The Basket That Rolled Down Capitol Hill

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I remember growing up and hearing the timeless adage, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. As adults we realize this translates to such things as networking, planning, forming contingency plans, and acting with informed deliberation. This saying always aroused a sense of trepidation and anxiety in me, calling to question the irresoluteness of anything. It is difficult as a child to accept that sometimes there are things in the world that will not be foreseeable, calculable, or even preventable. Agency in a child is a very fragile, growing thing. This is true for adults as well.

North Carolina’s Elevator Queen

When I think of local elections, I think of Cherie Berry, and how I’ve seen that name in a North Carolina elevator for nine years. That’s just the time I’ve been knowingly aware of her as a force of influence; Cherie Berry with her artful gaze encasing that indulgent smile as she imparts the stature of a stately representative with managerial skill and the acumen of an effective communicator. Cherie Berry has been the commissioner of labor for almost seventeen years. That is longer than two Presidents each serving eight years. I wonder exactly how it is that with every election I seem to be presented with candidates that are too young, too dispirited or uniformly cut to their role, too ego-maniacal to be effective past a lobbyist wet dream, or too connected and entrenched in a system of nepotism that has its reaches into the nexus of every civil service job in the state. If someone suitable as a political representative came up to me and shook my hand, would I even begin to know how to tell if they were authentic?

Commander in Chief or CEO?

Some people put their all their eggs in the basket of the White House. Let’s call this the trickle-down vote. People believe that as the CEO of the country, the Presidential office is the most important role. That it is the vote that matters. Now, I’m not arguing that it is a vote that greatly matters. It is a crucial vote to name the person who becomes the figurehead and commander-in-chief of our country. Yet, return back to the idea of the President as CEO. Chief executive officers of companies, while holding extremely powerful positions, are acting as agents of the company’s board. The board and its members control the company. We can see this in the long list of ousted CEOs from companies such as Equifax, JetBlue, and Groupon. CEOs may be the face of the company, but there are powerful figures in the background that are the pivotal players.

The Room Where it Happens

Sadly, the background of politics is where everything happens. Contrary to its long-winded performance, C-SPAN does not show everything. Part of raising that curtain is becoming a participant in state and local elections. I’m not a newly christened voter, and I haven’t been a consistent voter since I turned eighteen. Part of my own reluctance to be engaged was my skepticism of both parties, the lack of transparency in government leadership (including the actual process of voting itself), the lack of elected representatives able to provide an individual record of administering professional and ethical public service (think of how all candidates, even those running again, make claims of what they are going to do and rarely refer to specific examples of past experience), and the persistent feeling that I was complicit in manufactured democratic agency. I don’t think I was alone in not voting so that I could feel a sense of personal integrity maintained.

Why Vote?

Now I’ve come to realize that every vote matters. I’ve come to this conclusion for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most crucial is the recognition of the efforts made to intimidate voters. The New York Times released an article that exposed state police officers in Florida who decided to “randomly” go door-to-door in a neighborhood of elderly Americans, mostly African-American, and question their voting in a past mayoral election. This timely questioning occurred as voting for the 2017 Presidential race was in its consequential stages.

 Now I’m not saying that the SBI or the local sheriff office is sending in quadrants of armed men to canvass neighborhoods and create an atmosphere of fear and repression. These events of political oppression do not happen on a grand scale, they happen in small towns or in small communities within cities, and they often happen because of rationalizations that are unchecked, unfounded, and derelict of moral oversight.

In my state of North Carolina, there has been a pushed political agenda that is focused on capital gain for lawmakers, lobbyist, and the myriad network of venture capitalist, investors, and private companies with shared interests who demonstrate such a keen level of concern in our state’s affairs. One new law allows restaurants in North Carolina to serve alcohol at ten in the morning, instead of the afternoon. Instead of serving better or even maybe cheaper dishes with Sunday specials, restaurateurs are set on serving mimosas and mojitos. What could possibly go wrong even though a Center for Disease Control reports shows that North Carolina is above the national average in age-related drunk driving fatalities in every single age group? That’s not all folks. North Carolina legislators are currently reviewing Bill 746 that allows gun owners to carry concealed without a permit. It also has a provision allowing firearm safety classes as elective classes in high schools. Again, what could possibly go wrong?

It Doesn’t Matter Who Your Party Is

Government is an indecipherable web of unfatigued schemes, artifice, and calculated misdeeds. We know politicians didn’t cultivate their skills through simple reflection and a devout attention to spreading goodwill. We know members of each party have acted with less than scrupulous means and compromised ideals. What that doesn’t have to mean is a citizenry that is disengaged and unrepresented. It is true that local elections can be extremely confusing. There is a general lack of transparency in what an alderman or commissioner does. Each county is different in the number of years an elected official holds office. In Asheboro, a member of the board of education is a seated official for six years. This is a long-term for such an important, influential role in the community. When more and more people become aware of the political distinctions and divergences in their county as well as their state, Americans can gain a greater sense of political agency and more adeptly feel the winds of change that come with recognizing oneself as a  politically expressed and active citizen.

The World is Kinda Horrible, More Content Pls?

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I’ve been very angsty and disappointed in the world this week, but thank god the Weekend is here so I can sleep and consume content. Here is some stuff to watch, read, and listen to. Hope you like it.

What to Watch

  • The Good Place: This show reminds me of the good old simple days of The Office and Parks and Rec. Also, it makes my little absurdist heart happy.
  • Nathan For You: I love this cult show. Nathan Fielder’s ability to create comedy with real people’s reactions is just good. Watch it.
  • AHS: Roanoke: I’m definitely late to the game, but this show was so unique and worth watching. I definitely think it captures like this Blair Witch Project essence in a totally unique way.

What to Listen to

  • Whiting Wongs with Dan Harmon and Jessica Gao: Dan Harmon and Jessica Gao talk about writing and race in television. This is the first podcast in awhile that made me genuinely laugh out loud. It’s uncensored and two well-meaning people that try to figure out how they can do better about representing all people in TV.
  • The 1st by Willow Smith: Willow pulled it out for this album. It’s personal, gorgeous, and a treat to listen to.
  • Melodrama by Lorde: So I’m a very emotional young woman that’s trying to navigate a very uneasy world, and this album really resonated with me. If you want to tap into your feminine energy, I highly recommend listening to this.

What to Read

That’s all folks. Thanks for bearing with us during this hiatus. We’ll see you next week with some cool (and maybe a little spoopy) content. 

3 Witchy Tea Recipes to Try This Halloween

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It’s Halloween, and if you already tackled your spooky plans this weekend, chances are you’re staying in and giving out candy, but your mood might be a little weird and for good reason. According to Sara Coughlin in Refinery 29,

“The moon will be in Pisces […] which will make us a little more prone to daydreams and flights of fancy. In the true spirit of Halloween, you might even wish to become someone else entirely.”

That being said, you’re probably feeling pretty magical, right now whether you’re going out in costumes tonight or not. With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to have tea tonight, which made me think of witches. So, I looked up some of the best witchy tea recipes I could find. Here are 3 of the best ones.

Caveat: If you have concerns or allergies, please talk to your doctor about these teas. I am NOT giving health advice. I tried my best to pick recipes with ingredients I recognize so I could in good faith recommend them. But, that being said, I am not an expert. I really just spent some time on google this afternoon for a Halloween themed post. 

1. For Safe and Sweet Dreams

Here is a recipe via Sanctuary to help water types, in particular, have a good Halloween night. They also have great recommendations for rituals for other signs to do as well, but personally, this recipe sounds amazing:

Peppermint for protection

 

Lavender for peace

 

Mugwort for safe dreaming

 

Honey to sweeten your dreams

 

Mugwort is bitter; sweeten the tea with honey. Combine these herbs – if fresh, a handful of each. If dried, one tablespoon. Bring water to the bill and pour over the herbs, steeping for thirteen minutes. Strain into a cup and add a spoonful of honey. Stir counterclockwise and speak into the cup a sincere prayer for protection, asking that as you sleep this night you be kept safe from all harm.

You may drink at your altar, in your bedroom, or in a safe and comfortable place. Focus on the herbs in the tea and thank them with all your heart for giving you their help and protection. Feel the gratitude and warmth in your heart.

2. Build-Your-Own

As Cecilia says in her run-down on Autostraddle, recapping their queer astrological and Wiccan retreat,

“One of the most exciting parts of magic is experimenting with different magical elements and combining them into one strong and specific spell. A great entry-level way to practice this skill is by making spell tea! If you know the magical qualities of different elements, you can easily create your own unique tea blend that can be charged for very specific magical desires.”

According to her guide, you can use whatever tea you like as your base: green, black, rooibos, or anything you have, and then, add these accompanying ingredients to help focus it more on your sign or specific needs:

Lavender – Mercury (Virgo), Lavender is great for spell work related to finding peace of mind, cleansing, healing, dream fulfillment, and revealing the truth. Also, for what it’s worth, lavender has a strong traditional association to love magic.

 

Peppermint – Mercury (Gemini) This element provides clarity to possibilities that you’re exploring. It can help you find the answers to burning questions, like: which queer city should I move to? Which hobby fills me with the most wonder and curiosity? Adding peppermint to your spell tea may help you find the insight to organize the options in your life.

 

Cinnamon – Uranus (Aquarius) Sometimes you need the strength to revolutionize your life and discard old habits that aren’t needed anymore for your growth. In these moments, use cinnamon in spells for passion, independence, brilliance, creative projects, community building, or bringing issues to a quick resolution. Also, Uranus is associated with queerness, so throwing a dash of cinnamon in a queer relationship spell certainly couldn’t hurt.

 

Licorice Root – Venus (Libra) This element is associated with Venus, the planet that rules connections that we make with others – friendships, partners, family members, co-workers, even pets. Licorice root can be used to attract any sort of good, healthy, mutually beneficial kind of relationship into your life. It can also be used for mediating arguments or finding harmony in any existing relationships.

 

Forget-Me-Not – Neptune (Pisces) You can use this flower for any spells connected to fulfilling your dreams, opening your heart, accepting your emotions, finding inspiration in artistic projects, feeling connection to something beautiful, or finding beauty in solitude.

 

Amaranth – Saturn (Capricorn) In spell work, amaranth provides strength, stability, and protection. It can help you develop stronger self-control, commit to work projects, get the dream job, or help with anything else that builds positive structures to hold your life together.

 

Rose – Venus (Taurus) Rose can invite simple, beautiful moments of reflection into your life when it feels too chaotic. It can help you make room for simplicity in your life. Roses also can attract someone who has the ability to offer you good sensual, healing sex. It also brings out your strength as a partner, helping you be more affectionate and loving.

 

Orange Peel – Sun (Leo) Orange peel is great for spell work if you’re feeling lost lately, like you need to connect with an inner spark that allows you to be your best self. It can help you connect to joy and charm, and can also help you gain recognition for your accomplishments.

 

Ginger – Mars (Aries) The planet Mars rules our ability to defend ourselves, so it’s great to use in spell work for protection. It’s also what makes us feel energized, or feel really turned on, or take risks, or pursue our passions. Any of these focuses can be helped by using Ginger in spell work — especially sex magic!

 

Yerba Mate – Jupiter (Sagittarius) Yerba Mate is technically a tea base, but it can definitely be used magically! It is caffeinated, but the caffeination feels less jittery than coffee and more energized and focused. Yerba Mate magic can make us feel confident, generous, expansive, and lucky. It’s great to use if you want to connect with optimism and fun in your life — or even adventures involving travel!

 

Jasmine — Pluto (Scorpio) The planet Pluto deals with some of the scarier things in life, like intense transformation and healing through pain. If you have been profoundly injured, Jasmine could be used in spell work to help turn your wounds into wisdom. If you’re in need of a total self-transformation, this could also support that.

 

Chamomile – Moon (Cancer) This element helps us feel safe and at home and comfortable with our inner life. Chamomile is great to drink at home to recharge, or to find a queer chosen family, to receive the care that you need, or to learn how to care for yourself.

While you drink your desired combination, she advises thinking about your intentions to make the strength of these ingredients work.

3. Boost Productivi-Tea

As a theatre artist and a writer, boosting productivity and creativity is important to me. That’s why I love this recipe via HoneyCoyote, AND it actually contains ingredients you already have in your kitchen:

Productivi-Tea

a simple tea for aiding in being productive and creative with your work. or help with mental fatigue and to boost your mental capacity on a stressful day when you have tons of work to do.

Materials

  • 3 parts Black Tea
  • 1 part Rosemary
  • 1 part Basil
  • 1 part Peppermint  

Place all herbs in a tea ball,

put in your favorite mug, and add boiling water.

Steep this brew for about 10 minutes.

Remove tea ball and sweeten to taste

Have Other Witchy Tea Ideas?

Let us know! While I love witch and astrological culture, I really don’t know a lot about it other than the witch books when I was at my Harry Potter fangirl PEAK (12-year-old Katy was on a roleplaying Quidditch team). We’d love to hear more about it. Let us know your recipes in the comments or shares!

5 Characters I Hope To See in the Hellboy Reboot

As you may already know, there is a Hellboy reboot in the works, featuring everyone’s favorite detective from Stranger Things’, David Harbour. As Mike Mignola, the creator of the graphic novels, says in The Verge, this time around it will have an R-rating, leaning in the,

“horror direction, more so than the fantasy direction del Toro was doing. When Neil came on, we decided to go for an R rating, so he doesn’t have his hands tied, and so he can go as dark and as tough as he wants to go. I was a fan of his, and when he came onboard, I thought it was terrific: now it’s really going to be an action-horror film.”

While there are currently not a ton of details, there are so many characters I’m looking forward to seeing in this reboot. As much as I love Guillermo Del Toro, who really introduced me to Hellboy, when I started reading the comics I saw so many amazing characters and great lore the films weren’t tapping into. In fact, in 2014 or 2015, when I was still working at a movie theatre, I was doing research with a friend on actually making a Hellboy 3 fan-series on Youtube. We didn’t get very far, but I still have a soft spot for all the characters I was interested in including. With that in mind, here are 5 characters I hope to see in the reboot.

1. Baba Yaga

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via Nerdist

One of my favorite things about starting the series was the degree of Russian mythology that was infused throughout it. Throughout Wake the Devil and Darkness Calls, she serves as a major player, aligning with Rasputin. She’s just a cool and interesting villain. As Time Magazine explains,

“In some old Slavic accounts, Baba Yaga is a wizened hag who rides in a floating mortar that is directed in flight by its pestle. In other Russian tales, she lives in a hut in the woods ringed by a fence of skulls and elevated on a pair of chicken legs. In almost all versions, Baba Yaga is meant to be very, very scary — the creature best suited to frighten ill-behaved children since, according to legend, she has a habit of kidnapping and eating them.”

In addition, she brings with her all of the fairies and just really good lore. I’d love to see Hellboy squaring off against her. Can you imagine? I hope she beats him up with a Pestle.

2. Hecate

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via Multiversity Comics

Like okay, I know, another mythological witch? But Hellboy‘s Hecate is so much more than the weird plot device you see her as in Macbeth— she is a force to be reckoned with. Hecate, no matter what story she is placed in, is more than a witch but is even worshipped as a goddess. As the dictionary defines her, she is,

a goddess of the earth and Hades,

associated with sorcery, hounds, and crossroads.”

Especially because Hellboy deals so much with the idea of apocalypse and the idea that Hellboy himself could bring it about, she’s a great villain, as an embodiment of hell and the crossroads, for him to try and defeat.

In the comics, even when he defeats her, she attaches herself into a man’s soul, and then when he dies, she takes over AN IRON MAIDEN, crushes a female nazi inside it, and proceeds to beat the sh*t out of Hellboy as a MAGICAL IRON MAIDEN. I’d love to see all of that play out. A giant and transforming iron maiden or just Hecate in her normal form would be amazing.

3. Roger the Homunculus

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via Multiversity Comics

Honestly, I’m a little surprised the Guillermo Del Toro movies didn’t have much of Roger because a homunculus kind of seems like his thing. It’s the type of creature that could be super creepy, artsy, and fantastical, which is pretty much his aesthetic. One of the reasons I fell in love with Hellboy is the practical effects and puppetry, so it’s kind of surprising a puppet homunculus didn’t happen. While there was a glimpse of a statue of him, it would have been nice to have more.

In addition, just going into the witchcraft necessary and ideas around Homunculi would just be really cool.

Either way though, Roger the Homunculus, was actually a big part of the gang in the comics and actually teamed up with Abe a lot. Also, the idea of being made for a purpose and not wanting to fulfill it is a big theme in Hellboy that would be cool to play into.

4. Dr. Kate Corrigan

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via austin eustice

A professor in Folklore and SUPER competent, as well as one of Hellboy’s closest friends, I would love to see her in the franchise again, even as Director of Field Operations for BPRD.

When I started reading about her in the comics, I loved how as an academic, she was an equal to Hellboy. Her knowledge and expertise helped as much as his brawn. Also, she helped explain some of the lore I loved.

If I had gone through with that fan series, I actually would have wanted to play her. I love the fact that they have a great friendship and would be a great addition to the gang.

5. THAT Gorilla

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via IGN

Is there a more iconic image than Hellboy fighting a Gorilla with bolts sticking out of it? Just for an amazing fight scene, this gorilla would be a great addition to the movie. Maybe it would be a waste of CGI, but it would just be a great fight scene with an iconic scene from the comics. In addition, it gives a chance to see Herman von Klempt’s head in a jar and play into the Nazi Ragna Rok mad scientist storyline even more.

In addition, while I didn’t get very far in my abandoned Hellboy 3 fan project, the only thing that was actually set in stone was to have a huge Hellboy and Gorilla battle. So honestly, that’s just for me.

Those are just a couple of my favorites! Who do you hope to see in the new Hellboy? Comment or share with your favorite characters!

Shiny Happy Weekend

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EDITORS NOTE: Bringing you The Weekend Mix is our Mother, Bev Koop. She really wanted to share! Though she is not going to be a regular contributor, you may see her pop up again.

What a sad week it has been! Let’s inject a little offbeat music and humor into your life. Here’s your weekend mix to pick up your spirits for the weekend.

What to Listen to:

Movie producers have been really on point with their soundtracks lately. Three recent films I’ve seen really stand out soundtrack-wise.  The films themselves were entertaining but not necessarily “high art.” Many of these features the music of my youth, the late 70’s and early 80’s were quite the time to be alive!

Guardians Of The Galaxy II: Classic throw-back songs from ELO, Cheap Trick, and Michael Jackson! Guardians of the Galaxy II the movie is currently available for streaming on Amazon.

Atomic Blonde: This soundtrack gives me all the feels of the early 80’s, including some interesting German versions of Major Tom by Peter Schilling, and 99 Luftballons by Nena! Best of all for me though is Cat People by David Bowie. You also have to love a soundtrack that features The Clash and George Michael. The movie itself was fine, but I am living for this soundtrack. Atomic Blonde the movie, is available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on October 24th

KIngsmen the Golden Circle: The soundtrack is amazing, quirky, and weird. It takes you on a wild but satisfying ride. We have Elton John, Prince, and an amusing cover of Cameo’s “Word Up” with a country music flair by Boss Hoss. I am not a fan of country music, but this was EVERYTHING! Finally, we have 2 count ‘em 2 songs by JOHN DENVER?!?! Unbelievable! Kingsmen the Golden Circle is in theaters now.

Offbeat and Funny TV rabbit holes:

Mascots: the latest from Christopher Guest who brought us Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Need I say more?

The Durrells in Corfu: Catch up or Fall down the rabbit hole of the hysterical and quirky PBS comedy before their season 2 premiers on October 15th. Louisa Durrell and her four headstrong children, ages 11 to 21, arrive penniless on the bucolic Greek island of Corfu in 1935. Hilarity Ensues.

What We Do in the Shadows: Vampire Housemates playful antics as they struggle through everyday life. Since it’s October, this one has a Halloween feel. This one is directed by and stars Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame.

And that’s it! Let’s remember in these turbulent times:

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter”- Mark Twain

Have a GREAT weekend.

🎮 Game Picks: Cute and Queer 🎮

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It can be hard to find good, queer visual novels. This March, I found out about this game jam on Itch.io called #ResistJam. Partnered with IndieCade, the goal of the jam was to resist authoritarianism in all forms. What made it different though, was that it featured workshops and talks on youtube about making inclusive and innovative games. Because of that, I found out about Queerly Represent Me, which is a site that catalogs every game that has queer representation. While I made a simple twine about self-care and drinking tea, a lot of people involved in the jam made a lot of cool and innovative games that involved strong queer representation. Because of that, when I’m looking for a cool and interesting story motivated game, I try to find games with the best representation possible. I like to start my search on Itch.io. There are a lot of creators on there and I love that there’s a lot of experimentation and bolder use of game mechanics that I see in other places.

That’s how I ended up on Itch.io last night. I’m in love with VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action because of the relaxing quality of the game, the strength of the narrative, and the amazing art. In the same vein, I was looking for some cute, female-protagonist-driven, and queer-if-possible games— Itch.io delivered. Maybe it’s because of the ongoing Yuri Game Jam, but when I logged in again, I’ve noticed a lot more games in that niche. Last night, I managed to play two games: Butterfly Soup and Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival and I loved them. That’s why they’re my two must-play game picks this week. Short, sweet, and queer— here’s a mini-review for each of them.

NOTE: Both of these games are FREE, but if you do pay a recommended donation you can get a PDF of art from the games and support the artists! 

Butterfly Soup

via Brianna Lei

If you’ve been following my writing or my twitter for any amount of time, you probably know that one of my most rant-able subjects is Asian Representation in the media. From Tilda Swinton playing “The Ancient One” to how important Fresh Off the Boat is in terms of representation, ranting about yellow-face is what I’m passionate about. One of the best things about this game was that every single member of the characters was Asian and at least 3 out of the 4 main characters are queer. On top of that, there was the innovative use of group chats and text messaging, amazing art, and sharp writing to make this a great experience. Overall it is sweet, though there are some dark themes dealing with verbal and un-seen physical abuse from parents. There were so many references to memes, and this was just a very well written and interesting story.

Plus, you can expect screencaps like this:

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That being said, if you’re looking for multiple endings or the ability to romance multiple characters, this isn’t that kind of game. It is narrative, but the choices you make moreso changes up the dialogue and jokes that are made, rather than the outcome. It’s more novel than choose-your-own-adventure and frankly, that’s fine with me.  In fact, I think the story is great fodder for a film adaptation in its future. Overall, it’s sharp, with great storytelling, and a fun and meme-y way back to high school.

Mermaid Splash Passion Festival

via Sofdelux Studio

Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival is just sweet— plain and simple. You play as Cici, a mermaid that just needs to figure out what skill she needs to hone and find her passion in life, but can still make time to woo other mermaids on the weekends. The game starts with an all too familiar crisis: Cici has a lot of hobbies but she’s not GREAT at any of them. She’s at a point in her life where she needs to decide what to be an expert in. As someone that loves writing, acting, directing, art, and that picks up new hobbies all the time—I know that feeling. I was also lucky enough to go to a college where I could be surrounded by women that in an environment where we could support each other. That being said, the subject of the game really resonated with me. Choosing between farming, art, dancing, and fighting, Cici works not only on her own skills but supporting other women with their passions.

It also provides something near and dear to my heart, scheduling your time wisely:

 

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The art style is gorgeous and it’s about women empowering other women, so it’s an instant favorite for me. Honing Cici’s skills and getting her ready for the passion festival, while hanging out with each of the other women is definitely way faster that butterfly soup. While it takes probably 15 minutes to get through the whole game, there are 23 endings you could possibly have! I had a great time choosing different skills and different characters to woo, spanning ages from 24-43 and even different mermaid types like a shark, angler fish, cuttlefish, and sea slug.

If you want to explore lots of different endings and look at adorable art, with a POC queer protagonist, this game is perfect. Plus: as you play, she unlocks themed outfits!

💖Those are my picks! Keep an eye on us for more Game Reviews and Suggestions! 💖

Let’s Get Balanced

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EDITORS NOTE: Bringing you The Weekend Mix today is one of our new contributors Esther McCaskill-Baker! Note: While there are Amazon links here, they are NOT affiliated ones. We only use affiliate links on explicitly affiliate posts, in case you were worried. The links are included simply for ease of use. 

It’s the start of Libra season and this week’s The Weekend Mix is one of the first ones to include some fitness and lifestyle youtube recommendations. So, take the opportunity this weekend to get nice and balanced for a spooky October. Here are some picks for music, youtube channels, tv shows, movies, and books to check out this weekend!

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  • Feeling Jazzy? Try some Norah Jones- Perfect if you’re in a jazzy mood, she’s an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Known most perhaps for her 2001 song “Come Away with Me”, now is a great time to check out her 2016 album “Day Breaks” or her 2017 single “Unchained Melody“.
  • More Interested in Metal? Give Jinjer a listen, a Ukrainian 4 piece progressive metal band. Try their 2016 album, “King of Everything
  • Want some Rock? Consider Icon for Hire, a rock band from Decatur, Illinois, with their 2016 album “You Can’t Kill Us
  • Leaning More Towards Rap? Check out Ivan B’s 2017 album, “Forgive Me for My Honesty“.
  • Need Folk or Electronic? Give Halsey’s “hopeless fountain kingdom(Deluxe)” album a listen for that synth-pop craving. Try Anaïs Mitchell to get folk-ed up.

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Youtube

  • Let’s Get Physical: Some fitness gurus I like to turn to on Youtube include Whitney Simmons, a fitness guru, Team Richey, a male crossfit athlete who does GREAT collabs, and Nikki Blackletter, a fitness guru.
  • Meal Prep & Lifestyle: Jordan Cheyenne and Sarah Rae Vargas are also favs. They range from meal prep to lifestyle to self-acceptance.
  • Social & Philosophical Commentary: For social commentary and hilarity, The Gabbie Show is a great show. On the intellectual side, BBC’s The Big Question and Intelligence Squared Debate are good choices. BBC’s The Big Question’s “Did Man Create God?” and Intelligence Squared’s “We Should Not Be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values” are two of the best debates!
  • Must-See Web Series: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modernized adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su for you Nerdfighters out there).
  • Special Video Pick: Check out Amanda Bucci’s “Keys to Success from the Summit of Greatness

 

TV Shows

  • Underground– Originally on WGN this underground railroad focused series is available on Amazon Video.
  • Flash Forward– While this show is about seeing the future, it’s a nice glimpse into the past. Watch this ABC series that aired 2009-2010 on Amazon Video
  • The Good Wife– Starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies, watch this political drama on Amazon Video
  • United States of Tara– Created by Diablo Cody, watch this compelling and funny series on dissociative identity disorder on Amazon Video
  • Atypical– Watch this compelling 2017 show, created by Robia Rashid, on the autism spectrum. Catch the first season on Netflix

Movies

  • Suite Française– Looking for a new drama? Check out the story of a French woman in Nazi-Occupied France and the German officer quartering in her home on Netflix
  • What Happened to Monday– If you’re interested in exploring a more dystopic flick check out What Happened to Monday on Netflix, featuring Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, and Glenn Close. 
  • Friends with Kids- If you’re interested in a comedy, check out this one about navigating adult life with children on Amazon Video, featuring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Jon Hamm.

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Books

  • Oracle of Glass by Judith Merkle Riley– Feeling like some historical fiction? Using actual police records from the reign of Louis XIV, Riley’s work dives into the world both of the occult and the French court. Available on Amazon.
  • Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb- More in the mood for romance? Follow the story of Julia Bennet after she leaves her blueblood abuser fiance and moves to the town of Golden, Oregon. Available on Amazon
  • Every Dead Thing: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly- Want to get into a series? Start exploring crime with the private detective Charlie Parker as he investigates a missing girl. Available on Amazon
  • A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey- Do you see the world we live in today and wonder, how did we get here? For some insight, check out the history of the doctrine. Available on Amazon.
  • The Divide by Matt Taibi- In addition to Harvey’s work, don’t forget to check out Taibbi’s look into American Injustice and the age of the Wealth Gap. Available on Amazon.
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath- Interested in Self Improvement? Evaluate yourself with StrengthsFinder 2.0. Available on Amazon.

💗 That’s it, everybody! I hope you have a balanced and peaceful weekend! We’ll see you next week!  💗

Prime B1tches: Living the Remote Life

┏┓
┃┃╱╲ in
┃╱╱╲╲ this
╱╱╭╮╲╲house
▔▏┗┛▕▔ we
╱▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔╲
order a lot of sh*t on Amazon Prime
╱╱┏┳┓╭╮┏┳┓ ╲╲
▔▏┗┻┛┃┃┗┻┛▕▔

That’s right. Every week the mailman knocks on the door with piles and piles of boxes. This is mostly because not only are we transportationally challenged and work from home but because our mom is currently wheelchair bound, it’s a great shopping solution for all parties involved.

~  W e ‘ r e   P r 1 m e   B i t c h e s  ~

That’s why I wanted to experiment with the Amazon Affiliate Program with a lot of different blog posts. Essentially, this is part of a series of sponsored posts where we do Amazon supply lists to give you tips and insight, this week we’re looking into essential supplies for working from home. Working from home can also be very lonely, messy, and mess with your brain a little. Actually, my favorite depiction is this:

 

via Hannah Hillam

It’s actually a pretty accurate depiction of me, right now, writing this blog post. So with that in mind, here are 5 recommendations from me to help your work-from-home experience.

1. Cafe Bustelo

via HYESU LEE on Behance

I remember the day I first saw it— years ago when I used to wander aimlessly around Target for hours killing time before and after my movie theatre shifts, I saw this glass bottle on the top shelf:

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via Target

I took it home with me and it’s been one of my favorite things ever since. Most instant coffees, while they do have value, they make you feel a little sad. There’s something missing in the flavor or the panache or something, but Cafe Bustelo Instananeo is simply perfect. I gave it up because I didn’t need to be that keyed up working at a movie theatre thinking about the meaning of life, but now that I’m working from home, it’s exactly the afternoon pickup I need. Now, I don’t get it from Target, I get it from Amazon (Affiliate Link). Whether for days, I can’t bring myself to make a pot of coffee or for a little lift in the afternoon, it’s perfect for getting through deadlines. Just a spoonful of it, plus some honey and half and half, it’s a creamy and razor-sharp way to get moving.

2. Herbal Tea

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Yes, there are a lot of beverages on my freelance must-haves. I’ve always been into black tea, but when I started working at an internship at Atlantic BT, I started having a herbal tea in the afternoon when I got my afternoon mental-block. I’d just walk to the break room, grab a peppermint or green, and be able to step back from the research of whatever I was trying to write.

When I started working remotely and getting into being a Prime B1tch, I started ordering herbal tea as a way to take a break. Especially if you’re pounding caffeine, herbal tea is actually a great way to hydrate and strengthen your focus.

Here are some of my top picks (Affiliate Links):

  • Turmeric Ginger Tea–  I started picking this up because I not only work as a writer, but I also teach theatre classes to children. As I started to do it more, I noticed I kept getting infected with some funk. To boost my immune system, I started drinking Turmeric Ginger Tea. Not only does it help keep me moderately healthy, but it also is a stomach settling and tasty hot tea.
  • Lemon Ginger Probiotic Tea – This is definitely one of Sarah’s favorites. It’s a milder stomach settling tea that is great if you’re looking for probiotic benefits. The mild taste is also a great, happy pick-me-up for hard afternoons.
  • Get Some Dank Bigelow Tea-  I know not everyone is into Bigelow teas but I am. While I admit they don’t have the best teabags for steeping, they have some great herbal teas that are individually packaged so they don’t lose flavor.  In particular, I love Sweet Dreams tea any time of the day.

Of course, those are just a couple teas you can try. Either way, I would recommend picking the right flavors and kinds for you.

3. Give Yourself a Real Set Up

via Giphy

Just like the herbal teas, I can blame Atlantic BT for the dual monitor life. Here’s what our office looks like:

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Plucky Media                                                                                                                  While you might be thinking,

“Hey, I don’t need to feel like a space captain to get my work done”

It actually really helps to be able to separate your work out and use two monitors at the same time. If you work from home, it CHANGES THE GAME. Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Monitor– That’s the basic thing. I’m not saying you need the biggest one in the world, the one I’m using right now is this one, but there are tons you can choose from (Affiliate Link). Sarah actually uses the monitor left over from the family computer our family bought when we were in elementary school. It’s whatever is in your budget and whatever works.
  • Dongle + VGA Cable- To make the monitor a part of your laptop, you’re going to need to use a VGA adapter and probably a dongle. I actually use the same dongle (Affiliate Link) as I used on my MacBook Air as on my current Google Pixel. Your monitor probably comes with one, but if you need a cable, a standard VGA cable (Affiliate Link) should be fine.
  • Wireless Mouse and Wired/Bluetooth Keyboard – It can be super annoying to use the keyboard and track pad when you have two monitors. That’s why I definitely recommend getting a wireless mouse and keyboard. I use a Logitech Mouse (Affiliate Link) and a USB keyboard. While Sarah uses a wired Apple Keyboard (Affiliate Link), I’m really happy with my Light Up Gaming Keyboard (Affiliate Link).

Those are just a couple of things that can help you technology wise when comes to working from home.

4. Bluetooth it Up!

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Pictured (From left to right): Molly Riddick as “Lil’Bitch”, Nicole Benjamin as “Cunt”, and the Bluetooth speaker

One other thing that can help you tech wise is by making sure you have the music setup you need. One item, that we actually bought for our production of The Amazing Cunt and Lil’Bitch Take Your City, is our stand-up and light up Bluetooth Speaker (Affiliate Link). It’s great not only for blasting the Steven Universe soundtrack, but for playing video game stream audio, and any other background-noise needs you have.

If you need headphones, I also definitely recommend taking a look at some great Bluetooth Headphones (Affiliate Link). Cords aren’t a big deal, but it’s great to get them out of the way and have room for movement.

5. A GOOD Chair

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This might be the most important thing. For almost my whole year of working from home, I was using really bad chairs. From the short kitchen chair I was using to the bench I was sitting on for months, I started to notice a TON of back pain. While doing yoga videos every once in a while helped, I knew I had to make a change.

I recently invested in a rolling office chair and it really helped. While I still have some back pain from doing a mostly sitting job, it’s helped a lot. I got this one (Affiliate Link), and it’s great, but you know, also consider your own budget. Sarah recently just swapped out her wooden chair for an armchair in the living room and that’s working for her. It’s important to think about your health while working from home and prioritizing what your body needs.

Need More Tips?

While we do a lot of pop culture criticism on here, we’re also passionate about remote working and self-care. As Prime B1tches, we are going to be experimenting more with Affiliate Amazon content to see if it’s a viable income stream. Let us know if you liked this kind of comment with a share or a like or you can even comment below. This is just something we’re trying out. I tried to make this as personable as possible so even if you don’t click the link, you got some tips on the process.

 

Meet Mackie!

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Hey, everybody! Plucky Media is proud to announce our new contributor, Mackie Raymond! She has some kick-ass content coming your way, so be sure to stay tuned for all the great stuff she’s about to publish! Everybody give her a warm welcome! Here is some of her information below!

Mackie is an actor, singer, and visual artist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also a fourth-year student at North Carolina State University, studying Communication Media, Vocal Performance, and Arts Entrepreneurship. She works part-time for NC State’s Crafts Center and NC State’s Disability Services Office, and as Raleigh Little Theatre’s first annual Jack Hall Artistic Intern. Mackie has performed with a number of local theatre companies, including Bare Theatre, Theatre in the Park, Temple Theatre, Burning Coal Theatre, Sonorous Road Productions, and NC State University’s TheatreFest, and is a co-founder and managing director of Star Pocket Theatre Collective. In her free time, she’s usually reading graphic novels, listening to podcasts, playing PC games, and geeking out about Steven Universe. Yes, simultaneously.

Mackie already has some sweet recommendations on her The Weekend Mix from September 15! Check it out here! We’re so excited to have her onboard!

I’m Dreaming of a Grubby Tap

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Hey! I dunno about you guys, but this week took it OUT of me. Anyways if I’m not alone on feeling blah this week, I hope you can find some time to do stuff that you love this weekend. So yeah! Let’s put this week behind us and get to the GOOD STUFF! Here’s my take on the weekend mix!

What to Watch:

  • South Park: If you hate them, I don’t blame you…keep on scrolling to the next recommendation if you have no interest. South Park, however, is airing right now on Wednesday nights, so if you wanna hop in, now’s the time. So yeah, I will say that South Park’s last 3 seasons are the best that they’ve ever been. I also really think it’s very interesting that they make almost every episode in 6 days. It’s current, and it talks about stuff as it’s happening. They got thrown off by the 2016 election, and the final episode of last season (unfortunately) derailed but watching their commentary was incredibly compelling and relevant. I’ve never 100% agreed with them, but I do think that *some* of their criticisms are valid. Anyways…if you hate them I understand.
  • Drag Makeup Tutorial: Trixie Mattel’s Legendary Makeup:I love Trixie Mattel, and I think you should too. Fun Fact: I love watching makeup tutorials, especially drag makeup. I love how their makeup tells a story about their characters and it’s such a cool art form. Also, Trixie is hilarious. Enjoy!
  • Salad Fingers: Ugh you may hate me for recommending this, but I DON’T CARE. I’m not kidding or being ironic when I say this, but I LOVE SALAD FINGERS. SUE ME! I think it’s such a cool little story, and it’s also such a cool historical thing in the youtube community that I think everyone (within reason) should watch. It took 10 years to make! History! AH! Old school flash animation is such an important part of internet culture, and Salad Fingers is arguably the Magnum Opus✨ of this art form. Watching Salad Fingers is a rite of passage for any internet-y kid out there! I will say that it’s very unsettling and features some gore, so if that’s something that isn’t cool for you, then you should just skip it. Also, when you finish watching the whole series, check out these theories by The Film Theorists! The links to the theories are down below!

What to Read

Here are some great essays to check out as well:

What to Listen to

  • Bad With Money: Ok Gaby Dunn taught me so much about financial literacy. I had to figure out a lot of finances on my own growing up, so having her podcast has been great. I’ve learned about how banks really operate, the stock market, and lots of other great things. The guests she brings on really help, and she talks about money in a very relatable way. Finances are hard, especially as an artist! You learn financial literacy with her and you don’t feel so alone.
  • Wisecrack’s THE SQUANCH: Rick and Morty PodcastIf you’re watching Rick and Morty, it’s really cool listening to these guys takes and opinions on what’s happening. I wiiiill say that they kinda piss me off because they’re almost too analytical, but I do enjoy most of it. So yeah, if you’re obsessed with Rick and Morty, and always want more, then it’s great getting a mild Rick and Morty session with these guys.
  • Hopeless Romantic by Michelle Branch: UMMM HAVE YOU GUYS LISTENED TO HER NEWish ALBUM????? Okay, okay, this album has been kinda my go to this past Summer. It talks about romance, broken hearts, and moving on while still keeping hope. Typically I kinda stray away from listening to tooooo many romantic things, but Michelle Freakin’ Branch, Y’ALL (I love her). Ugh, it’s just such a GOOD album you guys. I believe you can listen to it on Apple Music as well as Spotify.

That’s it, everybody! I hope you have a great and peaceful weekend! We’ll see you next week! 💖

 

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