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Apple Scruff (by Katherine Raz, katherine@backgarage.com)

Girl Talk #5 (girltalkzine@gmail.com)

Conscious Defect (consciousdefect@inbox.com)

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Comment by Conscious Defect on January 5, 2010 at 1:52am
Well thank you. Story telling is much different in words than in person though. A lot of face-to-face human interaction is in body language, voice inflection, social proof, frame control... I could go on forever, but it's A LOT of different stuff you can't put into text. So I consider the two -- text and in-person -- two completely different fields.

And to answer your questions, these days I've been doing pretty much everything besides writing, despite having a large unfinished CD zine I just don't know what to do with. Last time I worked on it was probably six months ago, and even then I couldn't finish it. Writers block or something. Who knows.
Comment by Billy Da Bunny on January 3, 2010 at 6:32pm
Yo, CD, it's cool to hear from you and where you come from. A lot of what you said about writing is what you would have learned had you gone to school for it. (which i sort of did, i've taken lots of classes on different things) Keeping things simple keeps them powerful. My teacher would say "Which words can you take out of that sentence, and still get the point across?"

Well, the type of zine you write is just story-telling. And you seem like a good story teller, in print or in person. No offense intended, but that usually goes right along with being a good bullshitter. You know how to lie and scam and hustle and bullshit, and that carries right over into story-telling. It always helps that you are talking about 'exciting' things, like crime, but i've read really dull zines about crime, so it takes more than just that.

Yeah, Origins was definitely darker, but that's ok. Rondo was cool, I thought it was all new stuff, but realized partway through that some was new and some was old. My favorite parts were the pictures/stories about riding bikes through various stores. Ha. Such a weird thing that really doesn't hurt anyone, and isn't really "illegal", just weird/stupid/funny. See, I've done that, but like, in one store. I've never tested store after store after store after store, ha.

What's your new thing? Any new writing?
Comment by Bradley Adita on January 3, 2010 at 4:30am
boredom is a luxury
Comment by Conscious Defect on January 1, 2010 at 6:01pm
Oh man, the time line used to be such a mess. At first, I didn't plan on making anything beyond #2. Then I changed my mind and wrote #3 -- a prequel. Then #4 -- a sequel. Then #5 -- taking place the same time as #3. And by the time I got up to #7, I looked back and realized it was getting ridiculous. So I stopped, ripped all the zines apart, re-wrote them slightly better, re-organized them chronologically, added a bunch of new stuff, dropped the numbers, and what I ended up with is now 'Rondo Of Theft'. So if you've got that and 'Origins', you have what I consider the complete set.
And 'Origins' comes first. (Despite me writing it last.)

But thanks for compliments on writing style. Being self-taught, I take those seriously. I tried making a style that could compete with people's increasingly short attention spans by replacing all big words with small ones, throwing in tons of humor and ridiculous thought, and cutting out as many words I could get away with to adopt an aggressive voice. It's really fucking sloppy though. Hell, I think in some parts I was just stringing sentence fragments together with dashes. I tried reading it maybe once since finishing, and it was hard for me to do -- except for Jake's parts. I always liked his best. He didn't know anything about writing or even care so his parts are extremely simple, but hilarious.
As for 'Origins' though, I took a darker approach that some people didn't like, but by stepping back into the view of an emotional, frustrated, and overly-reckless teenager (which I was back then), I feel I captured the mood pretty accurately.

Anyway, I appreciate your honesty. I've actually read good reviews of zines on past distros that I hated. It was obvious they didn't even read the material. But your reviews are definitely my favorite so far.
If you have a way to scan your zines and link to them, I promise to return the favor by printing them, reading, and giving you my honest opinion -- something I agree every zine writer should get. It's dumb some aren't holding up that part of the deal, which is why we've got tons of shitty zines carried by distros on the verge of burning out.

P.S. Mr. Evasion is fucking weird. But I respect him.

P.S.S. Congratulation going vegan. That's awesome.
Comment by Billy Da Bunny on December 30, 2009 at 12:50am
very cool to hear from you, sir! I read Origins this week, and just finished chapter four of "Rondo". I was curious about the timeline, because Origins takes place before the CDs, and it seems like Rondo does as well, but the writing in Rondo seems like the best yet, and I truly do love your style of writing.

I'm glad you like my review. I could have gone on further and further, more in depth, but I tried to sum things up. I don't quite know what I'm doing with these webcam zine reviews yet, but I guess just trying to be honest. For a long time I was a distro owner, and would write very complimentary reviews of all my stuff. If there were parts I didn't like, I would gloss over that. The zine community can be very sensitive, and criticism is usually not taken well. But I think honesty is a good thing. If a person produces something and puts it out into the world, they should expect people to say what they think about it.

Yeah, I totally get it, I get a lot of what you're saying. And no, no one is asking you to save the world, or change the world, and no where in your zine do you indicate that you think you are. You're doin yo' thang. You don't owe anything to anyone, you really don't. But it seems like so FEW people in the world even understand that there are problems. I feel like I get it, and I feel like you get it. So I feel a connection, and for me, I don't know where to go after that. Ok, here we are, a couple of smart-ass people who know that the world is fucked up. Well, *I* don't know how to fix it. I guess I keep hoping that by reading one of these zines, maybe one of yours, I'll find someone who is actually changing some stuff.

There are a lot of jokes in your zines, some right there in the words, and some that are felt more than anything. I get a lot of it, for the most part. It seems a lot of other people probably don't. To me, you guys are mostly pointing a big finger at the world and just laughing. Because in a lot of ways, THAT is the joke. That morons do what they do.

I'll send you an email through this. Are you ever on here, or just to make those posts? I'd love to mail you some of my zines. You might love them. And if not, you would actually tell me why.

ps, never met the Evasion dude, but he stayed with some friends of mine here in Chicago. They said he was an asshole. ha.

pps, I've been vegetarian for 10 or more years, and vegan at different points. I'd been thinking of going back to it, and a number of factors, including your zines, inspired me. Two whole weeks, hell yea! Ha. Two more and I get my parade, right?
Comment by Conscious Defect on December 29, 2009 at 2:05pm
Hello, Billy Da Bunny.

This is the 'writer of Conscious Defect' -- a title much better than "spydr". I've grown to hate that name so much, in fact, I took it completely out of the Conscious Defect anthology, 'Rondo Of Theft'. (I'm actually a bit embarrassed you reviewed the old numbered issues in your "review3" video.)
But anyway, I'm surprised and happy someone reviewed my zine in a thorough, honest way. I enjoyed all of what you had to say. Even the part where you call me an asshole. Actually, ESPECIALLY the part where you call me an asshole. Because secretly -- when writing those zines -- I always kind of wanted that from the reader -- an emotional response.
I'll be honest, I don't read zines. It seemed like the few times I ever picked one up that wasn't about bicycles or making menstrual pads out of stuff you find in the dumpster, I couldn't get into it. Maybe I was reading the wrong ones, but I never liked common themes of vague meandering introspection or attempts at convincing the reader that some small undeserving thing or moment was profound in some way. I was bored with zines. The way the writers always seemed to blend into the paper. So I picked up a book called 'On Writing Well' by William Zinnser (highly recommended), read about half of it, then sat down and wrote the zine I imagined myself enjoying. A simple zine. A confident zine. It didn't matter what it was about. I was convinced I could write a damn good zine about watching the grass grow if I wanted. But instead, I took a cue from Evasion (Despite it being mostly fiction. Don't ask how I know.), and wrote about what I was doing at the time -- traveling, and making store owners cry themselves to sleep over quarts of missing soy milk. (Another of my tongue-in-cheek exaggerations.)
I simplified the writing to make it bold. I generalized things. I didn't delve on intricacies. And I realized that by doing this, I might come off as an asshole. So I paused, and I thought, and looked at what I had written and said, "Good. I will not blend into the paper." If people want to hate me, let them. If they want to like me, awesome. Just as long as they felt SOMETHING. Because an emotional response -- ANY response -- is better than nothing. I heard this once and will never forget it: "The opposite of love isn't hate or vice versa. It's indifference. Just as the opposite of happiness is boredom." And boredom sucks.
So after awhile, there were a few reviews. And they all came around to one point -- one point you mention as well -- that my 'way of life' was not changing the world. And I really wondered where people got the assumption that my shoplifting and traveling and mischief was ever meant to. I mean, these things were just a PART of my life. Not necessarily what I did all day, every day. And I kind of felt people were generalizing ME. But instead of joking about it like I was, they were serious. And to this day, I still don't get it. Changing the world... It made me concerned. Maybe there are zines about changing the world, but mine isn't one of them. It was never intended to be. Bad, because I think some have confused my zine for a manifesto. And also bad because this view is discouraging to people interested in writing adventure zines in the future.
But the truth is, I largely avoid activist and anarchist circles. And my favorite actions have always operated separately from the limitations those circles unknowingly represent. In our current time -- where the 'terrorist' label is applied easier than the click of a mouse, my advice to anyone interested in change is this: Go out and break something. Don't tell anyone about it. And certainly don't put it in a zine.

As for shoplifting, the first time I ever stole food from anyone, I didn't even know what an activist was. I was probably nine or ten -- stuck in a 'middle of nowhere' in a situation very far from the happy ones you see on T.V. sitcoms.
Comment by Conscious Defect on December 29, 2009 at 2:03pm
Part 2 of 2

And something about it stuck with me. It made me angry there were locked stores of food when people starve outside. And I remember when discovering dumpster diving, I was glad to eat, sure, but also that much more disappointed and disillusioned. (Small businesses waste A LOT too.)
After awhile I met anarchists that claimed if you can't pay for something inside a small business, you should offer work for it. And the one time I explored this option at the only grocery store in Plymouth Nebraska after getting stranded there, the man said no. I starved. Should have stolen something instead.
These days my traveling has taken me a bit further. And it wasn't long ago, that I was standing on the coast of Panama looking over fields of Chiquita bananas as children begged for money and food mere blocks away. Seeing this just cemented my view further. I don't care who's store carries the bananas. I'm going to steal them because it should be a right to eat. And that's not going to change the world -- I know -- but it doesn't mean I'm going to start paying for bananas (or chocolate almond milk) either.
Still, I was always a little confused by this criticism, and I know Jake was as well. I remember one day, after walking out with a bag of food from Trader Joes (without paying), Jake looks at me -- all wide eyed -- and says, "You know what we just did? We fucking SMASHED THE STATE!"
He was joking. I knew it at the time, but felt other people didn't. We weren't trying to be revolutionaries by shoplifting. We just wanted to eat. I wasn't even serious when I wrote those zines. I know Jake certainly wasn't when he wrote "FOOD LIBERATION FOREVER!" So it disturbs me to know how many people took it maybe, a little too seriously. And that's one of the reasons Jake lost interest in contributing more to Conscious Defect. No one got the joke. And no one understood that real life is more complex than a goofy travel zine.

Anyway, Mr. Billy Da Bunny. It would probably take me a lot of convincing to write another Conscious Defect zine. I've since moved onto other things. And I'm sorry you would never invite me into your home, as I would never steal anything from an individual or you. (Except for maybe that awesome Bling necklace you've go on.) But because I enjoyed your review, you can crash in any one of my stairwells anytime. I've actually branched out recently and talked with people who pay for food. And you know what? It's not too bad. Especially when they take me out to eat.

--Guy who wrote Conscious Defect.

P.S. My email address you posted no longer exists. Sorry I don't have a new one to offer.
Comment by Hoodrat Militia on December 16, 2009 at 9:26pm
another awesome review bunny man!
i'm diggin the weekly updates..
Comment by Billy Da Bunny on December 16, 2009 at 8:41am
Yeah, like I said there is a lot of fun and adventure in CD, and it makes for good reads. When security guards are shaking their fists, Spyder and Jake just laugh. When they steal shoes from Payless, they justify it by Payless' bad business practices. That's all fine and good, but Payless won't change how they operate based on the opinion of a shoplifter. So no actual progress is ever made, other than a good zine, ha.
Comment by Blake on December 16, 2009 at 5:21am
Awesome pod-review, Billy! Very much appreciated.

In response to zines like Conscious Defect, or for any other form of communication--I've found that well written/crafted material can be enlightening, even if I do not agree with some of it, or even most of it. One thing that it does make me do is to think about my own positions much the way you discussed in the pod cast. You found the author's take on some subject to be extreme, for example, and then you thought about your own views, etc. Even if you've not changed your take on a topic, the effort of actualizing it in your mind helps ground you. To me, this type of exercise is just as a "productive" part of self-awareness as reading something that I'm 100% in agreement with...

... if any of that made sense at all.

Thanks Again!

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