Wow. Well, as I’ve posted elsewhere, this turned out to be a huge success, far beyond my initial expectations. I thought we might make a few hundred for donations, but never expected we’d top two thousand! It was a really gratifying experience, and I was happy to see so many people among the pipe (and non-pipe) community rallying together to donate to a good cause. With it all finished, the bottom line for me is that somewhere in Japan, a quake victim is getting a bed and food and shelter because of us, so I hope everyone who participated can feel good about that.
This was my first experience ever at running this sort of fund raiser. I apologize for all the things I undoubtedly did wrong, but after the quake, I felt it was more urgent to get the donations coming in quickly than to take the time to really familiarize myself with the ins and outs of running this sort of charity event. My big regret is changing charity mid-raffle, which I would think is a big no-no in this sort of thing, but when I learned that my initial choice could not guarantee that all donations would actually go to Japanese aid, I felt it was more important to find a charity that WOULD guarantee this, for the sake of all the folks who had already donated. Next time I’ll know better. I also could have let it run longer, as we still had donations coming in the last day, but I felt it was more urgent to get the donation money in the pipeline as fast as possible.
I’m happy it went well.
Oh, and to answer a question a couple of people have asked – What is the Japanese text under the flag on my home page? When I was putting together that graphic as an attention-getter, I wanted to include some sort of text to go with the flag, and I wanted to post it in Japanese. Unfortunately, I know hardly any Japanese and I seriously mistrust Google Translate due to what I’ve seen it do between English and French, never mind a totally different language with a different character set. At least in French, I can read French well enough to catch any major problems – With Japanese, I had no such luck. So, complicated sentences were out. I would have liked to post something like, “Helping out the victims in Japan”, “Helping our friends”, “We support the Japanese people in this time of crisis”, etc, but I was (to put it mildly) terrified that Google would give me some insane and unrelated translation and I’d never know the difference until some Japanese person read it and was totally insulted. I follow www.engrish.com – I know how bizarrely this stuff can turn out. So I cast around for a while, trying to think of something really simple, something so simple that no translation website could screw it up. Then it hit me – I had a flashback to Christopher Reeve’s’ first appearance as Superman, and what he says to Lois Lane after the rescue, and I knew I had my text. Here it is below – You can fast forward to the 5:30 mark if you just want to know what the text says, and skip the rest of the scene. I should also point out that I’m nowhere near as cool as Superman OR Christopher Reeve, but I thought that simple answer summed up everything I wanted to say perfectly.