Category Archives: sip a daily zine

in 2018, am setting aside time to blog a zine review and drink something delish

when beer and edible plants have existential crises

This week I’m doing it! I’m cracking open a tinnie and reading a zine, and both choices will reflect the struggle that is millennial life! Why am I joking and exclaiming so much when I had such a shitty last few days!

zine: what is a fruit? what is a vegetable? by Sandy, NSW

drink: Old Wives’ Ales Old Man Yells At Cloud NE IPA

I started drinking before reading, because I just got home from one of the places I source my booze, and been dying to try this NE IPA for ages – pop cult ref, tick. Juicy and hazy, tick. Smells divine, tick. Fresh! tick.

My cat’s wandered off as she tends to do whenever I spend too much time faffing about with books or on my laptop, but she also does this thing where if I’m a tad down, she’ll just stay close and occasionally meow at me to make sure I’m paying attention to life or something, or will get the odd demonic-type possession-craving for raw meat, so she doesn’t have to contemplate bloody fruit-veg epistemology!

Most of us end up learning that tomatoes are fruits (belonging to the deadly nightshade family)*, and that rhubarb is a vegetable, and that science is a very convenient knowledge bank to swim in when one needs to argue which is which. Fair point! But, as Mulder once made famous, a lot of us want to believe certain things, even though we most likely know it’s unlikely to be true. I’d die of shock if Nessie actually existed because…that’s some cool shit. I guess the Southern Hemisphere equivalent for me would be finding new thylacines, even though their jaws terrify the shit out of me.

Okay, the beer is still fucking delicious, and apparently the botanist def of fruit is ‘ripened ovaries along with their contents and adhering accessory structures.’ Like whoa, too much learning for an early-in-the-weeknight. Classifications are useful, but we know so little about our world, and my guess is that nature does ‘break’ rules we dim humans use because we can’t cope with anything outside the box. Come to think of it, this zine doesn’t really talk much about vegetables – only eggplant/aubergine (also a deadly nightshade? when not masquerading as its emoticon shorthand for large male appendages? size doesn’t matter, fools, it’s what you do with what you’re given! um, anyway…)

A lot of these zine reviews have really taken on a metanarrative quality supposedly picked up from the zine being reviewed, but to be honest, I’m enjoying my beer too much to really care about why vegetables are hardly mentioned in this ranty zine. Does it matter that I’m drinking it from a tumbler? Can I blame Bar SK for this (bad) habit? Will my Ralph-picspamming mate in Sydney forgive me for not buying him a can? (hey Trev, it’s best fresh and I don’t know if it’d be any good by July…).

It’s Tuesday evening…I’m feeling hopeful about the week even though I’m about to get metaphorically snowed under with a fuckton of reading. Good thing I like reading…

*I unintentionally made this sound like a cult thanks to blog tagging, but…yeah, it sounds like a cult, lulz!

why be happy when you could just practise

A few weeks ago, I spent money I should be saving on book-and-tea subscription thing called Bookishly for three months. So far two of the packages have arrived (from England!) with everything sealed within a millimetre of its not-customs-breaking life with unusual older book imprints.

I’ve been saving the two teas for something special, and after an admittedly rough week (by which I mean, I’m glad my antidepressants are working because if they didn’t, I’d probably be crying everyday, but now am too numb and stressed to have the time to).

Just managed to sneak in a tea-and-zine review post…I feel like I should be more prepared for weekly blogging but it’s harder to make time for doing it when not feeling chirpy so a lot of the posts this year have been written when feeling pretty deflated, but isn’t this part of the problem with ‘high-functioning’ when you have a chronic mood disorder? Functioning highly in what? At sadness? Anxiety cooking bolognaise sauce from scratch, mid-week?*** This week’s tea and zine of choice…read below: http://eatdrinkstagger.com/why-be-happy-when-you-could-just-practise/ (short review: both were excellent) ***I anxiety cook and clean a lot! if you’re going to make bolognaise sauce from scratch, use a bottle of good red and simmer for eons.

A post shared by some beer hack (@eatdrinkstagger) on

I still can’t find my most recent passport (it’s not lost, it’s just packed away out of my reach at the moment), which means I can’t get a full police check, and hair started growing over my bald spot. While looking through my phone’s camera roll for Bloody Mary/Virgin Mary cocktail photos for one project I have to finish this year, I came across a photo of me with long, slightly wavy brown hair down to my waist. I’d like it to get that thick and wavy again but it’s weird…I feel like looking so…’regular’ would delete all evidence of how difficult the last three years have been mood-wise. It’s so much easier to hide how you feel with a thick curtain of hair, on both sides of your face. In three more months, it will have been a year since my last hospitalisation.

Anyway, this weekend, the sads meant drinking tea, impulse buying a (neon grass green?!) book (Carmen Maria Machado’s The Body and Other Parties) on my wishlist, and reading a very, very cute zine to end the week and squeeze in a review post.

zine: the adventures of Ruby & Mags II by Lilly Piri

drink: Jenier grenadine vanilla black tea

OH WOW. The loose leaf tea comes in those mesh pyramid teabag things which means you can compost them, and the tea is heavenly! Really subtle and smooth. You keep sipping, thinking the flavour will intensify, and then your mug is empty. It’s glorious.

Ruby & Mags II has come in a plastic sleeve with holographic gold heart and iridescent pink star confetti. Ruby and Mags seem to be a pink fawn and an tawny orange-brown cat who are besties? They’re illustrated enjoying painting, doughnuts, tea, pancakes, strawberries, and Pocky. There’s an unrelated centrefold with four-leaf clovers, a puppy, and unicorns with rainbow-coloured manes and tails. I don’t know if this is because Ruby and Mags hallucinated this after eating hash-baked goods? Dropping acid tabs? It might’ve been their Pocky? I feel like this is what drug-taking acquaintances would tell me, but I’m too sad-straight to have any personal experiences to confirm this. Naïve me thinks it’s probably just their other cute and colourful pals? I’m not debating the above to be funny – the zine is ridiculously adorable. It’s like someone just dropped the zine equivalent of a gorgeously decorated cupcake in my lap! What was R&M I like? Are there more?

Anyway, they cavort playfully with the two unicorns, and then the last panel is the fluffy kitty with strawberry Pocky. A brief online search has pulled up this website – you can see the unicorns! They remind me a bit of this one windowsill where I grew up in London, where a girl – clearly a few years older than me, judging by the size and display of her My Little Pony collection on her bedroom sill made me wish that one day, if I were patient, I’d get ones with wings, and horns! I didn’t treat mine as well as she did hers and also liked playing with my brother’s Masters of the Universe figures too. Mantenna’s pop-out eyes were pretty cool! My bro loved those toys, so it was pretty nice of him to let me play with them too.

Hopefully the coming week will be a bit better…I think my mood funk will finish up once I’ve finished reading this very underwhelming novel I’ve struggled with for a week…initially, I wanted to read it because it’s about a young Englishman who ends up growing up in Holland, and becomes a luthier, but starts to believe he’s a werewolf (he isn’t: he gets into a violent brawl and acquired head injury sets off frontal lobe epilepsy). I’m not starting to read any new novels till finishing it – it’s called Quicksilver by Christie Dickason. It’s like a very, very bad version of the very, very wonderful Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. How does anyone make a historical novel about werewolves, the Netherlands, lutes, and early modern medicine boring?! That should teach me to stay away from remaindered books for…the rest of my life.

life-life balance

It could be PMDD symptoms, or that I haven’t made time to see my psychiatrist in two months, but lately it’s been harder to leave the day’s work behind and properly relax. I’m struggling to finish reading novels (which isn’t usually something that happens?!), and been writing a lot more, and depression symptoms have been more just stop, sit, and NAP, or anxiety symptoms mean it’s harder to fall asleep, and harder to get up because once I’m out of bed, my brain won’t switch off. The nap, thankfully, helped loads.

It’s difficult to reinforce boundaries around being too busy because I haven’t been this functional in nearly two decades. I’ve stayed up late for a bit – on purpose…brew a big mug of tea, read a zine (that doesn’t have pieces of mine!) for sheer enjoyment, but keep making excuses. So while my ‘heart’ is asking why the hell am I so exhausted, what my head is actually saying is the reasons:

  • I submitted a suite of three poems inspired by indie computer games as part of a ‘Women Writers of Colour’ commission on the theme ‘collaboration’ which should appear in the Writers’ Victoria membership mag next month…? Am thinking of working on a few more and compiling them into a separate zine at the end of this year
  • becoming a Women’s Melbourne Network committee member hasn’t felt like work, and in forgetting this, I also neglect that commuting takes up a lot of energy! duh me! Also, Janet Mock knows our bookclub meeting took place and thrilled does not begin to describe <3
  • I pitched and submitted work to a few publications that last year would have been too terrifying to even contemplate reading (no, really, just read that last sentence. Yes, I’m not-normiesplaining)…I feel like no one talks about these sorts of things when you’re reemerging back into life (or emerging into life for the first time with arms wide open)
  • am gathering reading material for some more formal reading/casual teaching arrangements, and can’t find my sodding most recent passport (my older ones are pretty funny!) which is a nightmare for trying to get current police checks (for the record, I’m British and have indefinite permanent residency in Australia)
  • have completed a fifth of a planned chapbook of poems on the private psychiatric ward patient experience (it’ll mainly be funny, honest, or rather, I hope)
  • I’m a reader for an online mag called Syntax and Salt, and their next issue is devoted to poetry so I’m excited because so far, I’ve been reading short fiction!
  • am signed on as a producer for my friend Creatrix Tiara‘s queer-lady-magician extravaganza of a show! It’s going to be on as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 😀

Okay, now I get why I took an extended siesta and missed out on a joint beer collab launch at one of my fave drinking holes (Bar SK, case you’re wondering)! Crying.

Let’s get down to business.

zine: ‘Hook Up’ volume 1 by Anthony Nocera

There’s a few snippets from (gay) hook-up apps, and then narrative from the writer about his interactions and memories of meet-ups. No holds barred, etc. but quite funny and oddly touching – no pun intended! I mean touching in that way sexual contact can make people be intimate towards one another for a short amount of time before they float off into their lives. There’s also a bit from/about Helen Razer on the whole marriage equality sitch. I wish I could remember when I bought this…it was definitely before the above was even on the table in parliament…or was it? The narrator also explains that he/they told the people he/they were hooking up with that he/they were most likely going to be writing about the interactions/meet-ups! It’s got interesting cut-up collage illustrations throughout, and it’s a bright blue, neon pink that makes me think it’s done on a risograph press? It’s also restricted to persons aged 18+.

beverage: Bright Chocolate (choc factory in Bright, Victoria) cacao tea

Nearly a year ago, I froze my arse off in the name of research for Froth, and went home with some sweet goodies from the Bright chocolate factory, which also had this ‘tea’ from the disposed cacao husks. I’m probably not selling it, but it’s divine, and really smooth the same way good chocolate is!

music: ‘Dead Start Program’ by John Tejada

I still buy CDs, and I really want this one. It turns out that I’m still a minimal techno tragic. It has a lot of what I liked about an earlier album of his, ‘Logic Memory Center’, and yes, it does hurt to have to use American English spelling (joke…but I do misspell type them in first go!). I find minimal techno’s repetition comforting and puts me in a frame of mind to better concentrate.

I do feel a lot better and more rested now. My cat having settled nearby on my bed, pretending to sleep but glancing over every so often also helps.