Sunday, June 27

All On Board?

Stretching the "word origins" platform to its most tenebrous limits, I've got to raise a public plea:

Please stop using "drank the Kool-Aid" to mean "agreed to corporate policy" or whatever.

You're maligning the Kool-Aid brand, which had nothing to do with the Jonestown mass suicide: that was Flavor-Aid. When you use "drank the Kool-Aid" to sound hip and edgy, you only sound ignorant to people who know better.

Sorry for lashing out. I'm just tired of hearing people who should know better--you know, like, guests on NPR or whatever--perpetuating this mistaken and libelous phrase.

Tuesday, June 22

It's Not Quite a Postcard, and It's Not Quite a Garden, But Ma-a-a-a-an...

ZOMG, have you seen this yet? It's called Postcarden and it seems really cool!
Combining gift and greeting card, PostCarden is a fun and simple pop-out card that transforms into a mini living garden. 
That seems really cool to me! It's like this small box you mail out and send to someone, and they water it and it sprouts into stuff! You'll have to excuse me, but this strikes me as very cool.

Obviously it would be annoying to buy 20 of them and then have no one to mail them to since all your friends are lame and refuse to communicate in any way that does not involve a computer, a cell phone, or some combination thereof.

Likewise, it would be annoying to receive 20 of these, but I know that just because I said that someone's going to vehemently disagree with me. Yet if I'd mailed them 20 out of nowhere, they'd be seriously put out.

Thursday, June 17

Making a Fold-and-Mail Letter

I'm still working on this, a project in progress. I know there's a simple and obvious way to make a good fold-and-mail letter, but I haven't quite put it into practice yet.

Observe my crude pattern on the left. Ideally, the bottom half of it should fold up into the top half, and the flaps should not only enclose it securely but the corners should run flush against each other as well.

Can't say that happened exactly, though it was close. I'm making these as part of an interactive project from Facebook--actually, I probably mentioned it back in April. Too lazy to check right now. The gist was this: I posted a meme that solicited five people to sign up (who would also repost the meme). For each of these five people I had to create and send some kind of creative project, and since all I know is stationery, I thought I'd make some postcards and a fold-and-mail letter for them.

It's just that I didn't think this thing through. Each fold-and-mail item is one exterior and two sheets of paper, each sheet being half of one regular piece of paper. I glued in the sheets at the top, just below the large upper flap, so you could fold the exterior and the sheet-halves in their middle, then seal it down with the three flaps.

I think, to really help the folding and the edges meeting up nicely, one might trip about 1/8" off two perpendicular sides of the sheets of paper, but not the exterior. This should give the paper enough room to bulk up with the fold and not create extra space before the flaps can fold in.

But here's my pattern, if anyone else thinks they can use it. This isn't the cardstock envelope I promised back in December. I'm sorry about procrastinating on that thing, but I haven't forgotten about it, and maybe crafting and scanning my design for this project will motivate me to perfect and upload the envelope pattern.

Anyway, the flaps seal with double-sided window insulation tape. I trimmed it in half lengthwise to be narrow enough for the side flaps--otherwise, you can't beat it for adhesion. Leave the backing on for the letter-sender to peel off just prior to mailing. Better solution than sending everyone a glue-stick they'll use once and lose. And the address labels are my own design: I carved out the border in linoleum, stamped it onto parchment, then cut it out closely and glued it to the front of each exterior.

Thursday, June 3

An Extended History of Personal Correspondence

All right, if you're sick of hearing me go on and on about the wonder and miracle of Postcrossing, remember where you set your handbag down and finish your drink, because here comes some more.

I mean, seriously. It's so hard to find a good pen pal! My first was way back in first grade, when I wrote to my crush even though she was in my class and lived in the same town. The gesture was lost on her six-year-old heart and I believe I earned some mockery over it. The letter-writing process was educational on its own mert: in writing to grandparents I already knew I had very little to say (beyond "thanks for the Stretch Armstrong, I broke him already"), but in writing to Stacy Woods, the cutest girl I'd ever seen, I discovered I had absolutely nothing to say. I don't even remember what I talked about. Probably a moon rock I was convinced I'd found.

Then, when I was in middle school (Michigan) and was going to move to another state for high school (Wisconsin), I asked if I could write to my then-crush, Kim LaPlante. She agreed and I think we may have exchanged one whole letter. I wrote to her, she wrote back, and I wrote some stupid clueless drivel that was more my own mom's programming that she couldn't possibly be interested in me than any of the feelings welling in my heart for her. Never heard from her again. Yeah, I played that one wrong.

I did end up writing to my crush in high school as I went into the Army, and that only worked out because I was so reclusive in high school that when I opened up to her in letters I became a more interesting person. Kate was also very into correspondence and inducted me into the world of Friendship Books and Tiger Beat magazine, where people posted their addresses in the back so people with similar music interests could write to them. Our correspondence never turned into a romance, of course, but we are still friends to present day.

And once in the Army, plundering the resources Kate imbued me with, I spread my feeble, off-black tendrils around the nation I'd left behind (I was stationed in South Korea) and hooked up with three dozen gothchicks, all roiling in their own incurable depression, all nurturing their own impossible crushes on foreign band members. I got a lot of useful information out of those exchanges—all of it in music, none of it in how to foster healthful social relationships. Oh well.

Now, things are much better. I correspond frequently with my friend Angela, a DJ in Madison, WI; I trade postcards with Davide in Italy and Zatimi in Malaysia; and I just met this awesome character in the Netherlands. His postcard to me cracked me up, and everyone I've shown it to has insisted I need to cultivate him as a pen pal. I proposed the idea to him—proposed sending him some of my vintage stamps in exchange for his pre-Euro postage—and he wrote back:
It would be an honour, beste Christian, to receive a card from you, or clogs full of cards for my sake, with the stamps like you described. For a philatelist like me the promising lines which you wrote are like The Holy Gospel for the average Amish.
That's just his opening line. How could I not want this person on my side? He's a fun and able writer, the kind of person I need to keep in touch with. And I wouldn't have met him but for the Internet generally, but Postcrossing particularly.