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Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

We don’t often get much snow in Seattle, but when we do everything basically stops and absurdist-theater levels of hysteria ensue, complete with ridiculous terms like “Snowmageddon” for a few inches of accumulation, which I’m sure causes the eyes of folks from the Midwest to roll their eyes so hard they can virtually see their brains.  Now, part of the problem is that it just doesn’t snow very much here, and many Seattleites are transplants from much warmer places where it doesn’t snow at all, leading to the same sort of fear-of-the-unknown reaction one sees every time it drizzles in Los Angeles.  And another part of the problem is that Seattle is full of steep hills which become impassable under icy conditions, thus leading to traffic snarls as people who can’t navigate without Google Maps are detoured to alternate routes.  But another part is just Seattle being Seattle, which is why the only days I got in my car for the past week were Tuesday and Wednesday.  Once the snow stops (the weather report says tomorrow) I’ll probably start my car to let the heat melt off the snow, and throw a few pots of hot water behind my wheels so I can get traction to back out of my driveway.  But until then, I’ve got plenty of blankets, soup, supplies, booze, cannabis and writing projects, so I’ll be just fine right here in The Den.

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Diary #449

I haven’t made gumbo for a long time, and because it used to be the centerpiece of my Imbolc feast I decided to go out to Sunset over the weekend and make some.  I remembered to order the andouille from my favorite supplier, Bailey’s in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Monday so it would be sure to arrive on time, and prepped the chicken on Wednesday (see my gumbo recipe, linked above) so on Saturday all I had to do was chop up the sausage & onions, make the roux, combine the ingredients and wait.  Well, I also had to make potato salad, which many Louisianians (including Grace) enjoy plopped down right in the middle of the gumbo.  I did share my potato salad recipe on Radley Balko’s old Agitator blog years ago, but since that, sadly, is no more, here it is again: cook as many peeled potatoes as you like until soft, and hard-boil one egg per potato. I use small russet potatoes; you don’t want too little egg in proportion to potato.  Crush the eggs with a fork as one would for egg salad, then add the potatoes and mash it together with a potato masher.  Add 1 heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise per potato, then one heaping tablespoon of prepared mustard per two potatoes, then one heaping tablespoon of pickle relish (I use sweet relish) per two potatoes.  You are going to have to fiddle with the proportions a little to get it the way you like it; I usually end up adding more mustard.  You’ll note that south Louisiana style potato salad is much creamier than the styles from other parts of the country, which use much less thoroughly-cooked potatoes for a chunkier texture.  Oh, and most down there like it cold, though some (including a couple of my sisters) prefer it soon after it’s made, while it’s still warm.  Speaking of cold, I headed back to Seattle on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, due to the snow; Seattle drivers in snow are as stupid and dangerous as Los Angeles drivers in rain, and I had no desire to see the effects multiplied by an overnight freeze.

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Diversification

As I told you on Tuesday, I’m currently “trying to make arrangements and get things to the point where I let other people who actually know what they’re doing handle the things I’m not good at, so all I need to do to earn a good living is be me, which I’m very good at.”  Regular readers probably remember that I’m not at all good at navigating formal systems, which means I tend to experience very high levels of anxiety when I have to deal with such systems; that means I tend to put such things off, with results that can be frustrating for others (such as my readers).  But I’ve been talking to my friend Thaddeus Russell about this problem for a while now, and we’re entering into a partnership which will allow me to subcontract the things that frustrate me to his production company.  Just Saturday I recorded a video lecture for his Renegade University, for which I’ll also be doing seminars and further video lectures; he’s also going to help me market The War on Whores, and his graphic artist is going to do the cover for The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I; that will free me to get started on editing Volume II.  There will also be some changes coming on this blog, both to protect it from possible censorship due to FOSTA and to enable me to make some money from it, which I think I’m entitled to do after nine years of doing it all completely for free.  I’m not sure exactly what for that will take, but don’t worry; I’m not going to paywall the whole thing or anything like that.  It’s just all part of a strategy to make my life a bit easier, with an eye toward less reliance on unreliable third-parties like escort ad sites, social media platforms and the like.  If that’s not clear enough, let me put it this way:  by the end of this year I want to be in a place where I don’t need to panic if WordPress, Twitter, Eros or any of the other big companies whose owners’ phone numbers I don’t have decide to flake out and delete my presence on their sites for fear of federal persecution.  That way I can secure my income, protect my activism and creative output, and keep myself safer from anxiety attacks than I ever have been before.  And like so many other things over the past five years, I’m going to accomplish it with the help of good people who like me and respect my work.

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This was quite a busy and pleasant week!  In addition to several new (and lovely, and generous) clients, this week saw the completion of The War on Whores (premiering at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 2nd at The Rendezvous in Seattle); the paying-off of the last of my debt from my big move in 2017; the arrival of some really fab jeans from Peter Roman (you’ll have to wait for the pic!); some progress on monetizing this blog; a cosmetic procedure I’ve wanted for some time; and the time and opportunity to work on a personal project I really enjoy, I also recorded “The Politics of Sex Work”, the first in what I hope will be many video lectures for Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University.  I love working with Thad; like my documentary producer Paul Johnson (who did the actual camera work for the lecture recording) he takes care of all the technical and practical stuff that tends to overwhelm me, so all I have to do is show up and be Maggie McNeill.  That’s the goal I’m aiming for this year:  I’m trying to make arrangements and get things to the point where I let other people who actually know what they’re doing handle the things I’m not good at, so all I need to do to earn a good living is be me, which I’m very good at.  The first half-century of my life wasn’t exactly easy, so I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m trying to make up for it now…especially if in the process I can actually increase my effectiveness as a proponent of the cause I care so deeply about. 

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Diary #447

Both Grace and Jae are good at finding great deals on Craigslist; last Tuesday Grace texted me and told me they’d found a camper-trailer for only $275, which she suggested we could use as a guest cabin.  So I told them to pull the money from petty cash and go take a look at it, and though it needs some work it was a steal at that price.  Once the roof is sealed and Jae redoes the interior, we’ll have a 24′ trailer that in a pinch can sleep five people, and Grace will run power and water hookups to it.  Slowly but surely, the compound is growing and improving; before too much longer they’ll start on the bookcases, and most of the posts have already been placed for the new perimeter fence.  As I’ve said before, deciding to move my operations to Washington state wasn’t an easy thing for me to do, though I know it was the right thing.  So when stuff falls into place and I see things shaping up and my little family happy, it not only makes me feel good, but confirms to my nervous mind that I really did make the right decision.   

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Backup

When Twitter censored my account last week (for an anti-government tweet it absurdly called “targeted harassment” of a building), I was forced to start a backup account; given what I’ve seen happen to others on the platform in the past few months, I was planning to do it anyhow just in case my primary one was shut down.  So I started the new account, followed myself, then simply followed all the same accounts as my primary account so my news-gathering would be unaffected; I DMed a number of the people I interact with regularly (locked accounts can still DM, they just can’t publicly tweet) and asked them to follow me, then continued as usual (and the publicity garnered 200 new follows on the main account while it was locked).  As of Tuesday morning I’m back to tweeting from the primary account, but I ask that those of y’all who use Twitter please follow the backup account as well; if Twitter continues to disfavor, shadowban, and censor sex worker accounts as they have been doing for the past couple of years, or even purge us as several other platforms have, it will be good to have a least a healthy fraction of my current Twitter following already in place at my fallback position.  And in the very near future, I’ll probably start a backup for the backup, just in case.

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Things are definitely moving forward on my various projects!  My documentary, The War on Whores, will premiere at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 2nd at The Rendezvous on 2nd Avenue in Seattle; after that I’ll be looking for sponsors for screenings all over the country, so if your organization (activist group, school, etc) would like to do that, let me know.  I’ve also been talking to Thaddeus Russel about some projects we’re going to do together, and he offered his graphic designer to help me finish the cover of The Essential Maggie McNeill.  My inability to complete it myself is the reason it has been delayed for several months, and I’ve been talking to Thad about ways to delegate stuff (like cover design) that I’m bad at, so I can be free to write, speak, interact with people one-on-one, be fabulous, and all the other things that I’m good at.  I’ve been working on cutting things that drag me down and annoy me out of my life, which is why I don’t answer cold voice-calls any more; my recording suggests sending a text, so when someone tries to call but doesn’t follow up with  text, I know that I just avoided another time-waster.  And that gives me more time to do things I like, such as writing and getting presents like these snakeskin leggings from Nattie Roman.  And meeting my fans by travelling around the country!

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