Friday, June 29, 2007

Books R Us

Modern technology is a wonderful thing. John and I took his photos from his trip to Texas for his grandfather’s funeral and put them up at Snapfish. Then we organized them into a photo album; Snapfish will print and bind them and mail the finished album to his grandmother, without us leaving the semi-comfort of our desk (have you seen our crowded, cramped Hobbit-hole office?).

I can’t wait until I am able to order laminated versions of my favorite books. The advantage of plastic pages is obvious when you think about cookbooks (I’m drooling just thinking about Beard on Bread and The New Basics Cookbook laminated and ring-bound), but consider the fate of my copy of Pride and Prejudice: right now the pages are falling out and the ink is fading from so much handling. (I re-read P & P 3-4 times per year.) But a super-sturdy version—an adult version of board books, if you will—might actually survive life on Nee’s bed-side table.

My idea of ordering books bound to my personal specifications is not entirely a new one. At the Herzog August Bibliothek (Duke August Library) in Wolfenb├╝ttel, John and I once saw how one of the dukes had had all of the books re-bound in matching white (I think) leather covers. The result was a thing of beauty, if ridiculously expensive.

I don’t doubt that my idea will someday be feasible. Right now, people in highly specialized fields are already working to make rare, out-of-print books available via print-on-demand services. The scanned or re-typed materials are stored electronically, to be printed and bound in very small batches, which normal publishers don’t do. At least one publisher has already seen how this could be profitable for them in the future, when the technology for producing books at home has become as simple as the current technology for printing photos from your computer. (See an excellent entry by The Rejecter for more details.) Unfortunately for that publisher, their attempt to change their standard contract to give them the electronic rights to a work in perpetuity (*gag*) was met with outrage, and I believe they have since withdrawn that clause. With so many other personalized items available via the Internet—see Cafe Press for an example of an online mug/t-shirt/mousepad printer—I don’t see why not books (as long as the authors are properly being compensated, which brings us back to the publishers, I guess).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I am Texan, Hear Me Yell

You Are 52% Texas

At first, you seem Texan... but just because a chicken has wings don't mean it can fly.

This may be true for their definition of "Texan", but I am one anyway. When people ask me where I am from, I usually say "Texas", not "the US". Now if Kee's husband took this, he would get a 100%...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

Hannah just told me: "You're the biggest nutball in the world, except that guy on Spaceballs, and that's just a movie."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nee Leaves the House--News at 11!

I would reinstate the weather-bitching level, but I can't remember how it is supposed to go. Suffice it to say, I am not happy with the level of rain recently. Rain should be a good thing: it makes the plants grow, etc etc. It's starting to feel like the UK or something, though. We have a heavy shower in the morning (luckily after Hannah's walked to school), then it turns gloriously sunny, so I run out to the library, and then a huge wind-and-rain storm hits while I am waiting for the bus (luckily there was a shelter, because I had no jacket or umbrella with me (see glorious sunshine, above)). Very annoying. Mother Nature, please take note that we are no longer amused.


We have been keeping busy with Hannah's multiple ballet recitals (ok, two). The first was for the whole ballet school, so we got to see tap-dancing adults, teens in tutus, and nose-picking pre-schoolers. Their recital this Sunday was a benefit to raise money for housing for the parents of children being treated at the local (big-time) cancer center, so the tiny tots were left at home. Hannah's class and a parallel class were the youngest there, and they all did a good job. I was chief hairdresser for Hannah's class again; she suggested that maybe I could do it for a living. Ha ha! *wipes tear from eye* That was a good one, honey. I am the least frou-frou woman you are ever going to meet, so the idea of me helping other people be beautiful...

This morning I went out to the balcony to get the laundry out of the dryer, and I had to bust out laughing at the sight of our neighbor across the street jumping up and down *in his trashcan*. This poor retiree has nothing better to do with his time than to reorganize the garbage cans on a regular basis so that everything fits in efficiently. In Germany, there is a stereotype about that kind of person, who noses into his neighbors' business where the upkeep of the yard and house is concerned; our friend was able to mark this neighbor as one of the "petty bourgeois" on sight.

My favorite formal-wear shop (for disparaging) has some new crap-tastic displays. I don't know if it is the mannequins or the dresses, but every one of them has bullet-boobs. I can't imagine who they are planning on selling those dresses to--Anna Nicole Smith is obviously no longer in the market, but they must have someone in mind. One dress is actually kind of kooky-cute, but it has boning on the outside of the bodice, and it sticks up over the edges, then there are these golden stars on the ends of them. It's like they were going for the "sparkler" look. Maybe it's a Miss Universe dress?