Sunday, December 18, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 13

Sestra Playlist:

This episode of "What's This Bitch Talking About?" attempts to discuss the following:

*Mixtress Rae's continuing adventures in learning how to be less of an asshole. This week's adventures include gift-giving and white privilege.

*Chasing Amy


*Taking the universe's stage direction and reflections on 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? is the podcast version of Mixtress Radio (airs every Friday from 7-11pm CST on Most of the songs mentioned are contained in the Sestra Playlist, link above.

Next week we will discuss the John Hughes oeuvre of films circa 1985.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 12

Sestra Playlist:

Full version of Mixtress Rae's "Yule Be Merry" mix can be found here: 

In this episode, many pop culture-stuffs are discussed such as, Beyond the Sea (the movie), Best in Show, Barbarella, She & Him, New Girl (the TV show), Emika, and Christmas music.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Yule Be Merry

Yule Be Merry is the name of my patented Xmas mix.

Below is the version of "Yule Be Merry" that is simply my top 12 Xmas songs of all time:

Here is the more complete Spotify version:

My top three Christmas albums are:

She & Him // A Very She & Him Christmas (they have a new one out called "Christmas Party" that is really quite good)

Squirrel Nut Zippers // Christmas Caravan (skip the kinda-racist "Indian Giver")

Bing Crosby // Merry Christmas! (I grew up with this one and can't escape its charms, though we all now know what a probably terrible man the Bing was... #allmyfavesareproblematic)

I will also be playing some of my favorite Xmas songs on Friday December 9th's Mixtress Radio broadcast (press play on little yellow cassette at top right of this blog from 7-11pm CST Friday).

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 11

Sestra Playlist:

Currently I am saving up to buy a Tascam TR-05 digital recording device that will allow me to record audio in better quality and in stereo/binaural for ASMR videos. If you'd like to contribute to this endeavor, here is the link:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 10

DISCLAIMER(s): This episode was recorded almost entirely after consuming approximately a bajillion calories in America's weird annual celebration of being assholes to natives that includes obscene amounts of food. In this episode, you will experience a range of incompetence including, but not limited to: walking while drunk talking about karaoke and generic "we-should-all-love-each-other" platitudes, laying in bed while drunk talking about white supremacy, reading lyrics aloud after pounding keyboard and accidental loud ads playing in background. The featured pop culture this week is the 1999 film "10 Things I Hate About You". The featured album is Tori Amos's "From the Choirgirl Hotel". The other featured album is Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" which is 25 today.

If you'd like to contribute to my creativity (which will be more coherent next week, because it HAS to be) here's a link:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 9

This episode contains a loooooooot of insufferable rambling about trying to figure out how to be a better human in a post-I-can't-believe-we-expect-Donald-Trump-to-govern-us America. As always, every sentiment is positively dripping with my characteristic delusions of optimism.

Sestra playlist is here:

Album of the night is Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions' "Until the Hunter"

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Podcast Episode 8: Stay Nasty, children

This episode sees me go through the stages of grief after a bewildering week. It's largely positive and delusional, so if that's what you need right now, feel free to give a listen.

Sister Playlist:

My patented anti-anxiety mix in its entirety, should you need it:

Podcast also available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Tune In under "What's This Bitch Talking About?"

Sunday, November 6, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 7

This episode is nearly two hours long. Topics include:

*Animal Crossing New Leaf
*Why some minorities are voting for a presidential candidate that will NEVER care about them.
*Orphan Black
*25 year anniversary of My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless"
*Mixtress Rae's Top 10 songs discovered/re-discovered in 2016
*How to create your own podcast or radio show
*Vaporwave and the album of the night: Nmesh's "Dream Sequins"

Bring your textbooks (sister playlist), darklings:

I apologize that it has taken until Sunday evening to get this episode up. For purposes of future, let's just say the podcast from the previous Friday's radio show will always be up by Monday morning. Sometimes it will be available as early as Saturday morning, but wee hours of morning Monday will be worst case scenario, one hopes. So if you listen to Mixtress Radio Fridays from 7-11pm CST, you'll get a possible 48 hour jump on the content of the podcast. Ooh!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tascam DR-05

Pictured, you will see a little voice recording device that will make my podcast/radio show/YouTube channel sound better!!

This device will be so so cool because of the following reasons:

1. It's very portable: runs on batteries or USB so I can use it wherever I am/whenever the mood strikes to record stuff for my podcast/radio show.
2. It has left and right channels so I can record in stereo for my YouTube ASMR channel with the option to record in mono for radio/podcast purposes. In other words, it will be my microphone for all my creative endeavors!
3. It records onto an included microSD card, so my audio files will no longer take up space on my phone. This will also make it easier for me to manage the files.
4. Sound quality will be MUCH better than recording with my iPhone's microphone, which is what I do now. This has several options for sound quality and there won't be any distracting sounds of me looking things up on my phone while recording and messing with touch screens and buttons.

In order for me to acquire said recording device, I will need your help. It's about $80. I've already raised $25!! If you'd like to help me out, I would be so so soooo grateful!!

What's This Bitch Talking About? ep 6

Episode 6 of "What's This Bitch Talking About?" includes discussions about failure, Death Proof (the movie), Nasty Woman perfume, Halloween, and a dead deer:

Please open your textbooks to the sister playlist here:

This is the link to Gary Numan's "Exile (extended)" which was the album of the night on Mixtress Radio October 28th, 2016:

GuestDJ playlist (this is the place to add songs as requests for the radio show):

Mixtress Radio's Facebook Page (like me, internet! Please!!):

>>> "What's This Bitch Talking About?" podcast can also be found on iTunes, Stitcher, and Tune In. RSS feed info:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? podcast ep 5

^^^ Ze podcast ^^^

^^^ Ze Sister Playlist ^^^

^^^ Ze featured mix from Friday's Show called "All Hail Me". ^^^

^^^ Link to Grimes' Visions, the featured album of Friday's Show. ^^^

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What's This Bitch Talking About? episode 4

It's a podcast with my voice in it: 

To follow along at home, bring your textbooks (the sister playlist below), children!! 

The featured mix of Friday's radio show/the podcast is called Chubby Weiner Heaven. It's about homosexuality, drag, and dancing. Here 'tis: 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Podcast Numero Dos

My second ever podcast is now available on Soundcloud. You can even download the episodes now if you want (starting I think with this episode)!!

Sister playlist including most songs I mention in the podcast episode below:

If you like my radio show, blog, YouTube channel, and/or podcast, please consider donating to my paypal:

In order to have my podcasts on Soundcloud, it will cost me $135/yr. My radio show costs me $68/yr. If I can make $200 by this time next year from donations, I will continue the podcast.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Baby's First Podcast

Here 'tis. This is the lo-fi booger queen mashup of all the audio files from last night's radio broadcast. I call it a podcast. I will start posting these every Saturday (or Sunday, depending on work schedule). Once I have a few episodes uploaded I will submit my podcast to iTunes and maybe it'll become a real thing.

I'm thinking the name of the podcast will be "What's This Bitch Talking About?" instead of Mixtress Radio, but I don't know. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Buffy: The Music

Buffy the Vampire Slayer showcased a lot of indie bands from the '90s in its 7-year run. It's been a goal of mine as a mixtress to make the COMPLETE Buffy playlist including all songs from the show in order of appearance and I have finally DONE IT!!! The mix is missing a good 20% of the songs because Spotify doesn't have everything, but I got pretty close.

I hope you will enjoy this playlist. I also have another one that includes the songs from Buffy in order of appearance that I love. This is the playlist I can play from beginning to end without skipping anything.


* (incredible online episode guide, but missing guide for seasons 6 and 7)
*Bite Me! by Nikki Stafford (very good book resource)
*The Complete Slayer by Keith Topping (this book is problematic [sexist, fat-phobic, riddled with inaccuracies], but it does list most of the songs)

Friday, August 19, 2016


32 of my library-type coworkers and I created a mix of our favorite songs of all time. Here are our entries from our youngest participant to most mature...but first, the links to the mixes themselves should you like to give a listen:

YouTube version: 

Spotify version (BETTER sound quality, but missing some songs): 

Forever // Drake ft. Kanye West and Lil Wayne
Numb/Encore // Jay Z and Linkin Park
Shoot Me Down // Lil Wayne
Nightmares of the Bottom // Lil Wayne
Stan // Eminem
Boom! // System of a Down
Dance with the Devil // Immortal Technique
When I'm Gone // Eminem
Mockingbird // Eminem
Ill Mind of Hopsin 4 // Hopsin

Radio // He is We
Sing Along // Billy Crudup
Jesus Christ // Brand New
Full Moon Rising // Neil Halstead
Beach Baby // Bon Iver
Tiderays // Volcano Choir
Sea, Swallow Me // Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd
Limousine //  Brand New
Where Do The Children Play // Cat Stevens
Hurt // Johnny Cash

Dancin' // Xanadu soundtrack
Let Yourself Go // Kristin Chenoweth
Tell Me Ma // Sham Rock
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark // Fall Out Boy
Booty Swing // Parov Stelar
My Girl // Chilliwack
Innocent // Stellar Kart
Evacuate the Dancefloor // Cascada
That's How You Know // Enchanted soundtrack
Shut Up and Dance With Me // Walk the Moon

Hold on til May // Pierce the Veil
Stone Cold // Demi Lovato
Twinkle Song // Miley Cyrus
Mrs. Potato Head // Melanie Martinez
Thinking of You // Katy Perry
Glitter in the Air // P!NK
Love Drunk // Boys Like Girls
Wake Me Up When September Ends // Green Day
Satellites // Sleeping with Sirens
Wait // M83

Half Mast // Empire of the Sun
If Not For My Glasses // Dear and the Headlights
Hold Me Now // Thompson Twins
Shades of Cool // Lana Del Rey
La Vie En Rose // Louis Armstrong
I Like Giants // Kimya Dawson
December, 1963 // The Four Seasons
Sweater Weather // Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox
Ribs // Lorde
That Green Gentleman // Panic! at the Disco

I'm Alive // Xanadu soundtrack
A Girl Like You // Shaun Cassidy
Digital Love // Daft Punk
The Launch/Cool the Engines // Boston
Jade // X Japan
You Don't Want Me Anymore // Steel Breeze
Play the Game // Queen
Rockin' the Paradise // Styx
Big Fun // Barry Manilow
Birdland // Manhattan Transfer

Here Comes Your Man // Pixies
Once in a Lifetime // Talking Heads
Modern Girl // Sleater Kinney
True Love Will Find You in the End // Daniel Johnston
Road to Joy // Bright Eyes
If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out // Cat Stevens

The Fool on the Hill // The Beatles
Girl // Beck
Seasons (Waiting on You) // Future Islands
There There // Radiohead
No One Knows // Queens of the Stone Age
Oblivion // Mastodon
Aerials // System of a Down
The Day I Tried to Live // Soundgarden
The Greys // Devin Townsend
Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman) + Rosetta Stoned // Tool

Serial Sleepers // House of Heroes
Our Love Saves Us // Blindside
Cuzco // E.S. Posthumus
Sooner or Later (Soren's Song) // Switchfoot
Melody of You // Sixpence None the Richer
Eileen's Song // Burlap to Cashmere
Rain // Blackmill
Summer Again // The Afters
Of Angels and Angles // The Decemberists
Let Your Love Be Strong // Switchfoot

I'm Not Okay (I Promise) // My Chemical Romance
Electric Twist // A Fine Frenzy
Here (In Your Arms) // Hellogoodbye
Astonishing // Little Women Broadway Cast
Never Again // Kelly Clarkson
Blank Space // Taylor Swift
Hell No // Ingrid Michaelson
Defying Gravity // Wicked soundtrack, Idina Menzel
There's a Good Reason These Tables are Numbered... // Panic! at the Disco
Catching My Breath // Kelly Clarkson

At Your Funeral // Saves the Day
Understanding in a Car Crash // Thursday
Oh My Sweet Carolina // Ryan Adams
Bixby Canyon Bridge // Death Cab for Cutie
All We Got // Chance the Rapper
Jesus Christ // Brand New
You're So Last Summer // Taking Back Sunday
In an Aeroplane Over the Sea // Neutral Milk Hotel
Lua // Bright Eyes
Fourth of July // Sufjan Stevens

Dio mi potevi scagliar // Verdi
Belle nuit, nuit d'amour // Offenbach
Der Doppelgaenger // Franz Schubert
L'heure exquise // Reynaldo Hahn
Rebel Girl // Bikini Kill
Dream Lover // Paris Sisters
Stand By Me // Ben E. King
First Time We Fall In Love // The Kinks
Sgt. Pepperspray // Clitoris Rex
This Time // The Itch

Proof // I Am Kloot
Let Me Down Gently // La Roux
Genghis Khan // Miike Snow
Feel It In My Bones // Tiesto ft. Tegan & Sara
Dancing On My Own // Robyn
When I Fall // Barenaked Ladies
Perfect Day // Lou Reed
Push the Sky Away // Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Under Pressure // Queen ft. David Bowie
Country Feedback // R.E.M.

Stephanie (MixtressRae)
Sullen Girl // Fiona Apple
Joga // Bjork
White Pepper Ice Cream // Cibo Matto
I Never Came // Queens of the Stone Age
Dreaming // Goldfrapp
Waking the Witch // Kate Bush
Fear // Sarah McLachlan
Pornography // The Cure
Sour Times // Portishead
Waltz (Better Than Fine) // Fiona Apple

Rebel Girl // Bikini Kill
If I Had a Million Dollars // Barenaked Ladies
Somewhere Over the Rainbow // Judy Garland
Rainbow Connections // Kermit the Frog
Little Plastic Castle // Ani DiFranco
Splinter // Ani DiFranco
Leather // Tori Amos
La valse de'amelie (piano version) // Yann Tiersen
Imagine // John Lennon
New Soul // Yael Naim

Not a Pretty Girl // Ani DiFranco
Thinking and Worrying // Lightnin' Hopkins
Danza Kaduro // Don Omar
For Real // Okkervil River
My Favorite Coat // Deb Talan
Tyrone (live) // Erykah Badu
Danny's Song // Loggins & Messina
In My Mind // Amanda Palmer
House of the Risin' Sun // Bob Dylan
Save a Prayer // Duran Duran

I Did It // Dave Matthews Band
Happy Phantom // Tori Amos
Kiss Off // Violent Femmes
Wake Up Alone // Amy Winehouse
46 & 2 // Tool
Handlebars // Flobots
Sarajevo // Watsky
Foothills // Violent Femmes
Travelling Solves Everything // Violent Femmes
Mad Hatter // Melanie Martinez

Beast of Burden // The Rolling Stones
Closer // Nine Inch Nails
Yellow Ledbetter // Pearl Jam
Raining on Sunday // Keith Urban
Stay // Sugarland
Ice Cream // Sarah McLachlan
You Can Do It // Ice Cube
Thinking Out Loud // Ed Sheeran
Angel Eyes // Jeff Healy

Spirit in the Sky // Norman Greenbaum
The Mississippi Squirrel // Ray Stevens
Moon, Moon, Moon // Laurie Berkner
If I Had a Million Dollars // Barenaked Ladies
Henry the VIII // Herman's Hermits
I'll Fly Away // Alison Krauss
War of 1812 // Johnny Horton
Happy Ending // Peter Cupples Band
Another Postcard // Barenaked Ladies
Wings of a Dove // Dolly Parton

Laura H.
Black Velvet // Alannah Myles
Born This Way // Lady GaGa
Daily, Nightly // The Monkees
Dancing Queen // ABBA
Heartbreaker // Pat Benatar
Holding Out For a Hero // Bonnie Tyler
I Was There (And I'm Told I Had a Good Time) // The Monkees
Nine Times Blue // The Monkees
Not What You See // Barry Manilow
Woman // John Lennon

My Blue Heaven // Gene Austin
Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) // Benny Goodman
Sous le dome epais // Marilyn Horne
Allegro gous 14 // Samuel Barber
Here Comes the Sun // The Beatles
Take Five // Campanile Jazz Ensemble
Shumba // Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited
Fanfare for the Common Man // New York Philharmonic
I'll See You In My Dreams // Joe Brown
Bob Wills is Still The King // Waylon Jennings

Beyond the Sea // Bobby Darin
Here Comes Your Man // Pixies
Monkey Gone to Heaven // Pixies
Love Will Tear Us Apart // Joy Division
In Your Eyes // Peter Gabriel
Melt With You // Modern English
Bizarre Love Triangle // New Order

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again // Danny Gokey
What a Wonderful World // Louis Armstrong
You Look Wonderful Tonight // Eric Clapton
Seduces Me // Celine Dion
Boondocks // Little Big Town
Way You Look Tonight // Frank Sinatra
I Lived // One Republic
Free // Zac Brown Band
Wish You Well // Thousand Foot Krutch
Never Say Goodbye // Bon Jovi

Alley Cat // Bent Fabric
Sad Flower Film (aka Guitar Concerto in G Major, 2nd movement) // Sesame Street
You Dropped a Bomb on Me // The Gap Band
Touched // VAST
Taxman // The Beatles
The Unforgettable Fire // U2
Can't You Hear Me Knocking // The Rolling Stones
Hold On (live from "No Alternative" AIDS Benefit Album) // Sarah McLachlan
Fragile // Sting
Stand and Deliver // Adam & The Ants

Solsbury Hill // Peter Gabriel
The Night Chicago Died // Paper Lace
Draggin the Line // Tommy James & The Shondells
Raise a Little Hell // Trooper
Road to Nowhere // Talking Heads
Build a Fire // Drivin' n Cryin'
No Rain // Blind Melon
Learn to Fly // Foo Fighters
Wonderboy // Tenacious D
Open Up Your Eyes // Tonic

Cops of the World // Phil Ochs
I Do the Rock // Tim Curry
Dragonfly // Ziggy Marley
It's Money That Matters // Randy Newman with Mark Knopfler
Birth, School, Work, Death // The Godfathers
Me & Paul // Willie Nelson
Rosie // Jackson Browne
Happy Boy // The Beat Farmers
Play on Love // Jefferson Starship
More Than I Can Stand // Robert Cray

Faithfully // Journey
Rocky Mountain High // John Denver
How Sweet It Is // James Taylor
Something In The Water // Carrie Underwood
That's Important to Me // Joey & Rory
Someone Like You // Adele
Lost // Michael Buble
You Are God Alone // Phillips, Craig & Dean
10,000 Reasons // Matt Redman
Your Love, Oh Lord // Third Day

If I Were Your Woman // Gladys Knight & the Pips
Overjoyed, for once in my life // Stevie Wonder
If I can't Have You // Yvonne Elliman
I Only Have Eyes For You // Art Garfunkel
Run To Me // Bee Gees
It Don't Matter To Me // Bread
I Will Survive // Gloria Gaynor
Unchained Melody // Righteous Brothers
Is That All There Is // Peggy Lee
God Only Knows // Beach Boys

Crystal Blue Persuasion // Tommy James
I Am the Mercury // Jimmie Spheeris
Toulouse Street // Doobie Brothers
Under Pressure // Queen ft David Bowie
In a Lifetime // Clannad & Bono
Harvest Moon // Neil Young
Stella // Andreas Vollenweider
Give Me Novocaine // Green Day
Death of a Bachelor // Panic! at the Disco
Crazy=Genius // Panic! at the Disco

Laura W.
Dancing Queen // ABBA
Hopelessly Devoted To You // Olivia Newton-John
Always On My Mind // Willie Nelson
Crazy // Patsy Cline
From This Moment On // Shania Twain
Who Am I // Casting Crowns
I Can Only Imagine // Mercyme
Jesus Take The Wheel // Carrie Underwood
How Great Thou Art // Carrie Underwood

A Broken Wing // Martina McBride
Brown Eyed Girl // Van Morrison
Fixing a Hole // The Beatles
I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight // Jeff Walker
Me & Paul // Willie Nelson
Last Thing I Needed... // Willie Nelson
Don't Let This Be The Reason // Suzy Bogguss
One More Day // Diamond Rio

Affirmation // Savage Garden
Over The Rainbow // Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
I Take My Chances // Mary Chapin Carpenter
Turn My Ship Around // Jeremy Buck
Try // P!NK
Sounds of Silence // Disturbed
Try Everything // Home Free
Heavy Cross // Gossip
Revelation // Third Day
It Feels Like Home // Nancy LaMott

Try // P!NK
Hallelujah // Jeff Buckley
Somebody That I Used To Know // Gotye and Kimbra
Someone Like You // Adele
Stuck On You // Lionel Richie with Darius Rucker
Total Eclipse of the Heart // Bonnie Tyler
You Didn't Have to Be So Nice // Lovin' Spoonful
When You Say Nothing At All // Alison Krauss
Hero // Enrique Iglesias
Pachelbel // Jean-Francois Paillard

Friday, July 29, 2016

Top Ten Songs of ALL TIME (as of today, anyway)

This is more than just my top ten songs of all time. This is a mix about struggle. About being female in a society that doesn't see you as a full human. About trying to reconcile sexuality as a less-than human. It is a story about control.

Friday, July 15, 2016


"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 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 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


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...


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.

Friday, January 22, 2016

MixtressRae's Top 50 Albums of All Time

The rules I used in figuring out my top 50:

*one artist can't have more than two albums on the list
*no greatest hits
*no soundtracks

They are listed in reverse chronological order from release date. highlighted titles denote a top 10 selection.
Portishead's Dummy is my #1 Favorite Album of All Time. I've listened to it hundreds of times since its release in 1994 and I have never tired of it or skipped a track from it because I didn't want to hear it. That's BIG props.

Grimes // Art Angels
Chelsea Wolfe // Abyss
Grimes // Visions
Scissor Sisters // Night Work
Goldfrapp // Seventh Tree
Chromatics // Night Drive
Yeah Yeah Yeahs // Show Your Bones
Fiona Apple // Extraordinary Machine
Metric // Live It Out
M.I.A. // Arular
Queens of the Stone Age // Lullabies to Paralyze
Air // Talkie Walkie
Goldfrapp // Black Cherry
Tool // Lateralus
Moby // Play
Massive Attack // Mezzanine
Gary Numan // Exile (extended)
Bjork // Homogenic
Delerium // Karma
Cake // Fashion Nugget
Sneaker Pimps // Becoming X
Fiona Apple // Tidal
frente! // shape
Lush // Lovelife
Tori Amos // Boys for Pele
Cibo Matto // Viva! La Woman
Garbage // self-titled
Bjork // Post
PJ Harvey // To Bring You My Love
Veruca Salt // American Thighs
Heather Nova // Oyster
Portishead // Dummy
Nine Inch Nails // The Downward Spiral
Tori Amos // Under the Pink
Nirvana // Unplugged
Sarah McLachlan // Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
Mazzy Star // So Tonight That I Might See
PJ Harvey // Dry
Bel Canto // Shimmering, Warm, and Bright
Depeche Mode // Violator
They Might Be Giants // Flood
Peter Gabriel // Passion
The Cure // Disintegration
Kate Bush // Hounds of Love
Depeche Mode // Some Great Reward
Kate Bush // The Dreaming
The Cure // Pornography
Talking Heads // Fear of Music
Roxy Music // Country Life
Brian Eno // Here Come the Warm Jets

Thursday, January 21, 2016

TRIGGER WARNING: topics of sexual nature

I received a bit of flack from my last post because it was perceived that I assumed that sex workers had all gotten into their profession from a place of abuse, neglect, and destitution.

I want to clarify a few things here. I don't personally know what this life is like and I am reading a memoir about a woman that reacted to this life in the way that I know I would were I a part of it. I feel that many women that make similar choices probably are doing so as a result of a path that started in neglect, abuse, or destitution.

There is a chasm of difference between a person that's heavily screening clients beforehand and in complete control of their sex work and a person that needs to service tens of men every day to support themselves.

I'm in the process of sorting out how I feel about sex work in general. It is my instinct to say that it is damaging because a woman's body cannot be for sale and until our society respects and accepts women as equals, this situation will likely almost always be bad for the woman in sex work. I cannot imagine it being any other way, unless you truly do have ALL control in an environment in which you do sex work. You cannot completely control these situations and even if you successfully weeded out the abusers as your clients, you wouldn't be seeing enough to make a good living. Perhaps this is a dismal view of our society, but I believe it is accurate.

These are my instincts and I talk about things as I'm processing them. I understand that there are many sex workers that disagree with these statements and my philosophizing about their work means little in comparison to their experience.

I don't place any shame or blame or disrespect on sex workers, only their clients and the society that's made this practice a thing. I have experienced some flavors of the fucked up sexual dynamics of men in a society wherein no is not a word heard by their ears often enough.

I was accused of assuming all women within prostitution are "broken" in my last blog entry. I have a hard time disagreeing with that because I have a hard time believing ANY women in our society aren't broken. I was trying to imagine a way that sex work could be beneficial to a woman that had grown up happy and wasn't under threat of homelessness and was doing the type of sex work that involves many men per day. The part that was harder to imagine even than the part where a person might get benefit, a benefit other than financial, from this profession was the part where a woman had grown up happy, without any incidences of abuse from family, friends, boyfriends, society, etc. That whole and happy woman is a myth, I think. Until our society has true equality she will be like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the Unicorn, a figment of our imaginations. Every single woman I've ever known has been damaged by something or someone that took their choices away from them.

In reading Rachel Moran's memoir, I've been experiencing a lot of emotional echoes from her experience within sex work to my own sexual life that never included getting paid for it. She talks of how she learned how to be a sexual being growing up in this trade. I learned that part of myself in a 5.5 year abusive relationship. I once said to my second partner before our first time together that every time I've ever had sex it has felt like rape. He didn't respond to that statement. Either it didn't seem upsetting to him or he completely misunderstood, but I took it to mean that maybe it wasn't that important. The psychological ramifications of growing up thinking it would all feel like an invasion are vast, as one can imagine. Consent from me didn't become a consistent part of that aspect of my life until partner 3. By then I was 22. Another odd parallel with Moran's story is that this is the age when she got out of sex work. I don't want to suggest that anything I experienced was anywhere near as awful as what she experienced, but I had similar emotional/psychological reactions that she outlines in the book.

Her story is, as a friend said, just that. HERS. But I think it's telling that my perceived experience as a person leading a completely different life feels similar to me. Because the sex life of a girl that is kind-of saying yes can look like that of someone that was very damaged by a lifestyle of sex work. Her experience within that industry matters. Pretending that sex work is full of choices is just not plausible in our society, though there are corners of the internet wherein I feel hopeful that women are doing this work without abuse. I can't believe it's common because I don't even believe that it's very common outside the realm of a man thinking he's bought YOU.

But this isn't me telling someone what to do. This is me theorizing how this type of work would make me feel. This is me experiencing empathy for the way a woman dealt with it.

And on a personal note, as I said above, I process things in writing. Y'all see the process more than the fully formed thoughts most of the time. Because of this, I can be unintentionally insensitive. Intentions matter a lot to me and I am always very open to people calling me out on stuff I may not understand fully. But if you've issues with the way I presented something, please contact me directly. Try to explain your viewpoint from an assumption that I'm probably just ignorant of whatever the issue is. I am NEVER going to be intentionally espousing the view that people should be stripped of their personal choices, though I am having a hard time thinking of sex work (again, there are many different kinds, but here I am speaking of the sex with many men per day type) as being a choice that someone is ever making for reasons other than financial.

It's causing a war within me because I want sex work to be like Inara in Firefly. She was a woman that chose her own clients,was respected in society, paid very handsomely, and enjoyed her work. I want that for sex workers, but I'm afraid we might be lying to ourselves if we think that any more than 10% of them can work this way in our world as it is today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Paid For: thoughts about sex work

I'm reading Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution by Rachel Moran and I'm inclined to believe most of what this insightful and intelligent woman puts forth about sex work in this memoir.

First, how sex work SHOULD work: A sex worker outlines his/her services provided and fees for such services. A sex worker needs to be completely in control of the boundaries and services provided. Terms/fees/services included all set beforehand. Person paying for services rendered respects boundaries/terms set by sex worker. Because of the intimate nature of such work, person providing services can stop at any time. It is still sex and it still requires consent at all times and for each service provided. END OF STORY.

How Moran tells her story is completely NOT like this. Until we live in a non-sexist/feminist society, it can rarely be like this. Until respect is given to all humans as a matter of basic humanity, the story of the majority of sex workers is COMPLETELY different than the paragraph above.

Moran describes sex work the way she and her peers experienced it as Pay-Per-Rape, and I can understand why. Men who pay for sex think they have paid for a person, but they have not. They have paid for a service a person is choosing to provide. Men, because they are the ones in power both in our society as a rule and in the sex-worker/punter relationship (though this should be the other way around), are routinely abusive to women they've paid to provide them with sexual relief. Sex workers are literally raped, beaten, and abused in many other ways routinely. I'm sure it's easy to understand how this dynamic plays out without ever having been on either end of this exchange. It is horrifying, heartbreaking, and a downright awful way for a person to be treated.

Moran was from a family of dysfunction. She ran away at 13 (or thereabouts). She found herself homeless. After sleeping on the streets for a time, and one can imagine how awful being without a home truly is, it was suggested to her by a boyfriend that she could start giving hand relief and blow-jobs for pay. The prospect of having a roof over her head was so enticing that she began sex work at the age of 15.

It's easy to see how this choice (not that the choice itself is wrong, but the abuse she endured for making this choice) made sense for her. She didn't have a home. She had no basis of love and respect from her childhood. There aren't many other jobs available for a girl in her early-to-mid-teens. I could see how maybe this seems like an option for a young girl. To choose sex work as a profession, one would need to be old enough to make this choice for herself, and 15 is too young. I can also imagine how a girl of this age would make this decision. At 15, you don't know how ugly sex can get. You don't know how awful men can be. And then you're in and you're maybe getting beaten and abused and disrespected and seeing your peers on the street getting treated the same way. That's just the men who employ you; there's also the matter of society at large treating you as if you're nothing.

Imagine being 15 and feeling like you had to do something you didn't want to do for money, which is not the case for all sex workers to be sure, but is the case for too many. Imagine every family member and friend you'd go to if you needed a place to stay not being there, or not caring if they are there. Then imagine being treated like a non-person by the people you provide your services to AND society at large. You would feel worthless and everyone around you would be confirming it. This book is truly breaking my heart.

Perhaps in a world where sex workers could set their own terms and received respect of their personal boundaries and their worth as humans within their profession and by society as a whole, things would be very different. I don't know. But I can say with complete certainty that sex workers need our respect and far too many of them may also need our protection.

I don't have personal experience as a sex worker, and I acknowledge that Moran's experience is not every sex worker's experience. Should a person want to do this work, she should be respected and have complete autonomy. This isn't the case for many many women, but I hope that it is the case for many others.

The book has really dispelled a lot of my naive assumptions about sex work, though I am sure to have many more. I am so so sorry to anyone who has been the recipient of sexual abuse, no matter what your profession. My heart breaks for people that have endured this sort of treatment. It is not. fucking. fair.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Vehicles of Mass Music Consumption.

At the same time that I am in a full-on embrace of the newest way to consume music (Spotify/subscription music services in general) I have started buying CDs again.

I lost my extensive music collection (upwards of 500+ CDs, dozens of mixtapes, and a crate of records) in the tornado of 2011, but I didn't care much because all of that music lived on my laptop as 1s and 0s anyway.

But now, almost exactly 5 years after I spent the winter of 2011 re-ripping all my CDs in 320kbps, I'm beginning to collect CDs again. I don't have much in the way of what you'd call "disposable" income, so I'm not buying albums I already have. But new music I want to OWN, a concept we don't necessarily even have to partake of in a subscription music world anymore, I've been buying used.

While it's easier than it's ever been to acquire music; (with Spotify I pay a monthly fee of $10 and click on a little + sign next to any music I want to "add to my music") this music is not ours.

My new system of acquiring music goes something like this. I hear music I like. If I really like it, I click that little + button. If I listen to it repeatedly for days, weeks, months, I'll look for it used in the physical format of Compact Disc or Vinyl. If the vinyl comes with a digital download and I really really like it, enough to pay 20 bucks, I do so. More often, if the used CD costs roughly the same as buying the album from iTunes or Google Music digitally, I do that. Having that tangible item that is YOURS cannot compare to the ephemeral ownership of digital downloads. Don't even get me started on DRM...

When you get your new-to-you CD home with you and start to rip it into your digital world you get the choice to store it in any size of digital file you'd like. 320kbps is perfectly acceptable, but for the truly important albums, you can go lossless. That's when your digital music sounds just as good as the CD. This is truly important when you care about sound. When you have invested in a good stereo setup, headphones, etc. If you can tell the difference between a CD's sound quality and your digital files, then physical representations of music are still the way to go and I'm glad I'm going back as a way to go forward.

I still don't own a dedicated CD player unless you count the one in my car, which I don't, because I don't spend much time there at all. Listening to CDs will be difficult until I find a component CD player for my stereo, but I've got a little baby CD collection again, and while it's uneven and strange, it's mine and that's pretty cool. I can lend them to friends. I can put them back on my computer if my computer self-destructs. I can open them up and look at the artwork and read the lyrics.