Friday, September 30, 2011

past and future

audio books

Postcards of the past's future.  Pretty spot on for a 90 year projection (the artist was predicting 2000). Better guess about the future than George Orwell.  Mind you, given a bad apple or six and some hard times we may just make it to 1984 yet.  There are links all about to a more complete set of these (including fly by drink pickup).  Put "Villemard" in your google search will find them for you (I tried Bing because my work computer defaults to it, and once again....useless).  The most complete set I've seen is Tom Wigley's flickr stream. I tried to find out Villemard first name and after 10 minutes I can tell you with some certainty that it was probably Adolphe. 

video telegraph
I love the Edwardian feel of these images.  They are positively steampunk.  Makes me think of my favourite murder mystery series:  Murdoch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A book start to finish: part 1 the inspiration

The thing about a book, aside from the fact that you will still be able to use if after you've spilt coffee on it and it has been handed down from your great grandmother to you, is what is inside it.  What's inside it makes it worth hanging onto when your great gran passes it on to you and your uncle Dwayne drank coffee on it the morning of his wedding and knocked over his mug in a nervous action checking on the ring in his pocket. I have been planning a book for the library where I work because we've got a little story and that little story grew a bit over the summer and I thought it should have a little book to go with the bits left over from the event and the legends that surround them. 

The first bit is the sad bit.  In June of 1948, a farmer, named Cecil George Harris, told his wife he was going out to do some work and he'd be home around 10pm.  He did not arrive.  Mrs. Harris went out and found poor George pinned in a nasty manner by his farm equipment.  She got neighbours and they got George out, but two days later George gave it all up.  When his tractor was inspected it turned out George had not been entirely idle during his hours of captivity.  He had used his penknife to scratch a will into the fender of his tractor.  That fender was used a court case about George's will and proved useful because everything did indeed 'go to the wife'.  The tractor fender, now evidence pretending to be a tractor fender, was kept in the court house in Kerrobert.*  Many years later the court house was closed and in a fit of keen preservation the fender was presented to the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan.  They dutifully built a lovely case and the fender was set up in the Law Library on display.

Until this summer when I took a phone call from the Discovery Channel.....

*The Kerrobert Court House is now used as the Town Hall and an art Gallery.  And John George Diefenbaker, whose murder case seems to be responsible for its ghost, is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law and his portrait hangs over my desk and haunts me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

technology vs coffee

Student comes to the desk today for a reserve book.  He hands me his coffee stained appointment book with the library of congress number of the reserve item written on it.  Sorry, he says, its a bit of a mess.  No problem.  I get the book for him.  Handing back the appointment book I say, 'at least this survives having coffee spilt on it.'  Yes, he says, it went on my computer as well, had to get a new one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday afternoon in the crapapple grove

Stand at the far end of the crabapple grove, after walking its length in the hot fall afternoon air, over the browning green grass.  Hear the leaves of the poplar, now yellow and lime, rattle against each other in the breeze.  Tip back your head and look up. Above you is a cloud spread across the sky like an enormous feathery wing.  Between you and it the gulls fly, dive, and hang in the air, riding the wind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Signs of fall

My big blue tarp draped over my potted tomato plants. Street lights at 7:30 pm.  Small patches of condensation on the outer windows in the morning. Socks. The sunlight patch lying wide in the middle of my living room floor instead narrow of over by the window.  A killing frost which has halved the number of wasps banging against the outside of the building begging for a snug winter home.  Not in this wall thanks.  They really are hungry this time of year.  The other day out in the crabapple grove I found two of them licking out the inside of an empty beer bottle.  Yuck. I banged them out and removed the beer bottle.  Who wants one of those in the crabapple grove.  Also, I tend to gather up empty bottles and cans because a  friend of mine uses the money from bottles to buy cows for those in need of such items.  When I check her site I see that she has not updated in in a good long while...or has mooooved it?  But as I know her I don't bother to look at it.  She is, however at cow 50.  So I keep giving her the bottles I find. 

Yes, that really is my great great grandfather's cow.  And yes, he named his cows after his daughters. And yes, Emma there won a prize in 1876 at local Centennial celebrations (that's USA Centennial, Canada is still only counting from 1867, though John Ralston Saul has been known to dispute that). 

And yes, some of the donation cows got named for these ancient and well remembered cows.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming in first for the environment....the library

In a contest between the book and the e-book, the library wins.  I sparked off this picture* because, being me, I wanted to know what happens after we are done with the tool.  What I have long suspected is true, books are the superior technology.  Using the quick comparison presented by Daniel Goleman books cause less damage in production, in transportation ("You’d need to drive to a store 300 miles away to create the equivalent in toxic impacts on health of making one e-reader"), and in disposal. Now, go to the library and use a book we all own, read it, and someone else will read it, and someone else will read it, and someone else....all without making more copies.

Libraries are brilliant.

*I found it on Stephen's Lighthouse, the original article by Les Grossman gives a bit more, but he is talking about a different aspect of the advantages of books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's count: one crabapple

If you stand by the window and gaze upon the beauty of the day you might be tempted to don your shorts and t-shirt.  But stick your nose out into the day and you will find it suddenly remembers what frost bite is.  The wind is coming down from the north as off a glacier.  So bundle.  Socks, jeans, jacket, in the early morning remember your gloves for biking.  In the afternoon you may leave your gloves in your jacket pocket.  In the shelter of the crabapple grove you may even take off your jacket.  The sun is strong. The crabapples are still more yellow than red, which is odd.  Though the fuchsia coloured ones are in full swing.  Brilliant.  I am sad to report there will be no pie this year, someone else has beat me to the pie apples and plucked the tree bare.  Sigh.  I shall have to make due with regular apples.  There was one wind fall, just fresh from the tree. Yummm.

Friday, September 9, 2011

today's count

More precisely yesterday and the day before and today.  Heat.  Lots of heat.  And not the heat granted us by this imaginary climate change of the planet which has caused increasing humidity in Saskatchewan over the last fifteen years, the heat the clings to you like a sick child.  No, this is the heat of memory, childhood memory, that brushes dry across your skin, lets you know it is all around you, a hot breath, but never more than touches you.  This heat I love, for its memories, for its separateness.  This heat comes under a cloudless sky.  This heat releases you the moment you step into the shade of a tree.  It can not follow you there.  This heat dries the sprinkler water from you before you get back to the office from your coffee break. This heat is the summer I grew up in, when blue was all above for weeks on end.  Put your feet in the river, sit under a tree and listen for the humm of the bees in the blossoms of the crabapple trees.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

laying it out

Hand making books, when the book is blank is easy peasy.  Just fold your sheets in half, sew them together with the top secret not to be revealed stitch pattern and attach to the cover of your choice and devising.  Sometimes, with a soft cover you have already done that.  But if you have created content (a bland all purpose word for what you put on your pages) then you will need to be careful about how you lay the pages out.  You can not create your pages in order.  They will come out all funny.  For me, hands on, I create a little mock up text block and write the page numbers, title, copyright placement on each page.  Then I separate them and I can be sure that pages which should lie next to each other for printing actually do.

                             In this way you get layouts* that look like this:
But when you put your book together, they come out looking like this:

*These layouts are from the Happy Leopard Chapbook Book of Days, their fifth fundraiser.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

scoring details

I had to add some reinforcement to the spine of this book, but it wasn't bad enough to need a complete spine replacement.  So I matched the tape colour as closely as possible with the book cover and put an inch of tape on either side.  Using a scoring tool---in this case the end of a pen---I marked in the three lines to match the design in the cover.  Little details like this help make the repair blend in.  Other good scoring tools are bic pen caps (I have used the business end of a bic pen, but only when the ink is good and gone), letter openers, knitting needles, and golf tees.  Bone folders are of course the traditional scoring tool, even the modern ones which are made of plastic and can there for, but aren't, referred to as plastic folders.  Plastic bone folders can leave a trail of plastic across what you are scoring, but in some cases so can the bone.  Be careful of the kind of surface you are scoring.  Test, especially, a dark colour first and if necessary lay a light sheet of scrap over top so that the score will mark through but the bits of the plastic or bone will not leave a trail.