Sunday, February 5, 2012

After the bowl and other good things

So many classes to worry about right now and other crap...but still I must go on because I WANT to go on and I WANT to succeed...

But in truth I feel a little crappy because it feels like the TEACHER is the only person reading this crap. Am I not witty enough for the rest of you?! D8

I need to get back on track....and now for the assignment.

Go to a library, bookstore, or your own book collection and look through the books. Please do not read any. Just pay attention to what catches your eye.
  • What is it that stands out to you? Why?
The fact that I have so many books crammed into this tiny bedroom of mine. I commute and I have...ISSUE with how my books are stored, where they are stored and how they are kept. I have to have all my books NEAR me so I can access them not only when I need reference to look up but to entertain myself when I get bored and I want to look at things. I am such a lazy git and worried about water damage that I refuse to have any of my books in the basement. In the summer and on wet days, moister SEEPS into the place and you can FEEL it. I can't even draw downstairs because it fucks up the paper so do you think I want to keep any of my books down there?

I am such a dork.

Choose a red book and open it to page 6. Close your eyes and put your finger on the page somewhere.
  • What did you find?
I found one of the biggest, REDDEST books I have; CHINA. No really, THAT'S the name of it...just CHINA. It has this fakie velvet texture so it basically shines and glows under the light which is something impressive. Also impressive? The price. This thing is like 400 pages and I only paid 3 bucks for it. YEA ME.
On page six was the following; THE FORWARD!



  • If your finger landed on a paragraph, how many times does the letter P show up in that paragraph?
An even 28 times. 

  • If it landed on a picture, how many straight lines are in the picture?
THERE WERE NO PICTURES! Just red and white colors and grayish text! The most uninspired forward ever....but of course, once I turn the page THAT'S when the pictures begin! >8I

  • If it landed on white space, what is the white space surrounding?
There was white space but as I mentioned, it took up a nice portion of the page and was only accomppanied by more text and boarders of red.

  • Can you imagine the white space as a sea and the other parts (words, pictures, etc.) as islands floating in white water or space?
Not really, but I can imagine the entire set up to resemble...a hallway? A wall print? I have no idea. :(

Using your other senses, explain what the paper feels like.
  • Is it slick or rough?
The paper is very slick and cool to the touch. Despite being almost a year old, the book still has that new print smell to it which I enjoy.

  • What does the cover feel like?
The cover has a velvety feel to it considering that both its front and back are covered with some sort of material. I have no idea what the EXACT material is but it gives the entire book a silk look and texture which plays well into the fact that the book IS about China. Of course, this ISN'T silk (if it were, I'm sure it wouldn't have cost 3 bucks...) and after feeling it for a while, its not a material I would want to wear as clothing. XD

  • Can you feel the ink of the words if you close your eyes?
Nope, like most ink-jet prints, the type is perfectly printed on the paper so it leave no texture or feeling. The same is true for the cover text which has been printed perfectly on the cover in such a way that it seems like text was SEWN into the text

  • Do different colors feel different with your eyes closed?
Not at all; no matter what color, what font or what size, all the text feels the same.

  • What else can you discover about the paper?
That it still smells new...I don't think I should go as far as LICKING the paper but....but....


  • What about the cover?
The cover is one of the most interesting designs I have seen. Besides having a silk-like exterior, the portion of the cover (both on the front and the back) that shows in detail some of the people and culture is actually placed lower on the cover, as if the picture is layered BELOW the portions where the title and other text is placed. Its hard to explain and hard to see in the pictures I have but if I brought the book in and people were able to see and feel the book was designed, they could see what I am talking about.

Without destroying the book, unless you own it and want to, see if you can figure out how the book was constructed.
  • Is it stitched?
Yes, portions of the book have been stitched together and placed on top of each other in layers.

  • Is it glued?
The book has also been glued at the spine to ensure that the book itself is secure to both the other pages and the cover. 

  • Is there any cloth on this book or is it all paper?
Both the front and back covers have some sort of fake silk-like material donning it while the rest of the book is your basic paper filler.

  • Is it a hardback or paperback?
This wonderful book is hardback and it makes me wonder how the fuck a book that was designed so nicely could be so CHEAP.

  • Does it have signatures? (Hint: you may need to look up what signatures are in the context of making books…)
If pre-printed signatures count then YES. Not only did the author sign her name in basic English text, she also put her name in traditional Chinese characters. Sadly, these seem to have been added pre-printing and are bound to the paper, rather than being an authentic signature.

  • If it has signatures, how many pages are in each and how many signatures are there in the whole book?
This signature only appears on page 7 of the book and appears once. Even though many people took part in the project that eventually lead to the publication of this book, the main author, Anchee Min, is the only one who is mentioned predominately. 
  • If it does not, look at the glue on the ends of the spine and discribe what you see.
I see layers and layers and layers and LAYERS....of pages. SO MANY PAGES.

Flip through the pages and look at the end papers.
  • Is there any writing in the book, other than the printing?  If so, what does it say?  Why is it there?  Who wrote it?  If you do not know, then imagine who might have written it.
None that I could see or find. Everything here seems to have been done with printing.

  • If there is no writing in the book then how does it make you feel to know you are the first person (possibly) to think about it?
Well, seeing as this is MY book, that means I can write in it as much as I can and seeing as I'm going to be using this for RESEARCH, this is going to get a lot of use! XD

Examine the book more.
  • Are there any stains on the book?
No, but there is a bit of wear on the corners....YOU KNOW, JUST LIKE WHAT REAL SILK DOES WHEN ITS PUT UNDER A LOT OF STRESS RIGHT?! 8D

  • Are there any fingerprints?
Slightly but only on the paper and those finger prints are so faint they are only noticeable when light shines/sheen on the paper.

  • What do they look like?
Small, smudged markers, especially near the bottom corners.

  • How might they have happened?
From my constant looking through this book of course. :P

Look at the pages of the book.
  • What is the color of the pages? I bet they are not really white.
Why no, the backdrop is WHITE but considering that there are many examples of text, photography and illustrations, there are MANY colors in this book. Red and white are the most common color themes however.

  • How would you describe the color? Is it warm or cold? Bright or dull, etc.
The red in this book wouldn't be a 'basic' red; its bright and firy and considering that red is the color of luck in China, this makes sense.

  • What other visual things can you explore with the book?
There are many examples in which Chinese characters are dotted throughout the book, as well as small markers and maps which are used to indicate exactly where certain pictures are taken.

Think about the history of this book.
  • Can you see any other evidence that someone else has handled this book?
Aside from me, not at all. I may not have been the first person to actually TOUCH this book but I was the first to open it and remove its original plastic sealing.

  • What are the edges of the pages like? Describe them.
The pages are still crisp and pristine, a sign that I DO care for how I handle my things! 8D

  • Can you imagine what someone else might have been thinking as they read this book?
'Wow, this book is hella big!'
'These pictures look kinda cool...'
'I wonder how many things I can hide between the pages of this....'

  • Do you think anyone else has used this book like you are right now instead of reading it?
Unless by some massive coincidence, a student of yours from nearly two years ago went to the now closed Borders downtown, found this book, looked at it for about 30 minuets, wrote down all the details they needed and then used that information for the assignment, I very much doubt it.

Flip through the pages quickly.
  • Can you hear the sound? If so, describe it.
The sound is of...paper pages flapping against each other. If I were to leave my room and the gravity from the weigth of the book caused the book to close, would there be a sound?

  • If not, what is your experience like? Can you feel the breeze? Can you move something with the wind generated from the book?
Of course there is a nice breeze generated from the movement of the pages of the book which only bring forth the scent of the paper inside. Considering the sheer size of this book in general, small things CAN be blown with it but its not like I could actually move anything significant, like another book if I stood it on its edges.

  • Could you use this book to win a game you created using the book's wind power?
I have no idea....I mean, if I cheated, SURE! No, no, we mustn't cheat. Not at all...but wind power from this book? I'd be lucky if I could get this book to blow out a birthday candle or a very, very, very, VERY weak flame.
Drop the book on the floor.
  • What did you experience?
A gust of wind, a loud thud...and the sound of my dogs barking like crazy because they think any sort of movement means 'ATTACK! EAT THEIR FEET! THEY'RE BREAKING INTO OUR HOUSE!!'

  • Did you sense the vibrations the book made?
Yes, but only for a short time. I am on a sturdy foundation after all and its not like I'm on glass or something. Even if I stood on my bed, the vibrations would disappear very quickly. Perhaps if I had a WATER bed...*strokes chin*

  • Did you feel it in your feet?
Yes, but again for a short time.

  • Take your shoes off. Now drop the book. Was there any difference?
I felt the impact of the book a little clearer as well as the chill of the wind it produced.

Hold the book between your hands with one hand on each cover and the book closed. Close your eyes.
  • Is the book cold? Hold it like that for at least one minute.
Yes, this book was cold but after holding it in my hands for some time, it began to warm up.

  • Now feel the cover. Can you feel the temperature change from where your hands were to where they were not?
Yes, but this too shifted once I held the book for some time.

  • Have you ever been aware of this before when you were holding a book to read it?  If your heat transfers in this situation and you noticed it because I asked you to, why do you think you have never noticed it before?
Yes, especially with book that have glossy covers which tend to have lower surface temperatures than my books that have textured/non-glossy(matte) covers.

  • If you have noticed the temperature of a book you were holding before, describe why you noticed it.
I only noticed the temperature change in comparison to the other side of the book which felt cooler.

Smell the book.
  • What does the smell make you think of?
The smell makes me think of bookstores and freshly printed paper.

  • If you can't think of anything, describe the smells you can sense. (Interesting fact: Did you know that I have friends [many librarians, actually] who choose their books partly based on how they smell? Honestly.)
The smell is that of fresh paper, a woody smell mixed in with the scent of ink.

I do not recommend tasting the book for health and safety issues… :-)


Now, finally, read the first page. If it is just pictures, read the story of the pictures. 
  • What is the title of this book?
CHINA: People|Place|Culture|History

  • Based on the first page, explain why you think the book was titled that.

Reflect back on this entire exercise.
  • What is your experience like with the book now that you have experienced it differently?
I can't say that I really view the book any differently. It feels more like I appraised the thing now! XD

  • Do you still find books to be boring, assuming you did in the first place?
No, why would I consider books boring....


  • What, if anything has changed for you in regards to books?
Not really. I still see the book as something to draw inspiration from.

Now think about this class.
  • How did I "fishbowl" this assignment?
Well, considering I still really don't like the fishbowl concept that much, I can imagine that you threw a book at the fish bowl, breaking it. That would look so cool in high-speed...

  • What do you think the point is of this exercise?
I have no idea but I will throw out a bone; to try to get us to notice details more? To just show how insane these assignments can be?

  • What can you take from this exercise that might help you with future projects?
I have no idea...but if I do use some of the observation details brought up in this assignment in later projects...OH THE IRONY.

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