Monday, October 31, 2011

VT Lettersheet Journal

The last page of my lettersheet journal arrived today. Each page is finished and complete in a way that my usual journaling can't match.  They're dated by hand and by postmark. Only one has a drawing but three have images from hand carved stamps. The pages are information rich and layered. 

 I consider this a successful incarnation, and it suggested loads of improvements for the next one. I need to design the pages to be bound together rather than binding them as an afterthought. Sealing the lettersheets with a gluestick was a mistake. I should draw a lot more, since drawings break up text nicely. And someday I want to start using topical historic stamps. For example, I could get a set of National Park Stamps, and use them over the years as I visit the parks. For the ones that are shy of the letter rate, I could add postage with stamps commemorating that state's statehood or local fauna.

If there is a way to mail a letter from LAX, the Delta counter hadn't heard of it. So, I left my letter on the ledge of a marble planter in the hopes that someone would mail it. I was excited to think of how long it might live in a  glove compartment or luggage and what an exotic domestic postmark it might have when it arrived. 
It turned out it spent no time at all in a glove compartment as it was postmarked the following day from Santa Ana, CA- 40 miles from where I dropped it. Thank you, anonymous stranger! I can't yet see the shape of the letter dropping project this suggests.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Six Hundred and Sixty Kanji Lessons

I have been coveting a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire in Japanese for years, but when I sat down to order one for my birthday, I realized I'd prefer Order of the Phoenix. It is extremely far above my reading level, so there is no hope of reading it without first translating it bit by bit. of the ~100 kanji (counting repeats) on the first page, I can recognize 42 (a lot of repeats), but not in compound words or anything. Also, a lot of the superscript pronunciations are unfamiliar because I excused myself from learning all the pronunciations of a character and only learned 1. how to write it, 2. what it means in English, and 3. how to pronounce it as a standalone Japanese word.

So I spent last night on looking up the first page of kanji by using my mouse as a stylus and I now have a page of translated kanji to refer to when I go back through with my dictionary. This harry potter book is two volumes, 1300 pages together, and my goal is to finish the first volume. I'm sure at that point I will be ready to set this aside and read something else.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lettersheet Journal

For my upcoming birthday trip to Vermont I'm going to make a mailed lettersheet journal. Before I go I'll make lettersheets (letters folded up and mailed without envelopes) because that way the postmarks and everything are preserved on the reverse of the letter. I am going through loads of states because that's the cheapest way to fly, and my two hour layovers will give me a chance to hunt down mailboxes and get postmarks from Michigan and Los Angeles. Then, because I am a novice traveler and am flying into the wrong airport, I am going through loads of states via bus or something once I get to the East Coast, and that will provide more postmarks. While I am in Vermont we are going letterboxing, so I'll stamp the letters with those as well, on the outside fronts if they are small enough.

I think it's okay that this is a journal to myself, a collaboration with the post offices of a half dozen states and VT's letterboxers.