Sinclair and Frauenfelder are profiled for the newspaper, focusing on how Craft and Make magazines were launched after their time in Rarotonga, where they created dolls, clothes, and household requirements from coconuts, twigs, shells, and items borrowed from their neighbours. They had no cellphone, no television and a dial-up Internet connection that cost $6 an hour, and people helped Frauenfelder diagnose a sore on his leg over the internet, as there was no dermatologist on the island.
Sinclair and Frauenfelder move with their children to the small South Pacific island in the Cook Islands chain, planning to stay there for a year:
Memories of L.A.’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, acrylic nails, DSL, and prepackaged diversions for kids are beginning to lose their edge…It only took about five minutes to wipe out any preconceived fantasies we had about island life. The shuttle that picked us up drove past a long stretch of petrol tanks, refineries and warehouses. We didn’t remember any of this from our first visit. Of course, they’ve always been here, but our idealized notion of Rarotonga had replaced our actual memories. Now that we’d come back, in a van that reeked of diesel exhaust, passing little houses on the side of the road with missing windows, rotting roofs, and torn curtains in lieu of doors, the previous six months of romanticizing flew from our heads, to be replaced by dread: What the f-ck had we gotten ourselves into?
Sinclair and Frauenfelder publish the book, co-edited with Gareth Branwyn, featuring a scale that allows readers to rate themselves as a Happy Mutant, normal person, or Unhappy Mutant, and entries on ‘Invasion of the Paper Smiles,’ Joey Skaggs, ‘Cacophony Society,’ Toys and Cool Tools, and ‘Are Fan Club Presidents Nuts?’
Frauenfelder and Sinclair start the zine as a creative outlet for Frauenfelder, who is bored with his job as an engineer.
Keep it small and you’ll have more fun. Newsstand distribution is a drag. The freight is expensive, the sell-through rates are low, it is a chore doing the accounting, and distributors are famous for going out of business before they pay you. You’ll probably lose money if you try it. Also, don’t start a music zine. There are already ten thousand music zines out there. Nobody cares what you think about music anyway.