True To Form…

Nothing to prompt a long overdue blog post than the impending International Zine Month. I’ve been out of touch for a while. I’m even severely behind on snatching up Julia Eff’s latest stuff. Don’t even TALK about actually MAKING zines.

I moved to Pittsburgh a little over a year ago with nothing more than what I could fit in my car. It’s been great and hard and lovely and exhausting. I have spent my entire time mostly living out of a room and bopping from temp job to temp job. I was on the verge of tucking my tail between my legs and moving back to ‘Sconnie, but in the eleventh hour, I scored a solid job and a place to live that is both cheaper and more roomy. So, now I have room to spread out lots of pages and zine layouts and more things to write about. So, I’m optimistic. Not sure if I’m optimistic in the sense that I’ll been totally in on all of the IZM activities, but at least maybe I can get to the PGH zine fair this time around.

Anyhoo, this post is really me just sayin’ hi. And kicking myself in the ass. Hope to zine with you soon!




IZM Day 8 – Tell Us How You Really Feel


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So it’s, like, just past 9:00 pm and I’m trying to find the IZM checklist. Because I’m sure I’m supposed to be doing something. So far today I worked, read on breaks (Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh), went to the post office and found a HAUL in my po box, came home and read another couple of Hyperbole and a Half posts, watched another episode of Wonderfalls, straightened up my space a bit, then came here. Also, while straightening up, I looked through things I had put in my Rhapsody library (yes, I’m an old lady), and found The Devics. Their Wikipedia page is sparse, as is their Google result thing, so…maybe not the biggest band in the world? But they are exactly what I want to be listening to right now and probably a new favorite. I’m listening to Buxom which is, I guess, their oldest? Anyway…love it.

The fun things I got in the mail today:  I, Vampire by Jody Scott (I bought an extra EXTRA copy so that I could give one away because it’s sooooo gooooood, even Neil Gaiman liked her), The DIY Guide to Fighting TBMfingB (finally FINALLY got my butt around to getting this), backups of Julia Eff’s latest zines, badges and Never Finish Grad School from the Awkward Ladies Club, and…I think that might be it. Good mail day.

Anyway…today’s activity is…Make a flyer for your zine to send out with trades and orders. Can I be honest? I kind of really don’t like flyers. I mean, I “like” them, but I just kind of feel like they are a waste of paper. Like, extra packaging. And I tend to order from the same places, so I get the same ones over and over and over again. I’m not trying to get my name out there (right now?) and so I just don’t really see the point of doing this. For me. Yesterday’s activity was to make some envelopes and postcards, but I made a metric ass ton of envelopes a while ago and still haven’t come close to using them all, so feel weird about making more. As for postcards, I’m ambivalent about postcards maybe in a similar (but different) way as I am with flyers. I actually really like postcards. That are professionally done and I can buy somewhere. Not really motivated to make them for anything though. Maybe this feeling will change. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve made the decision to skip a couple of activities because because because. I’m totally down with tomorrow’s activity though. Writing a letter to a zine maker you don’t know…is the activity. Cool! I like writing letters! I like finding mew zine makers!  Yay!

IZM Day 7 – Sunday Funday


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It’s the Lord’s Day, so I could not do zine related things because they are work things. Which is a lie. I was totally doing three things in an endless loop today:

1) Watching Wonderfalls on Netflix.

2) Reading ALL THE HYPERBOLE AND A HALF POSTS from the beginning of time.

3) Reblogging 25% of all of the Kevin Russ tumblr/Instagram photos because omg I could be lost in them 5evah.

Tomorrow I shall be zinier. More ziney.

IZM Day 6 – (almost) Week 1 Recap


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Hokay, so…let’s look back, gentle viewer, and see how (the royal) WE are doing with our first week.

1. Sign in to WMZ and make related post. CHECK

2. Make a Top 10 list of reasons why you ❤ zines. CHECK

3. Zine Distro love! Order zines! CHECK

4. Reread your favorite zines. MERP

5. Teach yourself a new zine skill. CHECK



Read a zine every day. CHECK (ongoing)

Do 24 Hour Zine Thing challenge. CHECK

So, basically, I think I’m already doing better than I did last year. A couple comments on the list so far.

1) You can’t currently add an account to ZineWiki because of some SPAM maintenance that never got resolved. So…Day 6 activity is null and void. [UPDATE! The account creation thing is working again, so I got logged in and did up a two sentence thing for Fragile Like a Rubber Ball. Unfortunately, I don’t know HTML, so I gave up on anything beyond that pretty much immediately.]

2) I figured out which zines to read for Day 4! One of my alllll time favorite zines is just a little bitty 16 pager done by Amanda in Australia. It’s called I ❤ Poor Spelling and Bad Grammar. Long after I received it the first time, I wanted to get a back up copy (as I do with my faves), but I couldn’t track her down. Looked all over the internet. Nothing. Then one day, I looked at the back of the zine and…oh. There was her address. I mean, I figured her physical address had changed, but there was her email address, right on the back of the thing. So I emailed her and FOUND her! It was one of the MOST EXCITING THINGS that has happened to me in recent memory. I went on and on to her about HOW MUCH I love this zine and she kindly sent me a handful more with permission to reproduce them and give them out to people! Because I want everyone to read it. Especially because I have an English degree, from which I lost my nasty grammar police attitude, and became a fully identified descriptivist. I shall be whipping up a related zine this year discussing this distinction. But, I digress…she also sent me a handful of her other zines which I found refreshing and enjoyable as well. So, those are my Day 4 zines. I hope she does more zines because she’s pretty much awesome. And as soon as I can figure out the best way to reproduce her zine (the paper size is a little different), I’ll have them available for free and would love for everyone to read it. I plan on sending it out as a supplement when I get my grammar/lexicography zine done. I don’t mean to over-hype I ❤ PSaBG, but seriously. My heart.

Ok, I’ve still got some zine work and read in me tonight, so I’mma go do some stuff. But happy weekend! Go, zinester, GO!


IZM Day 5 – Dun Dun Dunnnn


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Well, it’s a stinker, but it’s done. I’m going to mail off this little 24 hour challenge zine for the sake of having it done, and then immediately go about revising and remaking it into something I actually think is worth sharing.

The Day 5 activity: Teach Yourself a New Zine Skill

Today I finally taught myself how to print double-sided on my printer. I know, I know…it’s not like it’s THAT hard to do, but my brain fumbles over really simple things sometimes – despite my otherwise awesome sense of spatial reasoning – and for some reason this is something that always trips me up. But…I now feel confident about it and can do it without standing in front of the printer for 5 minutes, tilting the paper and cocking my head with an increasingly confused expression like a perplexed beagle.

Anyway, I’m tired, so that’s it for tonight. I think it might be an early Friday night for me, friends. Night all. xoxo

IZM Day 4 – EXPLOSIONS! Killed with kindness. And some quotes.


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So, today I didn’t do a whole lot besides a little laundry, scavenging for mismatched food to eat in the fridge, and watching the BBC documentary about Vivian Maier. At about 8:00pm I decided to go ahead and do the zine challenge. (Of course Raven emailed me very nicely to make sure she had contact information to send me a button from last year’s thing, so if you’d like to see me look like a douche trumpet, please feel free to read my last post and side-eye me). I’ve decided to do a zine of these bizarro quotes that I harvested from my previous job. I will probably only be able to reasonably make one original copy tonight, but I can make photocopies of it once the places where photocopiers live open up again, post-holiday. [I’m actually sitting inside typing this and working on the zine while the grand finale of fireworks crackles in the distance like that popcorn house at the end of Real Genius].

I also read half of Eaves of Ass #6 yesterday, but am going to put off any review stuff until later so I can get this zine done. I’m going to postpone the #4 activity for today too. If I re-read my favorite zines, I will be reading Julia Eff’s zines…again…which seems like kind of a “duh.” So, maybe I will pick a different set of zines just to be fair or whatever. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Wheeee!

IZM – Day 3! Moar zeeenz!


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So, technically I ordered some zines last night [like a nerd, I did my homework in advance]. They are as follows:

Kent Ross zines:  Photomill 2 [for friends], Photomill 3, Dictionary of Difficult Words Issues 1 & 2, and Trying: Poems About Disability and Effort


Awkward Ladies Club zines:  Never Finish Grad School – a personal zine [zinefest edition], and 2 awkward ladies pins [1 for me and 1 for a friend]


Pioneers Press:  The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfucking Sad, WhatsTheirName, and Read Once & Destroy [backup copies]


I realize that I’m ambivalent about the 24 Hour Zine Thing. Zine ideas kept popping into my head today and somehow I was supposed to feel like I couldn’t make a 24 hour zine about anything I had thought about even for a second prior to the 24 hour zine challenge since the verbiage on the site is all Well, you CAAAAAANNN think about a general theme in advance I guess and like make your zine and we’ll roll our eyes and give you a button even though you’re not as awesome as everyone else who is REAAAALLLYY ACTUALLY DOING the challenge. I mean – it’s someone else’s thing that they created and more power to them, but I guess I just am not motivated to make a shitty zine just because of an arbitrary time constraint just to be judged by someone depending on whether or not they feel that I followed their rules closely enough. Plus, I never got a pin last year for participating and that’s just a positive-reinforcement fail. So…we’ll see how I feel about this tomorrow. If I don’t do the challenge, I’ll just plan on a general zine-centric project day. For all of you doing the challenge, I hope it’s everything you want it to be.

Soooo…yesterday I read another zine. I Know You Know My Heart #1 by Kneeotni McNett (aka Neo?) which I got from Ms. Valerie Park Distro. This zine had me hooked as soon as I opened it. It is hand printed [I’m biased – I love handwriting/printing] clearly and neatly with big capital letter headings breaking up the paragraphs. There are also some mysterious photos that I can’t really make out at all, but in a way it kind of adds to the vibe of the zine. These are really well crafted little stories about the author’s personal experiences growing up knowing that the world was probably going to end at any second. Also, more stories of biological family, chosen friends, travels, and one big toe. Instead of just reading like unedited diary entries, these words feel purposeful and engaging and really provoke a feeling of intimacy.

I enjoyed the quirky spellings of some of the words. Often people tend to judge others who spell things “incorrectly” as being unintelligent [I will be doing at least one zine about this in the future], but the author clearly has hard-earned wisdom and and an amazing ability to spin a yarn, dark and frayed though it may be at times. The long term impact of paranoia and fear in these pages is harrowing, but when I finished reading, I felt a sense of hopefulness. Not a sunshiny wide-smiley fuzzy wuzzy hope; rather a feeling of reaching the shore and being able to relax after being held under water forever. I really hope that there will be more issues to come. In the meantime, there is

IZM Day 2 – Top 10 Things and Stuff


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2013-07-02 20.32.24It’s like the Zine Fairy landed. Today I received a zine I totally forgot I ordered (short term memory – bad) and one I wasn’t expecting for a while. Since my PO Box has been pretty cobwebby, I decided to make myself feel better and ordered Photomill 2: Tales From the Cadaver Lab (June 2012). One of my best friends works in Histology and I always loved the stories that she would set aside in her brain for retelling – you know, over dinner. STIFF by Mary Roach is one of my all time favorite books (Let’s not use the word “maggot.” Let’s use a pretty word. Let’s use “hacienda.”). The idea of The Body Farm, despite the fact that it would quease me greatly IRL, is fascinating hardcore nerdy awesome. So I was really looking forward to reading it. Post-read, I can totally say it was worth the wait.

Aesthetically, the zine is clean and makes nice use of white space with easy to read text blocks, public-domain Gray’s Anatomy art, rubber stamp headings, and hand written details. Essentially, it’s one of my favorite kind of zines. I was also impressed that the intro was written with sensitivity to readers in that it included a general trigger warning and mention of a later discussion about fatphobia. Sometimes I feel like this kind of consideration is really a crap shoot in the medical field, so I like it when I see it. Kent takes us through their experiences as a student and TA for both Anatomy and Anatomical Drawing courses, recalling student reactions, the differences between textbooks and real specimens, the joy of nerding out, and the political landmines in rhetorical choices when teaching anatomy. I really enjoyed this zine and look forward to the sequel Kent alluded to in the note that came with the zine. I plan on getting at least two or three more copies and giving them out to friends.

SO…on with today’s planned activity:


10. The renewed sense that I am free to make things without the approval of a publisher and without a pre-established following.

9. Mail art!

8. Continually being surprised at the magical things that go on inside people’s heads and how much I can relate to them.

7. Seeing all the different kinds of handwriting in the zines and the letters that come with them.

6. Nostalgia mixed with future-y creativeness.

5. Drama, Social Justice Warriors TM, and the sanctity of TWUE zines! (I jest).

4. Julia Eff.

3. Most are shorter than “books” and thus I finish them (sense of accomplishment).

2. Sweet notes and personalized interactions with distros and zine creators.

1. They line the path of the road back to the place inside of me where creativity and fearlessness live.

So, anyway, I also received my backup copy of Julia Eff’s Broiling for Columbine. I can’t overstate how much I love their zines. Like, Julia Eff is to zines for me what Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to television. I can enjoy other zines and other shows, and even really get into some of them, but none resonate to completely or so deeply. Given the ephemeral nature of zines, I get kind of panicky when I think about Julia Eff’s zines not being in my life. It’s not like there’s 20 million of them printed. It’s not like they couldn’t just decide to stop making them (out of absolute cruelty and selfishness!). There could be a Zombie Apocalypse and NO MAIL SERVICE! So, I always get at least one backup copy of all of their zines, either as a replacement should something happen, or in case I JUST NEEEED to have someone else read them without worrying about losing my only copy. Now I just need to place my order for their other 2 recent zines through Pioneers Press (support the distro!) and I’ll be set.

In other news, I was thinking that this Thursday would be a good day to do my 24 Hour Zine Challenge, what with it being a holiday and all and me not working that day. So, that’s the plan, Stan. Hope y’all are enjoying your second day of IZM!

P.S. Just ordered a handful of zines from Etsy shops as well as from Pioneers Press. Guess I’ve got Day 3 taken care of. 🙂

Ringing in IZM 2013 with MST3K!


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Hello Beauties and Heroes! I haven’t posted here since the last IZM, so no better time to fire this thing back up. If you don’t know what this year’s IZM schedule is, just check out Alex Wrekk’s post here. Today’s activity is:

Sign up or sign in to We Make Zines and write about IZM and what you plans are to celebrate zines this month! Feel free to write about it on your personal site as well!

You can either post your own blog entry on the site, or just say something here, like me. Don’t miss the Extra Credit at the bottom of the list. I’m reading one zine erry day. Today’s zine is (dun dun dunnnn…) Hot Milk presents How Mystery Science Theater 3000 Changed My Life (or, 13 Lessons I Learned From the Best TV Show Ever). I loved the idea of this zine as soon as I read it, because I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do a Buffy fanzine that wasn’t just some Tumblrsqueefest. Like, for real y’all – I think about Buffy every damn day. It has shaped my life in so many ways. So I really like what Tyler Hauck does with this.

The zine is kept pretty simple and to the point, which I can’t imagine could have been easy with something he was so passionate about – especially with a show that has SO MANY episodes. I’m especially impressed that he uses the same skills that he learned from the show to turn around and critique the show itself. The zine is done in a cut-and-paste style, but with a clean format that doesn’t look like he was self-consciously trying to earn his zine cred by doing it; I tend to eye roll at cut-and-paste for the sake of cut-and-paste…that’s how I roll. But it was not distracting and I enjoyed the layout. I also like the little silhouettes at the bottom of the pages; very meta.

Although I think this zine is probably more enjoyable for people who at least have a cursory familiarity with MST3K, it also serves as a really great intro for people who do not. I definitely recommend this zine. Worth it.

9-1/2 hours left – How many will be spent online?


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Ok, so I just finished working at a job I had for almost three years providing first-contact technical support for a university community. I learned a ton, had loads of fun with the people I worked with, and was sad to leave. The one good thing, though, is that I will not be able to spend all day on the internetz.

It’s gotten worse over the last few years because a lot of my friends have moved away or the social bonds that bound us lost their elasticity or just snapped altogether. And there’s a lot more people I want to avoid in this small town and we all go to the same places. And I’m at a weird age with weird interests that probably thrive better in a more urban environment, but I’m stuck where I am for a little while. So, it’s been pretty easy to lose myself in the glow of the computer screen. Although, I’ve been a lot like this with library books my whole life, too. I would spend hours in the library, searching the stacks, checking out tons of books, then rarely end up reading one from start to finish. All branches, no roots is how I’ve played it.

So, I’m going to read REAL LIFE: A Magical Guide to Getting off the Internet by Dave Cave and Maranda Elizabeth and see what happens.

I feel like I should get off the internet to read it. So I’ll report back later.