Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Mark That Date - Not so much

A very low key (skeleton key?) birthday. Domino started yelling at me half an hour before the alarm goes off, which was rude, so I shut the bedroom door. Did some stuff online, which made me not early for work.

There was a new build, which meant a couple of bugs to close, including one which had shown up when I automated the GUI part of my Russian buddy's new test feature. He had validated it by hand, but that's tedious. My script blows through 44 variations or what a manual test would only try 4 of, and in only about 7 minutes. So bug verified as fixed. Also was able to run a test which needed to be run first thing after updating, because the bug goes bye-bye the first time you log out and log back in again.

And there were lots of "push a button, wait an hour" tests, so I took the time to upload to FB many of the video clips featuring me acting and singing and both through the years. At least one FB friend was also in each clip. I am completely bummed that PA Players was too copyright-stupid to video Jackyl & Hyde, because there were two numbers I was in which made me look elegant and I sang well too.

There were many birthday wishes, most of them good.

No one at work knew it was my birthday, except my boss who was in meetings all morning and worked from home all afternoon, and Automation Guy who had taken the day off. He has 6 weeks of PTO saved up.

Lunchtime I went to Rivermark and The Prolific Oven, which has the best dark chocolate covered cream puffs. And pretty good split pea soup which is served with fresh sourdough baguette slices. Yum!  I was hoping to pick up a mini Black Forest cake, but they didn't have any. That's my traditional birthday cake.

After work I went to Costco to pick up both the calendars and the prints for Baskone. Also managed to spend $77 on groc.

Home in time for the second half of Thursday Night Football, but it was a low-scoring game, so not much interest.

Answered some email, played some more on FB, and looked for a place to have a birthday dinner. Oddly enough, the best choice turned out to be Red Lobster. I found one in SJ which is open till 10, and drove down there. Had clam chowder, garden salad, whole Maine lobster with seafood stuffing and rice pilaf. The lobster tail meat was a little chewy in spots, but tolerable. The claw meat was fine, and the stuffing was Nom nom nom. Good clam chowder too. Dessert was very fresh moist chocolate cake a la mode, with a candle in it, and since it was my birthday they didn't charge for it. Altogether a win. Thanks to lemmozine for the clue which got me that.

Deja something: there is no exit from that Red Lobster which lets you go directly back to 101. Both the E-W and N-S roads have medians. I chose the E-W road, since N-W is an expressway, and the U-turn was at Brigadoon Way. It had a HUGE sign hung out over the middle of the intersection, which is very strange because it dead ends into that street, one can only turn right or U-turn.

And behind the cut is mostly for didjiman
 I've been doing a photo calendar for 4 years now, it started as a return gift for a cousin in the UK who sent me for my birthday a calendar her town created. I had been there for her daughter's wedding. I've been a Costco member for a long time, used to be the savings on film and processing more than paid for the membership, but now it is their low rates and pretty good poster sized reprints which keep me there. I am not a perfectionist, but I do have my standards, and as soon as I discovered that their auto-correct feature is crap, and stopped using it, I've had no complaints.

Many years ago, I was on the board of a non-profit, and they decided to sell another group's calendars on consignment to raise $$. The rate we were being charged by the other group seemed very high, so I looked into several calendar printing services and found we could make our own in lots of 1,000 for 1/4 of what the other group was charging. I offered to put together one but got voted down. But I learned that a stapled professional calendar "only" costs about $3 or $4 a copy with a minimum order of 1,000. But if you only want 50, that will cost $15 each. Those printing houses don't want small orders. The more thousands you order, the lower the price per unit drops, but with some lower price limit.

Costco and Vistaprint both advertise spiral bound calendars with no minimum order. Costco charges about $10 after taxes, Vistaprint is kind of a bait and switch, they advertise $8 but that's on flimsy photo stock, if you want the same card stock Costco uses, you're looking at $15.

Last year I tried Vistaprint's el cheapo paper, and what I got back was a batch of 50 calendars in which at least one page on 37 of them had a white vertical line through it. Some had two or three affected pages, and combining the 37, every page had this defect. I contacted their customer service, and they sent another 50. This time 40 of them were defective, not just with a white line, but some were cut at an angle, and two had the spiral's holes punched halfway off the page. Third time all the photos were fine, but two had the spiral holes wrong. I decided to quit after that and took my business back to Costco.

The main reason I had switched from Costco is their layout program doesn't allow for a photo to take up the whole page if you insert a caption. Turns out there is a simple work-around, and that's to use Photoshop to put the photo in a "canvas" and use the text tool to write the caption on that. Costco sees that as an image, which it can make full screen, so you can use the layout which doesn't have caption space.

Costco takes a week, and I can pick it up at my nearest store, not shipping fee. Vistaprint mails it, it can take a month, and you pay shipping.

So there you have it.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe go to PA and see the final show at the Dragon Theater. Not the final performance, but at the end of the run they are tearing out the theater. I think the plan is to remodel but I'm not sure.
Possibly the Brigadoon producer will post its cast list.
Tags: birthday, calendar, photography, work

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