all the fun and all the shit


-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --

The weekend I just had was unusual in that it was busy, but not extremely eventful. There was a fairly notable event on Saturday but a bunch of other stuff all weekend sort of packed in around it.

I'm not sure I even remember what I did on Friday. I know I finished up the 2019 calendars, and then ran into a wrinkle that added to much of what had to get done over the course of the entire weekend. Oh what the hell, how about I just provide a timeline that is sure to bore you? It doesn't bore me at all, and that's what matters!

2014: iPhoto, the photo program on my iMac computer I started using for every year's calendar only the second year for which I made them (2008), is discontinued. The thing is, I continued using that same program to create them for years even after 2014, because it continued to work. I honestly can't remember for sure if I saw, heard or read anything about the program being discontinued at the time. I may have, but then thought little of it when I was still able to create and order the photos in iPhoto every year.

2015: I bought a new iMac, which, in retrospect, seems odd to have included iPhoto as part of its software packaging. Or! Wait a minute -- this just occurred to me: the computer actually did not automatically come with software; I remember running a process that transferred all of my data from the old computer to the new one. That likely explains it. What I realize now is: I bet you anything, the intended replacement application, "Photos," simply came with subsequent iOS updates -- which did not delete iPhoto. There was just nothing that came up with subsequent iOS updates that said, Hey! You should start using Photos and not iPhoto! (Incidentally, I only just now found this article from 2014: "iOS 8 kills iPhoto and forces a messy transition to Photos". And I have no recollection of getting the "Migrate data from iPhoto to Photos" message pictured on that page. But maybe I did, but did not go with it because I still had iPhoto and it still worked.)

2016-2017: I created 2017 and 2018 calendars in iPhoto as usual, and was able to order and purchase them through iPhoto as usual.

2018: I created 2019 calendars in iPhoto as usual -- to date the eleventh time I have done so, the one exception being what I made for 2012, a home video retrospective to honor the late Grandma McQuilkin. (More than one person was bummed not to get a calendar that year, for Christmas 2011, but I just did not have the time or energy to work on both.) But guess what? As of September 30, Apple ended its print products. I don't recall getting any email announcement about this or anything. But, as a result, after having already created the standard four separate versions of the 2019 calendar in iPhoto, it was not until I literally clicked the button that read "Purchase Calendar" that a window popped up that said, Apple is no longer offering print services. Why the fuck does that button even still exist, then?

Well, here's one way: I downloaded one of the recommended "extensions" in the App Store, which can be used with the Photos program to order calendar prints. The thing is -- and I find this very annoying -- the Photos app has no option to import already-created calendars from iPhoto. This new program, though, called Mimeo, did have an online tutorial which, after explaining that they have been working with Apple to produce their print products for several years already, showed how you can click the "option" key while also clicking that "Purchase Calendar" button -- and, then you can save the entire calendar as a pdf file, upload it to Mimeo's website, and order calendar prints that way, for roughly the same cost.

And, in the end, that's exactly what I did. But, not before exploring other options -- in an attempt to bring those same pdfs to a local store and get them printed where I can pick the final product up and save on shipping costs. I called FedEx Office (which used to be Kinko's) ahead on Saturday morning, as they have a location right at the north end of Broadway near the old Harvard Exit. The lady on the phone told me that, yes, they can print from a pdf file.

So, while Shobhit was spending that morning volunteering for a SAG-AFTRA event in Tukwila, I took the thumb drive, and also a calendar from a couple of years ago for reference, to FedEx Office. This was where things got, somewhat predictably, a bit more complicated: being a Saturday, their manager was not in, and no one on site had an intimate knowledge of how calendar ordering works. There was an older black guy I'm pretty sure is gay, and a very young black woman who was the one I spoke to on the phone. She was busy with something else when I arrived and tried to pass me off to the older guy who clearly knew even less than she did, and she had to come back a few times. An immediate kickup was the dimensions of the pages on my pdf files, which did not match those of any of the options they had in their computer.

Later that morning, a "lead" came in and looked over my order, and a voice message was left on my phone, which prompted Shobhit and I both to return to the store on our way to Claudia's for her birthday event (I'll get to that momentarily). Apparently they have a minimum order for sending calendars out for printing which my order did not meet, which meant their only option was to print on paper they had on-site. They actually had very good paper and would crop the white borders off, but this also meant applying their per-page pricing for each single full-color page printed. That was over $3 per page (over $6 per sheet of paper, printing on both sides), and with 14 pages each for 14 calendars being 196, that meant an order that would cost well over a thousand dollars! I about had a heart attack.

The new lady who spoke to us that time said she had sent out for another bid with another company, but, let's get real. This was not a realistic option. Shobhit still said I should wait to order the calendars online until we also went to Costco yesterday, to see if they might be able to print from the pdf files. I knew they wouldn't, but went along with Shobhit's insistence that we just check anyway, since the Mimeo orders likely made no difference over the weekend if I made them on Saturday or on Sunday. And I was right: they were even less equipped for what I needed than FedEx Office had been.

So! In the end, I was able to order them online just as I always have -- just, though Mimeo Photos rather than through Apple. These calendars will even have the Apple logo on the back page like they have the past 10 times, even though they're not actually printed by Apple -- yet, they will be printed from pdfs that include it.

This likely remains an option in the future, although going through the same process would now be done though the Photos app rather than iPhoto. And, guess what? It turns out Photos has better photo editing features than iPhoto ever has anyway. Jesus fuck, I could have been way happier withal this if I had just known to transition to Photos to begin with, four years ago!

That said -- it finally occurred to me this year that there are other, local options for photo printing that I can do for notably cheaper in future years, perhaps without using an apple product to assemble the calendars at all. I even might have done so this year, but for the fact that I had already finished them all in iPhoto and the only way to use another service would be to re-assemble them all from scratch. But! Costco does have calendar printing services -- they just couldn't print from my pdfs -- and I was looking at a sample calendar they had there, which had a feature iPhoto never has: the option to place a photo and text into the same box on the actual calendar grid page (the days themselves, on the page that hangs below the month's large photo). iPhoto could never do this, much as I long wished it could: in the past I would put photos in the squares and then a year and arrow toward it to indicate that person's birth year. But a few years ago, Sherri requested I change that and use text to show the person's actual name instead. Especially when it was a baby picture, without a name she often couldn't tell whose birthday it actually was. So, from then on, the month-grid squares had only text and no photos.

Well, that may change next year, if I order the photos through Costco instead. And I think I just might. I don't think the calendars will be quite as large, and the cost per calendar is about the same, but that's okay. The key difference is that I'd save at least $40 on the whole, because with each order, Mimeo Photos charged $9.99 in shipping -- whether it was for the eight copies I ordered for the "Dad and Sherri version," or the one copy I ordered of the "Shobhit" version. In the latter case, that's a price jump of 50% for a single calendar, which is truly ridiculous. So, if I can do this locally without them having to be shipped, and I can just pick them up somewhere, that's obviously an option that makes much more fiscal sense.

Now. If you actually read all of that, congratulations! Are you still awake? If nothing else, you got a sense of how much effort has gone into these calendars, this year in particular. What a pain!

-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --


-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --

As for Saturday morning, I did a whole lot of other things while I was out: on the way back from my first walk up to FedEx Office, I stopped in at QFC to get a few ingredients so I could make a strawberry banana cashew bread for Claudia's party. I don't know why Shobhit wanted so badly for there to be cardamom in it, but that would use the rest of the tiny bit of cardamom powder we had at home, so I decided I would buy more. And I spent several extra minutes figuring out that, even though under normal circumstances it would make more sense to get some cardamom from the bulk herbs and spices section and just re-fill the jar I had at home, I found a packaged jar of it on the shelf on sale to QFC club members for 33% off, which worked out to less per lb than it was regular price in bulk. For some reason I have never been able to sign in to my own account with the QFC iPhone app, but I did sign in to Shobhit's account, and I added that coupon to his digital account and was able to redeem it that way. I knew Shobhit would be pleased. I saved $2! A momentous occasion!

I also vacuumed, at Shobhit's request, once I got back, after I had mixed up the banana bread batter and gotten it into the oven. Shobhit has a knack for pointing out housework that needs to be done and never bothering to do it himself, as though I am the house maid. (When it comes to things like vacuuming or laundry, I really kind of am. Shobhit does do a lot of cooking and often washes dishes, so it's not like he never does anything at all. He sure likes to complain about areas of dust he's perfectly capable of wiping himself though.)

I had hoped to watch my Netflix DVD copy of the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as we had planned on seeing the sequel yesterday morning. But, while Shobhit was at his volunteer thing Saturday morning, he decided he would come back for a casting director panel at the same place Sunday morning, so the movie would have to happen later in the day and I could watch the original that morning instead. I had too much going on otherwise Saturday morning, and that gave me time to update my budget while the banana bread baked.

It finished shortly after Shobhit got home, and it filled the condo with a delicious aroma.

-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --

So today is actually the day of Claudia's 41st birthday, but she scheduled her celebration for Saturday: a Nicholas Cage movie marathon she called "Claudia's Cage Match." Her Facebook event listed four movies: Face/Off, National Treasure, Con Air and Raising Arizona -- that last one being the only truly great movie among them, and I knew I'd never last long enough for it. Also, in the end, Claudia apparently decided to watch Gone In 60 Seconds before all four of those, so even though her "event" was marked as starting at 1:00, she didn't get Face/Off started until well past 1:00. In fact it was probably close to 2:30 by the time Shobhit and I finally arrived -- Claudia did tell everyone to come and go as they pleased through the whole day -- and at that time Face/Off was about a third over. Shobhit spent a lot of time asking questions. I could not believe that movie got such good reviews at the time; it may have a novel concept but it's also a concept that's dumb as shit.

It was still fun to watch, of course. And the only full movie we did stay for was National Treasure, which I had never seen before. I clearly hadn't missed much by not seeing that low-rent Indiana Jones movie from 2004. (It was interesting to see a character ask someone, "Do you have a cell phone I can borrow?" I don't think anyone in 2018 would feel the need to qualify that question with the word "cell" anymore, because we all have one now. It would just be, "Can I borrow your phone?")

My banana bread was a pretty big hit; the only other guest when Shobhit and I arrived was Jamie, also from the office. I cut off slices for her and Shobhit and myself, in addition to Claudia and Dylan. That took about half the loaf in one swoop, and Shobhit immediately went for seconds. I had to mention to him that other guest would be coming and they might like some too. Maybe a third of it was left when I we left, and much as I wanted to take it home, I did not.

Anyway, a bunch of other people arrived while National Treasure played, which Jamie did not stay for. I want to say I counted at least 16 in the house at one point, and surely others came later. Shobhit and I both noticed that more than one of Claudia's friends was really cute. One guy who insisted on talking at the screen as though he were on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 was genuinely obnoxious. He must be a good guy, or else Claudia wouldn't be friends with him. And I have to admit, a few times I did chuckle at shit he said. But, hearing the dialogue over the general din of all present was difficult enough without his shtick. Not that the dialogue in National Treasure is exactly essential, to be fair. I did ask Claudia at one point if she could turn on closed captioning -- and the woman sitting to my left actually said, "Good suggestion!" -- but I have a suspicion Claudia doesn't like having it on. She did make for trying to find the remote to do this, could not find the remote, then went into the kitchen and wound up visiting with people in there, never considering the request again. Whatever, it was her party.

So let's see, who else who I actually know came? Lydia from work, who used to be Claudia's roommate before she and Dylan moved in together. Apparently she got hit by a truck? She had to sit in a special spot on the couch, and she and her husband left again before this movie ended. Another woman from the office came who I'm pretty sure is named Jess -- she Facebook-friended me some time ago, but she's in a costume in her user icon so I'm only about 80% sure I'm thinking this is the same person; we don't work in the same department and don't interact a lot on Facebook either -- and she made a very tasty lemon tarte.

Shobhit and I also brought a bottle of red wine that never got opened; Claudia made "corpse reviver" gin drinks for several people, including Shobhit, but I hate gin. She opened a bottle of white wine for me, and I had three or four very little glasses of that. There were several other snacks, including crackers and a stupendous gouda cheese provided by Claudia and Dylan. Oh, Jamie also brought a lasagna that both Shobhit and I had some of. In other words, we both ate way too much.

Anyway, we left once National Treasure was done, having hung out there I suppose a little over three hours, maybe close to three and a half. I wasn't up for Con Air really, and did not want to have to slog through it just to see the far superior Raising Arizona, which I've seen countless times already anyway. So, being quite close already, Shobhit and I then went to the Greenlake Village PCC to do some grocery shopping before heading home.

-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --

Shobhit did not want to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Saturday night, so I watched it Sunday morning. Ironically, once I put it on, he decided he did want to see it, and asked when he left for his casting director panel that I not put it back in the mail before he could watch it himself later.

I did truly just barely manage to finish that movie yesterday morning before leaving to catch the Light Rail down to Othello Station, where Shobhit picked me up on his way back into town from Tukwila, and then we went to Costco. From there we went to Mud Bay on Capitol Hill, and that's where things kind of all went to hell.

I really have to take responsibility for my part in this. We were at the pet store, and when I could not remember whether I had ever bought the "Turducky" flavor of cat treats, Shobhit -- quite unnecessarily, and irrationally -- started laying into me about it: "You've had the cats for ten years and you don't remember if you've ever bought it!" As if that fucking matters at all. No, I don't remember. I have a screwy memory.

I did not handle this well. Right there in the middle of the store I said back to him, probably a little too loudly, "Yeah, and I tell you things three times that you never remember so fuck off!"

Now, how Shobhit behaved after this is absolutely inexcusable no matter what, but there was still a butterfly effect here, and I still feel it important to acknowledge that none of it would have happened had I behaved differently to begin with myself.

Now, I did attempt to diffuse the situation. I said, "This hostility started with you. Granted, it could stop with me, but, come on now." But, at that point, Shobhit was having none of it. I have years of experience with this now: it's like Shobhit is this emotional version of the Incredible Hulk, where a flip gets switched, he literally cannot hear anything that is rational or logical, and his only interest is to hurt back.

So, walking out to the parking lot, Shobhit went to his signature move: "You can go to the movie without me." Here again, I should have reacted differently. I should have just said, "All right," and left it at that, instead of trying to appeal to his logical. Instead I did that, barely able to mask my own continued hostility, and then Shobhit started making shit up out of thin air -- he accused me several times of calling him stupid, which never actually happened.

So, after a while, I just let it go. We were cordial to each other as we put groceries away after getting back home, but otherwise I went to the bedroom to place my calendar orders without any more discussion. I never bothered to ask him before I left for the movie whether he was sure he wanted to bow out of the movie. And if he, for instance, decided he didn't want to pay the full price rather than the pre-noon ticket that would have been dirt cheap but had to be missed out on because of changed schedules, that really would have been fine. It was his motivation that was the issue, and far more self-destructive, honestly, than successfully hurtful. But that was his motive: to hurt me. To get me back.

The thing is, though, it's not like I'm incapable of enjoying a movie by myself. I do it all the time. I would have preferred he came along, and as I said when I got back and he asked how the movie was (it was okay), I am certain he would have enjoyed it. So, in his malicious intent for some kind of emotional vengeance, all he did was miss out on a good time. Maybe his pride was too bruised to go back on this ridiculous commitment, I don't know. He was clearly feeling bad later in the day but we didn't bother to discuss it any further. It's not like I was operating from some position of untainted sainthood in all this: I also behaved like an asshole and have my own moments of being, you know, kind of a lunatic. Telling him to fuck off in the middle of a store is clearly going to be a lot more embarrassing for both of us than it would be sensible. I have no idea how many other customers in the store might have heard that. And after I did that, his hulk-flip was switched and there was just nothing to be done about it.

I don't think I have any good reason just to accept that this "switch" exists, and there could come a time when I can no longer abide it and have to make some real serious considerations about my life. But, let's get real: we've been together fourteen years, we've weathered far worse, in both our cases it just takes time to get over the bullshit. And I really hate it when any couple gets presented, whether by themselves or by others, as though one of them is blameless and the other is the villain. That's ridiculous. I still have to take responsibility for my part in these things. Next time, instead of telling him to fuck off, maybe I should just ask him what he has to gain by treating me that way. He would do just as well as I would to consider the answer to that question: there is nothing to gain from that kind of behavior, and there never will be.

By the time I got back from the movie, I wrote my solid B review (it was . . . fine), after eating the dinner he had ready for us to eat: sambar with Pillsbury Biscuits we bought at QFC. Hey, maybe that was on Friday? I want to say we did go to QFC on Friday. I know he bought the Pillsbury items there. Anyway, it was very tasty. And, after I was done writing, I made us chai to have with biscuit cookies as we watched more old episodes of Married... with Children.

-- चार हजार चार सौ बीस सात --


[posted 12:33 pm]