Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Call for Submissions: A Zine about Hitch-hiking

im making a zine about hitch-hiking.

yes. heres a call for stories, piccies etc about the wonderful world of hitching...

the title is going to be "itchy feet". i have written a text of dos and donts, with a bit of hitch philosophy thrown in for good measure. if all is good, richblabla will make some illustrations and im hoping some people feel like sending me a recollection of their best or worst hitching experiences... i already have two crackers from iain! they dont have to be too long and funny is good. send 'em over to spaceman AT mujinga DOT net.

thanks and happy hitching!

Yes I Am Trying To Play Catch-Up!

I'm totally behind on my reviews. Let me see if I can catch up a little here. I've been reading but not writing, so...

First up is Below Noon #2 by Angie P. It's a small little zine but it packs a pretty good wallop of atuo-bio and introspective work. #3 came out at the end of May, but it was #2 which appeared in my mailbox. It's sex-positive and queer-friendly, in three parts: a "blah blah blah" introduction (her words, not mine), a long middle piece called "The Libido Process: Growing Up Horny in Rural America" and, finally, "pluck it out & put it down: brain samples (plus excerpts from wherever)." The last part is some excepts from letters, postcards, other random writing, and quotations; though they're disjointed and don't fit, they're kind of captivating in their brevity. The introduction stakes out the focus and organization of this & future issues of Below Noon: "experimental story-telling" with "2 main sections: one with somewhat structured stories...and another section that's more improv." I like this idea.

Overall, the writing's very direct and clear and I enjoyed reading it, though it almost felt a little rushed in places. "The Libido Process" is basically a coming-out story in five parts, and it moved quickly; not so spare as a reciting of facts and dates but not as full as a meditation on coming out and thinking about that experience. Still, overall, a solid read: interesting, precise, worth your time. I'm interested to see what #3 includes...

Below Noon
c/o Angie P
P.O. Box 42123
Portland, OR 97242
angie97202 [at] gmail.com
$2 USD, trades OK, 1/4 page size, 48 (?) pages

Self-described as "a quirky, original perzine with artistic, imaginative DIY information," Mamacita #1 is kind of about a writer's way back into doing zines, from musings on long-armed staplers, but it also includes some writing about identity, about gender, without "trying to find myself by writing endless introspective paragraphs for strangers to read." There's also some crafting tips thrown in, on stretching canvas, and a story about learning to cook. Mamacita #1
is what one of my housemates might call a hot mess; there's a lot going on here from someone who's worked in zines before (and, visually, this issue looks very much in the cut & paste style of many zines: you can imagine the X-acto knife and the gluesticks in the composition process). It reads like a first issue, where someone's finding his or her way with a new project, which is always kind of exciting. It holds promise. I'm very interested to see where it goes.

Mamacita #1: Giving Up The Post
c/o Fay
P.O. Box 127
Medina, OH 44258-0127
surflei [at] yahoo.com
$2 US/CAN/MEX/$3 world, "stamps accepted, postage pre-paid"
trades maybe, 1/2 legal, 24 p (not including cover)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reviews from Davida

I’ve been slacking this summer. The reasons (okay, excuses) are many. It is hard to write reviews when you can be flipping off of a dock into a quarry lake or picking up the matchbox cars that seem to multiply every time Garnet overturns the box. Regardless, it is Sunday afternoon, the house is clean, I have been to yoga, the spam folders have been cleared, and another round of lovely thunderstorms approaches.

Dwan #47 and #48

I should not review poetry. It is not something I of the blunt and direct wordage should even attempt. The only reason I am going to try here is that in knowing Donny I am granted a little insight into the unspoken and underspoken, which says oh so much.

In Dwan #47, Donny visits Istanbul and offers emails and journal entries about the experience. There is both sub-text and much unknowing in this issue. Also, thanks to digital technology there are color photos in this issue, which is available in PDF form.

Dwan #48 compiles poems that have been previously published throughout the zine and literary landscape and contains one of the best and classiest dedications I have read in a long time. This issue is mostly poetry, dreamy and contemplative.

Donny is now living in Turkey, so email for PDFs or possible trade: dwanzine@hotmail.com.

Bluefuzz the Hero

Jesse Reklaw is well-know for his Slow Wave dream comics and other one-shot zines like Applicant. Bluefuzz the Hero offers a confused and slightly bumbling hero in a modern-day fable/fairy tale. There are adventures, wanderings, and snarky village folks. I enjoyed it.

Check out all of Jesse’s wares at http://www.slowwave.com.

Time Enough at Last: A Reading Log 2007

This is a compliation of short reviews of all the books, zines, and comics that A.j. read in 2007. This lead me to new items of possible interest. There were also reviews of books I planned to read but am now reconsidering. I was glad to see she loved World War Z as much as I did.

A.j. Michel
PO Box 877, Landsdowne, PA 19050

The Ken Chronicles #6 and #7

This is a finely produced personal zine in the purest sense. If you want to get to know Ken, his likes, dislikes, travels and obsessions, this is the place to start. #6 focuses on his genealogical research – I can’t even imagine knowing this much about my genetic past. #7 is about Ken’s trip to Cabo San Lucas.

Ken Baussert
2140 Erma Dr, East Meadow NY 11554

I am Winto: A Life in Parts and 600 Rubles

After a few email exchanges pertaining to paper vs. web, Jennifer and I ended up trading. I am Winto is the first part in Jennifer’s autobiography and covers her early school years and family life. She is also a red-head and explains how that plays into her identity.

600 Rubles takes Jennifer from an act of domestic violence that results in a severe concussion to Russia less than a week later – against her doctor’s orders – to perform with a dance team. Ultimately, her injury and resulting experiences with her coaches and fellow dancers would lead to tremendous personal changes.

Jennifer Manriquez

Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day

This is not a zine in the traditional sense, but a sampling of Joan Aiken’s Armitage Family stories. Regardless, I took the zine to dinner one evening after BEA and enjoyed the stories. They have that nostalgic feel of The Boxcar Children and Narnia. I don’t know if Gavin still has copies left, but you should check this out regardless:



Lastly, Eric Lyden passed along this link: www.degrassidigest.com. I haven’t read any issues yet, but if you are a fan of Degrassi, check it out!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Call for Submissions / Syndicate Product 13

Syndicate Product wants to you THINK OUTSIDE THE IDIOT BOX
for an issue about TELEVISION and EVERYTHING that surrounds it.

YES to stories/vignettes such as:
+ personal television experiences - e.g., did you appear on a game show and win a case of Turtle Wax or a house full of Z-Brick? Or, have you worked in television production? Appear on or host a cable access show? Work for TV Guide?

+ stories involving television equipment and technology - e.g., the day cable arrived, our family's first color television, wow... high definition television is really distracting, you can have my TiVo when you pry the control from my cold dead hands, the golden era of "television lamps"

+ stories that tie your personal experiences in with the television experience - e.g., What did you watch all night after you were dumped? What shows did you watch to avoid writing your dissertation? How about when someone you loved died? When you first moved to a new city or a new apartment? What shows were you not allowed to watch growing up?

+ unusual lists of television-related goodness, not just basic lists of episodes or "moments", like the ones in every other issue of Entertainment Weekly or TV Guide. Get creative! How about a list of the television characters you and your friends pretended to be as a kid? (I've known many of you for over 10 zine years - you have it in you!)

+ non-United States television experiences, or conversely, impressions of United States television programming if you don't live here

+ Just plain odd television-related stuff. Pitch me something! Send me something!

NO to the boring and tired:
+ "Why Lost (St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, etc.) is the greatest show ever!" The point of this issue is to think beyond the popular and well-reported. However, if you can make a case for something really offbeat, obscure, unusual, or just plain odd, pitch it.

+ "Oh, I DON'T watch TELEVISION." This issue is a fete for television programming, not a lecture about how television rots your brain. (Plus, if you say you DON'T WATCH TELEVISION, but own all the seasons of The Sopranos, yeah, YOU WATCH TELEVISION.)

+ Routine "Top Lists" - best sitcom episodes, best science fiction, best stunt casting.

Comics are welcome! The issue will be digest sized (half-letter). The zine will be B&W and photocopied.

Length: I'm not going to get too hung up on length for this issue, but I would say between 500-1000 words is a good size. If you need to go longer, please do. If the writing is good enough, people will want to read it to the end. I'll let you know if a piece is simply too huge.

Due Date/Where to submit: This issue will be ready for the fall television season, so the due date (for now) is Sept 5, 2008. Send me your pieces as they are ready! Submit entries to syndprod@gmail.com. OpenOffice, MS Word, RTF attachements, or just paste the text into an e-mail. If you want to mail them, send them to: A.j. Michel, PO Box 877, Lansdowne, PA 19050.

Yeah, I'm stupid enough to do another issue of Syndicate Product, despite the rising photocopy and postage costs. Won't you help me fill it up?

Syndicate Product Covert HQ: www.syndicateproduct.com

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Post Office Newbies

Being an old man, I still utilize what is quaintly called “snail mail” by folks of my generation just catching up to the year 1999. Granted, I don't use it much for personal correspondence any more—for anything personal I tend to just shoot off an email, and I am enraged and annoyed by old friends of mine who don't check their email every fifteen seconds or so like a cocaine monkey. There are a couple of friends I haven't corresponded with in years simply because they don't ever check their email. Like I'll send a nice, detail-crammed email to them, basically an old-fashioned letter in email form, full of pictures and anecdotes and all, and then eight months later I'll get a weak response along the lines of “just saw this...sorry, never check my account”. And then I burn down a nearby warehouse in displaced rage.

I digress. It doesn't matter; from what I read email is already considered passe by the younger generation, who prefer twittering and IMing and such. They also think Red Bull is a good drink, and worse, they think mixing Red Bull with booze is drinking. Bastards. The world is ending.

Anyway, I do still use the old Post Office for my zine, which remains rather stodgily print-oriented. I do post PDF archives and there is a web site (a collection of static pages! that I have to update manually!) but let's face it, my zine is meant for paper, and I have no intention of converting it into a blog or anything like that. So I make my lonely trips to the post office, and over the years I've become pretty much an expert on the place. There are about three rules that will get you through any post office experience:

1. Never argue. These folks are behind six inches of bulletproof glass and you will die of old age before discovering the name of their supervisor, assuming they have one at all. If they tell you that you have to drizzle chicken blood on your envelope, just go find yourself a chicken. It will save you a lot of heartache.

2. Never assume they actually know the facts. This is kind of a corollary to #1. While you shouldn't argue, remember that postal workers are just as dumb as the rest of us, and if you hear something that you know for a fact is not true, simply displace: Walk out the door and go to the next nearest post office. You've got a pretty good shot of hearing the exact opposite over there.

3. Be prepared to stand in line. And don't whine about it.

I can spot the Post Office Newbies easily simply by observing who breaks these rules. While I find it hard to believe, the world appears to be filled with people who have avoided entering a post office until the age of thirty-eight or so; they walk in expecting. . .well, I don't know what. Efficiency? Friendliness? A transporter beam like in Star Trek that dissolves their missive into atoms and beams it across the universe? The very person they're mailing something to, standing there through some mixture of voodoo and Federal Government Mojo?

The mind, it boggles.

The newbies usually break #3. First are the ones who walk in, see the line of twenty-seven people, and stand there with their mouth open as if twenty-seven people is the most people they've ever seen in their lives, ever. Experienced Post Office customers sometimes walk in, see the length of line, and walk right back out again, but the newbies are always the ones who stand there in total shock, as if a line at a federally-associated service was a surprise.

If the Newbie decides to be brave and get in line, their resolve usually lasts about thirty seconds, at which point the neck-craning, foot-stomping, sighing, and general jackassery begins. A line is a line, folks—the reason there is a line at all is because a) the service being rendered takes a long time and people are arriving faster than the workers can execute their tasks or b) there aren't enough people working. Once you get in a line, you have accepted the fact that you are going to wait your turn.

Newbies fail to realize this, and their stay in line is usually an amusing collection of tics and short-attention-span theater. A lot of times they will complain to the people around them, as if anyone cares, and if the people around them are not responsive they will often pull out their cell phones in order to call someone to complain to. Every action of the postal workers will elicit a sniff of amazement, and they will also attempt to psychically suss out the work schedules and staffing issues of that post office, wondering aloud why all fifteen windows aren't staffed, why that postal worker is eating lunch while we're all standing there, why, why, why in the world aren't there more workers?

Sometimes I swear the newbies look at me as if insinuating that I should quit being a slacker and somehow slip behind the counter and start selling some goddamn postage.

Then, of course, the newbies confirm everyone's suspicions of them by slowing down the line with complaints. For example, after a half hour of sighing and foot-stomping irritation the newbie finally gets to the window and is told that their piece of mail requires a form. They're directed to the table with the forms and told they can fill it out and bring it right back without standing in line again, while the worker handles other customers. The newbie then breaks rule #1 and argues. Their argument generally follows this logic: They did not know a form was required, because they generally don't know anything, and this ignorance is somehow the fault of the United States Post Office, and thus they should not be required to do any such thing. The form should be filled out for them, or, better yet, waived completely.

Meanwhile, as they fight their futile fight, the rest of us stand on the line staring at their back wishing we could set people on fire with our thoughts.

Sadly, this Postal Wisdom is becoming obsolete, and soon I will have to turn to the younger generation to explain things like Tumblr to me. Until the final days, however, I can still stand in the post office and feel superior to the newbies who walk in with a 60-pound box marked VODKA AND TARANTULAS and watch them get all twitchy when they're told they can't ship it. It's great fun. Until someone, usually a postal employee, starts shooting, of course.