Underneath my yellow skin

Is this my life now?

Wish I could sleep like this.

Yesterday, I was feeling exhausted for no particular reason. I can’t blame travel as I had been home for a week, and I only crossed one timezone. I had my normal amount of sleep, so it wasn’t that, either. This happens to me from time to time, I have to say. There are days when I inexplicably just want to sleep. Sometimes, it’s because I haven’t slept well in the past few days. Sometimes, it’s because I’m getting sick. In this case, I fear it’s the latter. I was feeling pretty punk all day, and around nine at night, my eyes were closing against my will. Around one in the morning, I was watching the YouTubes, and my eyes were feeling very heavy. Instead of getting up and getting ready for bed, I simply put my laptop on the coffee table, turned on my side, and watched videos into oblivion.

Side note: I have this weird thing when I’m falling asleep as I’m watching videos to go back to the place I was in the video when I fell asleep. I mean, that’s not weird in and of itself, but it’s weird that I do it several times in a row. The kicker is that I don’t remember anything in the video past the first time I fell asleep,  It doesn’t matter how many times I rewind (yes, I’m old) so I might as well not do it at all. And yet, I still do it. Why? Who knows?

So.  Last night, I conked out while watching the YouTubes. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night, but I couldn’t be assed to get up and properly put myself to bed. Part of the issue is that I actually sleep on the couch instead of my bed, so it’s not as if I was in a different location. But, I didn’t put on my eye mask (which still won’t stay on) or my ear plugs, so it was a weird night of sleep. The biggest actual physical effect was that Shadow seemed extra loud as he was meowing at me this morning.

Side note II: Shadow has been really funny these past few days as I’ve practiced my weapons. He’s been walking alongside of me or in front of me and meowing crossly. I don’t know why as it’s not been an issue in the past. Today, as I was practicing the Cane Form, he started walking next to me. Then, after I was finished and returned to my starting position to try again, he sat down where I had been and started meowing.  We had a little conversation as I finished the row. Then, he fucked off for a minute only to return as I practiced the Sabre Form. He sat a safe distance away and trained his eyes on me. I have no idea why he’s so fascinated with me doing my weapons these days. Is he telling me to be careful? Is he worried I’ll hurt myself? Does he see it as a rival? Who knows?

I woke up this morning disconcerted because I didn’t have my usual sleeping gear on. I also didn’t want to get up, and my head was…tense. It’s hard to explain. It’s not pounding or throbbing. It’s just as if there was a band that restricted the blood flow to my brain. And a thumping in my brain that isn’t really thumping. Again, it’s hard to explain, but it’s very distracting, and I knew exactly what it might portend. I’ve been trying not to eat my migraine meds every morning, but I knew if I didn’t today, I would be laid out for the rest of the day. There are days when I can say, “Yeah, it might not be a migraine this time”, and there are days when I know it’s going to be a migraine kind of day.

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Sliding doors and my digestive system

I was reading advice to a woman getting married (on the open weekend thread on Ask A Manager) on how she could keep the costs of the wedding down. Putting aside the fact that I don’t get weddings, no, wait. Let me briefly explain what I mean. I understand the desire to bond and to declare that bond to the world (in theory. I actually don’t understand that, either, but that’s just me. I know it’s me), but I do not understand the stressing over it for a year ahead of time. Well, I understand from a psychological standpoint. It’s what the wedding represents, the start of a new life together, yadda yadda. It’s also the Wedding Industry Complex that has a vested interest in making sure brides (and let’s be clear, it’s aimed at the women) feel inadequate unless they buy all the latest and the greatest useless wedding shit.

Anyway, one gem of advice was, “Booze, food, and music. That’s all guests care about.” While this may be true for most people, it’s not for me. Or rather, let’s break it down word by word. Music is nice, but it’s background for me. Food is important, but it’s difficult to find something to feed me. Dairy free is easy to find. Gluten free, also easy to find. gluten free, dairy free? Yeah, no. As for booze, I don’t drink. At all. It was just a throwaway line on the thread, but it really struck me because I’m tired of being a freak.

I feel weird for mentioning to people that I have dietary restrictions, like I need to apologize for being so difficult. I don’t make a fuss when there’s no food I can eat, and I make sure to bring Kind bars when I’m going to be stuck somewhere that may not be able to feed me.

Side note: I am incredibly lucky for two reasons. One, I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I can pay for meal delivery if I want or get takeout every day if I so choose. I know this is a privilege, and I don’t take it for granted. The second thing is that there are so many tasty substitutes these days that didn’t exist when I first tried going gluten free, dairy free, sugar free two decades ago. Back then, all the substitutes are made of tapioca and arrowroot. Now, they can be made of anything and everything. There’s a hamburger bun substitute made by Canyon Bakehouse that is fucking fantastic and is my current obsession.

Side note to the side note: Went out with my brother and my nephews for Chinese buffet last night (of course), and I like to joke that when I go out to eat I look like half-vegetarian and half-keto/Atkins. The two things I know I can eat without much problem–veggies and meat. I did eat some octopus that had some kind of breading on it, though. That was a mistake. Since I’ve come home from Philly, my digestive system has been even shittier than usual–no pun intended. I had a gluten-free/dairy-free burrito that I’ve had before, and I spent the next hour in the bathroom. Then on and off for the rest of the night. Was it the burrito? Hell if I know.


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A hot take on Hot Ones

There’s an internet show called Hot Ones, and it’s about eating hot wings. That’s a pretty disingenuous description, so let me expand on that. There are hot wings, yes, but that’s just the backdrop for the actual show. Sean Evans is the host, and there are ten wings in front of him. He has a celebrity guest on the other side of the table (sometimes two if they’re paired in any way) who also has ten wings in front of them (or five if it’s a shortened episode). He asks them questions as they eat the wings, starting from mild hot sauce to ‘why the fuck am I eating this?’ hot sauce.

I don’t know how I started watching. Maybe someone showed me an episode, but more likely I saw an episode online somewhere. Either on someone’s social media or because I went down a rabbit hole, and I was hooked. I watched several episodes based on the guest. There are ten seasons, so I was hopping all over the place. I will note that the interviewer is easy on the eyes in a working class, I will kick your ass kind of way.

Before I get deeper into the show, let me share with you my love for the hot sauce. Or rather, how I used to love hot sauce. My brother and I had a friendly competition to see who could give each other the hottest hot sauce. It morphed into one of us giving the other a bottle for Christmas. Same wrapping paper every year, and maybe even the same box. It was fun, and I would obsessively look for the hottest sauce. I don’t remember the year, and I can’t find it on the Googles, but it’s at least ten years ago. Probably more like fifteen. Anyway, I found this bottle of hot sauce that had just come out, and it claimed to be the hottest hot sauce ever.

It had the picture of a nuclear bomb on it, and it was, indeed, called ‘Da Bomb’. Tagline: Beyond Insanity. I bought two bottles–one for myself–and I made a huge pot of chili and put three drops in it. It even suggested you put one drop in for a pot of chili. I was macho, though, and I put in three drops. Big mistake. My throat closed, and I could feel the heat coursing through my veins. It was the most pain I’d felt in my life, and I couldn’t even finish the pot. I gave the other bottle to my brother with a warning. A few days later, he informed me that the competition was off.

As a side note, when the Carolina Reaper was invented in 2013, my brother sent me an email saying, “Competition back on?” I laughed and declined because I was off that tip by then. I wanted flavor with my spice, and when it’s that hot, you can’t taste anything but the heat. Da Bomb in particular was nasty. It was nothing but heat, and it wasn’t even good heat. It was acrid and vinegary, and there was no pleasure with the pain.


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All the ginger tea in the world

Back at home with Shadow on my legs. Had a great time in Philly with my BFF, but traveling is not fun at all if you’re flying basic economy. I got a really good price, but that meant I didn’t get to choose my seat and I couldn’t check any bags for free. I don’t are about the bags, but I do care about the seat. I get the aisle when I can for many reasons, but I knew I’d be in the middle. It was only a two-hour nonstop flight, though, so I didn’t care as much about it for that flight. It was really uncomfortable, though, and one of the reasons I get the aisle seat is because I have bathroom issues. When I am confined, I have to pee more often. I do not know why, but that’s how it goes. I hate asking others to move which is why I get the aisle seat.  Fortunately, the guy in the aisle seat next to me (very nice guy, btw) had to go to the bathroom once so I went when he did.

Flying to Philly was a breeze. I also had my first Lyft ride because of a mix up with my brother. It was interesting. He was from Kenya, and we had a very spirited discussion about America, capitalism, and snow. Anyway, shout-out to Delta for making the flight out as painless as possible. They even had Kind bars as a snack option, which means I could actually have one. I brought five with me as my emergency snack.

On the way back was a different matter. It was a Sun Country flight, and when I went to check in, I had to pay $35 to have one overhead bag. Excuse me, what? I have come to accept that check in bags cost extra, but overhead bags???? On a flight back? That just seems sneaky and wrong to me. I also had to pay for a seat–or at least that was how they presented it. Maybe it was if I didn’t choose, they’d give me the worst seat ever. However, I chose a seat, and the screen made it seem like the plane was more than half-empty–which it wasn’t. I didn’t check in that early, either, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I did get an aisle seat at least, so there’s that.

I also have to say that the night before I went home, we went to get Indian food. There was an appetizer called Cauliflower Bezule that was both DF and GF, and I decided to give it a try after my bestie said it was really good. It was fucking amazing. Here is a Yelp! picture of it. I couldn’t stop talking about it all dinner, but the cramps started as soon as I got back to my BFF’s house. It lasted all night and into the next morning, and I would do it again because the cauliflower was that fucking good. However, that meant I had to worry about the flight home. More on that in a sec.

We were sitting on the plane, idling, and not going anywhere. This is not a good sign. Ideally, once you’re in the plane and everyone is belted in, you should be off in five minutes. In this case, ten minutes went by. Then another five. Then, the pilot came on and said that there was an unexplained light on which meant we had to go back to the gate so the crew can look at it and sign off on it. Ok, fine, but what if it meant we had to switch planes? The pilot said it should be twenty minutes or so. Which, again, fine, but what if something was wrong?


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General Housekeeping: back in Minnesota edition

I am back home. I had a great time with my BFF, and I miss her already. I had my first Lyft ride and a very interesting conversation, good Chinese and great Indian, got cultured, and so much more. Now, I’m back home with Shadow snuggled on my chest. He told me off quite soundly for being gone. Now, however, I am forgiven. I will write more later. For now, a video.

General Housekeeping

Hello, Philly! I am in you. I had a fairly uneventful nonstop trip, and now I’m cozy in the house of my bestie, her hubby, their teenager, two cats, and a a dog. I’m like Dr. Doolittle up in here with the animals all over me. My BFF was a bit surprised because two of the three animals were usually reticent with new people, but they both took to me right away (along with the more gregarious cat).

Being with my bestie is like time has stopped and we’ve never been away from each other. This is a gift she gives me–and I appreciate it so much. With that said, I will not be doing much writing while I’m here, so have a video to enjoy instead.

Health matters

I’m trying to put off gulping my migraine meds the minute I wake up, but it’s not going swimmingly. Some days, I’m able to stave off the headache, but sometimes, like today, my brain is throbbing very unpleasantly. It’s reaching the point where I need to take the meds or it’s going to get much worse.

Side Note: I used to take six Ibuprofen in response to a migraine. Obviously, that’s not a good thing to do nor is it effective, and it’s really hard on the liver, so I stopped. Instead, I started taking two Excedrin Migraine or the generic equivalent. Well, actually, three, but I cut back to two. Three is better, but two does the job as well. If I take it early enough, it drastically reduces the migraine if not eradicate it completely.

I read that Ibuprofen is more for generalized body pain rather than localized such as a migraine, which made sense to me. I discounted it as useful for migraines (both for me and in a general sense), but now I’ve read an article that it can actually help some people with migraines–50% of them. So, it’s useless to me, but not for others, apparently.

I worry about taking Excedrin Migraine every day.  The Googles has given me a long list of possible side effects to each of the three main drugs in it. The basic gist is that I should ask my doctor–which I will when I find a new one. My old one left, and I haven’t found a new one yet because it’s such a pain in the ass. I have a laundry list of things to ask my new doc, which isn’t making me any more eager to find one.

I’m worried that my health isn’t going to get any better. Or rather, this is the new base that I have to accept. I’ve dealt with being dairy-free and gluten-free, and it’s fine for the most part. Caffeine-free was much harder to do, but I’m fine with it now. I am having a very difficult time with the idea that I may have to give up something else as well. I’ve already given up so much! Do I really need to eschew, say, onions? I also feel like a whiny baby because I don’t have Celiac disease, and there are others who have it much worse. Yes, I know it’s not a competition, but I feel like a punk for not being able to soldier through. It doesn’t help that I am friends with several high-functioning people, and I can’t help but compare myself to them.


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Breaking free of my mind shackles through NaNoWriMo

I’ve been in a writing rut for quite some time, and while the product is still decent, there is a sameness to it that bothers me. Most of my protagonists are Taiwanese American bisexual older women with black cats who do taiji. In other words, me. I don’t have a problem with that because there are exactly none of those in fiction, but it’s not a stretch for me to write. Oh, also they are empathetic, yet prickly to a varying degree. It’s fun to write the characters, but I feel as if I’m coasting.

It’s November, which means NaNoWriMo. As I’ve written in the past, the stated goal of 50,000 words a months (starting a new novel) is not an issue for me. I write 2,000 words a day as it is, so I can meet the goal without breaking a sweat. In the past, I’ve set other goals for myself, such as writing 5,000 words a day (made it), edit a novel (easy-peasy), working on something I’m already writing, and whatever else I felt like doing. It’s become a Thing to set your own goals for NaNoWriMo, so much so that the NaNo rebels as they are called have their own forums on the website. I’ve been a rebel more than I’ve been a regular in the past five years or so.

This year, I thought about NaNoWriMo about a week ago, remembering that it was coming up. I’m going to Philly this Thursday for five days to visit my BFF, so that has to be factored into NaNoWriMo as well. I’m bringing my laptop when I go, but we have a lot planned, so we’ll see how much I actually write. I wasn’t sure I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year, and I knew if I did, I wouldn’t do what they wanted me to do.

Look. I understand the sentiment, and it was a great way to get me to write on a daily basis when I first did it…ten years ago? Something like that. That was the best thing about my MA program, by the way (Writing & Consciousness)–it got me to write every day. For the first few NaNoWriMos I participated in, that was good enough for me. I felt virtuous for writing the 2,000 words a day (I rarely wrote less than that), and that was the whole point of NaNoWriMo.


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The Surge 2 dirge and asundry

The Surge 2. Let’s talk more about it. First of all, the stuttering and freezing is getting worse. I’ve done some fiddling with it, but it’s still there. I’ve always had a problem firing up the game as it took several seconds to launch and my computer would freeze in the meantime. With GeForce, it would try to launch and fail, try to launch and fail, try to launch and fail, and then finally launch. Most of the time, the enemy is hindered by the same glitches, which is good, but it’s really fucking frustrating. My computer should be able to handle this game no problem, so I don’t know what is up with the game. I have read that other people have been having the same issues, which means it’s probably a game problem and not a ‘my computer’ problem.

I find myself strangely reluctant to play the game, and I say strange because I like the game fine as I play it, when it’s not stuttering or freezing. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, either. Which in itself is weird for me. I have strong reactions to most things, and it’s rare when I’m meh about something. I also find myself trying to talk myself into playing the game more than I’m actually playing it. It was like this in the first half, but it really ramped up when I hit Delver, the boss I mentioned in the last post.

It speaks to the unevenness of the game that I can kill the enemies of the area with relative ease and then get wiped out immediately on the boss. And not in a ‘learn its moves’ way. In addition, the mobs are not done well. In my last session, I went through the beginning of the new area I’m in (again), and was reminded of one of the most frustrating things in the game–the difficulty imbalance. In this area, there is one of the robot dogs that I hate, one of the sniper shooters (A.I.D. officer), and another A.I.D. officer who all advance on me as a group. The only way to deal with them is to run back until all but one leash, and then beat that one enemy, rinse, lather, and repeat.

I just read a review of The Surge 2 that is spot on, though it is harsher on the game than I am. It suggests a fix for the freezing which is to play offline. It says you don’t get the hints from other players that way, but it would be a small price to pay. I’ll have to give it a whirl. Or not. The bigger points the review made about the game being a hodgepodge of other games really made me think. The reason I bought the game was because it was touted as a Souls-like. Or rather, the first game was a Souls-like, and this was supposed to be more in that vein.

It starts out that way, but then quickly morphs into something else. I was complaining to Ian how it shouldn’t be that I just level up my gear and myself to make a boss trivial, but that’s what I did. As I mentioned in the last post, I might have been slightly under-leveled for the area, but  it shouldn’t have made that much of a difference. Yes, you can over-level in Souls as well, but you still have to have some skill to beat the bosses. Or maybe it’s just my way of playing.

You can parry and block in this game–I just don’t. At this point, I pretty much just tank hits, bash the enemies, and continuously heal. I have plenty of core power, so I may tinker with my implants again so I don’t have to worry about my health at all. That will make the game so much easier, but as pointed out by Elijah Beahm in the review I linked above, it’s antithetical to Dark Souls.


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My broken brain

Ed. Note: I got my days mixed up and posted a fiction post on Wednesday instead of Thursday, so today (Thursday by the time you read it), I am posting something that should have gone up Wednesday. To make things even more complicated, I was going to talk about my new health status, but in honor of Halloween, I’m going to talk to something related to that instead. 

Halloween is my favorite holiday, which is probably no surprise to anyone. All the blackness! Black cats! Candy! Dressing up in fantastical costumes! What is there not to love? Turning off the lights and pretending not to be home when the trick-or-treaters are out! It’s all good fun. I’ve been watching some Halloween streams, and I’ve noticed something that has been a constant for me my whole life. What other people consider scary, I don’t. I really like the Eurogamer team because they have two chicks on it who are badass, but also very supportive–and I just found out they’re both bi! I knew one was, but not the other newer one–and they swear a lot. Women after my own heart. It would be nice if they could add a person of color, but I’m not holding my breath. That does not seem to be a thing at all in England, which is another post for another day.

Anyway, they are playing Visage both in their regular videos and in their Halloween stream. It’s a spiritual successor to P.T., and both women have screamed a-plenty while playing it. There are the usual jump-scares, and they are screaming with abandonment at top volume.

Side Note: It’s really annoying when the mic levels are varying for the different people in the video. I have a problem with really loud noises, and for me, really loud is several steps lower than other people’s.  But I also have an issue with whispering just below hearing level–which is one reason I fucking hate ASMR. It literally makes me mad, which is the diametric opposite of what it should do.

I don’t get jump scares. I mean, I’ve jumped when something pops up in my face, but it’s more a startled reflex than actual fear. I’ve thought about why jump scares don’t get me, and it’s because I have PTSD. You might think that would exacerbate my fear reactions, and it does in non-crisis situations. When it’s a real situation, however, I get deadly calm. My theory is that PTSD, which is not helpful in real life, is actually useful in a crisis. The hyper-awareness, mind being zoomed in and alert, the shutting out of everything else.


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