How did they figure out where I live? No body knows where I live.
January 14, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know anything about the Yellow and Red Book Club? I recieved a copy of this 40-page book (I would call it a pamphlet, but its bound) at my house addressed to Occupant. Cover. Sample pages. Its a strange little thing: somewhat comic; possibly a little crazy, but not quite ranty. It supposedly from Walnut, CA, but was postmarked from Salt Lake City. The oddest thing is that there is almost no references to it on the internet -- nothing at all until someone recently mentioned receiving a copy of it on a Tumblr blog. If nothing else, I would love to know how I (or my address) was picked.
posted by rtimmel to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but I got one too. I subscribe to a lot of print magazines and I was wondering if these folks hadn't maybe purchased the mailing list of a magazine or two. Do you subscribe to Harper's or the New Yorker or stuff like that?
posted by mattbucher at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2011

I tried a Google reverse lookup of the phone number listed, but no dice, just bad reverse-lookup sites.

Can you describe the content? Based on what little I can see, it sort of seems like the kind of writing people with schizophrenia or similar illnesses can sometimes produce.
posted by Miko at 9:57 AM on January 14, 2011

FWIW, the return address appears to be a strip mall and probably is a mail box rental operation. The Utah postmark probably relates to the location of the printer/bulk mailer operation that physically sends these out. Over on the right (out of the photo) is there a bulk mailing permit imprint? If so, does it have a permit number? It can sometimes be traced by way of that.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:17 AM on January 14, 2011

I disagree with Miko; this isn't some schizo pamphlet; too clever and coherent for that. I love this sort of ephemera and collect it (if you want to sell it for a token amount please MeMail) and it looks like any of a number of better "zines" in my collection. I think this is high art, personally.

Do you have any clever friends? I would assume somebody liked you enough to think you were worthy of this sort of effort-laden fun. Name-drop the "Yellow and Red Book Club" if you are on social media sites and see who responds. Even if it remains a mystery -- be proud of having received such a thing!
posted by kmennie at 10:27 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who has make similar things, but smaller. He's not schizophrenic, just artistic with a fixation on illogical wordplay and crude formatting.

As to where it came from, no idea. The 707 area code is farther north than Walnut Creek, but phone numbers don't match locations as much as they used to, with the migration of cell phone users. And there could be a distributor (aka a friend with access to a printer and paper) in SLC, or maybe even a zine distribution company (if such things exist).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on January 14, 2011

Perhaps it's a trailhead for an alternate reality game?
posted by arcolz at 10:44 AM on January 14, 2011

I called the phone number from the page you posted, and the message said, "You have reached Jobbers. Please leave your address." That's it.
posted by CheeseLouise at 10:44 AM on January 14, 2011

Whatever it is, I want it too!
posted by richrad at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

And it looks like there's a post office at the 340 S. Lemon address, among other businesses, but I can't find specifically what Suite #7288 is. I'm not sure why this is so fascinating to me.
posted by CheeseLouise at 10:51 AM on January 14, 2011

Yeah, that reads like arch, comic zine writing. The all-caps format is a familiar look from the pre-desktop publishing zine/APA world, too. Maybe it is some old school zine person getting a head start on the Atomic Books Revenge of Print campaign?
posted by Scram at 10:54 AM on January 14, 2011

I think this is high art, personally.

I agree that's a distinct possibility, but that's why I wanted to know more about the content. I spotted the word "God," and the all-caps format and fixation on detail in the Errata are somewhat consistent with some expressions of mental illness (I've been interested in that kind of art - much of it accidental - for a long time). But it's also consistent with zines. I thought it was worth mentioning, but honestly, I like the other theories better, especially the alternate-reality portal.
posted by Miko at 11:15 AM on January 14, 2011

Is there any risk involved if I give them my address? I wouldn't mind receiving some of these.
posted by jykmf at 11:20 AM on January 14, 2011

Googling around for other instances of "yellow and red" and "yellow and red book" is sort of interesting, perhaps unconnected, but still. There's a "yellow and red book" in Runescape, for instance.

It's sort of fun to look around and theorize about what that title could refer to. Actually, it would kind of be easy to convince yourself you were in an alternate reality game, and really just be imagining the whole thing.
posted by Miko at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got one of these too a few months back. I assumed it was either because of Mefi (where my real name and town are displayed), or because of pieces I had published in a couple of zines (under my real name and with at least my state mentioned in the about section). It's pretty cool, whatever the reason.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2011

The errata and writing are clearly, well, not comedic, but not serious either. "THE NEW PREMIUM IN OPTIONLESS LITERATURE SUBSCRIPTION TECHNOLOGY" is quite literally what it is. It's art.
posted by cmoj at 11:43 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

I assumed it was either because of Mefi

A really strong possibility, since in this tiny thread two others of you have gotten one. Even had someone bought a list from a major magazine like the New Yorker (which costs tens of thousands of dollars to do), the list would be huge - the NYer has a circulation of over a million, maybe half through subscription. So unless you all subscribe to the same obscure journal or share some other relatively small mailing list, MeFi would seem to be a potential vector.
posted by Miko at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2011

If it helps at all, here is a list of (semi-)obscure magazines/zines that have my address:

Vex (the zine from Portland, not the slick from I don't know where)
Curiosity Quarterly (from mefi's own Interrobang)(but Miko had a piece in the first ish and didn't get one of these, so that seems unlikely)
1913 - A Journal of Forms
Weird Tales

Anybody who got "The Yellow and Red Book Club" have overlap with any of these?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:17 PM on January 14, 2011

Perhaps it's a trailhead for an alternate reality game?

Maybe THIS is a trailhead.
posted by Miko at 12:18 PM on January 14, 2011

I got one of these, also addressed to Occupant. The content is -- to me -- really funny. Don't know who it might be, I think it's a bit better that way. I was tempted to send back the little form at the end, just haven't done it yet. Maybe this weekend.
posted by cog_nate at 12:28 PM on January 14, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, I was away. miko -- it doesn't realy have a schizophrenic tone to it -- its more clever than delusional. For instance, there's a "Sad News" section early on talking about the having to let an employee go. Towards the end of the magazine there is an "Update" requesting that no one discuss it withteh employees as the employee has not yet been informed she is being let go.

mattbucher -- did you by any chance subscribe to the Mark Zeising bookstore catalog? That is the only thing I can think of that has my address that is even vaguely similar.
posted by rtimmel at 12:45 PM on January 14, 2011

Response by poster: Lentrohamsanin - I have no overlap. Were you a Zeising subscriber?
posted by rtimmel at 12:48 PM on January 14, 2011

Nope. I don't subscribe to that catalog, nor any of the zines Lentrohamsanin lists.
Some places that have my address:
many university press catalogs
posted by mattbucher at 12:51 PM on January 14, 2011

Response by poster: matbucher -- I did order a copy of McSweeny's several years ago. Other than that no overlap.

Old Geezer - it doesnt have a bulk mailing imprint, it has a stamp.

Also, the metafilter overlap is very strong (four recipients and counting), and my address would be fairly easy to find from my profile. But it would be strange since I don't have a high profile here and few distinguishing characteristics, and not many of us got them.
posted by rtimmel at 1:04 PM on January 14, 2011

Were you a Zeising subscriber?


On mattbucher's list I do have a couple of the Crimethinc books, but I'm pretty sure I got those through Amazon, rather than direct.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:06 PM on January 14, 2011

The mystery continues. I got their latest publication today:
posted by mattbucher at 6:42 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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