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Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Time Event
How do you get anything done around here?
I finally unpacked clothes and toilet articles but not papers. Usually convention handouts end up in a pile tucked into the program, never to be seen again, but who knows.

Before leaving last week I had to do some work. Will was in LA before con, so the Times got done on Monday. I needed additional training in putting the puzzles directly on the server, but I think I know what to do now.

Uptown puzzles were due Wednesday. On Tuesday I saw one grid had numbering problems (at least this wasn't Wednesday), and asked them to correct and re-send. I went to the Times to print (their air conditioning is better than mine, so I didn't mind working there), but the PDF file would not cooperate. I couldn't print ANY pdfs, though other files worked fine. Since this wasn't NYT business, I couldn't ask the computer guys for help so kept running back and forth the not short distance to the printer trying different solutions. The movie critic sitting near Will's desk must have thought, "Who is this idiot running back and forth every minute?" (or, if he recognized me, "That idiot running back and forth is better at crosswords than computers").

Googling suggested printing as an image, which took longer but worked - but I couldn't get this to go on an 11 x 17 sheet (it wanted me to change settings ON the printer and not just the file) and letter paper was tiny. Finally we gave up and L physically brought the puzzle to me from 31st and Park. So much for technology.

To make things worse, they had installed a keyboard tray at the desk. I slid it out, put the keyboard on, and found the mouse cord was too short to reach its little platform. I had to move the computer closer in order to fit the mouse, and this was not comfortable. The ergonomic experts apparently hadn't used this model Mac. I decided to slide the tray back down but it wouldn't move, no matter how hard I pushed. Finally I managed to do this, and found it bumped against my knees. Definitely not ergonomic. Keeping the keyboard and mouse on the desk was fine, why did they have to ruin it?

Will said by e-mail that I could go ahead and have the tray removed. In the elevator some people happened to be complaining about this very thing, and gave me a number to call to get it uninstalled. I called that number yesterday, and they couldn't find Will in the directory (he did mysteriously disappear). They suggested another number, and I left a message. That person called back and I asked to have the tray removed, so we'll see what happens, even though Will doesn't officially exist at the moment.

Meanwhile, there were revisions in 3 puzzles from the day before, so I corrected them and reloaded them on the server. Apparently although I rescrambled them, I did not save the files properly since today's and yesterday's files ended up unscrambled. Growing pains of a new system.

Now who should I contact about the toilet paper being way too thin?
More non-con loose ends
I've had 6 Fresh Direct orders since I got the free delivery pass (expires in September) and it'll take 10 to make it worth it, so I need to step it up. I'm temporarily boycotting my local grocery due to the peach dispute, so FD comes in handy.

I had an order coming today but had no $1's or $5's, so had to tip in quarters. The guy put the boxes in the foyer as usual and said the pickle container broke and he left the pickles in the truck, and I should request a refund (he would do it too, when he got back). Also, there might be a "scent."

He left, and I saw the wooden floor under the box was damp. Great. I moved the boxes to the kitchen and scrubbed the spot with oil soap. I had to wash pickle juice off everything in the produce box. It wasn't soaked, so the guy must have cleaned as best he could. Still, yeesh. I put all the loose produce in a large Ziploc bag, rinsed off the bagged items and containers, and cleaned the kitchen floor.

Earlier today, I got rid of a pile of NYT puzzles next to the computer. I considered putting them in a large plastic Macy's bag but instead used 2 small garbage bags. Now I put the large produce box in that large bag so it wouldn't wet anything else, and left it in the basement cardboard box area.

My apartment doesn't smell like pickles, so I guess it's OK. When I wrote Fresh Direct, I told them that although I didn't need to throw anything out, I did have to rinse off everything in the box. My credit just came through, and it's just for the amount of the pickles. Oh well, I didn't have that much pain and suffering.

I did have pain when I opened the box of books which came Tuesday. Probably punishment for ordering books I didn't need. I slit the taped flap with a kitchen knife, which went directly into and under the nail of my left middle finger. I considered going to the ER but it wasn't that bloody and I washed and bandaged it. There's no more blood under the bandage, but I change it every day so I won't snag the nail. The nail hurts when I touch it, but it's better than it was. If I were a concert pianist, I'd be more concerned but it should heal in a few days.

I finished "The Starter Wife" book, which I'll give to my sister. The plot was different from the TV show (still haven't seen the last episode), and I think I liked the TV version better.

While at the Times yesterday, I heard about the steam pipe explosion. The infrastructure here is old and decrepit. When I got home, caller ID showed my mother had called 3 times so I called her around 9:30 pm. This morning she called and said she had called several times yesterday and was worried about the explosion. She had no memory of my calling her.
A movie and some books
Tonight, the TV academy had a screening of "Stardust" at a theater in Union Square. I thought I had enough time to take the bus all the way down, but traffic ground to a halt at 34th and I got off and hopped on the BMT in order to make it there by 6. M was already on line, and the check-in went smoothly (as opposed to "Flushed Away" where no one knew anything but they let us in anyway). The stadium-style theater was packed, and the movie was good. Strange in spots. I hadn't read the book and knew nothing about it in advance.

Back home, I picked up an Amazon package. I had accumulated credit card rewards and it was time for another order - all puzzle books: "Weekend Crosswords 2 (Mel Rosen), "TV Drama Crosswords" (Stanley Newman), "Sit & Solve Crosswords 5" (Trip Payne), "Terribly Twisted Crosswords" and "Sit & Solve Travel Cryptic Crosswords" (Henry Hook), "Really Clever Crosswords 2" (David Levinson Wilk), and "How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle" (Amy Reynaldo). "Classic Movie Crosswords" (Matt Gaffney) and "Cruciverbalism" (Stanley Newman) are on their way from marketplace vendors. I list these because last time I talked about a puzzle book order, people asked what I ordered.

There's unfortunately a major problem with Amy's book, which would have caused me to return it if I hadn't already done all the puzzles (all NYT, so I test-solved them at some point): the print for the puzzle clues is way too small! The book should have been regular puzzle book size or with larger print. You can't conquer the puzzle if you can't see the clues, and older people will not be happy. I haven't read the book, so can't comment on the content but thankfully, that print is normal size.

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