Monday, May 4, 2015

Digital Witness: a 2014 mix



I didn't put out a zine at the beginning of 2015 with my best of 2014 disc attached like I normally do and I'm sick of looking at my angst-words from the last few blog entries, so here's my best of 2014 mix (above from YouTube, below is the tracklist).

DIGITAL WITNESS: a 2014 mix
by MixtressRae

Two Weeks // FKA twigs
West Coast // Lana Del Rey
Digital Witness // St. Vincent
I Look Fuckin' Cool // Adore Delano and Alaska Thunderfuck
Lost Boys and Girls Club // Dum Dum Girls
High Ball Stepper // Jack White
Go // Grimes
Get Well // Nothing
Paper Bag // LaziRae (not on YouTube playlist but embedded below)

Yellow Flicker Beat // Lorde
Ultraviolence // Lana Del Rey
Interference // Thom Yorke
Queen // Perfume Genius
Days Are Dreaming // Goldbloc
A Friend // Say Yes Dog
Silver // Caribou
Clearing // Grouper
West Coast (Solomun Remix Dub)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

defaults

I kind of hate that everything I write here lately is just sadness. anxiety. depression. woe.

The facts are that I am healthy. I have a home. I have friends. I have family. I have a great job...several, in fact. I have resources.

But these things fall away when your brain isn't ok. And it's not as if I won't survive. I am resilient and like I said, I have resources.

But the only things I think are moment-to-moment survival. I'm trying not to complain because so many others have it so much worse, which is why I won't promote this particular blog.

There's been a death in my best friend's immediate family. I don't even have the words for how she must be feeling right now. I keep trying to offer paltry advice on what I know of PTSD but all I have to compare her experiences to is the stupid tornado.

And THAT is something I really really wish with all of my heart that I could forget. I'm tired of being a wreck every time the wind blows. I'm tired of the anxiety that descended upon my brain in 2011 that hasn't let go. I've had more of it in the last 4 years than the rest of my life combined.

I went to Florida for the funeral. I left my wallet in Florida. Because I didn't have my ID at the airport I had to undergo a background check, have my bags thoroughly searched, and a thorough pat-down (with gloves and everything). Because of that, I haven't wanted to be touched since then even though the woman was very professional. I dreamed of being molested. I keep feeling my breasts being grabbed at (even though that is NOT what happened at all).

I'm really quite fragile.

I know I need therapy. And probably medication. But instead I curl into a ball. I drink. I cry. I take shallow breaths.

Sometimes this world wreaks death and disaster and trauma and isn't kind at all. It takes good people from us. It takes down our childhood homes. It scatters our sentimental objects. It rapes and it kills and it decimates us.

But there's also a wealth of good people on this earth...people willing to help without being asked. People ready to give you exactly what you need before you even know you need it. There is so much goodness in other beings on this earth. We do what we can to help each other.

I know I will survive this depression like I've survived all others. I've GOT to believe I will eventually ignore a thunderstorm like I used to pre-2011. That stupid word: hope. But it's there and peace will come as it always has. Goodness and calm are more prevalent than malice and upheaval.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

As time (and hormones) would have it...


I'm again sitting at a computer tasked with updating my blog whilst under the influence of brain chemistry that is (and has been for over a week now) causing, but is not limited to:

*anxiety
*sweating
*not sweating when I am so hot I could DIE (usually in the middle of the night)
*acne of the volcanic variety
*bloating
*a pervasive hatred of every one and every thing in my path
*clumsiness
*impatience
*pinched nerves? I don't know...there's this exciting new aspect to my extreme PMS that is presenting itself as a neck injury. It very well might BE a poorly-timed neck injury.
*constipation
*overall confusion and inability to perform basic tasks

The fun thing about hormones is that one really never knows when the dragon-breath of fiery hell will descend upon thee or for how long or WHYYYYYYYY. Sometimes I don't even realize my period is about to arrive until it's herrrrre(!!) and I'm curled in a ball on the floor hoping I don't die. And I need a change of pants. Sometimes I'm an emotional wrecking ball for two weeks beforehand and the period itself is like a shot of dopamine and cupcakes. Sometimes the whole thing is uneventful. Sometimes the

ENTIRE.

THREE WEEKS.

beforeduringandafter is a torment I feel I will never emerge from.

That's been my month. The really exciting part is that I will probably finally start the damn flow of blood and tissue from my lady-parts sometime tomorrow as I work among small children in the library (small children that squeal and squeak and cry and frequently scream like pterodactyls) from 9am-4pm. As soon as I get off work we're due for thunderstorms all evening. great. just. fucking. fantastic.

I only have like 4 beers in my house. No WAY is that enough sedation-aids to make it through this week.

P.S.-- I'm sick of not being allowed to talk about period stuff. I usually do to a degree anyway, but this is officially me no longer holding back. I have what could be diagnosed as PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) which basically means that I have extreme susceptibility to hormone fluctuations and really intense PMS. I think women should speak up about it more because it's something that effects us. We are hardcore for enduring it. Most women can endure it without others having any idea they are, unlike me. ;)

P.S.S.-- You don't need to be concerned about me. It's my body and everything works itself out. I could be completely fine tomorrow and the entire week after that. I'm venting. I have to do it...it's like a compulsion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

* anxiety *

is an acquaintance I'd like to unfriend...that sounded cooler in my head.

Having one of those general malaise days. One of those occasions in which you know FOR SURE that you're the biggest loser in the entire world and why would anyone like you and will you ever get the things in life you want probably not why even try, etc etc.

Everything I think today is a thought the most emo of emos would think is ridiculous. And I KNOW it is ridiculous to find myself the WORST person ever. Surely, someone sucks more than me. And yet I am on the precipice of panic all day anyway. Great fun. Good times. Noodle salad.

I know I need to post a blog 'cause I said I'd post one every Saturday and it's Tuesday. This is the result of me forcing myself to blog. And typing might just calm me. Haven't taken a Valium yet...

The older I get the more I realize that I'm just not meant for noise, people, or stimuli of any kind. Earlier as I was working at the children's desk a child was screaming in that special hell way that kids scream and he sustained it for about 45 minutes. I went mad after the first five minutes. The mother was immune.

Also am experiencing a particularly high level of my particular form of what I am convinced is dyspraxia (aka Developmental Coordination Disorder: in which one has "trouble manipulating objects in the physical universe", has poor working memory, and cannot remember steps in sequence, etc). This makes me not want to move, like at ALL. This makes me drop everything. This makes me fall down. This makes my anxiety at not being able to do normal things that other people can do easily even MORE pronounced. I know I know, poor disabled Stephanie. Boo-fucking-hoo!

People have a tendency to ask why you're anxious when you claim you are. This is a question like "why are you depressed?" The whole reason why it sucks so bad and that you cannot logic yourself out of it is that there is no reason! Brain chemistry, maybe? Perhaps hormones? That's brain chemistry too though, right?

The rabbit-hole of a reason I'm cooking up this time is that I feel like I have no skills in this life. No people skills. No crafting skills. No art skills. Anything that requires me to work with my hands is intensely difficult for me. The only thing I find mostly easy is typing. I don't like to drive cars or ride a bike or run because of that whole "manipulating objects in the physical universe" thing. I don't drive in front of others especially.

When I'm alone I can kind of function. I still drop things and fall, but I don't have to know that anyone else knows. I can just be. I can dance and run into doorways without being comedy. Most of the time I'm ok with being comedy, if someone is a nice person they can laugh at me. It's when they're TRYING to be nice by not laughing that makes me self-conscious. What am I even talking about anymore?

I hate everything and everyone...not really, I love YOU of course.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Princess Bride.

You know what sucks? Princess Bride doesn't pass the Bechdel Test and it's really not girl-friendly movie at all. I've always genuinely enjoyed it but there's NO ONE of color in that movie and TWO chicks in the entire thing. Three if you count the dream sequence hag, and I don't.

I watched it tonight with the teens for a Quote-Along program and it just disappointed me to watch a movie I've seen a dozen times in my life (if not more) not uphold any of my values at all as an adult. Buttercup wasn't even a "helpful damsel" really. She was completely helpless. She did nothing forcefully or assertively but profess her love.

And there was the dream sequence with the hag and then Carol Kane as "wife of Billy Crystal"-whatever. I keep thinking about that award speech Julianne Moore gave recently wherein she talked about how amazing each of her fellow nominees were and that as a woman she doesn't get to act with other women often and how sad that is.

I'm so over this nonsense. A demographic that is 50% of the human population shouldn't be 5% of an ensemble movie cast.

OVER. IT.

I hate that I can't enjoy Princess !fucking! Bride anymore because of my pervasive feminism. But it is as it should be. I'm done falling into lightning sand and standing still screaming while the fire pits consume me.

Monday, March 2, 2015

(untitled)


I believe we all have something within the labyrinth of our minds that no one else can offer, but that doesn't mean I know what the something is that I bring to the table.

I've built a mythology around my life and my past and who I think I am, but that doesn't mean anyone else will ever recognize that structure. Maybe no one else is meant to see inside the worlds in our heads. When people become famous it's because someone has recognized their brains. It means they've seen inside your grey matter and they recognize themselves in there somewhere. But when you see that they've seen you, how do you come back from that? Fame destroys everything it touches, doesn't it? How can you remain real when everyone thinks they know you?

The tiny thought that I might be a career librarian passed through a couple of weeks ago, but that Master's degree has already whispered into someone else's ears. I'm far too disabled to ever hold down a full time job and that's not insecurity...it's fact. I won't effect change in this life beyond my tiny circle of family and friends. Few among us really do.

I spend my days working, reading, watching TV, playing Animal Crossing, writing blogs, broadcasting radio, maybe I work out, maybe I eat some Pad Thai. At worst I'm ineffectual. At best I'm barely noticed. I know there's some kind of art inside my brain, but I don't know the circumstances that will bring it out of me, and onto you.

I'm writing in journals again. I've made it 32 years in this world without psychotropic medication, though far more sane than I benefit from it. Is holding out noble? Do I really want to feel everything?

I have a husband that tolerates all aspects of my crazy with grace and kindness. I didn't die in 2011. I have three wonderful animals that follow me around the house as if I'm their Snow White. I survived multiple abusive and/or controlling men. I have a great job. TWO great jobs. My mother continues to take care of me way beyond the reasonable time period in which she was charged. My grandparents are two of the most amazing people in the entire universe. I love my family. I have a best friend that has continually forgiven me for being the worst. Everyone is kind to me. But I give so little in return because I have so little to give.

I always thought of myself as an accepting person that loves everyone, but I'm starting to realize I dislike more people than I like. Though I somehow still believe my requirements for trusting someone are reasonable, I trust VERY few people. All I want in a companion is acceptance and authenticity. I want the self they show to be the real one. I want to surround myself with people that aren't racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. That's truly it. But so few people seem to be themselves.

We all wear masks so often we don't know who we are anymore. I can't wear the mask for long. I couldn't wear it 8 hours a day. I distrust those motivated by power or the need to be liked.

I push everyone away because I don't know how to connect. It will all find its way in time.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars.

I just watched the Oscars, y'all. I have thoughts.

NPH did ok as host. Does anyone ever really do great at hosting these things? They always look so goddamned stressed. Emma Stone looked amazing and did you know she's in "Birdman"?! I guess I begrudgingly have to watch that now? Cate Blanchett also looked radiant as hell. That woman is a class ACT. Jared Leto was missing something from his '70s look: a ruffled shirt! What a missed opportunity!

Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress and talked about wage gap while fellow nominee Meryl Streep fist-pumped.

There were a couple of moving music performances: one highlighted how slow our progress has been in the civil rights movement (John Legend and Common) and the other was Lady GaGa singing a medley from "The Sound of Music". Should I see that movie too?

Graham Moore, writer of "The Imitation Game", wins Mixtress Rae's Oscars for most inspiring speech by encouraging weirdos to "stay weird". That was really super sweet and I can't wait to reblog endless gifs of that moment on Tumblr later tonight.

John Travolta presented an award with Idina Menzel and he touched her a lot and it creeped me out. John Travolta always creeps me out.

Everyone called Wes Anderson a genius, but I stopped watching "The Grand Budapest Hotel" after an hour in favor of a bath because it doesn't pass the Bechdel test and the main character compared women to meat (wow, how much more cliche can you get?). I want to like Wes Anderson because I like the dry deliveries of his actors and the set design in his movies, and because he looks like Beck, but the parade of white men in his movies is tired. Seriously Wes, if you have room for 27 white dudes in every movie, you can squeeze in a couple of dozen other races and genders, don't you think?

Now for the best picture nominees and my limited and oversimplified understanding of what each film is about:

WHIPLASH: an abusive conductor and his relationship with a student
AMERICAN SNIPER: something about how hard war is and PTSD and stuff
BIRDMAN: a film about how Michael Keaton thinks he'll never move past playing Batman
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: a Wes Anderson movie set in a hotel
THE IMITATION GAME: a movie about a very accomplished man that wasn't recognized for his genius because he was gay
SELMA: movie about civil rights in the '60s and Martin Luther King, Jr
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING: a movie about Stephen Hawking
BOYHOOD: a movie filmed over the course of 12 years about a boy growing up

First of all, EVERY SINGLE ONE of these movies is about men. Men men men. At least four of these movies are about men that aren't straight (The Imitation Game) and white (Selma) and of able body (The Theory of Everything) and mind (American Sniper).

But guess which movie won fucking best picture?!?! The one about a straight white cisgender beautiful actor (Michael Keaton) whining about no one knowing him as anything but Batman. REALLY?!! Really? really?


The overwhelming struggle of how hard it has been for Michael Keaton to move beyond his role as a superhero in the hearts and minds of America. What a struggle.

Overall, I see that we are in a revolution for civil rights, gay rights, and feminism. Things are changing and the voice of weirdos (perceived and real) is getting louder. The white man is going to kick and scream on the way to being taken down to the level of everyone else. It's going to get really really ugly. But another victory for a type of person (white, male, cisgender, straight, actor, etc) that doesn't need any more victories right now is still a disappointment.

Unfortunately, the worst part is that I wasn't surprised.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dollhouse.

I'm rewatching "Dollhouse" right now and, as it always does, it's making me philosophize a whole bunch.

For the uninitiated, "Dollhouse" is a TV series that ran from 2009-2010 (only two seasons). Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy" and "Firefly") was the showrunner. The show's premise was this: A person signs a contract for 5 years of their life to have their brains wiped in order to create a blank slate for other personas to be imprinted into their brains, for a price. A client can order any sort of person for any sort of job, then a "doll" is chosen to fulfill the client's order. When an Active (the doll) isn't on an "engagement" they are left in their brain-wiped state doing art, getting massages, doing yoga and generally kept in a calm and happy state. After their five year contract is up, the person's original personality is returned to them and they are left rich for life with no memory of what happened to them in that five years time. It's a pretty great show and yes it's on Netflix.

Now the questions start coming. Is this prostitution? Would you do this if all your financial burdens would be nonexistent afterwards? Would you be a bad person for ordering a doll? Would you order a doll but draw the line at having sex with them?

The show deals with all of these questions. It even gets into the complicated issues of the realness of the imprinted personalities. Sometimes an Active gets imprinted with a personality for a long-term engagement and doesn't want to give up the personality that feels real to them. Is that personality any more or less real than the one you were born with?

And then there's the societal questions. In the show someone figures out how to do a "remote wipe" wherein an Active can be returned to their blank doll state via a radio frequency. If someone can be wiped remotely like that, someone could create dolls en masse. Someone could create armies en masse. People would become nothing more than programmable computers.

The whole show is one big question: are human brains any different than computers?

Later on in the show, we're given a nightmare vision of a future where remote wipes are commonplace. Half of the population are wiped dolls. Another large percentage are trained to wipe the Actuals (anyone that still has their original personality). There's a group of vigilante dolls that carry imprints of different personalities they need to survive on flash drives they carry around their neck, ready to upload skills they need in any given moment they need it.

Another question is that of immortality. If you could back up your brain to be uploaded into another human being indefinitely, you could live forever. And would that be ok in a situation where someone has signed a contract to be a doll? You could just keep their body for the time of their contract and then move on to another. But people with money and power would exploit this.

Whatever good could be done with this kind of technology, it would ultimately go so VERY VERY wrong. People would be wiped without consent. People would be imprinted without consent.

One of the Actives in the show was forced to sign the contract to become a doll by a man she had rejected in life. He became one of her regular clients, imprinting her with the fantasy version of her original self so that he could have sex with her. That sounds like rape to me, yeah?

Is any sex with an Active rape? Presumably they signed up for this but they're not THERE, you know?

I don't know of any other television show that has made me have as many thoughts about morality and philosophy than this show. It's a shame it got canceled after two seasons. At times, the storyline is confusing and feels rushed.

The fact that the whole thing can also be seen as a metaphor for acting and how actors feel taking on personas for the entertainment of our society is not lost on me, either.

I feel like I'm poor enough that I would consider becoming a doll. But I would ultimately say no because I couldn't be assured that those in power would truly do everything in their power to keep me safe. In the show, the house is run by mostly good people truly looking out for their Actives, but in the real world you couldn't trust people in power. In real life, heroes probably just don't exist.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ready Player One: a rant about a thing I love (SPOILERS)

**SPOILERS ahead**

So, I'm about to bitch about a thing that I intensely love from beginning to end. This is a thing that us nerdly types do. We nitpick a thing that is 95% perfect for that 5% that fell short.

So, here's the 95% good of this book:

*The book includes rigorous details about '80s culture, of which I love.

*The book includes painstaking minutiae about video games and arcades and movies like "Real Genius". It makes references I get and mostly identify with, as a nerdly-type hewwwMAN.

*Of the four main characters in this book there are TWO people of color, one mayyyybe transgender/non-binary character, one gay individual, two overweight peeps, one possibly asexual character and TWO women. These other-than straight white male cisgender characters are treated, mostly, on equal footing with the straight white male cisgender character...other than the fact that the straight white male cisgender character is the one that is the main protagonist and won the contest at the end.

Here's the other 5% of the book that I take issue with:

*Most of the "other"ness character traits were thrown into ONE character. Aech is an overweight black gay woman that plays a man in the simulated online world of the book. She probably did this solely to gain respect and not because of gender identity, which I think is a great nod to feminist issues. Throwing almost all diversity into one character is a minor complaint. Art3mis is overweight and has that scar on her face and Shoto is Asian, but seriously. Ok, maybe I can let this one slide.

*The BIG problem I have with this book is the love story. I'm completely ok with Art3mis and Parzival having a love story. The problem I have is how Parzival handled it. One, when Art3mis told him to back off, he pulled a Lloyd Dobler and PUSHED the issue. Cline could have EASILY just kept the hounding-the-girl portion of the story out of his self-loathing after she cut things off.

Second, the LAST SCENE OF THE BOOK! I dislike MANY things about this last scene. Ok, so Parzival had to find Art3mis in a garden maze, for one, like she was the final prize in the video game of the entire plot. Ew. THEN, when he sees her in person for the first time he tells her she's beautiful and she's all like, "really?!?" and acts all timid like she'd NEVER been in any other part of their relationship. Because she has a birthmark on her face. There was a lot of buildup to her "disfigurement", how she cut herself off because she was so hideous when it was just a damn birthmark on part of her otherwise gorgeous face. Why not give her an actual disability? Why not NOT make the first thing Parzival fucking says to her about her beauty? Gross! So gross.

And THEN he tells her he wants to spend his life with her. Whoa. Hold up there, buddy. You are literally meeting in person for the first time. Yes, you know her really really well online and it's safe to THINK you want to spend your life with her but she has withheld a lot of affection from you. For all you know she just sort of wants to date you at this point. Don't tell her you love her and want to spend your life with her yet! Calm the fuck down! This whole time she's still being all timid and shy, in disbelief that he could possibly hold her in that esteem when she has proven herself to be, on multiple occasions, way more of a badass than he is. Ew. And then they hold hands for awhile. That part is sweet. It should have ended there, but then there's a kiss. Again, they JUST met. I could overlook that part if the "beautiful timid girl" shit hadn't happened, but I cannot. I just want to rip out the last five pages of the book.

Or rewrite it. If I rewrote it it would end with Art3mis taking her walk outside, but not hiding at the end of a maze. She's not a fucking conquest. Then, they'd meet and be all shy and awkward, because it's the first time they've met face to face IRL but Parzival would say nothing about her beauty. She wouldn't be more timid than the situation itself would warrant. She would be her usual badass take-no-prisoners self. They would absolutely take a walk and then maybe hold hands on a bench, but no kissing.

Overall, I reread one of my top five books of all time this week in the form of an audiobook read by Wil Wheaton and it was super lots and lots of fun. Last scene aside, I'm in total love with this dystopian Matrix-y gay romp in a video game world of a book. I'm sure I'll read it at least ten more times in my life. Yay for things that are awesome.

They are SO going to fuck it up with the movie, though. You KNOW they will.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ghostbusters 2016

So, if you don't know...

There's going to be a remake of Ghostbusters out next year made by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) with an all female cast. That makes me all kinds of happy and I've known about it for awhile now. The cast was just announced.

There were three things that I wanted when thinking about the cast of this movie. I wanted Kristen Wiig. I wanted some racial diversity. I wanted Melissa McCarthy.

Guess WHAT, you guys?!?!? EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of those demands (uttered by me only to my mom and husband) were met.

We get Kristen Wiig.
We get Melissa McCarthy.
We get Kate McKinnon, a talented lady from SNL's cast.
We get Leslie Jones, a new SNL cast member I haven't seen in action yet, but who happens to be a woman of color.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!

Do you know what this means, you guys? I am beginning to trust Paul Feig almost as much as I trust Joss Whedon to deliver ladies as human beings in movies and television. I am so happy. So SO SO SO happy, you guys!!

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