Underneath my yellow skin

Burn It All to the Ground

I was listening to NPR on the way home from the grocery store, and they were talking about how the Weinstein Co. is negotiating to receive equity from a private donor in order to continue. The CEO of the equity company (who was some kind of adviser to this president during his campaign. MASSIVE side eye for that) said something like he wanted to ensure that the quality of independent film-making continues.

The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, and I’ll tell you why. Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predatory behavior did not exist in a vacuum. He’s been doing this since at least the eighties, which is thirty years. There is a harrowing account of an actress trying to leave the situation, asking the assistant if her car was there, only to be told no and to go into Harvey’s room. Think about that. It was such common knowledge, the assistant was in on it*. There is no way in hell the assistant knew and Bob (the brother) Weinstein and/or the members of the board didn’t. They might not have had concrete proof, but they knew. They heard the rumors. They saw the way he acted. They chose not to know so they wouldn’t have to do anything about it.

I don’t want Weinstein Co. to continue and flourish. I want it to be burned to the ground. It fostered the atmosphere in which Weinstein was able to traumatize countless women with no consequence except writing a check now and again. The numbers may seem significant, but for a man like Weinstein, writing a check for a hundred thou was nothing. He probably shit away more than that on a regular basis. It’s much easier for him to write a check than to have to go through sexual harassment/sexual assault trial, and it doesn’t put his reputation at risk, either. Sure, it was an open secret he was a predator, but that didn’t cost him anything in Hollywood. He was still a powerful man–it’s his victims and potential victims who had to adjust their behavior. Angelina Jolie said she warned others about him. Jessica Chastain said she was warned about him. Yet, not one single thing  was done TO him.

Side note: Can we please stop with the ‘it hasn’t been proven in court’ derailments that always crop up when cases like this happen? Twitter is not The Law, and it’s perfectly fine to judge him in the court of public opinion. I am more than comfortable saying that Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator, and I don’t need a court to confirm the stories I’ve been reading about him. Of course he deserves his day in court (if it even comes to that, which I’m quite cynical about), but that doesn’t mean I have to pretend I haven’t already made up my mind.


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Wish I May, Wish I Might

I’ve been going down the rabbit hole in the archives of Captain Awkward and Ask A Manager, and I recently realized it’s because they’re my version of soap operas. I don’t mean that in a denigrating way because there are real people writing those letters and real people commenting. I mean it in the sense of watching the communities interact is fascinating from a psychological perspective, and it’s now my joke if only to myself that it’s time to hush up because my stories are on. In addition, it’s interesting to feel like I have a handle on someone’s personality just by reading a lot of their comments, at least the regulars–and it’s always exciting to spot a crossover. It’s reached the point where I can read a comment and think, “I bet so-and-so wrote this” and usually be right. This is both the plus and minus of having a dedicated community–and the reason I usually move on from a website after a few years. I’ve moved on and they haven’t, but that’s another post for another day.

The Awkward Army (the self-given name for the Captain Awkward commentariat) is aces in supporting someone who is in a bad relationship. They are mindful of reasons why she (and it’s usually a she) may not be ready/be able to leave, but they’re supportive of her as a person. They remind her not to let her partner gaslight her or point out the strengths they see in her from the letter she’s written (or even just the fact that she wrote the letter in the first place), and if I ever needed to break up with someone, they would be the first online community I would seek.

However, one thing that bothers me is this. Oftentimes, the letter writer (LW) will say something like, “This is the only person who will tolerate/love me because I’m so weird.” They will rush in to reassure her that of course this isn’t the only person who’ll love her and offer stories of how they once thought that way and now are with the loves of their lives. Once in a while, someone will say, “Even if you don’t find someone, it’s better to be alone that with someone who makes you feel like shit all the time” which I really appreciate because well-meaning or not, the constant reassurance of you’ll find someone else is bullshit. For many people, this is true. But, for some, it isn’t.

I am one of those people. I’ve been in several relationships in my life, and I have not yet found someone who will tolerate/love me for the weird, fucked-up person I am, and it’s been five or six years since I’ve dated someone. There are a whole host of reasons for that, but I’m not sanguine that if I started dating again, I’d find someone whose luggage was complementary to mine (thanks, BFF for that description!). I don’t want to fall into Geek Relationship Fallacy (#5), but it’s hard not to feel with my particular combination of likes/dislikes, wants/do not wants, hobbies, etc., the chance of me finding a long-term partner is slim.

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Bloodborne: The Pits of Despair

I’m in the last quarter of Bloodborne (not including the DLC), and to be frank, I hate it right now. I’m battling two optional bosses, and they’re both roundly kicking my ass. They both seem fleeting doable until they stomp me into the ground, and I leave the fight emotionally battered. Daughter of Ebrietas and Martyr Logarius. They are my personal nightmare for several reasons, which I’ll get into later.

I get this way near the end of almost every Souls game. I remember how much I hated the second half of the first game, and how once I beat it, I almost quit the series for good. I felt the same way during the DLC for DS II, which I still hate. In DS III, it was the DLC as well, specifically The Ringed City. I actually cried in frustration at times, and I still have very complicated feelings about it. It was much easier as a tank (at least until soloing the last boss on NG+), which is another thing that is the problem now. I started with an arcane build because it’s the closest thing to magic this game has. The spells in this game are called Hunter Tools, and I’ve used them to good effect. Except. They’re mostly trash against bosses, especially bosses who are high in arcane themselves, which both the optional bosses I’m currently facing are. So, they’re no use to me with my problems right now, which is frustrating. I have 40 points in arcane, and I’m at level…82? 83? Something like that. It means I don’t have much wiggle room with the rest of my stats. That means I didn’t pump levels into my Hunter Axe, and my health and endurance are lower than I’d like them to be.

Another problem is that I still am not great at parrying. I’m better than in Souls games because the parry window is more generous, but I’m still not consistent with it. One of the best ways to beat Martyr Logarius is to parry/backstab him, neither of which I do that often. I probably should practice until I get consistent, but it’s a reflex thing. I could try using my Augur of Ebrietas on him because it stuns enemies which allows me to follow with a visceral or a backstab, but it also pushes someone away from me, so the timing is difficult. I’m old, people. I went through all the Souls games not parrying, which was one of my concerns for this game.


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The More Things Don’t Change….

I spent much of yesterday morning ranting about Harvey Weinstein on Twitter, and I still have Things To Say about it, so here goes. I said I would write this post, and I’m keeping my promise. More and more women are coming out and Weinstein assaulted them, too. Several famous women who come from Hollywood families. Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are two of the top names, and while I don’t want to focus on them, the fact that they are included on the list indicate just how much of a systemic problem this is. They’re from Hollywood elite families. Steven Spielberg is Paltrow’s godfather, for fuck’s sake. And yet, Weinstein felt free to sexually harass them, probably thinking they’d know it was just part of the culture. I had an argument with a friend about the ‘this is just the way we did things in the seventies’ part of Weinstein’s statement. She maintained that it wasn’t OK at that time, either, even if it wasn’t talked about. I said in his industry, it was absolutely OK. It was tacitly condoned, and I would bet overtly in some cases. In other words, there’s a reason Weinsten thought it would be fine to harass Paltrow and Jolie, and it’s from being steeped in the culture.

I saw statements from more than one male star claiming they had no idea and were horrified. (To be fair, I also saw a few female stars, including Meryl Streep, make the same claim, but it was way more men.) It was after I saw the statement by Benedict Cumberbatch that I snapped. I hasten to add it’s not because of Cumberbatch, and I really appreciated that he added the part about zero tolerance going forward, but I have to say, really? Really you had no inkling? Because shit like this is an open secret. So much so, Seth MacFarlane made a joke about it at the 2013 Oscars and everyone laughed. So much so, Jessica Chastain tweeted about how she’d been warned about Weinstein when she first got into the industry. Glenn Close released a statement in which she admitted she’d heard the rumors but dismissed them. She was frank about how toxic the industry is and that she’s angry.

I wrote a series of tweets to Hollywood dudes who want to know what they can do, but I think it can be used by men in general when they want to know how they can help dismantle the mindset behind systemic sexual violence.


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Love in the Time of Stubbornness

I’ve been thinking lately a lot about dating. Why? I don’t really know, but I’ve discussed it with friends to try to puzzle out my feelings. I’ve written before about how I realized in my early twenties that I didn’t want children. That’s also roughly the same time I realized I was sexually attracted to women as well as men. In my late twenties, early thirties, I decided I didn’t want to get married. It’s only recently that I’ve questioned whether I want to be an a monogamous dyad relationship or not. I’ve been in an open relationship before, but it was more because that’s what my boyfriend wanted than because we both agreed, so I don’t really count it when calculating my metrics about what I want from a relationship. I also realized in my mid-twenties that I was more comfortable with casual sex  than are many women, but I didn’t really know what to do with it.

Now, I’m questioning whether I want a traditional romantic relationship or not. I’ve been reading a shit-ton of Captain Awkward, and I must admit that the letters she gets makes me very disinclined to date. Intellectually, I understand that she’s seeing the worst of the worst because you don’t write to an advice columnist if your relationship is peachy keen. However, the steady stream of women (let’s face it. A vast majority of the emotional labor done in a heteronormative relationship is done by the woman) writing in with horror stories that curl the very straight Asian hairs on the back of my neck confirm my bias for just snuggling down on the couch with a good book, a mug of tea, and my cat instead of venturing into the dating world.

I hate dating. I always have. I know most people don’t love it, but I hate it to the point of revulsion. I don’t like making small talk with people I know, let alone people I don’t, and there’s the possibility of rejection constantly hovering in the back of my mind. It’s hard to not feel as if I’m auditioning for the role of girlfriend, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized I have veto rights in a relationship, too. In other words, I’m not just auditioning for them–they’re doing the same for me. Even so, the thought of having awkward  conversation with someone while sipping coffee makes me cringe. When I used to meet people online for dating (read, sex) purposes, I was very comfortable with the emailing portion of the ‘courting’. I’m a writer, and my strength is in my words. I can be witty, vibrant, intelligent, and fearless in my writing. It’s quite different when I actually open my mouth. It’s the same with me and my Twitter persona. No, I’m not being someone different, but I’m being a more confident, more brash me. I’m sure if people on Twitter met me in real life, they would be slightly (or not so slightly) disappointed that I wasn’t as dynamic as I am online. Also weird–I swear way more in writing than I do in real life.

The real me is low-key to the point of inertia. I have low energy, and it takes a great deal for me to do something that it outside my norm. Take going out dancing with my bestie, for example (when she used to live here). We would set a day to go to First Ave. I’d be up for it when we set the date. Then, when the day arrived, I would think, “I don’t want to get dressed and leave the house. I have to drive to bestie’s house, which, ugh. Then, I have to dance around people I don’t know and maybe fend off unwanted advances. Then, I’d have to drive home again in the wee hours of the night.” I didn’t want to do any of it in the moment, and I’d have to force myself step by step. I had a great time when I went, and I love spending time with my bestie, but my depression makes it seem like going out is a mountain when it’s really a molehill.


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The Unbearable Lightness of Believing Your Own Hype

This weekend, the news that movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, is a serial sexual harasser broke with more disturbing details being revealed on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis. As I was reading an article about it, I was caught by surprise when I read that he had hired Lisa Bloom as one of his attorneys. Lisa Bloom is a lawyer who rose to Twitter fame roughly around the time of the start of the BLM because of her wokeness* on the issue. I saw her being constantly retweeted, checked out her tweets, and followed her. She was a champion of feminist causes, including standing up for victims of sexual abuse, and I was ready to roar alongside her.

Fast-forward several months, and I noticed that she was beginning to believe her own hype. I don’t know how to explain it clearly, but the tone of her tweets changed. They became more about her and less about the people/causes she was championing. It’s hard to give a quantitative response as to how bad it was, but it was enough to cause me to unfollow. I stopped paying attention to her, but I still saw her RT’ed on occasion. In my mind, she was a feminist lawyer who cared passionately about racial discrimination and victims of sexual abuse. I was glad she was out there fighting the good fight, even if I no longer wanted to read about her exploits on Twitter.

You can imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when I read that Weinstein had retained her. I was disappointed because it gave him a shield for his behavior, but I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to think that maybe she actually believed he could learn and change, but statements about him being a dinosaur from a different age and minimizing his behavior (saying he didn’t know how his behavior could be seen as inappropriate if not intimidating) really disappointed me. In addition, her refusal to call it sexual harassment and calling some of the women liars…yeah, I wasn’t pleased at all. In addition, everything Weinstein said in his statement screamed spin control to me. Saying he grew up in an era when it was Just The Way Things Are? Check. (I saw a tweet pointing out that this dinosaur was hep enough to name-check Jay-Z, which is also a good point.) Saying he knows he has to do better? Check. Tossing in the bit about the money he’s giving to women in film? Check, check, check. Pandering to his base (bigwig Dems with deep pockets) by saying he’s going after the NRA? Check. The one part that was weird and really offensive to me was the bit about him trying to change this for the last ten years and not being able to. If that’s the case, it makes it worse. He was aware that he had a problem but simply couldn’t help assaulting young, vulnerable women around him? He should be locked up then until he can keep his grubby paws to himself.

I didn’t see real remorse on his part, but this post really isn’t about him. I will probably do that post in the near future, outlining what is wrong with a society that codifies this kind of behavior in powerful men–he’s been doing this for decades without any serious ramification–but that’s not what this post is about. Quick side note: Republicans need to STFU about this. They sanctioned Roger Ailes and look at who they elected president. Weinstein is scum, but at least many Democrats are coming out and saying this. They need to clean their own goddamn house first before crowing over this.

Back to my point, and I do have one.


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Losing the Veneer

I was at a wonderful Mediterranean buffet with Ian a few days ago for lunch, and I was trying to pick something out from between my teeth. TMI and kinda gross, I know, but it’s pertinent to the rest of the post. I felt something give in my mouth, and it was the top of a tooth! It didn’t hurt at all, though, so I knew I hadn’t broken a tooth. Believe me. I’ve had that happen, and the pain is agonizing and intense. This time–nothing. I cautiously touched my tongue to the space it came from, and it felt smooth. When I saw it, it had a metal plate in place, and I figured out with the help of Google (which may or may not be correct, naturally) that I had broken off the cap to the crown and not the crown itself. It’s just the top of the tooth to make it look like an actual tooth, but it’s not the crown itself. I have it wrapped in a napkin, and my dental office was closed on Friday when it happened, so I’m hoping after I mea culpa my dental office for not being in for years, they’ll be able to easily replace it. I read articles about how you should temporarily glue on the crown, but it was mostly to prevent from infection and if you’re feeling pain. As I have a metal plate covering the actual tooth and don’t feel pain at all, I decided just to wait until I see the dentist. Why mess with it if it’s not giving me any trouble or pain? In the meantime, I’m careful to clean it and I’m trying not to eat on that side of my mouth, but it’s not been a problem thus far. It’s weird to pass my tongue over it and there’s no top to the tooth, but it’s nothing more than an anomaly.

The reason I mention this is because I feel this way about my life right now. Putting aside with difficulty all the shit that is going on in this country right now (not to mention the world), my own personal life is going OK. I’m in a better place emotionally and mentally than I have been in a long time if ever, and despite the bouts of depression I get from time to time, it’s nothing like I used to feel on a regular basis. It disappears in a relatively short amount of time, but I still gingerly probe my emotions regularly to see if I’m feeling the pain. Most of the time the answer is no, but once in a while, it’s yes. This is where the analogy breaks down, so I’m going to abandon it for the rest of this post.


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Bloodborne: A Deeper Look

I’ve been playing Bloodborne for a week now. I wrote about my first impressions in this post here. Going in, I was concerned about a few things. I’d like to address how I feel about them now. One, the fact that I’ve seen so many playthroughs. I was worried it would ruin the game for me, but it hasn’t. I will admit it’s hard to go into a situation knowing what’s going to happen because I don’t get the wow factor, but I’ve still jumped a few times, and it’s much different actually playing the game than it is to watch a Let’s Play. One of the things about a Miyazaki game is that the worlds are densely woven, and it’s difficult to get a sense of what goes where and how everything connects. The best thing about a Miyazaki game is seeing a closed gate and knowing that at some point, you’ll be able to open it from the other side. There is one notable exception–a door that never opens. The theory in ‘the community’ is that it was a shortcut, but left unused because it would make the game too easy.

My other big concern was running without a shield. I’m such a turtle when it comes to Souls games, even when I’m a caster. I’m wedded to my shield, and you’ll pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Although, I’m now curious to try DS III as a dual wielder, but that’s neither here nor there. I had heard in one of the Let’s Plays I’ve watched for Bloodborne that the die-hard sword-and-board users were having a difficult time with Bloodborne, which concerned me. Was I going to be frustrated with being so open? I’m old, so my reflexes aren’t great. Would I be constantly taking hits? I’m roughly halfway through the game, and I’m not having a problem without having a shield. I’m dodging and quick-stepping with the best of them, and I’ll say that I’m actually more concerned with not being able to roll when I’m locked on than not having shield. The quick-step is amazing, but it’s frustrating to try to quick-step past a boss, only to get smacked.

Not having a shield, though, isn’t that big a deal because the combat is much quicker and more fluid. I love dashing around, feeling unweighted. I’m delighted that encumbrance is not a thing in this game. The armor isn’t that important except for the resistance stats, and I’m still repping the Yharnam Hunter Set, which is the coolest of all. I wore Henryk’s set for the Darkbeast Paarl fight because it has high bolt defense and because it’s so fly-looking, but then returned to the Yharnam Hunter Set. Fashion Borne is real, yo. I love Souls combat, obviously, but there’s something about Bloodborne’s combat that really sings. Because of the rally system, it encourages me to be aggressive. Still don’t want to get greedy, but being greedy means something different in this game, and the way to remedy it is attack again if possible rather than retreat.


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Fixing a Broken Society

It’s been three days since the Las Vegas shooting, and it’s already fading to the background as new atrocities spring up to take its place. Yes, the news is faithfully reporting about it, but there’s not much there, so it’s not dominating the headlines as it once was. I’ve read about the shooter, but there’s not much there. He’s the oldest of four boys, and his father left the family unexpectedly when they were kids. It turns out the father was a bank robber, which was interesting, but not sure it means much of anything. The picture of the killer is a high-stakes gambler. He met his girlfriend while he was gambling and she was working in a casino. The shooter’s brother said his brother was a multimillionaire, but if he liked to gamble, who knows what happened to the money? Another brother said they were all angry when their father left, but the shooter was the least-angry of the four. Then the brother revealed that he hadn’t spoken to the shooter in twenty years, but wouldn’t say why. To me, that negates the ‘least-angry’ claim as the brother doesn’t know what happened to his brother in the last twenty years. The girlfriend claimed not to have known anything, and she told her brother not to panic. The police weren’t aware of the shooter before this, and there are no immediate red flags as to why he did this.

Putting him aside, when I hear about a shooting, I immediately assume a few things. One, the shooter is male. This one is solid as there have been very few mass shootings done by women. Second, that it’s going to be a white man. This one is pretty solid as the vast majority of mass shootings have been done by white men. One notable exception was Elliot Rodger, the…

::has to Google it because there have been so many mass shootings::

Santa Barbara shooter. He was half-Asian, and part of his screed was a healthy dose of internalized racism. He would see white women with full Asian men and grow angry that he couldn’t get a girlfriend because in his mind, he was better than those full-blooded Asian men because he was half-white. The first people he killed were his Asian male roommates (with a knife), and I bet it’s partly because of his internalized racism. He was a PUA (Pick-Up Artist) and an incel (his word. Involuntary celibate), and he was full of rage because he wasn’t getting pussy he thought he so richly deserved.

His race was notable, but his mentality wasn’t. Another thing I think when I hear about a mass shooting is that the shooter will be an angry man who has a history of violence and/or watches a ton of FOX ‘News’ and gets riled up about all the ‘illegals’, ‘hostile blacks’, and ‘angry atheists’. This man is bitter because his life hasn’t gone the way he’s been told it should go, and he knows it’s ‘their’ fault. It doesn’t matter who ‘they’ are. It could be women (it’s women a lot of the time. 54% of mass shootings involve domestic violence, as I noted before); it could be minorities or undocumented immigrants; it could be Jews; it could be just about anyone else. It certainly isn’t their own fault; it can’t be!


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I Can Hear You Now!

I’ve been having sinus issues all year long. My nose has been like a faucet at times and a clogged toilet at others. I’ve had searing sinus toothaches which I’ve mentioned time and time again has been some of the worst pain I’ve had in my entire life. It would hit randomly, and I would clutch my jaw in pain, unable to do anything else for the next five to twenty minutes. My entire being was focused on the pain, and I would gladly have welcomed someone putting me out of my misery. I don’t like to use pain killers, but if I had had Vicodin or Percocet on hand, I would ave been tempted. Actually, I do have some Percocet lying around, but I didn’t remember it at the time.

At first, I thought it was a cavity or I hurt a tooth nerve or something, but then I realized it only happened when my sinus issues were flaring up, and I connected the dots. I was pleased to find research to back up my theory, and once my sinus issues cleared up, so did my toothaches. I haven’t had one in months, knock on wood.

About a week ago, I woke up with my right ear plugged. I was puzzled because it’s never happened to me before. I turned my head, but nothing drained out, so I had to walk around with my ear feeling as if it was full of water. The first day, it cleared pretty easily, but the next day, nothing cleared it. I stopped using my earplugs at night because I felt that might have been exacerbating the problem. By the third day, my ear was mostly plugged all the time. I tried swimmer strips which promised to leach out all the water from my ear. Didn’t work. I also tried ear drops specifically for this problem, and the first few applications didn’t seem to do much good. Two or three applications later, however, and my ear was clear.

Optimistically, I used my earplugs that night, and my ear was full again the next morning. My theory is that I was keeping the fluid in with the earplug, and I didn’t use it the next night. I kept applying the drops (per instructions. You’re not supposed to use it more than five times in twenty-four hours), and after a few rounds of unclogging and reclogging, my ear is clear for now, knock on wood again.

During the time it was clogged, I had no idea what would make it pop, which was frustrating. I felt as if that ear was swimming in water, and I had a hard time hearing anything from it. Then, sometimes, it would ‘pop,’ and I’d be relieved, only for it to plug again. It had liquid in it, but it didn’t actually hurt. It was a bit puffy and sore when I put my finger inside my ear, but no pain. There was liquid, but no pus, and it didn’t smell like it was rotting. In other words, it wasn’t an infection; it was just fucking annoying.

I would cock my head in order to try to clear it, which earned me weird looks from other people. I used Q-tips and cotton balls to try to sop up whatever was in it. I did anything I could to mop up the fluid, but nothing worked. If I tilted my head a certain way, it would clear up, but the minute I straightened my head again, it would clog again. When I lay down, my ear would clear up. When I sat up, it would plug again.
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