Archive for the ‘printer’ category

Biscuit Time

Thursday, 31 January 2008

It’s been a while, yes, but not because I’m a slacker. There’s an inverse relationship between my blog entries and my progress toward completely revising my 160,000 draft. In fact, I’m more than half-way along with more than half the time I have left to complete it. This means I can sit here and type up a blog entry while the description ‘slacker’ rolls off my shoulder like beer sliding off a salted biscuit.

See how I avoided a cliché trap there? No, I haven’t actually tested whether droplets of beer roll off the salt-encrusted surface of a biscuit, but I’m guessing they might.

I recently submitted the first 50 pages of the manuscript to another competition. As part of preparing the submission, I had to do something that still leaves me feeling a little…well, dirty is too strong a word. Let’s say it felt wrong. About a year ago, we bought a little laser printer so I could produce nice, clean, smudge-proof submissions of manuscripts, letters, application forms, etc. A few months ago, it started putting a tiny mark on every page. This mark appears four or five times in a vertical line about one third of the way across from the left-hand side.  

It’s shaped very like a comma, or an apostrophe.  

It often coincides with the text in a way that makes me look a little overenthusiastic with my punctuation. Yes; a git. 

I followed the brief maintenance instructions that came with the printer; the spot remained. The printer’s oh-so-helpful manual suggested I needed to buy either a new toner cartridge, or possibly a new drum. With the competition deadline closing in, I went off to our local office supplies superstore and found the replacement parts I needed. 

When we bought the printer, we paid about one hundred and fifty dollars (Australian, that is). 

A new toner cartridge was priced at ninety-nine dollars. I weighed it in my hand. A little voice (and by that, I mean The Beholder) spoke in my ear; “What if that doesn’t make the blob go away? What then?” 

I put the toner cartridge back on the shelf and considered the drum unit. I looked at the price – two hundred and twenty dollars! – and, reeling, hoped TB would catch me before I hit the lino. Luckily I recovered because he wasn’t there. 

He was in the next aisle pointing at a brand new laser printer. Price: eighty-eight dollars. 

Eighty-eight dollars! Eleven dollars cheaper than a new toner cartridge! Faster and smaller than the printer we already had and so much cheaper!

Well, I moaned and I railed and I said “This isn’t right!” and “Has the world gone mad!” and a few other indignant clichés. Meanwhile, TB marched me to the counter, bought the new printer, put us both in the car and drove us home. The slightly dysfunctional printer was set to one side; the new, sleeker (cheaper!) one was installed in its place. With barely a whisper, it produced nice, clean, smudge-proof and blot-free pages of my manuscript, which I packaged up and sent away. 

I still don’t feel right about it.

The scientist in me insists I now go and test the hydrophobic properties of savoury biscuits. Do excuse me…