Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Mea Culpa

Forgive me blog readers, for I have slacked. It has been three days since my last, er, confession.

Truth be told work has been so busy that at night I have had little will to fire up the laptop and normally while a blog post takes me less than 5 minutes to write I have found myself staring over the top of the screen into the distance while the keyboard sobs quietly to itself in loneliness.

I work in government and at the moment we are negotiating a new agreement between the state and federal governments. Everything is not going to plan and unexpected hiccups have thrown some time lines and some plans into disarray.

I have however warmly embraced the leader of the Scrapbooking Room Faction (and I for one welcome our new scrapbboking overlord. . .) and only delivered a slight Spockian eyebrow raise when I arrived home on Monday to find that the carpenter had returned to install shelves in what was once going to be the alcove for my flat screen.

I won't have to travel this month and this weekend is the local Labour Day long weekend so I think I'll be drafted into the paint corp to complete the finish of the scrapbooking room.

The Airconditioner awaits us in Lay-By at Kmart and the installation of that is something I have yet to arrange - but by the Will of the Scrapper it shall be done.

That's the news in Brief, although there may be a report tomorrow from the Leader of the Home Theatre Liberation Front, or if we are really lucky the Popular Front for the Liberation of Home Theatre. . .

Sunday, 25 February 2007


It looked for a brief shining moment that I was having an Austerlitz but after a long wearying retreat from Moscow I have met my Waterloo.

Le Grande Armee of the Republic of Home Theatre has been defeated and its General has capitulated.

The construction work on the front room is complete, the French Doors are fitted and all is in preparation for its transformation to a scrapbooking room.

Today was spent attempting to sell off some possessions at a garage sale - not much luck today though.

This will only delay the inevitable however, and the plans for a long workbench are in place. I'm planning a workbench of my own - in the garage. $90 for a sheet of ply and a carton of beer for a mate of mine who is a handyman and I'll have a long work and coffee roasting bench.

But either way Mrs Grendel's scrapping palace will proceed over the ashes of my home theatre empire - I have even provided war reparations and bought a split system air conditioner so that she can scrap in comfort. . .

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Dangers of buying scrapping presents

Ok - to be perfectly frank, buying ANY present is fraught with dangers, but it seems that there are particular risks to buying scrapbooking presents.

First of all there's the additional cost because all of the 'Really Cool' scrapbooking stuff come from somewhere other than here - I imagine that this rule applies where ever you live, its just a truism that the cardstock is cleaner of the other side - or something.

So the deal have to be done furtively over the internet, trusting that the package will arrive on time. And worse, you have to sneak around using secret email accounts, funds squirreled away for presents and carefully guarded phone calls so that the surprise is kept.

By the end of the whole process I am such a wreck that i cannot comprehend how I can do this again.

And finally there is the fact that every scrapbooking item looks the same as every other scrapbooking item - and even worse they are all called he same thing.

I propose that scrapbooking items be provided with an International Charting of Keepsakes Indices (ICKI) - that is, a tracking number we men can use for simple ordering.

"Yes thanks, I'd Like 20 of the ICKI 200790223, 3 extra large ICKI 29847563's oh and throw in that ICKI 99857633 that is on special this week."

Ahhh yes - organisation!

Political Scrapbooking

The presidential campaign in the United States is demonstrating the power of bloggers in spreading the message, and here too in Australia, political blogging in taking on a new impetus and the battle between blogger across the political spectrum is very entertaining.

But what about political scrapbooking? Surely these aspirants to high office should be preserving grand moments of their campaign - or perhaps send scrappers off to preserve low moments of their opponent's campaigns. Think of the untold riches in political history being lost because no one is preserving these seminal moments of history on 12 by 12 sheets of acid-free card stock.

Future generations I am sure would love to have an archival quality record of the Machiavellian activities of the politicians and their respective staff members.

Thinks of all the entertaining biographies that could be written with such well preserved primary source material.

And so I call upon politicians of every political colour - employ a scrapper today to preserve your place in history!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Scrappers low rate of productivity

If you are the partner of a scrapper and they are not producing any works for scrap it makes it that much harder to write anything. . .

However, Mrs Grendel did recently do a big scrap page of me and my coffee using one of those photos where I am looking over my shoulder at her while I make coffee.

She hung it in the bedroom which let me tell you can be a little off-putting.

Still - I reckon that is better than if she'd hung a scrapbook page of her mother on the wall.

The battle of the front room continues but it is not going well for the forces of home theatre.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Pre-Emptive Strike

I had decided to deliver a pre-emptive strike and had obtained a copy of "Australian Home Theatre Design" to select the layout and equipment required to fulfill my dream. I thought if I drew up a plan and placed some surround sound speakers on Lay-By then I could head Mrs Grendel off at the pass and ensure the total dominance of the Home Theatre faction.

Imagine then my shock and dismay when I engaged in my usual afternoon reconnaissance of Mrs Grendel's blog and saw this:

And this!

I feel like a middle eastern despot who's just been invaded and actually doesn't have WMD in his arsenal. . .

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Archaeology Today - again

Archaeology Today is proving to be a valuable resource for the partner of a scrapbooker to learn more about the origins of their partner's obsession.

At some point in the distant past - around 600 AD a Mega-El Nino event destroyed a Peruvian civilisation that had a unique form of scrapbooking.

The life and culture of this ancient mountain civilization was devastated by floods then droughts of almost unimaginable proportions.

The culture, which included blood sacrifices to propitiate the gods vanished almost overnight and only recently have some examples of their daily life and art been unearthed.

This has included some remarkable examples of early scrapbooking. No paper was used in the Andean art. Their medium of choice was clay pots - so I guess they were early examples of 'Off/Beyond-the-page' scrapping.

The scenes depicted reveal a rich culture which until recently had been a riddle to archaeologists. The scrappers of that culture have successfully preserved their cultural practices and I guess today's scrapbookers are trying to do the same.

I feel particularly pleased that this civilisation became extinct and did not survive to pass on its scrapping techniques to modern scrapbookers.

From what I can tell it involved challenges - much as we have today except these challenges had loosers as well as winners and after the challenge was complete the looser would be bound and their throat would be cut with the blood caught in a bowl and offered to the gods as a sacrifice.

Still I bet 'scrappers block' was never a problem.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Is scrapping a fad?

As the partner of a scrapper, it is very important to me to understand the dynamic world of scrapping.

One concern for me is that all of a sudden, like Buck's Fizz, scrapbooking will collapse and vanish from the face of the earth leaving only some non-fading acid free memories and a black market trade in Basic Grey paper.

This of course has significant implications for the partners of scrapbookers. For some of us there future holds not only the double crises of global warming and peak oil, but also the potential demise of all we have worked and paid for over the last few years.

There is the faint hope, that scrapbooking like knitting, will be a sustainable hobby, and that a thousand years from now, historians will marvel at and thoroughly misinterpret the 2007 scrapbooking efforts of Mrs Grendel like some modern version of the Bayeux tapestry.

I must confess that my fears arise from the lack of any scrapbooking related political apparatus - given that most interest groups these days seem to have at least a lobby representing them in Capitol City.

Without this level of political clout scrapbooking remains at best an 'interest' or 'hobby' group - at the whim of market and social forces beyond their control. Why don't I see a scrapper running for President in the US, Prime Minister in the UK or Australia and for Dictator in Uzbekistan?

Now is the time scrappers, Carpe Papyrus!

Vive le Scrapolution!

Monday, 12 February 2007

Scrappers are Socialists!

Or socialisers or socialites or social something. For an apparently solitary hobby they get together an awful lot. Every other week there is a night out, weekend away, afternoon crop or month long convention.

Mrs Grendel even organises her own events - last year she held a scrapbooking fundraiser that got nearly 60 in the one room all scrapping (or was that chatting) together (imagine the marketing opportunities!).

'Guy hobbies' seem to involve many fewer people at any one time - unless sports are involved. We are either small group creatures or vast crowd creatures - that middle ground of more than 6, less than 10,000 is foreign territory to us.

I was trying to imagine an event that would get 60 guys together in a hall sitting down at tables for hours on end and talking.

The only thing I could think of was Oktoberfest.

That made me think of beer, but I only have two left and neither are in the fridge (bad planning I say!)

So I had a coffee instead - and thought about Mrs Grendel's Fundraiser.

You see Junior Grendel Number One has autism.

He gets therapy services from a local organisation called the Autism Association of Western Australia. Last year Mrs Grendel and her scrappers raised over $2000 for the Early Intervention Centre that our son attends.

Not being a scrapper my involvement was limited to a few administrative jobs - not much fun and this year I wanted to be more involved - except I am NOT GOING TO SCRAP!

No way - that would be too easy a win for the scrappers of the planet.

No, I am going to help by roasting and selling coffee - coffee roasting is my hobby, and scrappers drink coffee so I reckon I have a captive audience on the day.

If you live in Perth or will be in Perth on June 23 and would like to go to the scrap day then all the details are here:

A Helping Hand - autism crop day fundraiser

As for me - I'll be there making coffee and wishing there was an 'Oktoberfest in June' event.

Sunday, 11 February 2007


Well - I took advice and photographed. Now I need advice on what to do with these:

(There is one photo there of a shop that sold only buttons and ribbons - a scrappers paradise I'd bet)

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Away without my scrapper

I am away for work in another city - Adelaide. It is a lot smaller than Perth but very picturesque. However I now have a dilemma - do I take photos Mrs Grendel may want to scrap or not. After all she isn't here with me so the journalling might be a challenge and I am not a scrapper so I don't know what would make the best scrapping images.

Quite frankly I'd rather that Mrs Grendel and the Junior Grendels were here as well - it would solve the scrapping dilemma and would be much more fun than sitting here on the Hotel's Mac looking like an uber-nerd as I write a post for each of my blogs.

I also seem to have trouble decision making when they are here and I reckon I'll end up ordering room service at the rate I am going - can't decide where to eat!

I just don't think the scrapbookers of the world really understand what they have wrought upon those of us who love and live with them - ah 'tis a bitter sweet life, this scrapping life.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Cold War

There is a scrapbooking product line that is sold much like Amway products. I won’t mention the name but I am sure I don’t need to. There seems to be an ongoing battle between those who do and those who don’t use – well turns out I need a name for this or it will be a hard post to write so lets call them “Imaginative Reminiscences” or IR for short.

Anyway there are those among the IR community that are IR fundies. Thou shalt not use anything but. Anything but and it is NOT scrapbooking. Then there are the IR Orthodox who use IR themselves but don’t force it on others and the IR Liberals who prefer IR but will use other products that take their fancy. People who sell IR stuff can fall into any of those categories – fortunately the one IR person we know is in the latter group and doesn’t consider Mrs Grendel to be damned to eternal flames for having non-IR stuff in the albums.

On the other side of this struggle there are scrapbooking’s equivalent of Libertarians, that is ‘anything at all is ok and no one should tell me what to use’. The conservatives – it must be an approved product (I suppose by some scrapbooking cartel or central committee – who knows!) but no one should infringe on another’s right to choose differently, and the Open Liberals who prefer non IR products but will use them if they see something they like.

Or maybe I have this all wrong – interpreting the world of scrapbooking is a very hard task for the uninitiated and I am sure that attempting to do so is fraught with danger. Up until this point my greatest risk had been from standing on Brad or nearly loosing fingers while cutting those toilet paper circles, but it seems that there is even more at stake.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Archaeology Today Tomorrow

My inside source at Archaeology Today has passed me another juicy tidbit about the headline story of their next issue.

One small good news story to come out of the ongoing tragedy that is Iraq is the return of archaeologists to some parts of the country to resume explorations and research.

While hazardous, the work has paid off in incredible dividends as will be reported later this week.

A manuscript has been found dating from the height of Sumarian times and it appears to be a very early version of what we know as the book of Genesis.

Remarkably though this account differs from the biblical account in some crucial details.

The expulsion from Paradise is the most remarkable example of these differences.

I have included below the translation of this account.

And thus from the rib of Adam was Eve created so that she might be equal with him and the Lord spake thus:

"Of all the trees in the garden you may pluck such fruit as thou will but not from this tree for it is the tree of knowledge of good and evil and is mine alone"

Adam and Eve, wide eyed and awed nodded their assent.

Some time passed whereby Adam and Eve did explore their differences. Adam returned from a walk to find that Eve was artfully arranging leaves and pebbles.

"What art thou about" he inquired.

"I am depicting my memories our love and lives" she quoth

"That's nice" said he and hurried off to pluck the fruit of the lager plant.

In time Eve's artfulness did increase and soon many examples of this were piled around their arboreal home.

Eve did suggest that perhaps she could expand the space for the storage of her scraps and Adam consented, ever hopeful his efforts would be rewarded.

Eve became engrossed in her tasks and had chosen a new area for her creations under the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil for its branches did spread mightily and shade the ground around it.

Late in the afternoon, Adam slept, and Eve, frustrated by an inability to depict in leaves and embellishments that which she was feeling, looked up at the branches of the tree and their saw the perfect accent to her work. At that moment the snake appeared and said:

"Pluck ye yonder fruit and use it in thy work for did not the Lord create all things in this garden for your use? I swear by my Creative Memories sales oath that this is the truth".

Eve picked the apple and as she did so Adam awoke, the Lord arrived in a stormy mood, took one look at Adam, gave Eve a scowl, removed the snakes local sales privileges and expelled them from the garden.

"Bloody scrapbookers" rumbled the Lord. "I just KNOW they'll be back to give me trouble".

Friday, 2 February 2007

Archaeology Today

Archaeology Today, the respected journal of tomb raiders worldwide, has reported the discovery of what appears to be a very early form of scrapbook.

While Southern Italy today may not be a hub of international scrapbooking, the early Etruscans (a civilization that pre-dates Rome) may well have integrated scrapbooking so deeply into their lives that when the scrapbooking economy failed their civilisation collapsed.

Recent finds include papyrus sheets with etruscan text and adorned with small objects and images that appear to represent people and animals. This confirms an early Etruscan trade with Egypt and the influence of greek and asian culture on Etruscan life.

The sheets were found bound into what can only be described as 'albums' and were carefully stacked on stone shelved in what was thought to be an etruscan family tomb.

Further investigation has revealed a large number of tools also buried in the tomb and the remains in the tomb appeared to be from about seven females aged in their late 20's to early 40's.

Some scientists contend that the site is not a tomb but rather a small workroom that was used for the production of the manuscripts and that an earthquake caused a collapse and landslide that covered the site and the women within until its recent rediscovery.

They claim that this view is supported by the presence of a number of small bowls, originally thought to be funerary offerings but which may have in fact contained small food items, sweetmeats and fried bread and vegetable pieces - the snack foods of etruscan civilization.

Carbon dating of the site indicates that it is contemporary with the time etruscan civilisation began its rapid decline prior to being eclipsed and absorbed into the nascent Roman hegemony.

Speculation has been raised in the past that social activities within the Etruscan civilisation at this time led to a seperation of genders to the point where the population growth stalled and ultimately collapsed.

While research is ongoing scientists are hopeful that they have at last uncovered the primary activity that caused this collapse.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

The Scrap Trap

For a lot of Scrapper’s Partners, the enormity of the beast that is scrapbooking is not immediately apparent. Your beloved says that they are going to start scrapbooking, and we, in our ignorance fondly remember those pulp paged books of paper that we had in Primary (elementary) school days.

Those memories are grim for some of us because our parents had left the school item shopping to the last minute and all of the scrapbooks with covers sporting glorious technicolour images of ‘Transformers’ (or at a pinch Astro Boy) had been seized by the socially savvy parents condemning me and a few others to a whole term with Barbie, My Little Pony or worst of all - the Smurfs.

Even now the horror of it makes me shiver.

Nevertheless, our experience with scrapbooking was one of simple tasks, cutting out, pasting in amid the heady smell of Clag paste and felt tip pens.

It can come as a bit of a shock then when ‘Scrapbooks’ as we knew them make no appearance at all. What arrive are reams of large cardstock in a multitude of colours and patterns that must absolutely never, never, ever be used for:

· Paper planes (but 12x12 inch 120 gsm makes fantastic gliders!)
· Notes while on the phone
· Cutting mats or glue mats
· Coasters
· Impromptu table cloths
· Roll-up fly swatters
· Pillows
· Blotting paper
· Wrapping paper
· Lighting the BBQ
· Etc.

Basically just leave it alone and you’ll be ok.

It doesn’t end there – I have previously mentioned(sing along with me when you figure out the tune):
"the tools and embellishments, the crop nights and scrap days. Forums and challenges, ‘scrap-offs’ and chat rooms. Classes and cruises and on so it seems,
these are a few of their favourite things. . . "

(I really wanted to use “. . .brown paper packages with ‘RAK’ on the front” but I had an obscenity rhyming issue that I just couldn’t get past).

I think you get the picture though – this is a big deal, Ben Hur is a low budget ‘indie flick’ compared to this scrapbooking thing.

So Beware ! Beware !
Her flashing eyes, her floating hair !
Weave a circle round her thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For she on scrapbooking hath fed,
And this should turn your veins to ice.

(Sorry Mr Coleridge!)