16 May 2009

More Zines I've Seen

2059.More zine coolness available at your local Multnomah County Library (seriouslys! They have a zine collection!). Contact information, where available, embedded within the review, taken striaght from the publications. Typos are mine.

The Zine Standard Deviation by J.V. Whimper (jvwhimper@gmail.com) bills itself as "Science for you, not for them", and lives up to that promise. The main feature of the hand-sized zine, "Caffeine from Green Coffee Beans", noting that green coffee beans (unroasted, that is) have more caffeine in them than roasted, is an experiment designed to see if the high-test beverage can be extracted and consumed via one of two cold-brew methods. Short answers: yes and yes (though it be tasting as crap), and the buzz is quite real.

The zine rounds out with an advice column (Ask Dr. Dūm), a quick bit of myth-busting (Science Will Break Your Heart), Graphs!, and a 4 panel comic on the back cover (Scientist and Robot).

I thought this one a bit of fun, and actually seems like it would be a great introduction to the scientific method – the procedure of the caffeine experiment seems solid.

The next two zines are perfect for those times when life is leaving you cold and you just want something that'll give you a little lighthearted smile.

Monsters Make A Stew, by Lisa Eisenberg (lisa.rosalie@gmail.com, http://i_draw_pictures.livejournal.com), is just what it says it is; a gently funny, simply drawn series of panels showing some kinda squishy, cuddly, friendly-looking monsters getting together at a friend's house to make and share a stew. I don't know if there was any sort of message there except "get together and share good times with your friends", but whatever there was, it left me with a light feeling.

The comic is almost completely wordless, save for a monster on the cover saying that he could bring the peppers (and he did) and one of the monsters at table at the end signifying his satsfaction with a petite burp. Most charmingly cute.

Above: Scene from Monsters Make A Stew, by Lisa Eisenberg.
Copyright, the artist.

Super Crazy Cat Dance,
by Aron Nels Steinke (http://aronnelssteinke.com) is billed as a "super fun crazy comic for kids and grownups alike", and it also lives up to its billing. All black and white and using a joyously simple illustration style (see scene below), we get to see a girl celebrating all the cats she knows, teaching another girl how to do the SCCD, dancing to the moon, and then returning. It's the kind of stuff that makes you smile to read even if you are a dog-person, because even the dogs and the kitties lay down together at the end of the comic. Gently funny, and done by someone who must be a gentleman, as it's dedicated to his girlfriends three cats, which I find nifty.

Scene from Super Crazy Cat Dance by Aron Nels Steinke, copyright the artist
How can you not like this stuff?

Two more and I must dash.

Oregon 101 features Angela Wyrens and Chris Phillips (ohthedrama2003@yahoo.com) car tripping down the Oregon Coast (hence the title). They see the Sea Lion Caves, explore tidepools, sleep in the car, panic over getting something stuck in they eye, and have a minor car repair issue.

In other words, the same sort of thing that just about all of us go through on a car trip to the coast on a tight budget. I really related to it.

Scene from Oregon 101, by Angela Wyrens and Chris Phillips
Copyright, the artists.

Finally, a serious one with a lighthearted tone. Just about everyone has heard of the Dvorak Simplfied Keyboard layout (it's an option on just about every computer) but just what is it? The Dvorak Zine: Changing the World One Keyboard At A Time by Alec, Frunch, and GCB (http://DVzine.org) wants to not only show you but bring you over. They are Dvorak keyboard enthusiasts and evangelists, and not only want you to know the history of the typewriter and keyboard but bust some myths along the way:
  • Sholes, perfector of the Typewriter and the iconic Qwerty layout, didn't do that to slow down fast typists – since the board was laid out before the typewriter was even released, there still were no typists, but did it because the original mechanism was likely to jam.
  • After the typewriter was released by Remington, Sholes tried to come up with a more logical arrangement, but it was too late – The Qwerty had already taken the world by storm, as had the typewriter
  • Dvorak is hard to learn – actually it's quite easy. And since it's available in just about every computer made, you can have a Dvorak keyboard at any time.
You may be fine with Qwerty (as I am) but if you want to learn Dvorak, this conversationally-written and graphically-friendly zine, complete with three interesting personalities, should get you well down the road. It even functions as its own learning aid, and is replete with references.

Frunch introduces us to Dvorak. A scene from the Dvorak Zine,
copyright the artist.

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