robotech_master: (Default)
Just got done watching the third episode of Torchwood. I really like the way it's shaping up so far. The first couple of episodes were a little shaky (though still quite good), but this third one shows some signs that it's starting to find its legs. It's a nice spooky ghost story, just in time for Halloween. My in-depth review of the first two episodes, as well as the podcaster Justy's review, will presumably be heard in tomorrow's RDF Underground podcast. (That is, I sent it to him, and I've heard no signs that he doesn't plan to include it.) Maybe I'll review this one for next week's.

In other news, I finally got around to writing a letter to Universal Press Syndicate in which I mention a certain business near my house that is doing a no-no. As folks may or may not be aware, Bill Watterson has historically been very protective of Calvin & Hobbes, refusing any and all merchandising of his characters save for printed collections. Which means that every time you see Calvin on someone's T-shirt, or on the back window of a truck peeing on a competitor's logo, it's unauthorized and not only does Watterson not see one cent of it, it's expressly against his wishes as creator of the character.

Anyway, there's this salon not far from where I live, that I see every time I bicycle by there...and that decal on the front door, as you can see in the picture at right, of Calvin kneeling before a cross, offends my aesthetic sensibilities. Not only is it an unauthorized reproduction, and not only is it being used on the front door of a business, but it's also entirely out of character. So I finally got around to writing a letter to Calvin & Hobbes's syndicate about it, and it's sitting clipped to my mailbox in an envelope now. I could have emailed them about it, of course—and maybe in a week or so I'll do that anyway just to make sure they got the message—but I figured that a printed letter would be something harder for them to ignore. And, besides, it was an excuse to use my printer.

Maybe it's "tattling"—but then again, I'm deeply respectful of Watterson's creation, and he deserves not to have it used to promote somebody's hair salon. It will be interesting to see if the decal vanishes in coming weeks.

Interestingly enough, on the way back from doing some shopping today, I noticed a "Cartridge World" shop not far from me at all. Certainly a lot closer than that Walgreen's. Have to see what they charge and decide where I want to go to get my refills.

UPDATE: [livejournal.com profile] dvandom was kind enough to point out the November 5th "Over the Hedge" comic strip, which deals with the same sort of issue.
robotech_master: (unicorn tree)
I've got it baaad.

Today I cleared out the shelf right above the shelf where my printer sits, on the blue plastic shelving near my computer, so that I could neatly arrange all my printing and mailing supplies there, including the new boxes of envelopes I bought today and the various kinds of paper or labels I have on which to print.

Thanks to the printer's carriage being adjustable, I can even print on paper smaller than normal, like 5.5"x8.5" memo pad paper. I have several pads of the stuff I got from conventions and the like.

I've found that a Walgreens store near my house will refill printer ink cartridges so I can save money on the cost of printing lots of stuff, and I went ahead and ordered a $10 4-pack of OEM ink carts from eBay so that I'll be able to swap out empties and swap in fresh carts whenever I run out, then go down to the store to get them refilled later. Man, I am totally set with this printer thing. I want to print stuff—but on the other hand, I want to print stuff with a use, like letters to send to someone. I don't want to waste ink.

The only problem is...thanks to the rise of email, what is there that I really need to print out anymore? Oh, sure, résumés and cover letters for applying for jobs—but even that I do largely via email with document attachments. I did print and mail a letter to ADV Films today asking that they release a DVD of Robotech: The Movie, and also that they get their website for the Mutineer's Moon anime series fixed given that they claim they're doing more work on it now. Not that I expect that to do much.

But I wish I could send letters just for enjoyment's sake, you know?

A really cool idea came along a few years back, called De Profundis. It was a Polish roleplaying game that was translated into English. There wasn't really too much to it: it was only 32-pages long, and what it amounted to was "play H.P. Lovecraft by mail, by writing each other letters pretending you're Lovecraftian characters." Most of the book's 32 pages were taken up in demonstrating the playstyle as well as explaining the rules. You can read my full review of it here. It was a great idea; the notion of writing letters and sending them by mail and having to be patient in terms of getting a response was a marvelous conceit, a sort of antidote to the frenetic instant-gratification world of the Internet. It gives you something to look forward to. Doing it in the genre of Lovecraftian horror is just the icing on the cake, and you don't even necessarily have to go Lovecraftian. You could do it in any genre where you would expect to send letters or a form of communication that would take a while to arrive. For example, the universe of Honor Harrington, where FTL communication is only used tactically on the battlefield, and communiques between solar systems have to be carried by starships.

The only problem is, nobody that I know wants to play it. I've tried a couple of times, with a couple of friends, to try to get games going. One of them, I even bought some old Roman coins via eBay and included them in the letter as a 'prop'. Another time, with another friend, I actually included a SASE in my letter so all he'd have to do would be write the response. But nothing came of it in either case.

I could probably post in some online forum and find someone who was willing to play it the Lovecraftian way—but what would be the point? I don't want to play the game with complete strangers, I want to play it with someone I know—and none of my close friends seem interested. I guess it's just too much work.

Sigh. Someday my prints will go...
robotech_master: (Default)
Well, I got the new printer set up today, printed out some address labels and some Bookcrossing.com label stuff. Heh. I only wish there was more stuff I could print out now. :)

As I was setting the printer up, I noticed the interesting fact that the ink cartridges appeared to have exactly the same form factor, despite having different part numbers. Curious, I posted a query to comp.periphs.printers concerning the ink compatibility. And I learned a couple of interesting things. Apparently the "Durabrite" ink used in the C84s had a severe tendency to clog—which could explain how my C84 came to die. The C88+ uses a new "Durabrite Ultra" formulation that will apparently be less clog-prone.

Well, I sure hope so. Anyway, the ink cartridges have gone up on eBay, and the auction ends 7 p.m. Sunday. Hopefully someone will use the Buy It Now links, but even if they go low-bid, I should still get about as much out of them as I paid for them, if not a little more.

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