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Sunday, January 6th, 2002
3:37p - Une saison en enfer, or My Trip to Kinko's
All through my days as an graphic arts major in college, Kinko's was the bane of my miserable existence -- back before everybody had scanners and color printers and Adobe Illustrator on their desktops -- they were the only game in town, and they knew it. Frequently the instructor had to cancel entire assignments -- in one case, a midterm -- because something was unusually fubar at the Kinko's.

Armed with a CD-ROM containing my 2002 Ephemeris .ai file with everything converted to curves and an .eps version of the file, I reluctantly set out to Kinko's to have it printed on heavy-stock tabloid paper. As usual, the staff was friendly to the point of obsequiousness once they found out that I wanted to use a pay-by-the-minute workstation, but impossible to rouse once the timer was ticking. Not that rousing them helped:

  • "It's a ten-dollar surcharge if you want to print anything that's not in .PDF format."
  • "No, sir, I'm not sure what our web site says, but we don't have Adobe Illustrator for the PC's, apparently."
  • "No, sir, apparently we don't have Adobe Distiller for the Mac."
  • "I don't know how to make that printer print tabloid, sir."
  • "I've always had trouble getting Adobe Illustrator to print to that printer, sir."
  • "Yeah, sometimes the Macs lock up when you try to print grayscale."
  • "What's a chooser?"
  • "I'm not a Mac person, sir."

I did finally succeed in getting the printer behind the counter to print something, but it started about 10 inches to the left of where my document started, so the only thing on the page was a black corner reading "2002 Eph". Right. I give up. Let me log out.

Logging out of a Kinko's session was always the cruelest cut -- you'd get some astronomical sum at the bottom of the page that blithely ignored the time that the workstation spent locked up, rebooting, or searching the entire Eastern Bloc for the printer behind the counter. In my case, it was on the other side of twenty-five dollars.

The one useful skill I learned in the graphic arts classes was the "Kinko's glower", which has been described as "a look which you could pour on a waffle" that's guaranteed to make any McLackie find and extend a shred of human compassion, even if it's the very last one they have. I used it, left the building, and did my best to make something of the rest of the day.

So I'll get you all your ephemera as soon as possible. But not today.

current mood: frustrated

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