Monday, December 19, 2005

Making Stuff and Doing Things

A Collection of DIY Guides to Doing Just About Everything
This is a review that I should have posted up here months ago, but never got around to it. Surely you have heard about this book by now. It was put together by Kyle Bravo who runs Hot Iron Press (which very unfortunately was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) and put out by Microcosm Publishing. It was several years in the making, and it seemed at times like it was even pretty close to being shelved, so I'm really glad it finally came out. This a 240 page book which just like its subtitle suggests: gives instruction on doing just about anything you can think of all by yourself. Rather than list everything that this book can teach you (which would take up way too much space), I'll just list a few of the chapter headings: self-education, self-publishing and producing, arts & crafts, clothing, outdoor survival, gardening, food & drink, travel, health & body, pet care, transportation, etc. There really is something for everyone in here, plus everything is explained really well and there are lots of pictures and diagrams to help you out. I made my first screenprint with the help of this book, and it turned out great.
While several of the entries were written by Kyle, tons of other people donated stuff to this book as well, and everyone receives credit for their contributions. I was even able to help out by contributing something that was in one of my past zines (even though it wasn't something that I actually wrote).
Normally, I would say order this directly from Kyle, but I'm not sure if he has a permanant address right now due to being misplaced by the hurricane. Either way, you can still order it from Microcosm Publishing, which is definitely worthy of your business. The cost is $10 plus shipping.
Stay in touch for more reviews...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I went and got myself all edumacated.

This semester of school is officially over for me. Wahoo!! Now, I have nearly a month off for Christmas (Ha! I said 'Christmas') break. I'm working on a new issue of Elephant Mess that I hope to have done within the next coupla weeks, plus I want to work on the book I am writing as much as I can....and if I have time, I'll start working on the next issue of The Juniper. I'll definitely get some new reviews posted up here real soon as well. Meanwhile, Elephant Mess and The Juniper are being distro-ed by a brand new distro (it just opened this month) called Sweet Pea Zine Distro coming to you live and direct from the state of Washington, so check it out...and order some zines. Give the girl some business.
Keep checking back cuz there are more posts coming right up.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oh! December!

So it's been over a month since I've posted anything. Even longer than that since I posted a review of anything, although I have several things that I've been meaning to review. I told you that school was going to hog me all to itself and not give you a piece. I can't believe it's already December. It's snowing like a madman out there. I'm serious, it's really coming down. It's been years since I've seen so much snow. I actually kind of like it, but at the same time I'm already ready for it to be spring. I've got big gardening plans and such.
Anyway, I'm not going to keep you for too long. I'll post a new review on here real soon. Seasons Greetings.
Oh, and don't forget: Buy Nothing This Christmas!

The Onion is so funny...

CIA Realizes It's Been Using Black Highlighters All These Years
November 30, 2005 Issue 41•48
LANGLEY, VA—A report released Tuesday by the CIA's Office of the Inspector General revealed that the CIA has mistakenly obscured hundreds of thousands of pages of critical intelligence information with black highlighters.
According to the report, sections of the documents— "almost invariably the most crucial passages"—are marred by an indelible black ink that renders the lines impossible to read, due to a top-secret highlighting policy that began at the agency's inception in 1947.
CIA Director Porter Goss has ordered further internal investigation.
"Why did it go on for this long, and this far?" said Goss in a press conference called shortly after the report's release. "I'm as frustrated as anyone. You can't read a single thing that's been highlighted. Had I been there to advise [former CIA director] Allen Dulles, I would have suggested the traditional yellow color—or pink."
Goss added: "There was probably some really, really important information in these documents."
When asked by a reporter if the black ink was meant to intentionally obscure, Goss countered, "Good God, why?"
Goss lamented the fact that the public will probably never know the particulars of such historic events as the Cold War, the civil-rights movement, or the growth of the international drug trade.
"I'm sure the CIA played major roles in all these things," Goss said. "But now we'll never know for sure."
In addition to clouding the historical record, the use of the black highlighters, also known as "permanent markers," may have encumbered or even prevented critical operations. CIA scholar Matthew Franks was forced to abandon work on a book about the Bay Of Pigs invasion after declassified documents proved nearly impossible to read.
"With all the highlighting in the documents I unearthed in the National Archives, it's really no wonder that the invasion failed," Franks said. "I don't see how the field operatives and commandos were expected to decipher their orders."
The inspector general's report cited in particular the damage black highlighting did to documents concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy, thousands of pages of which "are completely highlighted, from top to bottom margin."
"It is unclear exactly why CIA bureaucrats sometimes chose to emphasize entire documents," the report read. "Perhaps the documents were extremely important in every detail, or the agents, not unlike college freshmen, were overwhelmed by the reading material and got a little carried away."
Also unclear is why black highlighters were chosen in the first place. Some blame it on the closed, elite culture of the CIA itself. A former CIA officer speaking on the condition of anonymity said highlighting documents with black pens was a common and universal practice.
"It seemed counterintuitive, but the higher-ups didn't know what they were doing," the ex-officer said. "I was once ordered to feed documents into a copying machine in order to make backups of some very important top-secret records, but it turned out to be some sort of device that cut the paper to shreds."