Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bathroom remodel…sort of.

Years ago the rotten floor and part of the wall were replaced in the bathroom along with putting in an ill-fitting surround and god awful glass shower doors. It was a tiny bathroom and the shower doors just made it smaller. Paul and I had been scheming about taken them out but I feared they were stuck on with liquid nails. Turns out it was secured with crappy rotting caulking and a few screws that didn’t come anywhere near being secured into a stud. Sweet! This made our life a lot easier. We ripped out the shower doors and I worked on re-priming and painting then went on a quest to find a shower rod while the paint dried. Turns out Fred Meyer doesn’t sell shower but our kind next door neighbor took us to somewhere that did.

Over the past few weeks I’ve patched holes, and we have taken out the ugly mirrored medicine cabinet and replaced it with a large flat mirror while I collected other random bit like my new obsession, air plants! With the medicine cabinet gone and the shower curtain gone mixed with the new mirror it looks like the bathroom is twice as big!  here are some photos

we have a shower curtain!


Mirror! Mirror! and an awesomely ugly candle holder.


Painted ceiling and beam and part of the window.


Cieling and trinket shelf. We have such high cielings that I had to do something with this space. Also, I have so much weird stuff, I had to do something with this space.


Shelf of random stuff.


Airplatns are my new favorite thing. I have a bunch of little ones hanging around the bathroom. I kind of want to name them like pets!


air plant and globe that my sister gave me for my birthday.


putting wooden boxes on walls is my favorite form of organization.


You can almost see my office from the mirror. The idea of the trinket shelf was so you can see it when you look in the mirror.


Poppies from my yard

Tray on top of toilet tank with Paul’s old map.


Hey look, it's me!


Ok, back to button making! I’ll have some more photos of my tiny kitchen to post soon.


Doctor Who ride and garden photos

Our friend Brandon is in town to study city planning and transit in Portland (check out his blog here) and what better way to check out a city than by bike? It is Pedalpalooza season and we went on their Doctor Who ride! They started at those blue boxes that look like the TARDIS near Pioneer Courthouse Square. I would have been there had I not gotten a flat tire. boo. I bought a new tube at Waterfront bikes to save the patching time. They were super nice! I met up with them at Ground Control where there is a Doctor Who Pinball. Then across the river to meet up with the Moz Ride at the Cemetery Gates of the Lone Fir. Yes, a Morissey themed bike ride complete with sound system!  Then headed to the Pizza Schmizza that, for some reason, has a giant Dalek inside.

After that we headed to the Rose and Thistle pub for Doctor Who Trivia! We met new friends and I had made a TARDIS image and “The Angels Have The Phone box” stencils that I was stenciling things with on the back patio. With Paul’s brain stuffed with Doctor Who trivia of course we won! We got a $10 gift certificate to Ground Control and that’s a lot of pinball.

Last night I had an IPRC shift and got a call up on the intercom asking about touring the Yeti Research Station. I didn’t really know what to say. I mean, the computer room has this new Big Foot theme that I don’t really understand how it has anything to do with zines so I guessed that’s what they were talking about.  It turns out that it was the Pedalpalooza cryptozoology ride and at least one of the people was on the Doctor Who ride with me. They all seemed interested in the stuff we had there and a few of them were actually interested in the IPRC so I gave a tour. I wish I had known ahead of time what was up. I kind of just stared at them when they came in.

Anyway, I have been busy making buttons and whatnot but my garden has been growing and growing. I have a bunch of pictures here on my facebook page if you wanted to see them. Here are some samples:

love in a mist

a huge bowl of strawberries from my yard!

My response to the Micrcosm public statement

Wow, over 650 hits to this blog and my post yesterday and not a single comment? Then I realized that I didn’t really make much of a comment either, I just posted other people’s words. So, here’s what I want to say.

Sure, Microcosm allowing comments on the post in the first place may have been problematic. It is also the easiest way to, you know, be transparent and”open the conversation” as they expressed in the statement. With that being said, I have several issues with the victim blaming excuse letter starting with the first sentence using the term “accusing” really? They say they don’t want a judge and jury trial, but that’s the language they are using. I find it an interesting phrasing that they say they care that the abuse was “named” and noticed that they never actually acknowledge that our (Sparky and my) experiences are/were valid or that, yes, Joe has issue with abuse and manipulation. Actually, in the letter posted last December, they did acknowledge that. Why not restate that?

As a survivor of emotional abuse, I am offended by this statement:

As abuse creates cycles of hurt, it’s been easier for those involved to put up a wall for personal protection rather than create resources for healing.

Really? After all I have gone through it is somehow my job to create a resource for healing for other people? Oh, I’m sorry, I was too busy working on shaking off the ghosts of abuse,  building back my self worth and learning to form healthy relationships again. I didn’t know that I somehow had more of a responsibility.

As for Joe stepping down, I don’t buy it. I’m sorry,I just don’t. Someone I know e-mailed Microcosm to ask about it. He’s not really leaving, he’s just not a voting collective member. I’ll bet that means he still has his hands in just about everything he does now but they are trying to paint a pretty picture, aren’t they? and I see “Non-Adherence Policy” is just like saying “We don’t really care. We don’t think this is important. We don’t have the time but we have this really corporate sounding term to hide behind even though we distribute lots and lots of things that express that we really do care about radical politics, feminism, and supporting survivors of abuse.”

Something else that concerns me is that there are only 3 people who signed the letter. Isn’t the collective supposed to be 6 or 7 people? Where are the other members? Did they quit? Where they fired? It seems really suspicious to me.

The weird paragraph about partners of Joe being talented and creative was really awkward for me to read. The other partner they are referring to is Sparky. When I was in Chicago for the zine fest I met Sparky and we had a lengthy conversation about the situation. She expressed hope in the re-founding and so I kept quiet with criticism to wait and see what came out the other side. But with her statement:

As a member of Microcosm for 4 years and a former partner of Joe Biel, I am sad to say that I no longer support Microcosm Publishing. I cannot support a group of people who so adamantly claim to oppose abuse, but in practice have let it continue for years. This abuse was perpetrated against me, and I have remained largely silent in hopes that Microcosm could be salvaged. I no longer believe this is possible.With much love and thankfulness to all my wonderful zine friends that I’ve kept or made along the way,

-Sparky Taylor

Her name is obviously not signed to the statement Microcosm released  and she clearly doesn’t work for Microcosm any more. She said she didn’t know how the other statement got onto Anarchistnews and she had fought to make a public statement something with substance that would show true effort at change. What made me most sad was hearing her experiences of emotional abuse that so mirrored mine as a partner of Joe and as a Microcosm worker and how easily it starts and how hard it is to stop.

Sparky and I were talking again and she wanted to know how to get the word out about her feelings about her experience with Microcosm. I offered her my support and to post her comment. Sparky is a smart, talented and creative woman and I wish her the best in whatever direction she goes from here. She and I both know that the only way is up.

Overall, the Microcosm statement isn’t worded how humans talk to each other. It is so intricately crafted as to say absolutely nothing of substance yet hits at hiding things. I wish I could say I wish them the best, but I no longer have any sympathy. -Alex Wrekk

hello blog hit spike, thy name is microcosm/joe biel/abuse/alex wrekk/boycott… or any combination of them.

So, some of you may know about my history with Microcosm Publishing and Joe Biel. And, if you don’t, you can read this post here.

At the very end of last year a supposed public statement from Microcosm was posted here.

I posted my response here.

Well, a new statement was actually posted on the Microcosm site here.

I would suggest your read it if you are interested and please leave a comment about it if you can. I think it would be helpful.

I’m going to close this post with a quote from Sparky Taylor, a former Microcosm employee, that was left in the comment section that make me very sad but sums up my feelings as well.

As a member of Microcosm for 4 years and a former partner of Joe Biel, I am sad to say that I no longer support Microcosm Publishing. I cannot support a group of people who so adamantly claim to oppose abuse, but in practice have let it continue for years. This abuse was perpetrated against me, and I have remained largely silent in hopes that Microcosm could be salvaged. I no longer believe this is possible.With much love and thankfulness to all my wonderful zine friends that I’ve kept or made along the way,

-Sparky Taylor

So, apparently Microcosm didn’t like the posts people were leaving and closed the comments. Luckily my friend saved them and I can post them here for you to see:


avatar Derek Neuland 0 seconds ago
Not true regGreg, if Microcosm had addressed and cleared a lot of this up ages ago when they were first confronted about this, I personally would feel better about them. But sadly, they continually disregard the thoughts and requests of the people they have wronged and have used tricky wording in their statements in order to save face.

avatar Doug Taylor 2 minutes ago
I don’t think I know Jessie or Adam, but Rio, I truly feel for you. Matt, too. I know that you walked on stage in the middle of something and had no idea what was going on. I know that you have tried your best with what you were dealt and tried to move forward. But there’s a reason I haven’t gone to your store.

I just can’t.

Have you ever been hated? Have you ever hated? I don’t hate you, and I don’t hate Joe. Hating is something that takes too much of a person, and I don’t recommend it.

Instead, I just try to understand how I feel, and I think that your well intentioned message is music to my ears…. four or five years ago. I do not know what has prompted this message, but I think of the trail of wreckage, and I can’t help but think that the end has come already.

It reminds me of a country western song where the guy comes back, hat in hand, freshly shaved and sober, pleading to a second story window: “I’ve changed, darling! It’s the real me! I’m back!”

A woman’s voice shouts back: “Back again? Well just a minute……” the shutters open and two boots come flying down, nearly hitting him in his head.

“You’ll need those to put the miles between us so sorely deserved. I’ve changed, too, for I’m not the kind of girl that let’s the wolf back in. Now, GIT.”

If it’s truly quitting time at Microcosm, I suggest getting a new job as well, or maybe going back to school. I hear college is nice this time of year, maybe even better in the fall with all the leaves changing color. Can’t speak for Bloomington, but you can just about live on financial aid in Oregon if you’re thrifty. Even more financial aid is available for individuals over 24.

There is so much I don’t understand about these Microcosm communiques. Each one posted leaves me with fifty questions, or feeling even more confused than before. I don’t understand waiting until two days before Cindy’s deadline to post something on anarchist news, let alone ANYTHING important on that site. Why feed internet trolls food they have never tasted before? Why not here instead? People obviously read this site.

I am curious about what happens in the background that nobody knows except for the people that don’t want it revealed. I am weary of the very thought of dealing with people, such as Rasmussen, as mediators that survivors have already declined to work with. I am irritated that the problem is still bracketed with “accused” instead of “acknowledged” or “identified”. Even “self-professed” would be better.

I try to help when I can, and it is very difficult. Sometimes I feel like I have done a poor job. Other times, I feel like I tried to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun. This thing hasn’t really died, but life has got along well enough with really having to deal with “Microcosm Madness” all the time.

Alex has been a true friend to me, and I would be remiss if I couldn’t try to match that. I guess it is one thing to stick up for your friend, but it is something else entirely if your friend makes you constantly have to apologize for their behavior, or “almost” apologize, which is even worse. Think about that.

— Doug Taylor

avatar regGreg 12 minutes ago
Who did Rio, Jessie, Adam, and the various authors, volunteers, etc. abuse?

Think of how much more you could actually be helping victims of abuse (both in and out of your ‘radical’ circle), if this energy was direct to that goal instead of pushing forward a trial-by-mob on a zine distro and publisher based on it’s (previous?) relationship to an asshole.

It’s too little too late for many of you because there was never enough that could be done in the first place. If that’s the case you’re not here to build or better anything anyway. You’re here to help strangle the last bits of life from a project intended to push and grow a medium you purport to love. If it isn’t then maybe you should stick around to help microcosm be better than it could be otherwise.

Sounds like Rio, Jessie, and Adam are trying to put out their hand and it’s being filled with spit out of practice and stubbornness.

avatar ManDuh 1 hour ago
This is the most victim-blaming bullshit I’ve read in a long time, especially the fourth paragraph. Doesn’t sound like anyone in Microcosm wants to take responsibility for anything they’ve done. I knew there was a reason I stopped doing business with this organization.

avatar Nate. 1 hour ago
“This whole situation from beginning to end is the perfect example of what happens when people of positions of power and privilege in the radical community are left in those positions and aren’t challenged because people refuse to support each other.”
Or because they are scared of losing their jobs.
Whateve, Sparky is my homie and it really infuriated me to watch her struggle with this from the outside, and see a collective that actively promotes(!) confronting abuse WITHIN THE SCENE (or whatever) get railroaded by ONE SHITTY DUDE! Who did the EXACT same thing in another city with a different person!
You guys are fucking politicans man, you can’t trust anything you say.
Gimmie my zines back, you people are ridiculous.
I honestly wanna see this collective go down. I mean the least people can do is not support this kind of hypocrisy. They had a MILLION chances to do it right, and they didnt even come close. They didnt even try! I think if this whole shitshow went public, anybody would be shocked and enraged at how poorly this whole process went.
I say boycott, this issue hasn’t been taken seriously at all.

“the collective believes that ostracizing someone isn’t a healthy, restorative response, and we’ve struggled with accountability being more than a radical judge-and-jury trial.”
^Wow i wonder how the victims who got booted from this collective feel. Ostracized? Whatever, this statement is fucking WEAK.

I dont think theres anything left to say except BOYCOTT MICROCOSM.

Love the rest of yall. Thats it.

avatar microcosm 2 hours ago
As a member of Microcosm for 4 years and a former partner of Joe Biel, I am sad to say that I no longer support Microcosm Publishing. I cannot support a group of people who so adamantly claim to oppose abuse, but in practice have let it continue for years. This abuse was perpetrated against me, and I have remained largely silent in hopes that Microcosm could be salvaged. I no longer believe this is possible.

With much love and thankfulness to all my wonderful zine friends that I’ve kept or made along the way,

-Sparky Taylor

avatar Derek Neuland 2 hours ago
“organizational refounding” sounds like “let’s try to dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in”

avatar pollyvomit 2 hours ago
I am really glad y’all have decided to work on this FINALLY and release a statement but this for something that has been going on for years that a lot of microcosm employees witnessed first hand, it really took y’all 5 years to work on your shit?

As someone who has worked in collectives for years, there is usually a understanding in the radical community and resources readily available (that even MICROCOSM HAS PUBLISHED) that talk about how to support survivors, and deal with the topics of transformative justice, accountability, anti oppression work, patriarchy, abuse, etc.

I know it’s not easy especially when people are involved in the same collectives/projects. but it NEEDS to be done, when abuse is happening IT IS ALL OF OUR JOBS AS COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO HELP STOP THE CYCLE AND SUPPORT SURVIVORS AND HELP AGGRESSORS CHANGE.

This whole situation from beginning to end is the perfect example of what happens when people of positions of power and privilege in the radical community are left in those positions and aren’t challenged because people refuse to support each other.

as a business that engages in the selling of radical leaning goods you have to practice what you preach, this just makes you look really bad and untrustworthy, like you’re just in it for the money.

also “As abuse creates cycles of hurt, it’s been easier for those involved to put up a wall for personal protection rather than create resources for healing” this sounds like victim blaming, while it’s up to survivors to state their needs and boundaries around the healing process you should respect their level of involvement. you can’t expect survivors to orchestrate an accountability process, such as you can’t expect a nonwhite person to teach a white person about anti racism, its not their fucking job. also using the word “accusing” makes it seem like you don’t believe that joe has committed abuse, its just in bad form.

but i wish y’all luck in what you do and hope that the collective thrives. if you need help with the collective side of things there is the US Federation of Worker Co-operatives. there are also resources in and around portland.

avatar alexwrekk 2 hours ago
I also find it ridiculously hilarious that my tattoo shows up next to my name when I post. So, I think I’ll do it again.

avatar alexwrekk 2 hours ago
So, are there only 3 “collective” members now?

So, is this the public statement or is the one posted here: at the very end of last year? Is that one also valid? And why was it posted on that site?

Too little too late, indeed.

avatar punctual 2 hours ago
Dear Rio, Jessie, & Adam,
I don’t really understand why you can’t let Joe do some apologizing rather than letting him use your words as a scapegoat for those he should TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for.

You should expect to try to bandage some wounds, and you shouldn’t have to shoulder an apology on someone’s behalf (which equates to just the same amount of cowardice).

avatar Derek Neuland 3 hours agox
The term “too little too late” comes to mind. Also, if you’re all for transparency, why is there no mention of the fact that Joe Biel is still an employee at Microcosm.

Also, stop using the chainring heart design!


We seem to have a crow nest in our tree. That’s what we have figured out by the aggressive jerks that caw without end and swoop down on us when we leave the house. My neighbor came over to say that she saw Jackie on a fence with 3 crows swooping down at him and fur was flying.  That’s the same neighbor that hosts BINGO at the sports bar down the street. Paul and I went last month and won cash prizes and a gift certificate to our favorite pizza place. I couldn’t go yesterday because I had too much work.

I was getting annoyed at the crow that wouldn’t shut up outside and took a bit of a break thinking that if I brought OJ inside that the crow would stop cawing at the cat. Well, when I opened the back door OJ started walking to the door just in time to miss the crow pooping right where OJ had been sitting! I hope the crow babies learn to fly soon because between them and the neighbor who has TWO starling nests in her roof, or corner is a noisy place. At least the hummingbird has been visiting again.

I have been tending my yard a lot. I have some photos here if you are interested. I guess having a lot of flowers means that people can steal them. I catch people stealing irises, poppies, love in a mist, and lupines all the time. The three weeks when the irises are in their full glory are my favorite time of the year so it makes me angry to see teenagers walking away with fistfuls of my flowers. I wrap loudly on my 100 year old melting glass windows like and grouchy old lady to get their attention. If they had asked or if they had offered some sort of trade I might let them have them. Hell, if they did it at night I might not even notice. if they offered to pull weeds and dead head flowers for an hour I would totally give them some.

Yesterday, one of my across the street neighbors came over with a basket asking if she could have some of my roses for her relative’s wedding. It might have been for the girl from across the street that I have watched grow up the past 10 years I have lived here. She needed flowers for the flower girl. I thought it was so nice of her to ask that I told her to take as many as she wanted. She wanted roses after all. I’m not a fan of roses. They are the prima donna of flowers.  So, she filled a wicker basket and I watched a pack of older ladies in finery pack into a minivan and be off.

I must be getting old when I bought myself some truffle oil and some saffron for my birthday. My saffron came in the mail yesterday and paul and I had to decide what to do with it.  I settled on Moroccan seared tofu and a saffron pilaf. I actually almost followed the directions!

Seared toful over saffron pilaf

Kingpin is one of our new favorite beers.

I had been looking at the messy stacks of records in the dining room. We have to go through them ever few months but I think we have only gone through our 7″ records once in the 5 years we have lived together. I picked up way too many new records last summer hanging out with Steve, the record buying enabler, and I started going through and alphabetizing the 7″s leaving a specific section for old Salt Lake bands. I have this problem that whenever I find old Stench, Insight, or Brainstorm 7″s in dollar bins across the country I MUST BUY THEM. It is sort of ridiculous, but good.

Once I did all the 7″ and started sorting the Lps that hadn’t been up away Paul started putting them in order with the rest while he made me listen to Fleetwood Mac. I think I cleansed my palate with Operation Ivy Energy while we debated on whether we should but all the Aaron Cometbus bands in once place or if we should put Julian Cope under J or C.

The view from the table.

A full IKEA EXPEDIT of records and 2 full crates full of 7"s!

I’m glad we went through all the records because my birthday is next Sunday and Paul wants to take me record shopping at the place down the street that is also a bar. It’s pretty great, they have these pint glass holders for you to place your beers while you shop.

This was sitting on the table so I took a photos of it...


That’s the Leatherman that my dad got me complete with my given name engraved on it. I bought one for him and he found it so indispensable that he bought one each for my sister and me. I was born on Father’s Day in 1977 and this year my birthday, yet again, falls on Father’s Day. 34 years ago I became a human and my dad became a dad. I always like when it completes the cycle and happens on the same day again.