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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Bus Trips and Printing Plants and Prime Directive Federation

Most of you probably know that I get intensive "ADB, Inc." time twice a year: once is at Origins in Columbus, Ohio at the end of June; the other, in Amarillo, Texas during late December. It is late December, so I must be in Amarillo.

I usually love riding the bus and this time was no exception. From Lumberton, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia, the bus was so empty that we each had individual seats. From Atlanta to Nashville, Tennessee, many of us had individual seats. After that, we stayed fairly full up to St. Louis, Missouri. From then forward, we were packed and even left people behind.

As usual, I met interesting people. There was a man who was heading west and going to drive trucks. He always had a smile and an easy word to brighten any person's spirits. There was a mother and her three children and I shared my seat with whichever child was the calmest at the time. We found "lost hands" (carefully hidden under shirts -- not eaten or thrown out of the bus windows or captured by aliens), practiced multiplication tables (we found out that all the way through 9x10 that the digits added up to 9, so you could find out if your answer was right), practiced counting in French (gosh, my French is rusty!), discussed color combinations (using white crayons over black crayons makes gray), and discovered the beauty of St. Louis by night. I got to taste a homemade doughnut (delicious!) and had a delightful stretch of the trip. I met a young soldier going to Ft. Leonard Wood who wanted to learn to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. I have every confidence that she will some day.

Special thanks go to Tony Thomas and Mike Curtis who met me at the Nashville bus station and kept me company during my wait there. Thanks also goes to Chris Reando who was willing to open his home to me had I been stranded in St. Louis as so many were.

When I got in to Amarillo, I got the tour of the new building. Folks, it is huge! The company even bought me a new desk of my very own. I had my choice of where I wanted it (Leanna guessed right off the spot I would pick as "mine") and it is in the front of the building where I can see everyone come and go. One of the "Origins tables" on leg extenders is the perfect height for working on a laptop and is turned at right angles to my desk so I have lots of space to work.

And work I did! I got the blog entry edited and up on Monday as well as doing all my normal reports. I showed Steven Petrick the secret to posting blog entries in advance. I started working on Prime Directive Federation. I proofread the first draft of Communique #49. I attended the meeting about the miniatures Tony sent up with me. And then there was fun!

I’ve been fascinated by printing since I was in college. And joy of joys, I got to tour two printing plants, Trafton and Whitney-Russell. Digital printers, printers that used foil, printers that collated, binders, stitchers, die cutters, all of the lovely machinery that makes books and the materials that ADB, Inc. publishes. I even have a sample from the beautiful Xerox iGen3 digital production press. It is simply amazing to see the richness of color and definition that this machine produced.

I did get to see the remote warehouse and decided the men of ADB were quite brave. I know there are spiders lurking in there, as large as Shelob, but as I did not venture far past the door, I was safe. The materials stretched back into the vast darkness of the lair. I'm glad that so much of ADB's warehouse is back in the main building.

As for today, except for the Tuesday meeting and the Christmas party, I will be working on the text of Prime Directive Federation. Steve Cole will be likewise writing his part and with a bit of elbow grease and stick-to-it-ive-ness, we’ll be putting this book together.

It is exciting to be here, working full time, in the heart of ADB, Inc.