February 20th, 2007


Sometimes I can't help it ...

OK, so there I was, poking around in the Stamps area of the Post Office web site.

I was in there trying to figure out what the minimum number of stamps I'd need to get some promotional things out for the Tutoring biz ... and I'm hoping that this lovely combination of 87¢, 60¢, and 48¢ stamps that I've determined as optimal will be available tomorrow at the post office.

But that's not what I'm blogging about ... oh no.

At some point this summer they're coming out with a Marvel Super Heroes set of 20 stamps, with 10 characters (like the just-in-time-for-the-movie Silver Surfer here), and 10 classic comic book covers. Needless to say, the 14-year-old boy that lived and breathed Marvel Comics that still lurks in the back of my brain is jumping up and down about this!

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What a clusterf***

What a screwed up day!

I went down to the Chicago Cultural Center at noon for their "Jazz, Blues, and Beyond" free concert thing, hoping to hear Fred Anderson, who used to play at the Foundation's coffee house every Sunday night "back in the day". I haven't seen Fred in 20+ years, and was, frankly, surprised to hear that he's still around (he was easily in his upper 40's back in the 70's). Unfortunately, I guess Fred had surgery for something last week, as was unable to make the show, so there was some other jazz group playing. Since I had a lot of stuff to get done, I figured I'd just go grab something from the Art-O-Mat® down there and then head up to the Post Office. But, noooooo ... the Art-O-Mat was empty! I asked in the gift shop and they said that the new supplies were in, but they guy with the key to open it wouldn't be there until tomorrow. Bummer.

So, I wander over to Dearborn, and grab the #22 bus (the only thing that "worked" today was that bus showing up right away), which I took up to the Fort Dearborn Post Office, where I stood in a line of at least a couple dozen folks. When I finally get up to the desk, I find that the stamps (admittedly, odd amounts, 87¢, 60¢, and 48¢, but they were what I figured worked out as the fewest stamps on each piece going out in this mailing) that I needed they didn't have, nor did they have any good alternative suggestions.

So, I head across the street to get back on the bus, and end up waiting the better part of a half hour. While waiting, I call 411 on my cellphone and try to get a hold of the Main Post Office to see if they would have these stamps ... the phone rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and eventually the 411 computer (which was connecting me) gives up and tells me to write down the number! Grrrrrrrrrrrr all the way around.

At this point I figure I'm not going to chance wasting another day by chasing down to the South Loop for stamps that might or might not be there, and run the order through the usps.com web site ... they had the stamps, the only problems being that a) I'm going to have to delay the mailing a few more days while they send those out, and b) I had to get more of each than I really needed. Oh well ... they'll be here by the weekend probably.

So, now, about an hour out from when I need to go pick up The Girls, I'm getting started on this big pile of "places to send my resume" print-outs on my desk. Times like this I really wish I was still drinking!

I did notice one cool thing on the USPS.com site ... those images (linked to the stamp denominations above) each show up in the little icon thing in the navigation bar in the browser! I wonder how they do that ... I'm guessing it's a program that feeds a miniaturized version of the stamp graphic to the thing which assigns those (as opposed to having those hard coded for each .jpg file), but that's very cool. It would be great for L.J. to grab that coding so that one's user pic showed up in the navigation area!

Scratch the above P.S. ... it seems that the "cool feature" is not on the Post Office web site, but a feature of the new version of FireFox! I was just posting some graphics in a comment elsewhere, and noticed that they were showing up both in the nav bar and in the tab icon ... very cool ... I do think this would be great if LiveJournal could figure out a way to have the user pic show up like that, though.

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Holy crap!

I am flabbergasted.

A few years ago I picked up 3 Canon i350 printers as they produced good output, and were cheap, and I found that I could get "compatible" cartridges for as little as 10¢ on the dollar vs. Canon ink. Unfortunately, one of them (the one hooked up to Daughter #2's system, which was not being used much other than to play Candyland, etc.) has what I am now assuming are irreversibly blocked nozzles for the red ink (I've tried soaking the nozzles in alcohol, swabbing with various things, etc., and we're still not seeing any red ink when printing). Of course, at this point, the i350 has been long discontinued, but (as we have several printers using the same cheap ink), I'd really rather stay with something that takes the BCI-24 ink cartridges. I have bid on a few straggling i350s on eBay, but got the idea tonight to go check out what a replacement Printhead would cost.

Now, the Printhead for the i350 (Part Number QY6-0044-000) is an easily removable, and thereby user-replaceable, part. It's not big, does not seem particularly complicated, an came in a printer that was at one point retailing under $50.00 ... one would think that one could find these for next to nothing, right? Nuh-uh.

The "best" price I've seen for this is a seller on eBay (with 495 of them to sell) who has a buy-it-now price of $24.95 (with $9.00 for shipping on an item that might weigh 3oz!). Most of the listings I'm seeing are from Europe, and there the going price is something in the neighborhood of fifty Euros! Insane!

I mean, I might end up paying the $33.95 for it just because we can get such cheap ink cartridges for it, especially compared to any more recent units (it uses a 3-color and a black cartridge, and my most recent purchase was 10bk, 8c, for $23.90 delivered, which would have run me over $186.00 if I'd gotten the "store brand" compatible cartridges, let alone the actual Canon ones). It just irks me to pay that for what should cost under $10 with minimal shipping!

OK, poking around some more I'm seeing places that are at least claiming that the Canon "list price" for the QY6-0044 was $26.89 ... which seems awfully steep given what I paid for those i350 printers ... but it would explain why the cheapest I'm seeing is right around that.

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