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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The further misadventures of genius.

Sometimes it is very difficult to work with geniuses.  Two weeks ago, on Thursday, Doctor Dawg took an old Laser Jet 4200 XLT printer, added a hot glue gun, with a banana clip full of crayons, to the toner cartridge, a microwave oven to the fuser panel, and a 60 cc chainsaw motor to the duplexer.  He used a Commodore 64 liberated from the local thrift store for $1.99, as the control module and voila we had our very own three dimensional printer.   

It was a lot of fun, people were emailing pictures, and bam Dr. Dawg would have a three dimensional version in seconds.  The Eiffel Tower, an elephant, a cute little mouse using a four leaf clover to hide from a menacing, snarling cat, it was amazing what he could produce.  Soon, we had a few beers and were throwing around all sorts of crazy ideas.

Bob, from engineering, ran over and got his new scanner, a monstrous, data crunching, digitizing machine, and we hardwired it into the Commodore, and scanned a picture of a meatball sub, in less than a minute we had a meatball sub, with marinara.  It was cold, but we began brainstorming about the best way to use the microwave during, and after the printing process.  Nobody was too keen on carrying the stove in there and trying to run 220 volts through the whole machine, we had learned our lesson when we tried to speed up the rotation of the earth to make the weekend arrive earlier.  Man, was that a bad idea.

It was then that things started going bad.  Bob, from customer service, (Bob is always kind of a trouble maker, ask anyone) decided to scan his hand, and before you could say, “unplug that stupid thing” a disembodied replica of Bob’s hand was scurrying across Doctor Dawg’s work table.  Not only was it knocking over plates of chili cheese fries, spilling beers, and just being kind of creepy in general, but it was fuzzy looking and not the right color at all.

Doctor Dawg said he could fix the tone and image sharpness with a simple adjustment of the contrast and saturation settings in the printer drivers.  It would have made it more accurate in complexion, but not any less weird.

Friday went by without incident, but over the weekend the hand had managed to hook the entire contraption up to the DVR in the break room.  On Monday the whole building was overrun with characters from movies and television, which wasn’t nearly as fun as you might hope, or nearly as awful as you might fear.

Pirates were swinging from the ceiling joists using ropes produced from ingeniously twined computer cables and extension cords, space men, in space suits, rolling around on the floor pretending they were in zero gravity, soldiers, crouching behind the overturned table in the kitchen, shouting things like “cover me while I make a break for the cappuccino machine.  Would anybody like a French vanilla?”  And then sprinting across the room, rolling to a stop and springing to their feet right in front of the coffee dispenser.

At first it was a real nuisance, but it didn't take long to become attached to all of those "people," acting out their little dramas.  Lunch time was so much more enjoyable, watching the cast of "Jesus Christ, Superstar," sing their way through the visit to Caiaphas, or the crew from "Glengarry Glen Ross" listen to Alec Baldwin lecture them on the value of persistence.  He really cleaned it up when the ladies were eating, and it still sounded good.

However, when payday came around and we realized how much it was going to cost to keep all of these additional people we had to let them go.  Guess who pulled that gig.   It was kind of sad, too, because I was really starting to enjoy having all those cavemen around, they were so funny.