Scraps that Match

(Written a couple of nights ago. After all of the rambling, I was too tired to finish the last few words of the last sentence until now.)

I can't sleep without a book. I can't sleep with one, either. Just one more page... just the end of this scene... but it's almost done... whoa, how is it 4 a.m.?

Tonight I finished Pratchett's Hogfather. I thought, "I'm not going to like this - I never like the ones with too much wizarding or with Susan Sto Helit." But Susan was pretty tolerable, especially the way she (being a governess in this book) sharply reprimanded her charges for deliberately acting "twee" (lisping, skipping along paths), and even the wizards were good. I could easily relate to the Archchancellor wanting the Perfect Bathroom, if nothing else. (For now I settle for regular Swiffering and one of those little plastic hair-catching doohickeys to put over the drain, but the brain is always ticking toward a life of multiple showerheads and heated towel racks.)

Earlier today, now yesterday, Team Orange won again. Very cool prize, too. I, again, had nothing to do with our success. Like at least one other person in the league, after the initial fun of messing around with photos on hand and digital scrapping, I was a bit thrown by the rule that all layouts have to include photos. It's not that I don't want to put photos on my pages, but I have soooo many things to scrap that don't have photos. Like, concert stubs and cards from Mike and notes from students - things like that.

Then I think, okay, do I want to get a bunch of photos printed (and deal with the hass of using an online printer that doesn't crop and/or will let you choose how the photo is cropped) and do those pages, or do I want to address this pile of paper and play with preserving it? As the other person in the league (sort of) said, "Are we making SCRAPbooks or are we making photo albums with things stuck all over them?"

It's a cheap excuse, but as I worked on a four-page layout for the Stardust casino and realized everything was going stupidly because I was trying to accommodate photos instead of postcards, keno sheets, cashout vouchers, napkins, slot cards, etc., I lost my steam. Then, predictably, life wedged itself into my plans. Hopefully I'll get back in the swing for the big playoff, because that still sounds fun. It's all been pretty interesting from the bench, no matter what.

And not that I'm dissing the rules, not at all, because it's those rules that have me winning projects like this and this (as well as what's above, plus some special paper, plus win contests and get $10 off stuff like this), despite only periodically flicking a pompom at the other players instead of hunching over a paper-cutter. (Oh, and I did break my X-acto on a jar of Cuban black bean dip, so technically I did have a game-related injury.)

Speaking of scrapping, the Rubber Stamp Expo people are coming back to town early this year - May instead of (or in addition to?) October. Speaking of the Stardust, too, where they had the first Expo I attended, I sure wish they'd find some cheap convention space on the Strip or even downtown instead of booking the dead, gymnasium-like Cashman Center. (Plus you have to pay to park.) Despite the jillion-dollar industry that is scrapbooking, they don't seem to need more than a medium banquet room. Heck, even the gasping coin/stamp show can get the Imperial Palace.

I wasn't going to go, but then a postcard advertising the show came when I was feeling vulnerable. (Read: the day of the Big Rejection. Okay, I know it's not so much rejection as mindless, faceless, impersonal business, but it's easier to beat myself up if I see it as a judgment of my moral worth, k?) I had a really good time the first year of the show (when it was in a casino, where it belongs, just saying) when I went to a workshop. I had a decent time the next year when I did a couple of "sit down and play with the goodies for $2" items. I was bored last year when I didn't do anything. Hmm, if only science could determine a link here between "level of involvement" and "level of fun."

I still have no desire to attend the show, but the "Make-and-Take Ice Cream Social" sounded interesting, more interesting than the "crop nights" of previous shows, where everyone lugs in rolling suitcases of their own papers, embellishments, photos, tools, and so on, and the "fun" is that you get to use a big die-cut machine or similar technology while scrapping and chatting with like-minded people.

Er, no. Not for me. But coming empty-handed and being guided into how to make some fun artsy-craftsy stuff? That's Girl Scouts for Grownups! (And, yes, that's a good thing!)

The web site is here. (Only 11 8 seats left!) Scroll down and check out the list. You get to make everything! You get to stamp with chocolate! You get to make a pendant with a "faux-dichroic look"! (This is less exciting if you Google for pictures, so I'll pretend I didn't do that.)

But most importantly, the really good part, is that Mike is coming with me.

At the risk of making innocent readers gag, doing anything with Mike instantly makes it 20x more fun. This includes even the most traditionally dull things, like staring out the window and taking out the trash. (The latter mostly being improved because Mike does it and I sit on the sofa and tell him not to forget the boxes or the empty bottle on the counter or whatever.)

I said, "Doesn't this sound cool?" Mike agreed that it did. I said, "Do you want to come with me?" Mike made a face. It's the same face that got him out of cake decorating, despite his admiration for the 101-piece Wilton tool caddy. I said, "It's just for one night." A fresh wash of pain came over his expression. I said, "You just sit down, follow instructions for 15 minutes, then move on to the next table. Somewhere in the middle, there's ice cream." A pause, then... "Okay."

"Wait." (That was too easy.) "Do you really want to go?"

"I want you to be happy."

"I'll never be happy. Do you really want to go?"

"Will it make you happy?"

"My life is a scorched wilderness of angstybeasts. Do you really want to go?"

"Errrrrrm. Everyone will think I'm gay!"

"Pft! They'll think you're whipped, not gay."

Ignoring that absurdity, he admitted that it could be fun, getting to hang out together and be total klutzes at something new, which he'd probably like for me to make clear is new as in "one-off," not new as in "the start of something."

I know it will be unusual to bring a Man to a scrapbooking event, especially one that is tall with chest hair and a loud voice prone to avid discussions and therefore hard to pretend is anything but a dude, but it's not just any man - it's my BFF. Surely that's okay. (If not, I'll cut the haters with my broken X-acto blade.)

A Google of "scrapbooking for men" led to two kinds of results: companies trying too hard to market to men, and men trying too hard to explain why they would never scrapbook. One post, nicely composed despite not reflecting my own views, has an especially depressing comment section. When men start comparing the idea of them scrapbooking to the notion that women can change a car's oil, there's a problem. When said men go on to say how they would forbid their wives to do such a thing, I realize I should click away quickly. When I see what the author of the Wall Street Journal article being discussed had to add, I don't look back. No need to shut the door on my way out; I think they're keeping it firmly bolted from the other side.

Despite that article's protests that the idea of scrapbooking men in history is just revisionism, my great-grandfather kept a scrapbook, and I promise that he was the embodiment of masculinity. Sure, his book doesn't have frilly stickers, but who says you have to? It is a nice album, made just for holding such memories, and I bet he would've been delighted with some well-designed paper and coordinating labels, if they'd had such things. Tasteful, neutral, sedate - it's not all orange circles and fuchsia fonts, people.

Come to think of it, I also have a scrapbook kept by my great-great-grandfather on the other side of the family. I didn't know him, but he was by all accounts a manly man as well. His book is just a composition book, but you can tell he put care and effort into organizing little slips of paper and newspaper cuttings of interest. If someone had said, "here are some acid-free glue dots instead of that Scotch tape" and "would you care to use this Sharpie instead of that half-ragged pen," I think he would've been all for it.

(Boy, I wasn't expecting to have so much to say about this.)

Mike is coming because he's a good sport, he'll give most things a shot once, and he doesn't seriously worry about how other people perceive his masculinity. Also, we have fun doing things together, even stuff one of us doesn't care either way about. I can understand a man who wouldn't go because he really thought he'd be bored and thus perhaps bad company, but I don't get these guys who won't go simply because they're guys.

I don't know if I'm lucky or fortunate, but either way, I'm very happy.

22 April 2008 |



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