Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On the air

I'm on the radio today, KQED San Francisco, the Perspective show. It will be repeated on Sunday. If you're out of radio range, as most of you are, you can hear me at:

It's a two-minute reading of "The Secret Value of Junk," one of the stories in 99 Jobs.

They snapped this photo of me, looking like I just stepped off a construction site.

Oh well. We can't all be glamorous.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bookmarks, bookmarks, bookmarks...

Maybe all that sawdust from the Kesey lumber went to my brain. I underestimated how much work the bookmarks would require. If you're a carpenter, you're probably familiar with that sinking sensation when you've put in a whole day and accomplished one-fifth of what you expected.

About those Kesey bookmarks: I invited Terry Adams to join me and James Adams (no relation) in the production. Terry is a natural for the job. Terry is the man who rescued Ken Kesey's house from collapse and rebuilt it after a flood. Terry donated the floorboards and water tank lumber. Here's Terry routing "99 Jobs" into some bookmarks:

Terry could only work for a short while because it was his 70th birthday and he was about to spend the day motorcycling, which is more important than anything.

About that routing. It's hard. You're holding a five-pound, vibrating router in one hand while trying to write on a thin piece of wood. Wood grain and worm holes try to redirect the router. And handwriting was always my worst skill in grade school. Here are some that I had to reject:
The top bookmark, which seems to say "99 Jabs," is a fir floorboard from the Kesey house. As you can see, worms found those floors to be quite tasty. Maybe it was the chemicals spilled in the kitchen. The bottom bookmark is redwood from the Kesey water tank. My hand simply wandered on that one. I blame the sawdust fumes.

Anyway, we're having fun. I'm sorry about the delay, but hey, that's construction. I should have everything out in the mail by next Monday.

And here's a comment from somebody who saw the wormy bookmarks:
Joe, your wormy floorboards reminded me of an Ogden Nash poem (which I may accidentally misquote):

The Termite
Some primal termite knocked on wood,
And tasted it, and found it good.
And that is why your cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

Monday, November 4, 2013

(Quickly) Opinions, please

In less than 24 hours I need to make a final decision on the book cover. Here are two versions:

Which do you prefer? Or a combo of the two?

Here's the back cover. I think it's pretty well nailed down, but if you have comments, please let me know. Time's a-wastin'!

Later today I'll join James Adams at his workshop to make more bookmarks. Over the weekend I saw him sharpening knives on a whetstone, and I can testify that he has no fear of cutting edges. To demonstrate how his thumb was healing, he whacked on the bandage with the back of a knife, apparently feeling no pain. At least, no blood spurted out. James is a character. A good one. A pleasure to work with.