Saturday, July 26, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Everyday Cheesemaking

This review was written for Green Action News.

“How to Succeed Making Dairy and Nut Cheese at Home”
K. Ruby Blume [Microcosm]
Whenever I read a book or a zine, I learn something—not necessarily a life-altering philosophical truth, but facts, knowledge, information. Like, for example, I did not know that you could make milk and cheese from nuts. I've heard of almond milk, of course, but I've never given it much thought and I did not know that you could make milk and cheese from other nuts as well. Now I know this and a whole lot more about raw and pasteurized milk, animal husbandry, ethical dairy and how to make your own cheese everyday and, it's all thanks to K. Ruby Blume and her book, Everyday Cheesemaking.

K. Ruby Blume spent years as an activist. She hit the streets with signs and puppets aloft and protested nukes, war and income disparity. There came a point, however, when she started questioning the effectiveness of her actions. She wondered just what she was accomplishing with her signs and street theater antics. Blume decided instead to use her considerable skills and talents to teach, empower and encourage people to take back a little more control of their lives by becoming more self-sufficient. In this seemingly small way, big changes can be the result.

Blume teaches cheesemaking, among other things, at the Institute for Urban Homesteading, which she founded in 2008. The purpose of the Institute is to teach people how to live a meaningful and sustainable live in an urban setting, which in her case is the Bay Area of Oakland and Berkeley. Her work there has borne the fruit that is this guide. Blume’s comprehensive, step-by-step instructions can help anyone make cheese. The process is not as complicated as you might think but it does require the use of specific tools and ingredient, all of which are outlined in the guide.

The book begins with some schooling on the history of milk production, the original reasons behind pasteurization, the benefits of consuming raw milk, the harmful effects of factory farming and the ethics of animal husbandry in the more traditional sense where a symbiotic relationship is created between human and beast. Cheesmaking 101 begins the discourse on the creation of a variety of different dairy cheeses. Vegan? That’s fine, no worries there, the last section of the book deals with making cheese with nut and seeds.

So I learned a few things by reading this guide to making cheese at home, but will I actually make cheese at home? I might, I might not. You may or may not give it a go yourself, but this is a good book to have should the need for homemade cheese inspire you to break out the cheese cloth and curd knifeChris Auman

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NEW!!! Reglar Wiglar #22: The Book of Jobs Part 1

At long friggin' last, Reglar Wiglar #22 has been photocopied, folded, stapled and is ready to be sent out to a mailing box near you. In this issue, I begin recounting my long employment history in "The Book of Jobs Part 1". Also included: "The History of Music," "Forgotten American Music Masters," "Hungover Poetry," "Donald Trump Versus Metallica," "The Top Ten Numbers of All Time" and a brand new Cassetty the Cassette Pet comic: "Living in the 80s."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

COMICS REVIEW: Buddy Buys a Dump

The Complete Buddy Bradley Stories from Hate Comics Volume III
Peter Bagge [Fantagraphics]

So Buddy buys a dump, eh? What else would you except from an all-grown-up slacker like Buddy Bradley? You didn't think he was ever going to get a real job, did you? Best case scenario, he might have been coaxed (read: nagged) by his wife Lisa into taking a few classes at DeVry or ITT, but that would have required a serious tweaking of the man's worldview. Buddy Buys a Dump is the latest collection (the first in seven years!) of the complete Buddy Bradley stories that were compiled in issues 1-9 of Hate Annual published from 2001 to 2011. This collection also features a new, previously unpublished tale of Bradley family woe.

I must admit, I had lost track of Buddy and Hate in recent years and could only assume that Mr. Bagge was still cranking away at his drawing table, devising new ways to make Buddy suffer. (He has in fact been cranking away doing work for DC, Marvel and writing or Reason magazine). My own history with the Hate series goes back to about '92 or '93 when, after spacing off my el stop on my way home from the Loop in Chicago, I ended up at a shop called Haley’s Comics located underneath the Paulina Street el station. Having never cared much for comics of the superhero variety, I went in nevertheless and the very different style of the Alternative Comics section, and Hate comics in particular, caught my eye immediately. The series was already up to about eight or nine issues at that point, so I bought every one and was soon a devotee, eventually even sporting an "I scream, you scream, we all scream for heroin!" t-shirt—a drug I would otherwise not endorse in this fashion.

I’ve grown up and so has Buddy. Buddy’s life paralleled my own in some sense (crap jobs, weirdo roommates), but essentially I am not, nor will I ever be like Buddy Bradley. I certainly know the type, however, and therein lies the appeal of Buddy as a main character. The revolving cast of nut jobs that Buddy attracts to himself, and is attracted by, doesn't hurt the appeal or comic potential either, nor does the sharp wit, great dialogue and Bagge’s unique style of rubbery, quavering limbs, popping eyes and massive pie holes shouting and swearing off the pages. Bagge developed this unique style many decades ago and he hasn't toned it down much since his days drawing characters like Studs Kirby, Girly-Girl and Zoove Groover. Those squiggly lines of anger shooting from brows and spit firing off from teeth-bared mouths are his trademark.

There are eleven chapters in the continuing Bradley saga contained here. They involve the buying of a dump, of course, Buddy eventually going into business with Jay (again), the raising of Buddy and Lisa's baby, Harold, with appearances by Buddy's wing-nut brother, Butch, and other assorted neighborhood ne'er-do-wells. Even Buddy's old high school chum Stinky makes a cameo. (Spoiler alert: he's still a corpse.) Our hero does seem to have mellowed a bit with age. He doesn’t fly into a rage as easily as his younger self, Lisa seems to have a slightly firmer grip on him and although he does have his shocked and awed moments of disbelief (complete with the bulging eyes, gaping mouth and wavering lines of exclamation), life has kicked some of the old fight out of Buddy, but that was just the fight to be lazy and shiftless so that's not such a bad thing. The new and final story, "Fuck It" created in 2013, sees the Hate storyline come full-circle as Buddy returns to Seattle, with kid in tow, on his way to meet Lisa who has been minding her sickly and aging family's affairs. Who knows what new life and old characters await them there.

2015 will mark the 25th Anniversary of Hate and the Bradley family was introduced to the world at least five years before that in Bagge's first series Neat Stuff. We've seen moves before, and deaths and breakups and births and we can only hope that Bagge has the time and inclination to keep humoring us aging Gen Xers by giving us a new taste of Hate every a yearChris Auman

This review was originally published on Sound on Site.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Woodrows: Rock 'n' Roll Jism

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The Woodrows: Toby's Got A Toothache

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The Woodrows: Swim, Woodrow, Swim!

The Woodrows: Swim, Woodrow, Swim!: Swim, Woodrow, Swim! (RoosterCow) 1980 When you run out of dry land, you gotta swim, Woodrow, swim! The classic follow-up to Run Woodr...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Cassetty: Livin' in the '80s

Small World Cup: Round of Twelve

The Cup the sports press doesn't really cover

The FIBFA* Small World Cup

Tonga vs. Fed. States of Micronesia

Fiji vs. Maldives

St Kitts-Nevis vs. Djibouti

Grenada vs. Barbados

Vatican City vs. Liechtenstein

Luxembourg vs. Iceland

*FIBFA: Federation of Itty Bitty Futbol Associations