Sunday, August 20, 2006

OCD, That's Me

Well, since the bullsh*t email from PR saying that they can't squeeze out a flyer for our series, my delightful colleague and I spent 4--count them, 4--hours yesterday wrangling with a Pagemaker template to make our own. My colleague (who really needs a name here. Hmmm. How about Yogini? That seems to work. If it doesn't, lady, just tell me and I'll change it). So Yogini and I sat bleary-eyed in front of a computer, trying learning the program while we wracked our brains for any semblance of knowledge we had about graphic design.

Far and away, I think the most difficult part of this endeavor is figuring out the quirks of Pagemaker. On the one hand, it's rather intuitive, but if you're not going to read the 500 page manual, then you have to be prepared for trial and error--and lots of it. Let me say here that I'm happy to know how this program works, for the future, and like Dreamweaver, it's something that I had intended to reacquaint myself with in the near future. Why reacquaint? When I worked on my college newspaper, we used Pagemaker for layout. In that case, however, the editor had already designed the masterpages, so it was a lot of cut and paste. It was also a lot of all-nighters fueled by Kahlua and coffee, set to the Beastie Boys Check Your Head on infinite repeat, but that's a different story. The latter were skills (or should I say "skillz"?) that I returned to during grad school, but the former were lost to the fog of time.

So, take re-learning how to drive Pagemaker, add that to careful consideration of fonts, colors (which may or may not print true), graphics and alignment, and you have hours of work ahead of you. And in the moment where I'm exhausted and my brain won't work anymore I find myself seized by my nascent obsessiveness. Yogini, of course, is smart enough to let things go. "It's good enough!" she said, and she's right. But I couldn't help going back into the document after she'd gone and fiddling. It's really only an act of will that made me put the mouse down and pick up a spatula to make dinner.

I find it puzzling, really. In virtually all of my daily activities, I am the "good enough" girl. Spelling error on a handout? Meh. Good enough; it's already printed. Too many capers in a pasta sauce? Harumph. We'll probably live; spit 'em out if you don't like it. But stuff like this damn flyer can keep me futzing for hours and hours. It's like the template for this blog: you may or may not know that it explodes like a sky blue powder puff in Explorer. I know that I should change it, but if I go back in there, there's not telling when I'll come out. (Much like the new film The Descent, I imagine. Creepy crawly Morlocks down there in the template. Bring your spelunking headlamp.) If anyone knows how to fix that, however, I'd gladly negotiate a price for the fix, because it's driving me crazy. Name your price!

So, with a deep breath, I'm going to set a timer and go back to the flyer. I'm going to learn to be the "good enough" girl, or else I'm going to be the unprepared professor come next week when I am syllabi-less.

If I'm not back in two hours, call the flyer cops.


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