2016-Dec-14, Wednesday

texxgadget: (Default)
A week ago (Dec 6) I had an encounter with what I THINK was a rock and a shouted homophobic slur.
In my last post, I told the story about spending the night in the ER.

I actually had a pleasant visit with the ER Nurse, Physician and Tech, and had to stifle laughter as the Physician ripped some jackass a new one for smoking in the ER bathroom.
"I cant *BELIEVE* you smoked in * MY ER *!!....." and so on.

They gave me a scrip for industrial strength ibuprofin.
The next morning I slept late and then drove in, planning on filling said scrip on the way home at Costco.
I didnt know the pharmacy closed at 7.
I wasnt in too much pain, it turns out because most of my face was still numb.
I realized that I still needed it to keep the swelling under control, as I did NOT want to
have the swelling pop any stitches.
The next morning, I hit Costco at opening and found out it would be an hour and a half to get it filled.
I dropped the scrip there and went to work, planning to retrieve it in the evening.
Traffic made me late so it was Friday before I actually got it.

Ive been cleaning it twice a day per instructions and keeping it moist with triple antibiotic ointment. At this point, its all about minimizing scars.

Having forewarned the rest of my crew at DCF, I arrived in Pacifica Friday night.
I stopped off on the way for gas at Costco, and decided to celebrate my birthday with a hot dog.
I didnt feel like ice cream.
Its been over 10 years since I had a FUN birthday.
I was feeling sorry for myself.

We got the weekly "Bulletin" finalized and turned the laserprinter loose and went to bed.
I got up in the middle of the night to feed the printer.
Morning was a bit more complicated due to wound cleaning, but we got out of the house nearly on time.

Imagine a compact pickup truck with camper shall on the back.
Imaging Sharon driving with Margie in the front seat.
Don and I ride in the "jump seats" in the back facing the centre of the truck.
Now, Imagine Don, in this moving vehicle, attaching his collar to his shirt and tying a
10 ft long cravat.
When we arrived at Faire, it was like a clown car with all of us crawling out of it.

Young Tom was with us weekend #3 and was expected weekend #4.
He hadnt slept much the night before after an altercation with his moms current boy friend.
At the end of Saturday he turned up, but in better spirits than I could remember.
He was also quite upbeat Sunday.
Ive tried to arrange a chance for him to experience everything we do in the shop, from greasing bearings, typesetting, running proofs, inking machines, cleaning them, sending type back to the cases.
He actually has quite an instinct for it.
He also has a sharp eye for proofing and caught several typos before we had to reprint a job.

We need an extra body or two, preferably younger.
Each DCF booth is a family in itself.
One seldom gets a chance to choose ones family.
Tom was born into the candle shop. They love him, to be sure.
The print shop family, who is not related to him, has chosen Tom.
This is starting to sink in.
As it stands, we are expecting Tom full time next year.

The printshop started with a newspaper typesetter nicknamed "Sully".
As he transitioned to digital systems, he missed cold type, and had a love for history.
He started collecing equipment at a time when the old presses were going to scrap.
(Thankfully, this has eased with the resurgence of letterpress)
His kids got into it and joined him on historical re enactments.
When he passed, his daughter took over the shop.
Productivity in the shop has slowed a great deal since Sullys passing.
Sharon has a love of the shop, but every piece of type in the shop reminds of her dad.
A couple of us have joined the shop since Sullys passing.
From year to year, Sharon is recovering from the loss.

Most years, the shop starts coming together about a month before faire.
Over the last year, via email, we have been keeping things moving and working on small projects during the off season.
Between the development of the adaptation of "Flexography" to 1800s presses and other initiatives, we are on track to print everything in the prder book for the 1st time since Sullys passing.

We have created standardized procedures for most things and it has paid off.
Day #2, I was able to keep the small press running nonstop and printed 5 jobs in one day.
This was all due to having all 5 jobs already typeset, ready to lock into the form, and a standardized setup. Since all were set up the same and used the same stock, there was almost no make-ready needed between jobs.

We werent always able to keep this "pipeline" running, but we know that when we do it, it works. Its not just about effiency, its about keeping the presses running. People are horribly disappointed when they come by and the presses are standing still. After all, they ARE the stars...

This constant work in the shop and the offseason activities, have helped me mostly stay upbeat.
Ive had some dark episodes despite the shop including a nearly fatal one the week before rehearsal, but it has helped.

The week before last weekend wasnt a picnic either with a dozen stitches in my face.
They ruined my birthday plans, but they DID NOT take my Dickens Fair away from me.

We have more engineering tasks for the offseason in the shop.
The small press is due an extensive overhaul, possibly its 1st since the late 1800s.
We need to fabricate several replacement parts (Blacksmiths are your friends)
Some new fixtures for the shop are in order.

We need a method to control rain in the shop.
The roof leaks keep moving.
We have to work on that.

We are not so much a merchant so much as we are a living history stage.
I had someone tell me that I should be teaching a class in college.
I blushed and didnt take it seriously.
That is, until someone sent me links to several videos shot at Greenfield Village, Historical Williamsburg and a few other places.
I was horrified at the false data the docents were sprewing.
Maybe I SHOULD teach?


I am dreading the coming xmas & new years.
I havent had time to dread the inauguration of the Tweeter Of The United States of America (TOTUS) and the Closet Case Of The United States of America CCOTUS), but I will.

Final weekend of DCF 2016 approaches and we are planning pranks.

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