I started out going to the Urbana Wal-Mart after lunch, because I needed some photos printed and their 1-hour prints from your digital media are cheap and good. While I was there I spent half an hour running around the store looking for CD storage and finally had to ask before being directed to a place I thought I'd looked, only to discover that they did not have CD file boxes. I did get some more jewel cases, but they didn't have any of the cool half-height double cases. They didn't have any flat mailers. I did, however, make an impulse purchase of a 2GB thumb drive.
After a brief stop at birder2's to dump some recyclables and make sure nothing was wrong with my prints, I drove to the barber shop at Green & Neil, only to discover that they're only open until 3 on Saturdays and it was now like 3:30. The local barbershop I used to go to was a one-man operation, and he retired.
Then I headed up Neil into the shopping district, stopping at Office Depot, confident that I'd be able to find the CD file box and mailers I wanted. But they had neither. Grumble. I decided to try the competition and headed for Staples, and after a couple of wrong turns in the maze, I realized I was passing Target, so I pulled in, thinking that Target *should* have these things (even though Wal-Mart also should have and didn't), and if they did they'd be cheaper.
Target actually had some CD file boxes. Not quite like the one I have that's full, but serviceable. And I actually asked a salescritter about the portable DVD players. Ever since I got a digital camera, I've been looking for a digital photo album -- something that people could pass around and look at. Incomprehensibly, nobody makes them, but the small DVD players look like they should serve. The Target dude couldn't give me any specific advice about the models they had, and he couldn't let me try one, and he finally suggested that I could actually try one at Circuit City (perhaps to get rid of me). I almost left, but I remembered to wander by the pharmacy to see if I could find the nasal saline irrigation that multiple people including most recently the sleep specialist have suggested. Looking where it seemed like it should be, I saw that they have Sudafed cheaper than Meijer where I usually buy it, so I went to get some and asked the pharmacist if they had the nasal stuff, and they did -- behind the counter, for some strange reason. They had two versions, one that looked like a big squirt bottle and the other a neti pot; I decided to go with the neti pot which multiple friends have told me I should try.
I dumped these purchases in the car and wandered next door to Circuit City, where I was able to collar a salescritter and pop the CD I'd just printed stuff from into the Sony he recommended, but the picture quality was dismal and it had dreadful glare off the screen. So I tried the Phillips machine next to it, and it was much better, almost usable, except that it streched the images so that in landscape orientation they filled the whole 16:9 screen (kinda like Forbidden Planet in FatVision, a reference one person on my flist should recognize and if the rest of you want an explanation, ask). Even stranger, it stretched portrait orientation pictures so they were almost square. I might be able to use such a player if I prepped the images specially, but that could be a lot of work. I decided I wasn't willing to drop $100-$200 today. I wandered briefly through the store, idly looking to see what they had in digital picture frames (the other commonly-available technology that is not what I want but might be close enough to serve), but I didn't see any. I fiddled with the Sony Alpha-100 at the camera kiosk and sort of sighed; I really wish I could build my own camera combining the good features of the Sony with the good features of my Canon.
Next, I drove across the street to Staples, where, as soon as I got oriented (since I haven't been in the store for several years), I found the cardboard CD mailers I'd been looking for. I bothered a salescritter about the question of why, a good 20 years after the D ring binder was invented, they still sell the crappy old round ring ones, and you have to pay three times the price for D ring binders. And I happened upon their display of digital picture frames, and actually looked closely at them. The image quality is way better, and some of the models would work pretty well for what I want (especially with the decorative outer frame part removed), but none of the models they had run off batteries, and having to be tied to an outlet would be decidedly sub-optimal. I was especially impressed with a model that had a 15" screen -- actually big enough that it wouldn't look stupid hanging on a wall. Almost worth the $300 it cost. I'd really like to have one for when I set up a display of my stuff, like I do at the FCF convention every year.
By the time I finally got to my car after all this fun, it was 7:30 and I was starving. I was a bad boy and stopped for dinner at