Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RX XR: Paper And Photons

It's amazing how a small project can eat up so much time.

After all these years publishing a hardcopy zine, you would think it would get easier. Nope. First, write enough material for an issue. Paste in all that text to fit. Then proofread, print a master copy and then go the the printshop to make photocopies.

But that's about half of the job. Check the mailing list, address the envelopes, fold each zine to fit the business size envelope, seal each envelope, and then drop the whole mess off at the Post Office. I don't have a car so walking around town is involved. Good eXercise but...

Compare that to publishing a blog: write, proofread, push a button, you're done.

I started this journey with my zine, the Ray X X-Rayer. In the beginning it was fun, learning how to paste up a zine using a computer. Playing around with different lay outs and fonts. Now the whole hardcopy gig is a pain.

So why do I do it?

1. I like getting zines via snail mail. Easy to read, no batteries needed.

2. If all of my digital stuff vaporizes, I still have hardcopies.

3. Some Luddites still eschew the Web.

But despite those reasons, my zine might be going the way of the dodo bird. It might live on in other forms online, a PFD file or Word document, available at my Website, xrayer.com .

And that leads to another item. Since I now have DSL, I'll be dropping my poky dial-up service. That means that xrayer.com needs to find a new home because the dial-up company has been hosting my site.

But I've been working on that angle. I just put up a new site, rayxr.webs.com, that will take over. I will eventually have xrayer.com redirect to that location so that I have a place to archive my zines. The new site is small; it only has the XR issues for this year for download. The latest issue, XR #66, is there in both PDF and Word document formats.

Be advised that my zines are now posts collected from this blog. So the material isn't new. Another reason why I might drop my zine. Why recycle stuff for only a few meatspace readers? But if you're online, still into zines, and don't want to scroll through this blog, then you can print out your own at my Website. If I I get enough feedback, I might continue with zining, at least online.

I'm sick of the taste of envelope glue.


Doug said...

I have on occasion, in all seriousness, printed out posts from your blog and read them on paper. There's something about that medium that these computer screens just can't replicate.

Also, printouts don't have to compete with crazy YouTube videos. It's easier to focus with getting distracted if I'm simply away from the computer.

Don't tell the rest of the internet; I'm not sure they'd understand. Let's keep it our little secret.

p.s. You don't suppose Google indexes comments, do you?

p.p.s. If only my salsa-flavored glue idea had caught on...

X. Dell said...

(1) Isn't envelope glue good for you?

(2) I really can appreciate the time putting out a hardcopy zine. I remember doing that sort of thing back in the '80s using PageMaker (my first PC App, before the days of Windows). It is a lot of hassle, but I agree there is something satisfying.

(3) As you know, I've only read your zine online, and found it quite fascinating. Then again, I'm used to reading things on the screen as opposed to in front of me, mostly because I've never really had a decent printer. But you're correct in assuming that some people still prefer to look at print.

I myself prefer to look at hardcopy as well. It transports better, and will adapt to you, instead of you adapting to it (e.g., if I want to read this site lying down, I can't just take the monitor and hold it over my head without a whole lot of bother).

Ray said...


ThanX for the feedback. I also print out your posts. Like X Dell mentions, it's hard lying in bed with holding up a desktop computer monitor for relaxed reading. As for your salsa glue suggestion, I'll pass. What I will do is not cheap out the next time I buy envelopes and get a box of those easy-seal ones, the kind where you pull off the protective strip and just press down.

X. Dell:

Envelope glue ain't good for me. But as for airplane glue... [G]

Three things I'm still waiting for: the economic trickle-down Reagan promised, the peace dividend after the US and the Soviet Union/Russia scaled back their military forces, and the paperless office (remember that one?).