Alt Wire with Guest Blogger Joe Biel

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Alt Wire is a morning digest of links and information collected and explained by a different guest blogger every weekday. Today’s guest is Joe Biel of Microcosm Publishing. Check back for tomorrow’s guest: Fatemeh Fakhraie of Muslimah Media Watch.

The Prelinger Archives: I experience nothing but awe and wonder when I comb Prelinger Internet Archive. Whether I’m looking for open-source or copyright-expired video to sample or a hilariously outdated instructional film to watch, this is the place.

Punks and Vegetable Oil: Few things inspire me more than da punx taking their approach to things beyond music. Fossil Free Fuel is a brilliant example of exactly what I think of when I extrapolate the ideals that I had in my youth. It blows my mind that the best source for waste vegetable oil diesel system parts and conversion kits would be these knowledgeable punks.

Dicentra Collective: Portland kind of has everything. Dicentra Collective does is a resource for people who need all kinds of emotional support, sexual assualt resources, zines about physical disabilities, or a seemingly catch-all community directory of related projects. They put on frequent discussion events about all manner of the most uncomfortable topics you can imagine. Amazing.

Edwin’s Instructables: My friend Edwin has at least 365 project ideas each year so there’s been talk of putting together his “Idea-A-Day” calendar. In the meantime, and in tribute to Edwin, you can check out Instructables, where you can learn to make and do all manner of cool things.

Politically Unsophisticated and Pretty Neat: Even as I get older there is a part of me that respects what Plan-it X Records does. It’s a pretty simple concept: all full-length CDs are $5 and all people involved are interested in building community together; releasing music with people that you get along with as human beings, not just as a business relationship. You can call it “politically unsophisticated” but shit, that’s a pretty neat thing.

We Make Zines: There have been numerous attempts to create an active online zine community for as long as there’s been a graphical internet but Krissy Durden’s We Make Zines is the most successful in a long time. Daily updates on threads and plenty of international folks sharing information and most importantly zines!

Zinewiki: If I had enough time in the day to be obsessive, I would compulsively update entries on Zinewiki, the Wikipedia solely about zines and their makers. What started a few years back as a way to create a Wikipedia page about Alex Wrekk (deemed “non-notable” on standard Wikipedia) became a gigantic girth of information.

If it’s a blog, it’s the only one that I read: I met Jonathan Maus when he organized a bike craft swap meet back in 2005. He was smiley, energetic, and friendly. I like that. Within no time he had taken his bike enthusiasm to the nth degree with Bike Portland, charting virtually everything cycle-related in our Rose City. Then he added Elly Blue, who gives him a real run for his money in all of the aforementioned departments. If it’s a blog, it’s the only one that I read.

Honestly, Gmail: This is going to seem like irony or sarcasm, but honestly Gmail is the only website I look at on 90% of the days I use the internet. On a purely literal level, all of my most inspirational offerings come via Gmail: new opportunities, writing gigs, people who want to play my talkies at their school, and people who ask questions and share information that I might be interested in. Most days, I could really do without the rest of the internet and the way that it changed how information is broadcast.

BIO: Joe Biel isn’t as grumpy or bitter as he used to be and no longer feels the need to tell journalists why he thinks their paper is crappy. He founded Microcosm Publishing in 1996 and is working on getting Cantankorous Titles, a new DVD label off the ground this year. He has made a number of short and feature length talkies, including the forthcoming feature “If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk: Fourteen Years of Plan-it X Records,” and is the author of Make a Zine: When Words & Graphics Collide and is midway through his next book for Garrett County Press about folks who have grown up with punk and applied the ethics, approach, and ideals to things other than music.

Previous Alt Wire guest: Anne Elizabeth Moore

Image by Microcosm

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