Underneath my yellow skin

Sorry (Not Sorry)

OT: (And, yes, I’m starting a post going off topic) I forget that yesterday was one of my two days I take off from social media and just started tweeting about the restaurant I made for Ian in Cook, Serve, Delicious 2. It’s Boudreau’s Bed & Breakfast, and it only serves foods that begin with the letter ‘B’ (I cheated by including the burger, even though it’s official name is ‘Hamburger’). Biscuits & Gravy, Brisket Slices, Brussels Sprouts (side), and two kinds of Beer. After I went to may taiji class, I realized it was Saturday, and I stopped looking at social media for the rest of the day. I felt bad, but it reminded me how easy it is for me to slip back into my old habits when I’m not paying attention. The restaurant looks really sweet, though:

Boudreau's Bed & Breakfast
Come for the biscuits & gravy, stay for the beer!

Here is the menu from the restaurant:

cooked and served, too.
Deeeelicious!

Anyway, I just wanted to note that, but that’s not what the actual post is about

I’ve realized lately that while I’m used to having nontraditional opinions about subjects, I’ve taken to couching them in apologetic terms. I’m not sorry in the least for having these opinions, but I don’t necessarily want to argue about them all the time, either. The problem is, if something is steeped in Americana tradition, any notion to the contrary can seem radical, no matter how softly couched. I read an article by a woman who was child-free about her decision to make her home a no-kids zone, and I read the comments out of curiosity. I thought the article was snarky and a tad rude, but she said straight out that she was having a hard time writing it in a way that would be acceptable to parents. The comments were brutal, and I had to laugh, albeit ruefully, how entitled they all sounded.

Look, I’m not saying you have to be friends with people who don’t want your children in their houses, but realize that your kids aren’t the center of other people’s lives the way they are the center of yours. But, as Bill Hicks said so famously, “They [your children] are not special….Oh, I know *you* think they’re special….I’m just trying to tell you, they’re not.”

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I Ate An Angsty White Boy, and He Was Delicious

I was in Home Depot yesterday with Ian, and the music is definitely white boy heavy. It’s not surprising, given where I was, but I was struck by just how much angsty white boy music there is, and how much I fucking love it. Then I heard:

In a way I need a change from this burned out scene
Another time, another town, another everything,
But it’s always back to you.

I told Ian that was my jam and started singing along:

How many times can I break until I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around

I sang it quietly, but I was definitely into it. I told Ian it was my jam, and I struggled to remember who sang it. Snow Patrol? No. Dishwalla? No. Good Charlotte? No. After several seconds of agony, it hit me. O.A.R.! That’s who it was. I excitedly relayed the information to Ian, and he looked flummoxed. “This is O.A.R.?!!!” He couldn’t believe it because it turns out that O.A.R. used to be a noodly stoner jam band. I listened to some of their earlier stuff when we got home, and it’s completely different than their big hits. I said, “O.A.R. gotta eat,  yo!” which was evident in their newest song which is literally a video of the lead singer being a dad in which he sings about putting food on the table.


Quick aside: Sometimes, I go down the WatchMojo rabbit hole, and yes, I know they’re terrible and everything that’s wrong with the world, so don’t @ me. However, it can be addictive, and I recently saw one about the Top 10 Biggest Musical Sellouts, and it touched off one of my pet peeves. People need to eat, even artists, and it’s easy to say that someone should be holy and pure when they are being creators, but you can’t eat ideals. I usually bring p the case of Liz Phair because she was all alternative and Lilith Fair-ish for the early part of her career. Then, she decided she wanted to be more marketable and released a record deliberately aimed garnering a wider audience. It worked, and her song, “Why Can’t I?” became a pop hit. I’m not a big Liz Phair fan, but I was peeved at how whiny people got. If someone listened to her hits and then listened to her old stuff, maybe they would be converts! Also, it can be cold comfort to be a better musician than, say, the Spice Girls, but not have half the recognition.

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Memories Are Sometimes Best Left Remembered

I’m on a mission to winnow out my mounds of books, and I started weeding through them today. It can be a strange thing to look at a bunch of books that I labeled my favorites and realize that I’ve moved past many of them. There are others that I still think of fondly, but many of them I put in the give away pile. The unofficial ratio seems to be one book kept for every eight or nine I’m giving away. One bad thing about books is that they were made with cheap material back in the day, so they can get moldy or grimy and feel tacky.

Anyway, I was going through a box of books, and I came across a few cards from an ex. I scanned them, and they were filled with billing and cooing, and I felt…nothing. That’s not exactly true. I felt a bit of regret, disgust, and shame. The regret wasn’t that we had broken up, though, but that we had hooked up in the first place. We were both messed up, and we were friends first. We shouldn’t have gotten together, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. In addition, because I was with him, there was a path not taken that I deeply regret. I was musing about it on Twitter last night because, well, sit back and grab a cold beverage. This is going to be unwieldy because that’s the way my brain works.

I was waxing poetic about how Mike Ness from Social Distortion would have terrified the 22-year old me, but that’s he’s insanely hot. It reminded me of a bartender I had met while I lived in the East Bay who looked a lot like Mike Ness with tats and nipple piercings to match. He was one of the hottest guys I’d ever met in my life. We hit it off, and he asked me out. Unfortunately, I was dating the aforementioned ex, and while we were technically open*, we had to talk about it before doing it. I turned the Mike Ness lookalike down with deep regrets, and I was tweeting about how one of my biggest regrets was that I never fucked him. The bartender, I mean. Mike Ness, too, but that was never an option. We probably wouldn’t have lasted, but my god, he was so fucking hot.


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Learning to Tolerate Frustration

I hate weeding. I hate it so much. If I had a top ten list of things I hate to do, well, it wouldn’t be on it, but it would be close. I especially hate it when it’s sunny and dank out as it is today. I sit there, sweating, resenting the hell out of the glowing orb in the sky. Let me be clear. Even though I’m a cold weather kind of gal, I like te sun shining in the sky. However, not when it’s dank. I fucking hate humidity because I sweat like a pig. When I used to read ‘health articles’ , one of the general tips was that you should workout until you break a heavy sweat. I break in a heavy sweat just by stepping out into the sun, so it’s not a good barometer for me.

Anyway, I was weeding today and just thinking nasty thoughts towards the weeds I was pulling out of the backyard. It seems so pointless in that even if you get the roots, there will always be more weeds to take their place. I will say, however, that I like breaking down boxes with a box cutter. There’s something immensely satisfying about destroying boxes to their basics. I also will say that I like manual labor as it makes me Zen in a way. I don’t think about anything as I’m working with my hands, which is a relief for me. My brain is constantly humming, and the more I try not to think about things, the more my thoughts race around in my brain. To be able to have it blessedly free of thoughts is a miracle, but is it worth doing the manual labor? Box-breaking, yes. Weeding, no.

I’m working on being more flexible in general, but it’s difficult. I find comfort in my routines, so anything that fucks with that garners a massive side eye from me. However, doing a few hours of housework every day has been good in that besides giving me time away from my thoughts, it also makes me feel productive in a way that I don’t with doing mental work. Clearing out the garage and seeing the actual progress is satisfying in a way that writing two-thousand words isn’t.

As many of you know, I don’t cook. Many years ago, I did bake, though, and there was something so soothing about handling the dough. It’s tactile, and it feels wonderful to have it ooze through my fingers. Then, placing the lump of dough (or lumps) in the oven and waiting for it to form into something delicious and edible was great, too. The smell wafting from the oven would tantalize me until I pulled it out, all brown, smelling earthy, yeasty, and sweet, and ready to be shoved down my gullet.

I did do a little bit of cooking. I made a seven-layer dip, a potato corn chowder with a whole tub of sour cream that was fucking amazing, and kung pao chicken. They were all tasty, especially the chowder, but it was so time-consuming. It made me feel good, though, to have this huge pot of chowder ready to be eaten, and what’s better on  blustery Minnesota winter day than a steaming bowl of corn chowder?


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General Housekeeping: A New Day is Breaking

let's tidy up in here.
Clean up in aisle 5!

Hello Gentle (and Not-So-Gentle) Reader! This is your friendly blogger here to inform you that changes will be coming to the blog. I have been dissatisfied for some time with the blog–not because I haven’t been doing what I intended to do. I have. I’ve written a post every weekday, and I’m mostly satisfied with the way they’ve turned out. The problem is, I feel like I have said pretty much all I want to say on certain subjects. I know I circle around to my pet issues over and over again, and I’m fine with that. However, I don’t want to write something just to have written something.

I still have sit to say on many subjects, and I’m not going to quit writing, don’t you worry. However, I would like to change things up a bit for several reasons. One is the aforementioned one. Two is to get myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve been writing longform pieces for some time now, and while I’m good at it, it’s something I can do in my sleep. I’ll still do it, but I want to mix things up. Three, video is where it’s at these days. All the kids are doing it, and most people would rather watch a five-minute video than read a two-thousand words pot.

The question is, what do I want to do for those videos? One idea is to riff on the topic of the day, similar to the posts I write. I probably would write the script out ahead of time because the way I circularly write about these issues isn’t as viable in video form, but it would still be loose and casual. My second idea is to do Twitch streaming, except in a funny way. Either playing video games where you can’t see the game being played, for example, or me sitting on my couch with my cat while I’m drinking my coffee. That’s it. Nothing more. I’ve had people tell me in all seriousness that they would watch me do that.

Another idea I’m tossing around is a cooking show. But, Minna, I can hear you say. You don’t cook. Details, shmetails. Neither does half the people on The Food Network, so why let that stop me? It would actually be part of my shtick I went down this route. I could either do recipes only for ‘dummies’ or make foods that don’t actually require cooking (such as egg salad sandwiches, for example). Another gimmicky idea is to have my face hidden the whole time I’m cooking. By a cupboard door, by the oven door, by a grocery bag, etc. My favorite idea, however, well, I’m going to keep that to myself for now.

Yet another idea I’m thinking about is, well, some backstory. I used to write one-woman shows that were social commentary mixed with stand up. I miss it a lot, and another of my video ideas is to do these acts (after I create them) for the camera. I’m still in the musing phase, but it’s something I really want to try.

Do not worry. I will continue to write posts in the meantime, but I may not adhere to my own schedule (though I’m pretty loosey-goosey with that as it is). I will keep you updated as I implement the changes. I’m excited about this, and the possibilities are endless.

The More Things Change

In cleaning up the house, I saw a picture of me from twenty-five years ago. I picked it up and stared at it as if it were an artifact from a different lifetime. I was in the middle of my first anorexic stage, and I had a perm and was wearing makeup. I searched my face for anything recognizable, and there it was in my trademark smirk. I don’t smile easily, and I always feel fakey when I do, but when I looked at the picture, it wasn’t terrible. Only I could see the pain behind the smile because I was pretty good at masking it while I was out and about.

I can’t see much of the current me in the earlier incantation, but it’s more the mental and emotional changes. Even though it wasn’t readily apparent in the photo, I was at the depth of my depression, and I struggled to get out of bed every day. Those were the days when I exercised seven hours a day in order to support my ED, but then I didn’t do anything else. Once I stopped exercising so much, I spent a lot of time on the couch, wallowing in my depression.

It’s hard to overstate how much I loathed myself at the time. My head was constantly filled with negative voices, the main one whom I dubbed The Dictator because he was always telling me what to do, and calling me horrible names in the meantime. I would never call other people the things I’ve called myself. It’s not even just the epithets. I was so cruel to myself. Telling myself I was worthless and not fit to live. I really thought I was toxic and the world would be better off without me. I called myself ugly and fat and lazy, and it was a constant narrative in my brain.

I believed that every day I was adding more poison to the world, and any good deed I did just moved me one step closer to neutral. But, because the negatives were more numerous than the positives, I was losing ground every day I lived. I have no idea why that belief solidified in my brain, but it was firmly intact by the time I was twelve or thirteen.


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Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! My First Impressions

 

gussing up my joint.
My first restaurant, looking pretty swanky.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is one of my all-time favorite games. I wasn’t interested in it when it first came out because it’s a hardcore cooking sims game. I like time management games, and I like cooking games, but it didn’t seem like it’d be up my alley. Then, I saw a review of it by Northernlion, and he and his friends played it on the NLSS. It caught my eye, and I bought it on sale. I was immediately hooked, and I played the shit out of it. It’s a fast-paced typing/memorization game, and there is a bit of a management component to it, and it’s totally addictive. It’s the only game I’ve 100%ed (before the developer, David Galindo, @chubigans on the Twitter Machine, added new free DLC to the game), and I’m still inordinately proud of that achievement.

Galindo announced the sequel sometime last year or the year before. I was hyped as fuck and played the original in anticipation of the release. Then, time went on, and the release kept getting delayed. I was sad, then I’d get happy when the next release date was announced, even if it was ‘summer of 2017’. When an actual date was announced (August something, can’t remember), I might have literally squealed out loud. However, it got pushed back one more time, and I was afraid it would never be released.

When it was announced that it would be released on September 13th, I was cautiously optimistic. I mean, I wanted it to be true with all my heart, but I had been disappointed so many times before, I didn’t want to get too excited about it just in case it was going to be delayed one more time. However, I was adrift because I had played the fuck out of all the Dark Souls games, and I didn’t want to play Salt and Sanctuary any longer, so what was I supposed to do for my new game?

Yesterday, I had Ian keep me updated on tweets by chubigans because it was my social media day off. Galindo was frantic trying to get the game finished (and had threats of internet outages plaguing him as he was doing so), and I kept refreshing the Steam store page to see if it has been released, but nothing. Galindo said it would be released between four and five CST (hey, homeboy!), but it wasn’t.  I  was getting desperate when it finally released, and I bought it before it had been on Steam for even a minute. I waited impatiently for it to install, which it did fairly quickly.

Once it was in my machine, I suddenly became reluctant to play it. What if it didn’t live up to the first game and the hype? What if I hated it? What if I was completely disappointed by it? This was my second most highly-anticipated sequel of this year (after Dark Souls III), and I wanted it to be my everything. I wasted fifteen minutes pointedly avoiding the game, but then I finally womanned up and started it up.
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One Love, One Love

Late Monday night, a situation unfolded on Twitter that was glorious to behold. Ian commented on it first, and then I had to check it myself. Apparently, Ted Cruz liked a porn video tweet and much merriment ensued. It’s of an attractive (in a bland American porn sort of way) ‘older’ blond woman (meaning probably in her late thirties to early forties) watching a younger blond woman being fucked from behind by a young man. We on Twitter sharpened our knives, and we went all in. I did a bunch of Ted Cruz orgasm face memes, and it was a blast. This tweet made me choke on my own laughter:

I couldn’t read it out loud to Ian, but he guffawed as well when I showed it to him.

I haven’t laughed like I did over the Ted Cruz Twitter porn scandal in a long time. Twitter is at its best when we all come together as one and mercilessly mock people who deserve it.

Of course, there were wet blankets who scolded people for kink-shaming. I don’t want to get into that because it’s not the point of this post, but they didn’t understand or chose not to understand that nobody was kink-shaming Ted Cruz over the porn itself but because he is so anti-sex and anti-queer and anti-anything with a whiff of sexuality. He has a stick so far up its ass, he shits twigs.

I also marveled at how bland and boring the porn actually was. I mean, it’s racy for him, of course, but it’s…meh. I heard that it’s supposed to be a stepmother watching her stepdaughter get fucked, which is yawn. Even if it was her hubby and the babysitter, it’s pretty vanilla. I’m somewhat surprised, actually, because usually the most repressive people are the freakiest freaks in their sex lives. I would have expected him to enjoy being dressed up as a pony and being taken for a ride. Literally.

Ian pointed out that it’s a rookie mistake to like a porn video on Twitter, which I hadn’t thought about, but is so true. There are so many options for discreet porn viewing in this day age. There’s no need to like a goddamn video on Twitter! Pornhub pointed this out to Ted:

They’re really trying to help a brutha out!

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Exercise, Activity, and Mood

I have struggled all my life with depression. At times, it has been chronic and crippling, to the point where me brushing my teeth was a major accomplishment. Right now, I would say I have a low-grade enduring depression that flares up into serious depression from time to time. It’s my go-to when I’m under stress, and the difference is how alien the encompassing depression feels now as in comparison to how comfortable it was back when I was in the middle of it day-to-day-to-day.

I would love to say that I worked on my depression and that’s why I’ve gotten better. I would love to be able to give a list of things you can do to feel better. I would love nothing more, but I can’t because that’s not how I emerged from the suffocating embrace of depression. Sure, I did my due diligence by seeking out therapy and medication through therapy, then starting taiji which has helped a great deal, but it was an outcome, not the main intent, but nothing I did consciously to help my depression mattered as much as the indirect results of other behavior such as the aforementioned therapy and taiji.

However, I’ve been in and out of therapy for the past thirty years, and I’ve been practicing taiji for almost nine years. Neither are an easy or quick solution, and I didn’t go into taiji with the intention of easing my mental health issues. That’s just been a nice side bonus. I will say, however, it makes me more aware now how fragile my mental health balance is. I went through a period recently of deep depression, not as bad as it was before, but still pretty intense. I knew it wasn’t from within me, which made it almost worse. Rationally, I knew there was no reason I should be depressed, but I also knew I couldn’t talk myself out of it. It lasted a few weeks, and I just gritted my teeth and powered my way through it. I was terrified it would last forever, but it faded after two  or so weeks.

On Saturday, I had to get up early to pick up Ian from the airport. Without thinking, I checked my social media. Then, I remembered that it was my day not to be on social media, and I quit. I felt bad, but not too bad. I can’t tell you how much better I feel on the days when I stay offline. I don’t think it’s viable for day-to-day life, but it’s nice to get a break twice a week. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed while scrolling through my TL, thinking that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I mean, it is, but not more so than it has been in the past. There is a lot of shit in this world, and there always has been. Having it flash past my eyes on a continuous basis leaves me in a state of numb depression. It’s something I’ve railed about before–how overwhelming all the bad news can be. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the state of the world and think that there’s nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.


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Romance? Bah, Humbug!

I’ve been thinking a lot about romantic relationships lately, in part because I’ve been reading a shit-ton of the Captain Awkward’s archives, and it’s not surprising that she focuses heavily on fucked-up romantic relationships. She’s a woman, and most of the people who write in are women. I see myself in many of the letter writers, and who among us has not found herself in a relationship thinking, “What the fuck am I doing here?” And, even acknowledging how fucked-up it is, have stayed? I’m sure most of us can relate to this, and it’s the bulk of Captain Awkward’s letters. Sure, there are some letter writers who truly have incompatibilities with their partners, but it’s mostly that they’re in a toxic relationship and are trying to either convince themselves that they are bad partners who just need to work harder/grow up/be more generous, etc., or they’re trying to convince themselves to leave. The latest letter on fucked-up relationships hits Captain Awkward BINGO, and it’s fucking depressing. She thinks she needs to work harder? B! She thinks she needs to grow up? I! He treats her with disdain (‘accidentally’ giving away her clothing when he was donating his is the most egregious example)? N! He controls her to a ridiculous degree and makes her feel like she’s the controlling one? G! Is she sneaking around in secret to do her laundry? O–wait a fucking minute. She’s sneaking around to do her laundry in secret because he gets mad. Not that she’s not doing his, but that she doesn’t wait until he deigns to do hers (and ruins it when he does it which is just short of never). That’s B-I-N-Get the hell-Out of there!

Captain Awkward is wonderful as an advice columnist. She gets right to the point, but she shows endless compassion for the letter writers. She gives great scripts for difficult situations, and her GIF game is on point. I know she gets burned out from all the shittiness she reads (understandably), but she doesn’t let it show in her answers. One thing she’s pushing  back on is the idea that relationships take work. Or rather, the kind of work they take. In another letter, the letter writer (LW) details all the recent problems and how her girlfriends are like, “At least you have a boyfriend”, when it’s clear that he’s just not into her any longer, and Captain Awkward said this:

There’s this Hollywood & Glossy Magazine narrative we have that privileges having a (heterosexual) relationship over being alone (no matter the quality of the relationship) and that puts it on the woman to do the emotional work of keeping the relationship together by having the big serious talks and speaking up about feelings and stuff. And I use the word “work” on purpose. We hear that “relationships take work” and what they mean is “women’s work” – the work of reading magazine quizzes and carrying the emotional water and looking pretty all the time and finding ways to “drive him wild” in bed and cooking new recipes and making excuses.

The commentariat is all over it, saying it shouldn’t be work in the ‘I hate my job and have to do it’ kind of way, and it should be work that both partners participate in.

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