Friday, July 15, 2016

CarrionFlowers


"Carrion Flowers" is the name of a new mix I just made. It's about the beautiful and the grotesque. The dead and the pretty. It's about being cute and happy while also maybe deciding to kill something.

Enjoy the Spotify version here (though it is missing a couple of CRUCIAL songs).

Otherwise, listen/watch the mix below.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chickweed's Future.



^Above is the mix enclosed with ISH8 of Chickweed called "liveTHROUGHthis"

Recently a woman paid me $20 to reprint each of the thus-far ten issues of Chickweed, my zine. Today I spent all day re-burning mixes, re-dubbing cassettes, and reprinting the zines. It took HOURS. I did it wrong. It cost me an ink cartridge, 6 blank CDs, a blank cassette, and $4 in last-minute printing costs at the library when my printer ink ran out. When I take the package to the post office it will likely cost at least 6-10$ to mail them. I discovered ISH5 is missing. It was the one printed right before the tornado...maybe it was in my car or sitting out in my office or next to my destroyed typewriter? I've never done a second printing before. I figured it would be easy to just print one copy of each zine. Nope. Not easy at all.

I decided I won't be doing this again. I'll likely eventually scan in the originals and post them here so they can be viewed digitally whenever anyone wants to see them.

I've saved a lot of money since July 2014 when last I printed a zine. Each issue's costs look something like this:

*photocopy: 80cents
*blank CD: 50cents
*CD holder: 10cents
*mailer: 10cents
*cardstock for cover: 5cents
*mailing costs: 1.50

So each copy costs me about $3 if I have to mail it, $2 if I don't. I usually print 50 copies of an issue...so yeah, each issue costs me around $125 all told. AND I get half off copies at the library. It's just not worth the money anymore to make the zine.

Also, I haven't made one since July 2014, which is when I started Mixtress Radio. It seems my radio station has taken the place of creative outlet that the zines once occupied in my brain. I'm really glad I made Chickweed and I'm really happy I saved an issue from each original printing for myself, but this blog costs me NOTHING and reaches more people. The radio show costs me roughly $1.50 per week and I can say more and play a LOT more music, every WEEK.

I'm not saying I'll never make another issue of Chickweed, but I don't see it in my near future. Sad to see her fizzle after only ten issues, but she served her purpose and she's there if I ever need her again.

Thought I'd let y'all know, in case you miss Chickweed. I mean, if someone raised $125 for me to make an issue, I'd start it Friday afternoon but it just costs too much to do when you're a broke ho, ya know?

Friday, April 8, 2016

MixtressRae's Top 5 Madonna Music Videos



I'm doing a "Blonde Ambition Triangle Party" on the radio show tonight (see top right of blog for details as to when/where) which means I am playing three songs each from three blonde broads: Gwen, Madonna, and Debbie.

This led me down a couple of rabbit holes. One of these rabbit holes involved revisiting a topic I have worried way too much about over the years: whether or not Gwen Stefani was ok, because of all of Gavin Rossdale's "darkness". I knew nothing about their relationship save Stefani's lyrics and these lyrics ("Dark Blue", "Danger Zone", "Serious", etc) made me think that Gavin is too detritus and hair dryers while Gwen is all hearts and flowers. How can they ever make it? I've long enjoyed Gwen's ballsiness when it comes to her lyrics. We all know WHO she's writing about, every time, and the lyrics aren't shrouded in metaphor ever. They are always right there, no interpretation needed. So you can understand why I worried. It turns out that Gwen and Gavin finally called it quits last year. I'm really happy for her. In an interview she (again with the ballsiness) stated that when she looks back on her music from the past almost 20 years that they've been together she finds a lot of "red flags". I've seriously literally been thinking that since at least 2000's "Return of Saturn". Her art isn't always good, but I think she deserves to be happy.

Rabbit hole #2 has to do with Madonna. A recent episode of "Rupaul's Drag Race" in which the runway theme (the looks debuted at the end of the episode via pageant-style runway) was Madonna confused me. Freaking DRAG QUEENS were charged with dressing up like MADONNA and four of them chose "The Power of Goodbye"-kimono-Madonna. WHY is that the first version of Madonna they thought of? It was very perplexing. By far, the coolest runway look was inspired by the "Bedtime Story" music video.
Acid Betty's recreation of one of the best moments in Madonna music-video herstory.
The disappointing runway made me start thinking about how young these queens are. Perhaps to them, the first version of Madonna they remember is kimono-Madonna. But they have GaGa to fill Madonna's void (I know she's not gone, but she hasn't reinvented herself in Madonna-style since mayyyybe kimono-Madonna. I so do NOT count that weird country thing she did in 2000.) now. Then I started thinking about Madonna's cultural significance. Then I had to pick my top 5 Madonna music videos...so that made me watch a BUNCH of them last night. At one point Michael said, "Is this cultural appropriation?" and I looked at him with an eyebrow raised, "Have you met Madonna?" Regardless of discussions of appropriation, Madonna brought aspects of worldwide culture to American pop music repeatedly. She introduced things to a lot of us dummies.

I don't think of myself as being a big Madonna fan but I grew up with her. The reinvention of her image every few years was a given as I was growing up and now that I'm grown I see how rare that is and I recognize how many aspects of world culture she introduced to me.

You can watch my top 5 Madonna music videos in chronological order above. Here they are in countdown list form:

5) Vogue: This is the video wherein Madonna appropriates New York drag culture.

4) Like a Prayer: Black Jesus? Burning crosses? Making out with Jesus? I'm sure this was controversial, but to my developing child-mind I was just like, "Oh, there's Jesus. Why is Jesus sad? There's Madonna making out with Jesus. Why doesn't she pull up those dress straps? That would drive me crazy. Her boobs look good, though."

3) Human Nature: I think this is the ONLY Madonna music video in which Madonna is hammy and goofy. I wish we had gotten more of this Madonna. My drag runway Madonna look would have been this outfit.

2) Frozen: Madonna's cultural appropriation of India's religions. The first time I ever saw an Om symbol was in this music video on Madonna's palm. I remember pausing my VHS tape and drawing it on my own palm. My second favorite Madonna music video moment is in this video (below).

1) Bedtime Story: Favorite Madonna album, music video, and song. FAVORITE Madonna music video moment below (also involving birds).

What are your favorites?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Computer as Extension of Self



It's confusing being in and of our tech-crazed society while also having watched it become so, as many of us have. While the obvious point to make is that we are all sucked into our "dream machines" all day long and that's weird and it's isolating us while simultaneously getting us too caught up in each other's minutiae, etc. But it's more than that. Back in the '70s computers were tools to help us with tasks we wanted to get done. They were impersonal like calculators.

Now computers are extensions of self. We may as well have our smartphones attached to our hands.

A smartphone is nothing without its partner in crime, the internet. Back in the mid-nineties when the internet was new, it was a safe haven for any nerd to find their tribe. It was a niche to squeeze yourself into while feeling the comfort of the tiny space you've hidden yourself in, like a cozy little warm cave blanket. Now everyone is there all of the time and it's saturated with all the yucky parts of humanity. Where are the cozy corners of the internet these days? Every time you find one (Instagram, Tumblr, etc) it gets expanded, invaded, and outfitted with fluorescent lighting.

In Felicia Day's memoir there's a chapter about #GamerGate which is a phenomenon I still don't totally understand, but it has something to do with boys being whiny about girls liking games, and by "whiny" I mean violent and abusive. Apparently when girls like something, it ruins it for boys. The kind of boys that think being a "man" means delineating yourself from women at all costs. Day brought up a really great point that anyone of my generation I think can understand: "What frightened me the most about my #GamerGate experience was the possibility that this could be the future of the internet. That the utopia I thought the online world created, where people don't have to be ashamed of what they love and could connect with each other regardless of what they looked like, was really a place where people could steep themselves in their own worldview until they become willfully blind to everyone else's."

Unfortunately, I think the internet as a whole HAS become a steeping, stewing, molding pot of brewing hatred-bile. It didn't used to be this way. There were always dangers specific to the internet, but the dangers of the budding baby internet were mostly relegated to meeting people in person you'd met first on the internet. Now the dangers lie in getting your address leaked to total strangers that have threatened to rape and kill you online because you expressed an opinion on Lana Del Rey that they don't share. The internet has evolved into a phenomenon that closely mirrors everyday life, except the internet is an everyday life that's a mean, and usually misogynist/racist/homophobic, drunk that has no filter.

There's something going on with our society. The ways in which it's been so fucked up for so long are surfacing. The dark and awful thoughts we used to mostly keep to ourselves are out on the internet which is now in our hands every waking moment. We don't give ourselves time to process our feelings and life events without posting them. We don't ask others how they are because we've seen their Facebook. We get angry if we have to tell others how we are that didn't see our Facebook. There's a weird and twisted new society being built online and we do NOT know the etiquette yet. We're all little baby barbarians that don't know how to behave.

Last night I watched a documentary on Steve Jobs that got real philosophical with the way this man changed our relationship to computers. I believe if he hadn't done it, someone else would have. Regardless, this relationship has evolved very quickly in our lifetimes and it's something we need to keep an eye on. We each have personal computers on us almost all the time. These items are tools that help us through the day. They compute. They are our cameras, notebooks, road maps, radios, sketchbooks, calculators, voice recorders, musical instruments, and links to the outside world.

Portable computing devices are marvels of modern technology that should be allowing us to create on a massive scale. We have the means to become the best versions of our creative selves with one device most of us own. But instead we're smearing each other online, scrolling through endless feeds of babies and pets, hunching over our "dream machines". The mirrors we are looking into all day every day are little slabs of glass and metal that have become hardware add-ons to our brains.

That could be fine if we used our mini computing devices to enhance our lives. Take pictures. Write novels. Draw things. Make music. Look up information. Read books. The marriage of internet and handheld computers is the best and worst thing to happen to technology in our lifetimes. It's changing humanity right now. We are in the process of becoming something else (the Borg? Oh God, are we the Borg?) because of how we live our lives attached to our "dream machines". We can become zombies with towels over our heads or we can choose to find a way through this love of devices back to seeing them as tools to make our lives easier and more creative.

Jobs was a man that wanted computers to be an extension of self, and we've benefitted from his vision, but it's important also to remember that that guy was an asshole. He couldn't connect to other humans. He named a computer after his daughter I think because he was trying to force himself to love his baby daughter as much as he already loved his computer.

Dude, I completely have this computer love. I've owned 6 smartphones in the last 6 years...the 6th one is on its way to me now and I have a tab on my computer open to track its journey to my hand. I've been seduced by the culture of computer-self to a heavy degree, but it's causing me a lot of cognitive dissonance these days. I'm old enough to remember the internet being new. I'm old enough to remember a childhood without cellphones. I'm old enough to remember a world before iPods. My life has occupied a space outside of the internet, but not computers. I don't remember a world before Jobs put the personal in front of the word computer. I don't remember not having a computer in my own home, though I never had one of my own until I got a laptop for school in 2006. I've only had my very own personal portal to the internet for the last 10 years. That's not so long in the scheme of a life. It's not too late for me to relearn how to use computing devices as tools to help me create. Tools to help me get tasks done. I've given these devices names and I would even say that I love them, but in the end they are metal and glass. Nothing can fill the space of true connection with nature, animals, and other humans. The internet can connect you to other humans, but remember to speak to them like humans...we are not just interacting with the machines we touch. They may feel like extensions of us but they reach all the way around the world. Remember that.

Hugs not thugs, children.

Friday, March 25, 2016

//grumblegrumblegroo//

Sometimes I think that I don't like people enough to work for the public.*

Here's the thing: the kind of people I have a problem with are those that think you WANT to pay attention to them. People who walk in a room like they own it and like you give a shit what THEIR top three artists in the room are. "Write it down!" No thanks, random dude.

People that think your time is theirs are my biggest pet peeve. Guess who cares about your movie reviews? Your family and friends. Guess who doesn't care about your movie reviews? People in customer service. Sometimes cool conversations about art and life and all that other stuff evolve organically, and those can be the greatest conversations when they involve two consenting adults. But walking up to a person that is paid to be nice to you and taking advantage of that niceness with monologues is just. so. sleazy. Don't do it.

This random and probably in poor taste rant has been brought to you by...

hormones!!!

Gee, I love my endocrine system.

*Other times I'm sooo happy I can help someone get through their day, so it's not all bad.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pete-riarchy: Gaslighting Dogs


VENTING session in 3...2...1

So there's this neighbor we have with a redheaded fluff-monster that Luna (our husky/pitbull/heeler mix) and other dogs in the neighborhood have attacked several times. Here's WHY: the dog's owner SAUNTERS through alleyways and talks to dogs that are barking bloody murder at him and his beast. He stops and stares at dogs that obviously want to take his bitch out. He doesn't avoid dogs that have previously attacked his dog. Luna has attacked her three times now. Today the guy decided to call Animal Control on us. We now have a court date and other hoops to jump through.

Luna IS aggressive. She is also an escape artist. We will plead guilty. I have been confused by her aggressive behavior her entire life. You never see it coming. She has attacked every dog she's ever shared a house with and also this neighborhood dog. She does NOT like other dogs. I don't know exactly how to handle her.

...buuuuuut, why would you not avoid an alleyway next to a yard with a dog that has attacked your dog before? Nay, a yard that has housed a different dog that has also attacked your dog. If not avoid the alley, then walk past it briskly at the VERY least. Why stop and taunt? The guy was still sauntering about in our piece of alleyway as Animal Control was handing us the citation. That's how long he was out there. This guy. Seriously.

I was real mad at Luna at first. When Animal Control let us know who had lodged the complaint I ceased being mad. As a dog owner, I would never continue to place my dog in prolonged contact with dogs that wish her harm.

Friday, March 4, 2016

MixtressRae's Top 5 Writing Utensils

My art medium has pretty much always been pen and paper. Or glue and paper. Or typewriter and paper. I've loved pens since middle school, ever searching for the perfect glittery purple pen that flows, doesn't smudge, dries fast, and feels good in the hand.

Basically I'm a big pen nerd. I love Gelly Rolls and BiCs and Sharpies and Pilots. The most consistently reliable ballpoints are the BiCs you get for free at the bank or a hotel or doctor's office. You really never need to BUY a BiC. The pens you lose most often and ALWAYS NEED are Sharpies.

The best pens for journaling and letter writing can be Gelly Rolls with their smooth action (if you get the thicker points) and glitter galore, but they don't work well on all paper types and they don't survive tornado. But damn, they're fun to use...and they leave glitter all over your hands which is a deterrent for most peeps, but quite the opposite for me.

The best pen for zines and most all the art projects in the world is Sharpie all the way. Sharpies come in many different flavors and are made in the USA. That's a good, right?

Probably my favorite pen for everyday use is the Pilot G2. I prefer pink or purple.

I looked up types of pens and when they were invented today. You KNOW you need that information:

*Fountain pens were invented in 1880. I don't use them because they don't dry fast enough for my left-handed self. Plus they're all gloppy.
*Ballpoint pens were invented in 1940. They are smooth and thick and I like that. Sticky and sometimes smeary. I don't like that as much. They sort of smell like apples sometimes. I do like that. (BiC)
*Fiber/felt tip pens were invented in 1960. These are awesome because they dry super fast and you can get way extra-curricular with them in the form of art and colors and zines and all the things. (Sharpie)
*Roller ball pens were invented in 1980. They're like a modern more controlled fountain pen. (Gelly Roll)
*Gel ink pens were invented in 1995. I typically don't like gel ink because it can easily be done inconsistent. You have to have a good flow with these pens and they run out fast. You never just find them laying around. You have to buy them on purpose and keep track of them. That said, Pilot G2s are a damn fine pen. They are consistent, comfortable, and come in all colors and point sizes. (Pilot)

What are your favorite pens? Which pens have I overlooked on my top 5?

Friday, February 26, 2016

My love of music videos...

led to a lot of attempts to make my own versions of music videos I liked when I was a teenager. Sadly, I haven't made any since then, but perhaps I'll start again. I love lip-syncing. I love karaoke. I love music. I love music videos. Here are a few Garbage music videos I made with my friend Ohara back in 1997. We were pretty cool then and are both pretty cool still.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

people are generally good

Apathy is a thing that I'm learning to have while working in a library. I'm being broken down by tiny little micro-aggressions, some intentional, most not. I just don't care anymore. I can't allow myself to care because it drains my resources with no reward. I'm not personable enough/don't have the energy reserves to take care of my coworkers and the library's patrons, so I'm extending myself psychically only to coworkers. But that means I have to figure out how to say no to some things. Also, there's one coworker that I can't handle psychologically. My hyper-empathy goes crazy around this person and it's REALLY not working out for me. 

Today I had to be at the front desk while a young kid got arrested for "trespassing" because he'd been banned for LIFE from the library by us last week and he made the mistake of coming back in. He was disrespectful to one of my coworkers and called her names and SHOULD have been kicked out of the library for a week, a month, maybe longer, but for LIFE? How many of us have done something really stupid when we were 20? To never ever be allowed in the library again? And what a TOTAL waste of the police officers' time. And do the police think of librarians as "crying wolf" when they have to come take care of instances of non-violence like this? If I were them, I would.

It's a lot to take in...that I am a part of a library that creates so many barriers to entry. The moment you walk in you see signs everywhere telling you what you CAN'T do at the library, and that list is long.

You can't sleep in the library. You can't eat in the library, not even a butterscotch candy. You can't sit and talk in the library unless you're also holding a book or doing something else "library-related". You can't do your laundry in the public restroom...which is one of those rules obviously created because someone at SOME point in time did, but this is not a rule that needed, ever, to be written down. It's definitely not a rule that needs to be told to someone when they're signing up for a library card. You can't put your feet up on the arms of a chair in the library. For YEARS after beginning to allow cell phone use in the library we still had the signs up saying cell phones aren't allowed which makes it look like even WE can't keep track of all of our rules, which is often the case.

This kind of approach to the public is starting to wear upon me after 11+ years of working here. It's only very recently that I've been awakened to how cruel we really seem. Our reputation with the public isn't the best, and I can see why.

Thinking about these types of things has made me a weird version of perma-angry this week. I want to be a positive person that believes the best in people. This is a trait that comes naturally to me that people have told me is naive and "cute". I even believed those people for a long time that I probably had it wrong...that people are shittier than I thought. But you know what? They're really not. People in general will treat you with respect if you do the same for them. 95% of the time, people are nice to me. This isn't because I'm lucky. This is because I'm nice to them.

I am done treating patrons like criminals. I'll even occasionally break the rules to give them the benefit of the doubt. Our society is already cruel enough. The library doesn't need to be an extension of that cruelty.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

a predictable entry...

I feel like anyone that knows me knows this type of thought process was coming...

My mom and I were talking about me and school. (I started library school this week.) She asked me if there was anything in my life that I am lacking. And the honest answer is that besides money and hopes for retirement, NOTHING.

I have a home, a family, and friends. I am healthy and I know how to get by on very little money. When I pay off my car in less than a year, I'll be $300/mo richer.

The only thing to gain as a librarian is a hope to retire someday. But is time off in the last couple of decades in my life worth giving up half my time now until the age of 65 or 70? I really don't think so. I suppose I'd also gain respect from a lot of people. It sounds WAY cooler to say you're a librarian than to have to correct people when they accidentally call me one now just because I work in a library. But that respect is ultimately just me worrying about what people think of me, and that's never held much weight with me anyway.

I've never been an ambitious person. I'm quite content with sitting in my own little corner thinking about nothing. I don't get bored. My goals in life include having a happy and healthy family and my own comfortable home. I have these things now, and those extraordinary things in themselves I know make me incredibly lucky. And those are the most important things. To be a librarian, I might be sacrificing a bit of my health. For a person like me, working full time would be a big strain on my mental health at the very least. Having a desk job (sitting still all day) I KNOW would have a big strain on my physical self. Being higher up on totem poles professionally is an isolating thing, by nature. I've never wanted to be in charge of things.

I'm very proud of my peers (Cari, Jeana, Jill, Mark) that have gotten their degrees in library science and gone on to be directors of libraries. That is so cool and they are good at their jobs. They are good at these jobs because they have big ideas and are incredibly smart and outgoing and rad. I love them for it.

I have to be honest with myself about my own abilities, though. I just chose to go back to a job in circulation because it was LESS responsibility. I'm not well-suited to big ideas and outgoingness. There are a lot of really rad people in the world that don't do what society would consider as "important" jobs. I've NEVER cared what kind of job a friend has as long as they're happy. I've seen more unhappy people in jobs of prestige than in jobs of lower status and perceived "drudgery".

I've given up on a lot of things in my life. I'm really quite good at making excuses and I'm on the path to making them about school right now. It's hard to say if I would have ever truly benefited or excelled from any of the things I've given up in my life (piano, flute, jazz dance, soccer, cello, etc) but my life is far from empty without these things.

Yesterday I realized that I'm starting to feel as free and "me" as I did in high school. I've had moments of this thought occurring in the last 6 months or so, but the thought is really becoming reality. I've started bellydancing regularly again...and just dancing for fun again. I danced for hours last night while listening to my radio show. I HAVE a radio show! I really really love it and get more enjoyment out of it than I could ever imagine enjoying being a librarian. The things I enjoy in life have always been simple things anyway. Perhaps if I had stayed in dance classes as a child I would have lost the joy I get now from dancing like an idiot with zero grace or style.

I do regret not learning a musical instrument, though. I feel I am too uncoordinated, but I know it would just take an inordinate amount of dedication...a trait I've had in life, but usually not in applications that involve working with my hands or "manipulating objects in the physical universe".

Have I essentially talked myself out of school? Maybe, but I feel a responsibility to the wonderful women that wrote me references and encouraged me in this endeavor. I feel I should stick out one semester for THEM. I've never been able to follow through when the motivation doesn't come from me, though, so I make no promises. Either way, I'll be fine.

Followers