Personal: May 2008 Archives

Michigan Trip Planning

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Finally got around to booking accomodation for the trip. The fictional we will be staying at the very finest room of the Red Roof Inn.

In the end it was all about how the virtual tour of the Radisson rooms was really a little pathetic - so much so that we couldn't quite justify spending double the amount (even with AAA discount) to stay in an essentially smaller room.

At which point I got excited and actually drove out to a Borders to look at guide books of Michigan. Most were a little useless and too hugely general. But the Moon guide to Michigan seemed the best of the lot. Especially when it came to talking about Kalamazoo and Holland, but specifically also about the southeastern coastal region, which you inevitably drive through on your way from Illinois or Indiana. So places like Benton Harbor and New Buffalo. Also flipped through a copy of Road Food, which Michele had recommended. is also interesting. And it led me to a very promising midway stopping point in Indiana (Chesterton) with the Port Drive-In, which specializes in Hot Dogs and Home-made Root Beer.

It would have been nice if I had bought the books in the store where I browsed for them, but I'm way too (let's call it) principled for that. Got Road Food for $5 less (with free Amazon Prime shipping), and got the Moon Guide for about $6 used - $4 of which was shipping, as usual. Funnily enough, they allowed me to use my gift certificates for the entire amount, which was surprising given that one was a Marketplace purchase. I wonder how that works.

But yes, my gift certificates are accumulated from me being the affiliate that pimps all the stuff to myself. Mostly through integrating with Opera's search.ini.

Bought Chipotle back after. My those burrito bols are tasty. Especially with the hot sauce on top and their chicken. Gratifyingly owned by McDonalds.

I figure that since I'm not getting writing done anyway, I might as well write frivolous things. Hence what you're reading now.

I've decided that Staples is the way to go when it comes to meeting my considerable printing and copying needs. I got tired of going to Office Depot (even if their house brand laser paper is remarkably cheap and good), which can be rather depressing, and having to already print out a copy of my manuscript and still having to wait there for the thing to get copied. And often the machines can't even fit the whole manuscript in, I have to do it in parts.

Enter Staples Copy and Print center online. Granted there are any number of these services, and Office Depot actually runs one of them, but Staples has an ongoing promotion, that doesn't seem to be going away, where they give you a 50% discount for uploading your files online. The prices are remarkably good - and are actually already cheaper when it's not 50% off, than Office Depot.

You can also enroll in their rewards card (I signed up for the teaching one a while back, but I think it might all be the same) and get another 10% back.

The problem though, is that after uploading my file last night, realising that I can't pick up till 11am, and having to pay a "rush fee" (39c, but still :P) even to get it at that time (instead of 7pm!). But fine, at least I'll just be able to go up to the counter, pick it up, pay and be done.

But apparently all the kinks in the system accumulate at the ground level (specifically Staples store 1675 at 1300-J N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago) "We didn't get the e-mail" - so they hadn't even heard of my thing. It was lucky I actually brought in my order number etc. Fine, they can do it on the spot. The black and white printer/copier they have is vershnicked. Fine, they'll do colour for the same price. And the quality, I have to say if very very nice.

They charge for staples. And when they staple, they've run out of staples. Okay, they get some. They can't seem to staple it in a way that's not ugly. In the end they didn't even refund my rush fee or staple cost. At least this staples was both close to my Fifth Third Bank (banked in rebate check from logitech for my webcam) and the Post Office.

So for the price, I'll at least try it again, bring binder clips, and suck it up. The Post Office woman was all silly about having binder clips in the envelope. I could care less if you have to send it as parcel post rather than mail - especially if it's just 20c difference. Why aggravate me?

I'm going to do my best to use the automated services from now on, just on principle, but sometimes I do have to get things - like post cards this time etc.

Fascinating life I lead, innit?

I went to watch Red Belt, the new Mamet film. Perhaps more on that later. Emily Mortimer was superb, even if the film was a little silly, and not particularly well directed. Had Boston Market on the way back.

But yes, sent off to the detective fiction novella contest, sent Beth the third episode of Jezebel James, sent of my renewed lease, sent back the postcard telling the emissions test people that my car's been sold. Still haven't gotten my residential parking permit. monkey got hers like last week, along with our city stickers.

This sounds like the beginning of a soft-rock ballad, but I've just woken up, at it's about 4am. I've just finished putting infolinks on my site. It's that inline advertising that has double-underlined links, and when you hover over it, it pops up a thing with the product etc. Infolinks is good in that it's not snooty about being put on small sites - unlike the bigger advertisers Chitika, Vibrant Media, Kontera.

I'll have info on my "Why Ads?" page about how to block it, though I'll probably only have them on my archive pages, which means the permalink pages and the category/monthly archive pages. Those are the ones that get the most traffic that aren't people I know. I figured keeping them off the pages would be a good idea.

I'm finding the referral links from adsense to be a little less than useful. I might just take them out. I didn't really want much on the pages anyway. And not much is showing up other than the ads for Barefoot Contessa.

I am happy that I'm able to make my ads as inobtrusive as possible, and for them to fit into the colour scheme of the site.

Anyway, no one should worry that this is all the site will ever be, I'll write about other things eventually, I've just got the meta stuff on the brain right now. I have a bunch or hours till I bug the abuse team at ICDSoft about whether they're lifting my performance restrictions. Once that happens I can try and do a proper import of my previous entries.

Flickr is evil and that's why I'm not using them anymore. I have my own hosting, so that will work out just fine. I'm liking the work I did on my pages, esp. with the pairing of the pictures.

Still dying to ask about what I shouldn't ask about. Also tired of tedious people. And especially when I'm hot and grumpy, I think about my future with a kind of annoyance.

I got a haircut. I should book the room for when I'm going over to Kalamazoo. I might stay with Michele in between.


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Really as a form of good luck for the blog. How many of your remember this from my old apartment on Beach Road, back the last time when I had no future?

I'm just going through all the tsuris associated with upgrading Movable Type - though to be sure, plenty of it is my fault for having left it alone for so long. This is just a clean install, but I'm trying to upgrade my other install so that I can get the tools to stop the trackback spam and then start hacking away at it.

New GPS arrived. Pretty spanky. Haven't had much call to use the traffic feature yet, but we'll see. Shu-Huei is coming to visit on Sunday for Memorial Day Weekend.

I keep wanting to ask about something I don't want to ask about. I assume if there was good news that I would have been told. I'd like to think that even if it wasn't great news, that getting close to things happening is at least a kind of step.

I wonder if I'm feeling obliged to write longer posts to justify the amount of ads I've slapped onto the site. Once I have more content I'm sure it'll seem less obtrusive.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Personal category from May 2008.

Personal: June 2008 is the next archive.

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