Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Who do you want to conspire against today?

Today I have unearthed the diabolical conspiracy to Fuck With Me, being perpetrated as we speak by Microsoft.

Nonsense, you say. Surely you are being paranoid.

And I ask: What is THAT supposed to mean?

In these five hours and counting before my all-important Too Much Light [1] callback, I have become even more jittery and unfocused than ever, despite the confidence that the material I am presenting before the Neo-Futurists tonight is of an even higher quality than what I presented during my first audition, and I was up against more people then (although the other eight applicants I’m up against tonight are the cream of that first crop). During the surreally long production meeting at work today, I found myself wriggling my toes and fingers and just generally feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, but that was less about performance anxiety than about one of the key pieces of evidence that Microsoft is Fucking With Me.[2]

EXHIBIT A
I had to print out a copy of the four things I’m submitting tonight, and all this morning, the computer was giving me an alarm saying that the documents could not be printed due to a “Post-Script error”. This was occurring even with documents that I had printed out just yesterday (I was re-printing them because of last minute changes that I had made). Furthermore, this was occurring with all the documents that were slated for aforementioned audition tonight, but with no other, work-related documents on the desktop. One might be led to suspect that the company Net Administrator was pranking me as a means of reprimanding me for working on non-company projects, except that we don’t have a Network Administrator, and I very much doubt that the closest thing we have to one would bother to devise such an elaborate prank as infecting my plays with weird post-script errors, not to mention that he wouldn’t make a big deal of it in the first place.

I run a virus scan, which finds no viruses on my plays.

I copy-and-paste the contents of a document into a brand new document, and receive the same post-script error. I try saving it outside of the offending desktop folder, in case the folder is somehow destroying the files. The error remains. I cannot print out the play.

I try to print the play out to one of the Xerox machines, since our computer is set up to do that. The problem is that the Xerox machine is a useless printer, because it does not recognize mundane symbols like the “copyright” circled-c or even basic punctuation marks like apostrophes and the ellipsis.

I resign myself to the fact that I may have to retype the plays, which is a nuisance but not too bad, since these are, after all, very short plays. Before doing so, I print out a short “Test” sheet. This goes through with no problems.

I retype one of my plays, which at the very least is a good exercise, since it is the play I need to have memorized for my solo performance tonight. I tweak as I rewrite. This is good. I attempt to reprint the brand-new document, which in theory the Microsoft Word program should not be able to recognize. I attempt to print. Post. Fucking. Script error.

I decide to run another test by typing a test page using the same elements as any one of my scripts, meaning, a twenty-point title, a copyright symbol, line breaks in place of paragraph breaks. This test prints with no problems.

I begin removing and redoing formatting elements of my trapped plays; removing copyright symbols and line breaks. Still they will not print.

Long story short [3], I end up discovering that, for some reason, the fact that I had the word “curtain” in BOLD at the bottom of each script was causing the error.[4] Once these are all un-bolded, everything prints out with no difficulty. I have my audition pieces together. I no longer have to worry about retyping them at home during the hour or so that I have before I’m due at the Neo-Futurarium.

So. I blame Microsoft.

EXHIBIT B
My MSN Hotmail account has been experiencing inconvenient speed problems; sometimes it takes me ten minutes just to get to the Inbox. This is annoying and makes me twitchy. It’s especially annoying because I’d hope that MSN Internet Explorer, which I use to access my email, would more easily access other MSN products.

EXHIBIT C
I got rained on. I got soaked. My umbrella was of no use against a strong south wind which threw the rain at me sideways, although this wind condition apparently only lasted for the ten minutes while I walked back to the office from lunch. I blame Microsoft because Seattle is also quite rainy, and if anybody could figure out how to harness the rain for evil purposes, Microsoft could.

I rest my case. I worry not about anthrax and terrorist attacks, because I must be on my guard against the Minions of Bill.

[1] Or, TMLMTBGB(TM).

[2] I recently read a true story about a writer who had had her life periodically Fucked With by the owners of The Greatest Show on Earth (not Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mind you, but the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus). This author had once written a warts-and-all book about the family that now owns Barnum & Bailey, so it talked about the inspiring way that the family patriarch had pulled himself out of the gutter to become a wealthy and well-liked man, and it also talked about the way that patriarch’s descendants had become increasingly petty and mean to each other and just generally rich evil types. The current living head of the family (who is head of the family because he disowned his own sister) is a phenomenally wicked bastard, who was so incensed by the facts discussed in the book that he called in a few favors from ex-CIA friends of his and began a campaign against the author. Among other plots hatched were the bribing of publishers to not purchase the author’s books on the family, while also paying other publishers to concoct “distraction” assignments for her–books that had nothing to do with the circus. Among those that were left unhatched, but confessed to by co-conspirators, were to threaten her safety to the point that she would be afraid to leave the house, and even the whimsical idea of hiring a young stud to seduce her and destroy her marriage. This went on for about four years, and the whole time, as contracts dried up and publishers handed her rejections, the author thought it was merely bad luck. After one of the co-conspirators was unceremoniously fired from the company, he decided to blow the whistle to the author. One wonders if she will ever be able to trust her misfortunes as simply fate ever again.

[3] Too late.

[4] Oh, I get it. It was the bottom of the script that was the problem. It was post-script. Ha fucking ha.

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This entry was posted on October 24, 2001 by in Life, Theatre.
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