Actual Marginalia

messy talk // Rae Minji

#personal #readingreflections

Reading the “Always Be Optimizing” chapter of Jia Tolentino's Trick Mirror is helping me articulate, even just to myself, the ways in which the intersection of capitalism and patriarchy kept me from coming out, beyond the obvious of overt challenges.

Even while chafing, identifying as a woman was optimization for what features I had. With long permed hair, my mother extoled the benefits of taking advantage of my youth and femininity; “It will help you get ahead,” she said, with the confidence of someone whose career had genuinely benefited from beauty. As someone without a career to speak of, yet, it seemed foolish to throw away what tools I had to work with.

But, beyond the rewards of being willing to work on the system's terms, I was unwilling to bear the friction and tension of not working on its terms. My contrarian instincts never manifested in meaningful divestment from the system; instead, they took the form of token protest: a lasting resistance to spending time on clothes, make-up, and hair, as well as an unwillingness to optimize my digital presence, despite how necessary it seemed for my desired career.

I feel I'm still caught in its maws: coming out in furtive spurts, only in safe circles; finally making a website, as a concession to the precariousness of our current existence in which I may need to scramble for more work, who in bloody hell knows...

But, to answer Jia's question at the end of the chapter:

| “What do you want—what desires, what forms of insubordination, would you be able to access—if you had succeeded in becoming an ideal woman, gratified and beloved, proof of the efficiency of a system that magnifies and diminishes you every day?”

I haven't succeeded in becoming an ideal woman (too fucking lazy for that), but my act of insubordination is opting out of the womanhood I've been cast into. Opting out of either/or gender identity.

But, finally, with that small act of resistance, it feels as if I've wedged my foot in the door. Though it's just a personal symbol of resistance, it's helped me finally feel like there is enough of myself in alignment that I can speak without feeling like a fraud. It's helped me cast off some of the self-loathing and depression that seems baked into modern living in the U.S.. I'm now able to enjoy my own company, which translates to spending less time anesthetized by the creative outpourings of others (who are better, more authentic) and more time with my creative self, which, in turn, finally allowed me to start what feels like a sustainable daily art practice.

I've long wanted to establish artistic discipline; I didn't realize that what I needed first was to feel like a genuine human being.

#cocktailtesting #tea

And now for something completely different.

Testing: Ripe/Cooked Pu-erh infused rye whiskey

Var. 1 * 1.5oz infused rye * .75oz vermouth (carpano antica) * .5oz peach juice * .25oz Cointreau * 2 dashes angostura

Var. 2 * 1.5oz infused rye * .5oz Cocchi Americano * .5oz Carpano Antica * .25oz lime juice * .25oz St. Germaine * <.25oz Fernet Branca * 2 dashes angostura

note: it takes a while for a compressed tea to extract. Overnight for 1st infusion, 8 hours for the 2nd. No issues. Robust smokey, earthy flavor; not bitter.

#zine #comic #pitchidea #nonfiction #policywonk #EJ


MTCA (pronounced “mot-ka” by policy wonks) is probably one of the most important environmental cleanup laws in WA. MTCA funds and directs the investigation, cleanup, and prevention of sites that are contaminated by hazardous substances. It's only ONE of TWO revenue-generating ballot initiatives in Washington, which is wild.

Covers non-superfund sites (that is, not covered by federal funding via taxpayers). 13,000 sites. So far, 7200 sites cleaned.

Origin story

WEC, where I work, was a big part. But, at the time, all volunteers.

Negotiated with Boeing, Weyerhauser. In legislature, ended up having to compromise...and, even then, Boeing pulled support. Surprise, the democratic caucus was against it! But MTCA had lots of public support. There was 1-day special session to pass watered down alternative to MTCA. (What happened between this and the ballot initiative? Have to ask a coworker for clarification)

Ballot initiative: No polls, so were surprised that initiative from WEC passed by landslide at the ballot. MTCA was implemented through long years of rule-making.

They were looking at manufacturing facilities, but didn't realize there were so many tiny toxic sites in residential areas. You wouldn't imagine them in residential areas, but those types of sites (supplier to Boeing dumping chromium) or facilities are in residential areas, communities of color, such as South Park.

Yakima: decades of pesticide pollution. Tiny buildings where they blend pesticides. Dumped in backyards and in streets where people live and play.

Recent Updates

MTCA needed an update. Because it covers so much (clean up and preventing pollution, public participation grants), the funding needed to be stabilized. Because it was funded by tax on hazardous substances, primarily from the oil industry...but that meant level of funding needed was locked to the volatility of oil prices. So this kind of unpredictable source is no good; leads to problems like no public participation fund for 2 years (2019). Project delays because not enough money.

A coalition was able to form!

  1. Local businesses, ports, were getting concerned. Housing redevelopment. Health of MTCA tied to health of affordable housing development. Pollution and housing is tied together. Anytime you turn over a rock, there's legacy contamination.

  2. Oil companies getting lots of money. Congress tax break in 2017 to oil companies argument for these oil companies not paying their share.

  3. Enviro champions in the state legislature

  4. And: a leader! Good Guy Frockt in the Senate really took this on (as a budget writer). Get this in the budget under cover of night. “Not fair!” said the oil companies. “Eat petroleum-covered dirt!” he didn't say, but we all heard when he was telling this story.

  5. Stabilized and increased tax in the 2019 legislative session. Tax escalates over time. Whoo!

#meta #goals

I think I've always been skeptical of blogging as an activity. But the lower barrier of entry of this platform, the clean interface (+dark mode! huzzah!), and the need to practice production in place of consumption has brought me to this point.

And I guess I still have no idea what use these would be for anybody but me. Journal-ish thing that serves as a record of my professional journey? Art thoughts? Jotting down ideas before they run off? Planning projects and writing down notes? Easy digital pad for experimenting with words?

Hm. I guess I've talked myself into it.

Some art-ish goals

  • keep up daily art practice
  • experimental zines
  • yoon suin adventure
  • review zines
  • experimental audio/video
  • poetry
  • submit to the Nib