Archive | Recommendations

me love you long time

I’m in love…my copy of Dragon Dictation came in the mail today…it was on sale at amazon the other day. i”m not sure what it was priced at before the sale..but i think it got for less than $29. They probably have a new edition coming out in a few months and want to shovel all other old ones out of the warehouses. Whatever reason, it was on sale, and i bought it using money i really really should be sending to a utility company.

And boy is it worth every penny…it reputedly will do many things besides transcription…controlling the computer functions not withstanding…i bought this to speed up my transcriptions…and it does. I dictated about 20 pages tonight..and i will do the rest tomorrow…i’m getting better and it’s leaning what i sound like. well actually i cheat…i talk like a robot when i’m is supposed to be able to speak normally, but i’m reading stuff written 100 years ago, and i don’t want to keep stopping and correcting things. It’s remarkable. J’adore.    Now if they made something that sped up indexing, i’d probably be able to sleep at night,


I spent the last few days with a tech from North Carolina controlling my computer trying to FIX different bugs in my computer that were preventing me from running Photoshop 7, which i desperately need, so i can run the half tone dot removing filter over some images I have swiped from various sources. I need to make them print worthy for the books I am producing. I am also having issues with Adobe Distiller compressing my images to 150dpi which is NOT print worthy, and the list goes on. So far he’s worked for about 15 hours for me and i still have no idea how much I will be paying him, he says choose your own amount based on the results..but i KNOW what an hourly tech costs so i’m stressing about how much i CAN afford to pay and how much i SHOULD pay….i think i should just send him my wallet…but that would be an insult.

For the last few years I had a virginal copy of Marshall Lee’s Bookmaking on the shelf in my bedroom. I had bought it new and shelved it thinking it would from across the room, somehow inspire me to produce beautiful books. But a couple of months ago, when I got on this cut everything in half kick….which i must admit i have been slack off on lately, I sold it. For a good price I thought as even used copies sell for about $20…this I know because I just had to rebuy it!!

Long story short..i know too late .  .  . I’m trying to produce the best looking copies I can,  i keep running into issues, MOST of them, like the image thing, I have already have a fix in my tool kit for it. However adapting 19th century print styles for reading by 21st century readers, with their limited vocabulary, attention spans and eyesight, I’m dumbing things down just a little bit. I chose Goudy Old Style for the 19th century stuff, mostly because I can read it without my glasses and it still looks OLD. I’m also changing the words that end with -tre and -our to -ter and -or; these guys just can’t make the leap from US to UK. The other liberty I want to take is to take long swaths of text quoted from other sources and set it apart so it’s not just hidden in the text surrounded by quotation marks…the little editor in my head is screaming ITALICIZE! but I need to look it up and make sure I’m not being a dumbass.

Today I am holding my 1st hard proof of Pehlp’s “10th of January” short story.  as you can clearly see from my blog posts,  I just can’t proof from a screen, i have tried; but give me a paper copy and i’m golden.  I took the liberty of giving the short story a subtitle so you have a clue about what you are getting it’s “the Tenth of January, a tale of the Pemberton Mill,”  it’s like an American Girl story, cept she gets trapped in a collapsed mill and burns to death…cheery no?

I sent the first draft off to be printed but I don’t think it’s enough.  I am giving it footnotes with definitions for the words we don’t use anymore.   Also included now is the wikipedia entry for Phelps on the back page.   I am going to see if i can get the Special Collections Librarian/Pemberton Mill expert to help me add some more contextual material so that if someone wanted to READ this and never heard of the Mill Tragedy of 1860, they could catch up. I’m considering it all ‘added-value’ for my ‘touchable books’ series.  I’m already considering myself a parasite making money of the long dead….wait a minute…i haven’t actually MADE any money.   I think I found a flaw in my project.

new eyes

not even gonna apologize..i’m busy…for some reason i seem to have a lot of energy to put into this project…SicPress is actually living up to its name. I am working on it, nearly to the exclusion of all my other jobs. I need to get out today and take some photos for the rail trail construction..and i need to reorder some products and do a serious inventory for the book repair business. by the time i got the laundry done this week i twas mountainous…but I keep coming back to this research. I sent the Wadsworth here to press and I am waiting for a proof…i still need to take a look at the Indexing..which means learn how to index as well as possible and as fast as possible. These old histories only need a cursory index…proper names and such..but still it would be nice if I didn’t look a fool.
I figure ‘research’ is looking at old material with new eyes. I had made this cover for the Vox Populi edition that i was tickled about …and I opened the box yesterday to all the shiny books and started reading the actually article ON the cover of the Vox. Turns out that ‘The New England Factory Girl’ (1848) is a three part short story about a 15 year old girl who leaves her home to work in the Lowell Mills to pay for her brother’s college. That’s as far as I got in my transcribing, i am not reading ahead. Anyway, i googled it and didn’t find an immediate evidence of it being reprinted…and there’s plenty of text to produce a small volume so into the queue of books I am publishing it went. Actually it went on top of the pile. Along with the Elizabeth Phelps short story about the 10th of January 1860, a story of a mill girl who..spoiler…dies in the Fall of the Pemberton Mill…for those who don’t read that much 19th century history the Pemberton Mill was the 911 of the industrial age. an entire building at the height of it’s production collapsed and killed about 100 people and wounded a lot more. Don’t worry the mill owners actually MADE money on the insurance and it was back in production within a year or so.

There seems to be a never ending source of material for me to long as i am not looking to get rich…this is so NOT a profitable enterprise..but i have hopes…if i keep in the narrow one of locally appealing titles…history or stories then i can flog them through local venues like the library or the museum stores. Perhaps once i have enough I can do tables at events and give my credit card iphone swipe attachment a work out. THEN i would pull i some cash. Anyhow my hope is that like the Book Repair Book generates a little cash whether i work on it or not. passive money…i gotta start planning for my old age..which should be any time now.
I’m trying to not to start working on more than three titles at a time. One going into the printing phase..which takes time…resubmitting over and over getting the kinks out…one getting edited and indexed..and one at the beginning of the process which involves a lot of transcription. The 1st three books I did were just reproductions, now i am working with ones i have actually typed and i am going to need to hire an editor to watch for my mistakes..which I am famous for. my goal is 12-15 titles done by June for the reopening of the museum and the special collections librarian wants to throw her weight in promoting the series. who knows in could generate a chunk of change over time. I will push on this project like crazy until the Season Affective Disorder kicks in this year…then i can throttle back to ONE new title a month or so.


  i can’t remember what i was exactly what i thinking when i came up with that…I’m using ‘Sic’  meaning THUS as in ‘As Is’ press.   So basically it was an excuse to make mistakes.  Sorry fella you purchased it AS IS.   I published a few things using  under the imprint  but the only thing of note is the Book Repair for Booksellers. It has indeed been my intention to publish MORE…i mean even after 5 years I am still earning  pin money from BRB and I can always use more pins.

One of my goals this year was to finish a LOT of the unfinished projects on my desk. Including putting into print a lot of the unfinished manuscripts I have laying around.  The biography of Harriette Nevins is one…that i am deeply into research mode.   I want to do a couple of fundraiser titles for non profits that I am in tight with.  To get myself inspired to finish these original titles, I pulled some public domain stuff out of my hard drive and have spent the last month setting up reprint editions.   The 2 Methuen Histories will be vended at the tiny museum here in town, which is open like 12-2 on sundays, so there will be a mad rush for those.   I also worked on a 260 page Lawrence MA history from 1918..the 1918 pdf is all over the net, the 1924 version which is a quite different volume wasn’t easily findable on the net, so I spent $30 on a copy online..(which is a good price for that book)  And it looks like I will have to scan the entire thing one page at at time.   Not looking forward to that, but I have been assured I can sell at least TWO copies once I have scanned them, adjusted the image, set up the pages, saved as pdfs and published them….yeah..i think i was high when i made that deal.

To keep myself entertained..and to avoid serious work, I have a couple of FUN projects to throw out there.  I am nearly finished with an edition of LIVING ALONE by Stella Benson…published in 1920, it is clearly in the public domain in fact, the TXT file can be downloaded, and like the other public domain titles I have  put out editions of there are at least two editions already listed on Amazon.  WHY am i putting the effort into another one?  Anyone one who has looked at these ‘curated’ or not curated REPRINTS of public domain titles the ones offered are rather Vanilla…or actually they remind me of the GENERIC products we tried in the 80s. all the covers are blank and boring and the books don’t SELL themselves because the printers, i can’t call them publishers, haven’t READ the damn things.

I have a first edition of Living Alone…i don’t think I paid a lot for it, but it IS worth quite a bit.  It is a little fantasy fable set in WWI London – but you wouldn’t know that reading one of those bland generic reprint listings..hell you can’t even tell that from the dumb ass title.  IF you read the book, you GET the title….but unless someone told you, you couldn’t Glean the content from the title.   I am adding a SUBTITLE to the damn thing….hey it’s public domain I can do what i want….Living Alone, a Faerie tale of wartime London.  SEE isn’t that better?   and I have written a blurb for the back and I will add more to the book description….i am actually thinking about getting someone to write an introduction… we’ll see.   I set up the edition with  some internal ornamentation (i love internal ornaments) …..and that  KICK ASS Gibson Girl on a Broomstick French postcard which i just happen to STUMBLE upon a high res file online.   And hopefully I can get folks to buy it and read it.

No, I don’t expect to retire on this edition or any of my books…but even if you don’t make any money from it, there is a terrific thrill from producing a nice volume – even if no one sees it.

Once I have a few in stock I will set up a PAGE to vend from on Sicpress and here, but right now I haven’t got any cash to order a stock pile – which is actually safe.  If you HAVE them around you tend to give them away which can be an expensive hobby.




what kind of season is this otto?

I spied this puddle/pond out on the Danvers rail trail today…and I was dumbfounded…apparently mother nature doesn’t know that this is supposed to be JANU-FUCKING-WARY.

Since we had that freak October snowstorm that kicked the crap out of New England we never did get a decent winter. Any snow fall hasn’t lasted more than a day or so. I’m not REALLY been complaining mind you because I’m saving a shitload of money on heating bills..thank you very much global warming. But people seem to forget that New Englanders NEED a good cheek freezing winter. It teaches us things…HUMILITY for one… I really don’t think folks who live in idyllic one weather fits all places like San Diego understand what it means that at any moment Old Man winter can take away your heat and power and plunge you into the dark ages. Rough winters teach us charity and generosity, when your neighbor looses heat and power and YOU don’t? you bring em on over to YOUR house…when the snow piles up and you finish shoveling your own walk you toddle on across the street and dig out the old lady BECAUSE it’s what your mother taught you to do. Winter’s potential to kick the crap out of us unexpectedly teaches us Self reliance and Frugality, any yankee worth their salt can eat out of their pantry for a month, and turn a galllon’s worth of powdered milk into ten. Winter fights sloth: instead of letting you hide in your house in your stocking feet it drives you out into the cold every time the city plows pass by; shoveling snow and spreading sand keeps you mobile and gets the heart pumping. Global warming is a fact and it looks like winter weather is going to be a crap shoot from now on. And I am wondering how the New Generation of Yankees will evolve without it to teach them.

pssst…it’s from Fish Called Wanda..”What kind of Buddhism is this otto?”


true confession: i like shopping off the net, big surprise. i will never just go to a store and buy the 1st thing i find anymore. like everyone else i don’t want to waste my money buying something i may have to replace too soon. And i really detest going into a big box store to buy something i can have delivered to my home for less than i’d spend on gas money, cause i hate the big box stores and that i never find what i want in them. aside from looking things up on review sites, i do have a fondness for some of the blogs that recommend items just because they don’t suck.

Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools is almost an institution. What entertains me a lot is when he writes about something i already own. In the last two years the blog blew up big and now covers hundreds of products which don’t suck.

Recently Jezebel blog has started doing a daily recommendation called Worth It for things..not neccessarily products, which don’t suck. I discovered Bromer’s Castille Soap using that blog, and a couple of other useful products that i didn’t know existed.

Since I have my heart set on an external hard drive i was poking around and discovered which does the same for an assortment of technology.  I was pleased to find out that the drive i had my heart set on was one of the better buys out there. Unfortunately i now have a list of toys i can’t afford nor really need but i know they don’t suck.




through a glass darkly

I have had a good week..and i have been spoiling myself rotten. someone’s got a job for me brokering truck shipments and i actually don’t have any utility companies gunning for me…no really i don’t…and i have shipped almost everything in my inbox. like i said a good week…basically it’s good when i am not afraid to answer my phone because it is probably NOT someone yelling at me, instead of probably is. of my rewards was ordering some reading glasses. I was GOING TO renew the roadside service anyway, so i switched back to Triple A, since that got me 30% off the eye exam, then i walked the new RX over to walmart..yes walmart…i didn’t even know they had an eyeglass shop…and ordered the 2nd least expensive pair in the shop. They are only for reading books, as i don’t seem to have a problem with the computer screen…so i spent a grand total of ($69 on AAA, $65 for RX, and $69 for the glasses) Which I think was a good parlay.My original intention was to take advantage of one of the few trustworthy online eyeglass replacement sites…see but then i would have had to wait longer and then get them basically i spent a weentsy bit more and i will get them in a week fitted. I am looking forward to actually FINISHING a book when i sit down with it, instead of falling asleep after reading pages 3 and 4 multiple times and giving up.

sunny side

I surrender….how long did i go? 6 weeks…8? doesn’t matter… I got three checks in the mail yesterday so i took the opportunity to go food shopping before it all sizzled away like spit on a griddle…i entered the grocery store vegan and left it vegetarian. with 6 organic free range eggs and a couple of sticks of imported butter at the bottom of the basket. i had to throw in the towel apparently i was annoying the hell out of my friends.

What I discovered about being vegan…it is easier to stick to it when you have friends who are vegan..or at least i hope it is, because if your friends don’t understand, you spend a lot of time talking about it and trying to find accommodations. It can be more expensive if you buy straight up replacement items for the non vegan parts of your diet, instead of changing your diet. A health crisis makes a really good motivator, or i expect it would, i just had a normal amount of paranoia about what they would find if they looked. And i have a new found respect for folks with dietary allergies.

The biggest pain in the ass was reading all the labels, not that i wasn’t already reading labels, but trying to avoid trace amounts of milk and egg proteins in manufactured food is hideously difficult. Since i am not allergic to anything, i don’t really HAVE to worry about them, but it was the principal of the thing. Eggs, I missed eggs – and Cheese…not all cheese but really good cheese – the huge grocery i was in today didn’t have anything i deemed worthy of breaking my diet for.

In the end I made a compromise just merged the two types of diets, keep on eating the foods that weren’t too bad. Silk’s Very Vanilla soy milk is delightful, and the Heart To Heart Cereal Honey Toasted Oat isn’t half bad for food that’s supposed to be good for you. I haven’t had the heart to go near the scale, if i had to guess the initial weight i lost when i stopped consuming truly bad things, has all crept back on to my waist when the weather changed and i started eating root vegetables and baked goods. Right now the only green vegetables in the fridge are limes.

China syndrome

So I started reading this book about doing without Chinese made products…. Well its about a write who takes her family on a year long experiment to see if it can be done… Apparently from the various reviews of the book .. By her methods it can’t be done. Using various methods to acquire needed items by non pocketbook methods they manage to get to the end of the year with their lifestyle unchanged. I will probably finish reading the book anyway, the author is readable enough and the entire idea is thoughtworthy but if one was looking for an instruction manual for going on a china diet this isn’t the book. After rooting around on the Internet I figured out there is no manual perse, one needs to take each opportunity to acquire at a time. Even the book ‘called’ How an American can buy American, focuses on buying from American owned companies that make their stuff OUTSIDE the US.

Needless to say the easily suggestible part if my brain started going thru everything in my home looking for ‘Made in China’ including the device I am typing this on. I don’t tend to buy anything plastic or well NEW aside from devices and media to play on it. Since I nor anyone I know is ready to join the Amish, doing without even the minimum number of devices such as a TV, a Cablebox and a Cellphone would be impossible. I suppose some of these items are still made in Korea and Taiwan etc… That would be an interesting study but what would be the point? A product made outside the US is still something transported IN to the US and if i am not mistaken we never made cell phones or cable boxes here nor any sort of modern TV.

I’m gonna make a blatant assumption that a consumable product or basically any product that doesnt declare it’s origin was probably made outside the US…my CVS mouthwash has nothing to declare while my Toms of Maine practically screams it. Putting my ethics where my mouth is, I have vowed to spit it out when I use it.

I will let you know if I find any chinese made items that I am ashamed to own or at least unexpected。I cam pretty much guaranteed all my DVDs and CDs hailed from asia. Even a blank disc burned in the US would still be of Asian product wouldn’t it?

Getting back to thke books core premise of doing without Products from China because of our obvious trade imbalance, I would Propose a much more realistic solution that everyone cut their Chinese consumption down to bare minimum, or rather increase your US consumption as high as possible – 75/25 buying mostly US would be ideal. However anyone with children would be stuck becoming Amish nudists for 18 years.


I couldn’t find my copy of this book…that’s not saying I have so many books and they are all in disorder…what i am saying is that i must have given it away to someone that i thought needed it. Even when culling books, I try not to get rid of things that are difficult to replace.

Whereas Laurel’s Kitchen in the mass market edition isn’t super rare, but it’s a pain in the ass to find because the majority of used books online are keyed to an ISBN found in Amazon’s database – which makes it a crap shoot finding an EXACT edition of a book.

Granted you can usually find a NEW edition or a reasonable looking copy online, but if you want a specific tactile edition of a book…that could take you a while. As it was it took me a couple of hours to find the Bantam ISBN online that I KNEW was the one that went with the book i was looking for. (I actually happened to know it was a Bantam Book to begin with) Then I searched for it, and even then i had to ASSUME that the vendor had the book that was described in the description…sometimes folks just cut and paste so a softcover description can be mated with any softcover edition that is handy. In the End there were a handful of THIS particular edition WITH the matching ISBN in the description to choose from. Total cost $4 – total time to find the book 2 hours. yep.

I was looking for a copy of Paula Peck’s art of Good Cooking as a reference, so i basically didn’t care what the physical book looked like, just that it was cheap and quick. What i was quoted was Simon and Schuster, 1966. Trade Paperback.. Very good condition.. Illustrations (B+W). What I got was 1966 Galahad hardcover bookclub where the text block and the cover where two different items – but it did have a dust jacket. Still a worthless book on any count – basically the $3 Price is a fee that you are paying to a bookseller to take the time and enter a book into the computer…at least it SHOULD be considered a fee for that task. If you can afford to spent the time to enter penny books into the computer, you DO and Should take shortcuts of cutting and pasting descriptions.

It’s a book commonly found at a $5 a bag booksale – so i should appreciate that i CAN ealy find a $3 copy online – basically i am FINE with it. (though slightly annoyed at the cover being disbound but that’s a personal matter) but if i WANTED the 1966 S&S softcover i’d have been really pissed off. For myself I would have contacted that seller beforehand as well..but in this case, it wouldn’t have been profitable – this was a high volume seller who would have sworn the book matched the description because for them it’s cheaper to offer a refund than it is to simply refund the book.

THE NYT piped up the other day about the DEATH OF THE MASS MARKET paperback..which is a shame since it is a nice shape that still fits in a bag if not a pocket – where I despise reading crap content in a badly made trade paperback or hardcover..but i reserve the right to find a hardcover copy of a book I want to keep on the shelf. People Forget that reading is also a TACTILE experience, sometimes the physical format of the book MAKES a difference to the experience. I still own hundreds of mass market paperbacks, and some of them I prefer to the hardcover edition, especially if i want to reread.

Here are a few websites/blogs which are fun to see vintage paperbacks that kick ebook ass.

too much horror fiction

Rainn Wilson’s 10 favorite science fiction and fantasy books

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