23 December 2005

Big as a really big thing

Things are looking up, for the most part. After several weeks of clouds -- to the point where I only has vague sort of memories about some blazing ball of fire that used to inhabit the sky -- the sky has cleared up and we have some lovely sunshine.

Yesterday was also good for work related reasons. My student Sandra and I were preparing to print our poster for the upcoming Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting. This is actually part of a student presentation competition for The Crustacean Society, so the urge to have a good poster has a slightly greater importance than normal. We also have the luxury of lots of poster board space, if the SICB website is to believed -- so we took full advantage of that. In other words, we have a big poster. I mean, really big. Longer than I'm tall. By many inches. And I'm sort of pointlessly tall.

I was convinced that we were going to spend all day trying to print this poster. After all, it is coming up to Christmas, almost nobody's around. Even though Sandra did check that George, the computer lab manager, would be around to help us, you always sort of worry that you'll find a problem that could be fixed if only person X was in their office and not off in another state visiting family for Christmas.

Plus, there was the possible complicating factor of this poster being so big. We decided that it was, in all likelihood, the single biggest poster ever printed in the lab. The file was many megabytes -- 13.6, to be precise. And being an old school computer user, there was a time when working with a file that big was just asking for trouble. And while it's less of a problem now, it's always a concern in the back of your mind.

But we almost got it printed in one shot. We had to abort the first attempt after a couple of inches, because there was still some tape at the end of the paper roll. But the second attempt came off without a hitch.

Now all we have to do is to hope that the poster boards are actually as big as advertised. Because if not, we could kind of be screwed. And I have to put a few finishing touches on my own talk. This is pretty exciting -- two presentations at one meeting. It's been a while since I've been able to boast of that!

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