Monday, December 07, 2009

Ventalicious

LULU, my story collection called "Pomegranate," the frustrations of the last week, and especially my inability to grasp any instructions written online that are supposed to solve my problems, all of these make the list of what is pissing me off today.

What do I want to vent about today? (There's always something: grocery store bag boys/girls who think lettuce is made of steel and will survive the gallon bottle of milk dropped in on top; friends who call and hang up as soon as they hear my voice mail message and then later tell me"I called and you didn't pick up!" WTF! And everybody who is more interested in talking than listening. People who ask me a question, but before I can get the second word out of my mouth have cut me off. If you want to talk without having to listen to someone else respond, get yourself a blog!)

O, yeah. Venting. Today is generally about technology and what it offers, those who offer it but make it crazy-making, and aging. Specifically, my aging or rather me being too old to figure out all the nuances of technology.

I am competent when it comes to everyday technology. Not great, no hacker abilities whatsoever, but I can do a lot of photoshop things, I can build a website, I understand basic html, and I'm not stupid. However, whenever I'm trying to do something new, whatever the "site," the download, the program is, I usually struggle because it isn't clear what it is I'm supposed to do.

I had this crazy idea the last couple weeks that since I'd pulled together eight short stories to enter into a chapbook contest, I should at the very least print them up at lulu.com since give them to my family and friends for the holidays. The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to do it. I've given away books with my stories before but they've been anthologies and suddenly I had the desire to put something out there that was just mine.

So I started about a week before Thanksgiving. I'd gotten it pulled together in September to send out to win something, so it had to be in great shape, right? Wrong. It is amazing to me how a piece can be proofed by me three or four times, by an editor at least once or twice, and then still have problems. But it's true. I'm talking typos, where I've deleted something or copied and pasted and left extra letters and words behind. I'm talking punctuation. And my fault completely, unclear or awkward sentences.

Great I thought. Maybe not as polished as I would of wanted, these six pieces published elsewhere and two not published. It's okay. I'll just be more thorough so my collection will be in much better shape. No problem. And it wasn't. As a matter of fact, I loved doing it and was surprised at how exhilerating it was for me to realize how "professional" I felt when I saw a problem and knew it wasn't right and how to fix it.

After I went through my stories, I gave them first to a friend to proofread and edit and then with her notes, I fixed what I agreed with and gave them to my daughter. That girl is amazing. She is 99% right with her suggestions, especially in the areas of logic and clarity. So I worked to get this done and planned to upload to lulu in what I'd hoped would be plenty of time to have gifts.

But formatting is a bitch. And I just realized I've blogged for a half hour and haven't even gotten to the part that is sending me over the edge.

****SPOILER ALERT****DONT READ BEYOND THIS POINT ****IF YOU WANT TO THINK IM A SANE AND PATIENT PERSON

If anyone out there knows why I can have a whole document in garamond (double checked for stray fonts page by page by highlighting and looking at the font box: garamond only) and be told by lulu that they can't take it because I haven't embedded a timesnewroman STP (I can't remember the real letters) when I don't even have that font on my list in my computer, then please help!

  • I've tried uploading the word doc with my 6x9 printer settings (document layout), but lulu says the doc is still 8 1/2 by 11 and after they adjust it, it comes out ugly like an ape.
  • I made a pdf and it's gorgeous, but then I can't upload because I can't embed that stupid timesnewroman stp shit. which I don't have! My print drivers don't have the options someone suggested or at least I can't find them for embedding.
  • The little tool document that lulu offers to ensure embedding is obscure about how to use it. I've put it on my desk top, in the doc folder with the docs I want to publish, and rubbed it on my ass.
  • Nothing works.
  • I went to Adobe help and it offers no comprehensible (layperson's) explanation re embedding in a PDF.
  • I went to the community board at lulu. Several other people can't do it and the advice suggested there (doing a universal replace in the word document to make certain everything is garamond and changing a setting on a driver didn't help. My drivers don't seem to have that setting choice) so dang me.
  • I am STUCK.

2 comments:

sylvia said...

OK, this is a bit out of right field but worth a try. It's not actually a "fix" so much as a different tactic which maybe could mean avoiding the problem through luck and sheer cussedness.

Download Open Office from http://www.openoffice.org/

It's a free word processing suite which looks and acts a lot like Word.

Open your document using Open Office, check your fonts, proof one more time, check page size etc.


Save it. You need to make sure the .doc file is up-to-date and includes changes you made, as this will be the one you edit if you want to change anything else.

THEN save it again, using Save As PDF.

The big benefit of Open Office is that it seamlessly saves your word processing document as a PDF file without involving another piece of software and without lots of bells and whistles.

So I know it's a pain to install new software but if you are working on a .doc file and you need it in PDF format, Open Office is the best way I've found to achieve that.

Also, chocolate.

Madeline said...

Oh, Gay - I have nothing to offer in the way of advice so I'll just send good thoughts your way...

~ good thoughts ~ good thoughts ~ good thoughts ~ good thoughts ~ :)