyes and tell me what they see that is different. Not what they remember, but what they can actually see with their eyes closed.

The usual response is "I see nothing". Then my answer is "then you also see no differences".

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

From behind the lens

On another note, I have mentioned him in the past, but David Farmerie has been preparing a re design of his own site. He has added podcasts and a blog and there should be some more images pretty soon. His web site blog is here http://davidfarmerie.com/txp and the web site is here http://www.davidfarmerie.com

I was reading his newest blog http://photographersplace.blogspot.com recently with this entry:

What Moves You?

This is the question that I would ask of any image maker wanting to know what genre of photography to explore. It is also the question that I would pose to any image maker asking how to go about choosing a personal project.

As an example, a friend of mine - who is an aspiring photographer, began shooting sports for a local newspaper but he wanted more. He took on a personal project that moved him - that he was passionate about, and created a blog and photo site. (http://causaleffect.blogspot.com/)

I actually had to read it twice because I didn't realize the paragraph was about me. I am flattered. I just need to live up to my own hype and begin producing images for the One-A-Day-2007 Organ Donation Awareness Project. Besides the many obstacles I run into, I don't have much accountability. There isn't anyone over my shoulder saying I need to fill a quota, or have a certain portion of the project done by a certain date. It's all self paced and self regulating. Which is exactly why the last 45 days have been a total bust.

I am still passionate about organ donation. I go through life right now figuratively looking through a camera lens. I watch people all day wondering what they would look like with a certain lens. I watch the shadows fall across their face. I see how the nose casts a shadow and want a Canon "L" lens that will show the smile lines on their cheeks. I even went to a second hand store to buy some interesting clothes for the time I actually get to shoot in a studio. Hats, shirts and a few skirts. I think my daughter snagged a few though.

I bought People magazines 100 most beautiful edition. When I look at the pictures, I am looking into the reflections in the eyes and trying to see if they are using a softbox or octobox, a strip light, reflector or natural lights from the sky or windows.

(Note to all: A Canon 85mm L f/1.2 or an 85mm f/1.8 would fit nicely in my mailbox....in case someone has an extra laying around).

I drive around looking at trees, signs and buildings wondering when the best light will be. I get butterflies in my stomach when I see people gathering for ice cream or sitting down for dinner. It takes all I have to not just stare, observe and want to take pictures.

David mentions the "zone" in his new blog. Last weekend I was in the zone. I got some really good soccer shots. They aren't at the level of those on SportsShooter, but some day, some day.

Timing is everything

Yesterday, I was perusing a site I frequent very often. www.sportsshooter.com which has some of the worlds greatest photographers as it's members.

I delve into the main site every so often but I read the forums most. but since I am not a member of the site, I cannot participate, post or view some parts of the site......

I read a forum post from one of the members and replied via the email feature, which I can use. We struck up an email conversation that was very, very nice. We had a few things in common and it lead to a discussion about a few things including organ donation, our pasts, our futures and dreams.

The photographer is an organ donor, has a family member that received an organ, and is also struggling with someone near and dear that may be in the early or middle stages of liver disease. We talked about the difficulty dealing with someone that isn't necessarily in denial, but refuses to accept help or seek treatment.

Our conversation went in other directions too, but I was struck by the casualness of our email conversation.

I had asked her early on if she could spare some time to review some of my own images I that have made in the last year or so. Having a true professional photographer review your work is always beneficial and scary. Most photographers are pretty critical and detail oriented. We are our own worst enemies. And having a "peer" (and I use that term loosely since I am not a "true" professional (yet)) review can only benefit me as a budding professional photographer.

To view her work, head here: http://www.jodygomez.com

Making it up as I go

It is May 2007 now. Last month, April, was National Donate Life Month. I saw ZERO national efforts regarding organ donation. I watch the news (NBC Brian Williams, ABC nightly news and CNN) on my iPod at least 4 of 7 days a week. In all of April, none of them had a story on organ donation. Locally, I don't watch the news since I am editing pictures at night from the previous weeks events or I am sleeping.

It is pretty disappointing to say the least. But in all fairness (because that's what I am about), I wasn't out there doing interviews or getting portraits either, so I am not pointing a finger, just making an observation.

I looked back on the numbers and unfortunately, I didn't do a good job posting last month. My post on Mar 26 shows 95,611 waiting for organs. April 10 shows 95,978 and May 1 (today) shows 96,254. There was an increase of 643 people waiting based on those numbers. Of course many have been added and dropped because they got organs or they died waiting for an organ. Out of the 36 days between Mar26 and May1, it averages just over 17 people per day being added to the list. 17.8 actually.

All of last month, I wore a Donate Life pin. It's a red heart/ribbon type of pin. I put a sticker on it with the number of people waiting for an organ. The first day I wore it, someone asked what it was. Yesterday, someone else asked. I don't remember anyone asking at any other time of the month. Very strange indeed.