Daily Archives: November 1, 2007

Emergency graphic design, and the Halloween gremlins

Apparently I can design and lay out a 28-page brochure in 31 hours.

On Tuesday morning Shazzie rang: a brochure due at the printers on Friday had returned from a graphic designer looking more like a wet weekend in Blackpool than the glossy magazine requested in the brief. Could I, she asked, help? And by help, she meant do it (with her assistance between mothering duties).

So for the last couple of days I’ve been in stealth mode to get the job done. Surrounded by bits of paper, stock photos of fruit and occasionally small children who know how a mouse works and don’t believe the “it’s broken” answer any more. Amazingly, I completed it in time: and it’s pretty good. Shazzie nitpicked to the last, nothing more than I expected, but she’s happy with it. I just hope it prints properly.

Attentive readers may be aware that yesterday was Halloween. The fact didn’t escape me, either. Its first effect was a fire alarm in my head and a lead weight in my stomach as I noticed that, despite being plugged in, my Mac (on which I was creating the brochure) was surviving on battery power only: one hour remaining. Ah. That dodgy power connector problem again. Which I couldn’t correct (with or without a visiting three-year-old on my knee) despite using all the tricks I knew: shouting, wiggling, shouting and wiggling.

OK: plan B. I backed up all the files to my server while I still had power and decided to switch to my PC. As luck would have it I’d downloaded a 30-day trial of InDesign CS3 a week or so previously as I’d been sent an InDesign CS2 file and couldn’t read it on the (obsolete) InDesign CS1 on my (obsolete) Mac. The 30-day trial is fully functional, but moving to it would mean I couldn’t move back to the Mac for file format reasons. Needs must.

I booted the PC. For the first time since I’d bought it, it refused to join my wireless network. Halloween, you see. There’s a rule somewhere. Shazzie and Evie then left for nursery, a wise move I felt.

I joined the network manually. Password required. Turns out that as well as emergency brochures I also do a good job at remembering a sequence of ten hex digits (I could get to the router from my Mac, but with only 30 minutes of power left…). Windows then decided that despite being within spitting distance of the router I had “little or no connectivity”. Lies, lies, lies. One PC reboot later, no change. One router reboot later, no change.

Then I turned off the option to “Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings”. And it connected just fine.

Then I tried the Mac’s power cable again. And the green light came on, charging the battery.

Halloween. Or a three-year-old. Or her mother. Or possibly all of the above.

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Cause and effect

On Saturday night at the Picturehouse we saw Sicko, Michael Moore’s new documentary about the glorious American healthcare system. Part-way through it turns into NHS-worship and Tony Benn is wheeled on to offer an opinion. Then there’s some French healthcare analysis that includes a man’s bottom. Apparently in France you get paid time off work for almost every conceivable activity, including moving house and going on honeymoon.

Moore’s usual tactics are in evidence as he takes some 9/11-affected Americans to Cuba for treatment. He’s typically befuddled-to-order by the horrific spectacle of socialised medicine and its dastardly “free at the point of use” ethic, clearly not the American Way. A short-cut to communist rule, according to sundry fat American cats rolling in the bloodstained cash and discarded body parts of privatised healthcare.

One-sided, of course: nobody could accuse Michael Moore of balance. But true nonetheless. We grumble about the NHS and its problems, but it’s far far better than the US system.

Three days after seeing the film I woke with a cold, the first I’ve had all year I think. I suspect doctors may have sprinkled vials of unidentifiable substances on the cinema seats to make us appreciate the NHS a bit more.

Avaragado’s rating: one bottle of Night Nurse

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