09/21/2010 11:08 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

One Complete Idiot's Guide to Hospitality Suite Scrapbooks

My misleading last name (I'm not rich!) begins with "A." I hold a position (archivist) on the National Society of Newspaper Columnists board that also begins with "A." Which makes me wonder: if my last name was Zastor, would I be the NSNC's zoologist?

Actually, I love the NSNC -- an organization of smart, friendly, funny columnists and bloggers that was founded in 1977. Needless to say, bloggers had a tough time posting things 33 years ago. And people who wanted to comment under a blog post in '77 had to write the comment on a Post-it note, fold the note into a paper airplane, hurl the note out the window, and hope it stuck to the blogger's typewriter. If the commenter was in California and the blogger in New Jersey, the hurled note rarely made it past Nebraska.

But I digress. One responsibility of the NSNC archivist is to put together a photo album/scrapbook of the most recent annual conference. For instance, the NSNC met this summer at gorgeous Indiana University in gorgeous Bloomington, where the penalty for using the word "gorgeous" twice in one sentence involves pronouncing "Hoosier" clearly with a basketball stuffed in your mouth.

Anyway, the 2010 conference photo album/scrapbook will be displayed in the hospitality suite at the NSNC's 2011 conference in Detroit. Though that meeting is still many months way, I have begun choosing photos, writing captions, and harvesting the Scotch tape that's growing nicely in my backyard even though I planted Scotch tape seeds just last week. My gardening secret: gently water the Scotch tape seeds once a millennium or whenever the Democratic Party shows some backbone (less often than once a millennium).

Yes, the photo album/scrapbook is partly a low-tech product in a high-tech age. The pictures were taken with a digital camera, of course, with some printed from my computer and others printed by an online photo service. (I won't give that service's name, but people living near the BP oil spill know it as Snapnofish.) Also, I'm writing the photo captions in Microsoft Word using the Arial Black font -- which is the opposite of the Arial White font preferred by most Tea Party members. Everything TPers write in their fave font is invisible when printed on white paper, but that's OK by me.

The low-tech aspect of my scrapbook involves using Scotch tape to attach the pictures and captions to the photo album's pages. This activity is almost Zen-like, though the NSNC's Zen-ologist resigned in late 1491 -- just missing the chance to join Christopher Columbus in the first edition of Who's Who in the New World.

Scrapbooking also brings me back to the days when people filled photo albums or notebooks with baseball clippings -- including one about Mickey Mantle's magnificent Triple Crown year of most home runs, alcoholic drinks, and women other than his wife. Yes, magnificent as in what a jerk.

But the Indiana University campus is truly magnificent. As I wrote in one of my scrapbook captions, a number of the columnist attendees couldn't attend the final session of the great IU conference because they had flights to catch. But I believe they were actually still in their hotel rooms sobbing that IU is more beautiful than their alma maters.

The hotel, by the way, was in IU's huge Indiana Memorial Union. Not sure what the "Memorial" part is all about, but it might have something to do with swallowing a basketball.

For the NSNC scrapbook I'll bring to Detroit next year, I snapped a picture of the Memorial Union behind a "Stop" sign. That sign came in handy when the Twitter posts of conference attendees approached 140 characters.