Device Must Be Earthed

With the nice weather and the windows open, even I am not immune to a spring cleaning mania. The other day I took all the milkcrates and other boxes out of my studio to see what's in each one, to see if it's just sitting there or what. Sometimes you have to just put everything out on the floor and look at it. There were two little guitar amps buried under everything, both broken in different ways, and I started to figure out what they each need from me. One of them said it right there on the back, painted by the manufacturer: "THIS DEVICE MUST BE EARTHED".

Most of the milkcrates went right back in the room in the same place they were, but with the space behind them dusted. Some of the boxes got merged. A box of photos went to an off-site storage facility (under the bed). There was a box of old sketchbooks that I had mostly scanned into the computer but I didn't get to every book in the box. So when the clean-up was over I put on a movie and finished the job.

image Scanning sketchbook into the computer is a habit I got into when I was making Mothers News-- having entire books scanned in made it much easier in the moment to quickly page through files and pull out a doodle when I needed some visual interest for a page. In the present, not producing a publication or working on such a tight deadline, there isn't really a practical reason to do this. But it allows me to move the physical sketchbooks into storage and clear 1 cubic foot of shelf space in the studio, which satisfies that Dr Mario part of my brain. And it gives me a clear and achieveable task for a mindless kind of day.

image OK, scanning in the books is nice but it's not really what I want to dwell on right now-- the important part here is that before a certain point in the archive the books are abyssmal. I'm not talking about the fun and lively drawings of a child-- those never went into books, they lived on huge piles of loose papers that constantly blew out the window. I'm talking about the first books, age 13 to 15, which were 100% pitiable melancholic nonsense. As a present and honor to myself, I meticulously cut those books into tiny pieces with enourmous scissors and put them in the compost, then covered them in kitched scraps and soaked them with the hose. I was hoping this would lift a weight from my shoulders, and to be honest it did a little, about the same feeling as a haircut, or a shave following a long convalescence. But I won't feel totally at ease until the whole pile turns to dirt, maybe 3-4 months.

Incidentally the compost pile is a recent developement and if you have any outdoor space at your disposal I recommend it. Your wet trash goes in there and rots peacefully, worms love it, it's great.

In other sketchbook news, I finally finished my most recent red notebook, the 17th in a series of little red notebooks I carry in my shirt pocket and write things down in. I haven't been going out much in the past couple months, and there hasn't been a lot to write down. Or maybe the stuff I wanted to write down I just wrote down on the computer. Anyway the book went long, at 10 weeks. I set up a new book early last week and made barely a mark in it, it was depressing. So a few days ago I put some stickers in it, just to have something there, and now it calls to me again, I'm making marks in it again. Yes, things need space to grow, but too much space is bad for morale. I needed some shit on the page just to get going, some fertilizer, some starter. I know that I'm mixing my metaphors here, that before I put the book in the dirt and now I'm putting dirt in the book. But I don't care! The device must be earthed!


Alright I got one more for you, this is a recipe.

Oatmilk Yogurt

The only trick is that when you make the oatmilk you do away with the optional step of rinsing the oats. The oat milk recipes I've seen usually ask you to soak, then drain, then add more water, blend that, strain it. The new way is just soak, blend, strain. Rinsing makes the oatmilk less slimy in texture but in this case you want the slime, the whole thing is slime.

You have to start with some yogurt in order to make this, I know that's kind of unreasonable but that's just how it's done, all yogurt is made this way. How the first yogurt got started I do not know, parthenogenesis I guess. Anyway you don't have to use oatmilk yogurt as a starter, you can use any kind of yogurt you find palatable. I recommend splurging on a more expensive plain yogurt at this opening stage. Once you've made your own yogurt though you can save some of that for the next batch, and just keep it rolling forward ad infinitum.

The tough part is going to be keeping it warm overnight, you'll just have to improvise something. You want to keep it around 100F. There are machines you can buy for this but the cooler method works great, and it gives you a bit part in the experience of being buried alive in a humid grave and later before a leering crowd being exhumed somehow more alive, sweaty, pale, quivering, barely holding your shape.

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