clean up / milkcrates / scanners / thou shalt mulch it / weed it & feed it / oatmilk yogurt recipe / buried alive
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.
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.
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.
a big jar
a few tablespoons of yogurt
other flavoring agents or sweeteners
step one- make oat milk
soak 1 part oats to 2 parts water, for at least 30 minutes. I don't know if soaking longer gets you anywhere but I usually soak for a few hours.
blend it with an immersion blender or whatever
strain it through a mesh strainer. The recipe says to use a "nut milk bag" but come on. if you don't have a wire mesh strainer I don't know, use a t-shirt. Try to use something that's already oatmeal colored (aka "last year's white").
step two- make yogurt
heat it on the stove just until it starts to boil, mixing frequently. It'll really thicken up so you gotta keep breaking up the lumps with a whisk or something.
cool it down for an hour or so. You want it at 100F. A thermometer helps here but if you don't have one then just cool it for an hour and hope that's about right.
when it's 100F add a couple tablespoons of any kind of good yogurt. I guess add like... a tablespoon of yogurt per cup of oatmilk? Adding more probably won't hurt. Really stir it in there.
squirt in a tablespoon of lemon juice if you want it to taste kind of sour (like yogurt), and add sweetener if you want it. I don't add sweetener in the process but I do add honey right before I eat it, because I like to SEE the honey. Do you know what I mean? I want to SEE it. Is that wrong?
keep the mixture warm for 7 to 9 hours. A great way to do this is to put a jar of boiling water into a cooler and put the yogurt next to it, and close the lid.
I think it's best to keep it as still as possible while it incubates/sets because you want to grow long chains of molecules, and if you jostle it too much, that breaks the molecules. I think I heard that somewhere.
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.
links / misc
I touched on a lot of past subjects here, so here's more info on My Beautiful Little Notebook [link], Dr Mario [link], and I didn't really talk about this but I just want to go on record that I finished my Quilt [link], and it came out great. The edge really makes it pop, and I'm so proud of the quilt that I'm making the bed every day to show it off (to myself).
I wrote about towers last week and then as soon as I hit send I looked up at my own refrigerator and saw that the Arthur Katrina calendar had a fallen tower on it for May! In tune and on time as always!
Later that day a MUSCLE man came unglued from the display quilt and it was this guy:
Me and Sakiko's band PLASMA TV is on this Satie's birthday comp that Noraa put out-- [bandcamp]. Noraa does a yearly concert for Satie's birthday and it's always really nice, a fun chill zone with a snack table that's all white food, because Satie claimed to only eat white food-- marshmellows, popcorn, parsnips, rice crackers, etc.. This year's concert got cancelled so there's a comp instead and you'll have to BYO white food and WYO grey velvet suit.
If you want to get these posts delivered to your email inbox, you can sign up via our substack: [link]. To those that are already reading this in their email, you can read past installments on the website-- [link]. And if you want to drop me a line just to say hi, or you want to request a topic for discussion (other than "Make 13", which is an IRL-only story), I am now entertaining requests via the contact page-- [link].