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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Once again I've proved to myself just how totally useless I am. I don't know why in my wildest fantasies I ever imagined I could just buy a photo printer, plug it in, install it and use it. There are way too many alleys and byways where my incompetence could steer me in the wrong direction.

I wouldn't even have found myself at Wal-Mart if it hadn't been for the Boss. He suggested meeting me there, because it's about halfway between where he is and where I am. I had something he needed, and rather than having him drive all the way to my house (no thanks), I settled for the compromise.

That's one place I never shop. I have a problem with the way they censor the music they sell, and that colors my perception of the entire enterprise. I'm sure they do many other bad things in the world as well, but selling bowdlerized versions of popular music is too much for me to take. So I stay away. I haven't been inside a Wal-Mart store in at least four years. I bought a shower curtain there when I moved into this place.

And I probably wouldn't have been tempted to go through those doors today if I hadn't wanted to look at baby clothes. As it turned out, there was nothing there that I thought was good enough for Aiden. And I do mean nothing, because I looked at everything.

So I wandered over to the electronics department. I almost bought the optical mouse I've been wanting, but then the photo printers caught my eye. If there had been any shopping carts at the entrance, I might have bought both. Since I had to choose, and since I've been thinking about it for a while now, and since I have all these beautiful digital baby photos (ooh, that sounds like something out of Ally McBeal — digital baby; or Austin Powers — digital, baby)—

Where was I?

Anyway, I bought the printer, brought it home, and almost decided to leave the installation for a day when I wasn't so tired. Then I realized that there is no such day, hasn't been for months and isn't likely to be in the near future.

Even installing the print cartridges was frustrating. The diagrams don't show that they go into the slots on their sides rather than upright. I nearly snapped several plastic pieces off during the process, but eventually I got it. The machine even printed a test page for me, before I even turned the computer on.

Then came the madness. Error messages everywhere I turned. The troubleshooting section of the manual was no help at all. The website offered me updated drivers, which I dutifully downloaded, but with the same result. More error messages, and an endless loop of instructions that kept bringing me back to the same dialog box with no way to escape other than Ctrl-Alt-Del.

It's more than frustrating. It's humiliating. I know I can't do hardware, but it shouldn't be that difficult. It should, in fact, be at least as easy as gassing up my car (although that took me nearly forty years of driving to succeed at; I'm just saying, I know from humiliating). I've been back and forth with tech support a couple of times, and so far all their suggestions are useless. Like me.

Isn't that sad?

11 June 2004

Aiden doing what Aiden does best. (Well, one of the things.)

I'd take the printer back to Wal-Mart, but I don't know what I'd tell them. All the parts and pieces have been unwrapped (and thanks, HP, for all the extraneous packaging materials). I suppose it will sit here, unused and unloved, just like the fish tank over there in the corner of the living room. That particular mistake has been gathering moss (mold, anyway) for over a year now.

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Rain last night meant the Giants and Orioles had to play two games today. So what happens? Of course, the first game goes into extra innings and uses up a lot of pitchers. The O's nearly ended it in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with no outs, but Giants closer Matt Herges did his job, getting three outs on three pitches. Then in the eleventh the Giants broke it open and went on to win, 9-6. In the nightcap, the Giants had a late lead, but an error let the Orioles send this one into extra innings as well. This time the Giants did run out of pitching, as the O's gained a double header split with a 5-4 win on a hit off Herges in the twelfth.

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