Threw Away a Perfectly Good Saturday

General Ramblings comments edit

Or maybe it was thrown away for me, sort of. Regardless, it’s the end of Saturday, and while I guess I could say I got some stuff done, I’m not 100% sure that much of it was worth doing.

My mom came over to help out and watch Phoenix while Jenn worked on her Halloween costume and I got errands done. I definitely appreciate that help because, while I love Phoe with all my heart, she gets to be a handful and it gets hard to really get anything done when you have to watch her, too.

Jenn and I headed over to Jo-Ann, where we both picked up some additional materials for costumes. This is actually where things started to go awry. Jenn had a non-trivial amount of stuff to get and needed help picking things out, while I had like three things to get. This trip lasted close to two hours, all told, which ate up a bit of the day I wasn’t really anticipating getting eaten. Not Jenn’s fault, just that’s how it happened.

Then it was lunchtime, which normally I’ll skip if I’m out or get something on the run, but I had to take Jenn back home so we stopped and got some food, went home and ate… which was another, say, hour down.

At that point Jenn went upstairs to work on her costume and I finally left to get my errands done. I stopped at the dry cleaner to get a shirt cleaned, stopped at the comic store (which was a good point of the day), and then went to a couple of stores to get a little bit more for our costumes. Then - home.

By this time, we’re well into the afternoon. Jenn’s upstairs taking over the only baby-off-limits room up there with her work, so, since I can’t get my costume done, I decide to take care of comic book inventory since I’d been neglecting it.

I love collecting comics, truly. I have a great time reading the fun stories and love the art. There are two problems, though.

First, I don’t get much time to read them anymore. I can’t do it when Phoenix is around, and when I’m home, she’s around. So I get a pretty big backlog of comics to read and end up eating a full day catching up, which makes the reading feel more like a chore than the recreation it really should be.

Second, since the comics are actually worth something, I have them covered by insurance. But in order to keep the insurance up, I have to have a current inventory. I keep mine in Problem is, it’s sort of a manual inventory process. No bar code scanner or any of that - it’s search for a title, find the issue, click the “add” button, enter some price data in. For each comic. This is where I get that “my stuff owns me” sort of a vibe and I’m not sure what to do about it.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time doing inventory because I bought each of the 52 new DC #1 issues and with the manual inventory process, looking up and adding each issue takes about a minute. Given I had about 80 or so comics, I stopped to get a glass of water… we’re looking at another two hours of inventory.

Once I finished that, I noticed that I still had a ton of photos I haven’t filed yet all sitting on my computer desktop. We took advantage of a Groupon that let us send 1000 photos in to get scanned. It turns out doing this is both a blessing and a curse. It is nice - really nice - to have our photos in digital format. We can look at them, back them up, share them, and so on. However, physical photos don’t scan and magically get the right date metadata embedded. You have to name them, or set that data, or whatever all by yourself. And if the photos aren’t written on (or imprinted with a timestamp) you realize that you really don’t remember much beyond maybe a five-year-window around when some photos were taken. This turns filing the photos and/or naming them so you can find them again… non-trivial.

So I work, iteratively, on filing these things so eventually they’ll all be done. I wish I could get Jenn’s help with that, but she’s still got photos sitting on her computer desktop from several months ago that she keeps promising me she’ll get to. So it’s all me. Since I was sitting here, I decided to do a few photos.

After putting them in the right folders on our Windows Home Server, I fired up Picasa so it could auto-discover them and scan for people in the photos, etc. Here’s where the real clusterfuck hit.

As the new photos were being scanned, I noticed that Jenn had two entries in the list of people. What that means is that Picasa thinks there are two different Jennifer Illig people and it was splitting the pictures of her between the two people. Try as I might, I couldn’t unify them. Every time I did, other, different pictures would pop into this odd doppelganger contact.

Ignoring that, I saw that Picasa had some suggestions for face tags. It has this nice feature where it “learns” everyone’s face and can give intelligent recommendations on tagging. “Is this Travis Illig?” Usually it’s right.

Anyway, I saw the suggestions and I clicked to accept them. The suggestions were accepted… then reverted back to suggestions again. I tried several times to accept the suggestions to no avail.

This was very weird, so I researched what I could do to fix it. Several places in the help forums, you see that if Picasa is doing weird things or behaving oddly, you’re supposed to uninistall/reinstall so it can re-build its internal database. Fine. I took a backup of everything, did the uninstall/reinstall.

First problem I found is that about half of my albums were lost. It appeared to be arbitrary which half, but half. I followed several suggestions on how to restore these from backup, but none of them worked. Every time I tried to restore the albums, Picasa would delete them for me again. Thanks, Picasa. This caused me to have to manually recreate all of the missing albums.

Once I recreated the albums, I noticed that the synchronization with Picasa Web Albums was broken. Figuring all I needed to do was turn it on again, I clicked the button to enable sync… and it turns out this creates a duplicate copy of the web album. Fantastic.

The way you re-attach an album is:

  1. Re-create the album with the exact same name, date, etc.
  2. Put the pictures into the album, ideally in the right order.
  3. Right-click on the album and select “Upload to web albums.”
  4. When the dialog pops up, scroll down to find the existing album that’s already been uploaded. Select that.
  5. Click OK and the upload should happen pretty quickly because Picasa will see the photos are already there.
  6. Now click the sync button and things should sync up right. Should.

Let me tell you the ridiculous amount of trial and error that went into that.

I had Picasa back up, I had my albums attached… but now I had facial recognition problems.

Any faces I had marked to be ignored had to be marked ignored again. Thousands and thousands of faces. All over again.

Some people in the pictures it basically forgot. It put “unknown person” for several people who used to be named. All of those had to be reassigned.

And remember the original issues? Where I couldn’t accept suggestions and I couldn’t get Jenn to unify?Still fucking there.

Doing a bunch more searching, I find a help forum where, it turns out, all of this appears to have started recently and is somehow tied to synchronizing albums with Picasa Web Albums. All that work I did to get it re-syncing? Turn that off.

After I turned off synchronizing, sure enough, I could get things filed right. After I had them filed right, I thought I’d be smart and turn synchronization back on. Big mistake. It broke everything again.

That means the last, say,three or four hours fighting with Picasa was basically all for nothing. I’m still at square one.

And that’s where my Saturday went.

I’m at the “my stuff owns me” point with these photos, too. Kind of, “who cares if we ever look at these pieces of shit ever again?” style. I mean, I know academically that they are important, but my mood is saying, “fuck it.”

Now it’s close to midnight and I’m beat. Jenn went to bed a couple of hours ago. I’m at a stalemate with Picasa so I’m abandoning that for now… and I would love to do something fun before going to bed, but really, I’m so tired. Mentally drained, emotionally drained. If I sat to watch some TV or something I’d fall asleep. I don’t think I have the concentration to read a book or play a game. So I’ll just go to bed, Saturday wasted.

Tomorrow Jenn will be up super early because Phoenix can’t sleep past 5:00a and I just don’t hear her. Once I finally come out of my coma, I’ll be watching her while Jenn continues on her costume all day. Which means tomorrow I won’t really get to do anything relaxing, either.

I guess there goes the weekend.