Found Audio One

For as long as it’s been possible people have been keeping records. That’s what letters and journals were, what photographs were, what tapes (video or audio) were. Then we went to digital and the keeping part changed a little. Disks and CDs and CF cards kind of keep. And then the clouds pixelated and the keeping was all done by far away by businesses on media of unknown type.

I can buy a box of old photographs, or a carton of tapes of many types. I’ve never stumbled upon a crate of old MySpace servers.

The joke is the internet is forever. Deleted tweets and compromising snaps can always be found. But not the way I can find a families vacation to Tahiti recored in magnetic polarity on a thin tape in a little plastic shell. I don’t mean the digital dark age. I mean the obscurity by propriety that exists now. Unless they were kept locally and the device wasn’t reset we’ll never get to see Courtney and Thad’s spring break decades down the line.


Microcassette is an odd choice. As far as I know they’re always mono and are really only meant for speech. Recording a performance put on for tourists makes sense if you’re a tourist. I picture an ocean shore at night, a dance floor on the level of the spectators who may be pulled in by the performers. The scene is torchlit and the air smells of heat and salt. The casual sexism of the male voices makes the recording seem tainted somehow. The concern over cameras and batteries, tired legs, feel so normal.

The found audio made available here was transcoded from a 60 minute Olympus microcassette. Red marker labels each side with the word “Tahiti” and in pen each side is also labeled with a circled number one. Side A is also marked “Schultz” and “Blib??”. Side B is has only the still indecipherable “Blib??”

Jobo Auto-Mat 35

A little bird that is definitely real and can obviously read minds told me that analog is king and people want to develop their own 35 mm film. That’s a noble cause and you even get a prize at the end. The prize is not Nobel. For 35mm home development you need stuff, the stuff you need depends on how you decide to go about it. This list will not include all the outliers, it’s going to be too long anyway. Let’s assume you have your camera, your exposed film, and your chemistry.

Option One

  • Changing bag
  • Daylight developing tank

Option Two

  • Auto-loading daylight developing tank

Option One comes with a whole suite of other choices. Metal or plastic tanks & reels being the main one. Metal tanks and reels have some solid things in their favor. They use less chemistry, in the same line, they’re smaller. For agitation, you gotta shake. They can also be kind of a pain ‘cause you need specific reels for each film format, and loading those reels is a bit of a learning curve. Oh, and they’ll last forever and can be cleaned in a dishwasher and dried in an oven. If you go plastic you get to choose what brand is the prettiest. Holy crap there’s a lot of brands. Some you can shake some you can’t and you have to use an agitator rod. Some can be sealed up and sat on a motor driven rolling base instead, which you can do with a metal tank if you try hard enough but that’s just asking for leaks. Plastic tanks pretty much all use more chemistry, but the reels generally adjust to whatever size film you shoot. It’s nice having a reel that’ll take 110, 127, 35, or 120. Versatility like that means they’re pretty big, so I hope you got a darkroom or a big ass changing bag.

Option Two has choices too. Well, a choice, have you got $200 or have you got $30? That can also be written as do you want to buy an Ars-Imago LAB-BOX, or search the second hand market for a vintage Jobo Auto-Mat 35. I know what you’re thinking, we all do, especially the birds. “Jobo isn’t that expensive as hell?” Not the one we’re after.

The Jobo Auto-Mat 35, circa old as heck.

The problem with the above is, how do you use it? Maybe you luck out and get a crumbling pamphlet when you buy yours, good luck with that. I’m told there’s some guy out there selling a poorly scanned pdf for about what you’ll pay for the tank. Maybe I’ll buy that pdf if I ever need to know the difference between the white and black sprocket. So, here we go, instructions on how to use a vintage Jobo Auto-Mat 35. First, let’s make sure you got all the parts.

This tank doesn’t require a changing bag because the exposed film cartridge is loaded, everything is put together, and then it’s developed. There’s other vintage tanks that do the same thing, a bunch of Soviet brands, Kodak, Jobo, Yankee, and others are all out there. They all work basically the same, with the main difference being that for some the film cartridge comes out before the chemistry goes in and with others the film cartridge comes out at the end along with the processed film. The Jobo Auto-Mat 35 is one that soaks the film cartridge in chemistry. That pretty much means you’re going to either use all-plastic reloadable cartridges if you bulk load, or disposable cartridges. Just something to keep in mind.

Step One: one is cutting your film leader. Trim the leader to a right angle, then clip the corners. You can actually cut them a little deeper than picture, in fact it works a bit easier if you do.

Trim it straight across and then clip the corners.

Step Two: fold the trimmed leader back about a quarter inch. Fold it away from the cartridge so that the unexposed edge is touching itself.

Fold it back a quarter inch.

Step Three: take the metal film clip off the bottom reel, it should be easy to remove. Slip the film into the film clip with them both curling in the same way, so that if you traced them they’d form an arc, not a wave. Tuck the folded over edge of the film into the folded over tab of the film clip. The photo at the left shows the orientation of cartridge and clip and the photo at the right shows how the film locks into the clip.

Step Four: slide the film cartridge into the cartridge sleeve. The protruding side of the cartridge spool should be on the open side of the cartridge sleeve.

Step Five: drop the loaded cartridge sleeve into the bottom film reel. The sprocket should be installed and you should take care to line everything up. Note that at this point you don’t want the film to be sticking out of the cartridge or cartridge sleeve really at all, it’ll just make lining things up harder later on.

Step Six: with the reel top and cutting tube threaded together, align the dots on the bottom and top reels. There are cut outs that fit together in both, drop the film clip onto the post on the slider on the bottom reel when you do. Note, the cutting sleeve must be threaded to the top reel, it only isn’t in the first photo so I could get a better shot.

Step Seven: this can really be part of the prior step, in fact it works better if you do it all at once but it’s twitchy as all-get-out. In the top film reel there’s a bump the recessed top of he sprocket fits into. In order to fit the sprocket to it, you need to slide the metal tab on the bottom reel that holds the sprocket it place to the side so you can pull it out just a hair. The hard part is getting the sprockets to align with the film sprocket holes. There’s recesses in the reels that help with it but the first time you try you’ll probably mangle the film a little, it’s fine, they’ll fall into place after a little wiggle.

Step Eight: drop the assembled reel into the tank bottom. Give it a slight twist until you feel it locked in.

If it’s locked in place, it’ll be level.

Step Nine: place the tank lid on. The arrow on the lid will line up with the chemistry pour spout, then give the lid a twist to lock it on.

Step Ten: turn the handle on the film cutting tube counter-clockwise to wind the film onto the reel. As the film winds on you’ll hear a double-click on each full revolution. A 36 exposure roll will be fully wound after 14 double-clicks. A 24 exposure roll will be fully wound after 12 double-clicks. A 12 exposure roll will be fully wound after 6 double-clicks.

Step Eleven: grab the bit of the top reel that sticks out of the lid with one hand and turn the cutting tube clockwise. It’ll screw down into the tank. You will very likely not feel it hit or cut through the film and that’s fine. Just screw it down all the way, you atrocious screw-up.

Ready to go!

Now, pour in your chemistry and process your film.

A Zine About Tarasoff Duty (aka Duty to Report)

I made a zine about mental health professionals duty to turn you in if you make threats to harm yourself or others. I’m conflicted about the whole thing but writing about the history of the situation that gave rise to the duty to report honestly makes me feel much less exposed when I’m seeing a mental health care professional.

Appellate-Gun Laws Are Fun

The Zine itself covers the situation that gave rise to the caselaw that established the Tarasoff duty in California. Seriously, the case is off the wall, like, I’m amazed it hasn’t been made into a true crime book or a movie or anything. It’s absolutely a tragic story but there’s so many unbelievable elements to it.

At the end of the zine is a list of the duty to report for each state. Tarasoff was a California case and as much as the rest of the US goes with what California does each state is still independent as far as a doctors duty to report a patients threats of violence goes.

This is not a work of fiction.

Organized Birds: update 1

No one asked but the primary work for the new zine, Organized Birds is done! I want everyone to appreciate that I agonized over how to get that smear just right. The key is to start below the line. I worry it won’t photocopy well but what’re ya’ gonna do.

I tried a version of the cover without the smear but it didn’t work for me.

Review: Black Light four stories by Julia Gfrörer

A friend of mine bought me a handful self-published works by Julia Gfrörer a while back. I’ve found I can’t review anything while it’s new to me, I’m too centophilic in my tastes for that. So, here we are more than a year later and I still find myself turning the pages every week or so.

Physically, Black Light is eight pages of blue eight and a half by eleven, center folded and staple bound. It’s heavier weight paper than you might be imagining, the thickness is like that used for invoicing by the self-important and I love it. It’s thick enough that none of the printing shows through from one page to the next.

One more aspect of it’s physicality I particularly like is the arrangement of the cover art to the cover itself. What would traditionally be considered the cover is only an artwork without any distracting text or cluttered design. However, when opened flat the title and all that, which is on what would be considered the back cover is visible as is the complete cover art which exceeds just enough to be considered graceful. Maybe it’d be better if I just show you.

Apologies to Julia Gfrörer if they’re not okay with the reproduction of their work in this context, I hope they let me know.

The first story is titled River of Tears and is ten pages of primarily nine panels each. I could be shallow and call it a story about drugs or relationships but I feel like it’s more than that and I’m just not learned enough to pick up the greater meaning. There’s an early reference to semiotics and the ability of the senses to convey meaning or context plays a role in the remaining pages, be it the cold of overdose, darkness of the street or salt taste of a mistake. The art is detailed in a way that makes the reoccurrence of a scene or motief unique each time.

The second work, All is Lost, is four pages in length. It’s done in a twelve panel per page format and packs quite a narrative into just a few pages. Although I can not place it, there’s the impression that it’s the retelling of a some folk-tale or myth. It’s a sad story and something about it makes it feel much longer than the four short pages it spans. I can’t decide is the details of the narrative that are kept obscure is because it’s assumed the reader will know the story or because there’s a tacit agreement that any fan will fill in there own background. Either way, it just works.

Unclean is the title of the third tale and it’s an eight page return to the nine panel format. It’s my least favorite of the included works but that’s mostly because I just hate everything about the creature populating this one, it’s nothing to do with the work itself which is once more beautifully illustrated and well composed. I find that I read too much perhaps into the title. Is the explicit act what is unclean, the protagonist, the relationships both pictured and alluded to, the break of a deleted contact when one can not delete a physical presence?

The final entry in the slim volume is six more nine panel pages, titled Phosphorus. It makes sparring use of a yellow ink (like that seen on the cover) and benefits from reading under a, you guessed it, black light. It’s a story of rusalka-auto-erotic-asphyxia which is something I never knew I wanted to exist.

Here’s a link to Black Light at Julia Gfrörer’s Etsy shop where you can pick up a copy for the very reasonable cost of $8.00 USD. You should buy one today because honestly this is the sort of medium that’s availability never feels assured. I mean, this was first available in 2013 according to the date on the work itself, and it’s hardly guaranteed that the author will keep making copies in perpetuity (although I hope they do).

Zeiss-Ikon 127 film Box-Tengor

Can we just take a minute to appreciate the best little box camera on Earth?

Way back before the second world war Zeiss-Ikon made a box camera in their Tengor line that took 127 film. It’s tiny. 6x8x5 cm. But it has a portrait and a landscape tripod socket. It’s got a bulb mode switch. It’s got a shutter release socket. And it takes sixteen (basically 35mm size) frames on a roll of 127 film. Later models even have a shutter lock that prevents accidental exposures.

I like my early model a bit more as I don’t have to pull up the viewfinder to activate the shutter. That helps when you just want to shoot from the hip, which is all I do with this camera.