I’ve been burning a lot of CDs lately, which forced me to deal, really deal, with a problem that has been plaguing me for a while now: what the hell to put them in. Let’s face it, jewel cases shatter if you look at em wrong, & who wants to be responsible for more little plastic bits in the landfill? Those little paper envelopes get lost on the shelf or accumulate in disorganized stacks. For a while I was folding my own; these satisfied the DIY itch nicely, but over time they start to look kinda wrinkled & unkempt.

What to do, what to do? I wanted sensibly designed, reasonably cheap, recycled paperboard. At first there seemed to be only one game in town as far as recycled goes, but sleeves do not solve the spineless disorganization problem, plus I wasn’t crazy about having an open side. My tenacious googling finally struck gold: Stumptown Printers sells blank Arigato Paks, shipped flat. You can rubberstamp, print, embellish to your heart’s content, or just write on the spine, fold it up & be done with it.

Problem solved! Plus, you get to support a groovy cooperative letterpress shop. What could be better? (Well, if they sold them through a retail outlet in my neighborhood, that would be perfection itself, wouldn’t it?)

P.S. You can fit up to 3 CDs in one of these! I just cut squares of paper to layer between the CDs, & they all sit snugly in there together.

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I’ve never been too much of an Anglophile (unless you count my persnickety devotion to the finer points of the English language). A trip to the UK has, so far, stayed pretty far down on my list of burning travel desires (although it does have a slot there). When weeping with embarrassment about being an American (an increasingly frequent occurrence, & I don’t mean just for me), I’m generally not comparing myself to the British, at least not specifically.

Until now.

Is it not enough that the Dollar has become economically pathetic relative to the Pound? Now the gods & goddesses of design have decided it’s necessary to make the contrast as blatant as possible in three-dimensional, inescapable, everyday-in-your-pocket, visual terms? & I even like purple. Waaaah! Willya pass me a hanky, please? Then, after a good cry, umm, gonna check the airfares.

(If you haven’t already noticed, Ask H&FJ is my new favorite blog. I will try to restrain myself from linking to everydangthing Jonathan Hoefler says. I will not stalk him, any more than I stalked Chockylit the Cupcake Queen at the height of my cupcake obsession—which is to say, not at all. I promise. I do have a life, & all my marbles too. Really I do.)

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Via email from Kat Velour’s hubby (I was gonna call him Mr. Kat Velour but that seemed a little too out of context, even for me): the Oriental Selectric ball. On this beleaguered earth is there no typographical nook or cranny untouched by the racist scourge of the Evil Chinky Font?

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Aww… look how cute! Typographically correct cupcakes. Scary thing is, I was going to claim that I’m not enough of a type geek to be able to ID the face, but I did have my suspicions, & then… then I turned out to be right. That’s not the same as knowing though. Is it?

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Hey, look what I found! House numbers meet the Evil Chinky Font! Or, perhaps more accurately, house numbers sprang from an ECF. Truly I never would have figured this out on my own, because as the designers point out, the house numbers have “gradually softened” to the point that they don’t seem to resemble any ECF at all, but inhabit their own house number world. My pal the Triathlete has been obsessed with house numbers lately, so I’ve been looking at them more, & wondering where the hell they came from, because they are so typographically odd. Mystery solved, & who ever woulda guessed the answer would strike so close to home?

I can’t help but draw a parallel between the house numbers &—wait for it—“American Chinese” food (aw, you saw that one coming). They both started out as weird misinterpretations of something Chinese, then evolved into their whole own reality, becoming ubiquitous & integral staples of American culture. Arguably the house numbers travelled much farther than the food; the numbers started as racist caricatures (not designed by Chinese typographers, we can safely assume) & are now no longer recognizably Asian in any way at all, racist or otherwise, whereas the food started through gradual adaptations by Chinese cooks themselves trying to figure out what white people wanted to eat, & can still be described the same way.

I love smart type designers. I love them even more when they explain things so clearly.

In cold news, today my throat was still sore enough that an apple was too hard & lumpy to swallow comfortably, but I did have enough energy to make applesauce, which felt quite soothing, both to make & to eat.

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I’m sick. I have that disgusting wretched cold. All those Meyer lemons I was planning to make lemon meringue pie with? They go straight into hot water with honey & garlic for my miserable throat. Meanwhile, whenever I am not asleep or moping around in a foggy stupor, I’ve been surfing the type blogs (don’t ask me why), which eventually led me to this endlessly amusing timewaster P22 Music Text Composition Generator. Check it out, they have many instrument choices, including some of my favorites: banjo, accordion, bagpipe… the acoustic bass doesn’t sound very convincing though. Anyway it’s much more suited to my current condition than trying to appreciate the fine differences between various Garamonds.

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