29 March 2012

And the Best Postcard Winner is ...

First, this contest needs a name. I mean, aside from the Pimp My Postcard Galley Giveaway Contest, which is more or less what I was calling it in my head, but which lacks the esteemed tone and roll-off-the-tongue catchiness of the Oscars or the Pulitzers or the Iggies.

Let's call them the Posties, shall we?

And now, herewith, some Postie winners, counting down to the Grand Postie, which will be honored not with a boring ol' gold statue (meh) but with a signed galley (hooray!). Scroll to the bottom if you're the impatient type and/or want to see if you won. 

The Postie for Okay, That's Seriously Impressive and Kind of Freaking Me Out goes to a collective, the previously noted vast Pantone postcard conspiracy. Incidentally, said conspiracy shows no signs of abating and which, actually, is only gaining strength. I've now received Pantone postcards from Bali, Hawaii, New Zealand, Switzerland, Scotland, and something like sixty-three states. I think I'm up to nearly a hundred Pantone postcards now, and I'm starting to see some duplicate postcards. You know what that means? It means there's more than one pack of postcards out there in the conspiracy-mix; there's the potential for at least two hundred of these things if and when the conspiracy reaches its conclusion. 

These are just the cards that I've received since I last posted about the Pantone conspiracy.

A few favorite individual cards:
Does anyone speak computer?
Front. See below for back.


Note the first two comments. Forcing your kids to write postcards: cruel child-labor or noble life lesson? Discuss.

Caption trend: writing comments about the weather on the backs of  gray swatch postcards.
Three different people did this, including Shirley in Indonesia.

Front of the above postcard.
Switzerland ... 
Iceland ...

Pantone conspiracy masterminds, I salute you.


The Postie in the Great Effort Foiled By the Postal Service category goes to MB, who sent four different cards from Hawaii, each one with a single word on them: "Aloha," "Hawaii," "On," "A." Three of the postcards are pictured here below.

As you will note, however, "Aloha Hawaii On A" doesn't much sense, no matter how you shuffle around those words. It seems that there may be some other missing words--I'm going to guess I was supposed to get more postcards. I just hope the message isn't supposed to be "Aloha. I'm shipwrecked in Hawaii, on a shark-infested lagoon. Please send help forthwith."

Moving on, the finalists. 

This postcard, truthfully, is my overall favorite. It wins the Postie for Best Defacing of Photos of an Author:

Irn Bru is a vile but wildly popular soft drink native to Scotland, in case you were wondering.
Yes, that's me, along with Maren, my girlfriend fiancee (in other news, I just got engaged!). The postcard came from Ann Schaefer, my mother's friend and 1967 traveling companion, who was immediately disqualified because I was already going to give her a copy of the book. My favorite part about this postcard, though, is that it knowingly echoes a set of photos that Ann and my mother sent back home during their own European trip.

Mom's on the left, Ann's on the right.

In second place is a monster who wins two Posties, for both Best Use of Street Art in a Postcard and Most Surprising Pantone Postcard Conspirators. It comes from my friends at the Key West Literary Seminar, Michael and Kathy; Arlo and Ashley; and Miles and Alan. The endearingly goofy monster you see below is covering up a Pantone postcard (note to Michael and Kathy, et. al: Seriously, how did you get roped into the conspiracy? This thing runs way deeper than I thought ...). I forget the name of the street artist--you see these little creatures here and there around Key West--but I'm hoping someone will remind me in the comments.

And finally ... The Grand Postie. Winner of the galley and the bookmarks and a lifetime of bragging rights!

This card probably doesn't look particularly special on the computer screen. 

But those stamps weren't just Photoshopped on. Those are, no kidding, actual authentic vintage postage stamps affixed to the card. That. That is fantastic. And the card itself is from a 1935 ad in Fortune magazine, as explained on the back:

And on top of everything--on top of making a postcard from a vintage magazine and vintage postcards, on top of generally playing right into the retro-travel theme of my book--there's a fortune for me. Generous, no? And utterly fantastic. 

Congrats, Renee--you win the Grand Postie and the Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day galley! Kudos on a job very well done. Email me your address (doug@douglasmack.net) and I'll send you the book ASAP. 

Finally, many thanks to everyone who sent me a postcard or letter. If you included your address, I'll write back. (It might take me a few more weeks, given the book launch and tour, but I won't forget about you.)

The contest is over, but please do keep writing!

27 March 2012

Commentary Track Bookmarks

A while back--like, a long while back--I was thinking about merchandise tie-ins for my book: 
What would be the logical options? Um. Tacky t-shirts. Tourist action figure (Now whips out the camera 3 times faster!). Postcards. Beer bottles or coasters, maybe. Pastries, definitely. Yes, that's it: [Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day]-branded croissants! Any bakers who read this should call me to talk numbers, make deals, plan strategy. Big money awaits! Mega-profits guaranteed!!
For some reason, that never quite worked out. Alas. Neither did the plan to give give away canal-side houses in Amsterdam to all of my readers. I tried, but, man, you wouldn't believe the paperwork. 

What I settled on instead was this: Commentary Track Bookmarks. 

DVDs come with commentary tracks and assorted extras, so why shouldn't books? Commentary Track Bookmarks are, yes, bookmarks featuring page-specific outtakes, notes on the writing process, photos, and other behind-the-scenes insights into my travels and my book. They were inspired in part by my friend Rolf Potts's excellent book Marco Polo Didn't Go There, which had commentary track sections at the end of each story.

There are forty different bookmark designs--collect 'em all! Come to one of the book tour events and I'll give you one--or send me a letter or postcard and I'll include one in my reply. Below are two examples; there are more at the bottom of each page as you click around the book web site

And if you're wondering how to some for yourself, there's a bit of a trick involved. . . .

22 March 2012

Book Trailer: How to Pack Like a 1960s Tourist

Many thanks to the excellent Alex Cleberg, producer, editor, script-tweaker, and all-around Awesome Guy Who Made This Video Happen. 

For the full story about the packing list, read the book! It comes out April 3rd from Perigee Books/Penguin. Pre-order: IndieBound » Amazon » Barnes & Noble » my favorite indie stores.

For some quick additional background, keep reading here ...

20 March 2012

30 Mid-Century Travel Ads to Spark Retro Wanderlust

First, a Public Service Announcement: LAST CHANCE to enter the Galley Giveaway / Pimp My Postcard contest! (Original deadline was this Thursday, but I'll probably accept anything I get through the weekend.)
 And now I present to you ... thirty old-fashioned travel ads from Life magazine in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. I found these when I was at the library researching my retro-European-travel-and-stuff book (cough-ahem, comes out April 3rd). They're in chronological order, starting with the 1940s. Most are for specific destinations or ways to get there (e.g. airlines), but I've also included some for travel accessories or that offer some sort of insight into how Americans thought about travel in a given year--like the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ads that claim popping open a can of spaghetti is "Almost like being in a cafe in Rome." 

Note how the mode of transportation and the specific places being advertised evolves over the years. The earliest ones, with one notable exception, are all about seeing the USA by road or rail. Later on, they're about package tours to Europe. And at the very end, in the 1960s, the ads emphasize independent travel to Europe. Okay, enough set-up. You're just here for the ads. 




1946. Close-up of text below. Basically, this ad was invited US service men and women 
who fought in Europe to come back as tourists.

Close-up of the above ad. Apologies for the low quality of the image.













[many more after the jump]

18 March 2012

Pardon the mess--renovation in progress

I'm updating the design of the blog, so things may look a bit off as I work on it the next couple of days. Please pardon the mess!

16 March 2012

Coming soon to airwaves and bookstores near you

First, a Public Service Announcement: ONE WEEK left to enter the Galley Giveaway / Pimp My Postcard contest!

And now, this:

That's a box of books, the one I wrote, the one you can purchase at stores everywhere starting April 3rd. Two hundred seventy-two pages of retro-travel hilarity (with bonus Actual Insights and Intriguing History Lessons), all for the astonishingly low price of $15.

To hear some of those Actual Insights before reading the book, you can ...

Listen to me on Rudy Maxa's World (radio show) 
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 17th, at 9am Central (10am Eastern, 7am Pacific, 2pm GMT, etc.). We'll be talking about my book, my trip, and whatever else Mr. Maxa wants to throw at me. It'll be streaming live over here: http://rudymaxa.com/listen-live/. Or listen to it later on the show's podcast.

I'll be the first guest on the show, followed immediately by none other than Arthur Frommer (!).

And as long as I have this self-promotional megaphone in my hand ...

Come to a book event in April!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 7:00pm
At Honey in Nordeast Minneapolis
205 East Hennepin Avenue (below Ginger Hop). Map.

Book tour info below the launch party flyer. 

April 5 at time TBA at Third Place Books
Portland: April 9 at 7:30pm at Powell's on Hawthorne
Bay Area: April 10 at 7pm at Books Inc in Berkeley
Boston: April 17 at 7pm at Harvard Coop
New York (Brooklyn): April 18 at time TBA at powerHouse Books
Washington, DC: April 20 at time TBA at Hill's Kitchen

For all more info and updates, keep an eye on the Events page of my newly-revamped web site, www.fivewrongturns.com, or visit the book Facebook page (and, you know, click on the little "like" button if you're so inclined).

All events are free. All events will be awesome. (Seriously. They will NOT merely involve me standing at a podium and reading sullenly. I've been to those sorts of readings. They're not fun for anyone.) I've got some tricks up my sleeve, tricks involving postcards and not-so-flattering slide shows and audience participation of the benign-and-actually-fun variety. Hilarity. Wanderlust. Good old-fashioned literary fun. 

Come on down. Heckle. Get a book signed. Tell me you read this blog post and I'll compose a haiku for you on the spot (seriously--try me). Hope to see you there.