Staples are killing your document

notebooksI suspected staples had a dark side when I found two of them in a restaurant taco in 1991. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized librarians and zine archivists reflexively remove these and other rusting metal fasteners from documents, as this fascinating article from the US Govt National Archives explains. As a (lapsed) zinester, I used staples in both of my typewriter zines Silent Type I and Silent Type 2, but am currently looking into other methods for my odd habit of making pocket notebooks out of random paper dregs (see photo).

Pamphlet stitching, it would appear, is the archivist-approved way to bind a document, and so I’ll be dragging out my forgotten paper sewing skills for the next round of notebooks– somehow, like Origami and knitting, this seems to be a skill that has no cognitive sticking power, like knitting and origami, and although I understood it well enough to write a tutorial on it years ago, I’ve completely forgotten how to do it once again.

Beloved Mother

When I lived in Washington I’d drive my 2 year old to a day care four towns away in the morning. There was a freeway but usually I took the back roads through semi-rural properties in suburban Douglas Fir greenbelts and being Washington, usually it was wet and gray.

Sometimes I’d stop at Starbucks and get coffee and oatmeal, and give the raisins to my daughter, reaching back while driving to place them in her outstretched hand. On certain days I stopped the forward motion of our routine for no reason and pulled into the roundabout parking lot of a nearby cemetery.

From the road you’d see a few well-placed graves continually refreshed with seasonal mementos, pinwheels, flowers, balloons. The grave closest to the corner was white stone with a handprint and for maybe a year or more I thought it was the grave of a child, until once I went for a walk there and read it up close: Jill Evans, Beloved Mother, Daughter, Wife. In her living years perhaps she did daily laps like mine, transporting children to their social stations, each member of the family going to their separate classroom or workplace by the appointed hours. Each morning my intuition tries to get a word in about this routine, but it’s a tide, and I’m swept in it.

My daughter eats her raisins without comment and looks serenely out the windows as I start the car again, she takes in the graves and the douglas firs matter of factly, her round face is crushing to my heart as I catch sight of it in the mirror while turning onto the road. Today she’ll sing songs and turn pages of some beat-up board books, and walk outside in the play yard wood chips in the misty rain with her fleece sweatshirt while I walk hurriedly from meeting room to meeting room.

California Typewriter & handmade notebooks

So I’ve up and moved to California and decided that a visit to California Typewriter is in my near future. Have you been? See the thing is, all my typewriters are in storage, along with everything I own except two shirts and a pen. Must rectify this.

Unrelatedly, I’ve taken up a new hobby of making notebooks, most recently constructed entirely of paper grocery bags, Scotch tape, and cardboard packaging, owing to my lack of personal effects. Behold, a gallery.

So, a new colleague of mine (correction, I am the new one) brought two pristine Olympia typewriters to the office the other day, a Craigslist find, along with a box of accessories I’ve only read about, typewriter oil and ribbon tins, this sort of thing. I was working at my desk and heard typing, this is how I found out about it. Trying to talk her into starting a typewriter club at [my latest tech employer about which You Probably Have a Strong Opinion]. Which has, unexpectedly, an Analog Research Lab full o screenprinting equipment.

That is all.

Mini notebooks

What’s new… seems I finished school and so may resume paper-based activities including roaming the typosphere to see what’s happened with you in the years I’ve been away, I can only imagine great things.

 The Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, OR has a repurposed cigarette dispenser used as a Zine Machine, into which you insert change and are rewarded with a tiny handmade book. I haven’t seen it myself, but their site has graciously provided templates for both zines and cigarette boxes. I tried my hand at a prototype today, although mine are empty notebooks. Content is the responsibility of the recipient. The zines do, despite the odd angle of this picture, fit neatly inside the box with room to spare.

Lost Button Studio also once hosted lovely templates for minibooks that I printed out long ago and still use (this is where I got the idea for the band that holds the book closed), but I since can’t find on that site. They do remain available, however, via the Wayback Machine.

Dead Mall: Totem Lake, Kirkland WA


Today I paid a visit to our local dead mall, Totem Lake of Kirkland, WA. I’ve written of prior visits in 2005 and 2006

Little had changed.

Here is my photo essay of today’s visit.

Totem Lake Mall’s status as a dead mall has been exhaustively and impressively documented by Kirkland Reporter Matt Phelps in a 5-part series written in 2011:

  1. Part 1: The history of Kirkland’s Totem Lake Malls
  2. Part 2: The fall of Kirkland’s Totem Lake Malls
  3. Part 3: Totem Lake Malls’ redevelopment rumors avert new business
  4. Part 4: The current impact of Kirkland’s Totem Lake Malls
  5. Part 5: The future of Kirkland’s Totem Lake Malls and neighborhood

I’ve lived in the neighborhood 10 years and the mall is virtually unchanged from the day I arrived. Each time I drive by I feel like I am passing a mausoleum, or some kind of ruins from a 1970′s civilization.

(At left: A photo from the early years of the mall)

It’s puzzling that it can’t be solved, the question of what to do with this abandoned tract of retail wasteland in the middle of a well-off suburb. The answers seem so simple– “it needs lattes,” my daughter suggested. I wish they’d put her in charge.

Typewriter Shack, Envisioned

Firstly, if you have a writing shack or trailer, I want to see pictures. If you *want* a writing shack or trailer, what would it look like? Here’s my artistic rendition of two potential options:

This shackwant is, in my case, a reaction to feeling totally overwhelmed by the complexities of corporate and family life. I’m picturing myself as an elderly George Bernard Shaw, shut up in my splintery 8X8 enclosure, a place in which I can pretend a simple typewriter and cup of coffee are the only things I must contend with– that, and perhaps a cat.

Another bit of advice on the Googles, by the way? Don’t search for vintage canned ham trailers. For you’ll then want one or several, and will lose future hours to trolling Craigslist and thinking about vintage fabric for miniature window treatments. I can think of nothing quite delightfully like a typewriter in style and substance than a canned ham trailer, can you?

Will we all eventually meet up for a canned ham trailer and typing convention in some unsuspecting campground? I can only hope some summer that we do.