Monday, February 27, 2006

Calamity, Adversity, and Plan D

Monday Photo Shoot: Got something that screams the 1980s? Get it in picture form! This can include things you currently have around the house that are from the 80s era, or alternately, is a picture that is so very obviously from the 80s itself.

Fair warning: most of this entry is NOT about the 1980s.
When I read this Photo Shoot assignment earlier today, I immediately thought of our comic book collection, of all things. That probably doesn't scream 1980s to you, but probably over half of our extensive comic book collection was bought new during the 1980s. That was the era of the comic book explosion - an expansion beyond just DC and Marvel (and yes, all right, Archie and Gold Key) to a whole bunch of new publishers, small and largish, putting out comics of new and different heroes and antiheroes in black and white, or, in some cases, color. It was also the era of the comics implosion, as the market got saturated with low quality independent titles, and Marvel and DC fought back with the Secret Wars and Crisis on Infinite Earths and four collectible covers for the same issue of the same comic. During the 1980s, John wrote a couple of comic book titles himself, none of which ever saw the light of day. But they were good, trust me.

(Photo added Tuesday at work.)

Anyway, John's been sorting through comic book boxes for two weeks, trying to weed out stuff we don't really care about - Cerebus and Concrete and Spider-Woman and the fifth or sixth X-Men spin-off, written by someone other than Chris Claremont. So I came home tonight, retrieved my Canon S410 camera from my purse, turned it on -

- and it beeped at me, made a motor noise, displayed the error code "E18," and turned itself off.

A quick Google search told me the awful truth. Canon digital cameras have a bad habit of succumbing to the E18 error the moment they're out of warranty. It means that the retracting lens barrel has become misaligned, and is now hopelessly stuck. Online sources suggest cleaning the camera, and blowing it with compressed air, and tapping it against a desk. But the bottom line is, in most cases the camera is dead. There's a class action suit going on about it, according to one site, because Canon refuses to acknowledge there might be a design flaw causing this extremely common problem with their line of digital cameras.

So I blew on it with canned air. And I tapped it on the desk. It didn't help. Then I opened it up partway and cleaned it a little. I lost two tiny screws under my desk, and several were already missing. When I was done, the camera was quite a bit cleaner, and even less willing to be turned on at all. John got home, and once I worked up the nerve to tell him of the calamity, he decided to try cleaning it himself. He didn't even manage to get it back together again.

Here's the sad sight, as recorded on my scanner:

I think it's safe to say the camera is dead. I'm not sure it was ever under warranty, because it was a display model, but if it was we probably invalidated it tonight. So that's it. It's an ex-camera, 11 1/2 months and 5,114 pictures after I got it. And one night before the Round Robin Photo Challenge, too!

Listen, I'm rather upset about that.

Oh, well. Plan B. I can still take a picture with the old Mavica.

Sure I can. If I can find it.

Only I had no idea where the Mavica was. Neither did John, beyond a vague recollection that he'd seen it fairly recently, and decided to keep it out as a backup camera. He looked for it. He didn't find it. He looked some more.

He found it.

I went to take the picture. Dead battery. I charged the battery. I took the picture. A few of them, actually. While I was at it, I took a picture of one display tray of our 1980s button collection.

Then I went to transfer the files to the computer. The Mavica stores the pictures on floppies. I remembered belatedly that the floppy drive was dead on my Compaq, which was why I bought an external floppy drive a year and a half ago. Then I realized happily that I've replaced my computer since then. The (relatively) new computer tends to not type the letters e, d, l, or a space, but I haven't broken the floppy drive on it. I haven't even used the floppy drive on it.

Oh. It doesn't have a floppy drive. And I can't find my external one anywhere. I've been looking for hours for it. My memory is that it's in a bag of some kind. Maybe. Somewhere. I used it a lot when I was in school and taking pictures with the Mavica, but not at all since March, 2005 when school ended and I got the Canon.

None of the computers in the entire house have a working floppy drive. Most of them have no floppy drive at all.

Well, I could go to the office, and see whether my computer at work has a floppy drive. But that way madness lies.

So I scanned some of the buttons instead, placing them directly on the scanner. Does that count as a photo? It darn well better, after all the trouble I've gone to. You can see Bob & Doug here, several Clash buttons, Devo, a couple of ska-related buttons and more. Eighties icons, all of them.

While I'm at it, I also scanned in an old photo from Buzzard's Nest, since I couldn't find my Rockarama photos. Buzzard's Nest is where I worked after we closed down Rockarama. While managing the store on 161 (without a promotion, even to shift supervisor), I took second place in a contest with this Springsteen display, back in 1984 or 1985.

So anyway, I edited the files from my three scans, and uploaded them to this blog entry. Blogger said "DONE. Your pictures have been uploaded." I clicked the button.

The pictures did not appear.

I looked at the HTML. There was no sign of the code for the images.

I uploaded them again. Again it said they were uploaded. Again they did not appear.

So I closed old Yahoo windows for, and reopened them in case the login had timed out. It hadn't. I noticed that I already had a "bornusa.jpg" uploaded from the same source photo. It's a rerun. Too bad. You'll have to put up with a rerun, then. I uploaded the buttons scan and the dead camera scan.

My files have been uploaded. Go to File Manager.

Didn't work. Now my login has timed out.

So what am I up to? Plan C? Plan D? Plan F? In refusing to be defeated by this, I've gone from Plan A - just take a picture with the Canon, to trying to fix it,to letting John try to fix it, to trying to take a picture with the Mavica, to scanning a photo and other objects and trying to upload and display the result. I'm tired now, and getting past determination and frustration and into depression.

But here goes. I'm going to type the img code directly into the HTML for the three scans.

Hey, they're loading. Yay. Finally. Something worked.

That'll have to do.

Good night.



Well, obviously the Gateway at work had a floppy, 'cause check it out: I managed to upload one of the comic book photos.

And it occurs to me that the 1980s relate to my camera woes in two important ways. One, they're a reminder that all this stuff - digital photography, blogs, even the Web - didn't exist in any popular sense when I was selling Devo buttons or Springsteen LPs or reading Ambush Bug all those years ago. So when did all these things become so indispensible to my life? And two, it was in 1987 that our hand-me-down 35mm SLR camera, a gift from my brother Steve, was stolen out of our van overnight.

Yes, it was a Canon.



Shelly said...

I suppose my Canon was under warranty, tho I doubt it still is. It's a PowerShot S30 and has been going strong for 4 years now.

Gee, I hope I'm not jinxing it. ;)

Becky said...

So sorry to hear about the camera! That sucks! Meanwhile, I am seriously drooling over the comics. I'll have to add an extra week to my visit just for reading.