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Rachel Presser

Rachel Presser is a crazy toad lady from the Bronx who was exiled to New Jersey, spending a significant chunk of her youth where all the hideous 1970s couch covers and avocado shag carpeting went to die. Upon escaping the sea of brown and founding Sonic Toad Media, she decided to devote her time to writing from the fantastically-preserved Googie artifacts in LA and former speakeasies in Chicago, to forging new game worlds in the tea lounges of Taipei and Tokyo. She can be found at game jams, hardcore shows, vaporwave dance parties, and petting amphibians on a sensible corner loveseat.

Why Are There So Many Strange Mansions in Carmel, Indiana?

Greetings after a long hiatus, Homebodies. I was called elsewhere for a while, plus gearing up for that cross-country move (it’s great to have lots of advance notice when planning one!) and all with the travails of being a first-time home seller (in a freaking pandemic no less!), but I’ve been keeping tabs on the …

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Where the F$%^ is All This Dust Coming From When We’re Stuck at Home For Months on End?

No matter what kind of home you live in, dust is the bane of your existence. And as someone who frequently traveled, and wasn’t the best housekeeper between chronic pain and executive dysfunction, I’d be loathe to come home from a long trip or while between vacuumings to find a patina of dust coating the …

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Making Mass Trauma Tasty and Classy with Charcuterie Boards

Well hey there, homebodies. It’s been a minute! Your girl the toad lady has been busy in other realms. What with the whole deadly plague happening outside as I gear up for both film school (WHAT!) and selling my home, I fell behind on my Home Stratosphere column but am picking up now. And oh …

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The Internet’s Brain Just Broke Over Blue Baby Yoda Cookies

I spend an inordinate amount of time shitposting on Twitter. Often, to the severe detriment of my mental health and productivity. Tweeting in my thirties is like what smoking was to me in my twenties, especially since COVID has me stuck at home and unable to see anyone. Now I’m feeling nostalgic for MySpace all …

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I Threw Tofu on a Waffle Iron and it Was Revolutionary

What with it being Thanksgiving and all, Pinterest legends like the “stuffing waffle” come to mind. Late-night Buzzfeed reads and cringeposts from Tasty, 5-Minute Crafts, and the more questionable sides of Instagram have produced a plethora of things that people have shoved on a waffle iron for clicks and screams. Sometimes, they’re genius like the …

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There Will Be an Urbanization Boom Come 2023

You might dismiss me as batshit crazy upon making this conjecture. Let’s bookmark this post then return to it in 2023, and see if I’m right! But there’s another side to the coin that is simply not being discussed in real estate news right now, and it’s about not if, but when cities will fill …

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The Weird History of Predatory Lending in the Furniture Industry

So a short while ago, I got into why adventures in buying and selling furniture can just be a raw deal. In case you missed it, here’s some key takeaways from that piece: The average American moves 11.4 times in their lifespan (US Census Bureau) The mean annual furniture spend for Americans is $518 per …

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The Ghastly Origins of Mobile Homes

Greetings, Homebodies! Long time, no snarking on McMansions. Took a bit of a hiatus to focus on other projects, but I’ve returned, and since it’s the most wonderful time of the year–OCTOBER! I can finally stop running the air conditioner!–it’s time to get into some scary topics! And there’s nothing more frightening than American housing …

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What Do You Do With All That Leftover Rice? I Made Cake With It

Well, homebodies. This pandemic isn’t letting up any time soon. We’ve smoothed out the supply chain wrinkles that were causing things like flour and yeast shortages and people are gradually shifting away from “panic buying” and other habits somewhat tantamount to hoarding certain food items. For the millions of single people quarantining alone though? Judging …

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Be Careful What You Wish For in Moving to the Country

We’re amid a suburban housing boom unseen since the 1950s: people are fleeing cities en masse to reduce their risk of catching COVID-19 in crowded urban areas, where our public transit and buildings’ common areas could be crawling with viral baddies unlike the larger bubble in which you could shield yourself in the average single-family …

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Adventures in Selling Used Furniture: It’s a Raw Deal

Actually, I should correct that title. Furniture in and of itself is a raw deal. Think about it. It’s one of the most expensive components of buying or even just renting a new home, probably tertiary to the actual purchase process itself (or the security deposit) and any redecorating or renovations needed. But even if …

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Move Over, Man Caves and She-Sheds: LABYRINTHS Are The Hot New Thing

Needless to say, the pandemic is making us do a lot of crazy shit we probably wouldn’t have considered before: start a backyard chicken farm, move to a completely different state to take advantage of remote worker incentive programs, get a divorce, get a batshit new haircut, you name it. COVID-19 is an intense and …

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Would You Take $10,000 to Move to Alabama if You Work Remotely?

There’s zero doubt that the praises of remote work are being sung more loudly than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although I know people who are begging to go back to a day job even if they loathe being there just because it helps them separate home from work more easily. And …

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Start a Gay Communist Game Developer Collective with Rural Development Multi-Family Housing!

It’s been an ongoing Twitter meme, and a real true desire for a significant amount of people, to basically do what Tenacious Unicorn Ranch in Colorado did: live the Stardew Valley dream of farm life where marginalized people can find safe shelter along with meaningful work and a community. As we discuss rebuilding a post-COVID …

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Why Do We Have to Wait Til Old Age To Live Around Our Peers?

Society has us conditioned to think of various milestones and socializing in relation to age pretty oddly, particularly if you’re American. The pandemic has had us rethinking countless aspects of society as it is, housing is definitely one of them. Quarantine has been hell on those of us who live in small spaces because the …

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Coronavirus is So Bringing the Tete-a-Tete Chair Back

As per usual, I was shitposting on Twitter and came across something that piqued my interest. It wasn’t just another viral meme I wound up hopping on, like the color commentary on Dr. Phil’s son’s completely batshit house inspired by several Tim Burton flicks. But I saw the above couch and a few others like …

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Why Did So Many Kitchen Linens Become Chicken-Themed in the 20th Century?

I was shitposting late in the lab one night (wait, no, I wasn’t, because it’s quarantine) when I saw yet another Twitter post that caught my eye. It was one of those things I realized I’d seen for years but didn’t really think about until someone pointed it out: namely, what’s up with all the …

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Clean Your Air Conditioner Filters For Crying Out Loud

Podcast Version: I don’t know about the rest of you homebodies, but I’ve been sick as hell lately! Not from the coronavirus, fortunately. But I totally had a jumpscare for a minute because of the nonstop coughing that started out mild in my throat, then turned into the kind of wracking chest coughs we’ve been …

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Whatever Happened to Those Mail-Order Houses from the Sears Catalog?

Having just covered the Fallen Titan that is Sears department stores, something that piqued my interest was the idea that you could buy literal houses from the catalog. Prefab homes aren’t exactly an exotic concept nowadays. When the tiny house movement took off, many builders started offering everything from ready-made prehab homes to foundations and …

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