Jan. 9, 2022

47 New Year New Groove

47 New Year New Groove

In today's episode, we'll be catching up with the latest postal bulletin talking about the new year and some new goals for the new year and talking about some other stuff out of the letter, writing world

New Acquisitions

John - Got my Drillog, haven’t had a chance to play with it.

Evan - MB for BMW Ink

Space Cat Coozy

Other Two pen sleeves from Rickshaw

New year’s plans/goals?

John - Going to buy basic stuff to rebuild my stationery supplies in Singapore. BTW, for anyone that was wondering, before I was supposed to leave I trimmed my collection to three pen cases, but all of my higher-end pens are going with me. 

Evan - Get through my reply pile, invest in interesting designed pens, last year was interesting mechanisms (If CONID is back, I’m getting one ASAP)

New Stamp https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2021/pb22588/html/info_004.htm#ep1461078 



Mailing It! Interview with the Postal Service Inspector Service head


Hobinichi Stationery Club


Call to action for writing in support of libraries and books


Easy templates, calls to action


India pen pal connections (world wide really)



Stationery pub crawl



47 New Year New Groove

John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 47 of stationary, or where we all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host John West, and I'm joined by our cohost Evan Harris. And in today's episode, we'll be catching up with the latest postal bulletin talking about the new year and some new goals for the new year and talking about some other stuff out of the letter, writing.

So good afternoon, Evan.

Evan: Afternoon. How are you? 

John: I am doing extremely well. I am back in the United States after some adventuring out and about, and figuring out what international law tie ups are. And but I'm back for at least a little bit. And then once the current ban on travel into Singapore gets lifted. Headed back that direction and doing so in a little more organized manner.

Evan: Yeah, I'll always do a travel right now. Any time does a tail. 

John: yeah, no kidding. Yeah. With everything with the [00:01:00] COVID and all of the restrictions it's definitely making travel challenging for anyone that's going anywhere. And as I understand that there is an even bigger challenge in the United States because of all of the COVID shut down. That there are just been huge flight cancellations around the country.

So lots of people dealing with lots of challenges. Heart goes out to everybody. That's dealing with travel challenges this time of the year.

Get into some new acquisitions. I before I was able to leave for my aborted attempt to Singapore, I was able to get ahold of my drill log. It did get shipped from Japan as part of the Kickstarter with all of my moving around. I haven't had a chance to play with it, but the drill logs worshiped and did make it into America.

So congratulations to that team from kickstarter.

Evan: it seems like they've been very successful in fulfilling. And I know a lot of people have gone to the move and trying various sinks and finding some really neat stuff.

John: very [00:02:00] good. And as I understand it, ink is on your list of new ink acquisition.

Evan: that's correct. Thanks to Penn edit, sell trade. After the first thing I finally got from there, I got a bottle of for BMW blue. 

John: do we want to go into my own official, a nickname for that ink? 

Evan: You Dan, 

John: Yeah. So I'm unofficially going to call that Inc BMW blinker fluid.

Evan: It's sold in the right size bottle for it. It is tiny, but it seems to be a pretty blue lake avenue up yet though. Just looked at it in the bottle. 

John: Okay. Yeah, I have to put that one in just cause that makes me giggle. Everyone else might think I'm an idiot, but I have to makes me 

Evan: I like it. I think I have named it and found a pen, companion, blinker fluid. 

John: Oh, excellent. Nice. 

And I, as I understand it, you have a few more acquisition.

Evan: Oh yeah. Some other things which I bought at the black Friday Rickshaw sale that were delayed because of their some. Product has got for my mom, but I have a space cat coozy [00:03:00] case, which is wonderful and holds all my other rich shock cases, including a space cat taste.

And then I picked up another two pen to for when I actually have to commute into work. 

Keep all my pens 

nice place. 

John: and as I understand it, you were saying before the show that Matthew Morris Hey, Matthew is actually going to be creating a washi tape for space camp.

Evan: that's what he said on slack. And I'm really hoping for that because I buy almost everything spaced at 

John: yeah, 


Evan: the pen and the pencil the mask, a case, a pen case, and 

John: yeah. Awesome. And next thing we've got on our show notes is talking about not new year's resolutions, because we all know that those tend to turn into new year's failures, but we do have some plans and goals for this upcoming year. I'm going to be with the move to Singapore. I had to read. [00:04:00] some soul searching as to what I was going to be taking.

And my decision was to trim down my pen collection to just what would fit into three pen cases. So it's all of my higher end pens are going with me. I am taking one bottle of stationary orbit, deep space, and everything else got put into storage. So I am starting from basically. Almost zero and I'm going to be rebuilding my stationary supplies while I'm over there.

And getting back into my letter, writing again, hopefully. It's one of those things where I feel horrible that I've got this podcast where I talk about creative letter writing and my letter writing has just fallen so poorly behind that. I'm having to do a lot of catch-ups. So I do apologize for all of my pen pals and I definitely apologize to all the listeners that I'm here talking the talk, but I have a hard time walking the walk, so that's my [00:05:00] own personal admission.

Evan: You're not the only one. My big plan is to try and get through my reply pile because the last few months I've just found by the time I thought, oh, I should actually have written a letter or applied to the. It's the end of the day and I don't have the energy to do it thing as I don't have a good excuse.

I just time has gotten away from me a lot of days trying to get through letters. But I'm definitely trying to try and finish early this year. My reply file. The other thing I'm working with. Or I want to invest in monetarily is interestingly designed pens last year, I was, I looked to buy interesting mechanisms.

So I bought the hero pen with the retractable nib. I bought one of my braille pens that has the homosapiens with the vacuum filler, which I love. So it was interesting filling mechanisms was last year, this year, a little more general interesting design. So whether that be aesthetically or mechanic.

But if Conid's coming back, I don't care. I'm buying you counted. [00:06:00] 

John: Yeah, no doubt. 

Evan: I actually had a dream about Conid the other night. 

John: oh, that's intense.

Evan: So well, more accurately. The dream was I woke up Chet was just chatting all my emails and social media stuff saw that somebody said the Conid, was opened up to orders then on Pen Addict slack, but they were only doing , like regular size. So when I woke up, the first thing I did, I'm not kidding was checked the Conid website, not slack, the Conid website. 

John: yeah. . , hope Springs eternal. 

But unfortunately I don't, I don't think it's happened yet, but. 

Keep our fingers crossed. 

Evan: It has not, but that is I don't care what year it is or what my plan is when Conid opens up, I'm buying your note. I'm buying your tone. Don't know. 

John: Yup.

Yeah. So I think the big thing that Evan and I are taking out of 2021 is that you can't find time to. Take care of stationary to take care of your letter writing and your pen pals. [00:07:00] You have to make time to go do this. I think that's going to be the big thing going into this next year for both of us is trying to make that time and get some of this stuff done so we can move ourselves right along into the new postal bulletin, which we have had one since the last ups.

Evan: That's right. We've got one new stamp announced. And this is for February 1st, 2022 this year from pine mountain Georgia, the butterfly garden flower stamp. 

John: Yeah. And this one is a, it's a pretty one and it's coming up quick. Isn't it?

Evan: It is a pretty one. This is not a first-class stamp. It's a 5 cent value or technically a non-profit organizational stamp. So it's going to be a little hard to get because it is pressure sensitive adhesive in coils of 3000 or 10,000. 

John: . And then into the the postmarks, we actually have a couple of previous for upcoming stamps, which I don't think we've seen the. [00:08:00] Announcements. Yeah. Maybe we missed those in one of the postal bulletins of his in-between, but the the lunar new year for this year, Chinese new year is the year of the tiger.

And they also have an Edmonia Louis stamp. That's coming up in may.

Evan: We must have missed them because they don't normally put the postmarks in before. But yes, the both of those are both of those postmarks are looking very interesting. And we will have to see and if so, find the images for those two bulletins and link them in the show notes. 

John: yeah, I'll be looking forward to seeing what year of the tiger looks like. Because the last couple of years they've always had some foil stamp portions to that. So that'll be fun to see how they do the.

Evan: Yeah, it was in the last postal bulletin the. Does not look to me is if there's foil, but I cannot tell specifically but it is in the same style as the previous ones. I have a feeling that most of them were all produced [00:09:00] at one time for this run of the Chinese lunar new year steps. 

John: Oh, yeah, we're going to get that into the show notes. So we'll have that we'll have that link for the previous postal bulletin so we can so you can go back and take a look at those 

Evan: Yes. Chinese lunar new year will be available on January 20th and the Edmonia Louis stamp will be available on January 26th and it honors the sculptor of the. 

John: awesome. So the the Edmonia Lewis is going to be the 45th stamp in the black heritage series, and it will be featuring sculpture, Edmonia Lewis that lived from the mid 18 hundreds to 1906.

Evan: Edmonia Lewis. Okay. I cannot say I'm familiar with her work, which is on me, but one of the many things that the stamp designs are able to do, or to bring attention to people or items or organizations that may lack that [00:10:00] attention, but deserve it. And she seems like somebody who certainly did. 

John: absolutely, the first African-American , sculptor to make an area international recognition. So that's a great to hear about something like that coming through. And like you said the postal service is really good about using their platform as a bit of a billboard to bring attention to lesser known.

Groups and lesser known artists. So that's really cool. And we're not going to stop with the postal service stuff because the postal service podcast had a recent episode. And Evan, we'll talk a little bit about what they're talking about.

Evan: Yeah. So actually another episode they. Was on stamp design. So if anyone's curious about.

That was a few ones, but the most recent episode was with the director of the postal inspection service, which is the oldest federal law enforcement [00:11:00] agency in the country. They are full, fully. Fully licensed.

They can not all members of the postal inspection service carry a firearm, but many of them do because.

they are frequently serving out warrants alone with honestly, IRS agents for things for a tat some mail. 

John: Yeah. And as well as with the the revenue service and the treasury, the postal inspection service for their law enforcement group. Actually ends up guarding quite a bit of monetary value within the postal service. So yes, they absolutely, most of them carry guns. I've had to deal with them a few times, fortunately from the proper side of the law,

Evan: Yeah, no, it's really interesting. One of the things I learned is that they have several inspectors abroad with various organizations we worked with, including the universal postal union, which is something I talked about nearly a year ago when I was first on the podcast. 

John: yep. And yeah, how [00:12:00] they set the international postal rates.

Evan: Okay. 

John: Yup. And so moving along from the postal service into our stationary news, the. Folks over at hobinichi have started a hobonichi stationary club, and there's going to be a link in the show notes to their main website. And they've got some really fun little articles in here. A lot of, this is Japan centric.

They have one of their deals where they do a little crawler. The stationary shops in the Kanata area. They have an article in here about the customized fountain pens at, in Cora, which as I understand, we first heard about on Tokyo inklings, and then there was a reprise of that on the pen addict. So it's this little piece of news is making its way.

Evan: I was never really. Really into hobonichi because the, how the planters are set up or not how I'd like to journal. But I know they're very popular and this [00:13:00] whole new Nietzsche stationary club seems really interesting with a lot of the things they've done.

I really found the images in addition to the ones that see why it's done of the in Cora build your own sailor really interesting. And it's for members of the 

John: Yeah. And actually they do have a guest in, on the last one here for the carving and pressing eraser stamps. They did have somebody else come in that had been a part of that stationery community. So yeah they're definitely growing and they've got some really neat ideas in here in terms of using wash.

And using the previously mentioned carving and pressing eraser stamps. So they've done some really fun little experiments in there. So definitely encourage folks to go out and take a look at what they've been up to. And then the next thing we've got is a public outreach campaign that's going on. And according to the website here, this is off of the book riot [00:14:00] website that there has been.

A disturbing trend in censorship during 2021 and a lot of this involving LGBTQ characters and authors and books of the, that variety. And so they've got a group out here called freedom fighters and they've got a website. That will link to in here also called freedom fighters, our freedom, us campaigns, and they actually have templates in here and calls to action for helping support local libraries and helping support books against censorship.

Evan: Absolutely. It's a very good cause and support your local library might be a great place to write letters, both to, and. 

John: Yeah. And definitely if you're of the mindset to get involved politically, this is definitely the kind of thing you need to be really concentrating on is [00:15:00] because we all love writing, but I think a lot of us are also very avid reader. And we've gotta be protective about, who's allowed to write what, and who's allowed to have books in libraries.

 We can't turn a blind eye to that, or allow it to become. Something that falls by the wayside, simply because so much of our stuff has gone digital. We've got, we've still got to keep an eye on what's going on in our libraries and what's going on with printed books. So highly encouraged folks that are of this mindset to really look into this stuff.

Evan: And if you are interested in becoming active in this sort of thing, writing your representatives, whether you suffered. What they believe on an issue or not is a very good way to do it as well. Your elected representatives get free, use the us postal service and they will use it. And according to many things I have heard and talked to the most paid attention to feedback from [00:16:00] constituents.

Is that in letters? 

John: that's correct. Yeah. If you if you send in an email, even if it's something that's a relatively well-written from a template, it's going to get shuffled off into a folder. If you actually make a phone call. You may or may not get a full voicemail box, but when it comes to a handwritten letter, that's exactly what I've heard as well as that is the most effective public outreach.

And I'd recommend it to open your scope of who you consider to be an elected official, because there are a lot of libraries that have local library boards. Those are elected officials, also your school board officials, because they are elected officials.

Evan: Absolutely. And scoreboards boards have been notably political in the last year, 

John: yeah, notably, and then in some cases, infamously political, 

 And so we're going to go [00:17:00] around the world on this one. And we've got a article in here from the Hindu and. The reason why I thought this one was a fun article. Is there, they started the article with the idea that the pandemic is pushing more people into letter writing, which I think is something that we're pretty well aware of.

But what I was not aware of is. Organization called letters to strangers. And then we'll have a link in the show notes in here, but their byline for letters to strangers is mental health made personal. So this is definitely getting near and dear to my heart in terms of trying to use letter writing, to help people support their mental health.

Evan: Absolutely. Sounds like a wonder. Program. And we have links both to the Hindu article and the letters from strangers page itself, it seems that they look at it a little a message in a bottle versus a matching program, which is how a lot of people find that. [00:18:00] 

John: Yeah. And at the same time though, they do have a ability to start a chapter and to advocate for more letter writing. So I think that this, the Hindu article was actually specifically talking about. Them starting several chapters in India as part of that program. And yeah, definitely looking forward to seeing how this organization and some of these chapters are able to flourish and help people get some of their thoughts down and get it out of their head.

Evan: Yeah, and they have a lot of big international sponsors. They've both been sponsored and featured by a lot of notable things, including L'Oreal Paris, NBC, for instance, they award some of their sponsors also include a Unilever. And what was the other big one? And Cambridge, Tom's.

and the university of Kansas. 

John: Yeah. So yeah, very well organized, very [00:19:00] well supported group on this. So definitely I encourage folks to go out and take a look at that. And then on a little more of the fun side, the folks in Philadelphia have got a local advocate there and. They had an organized Philly stationary shop crawl that was organized and it was done on Saturday, December 18th. It was one city, 12 shop, 10,000 pencils. So a lot of the writing for this and the gentlemen that does this Also does another event there in Philadelphia called pub letters where they do letter writing events in pubs. So a really cool gentlemen out there.

. His name is Michael McGuigan. Who's been organizing this stuff for the Philadelphia area.

Evan: It seems really cool. I've never lived in a place with enough, proper stationary store density to have a crawl, but it sounds like it'd be a lot of. [00:20:00] 

John: yeah, it's it's definitely a, an interesting. An event to bring the stationary lovers together and help expose some of these probably lesser known stationery shops out to that community. So neat stuff.

Evan: Absolutely. 

John: And then. Last and not least we've got a article in here from Yahoo news, and this is a tips from a Newport stationary shop owner that will help you knock off your thank you notes and pretty easy, pretty simple stuff. The owner and graphic designer her name is Eileen Paulina and she is a graphic designer and owner of Eileen on things.

And she has some tips in here for writing. Thank you notes. And the first one is break it up, even if you [00:21:00] have a long list of thank you notes, break it up into chunks because you don't want it. Writer's cramp as well as you don't want to deal with burnout. If you've got a huge number, huge pile of stuff, and I think this goes for our reply piles as well break it up and make time to take care of this stuff.

And then the other one at least for the thank you notes is to use a formula, use a template. And that way you're not having to strain your brain too much and you can get this stuff out fast.

Evan: Absolutely. 

John: And then the last one on here is find unique cards. So definitely go out and browse your stationary shops and find a unique thank you cards. And that includes material. That includes graphic design. That includes just the variety and some of the way you put it together. So yeah, definitely make it.

Evan: We've had links to a lot of different, interesting places to debt stationary and cards from [00:22:00] over the time we've been doing the podcast, at least going back to our paper source episode with the card bureau and the other links. 

John: And I also think I had some over the episodes for the paper episode where I linked out to some other stationery shops. But you had the stationary source one was definitely a good episode because we had a lot of the individual letterpress shops that were. W put into that episode and I'll see if I can get that.

I'll make sure that goes into the show notes. So we've got that link out. So that's going to take care of this episode. Appreciate you all tuning in glad to be back and doing this normally and not skimping on the recordings. So be proud of your Snell mail. We'll see you in two weeks.