Five Star Mixtape's Top 20 Featured Blog Posts of 2015

by faungg's photos [ CC BY-ND 2.0 ],  via Flickr  (text overlay added)

by faungg's photos [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr (text overlay added)

I poured through all 234 of the blog posts featured in Five Star Mixtape over 2015 with the idea that I would share the top ten, but you people nominated so much great material that the top ten turned into a top twenty. I tried to pare the list down, but a combination of laziness, indecision, and the simple problem of liking too many posts too much forced my hand.

And that's how you end up with [drum roll, please] Five Star Mixtape's Top 20 Featured Blog Posts of 2015!

Thank you for all the brilliant nominations over the last year. Keep up the great work, and happy reading!

"How to Become a Successful Blogger" by Brooke Takhar at

Here’s your plan, baby. You’re going to build this blogging career layer upon layer, like a tantalizing dripping sandwich they only serve in ancient deli’s on the East Coast. You will whiz and zing around people’s palates and serve up some mouth-watering truth bites that will satisfy a NATION of readers. Your name will drip off their lips as they spray your word crumbs all across the Internet. Wash your hands, baby. It’s time.

"Let's Talk About Margins" by Craig Mod at Medium:

Thoughtful decisions concerned with details marginal or marginalized conspire to affect greatness. (Hairline spacing after em dashes in online editing software — for example.) The creative process around these decisions being equal parts humility and diligence. The humility to try again and again, and the diligence to suffer your folly enough times to find the right solution.

NSFW: "Are Y’all Ready For This?" by Chelsea G. Summers at Adult Magazine:

There will be cheese cubes. There will also be a plate of desultory fruit, and another with careful loops of store-bought chocolate chip cookies… 
But the cheese, orange as a kindergartner’s sun, gets eaten. I can think of few foods less conducive to sex than cheese cubes — chili, I suppose — yet there I am, at a sex party, and there are cheese cubes.

"The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" by Mark Manson at Mark Manson:

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly. Fuck that kid.

"Web Design: The First 100 Years" by Maciej Cegłowski at Idle Words:

So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.
Unless we screw it up.
And I want to convince you that this is the best possible news for you as designers, and for us as people.

"Self-Made Man #32: Grief Is the Price We Pay for Love" by Thomas Page McBee at The Rumpus:

There is a story you know about me, the triumphant self-made man. I’ve been telling you it for years, mythologizing myself because my body is not the action hero of a hot movie in a cold theater, because in Rome last month I didn’t see any statues paying tribute to my nakedness, because I refuse to be an invisible man. And you conspired with me.

"The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral" by Mike Caulfield at Hapgood:

So what’s the big picture here? Why am I so obsessed with the integrative garden over the personal and self-assertive stream? Blogs killed hypertext — but who cares, Mike?
I think we’ve been stuck in some unuseful binaries over the past years. Or perhaps binaries that have outlived their use.
So what I’m asking you all to do is put aside your favorite binaries for a moment and try out the garden vs. the stream. All binaries are fictions of course, but I think you’ll find the garden vs. the stream is a particularly useful fiction for our present moment.

"Everything Is Broken" by Quinn Norton at Medium's The Message:

Software is so bad because it’s so complex, and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers… Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood.
Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.

"'Indigenizing the Academy' without Indigenous people: who can teach our stories?" by Erica Violet Lee at Moontime Warrior:

The centering of Indigenous knowledges in universities is important, and it must be done right. If the foundations of the settler colonial state are not challenged, the incorporation of so-called “Indigenous content” into classrooms is a method of continuous recolonization; furthering claims of ownership and authority over Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous lands.

"The Faith that Does Not Know It is Faith: On Atheism, Imperialism and the Other" by Emily Pothast at Translinguistic Other:

Today’s New Atheists have correctly identified many of the problems inherent with the institutional history of Christianity, however they have all too often neglected to shed the other Eurocentric assumptions they have inherited from its colonialist, imperialist history, particularly its myth of self-superiority. By failing to see that monotheism is the tool of imperialism and not the other way around, they have cut the head of “god” off the deity only to replace it with the head of white male European Rationalism.

"Chemo Talk" by Oren Miller at A Blogger and a Father:

I've started writing birthday letters to the kids. Just a few paragraphs that would hopefully remind them of me and of my eternal, unconditional love. Remind them I'm there even if I'm not physically there. I want them to know they can turn to me at any age--not for advice, but for comfort. Not to help them create their paths, but to remind them their paths are up to them, and that I'll be proud no matter what.

"The Day After the Longest Day of the Year" by Amanda Palmer at Amanda Palmer Is Creating Art:

the day went by slowly yesterday....we took turns sitting at his side, making him comfortable, massaging his head and feet, telling him that we were all here, that it was okay to leave. his breathing was hard to listen to, increasingly pained and underwater. we know, as mammals, when death is at the doorstep. knock knock. who's there.

"Soft Spot for the Reckless" by Sean H. Doyle at The Tao of Sean:

Desperation makes people do terrible things they would never think they would do. When I was on the street I used to go to church fountains at night and fish out all the silver so I could stay in smokes and some food here and there. Other people’s wishes were my wish to eat.

"Everything Is Yours, Everything Is Not Yours" by Clemantine Wamariya at Medium's Matter:

People listen, and they don’t listen. They’re amazed and moved, and they look bored and proud of themselves, like they’re checking a box. I try to be relevant and not frightening. I totally freaked out watching The Hunger Games movie. Maybe you did, too? Some people pity me, and want to help me, and can’t stand the idea that I am not defeated and could help them as well. Others cast me as a martyr and a saint: You must be so strong, so brave. You must have learned so much. A few ask if I feel guilty for surviving. Uh, no. I did everything I could to survive.

"President Obama Took Me To Church Today" by Greg Howard at Deadspin's The Concourse:

I was suddenly profoundly aware of my blackness, and this cape I wore and wear on my shoulders, every day, in the shower and to school and to work and on dates and to bed. The weight never gets easier, and it causes you to bow your shoulders and bend your knees, to tiptoe around. You shrink beneath it. Painfully aware of your blackness, you become smaller.

"On the Berenstein Bears Switcheroo" by Reece at The Wood Between Worlds:

It was probably the silliest, most outlandish thing I've put forward, but I put if out there. For those not familiar with it, I claimed that two of these "universes" in the complex-dimensional spacetime have two different spellings of the name. I will henceforth call these Universe A and Universe E. In Universe A, they are spelled "Berenstain". In Universe E, they are spelled "Berenstein". Whatever else is true, we currently live in Universe A. However, at some point, it seems that some of us once lived in Universe E. Now here we are, inexplicably in Universe A, and completely befuddled.

"Why I’m Absolutely an Angry Black Woman" by Dominique Matti at Medium's Those People:

Because when I was five, my kindergarten classmate told me I couldn’t be the princess in the game we were playing because black girls couldn’t be princesses. Because I was in third grade the first time a teacher seemed shocked at how “well-spoken” I was. Because in fourth grade I was told my crush didn’t like black girls. Because in sixth grade a different crush told me I was pretty — for a black girl.

"Proverb, 1989" by Caissie St. Onge at Caissie's Thing:

Back in high school, let’s say eleventh grade, I needed to bring my biology grade up because I loved getting A’s and I was failing at that. I loathed this situation. Not only because I was ashamed. Not only because my own mother was a former biology teacher who had lost her job due to the passage of Proposition 2½ in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yet never became bitter toward biology itself. It was mostly because my teacher (who had been my mom’s high school biology teacher, and later her colleague and then her friend) was a ghoul.

"Survivorship Bias" by David McRaney at You Are Not So Smart:

Survivorship bias pulls you toward bestselling diet gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes. It’s an unavoidable tick, the desire to deconstruct success like a thieving magpie and pull away the shimmering bits. You look to the successful for clues about the hidden, about how to better live your life, about how you too can survive similar forces against which you too struggle… The problem here is that you rarely take away from these inspirational figures advice on what not to do, on what you should avoid, and that’s because they don’t know.

"Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence" by Anne Thériault at The Belle Jar:

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know any better. I can tell that she’s angry at me, and I don’t know why. Later that day, when my mother comes to pick me up, the babysitter hugs me too hard and says how jealous she is because she only has sons and she wishes she had a daughter as sweet as me.

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