Day 328, laundry, docent, new printer

Saturday, 10/26/2019

The laundry room on each floor has a sign-up calendar, and I’d reserved the first slot on Saturday. Since I had to be out by 9, I got up at 6:30 and immediately started my two loads. I had it all wrapped up after breakfast, around 9am, including ironing my red CHM Docent shirt.

For some reason my newspaper wasn’t delivered this morning. I noted non-delivery at the Mercury website, and a copy was left at the front desk for me in the middle of the day sometime.

After lunch I went to the Museum and led the 2pm tour. About ten people, several of whom hung on my every word.

When I got back I had a voice mail from the front desk, you have a newspaper waiting, and a large box, it looks like a printer. And it was, my new Epson. Setting it up was interesting. It came with ten bottles of ink, two each of Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Photo Black, the same colors as the cartridges used in my old printer, but now in plastic bottles holding, oh, about six ounces probably.

The setup process involves charging the five ink tanks by carefully tipping each color bottle into its tank, waiting about 30 seconds while it goes glug glug glug, well, more of an alto tone, glig glig glig, and the color creeps up the side of the translucent tank. Then the printer takes seven minutes to initialize itself, and prints an ink jet alignment page. The pattern was perfect the first time. Nice. After it has done all that, you again uncap each bottle and pour the last ounce into the tank to take up the space used by the charging and testing. The second set of five bottles get stored for, well, in my case probably a year or so? Until I deplete the reservoirs.

Now I have to get find a new home for my old printer, which works fine. I will advertise it on the CH bulletin board mailing list, but not today I think. There are a lot of messages on the CHBB list about emergency preparedness and what to do if the power goes off, so I think I’ll wait until Monday.

After that excitement I flogged myself to the keyboard and wrote a key scene in the novel, an conversation full of important information for the characters and for the reader to know. This is the delicate problem of exposition: you want the readers to understand some important facts, preferably not by just telling  them, but having it arise in conversation between characters. But if these are important facts about this world, won’t the characters already know them? In which case, why would they talk about them? (Also known as the “As you know, Bob…” ploy, from the clumsy way that old SF pulp fiction would do it: “As you know, Bob, the Jovian Mind Eaters can only be blocked by an adamantium shield…”) Properly, you establish that one character isn’t in the picture, and you have the others fill him in. That’s what I did, hopefully in believable dialogue that sounds like actual people (or in my case, actual children) talking to each other. That done, I can resume moving the narrative along.

The other night I mentioned receiving a hand-written letter. It was slightly upsetting and I am still thinking about how I want to respond. Maybe next week my thoughts will resolve.


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