Monday, November 12, 2012

Elvis Rain & the Dryer Sheets

More (imagined) adventures of Elvis, the Barking Rain Press mascot...


Dell and Elvis moved last week to newer, but smaller digs in a posh (but slightly odd) neighborhood;  Elvis doesn't have to ride the elevator up and down from the fourth anymore and the dog park is only six blocks away. Elvis is thrilled, he's never liked elevators.

However, Elvis constantly alerts to the house next door; sits down in front of the house and won't move. Dell wonders what's going on -- Elvis was trained to sniff out contraband fruit in airline luggage; he can't imagine that there's a illegal mango-growing operation next door. Eventually he caught a whiff of what Elvis smelled--something fruity--ah--the neighbor is using fruit-scented dryer sheets. Mystery solved.

Elvis loves the dog park even though he's not interested in the other dogs, being off-leash or playing fetch. (Elvis pointedly does not fetch.) His passion is collecting tennis balls and he won't leave the park until he has collected every tennis ball. A first he carefully made a pile of them at Dell's feet; that didn't work because other dogs would steal the balls back. Now Dell brings a big garbage bag along and puts all the tennis balls in it; when Elvis is done he leaves the bag on the bench.

Java Jive the coffee shop comes after the dog park. Elvis dutifully will alert to any fruit on the counter: today it's a display of Satsuma oranges. Dell gets a large drip and Elvis gets a dog biscuit; they've been coming every morning at about the same time and Dell has started to recognize the regulars. The morning starts with a gaggle of high school kids who hop off their buses and grab lattes and mochas before going to school (their private high school is across the street). As soon as they're gone a woman who reeks of cigarettes and booze comes in and shakily nurses small drip; the Doggie Daycare Van stops in front of Java Jive and picks up a half-dozen dogs every morning; there seems to be a romance brewing between the owner of Noodles, a curly gray dog and B+, who is some sort of Labrador mix. His owner is a nervous woman Dell calls "Ms. UB" because she is always in a sweatshirt that says "UB" -- university-of-something? Dell isn't sure; but he knows she waits until she sees Noodles and his owner before going into Java Jive and she always orders a dry cap.

Elvis alerts to B+ as if he's another service dog, Ms UB curtly told Dell that he flunked service dog school.

Dell tried out a small joke: "His name is B+? So he's a good dog, but not an excellent one, right?"

Ms. UB looked at Dell flatly. "His name is Ben, his name tag is scratched up." She scampered out the door after Noodles and his owner, the dogs got into the Doggie Daycare van, Ms. UB laughed loudly at something Noodles' owner said.

Interesting question from a student this week: "How did you edit when -- you know, you set type by hand?"

Answer: Very carefully. I sent the student a little diagram showing how we would edit thoroughly on paper before sending copy to the typesetter, the process of pulling and reviewing galley proofs. The whole process took a long time -- I think of this every time I do a quick edit in InDesign.

And among my who-needs-it-now skills, I can read accurately upside-down and backwards and can spot a 1/4 point of bad kerning or leading at 40 paces.

Next week: Elvis, Noodles and B+

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