Wednesday, May 30, 2007

For Your Consideration

Something interesting I discovered last night: Microsoft Word's spell check flags the word "Kenobi" but not the word "Obi-Wan."


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Feed Your Head, with Fiction and Food...

If anyone reading this is in the Salem, MA area on the evening of Saturday, May 26th, Feed Your Head is hosting a release party for the newest issue of Quick Fiction. There will be readings from the new issue, snacks, live music and raffles. Seventy-five percent of the night's proceeds are being generously donated by the Quick Fiction folks in support of Feed Your Head--an independent retailer offering a variety of zines and other alternative reading materials. Details and directions can be found here and here. Come out and show your support to both these great organizations--Witch City needs to support its businesses to counteract all the witch museums!

The Week of Living Veganously is over. I was able to stick with a vegan diet--with one exception--having cow's milk in my coffee at the office cafeteria, which, predicably, does not stock soy milk. I won't post the entire week's menu, but highlights included whole wheat pasta alio ed olio (garlic and oil, or oil and garlic. But I think olio is the oil); and eggplant cutlets with homemade marinara sauce. Eggplant parm without the parm. I can do this diet occasionally, but I don't plan on giving up cheese and dairy any time soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Urge to Zine

The urge to zine again is slowly starting to take hold of me. I don't know exactly when it started, but slowly the urge to put out a zine of my own has been building and building. The more I think about it, the more I convince myself that I should give it a go. But what to zine about? The answer to that question, and best part of the whole process, of course, is "anything I want." Should I include original fiction, some recipes and the occasional random knitting pattern? Why not! But I'm plagued with some self-doubt. What's the real reason I want to do a zine? It sure as hell isn't the money. I doubt I'd even have a readership. Is it fame? Glory? Indie, alternascene cred? Yes. I've created the term "alternascene." Deal. I don't have anything in particular to write about. And the "personal zine," well, I don't want to get too personal, though, compared to a lot of zines out there written by people who've suffered truly traumatic events in their lives, mine would be a fluff piece.

Would people really want to know what I'm reading, listening to? I like to read about places people live; anecdotes about their hometowns and what's going on. It's sort of like travelling and meeting (strange) new people without leaving my chair. Should I create a nice looking zine in Quark with the neatest illustrations I can manage, or type it in Courier, cut it all up and make it look messy.

Thinking about it waaaay too much. But the reality is, I'm almost 100% sure I've already made my decision. I'll be digging out my Lefty scissors and glue stick later tonight.

Top Five Things I Should Do Tonight Instead of Playing The Sims 2

(In interchangeable order)

1. Clean my apt/bedroom
2. Watch Dancing With The Stars Finale
3. Work on graphics and site to get really up and running
4. Start zine (see above)
5. Read something.

What's robotgirlie Reading Now?

Doris: 1991 - 2001

This is an anthology of Cindy Ovenrack Crabb's Doris zine that compiles 10 years of issues into one softcover book. Recreating her line drawings and manual paste-ups, it's a gut-wrenchingly honest read. Cindy invites her readers to share in both the good and the bad events in her life. At times beautiful and poetic prose contrasts sharply with grammatical and spelling errors as Doris types out her hopes, fears, and dreams in one long stream-of-conciousness. Moving often across the country, often squatting or living outdoors, her main desire is simply to keep her tenuous grip on everything she holds dear: her sister, her dog, friends, her projects, her self-esteem, and a place to belong.

She takes joy in finding items left on the curb that can be turned into a makeshift writing desk. She writes at length about family dysfunction. Within the stark cut-and-paste pages of Doris, Cindy does brilliantly what most people can never achieve: She bares it all, body and soul, leaving herself equally open for condemnation as well as praise. But she's not afraid to do it. This book will be with me long after I've turned the last page.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is Portland Trying To Tell Me Something?

We all know Portland, Oregon is a mecca of vegan restaurants, indie bookstores and alternative culture. But is the city trying to tell me something? Lately a lot of seemingly random interests are converging on this city. First, a link on led me to place an order with a vegan grocery store called Food Fight: Bear with me--I'm too lazy to hit the "Edit HTML" button and type in code. Food Fight is in Portland. Next, I finally dug out Stolen Sharpie Revolution from deep within my pile of books to read. The author and her company are also in Portland. All of this led to Herbivore magazine, based in--you guessed it, Portland.

This is where serendipity takes over. For years I've been talking about starting my own business selling shirts and other things with my designs on it. In the spirit of DIY fellowship, Microcosm Publishing, Food Fight, and Herbivore all provide info on where they get shirts and buttons with their designs produced. See links to the left of this blog. Is this a sign that I should get off my a** and do something? I'm thinking maybe it is.
The urge to zine is slowly taking hold of me again. I had a brief affair with making my own zine back in the 90s and didn't stick with it. To this day I live in fear of the 12-year-old girl who sent me $2 cash for the followup issue that never materialized--my one paid order. I'd say the name of this zine, but this kid is probably in law school by now and has probably been hunting for me for years. Or maybe I'm just being extremely paranoid.

So to the good people of Portland, alterna-scene hipsters or no, thank you for providing some resources for me to a) eat healthier, and b)get a move-on on my DIY dreams. I thank you all via the internet. And if I ever overcome my paralyzing fear of flying, I'll drop in in person to do it. Until then, I can wear my Food Fight tee and tell people I've been.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Week of Living Veganously

I'm going vegan for the week. It's an experiment to see whether or not I feel better or worse after 7 days of giving up milk, cheese, and meat. I've been looking into healthier eating options lately, like vegetarianism, in an effort to improve my overall health. Can animal by-products really be the cause of all my woes? I don't know, but I'm open to alternatives. Lemme just say upfront that I don't plan on being 100% vegan. I'm sorry, and please don't bombard me with hate comments, vegans, but I love the cheese, 'kay?

Isa Chandra Moskowitz will be my vegan guide. Armed with these two books, I've been vegan for over 24 hours now.

black coffee, steel cut oatmeal with Splenda, 1 peach
1 soy yogurt
peanut butter on whole wheat bread, 1 banana
coconut rice with spinach/chickpea curry

coffee with soy milk, steel cut oatmeal with cinnamon
1 peach, 1 Vruit juice box
peanut butter on whole wheat, 1 soy yogurt
1 peach
coconut rice with spinach/chickpea curry (I'll be eating this for 2 weeks cos I made the full recipe)

So far so good. I broke down and bought soy milk and yogurt. The soy milk I can probably get used to, but the yogurt tastes rancid to me. I'm trying a different brand today so maybe it will taste better.

I'm pissed at iTunes right now. How could they N OT have Apples in Stereo or Chameleons UK to download, yet they have Architecture in Helsinki and Alien Sex Fiend? How do they determine which obscure or old and obscure bands to stock? I downloaded Architecture in Helsinki, cos I've heard a few songs on Yahoo radio. But I don't know how I feel about it. I bought the Fingers Crossed lp. At any given time they remind me of Apples in Stereo, The Magnetic Fields, Pizzicato Five, Frazier's weird! Kinda indie, kinda easy listening. It's like, woodwinds are cool! So is brass! Band geeks haven't been given this much hope that they can become rock stars since The Dream Academy! Cheer up, little girl with the wraparound retainer who plays the cymbals! Have hope, awkward little tuba player! This band is not afraid to release their inner band geek, that's for sure.

Since I don't know if I like it or not, it's pretty clear that I obviously don't love it! I do know one thing though: this album will thoroughly annoy anyone and everyone who rides in my car with me when I play it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I Think I Killed Off a Book Club!

Because I seem to be the only person left. Unless...someone else is methodically killing off the book club and I'm next! Nah. I prefer the "I'm a book club jinx" theory.

Two months ago, our local indie bookstore formed a Sci Fi club. Great, I thought, a chance to get out of the house and meet other nerds like myself. Maybe (well, highly likely, actually) they'd be male nerds! The first meeting was great. There were 8 members. Last month, only two people showed up--me and one person who hadn't attended the first meeting. Last week, I was the only person who showed up. What's the common factor in all of this?

Me. Could it be that I'm--gasp--hideous? Sure, I've got a small 'stache going, but who doesn't, am I right, girls?

I read Bridget Jones's Diary this weekend--finally, 11 years after it came out. I don't know why I resisted. I guess I have a visceral reaction to "chick lit" as a rule. I know, I'm a snob.

It was hysterical; Helen Fielding is so right on when it comes to the whole reaching-your-thirties thing, whether she's writing about dating, dieting or depression eating!