Kelly Booz is pregnant and tonight brought over her ultrasound pictures. I have seen ultrasound pictures before but never have they had such immediacy. Kelly asked me to make a copy of the odd-sized output and I did. Randy swore they were higher quality, somehow, than the original print and we both shrugged.

Photocopies, this is what I offer to you, little future person. In 10 years, if they are still available. I hope to buy you your first chemistry set as well.

Godspeed, Kelly and Randy.

As the resident operator of the massive printer at work, I was contacted to do a number of posters for our EHS department to promote Earth Day.  They wanted them to be 30″ x 40″ and mounted and it took me some sacrificial rollstock to get the colors right.  I had just spent a day making a large series of posters saying “I promise to not print unless necessary”.

Good to know that irony doesn’t clog the print heads.

The Bucktail is my combination trophy piece/albatross in the Order of the Arrow.  The printing of this annual newsletter is preceded by months of requesting content and receiving none followed by a few days of frantic assembly and finally printing.  I received no Chief’s report, not committee reports save one, and two chapter reports, making this year’s edition a shadow of the publication that once rivaled the New Yorker, in my youth, in my head.   These scant articles fit nicely onto two pages and became a wrapper for the stack of forms and notices we were sending our members which totaled 14 page faces.  These 14 page faces were to be sent to 800 people plus 50 spare copies netting 12000 page faces to be printed.  Our office printers go about 20 ppm for a total print time of 600 minutes minus any hiccups.  I had no intention of staying 10 hours late at work so I started producing copies on all six large printers on the second floor of my workplace.   I quickly lost three of these printers to various outstanding maintenance issues I didn’t have the tools to solve then leaving me with three printers each in different wings of my building.

As midnight rolled around and my eyes got heavy, I set myself a 20 minute alarm whereby I’d take a nap, then check on the printers, fix any issues, and check to see if anyone had popped back into work who might notice.  I finished around 8 AM after losing a few hours to two fuser replacements and stubbled home with roughly .72 good-sized trees worth of paper.  And some people have had the audacity to say I’ve quit Scouting.

My 115 lb printer was scheduled to be delivered sometime before 7 PM and as that hour approached my heart dropped thinking that I had taken a day off from work in vain.  I contacted the shipping firm who said they’d just be late and I nearly heal-clicked when the printer delivery fairy called me to ask for directions.  The printer delivery fairy in this case was large Hispanic name who told me to call him Chico.  When he got to my place, mine was the only item on his truck and I asked if mine was the only delivery.  He indicated that this was the fifth of the day and he was glad I helped him get the box out of his truck and into my house.  I picture him being like a ice cream truck but for massive printers as people run to his truck drawn by the sound of the Espon 4900 going through its self-test cycle.  You could identify where the truck had been by the sound of people shouting in glee that is somewhat muffled by the massive box.

The printer is big.  Here is me hiding behind it:

From 2011-08-18 Giant Printer

I look forward to actually printing something on it.

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.

I woke up at about 4:30 AM with the hope of getting to work at around 6:00 but was stymied by

I was happy to find out that the large branch on my car was not also in my car.  The network of side streets that comprises my commute was a no-go so I stuck to main roads at about 20 miles per hour and arrived around 7.  I thought nothing of fire engines on the road but found out they were from when the transformer that fed our building exploded leaving work with no power, which would very much complicate my printing.

Power returned around 7:30 but our print servers had reset so the first 20 copies were consumed into the ether.  I got rolling around 8 AM with very few in and one of them was a secretary that had some light copying to do.  My mission was clear, to make small talk until my printing was done.

Me: It looks like we’re the only ones who made it in, where did you drive in from?
Her: Oh, I’m somewhat local.
Me: Have you been in the area long?
*an hour later*
Her: And that’s how we got the second ferret.

By then the printing was done, and the strength of my bond to Scouting had been confirmed.

For the last three years, my black toner cartridge has given out on the first weekend in October as the Webelos Weekend has me go through several reams of paper.  This year, I decided to head it off and purchase a black cartridge in anticipation.   I began printing furiously at 11:00 PM and 30 minutes later the toner cartridge died.  I pumped my fist in triumph, replaced the cartridge, hit the RESUME button and 30 copies later the cyan cartridge died.  As with all modern printers, lacking cyan crippled the entire device despite only printing black and white and the standard tricks of resetting the count gear, obscuring the measuring light, and shaking the cartridge did nothing.

I resigned myself to not having a printer for the evening before a big event and made up a queue of documents that I’d need to produce the next day but forgot something: I couldn’t print it.

Every Tuesday, the camp office prints out a couple of copies of the weekly price list so I can buy and sell singles at the appropriate rates.  Normally I email them in ahead of time but this week I forgot and asked a staff member to run up to the camp office to produce copies.  I indicated that he should print the excel document that looked like magic price lists as I didn’t remember the name of the file but this wasn’t sufficiently specific so he returned with my thumb drive asking for specifics.  I made a change to the file name and he returned with the copies shortly.  I had changed the file name to “HEY, PRINT ME.xls”

I was asked to come up to camp to repair a printer that stopped functioning.  I asked if it was connected to the network.  I was told yes.  It was not.  I’ve done enough posts about outrages over printing and computers so I’ll have one of my periodic compassion-spasms.

Before I left as Assistant Camp Director, Nick Gramiccioni helped me with a project whereby we labeled every damn cable in the camp office.  You know that thing you do when you teach a kid to read and label door “door” or if they’re learning Spanish “fantasma bloqueador”, we did the same thing but with computer cables.  “USB Cable #6” and “To Network Port 4 from Office Manager PC” tabs were everywhere and for a brief shining week, I could say with confidence I knew where every cable went.  The chain of events that lead to breaking a printer spans 2 years and 48 network ports and goes something like:

  1. Cables in perfect harmony with computers.  Druidic ascension reached in terms of network.
  2. Network equipment put on slightly higher shelf, port assignment rearranged to make cables just barely cover distance.
  3. Port blows in building, patching now done through second cable, switch added, no labeling.
  4. Cluster of cables no longer tenable, they form trip traps and garrote wires.  In fit of rage, cables rearranged in daring midnight raid.
  5. Computer removed from network, thoughtful person removes cable marked “2nd Office Computer” is actually printer cable.
  6. Person sees “OKI printer cable” is plugged in but no printing happens.  I get call.
  7. I see that the cable marked “printer” has different ends on each side.
  8. I plug in unplugged cable.
  9. Clouds part
  10. God reveals self

During Saturday retreat I took a pano of the staff both at parade rest and saluting the flag and was rewarded with my planning a gap into attending units I got these:


2010 Camp Staff

I then decided to a print of the above which turned into a 13″ x 82″ print.  I started the print around 1:00 AM and finished around 4:00 AM.  The actual print time was about 15 minutes, so why the delay?  The Epson R2880 is a spectacular printer which has generated prints I feel that I was only tangentially involved in taking.  The problem I kept running into was that every time there was a printer error like forgetting to tell the printer to use the fed roll stock and in all cases the printer would clear… all 82″ which would have to be rerolled… by hand.

In the end, the print came out splendidly except that there are few good ways to view or display an 82″ print.  So, I set two records: one for largest print I ever produced at home and another for having wasted the most ink.