Saturday, April 3, 2010

In the mailbox lately - April, part 1

i should/need to write a bit about these last days & the stuff i got in the mail, as some were real surprises, and others are great news for my distro...

Vampire Sushi Distro order
i made a bit of a mess with this one. when Tukru warned me that she had just gone out of stock on two of the zines i had initially ordered, at first i decided to wait for the zines to arrive. but then i decide not to wait and chose another two zines to “replace” the former. In the middle of the mess (my mess!) i ended up choosing a zine i had already ordered from the zinester directly, but eventually i had forgotten about the zine's name. i got this zine in the mail, and the next day i got Vampire Sushi's order in the mail... and saw the zine again. hahaha, I'm such a dumbass sometimes!
but i understand why i might have messed up with this: with so much to think & worry about these last couple of weeks, with starting up the distro, messages & emails back and forth with zine-makers inviting them to the distro and others wanting to send their work for distro consideration, i eventually forgot about that zine i had ordered (or at least, its name!) and didn't notice it when i saw it on Vampire Sushi's website.

Pin-Buttons for the Distro Yeyyy!!
i ordered some pins from a local maker/seller, just enough quantity to get the free shipping discount hahaha. i ordered mostly pin-buttons with specific designs that:
a) go well with the distro's catalog;
b) were made of photos, or had text, or had detailed designs;
c) to be honest, some were also designs that i liked so much i just had to order them;
– all this to get an idea of the quality of their work.
i also added a “custom-made” design i had worked on, by using a clipart of a penny farthing bike and adding the words penny farthing around the bottom side of the pin.
i wanted to experiment their custom-made buttons quality too, of course, since i have to have all these things in consideration when thinking about buying i buttons from them for the distro's catalog!

i though my order would arrive next week, but it happened to arrive a couple of days ago... The end result on ALL the pin-buttons is very good, so it left me really really happy. and i have to be honest, i'm happy because this way a have a local alternative to having to buy buttons from other places overseas. this doesn't mean i am not gonna buy buttons from some international resellers because they have exclusive designs that i can't get anywhere else and are totally zine-related, so they're essential for the distro's catalog! but i feel better knowing that i have other alternatives when it comes to other types of buttons, and that i can even make “exclusive” designs for the distro.
that custom penny farthing button i ordered came out pretty nice, even with the quality of the image i used not being excellent, but it was good enough for the purpose. it came out so nice that i'm thinking about ordering more of them for the distro's catalog :)
after 3 failed attempts at trying to get a "good" photo of this button, this afternoon i finally got a "good enough" photo of this cute pin. (see above!)

E-Learning course's "diploma"
about a month & a half ago, for everyone else (besides myself LoL) who doesn't read my blog, i paid myself an e-Learning course on «Entrepreneurship and Business Creation», but i didn't actually end it because the topics got way too complex for my little brain and i became so stressed that i just had to quit, after doing about 3 and 1/ 2 classes (the total classes were 5). in the course's “rules” they said i would receive a certificate if i did like 85% of the classes.
surprisingly, yesterday i got my diploma in the mail. they gave me a score of “Good”, if you compare that to a scale from 0 to 5, it's the same as a 4, or in US terms, it's like getting a “B”. that left me even more surprised. oh well, at least now i don't feel (that) bad for wasting those 120 euros on nothing...
i can now add yet another course certificate to my resume... like it's gonna make a big difference anyway! it's not like i'm really gonna add that info to my curriculum vitae or anything, because the useful information and learnings i got from it weren't that significant that i can say i know how to work on a business creation process from start to finish. so, again, i'm starting to feel like it was a waste of money after all!

Zines for distro consideration
i got my first zine(s) for consideration for my distro's catalog. i must say it felt exciting to get them in the mail, it's like they are little treasures to be discovered. now, after all i read about how to run a distro and stuff, i'm aware that sometimes i might receive zines that after reading i won't like them or think they are what i'm looking for the distro's catalog, and then i'll have to learn how to deal with having to reject people's projects.
but so far i've been lucky enough to get good zines! before this "paper" zine i got in the mail, i had already received a zine but it was a PDF file. now i don't usually accept digital files for consideration because you can't really get an idea of what the zine is like in "real", in paper, but this time i opened an exception because i already knew the zine-maker and i had read another zine by the same person before. lucky me, the PDF was good enough to read without burning my eyes or anything, and the writing/layout/etc in itself were/are quite good so it was definitely a «yes!» for the catalog.
going back to the zine i got in the mail though... I'm not gonna go into too many detail about it, but it is also a «yes!» zine, and i have to email the editor back to tell the good news :)

this just proves what i was talking about a couple of days ago, when someone asked me to tell them "a little about my distro, something to show them that it's not super generic", because ''it seemed that every distro around all carry the same zines". i don't disagreed on 100% but neither do i agree with this kind of statement, so maybe i just agree on 50% or whatever. anyway, what i mean is that, even before i got my 1st zine in the mail for consideration, i felt that there are a lot of zines out there being made that are great, good, amazing, excellent, or "just" really cool, and they aren't necessarily featured in every distro's catalog. sure, there are some "famous" zines that are in almost every distro i've ordered from - but, then again, so far i've just ordered from about 10 distros (if that seems like a lot of distros to you, it's cause i like to experiment :-p). then you have zines that are only featured in one distro or another and that you can hardly find anywhere else besides directly from its editor. i also realize a lot of distro owners stock zines that are made by zine editor they are friends with, and i don't see anything wrong with that either, i'd be doing the same if any of my Portuguese friends had a zine (even my friend that did make a zine in the early 2000's). and although i can't really say i'm friends with anyone in the "international" zine scene, there are some people that i can say i get along with very well, and i obviously want to have those people's zines in my catalog! right beside those people, there are people whose zines i admire but i never really got to "talk" much with, so that makes me a little embarrassed to invite them to be in the catalog.

what if some of my favorite zines are "famous" zines, is that a problem? some of them were the first zines i got to read when i (re)discovered the zine world about a year ago, and they inspired me to start writing again, to have a journal again; they made me feel less lonely; they taught me about things i didn't know or knew little of. so why shouldn't i be grateful to them, and why shouldn't i have them in my distro?
but the zine world isn't just "famous" zines, like i said, there are a lot of other good zines out there, even if those zinesters aren't registered on We Make Zines or aren't part of the zine communities on LiveJournal. some of these people i want them in my catalog too, and if everything goes well, i will have them ;-)

all this to say i have an email to reply, to someone who makes an original and very good zine, and sometimes i just don't know how to put my thoughts into words. i want to invite this person to be in the catalog. since the beginning of our conversations, this zine-maker was really very humble and even being kind of a newbie in the zine world, proved to be a very accessible person. this isn't me saying that "experienced" zine-editors aren't accessible or easy to talk to, not at all! i'm just procrastinating a bit on writing that email...

this week i've also gotten some samples/writings from other people, regarding a possible submissions of other zines for consideration. i liked what i read, even though it's way different from what i usual read and from the majority of zines being made, but that's me - i like to read new and different things, i'm always willing to "try" out something new. and so that's what i got to read, something totality new and quite interesting. i'm curious as to what it would/will look like in the form of a zine ;-)

Zines & books bought and on the reading...
this was a really busy week for my postman i guess hahaha. i got another perzine in the mail, but i have a few "problems" with it and i just don't know what to do about it. at first, i thought about writing back to the editor and tell about what i feel could be corrected/improved in the zine, specially since it's their 1st issue of this particular zine, although the editor says not to be new in zine-making. but i'm affraid my advices will be taken as critiques and not as sincere advices on how to improve the zine.
the problem with this zine is that the text size is too small. the layouts are good, everything else is good, but small text size on a quarter-sized zine just puts me off. i even give a discount to the fact that more than a couple of different typefaces are used (handwritten typefaces). i really want to read the zine but the text size is so small it gives me headaches so i dunno if i'm gonna pick it up again and continue reading. and that makes me sad, really.

i also got "about half" of an order i made from Godhaven Ink distro. it's a book called «Surrender», by Mahalia. when i opened the package and flipped through the book's pages, i was puzzled because it looked like it was half poetry and half prose or biography or whatever. i must have been a little distracted when i ordered it, but it must have been something in the book's description that made me click ''add to cart''. actually, by visiting the distro's website now, i read that Mahalia is a poet, but i probably didn't notice that when i ordered it, to be honest...
the pages still looked very interesting, and when i had the book in my hands i felt curious, being the bookworm i am, so i knew i had to read it to find out what it was all about. and so i did. mostly i think it's poetry, and until the part i paused my reading, i enjoyed it.

i'm always a bit wary when it comes to poetry, because it's not the type of literature i'll choose to buy or read, since i find it hard to like and/or understand, even poetry that is written in my native language (Portuguese). and let me tell you, we have some great poets in our literature's history! though i do like some Portuguese poets, like Florbela Espanca, and some of Fernando Pessoa's poems (or some of his heteronym's poems), most of what i enjoy reading from my country's writers is prose.
i think my high-school Portuguese classes are also to blame for my little interest on poetry. i admit that there was a time in high-school where i slacked off on most classes and i even got some bad grades on Portuguese class, what was kinda shameful given my love for reading and how good i was at those classes until that time. my teenage years kinda sucked, anyway, so... let's move on.

on writing & my future "promised" perzine
well i wasn't planning to write about this when i first started this post, but while i'm writing this i'm also multitasking (as usual) and i opened a text file to edit; it's "just" some stuff i wrote before dinner. i was just getting ready to leave my bedroom and go to the kitchen, when i had this weird burst to write. about my zine project and about writing in my journals. my so-called "zine project" that's what got me here (to make this blog) in the first place. it got me to sign up on We Make Zines and to start dreaming of making my own zine, my very first. but i got lost in the ZineWorld and reading other people's zines became more exciting than working on my own zine.
though i have collected several texts, articles, images, written my own texts, journal essays, made mock-ups of several different zine sizes & different paper foldings, etc. Almost everyday that i turn on the computer, i will find something interesting on the internet, bookmark it and save the page and/or pictures with the intent to use them somehow when making my own zine.
starting my distro came bit as a savior for me. since i couldn't contribute to the zine scene by making my own zine, well, i might as well help spread other people's words (zines!) around the world (though i'm mostly trying to appeal to future European costumers) with a mail-order service, most commonly known as distro.
but know i've gotten the "zine-bug" again and have been thinking about making my zine, maybe in a couple of months or so, when the distro is finally working on 100% or close enough, like 80% or 90%. and then i can distro my own zine, wouldn't that be fun?

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this post is way too long, i wonder if Blogger servers can take it hahaha!
but i should be working on the distro anway, and trying to write down those damn Submission Guidelines i've been trying to write for days now! and on answering emails regarding distro stuff, that's important too!

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