Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Punk'd by mail (or: Stan's blog #2,372,781)

I just about have the template ready for a new blog that will showcase many of the prank letters I have written over the last ten years. It's not ready for a launch yet, as many of the letters need to be transcribed from photocopies, and I haven't figured out how to make every day 27 hours long.
I'd like to build up a little archive, so that people aren't bored with just one or two posts. It will be slow.

I cryptically alluded to this occasional hobby of mine (prank letter writing, not blog creation) in a very early post on this blog. Just as in the county letterhead project of a few months back, I have written many of these letters as different "characters", each with different personalities, styles of writing, and reasons for writing in the first place.

One character is full of inventions or ideas. One is a concerned consumer who just cannot believe that a company would "do such a thing"—that thing being something I made up. There's a guy who has special needs for hotel and restaurant accommodations. One person has (ridiculous) business plans, and just needs the approval of city government, leasing offices, etc. to get the ball rolling. There's a forgetful person who just keeps leaving very odd personal belongings behind at tourist locations. And then there's the character of myself, who is an amplified version of my wacky, nerdy real-life self.

Schizophrenic much? Maybe.

I wrote these letters mostly for my own entertainment. It gave me a thrill to check my mailbox and see an envelope from a corporation—even if I knew that there might just be a bland form letter inside. I had ideas of collecting a large enough volume of letters that I could submit them for book publication, but because I didn't get a high percentage of responses, I never felt that it came together. It was still a fun hobby, though, and I may pick it back up again someday.

I'll let you all know when I'm ready to kick off the new site.

8 Talked Back:

At February 9, 2006 at 2:09:00 PM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try getting a scanner that comes with optical characture recognition. I think all new Epson scanners have it and you can pick one up on eBay for like $25.


At February 9, 2006 at 6:00:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

anonymous is back!


At February 9, 2006 at 7:10:00 PM CST, Blogger stan said...

Well, I'm now 99% sure of who anonymous is. She probably wasn't able to log into Blogger at work; am I right, anonymous? :)


At February 9, 2006 at 7:25:00 PM CST, Blogger Scott said...

I remember those letters!


At February 10, 2006 at 12:15:00 AM CST, Blogger kristen said...

almost (but not really) as good as this is sitting on a park bench (or wherever), watching people either talking on their cell phones or talking to their friend, and making up the conversation they are having.

girl: i just can't believe what madonna has done to her hair.

guy: i know, it's so retro.

girl: i mean, i wonder if i should do *my* hair that way

there are way funnier things that i have come up with, all ad lib. one day i will come to portland and we will try this and it will be fun. :)


At February 10, 2006 at 2:25:00 AM CST, Blogger Amanda said...

Aw man, I came here to post about optical character recognition. >:( It's really great though, I've had to use it a few times. You might even be able to find some kind of freeware for it, or XP might have something built in.

Sounds like an interesting venture though. :)


At February 10, 2006 at 8:23:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

As long as OCR doesn't come with automatic spell check, I might look into it. Because intentional misspellings add to the fun of the letters. :)


At February 11, 2006 at 12:04:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Okay then, in case anyone's still reading the comments from this post, here's the site as I have it set up so far. It's pretty much just a pre-existing template with slight mods made to the blockquote style. I would love to do a 100%unique design, with categories, more intelligent archives, etc., but right now I just don't have the time or knowledge to do them.

Maybe someday I could sign up with a non-Blogger host (imagine that!), register a domain, and have a Legitimate Web Site with these letters. Yeah, that'd be nice. Especially if I knew about MySQL and PHP. And cah-pyooters.


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