The Chumps of Choice

A Congenial Spot for the Discussion of Against the Day, by Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Cornell '59, and Any Other Damned Thing That Comes Into Our Heads. Warning: Grad Students and Willie-Wavers will be mocked.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The Fabulous Pynch-o-Meter! (PDF)

I just whipped up a handy little line-gauge for Against the Day. You can download it, print it, and cut it out. The result will be a nice little device that lets you quickly determine which line to reference when commenting or reading others' comments.

Plus, it doubles as a bookmark! Sa-weet!

Later note: If you print the file from Acrobat Reader, remember to change the "Fit to Printer Margins" option to "None" under the "Page Scaling" pulldown. If you don't, the thing will print inaccurately. God, I hate computers.


At Wednesday, December 06, 2006 4:27:00 PM, Blogger Wren said...

Neddie, dear. I've managed to get by for months now since my printer broke down. Dang thing won't do anything but blink at me, and I've tried everything, including swearing in Irish at it.

You realize that now I have to go buy a new printer, right? How could I possibly NOT have a Pynch-o-meter of my very own?

At Wednesday, December 06, 2006 5:25:00 PM, Blogger Neddie said...

Well, tell you what, Wren: You could just call it up on your screen and hold the book up to it... Known as the "not-so-effective use of the Pynch-o-Meter."

I bet swearing in Irish sounds extra-filthy.

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:33:00 AM, Blogger Civic Center said...

That Pynch-o-Meter is sa-weet. Also, count me in for the book club, and I'll play moderator for you at some point too if you still need them.

I bought "Against The Day" On The Day it appeared in bookstores and have been enjoying carrying it around on buses and into restaurants and bars all over California, where people look at me like I'm either insane or very smart (the truth is neither). Reading very slowly, I've made it up to about page 165, and have been enjoying the book immensely.

Note to those afraid of the book: There's scary, difficult Pynchon ("Gravity's Rainbow" and "Mason & Dixon") which I have never been able to get through, and not-so-scary, accessible Pynchon ("V" and "The Crying of Lot 49" and "Vineland"). "Against The Day" is in the latter tradition, which makes me unreasonably happy.

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 7:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea!

One interesting note... I'm having a little problem here. Could be one of two things: (1) My printer may have shrunk the printout slightly (thought I doubt it), or (2) I have a slightly different edition that has leading a bit looser than the Pynch-o-Meter. I do have 40 lines/page, but in my book they stretch down about a full centimeter more than the bookmark.

No worries...I can always rig up my own. However, if you don't mind, let me throw out a few spot checks, just to make sure the line numbers are still the same (assuming different printings):

These'll be just random:

1. Page 211, line 5:
"search of other lodgings, no matter how advanced the hour."

2. Page 658, line 5:
"his penis."

3. Page 853, line 36:
"Why not then this quaint native artifact..."

Do those match up with your edition?

I'd assumed everyone would have the same exact edition, but perhaps they differ slightly. (?) Mine says "Printed in the United States of America" with the numbers below: "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2." I'd always been told that whenever you see that "1" there, that means it's a first printing.


At Thursday, December 07, 2006 7:30:00 PM, Blogger Neddie said...

Oh, shit, shit, shit! I know the problem, it's a PDF thing, don't worry about it, I'll fix it my end.

This has actually caused me problems in my professional life as well, this stupid "feature" of Adobe Illustrator's "Convert to PDF" command. Will fix immediately.

Our copies of AtD all came off the same press, I'm sure.

At Friday, December 08, 2006 1:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! I was starting to believe my copy of Against the Day grew a little by night.

At Friday, December 08, 2006 9:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BSUWG may be right with his first guess, actually...

On the Mac at least (tho I'm betting this is present ubiquitously), if you print a PDF via Acrobat Reader (or whatever the hell Adobe's calling it these days), there's this one li'l setting, on by default of course, called (from memory, now) "shrink to fit". Most laser printers set aside a small margin, no more than a centimeter or so I think, for the feeders to grab the paper. The "printable area" is strictly speaking inside this area. Acrobat Reader, with its typically hubristic delusions of grandeur like "let me do the thinking here, Puny Carbon-based Organism"), shrinks the image to fit inside this area.

But maybe Ned's got the fix. Dunno. Haven't tried printing it yet m'self.

At Friday, December 08, 2006 9:55:00 AM, Blogger Neddie said...

I hadn't reopened the file to fix it yet, but DJ's absolutely right. Now I remember -- it's not when you save, it's when you print.

I'll amend the post, and the instructions on the file itself.

At Saturday, December 09, 2006 1:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks great on-screen, tho, and thanks for the subtle Fibonacci shout-out (which mirrors my birthdate), too.

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