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    My name is Dan Fish.  Yes, Fish.  Just like the little guys you've got swimming around in your "fish" bowl.  I'm a 38 year old...errr..young male.  Married to Pam for 16 years with five kids, James (21), Dwayne (15), Danielle (10), Leonard (8), and Tony (6),  4 dogs and WAY too many bills.  Oh, and lets not forget Grandma (my mom), she lives with us too.  

   Our  home has a beautiful view of the San Gabriel Mountain range, as long as the smog levels are low.  We all live in a area of California that once was considered the suburbs of Los Angeles.  I suppose it still is, but the valley is now called the "Inland Valley", and has really grown in the last 27 years.  An area that once was rich with grape vineyards, orange and lemon groves has turned into a big valley of homes and businesses.   We are located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles and 30 miles west of San Bernardino.  Close enough to just about everything, including the San Andres Fault.  Actually, this area sits on many fault lines, so it doesn't much matter which one decides to "shudder".  If its active, someone will feel it.  Living in an earthquake prone area, no one really gets use to it, but learns to deal with it.  Much like those living in areas with tornados or hurricanes.  You just try to prepare the best you can.  

Plate Making 101

    I work as a plate maker for a local, midsize newspaper called the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.  The newspaper pages are built using Quark.  Once they have been checked by our editorial staff, the pages are sent to what is basically a printer, that converts the computer image of the page, to a negative.  At this point, I get the negative of the page, that will be turned back into a positive image on a metal plate, that is used to print the page on the press.  I check to make sure that the text and images are positioned correctly within the plate print area, also checking ad tracking numbers to make sure we have the correct ads on the right pages.  I look to make sure the date and page number is correct, as well as checking to see that all stories end with a period, or a reference is shown for that story continuing on a different page.    With color pages, we also check the alignment of all the images.  For one full color page  we have to make 4 separate plates, one for each color used, Black, Yellow, Cyan and Magenta.  With all the checking of the negatives complete, its time to make a plate or plates for the press.  To do this, we now have to make a positive image from the negative, onto the plate.  The plates used have a subtractive emulsion on the surface that when exposed to light will create an image or text or whatever might be on the negative.  The negative image of the page is placed on registry pins, over the plates surface, and placed in a piece of equipment called an Integrator.  The negative is vacuum sealed onto the plate to remove air between the negative and plate, and then moved into the "camera" area of the integrator.  When the light of the machine comes on, the images on the negative are integrated onto the metal plate as a positive image.  Much like developing film, we then take the plate and send it through a processor with developer and fixer.   We then have the positive image on the plate needed to print that page of the newspaper.  Every page has to be reproduced in this manner before it can be printed on the press.  
    Sometimes little errors are found on the negative that need to be made, but are so minimal it would be a waste of film to replace the entire page.  In this case, I may be required to "slice and dice" as I like to call it.  This is where we may have to cut and patch these errors on the negative.
    Its fun work for the most part.  I really enjoy looking at paper once it's been printed and knowing I played a small role in it's production.


     So how do I escape.  I come running to the net.  Although we have so many things available for us to do in California, it's hard to get everyone together at the same time to do anything.  The wife and I have always tried to work opposite hours, so that we don't have to pay for child care.  Having Grandma here also helps in this area, but still it's hard to arrange those outings.  So my outing is the Internet.  The net has allowed me to meet people, from far away countries, that I probably would never met, if the Internet hadn't been invented (by Al Gore, no less.. haha).    I've been using the net off and on since the days of the Commodore64 computer, and CompUserve was the big ISP in those days.  For you "young" pups, it was like "walking to school in the snow,10 miles, Up hill,.... BOTH WAYS!!!"  Nothing like the graphic filled pages you see now.  All text, and still took what seemed like HOURS for it to load on to your screen.  Back then when someone asked if you had "java", you knew they were talking about coffee.

 Anyway....sorry.... I get up on my soapbox sometimes.  But in the years I've been "playing" on the net, I've had the "Privilege" to watch and learn as technology has progressed.  It has been fun and a great learning experience so far.  The new "Millennium" holds new corners of the world to explore, and many new people to meet.  In the mean time, take a look around my site.  Sign my Guest Book and Join my new ICQ webring.  Don't know what ICQ is?  Send me a note and I'd be glad to get together with you on what it is.  



    And then there is the old fashion way to get a hold of me....Send me an email!


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This site last Updated04/28/00 01:22 PM