Someone from Marketing asked me to print out a large number of Powerpoint slides at 30″ x 40″ scale.

Her: So, do you think you can have this done today?
Me: No, that’s almost physically impossible.
Her: What do you mean?
Me: You’ve asked for 24 slides each of which is 30″ x 40″ for  total of 720 inches that need to be printed and at a little over an inch a minute that’ll take 10 hours.  It’s 5 PM now and I doubt you’ll be here until 3 AM.
Her: Don’t you have anything better than that crappy printer?
Me:  It’s not exactly crappy.  The print head works by electrically charging a few hundred picoliters of ink, a few hundred trillionths of a gallon of ink, and then launching it from a moving target onto a paper surface with an accuracy of more than 1/500th of an inch.  Then it does it repeatedly in every color, all at the same time, continuously for hours at a time.
Her: But it’s so slow.
Me:  How about this, when you both gain the ability to submit work requests with a reasonable heads up time AND gain the ability to take a bullet train from New York to Los Angeles and hit a standard ISAAC bullseye located every 5 feet for the entire journey you can trash talk my printer.

I never thought I’d have to defend that shitty printer.

Few people were in on the Friday before Christmas.  The only person besides myself in my area was my CAD boss who took this chance to play music through his computer speakers, loudly.  I can normally deal with music in a work area as I’ll either play my own or deal with it but the combination of bad sythesizer and the tinny sound of computer speakers cut through the sound coming out of my own headphones.  His play list seemed to be bad Emerson, Lake & Palmer covers and movie soundtrack pieces.  I didn’t know that people actually owned CDs with “Chariots of Fire” encoded on their smooth silver surfaces.

Later, my boss passed my desk.

Him *visibly bopping his head*: Hey, Terry.
Me: Hello.  Happy Friday.
Him: It’s nice to be here when the place is empty.  You have privacy and can crank the tunes.
Me: Yeah, that you can do.  How late are you staying?
Him: Me?  Probably late, I love this stuff *points back at cubicle*

After a quarter hour of what sounded like Italian technotronica being blasted through a victrola I snapped and went to the lab to do legit work.  The price I pay for my mid-week holidays.

Me: You look bummed, what’s up?
Coworker: I threw out my back a few weeks ago, and I can’t exercise.  Now I’m fat and unhappy.
Me: I’ve never found exercise to really change my mood.  I just listen to books on tape or play video games most of the time.
Coworker: That’s now how it’s supposed to be done.  The point of exercise is to go into a zone of personal pain for 30 to 60 minutes.  The whole time will suck and your body will hate you.  When you’re done, the pain is gone and your body thanks you for not doing that to it all the time.  From that comes the feeling of joy.

I guess I’m doing it wrong.

Requester:  Terry, thanks for the prints you made that were twice as big.  How long should it take to get the rest of them?
Me: Well, the regular sized ones took 4 hours, so 16 for these.
Requester: You doubled the size, why not just twice the time?
Me: By doubling the length and width, it’s actually four times bigger.  So, it’ll take 40 minutes a page instead of 10.
Requester: But it’s only twice as big.
(This is what I was afraid of)
Me: When do you need these by?
Requester: Three days from now.
Me: How about I just give you a call when I have them done and I’ll work as fast as I can?
Requester: Now that’s what I wanted to hear.

And the silence after he hung up the phone was what I wanted to hear.

Me: The marketing folks requested I print another set of posters for them but this time “twice as big”, does that mean 2x area or 2x each axis meaning four times bigger?
Boss:  Terry, you’re dealing with marketing people.  They’ve gotten where they are by ignoring fact and figures and going for what “feels” better.
Me: So you’re saying I need to say which “feels” twice as big?
Boss:  Yes, you could say that.  Which print has twice the presence to it?
Me: Presence?
Boss:  Yes.
Me: You agree that this is utter horseshit.
Boss: Yes.

I concluded to double the axes making it four times bigger, as that was twice the “twiceness” that the requester wanted.  I gave them 100% more twiceness than if I just made it twice the size.  That should make them happy.

Methodological naturalism states that when considering the causes of things only natural laws and principles should be reviewed.  Experimentation has yet to produce compelling evidence that things traditionally called psi or ESP exist and most claimed cases have pedestrian causes like fraud or experimental errors.  I do, on the other hand, think it’s perfectly reasonable that sometimes we put together bits of data and come to correct, almost oracular, conclusions but this is usually a case of remembering the hits and not giving our brains enough credit for its deductive powers.

Today, a coworker indicated that they needed to see someone in marketing and I blurted out “she’s gone”, a claim for which I had no apparent data and  he looked at me quizzically after he returned and relayed that the person in question had indeed either been fired or relocated.  She’s not someone with which I regularly interact and I’d go so far as to say I can’t even name anyone in her department besides her.  This revelation had me off my game until about 2 PM when I had my 3rd can of Pepsi Max for the day and learned what I think was the source of my Delphic moment:  The fridge seemed to be more luminous.  The yogurt lady was the missing person in question, and her yogurt was gone.

Coworker: Terry, I saw this Jazz reggae fusion group this weekend and the lead was playing this crazy instrument that looked like a really short saxophone but it was straight and had keys on the side like a flute and a harmonica had a baby.
Me: That sounds like a soprano sax, did it have the mouthpiece on the side or at the end?
Coworker: It wasn’t a sax, the mouthpiece was at the end.
Me: I’ll ask around.

*call music nerd friend*

Music Nerd Friend #1:  Sounds like a soprano sax.

*call music nerd friend*

Music Nerd Friend #2: Sounds like a soprano sax.

*hours later*

Coworker: Terry, I did some checking.  Have you ever heard of a soprano sax?

The week ahead of me consists largely of finding leaks in the world’s most accurate fart generator/detector and I had already tightened almost every fitting I could find.  After two hours of hunting and twisting I was still getting a pressure drop due to a leak somewhere so I asked around for advice.

Coworker: Troublebubble [a soap solution that helps find leaks] would be my only guess.
Me: I’m trying to avoid that as the valves are immediately above an exposed circuit board.
Coworker: Dammit, in the olden days, you’d have used your cigarette which can find a 2 cc/min leak no problem.  Damn you, health and safety!
Me: But the carrier gas I have is 20% methane.   A cigarette would turn the machine into a tiny flame thrower.
Coworker: But at least you’d know where the god damn leak was.

Yes, everywhere once the device explodes.

The (Bavarian) Illuminati and the New World Order are probably the two most popular organizations to underwrite “power behind the throne” conspiracies but I was lucky to find a credulous coworker familiar with neither.  Joe made a sideways reference to the Illuminati which triggered hours of curious Googling from the coworker, resulting in a day punctuated with “did you know that the Illuminati are attempting to hasten the discovery of the anti-Christ?”  I popped into the lab during lunch and he was still digging up esoterica and when I looked over his shoulder I saw a diagram explaining the ties between Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the Illuminati Inner circle, and some hierarchy of demons.

I like that Joe can now focus distraction with the coherence of a laser beam but I wish he’d pick a projectile less likely to result in me hearing crank theories.  Next time he wants to harness someone’s credulity I request he turn someone on to the marginalia of Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse or link-bait someone to Wookieepedia.

I made a batch of bilaminate brownies to bring into work today.  These would be my last as I had no more Mondays before my firing.  People came by throughout the day to issue their best wishes but largely to have a brownie, but one person was moreso affected than most:

Him: Bilaminate brownie!
Me: Yes.
Him: That was the first thing you brought in wasn’t it?
Me: I think so.
Him: *far-away look* These are the last.  *sniffle* Excuse me. *runs out*

I asked him if he was crying.  He insists he was late for a meeting.