Underneath my yellow skin

Going full steam(er) ahead…and double sabres

I’m old. I know myself well enough by now that there are two ways I can make changes to something in my life. One is to think about it for a lengthy amount of time before suddenly doing it–like with my cats. I pondered it for years, looking at it from every angle, looked at hundreds of black cats, then just went and got them one day. It’s a lot of internal churning which is eventually matched by outer motion. Sometimes, the internal churning is less, but the outer activity is just as abrupt. See me cutting out dairy and gluten on the same day.

The other is a 180 from that mentality. It’s taking small, almost invisible steps one at a time until looking back months later, there is real progress. I’m in the middle of this with my diet. In the past, I ate all premade food and junk food. I struggled to get in my fruits and veggies as part of an overcorrection from my childhood when I was forced to eat them every day. Look, I would never deny they’re important, but having many power struggles over eating as a kid didn’t make me amenable to chomping on them as an adult.

It’s more important now because I’m finding I have a reaction to more and more foods. I’ll get to that in a minute. In addition, I decided to cut back on meat for ethical and environmental reasons. I wasn’t trying to eat healthier per se but to accommodate my many dietary restriction. I’ve cut down my eating meat to once a day at most. I’m aiming for more meat-free (chicken) days which means more veggies!

I’ve had my issues with veggies for a long time. I’ve eaten more fruits than vegetables in the past because I liked fruits better. But, unfortunately, I’m finding more and more fruits that are not good for my digestive system.

Side note: I’m pretty sure it’s IBS. I’m not going to get it tested any time soon, but the symptoms are pretty consistent. Also, I learned that allergies to things in nature can correlate to food allergies.


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Positive affirmations and gaslighting myself

I hate positive affirmations and I always have. In the past, I haven’t quite been able to articulate why although I could say what I thought the effects of it and toxic positivity/individualism in general were. It makes it very easy to blame the masses for problems that start at the top. Let me explain. Telling people to vote and that each vote makes a difference is under this umbrella. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote and in the general sense, yes, each vote matters. But the emphasis around election time on each individual vote is disingenuous because in the end, it’s the system that matters more than the individual votes. So, yes, I can do my civic duty and vote (which I have), but that’s just propping up the status quo. Yes, it’s urgent to get this president out of office, but his presidency has outlined many of the problems with the system in general and how we take for granted that the president will act like a normal human being with a sense of decency.

Look. Does he need to be shunned from polite society? Yes. Should he ever have been made president? No. In fact, his being president highlights another problem with the system–how the Electoral College is an antiquated system that needs to be refined or trashed completely. But, with the exception of Obama, I haven’t been excited to vote for any of the Democratic candidates on the ballot for president. I’ve done it, of course (except voting for Nader instead of Clinton in 1996 after waiting to see enough returns to realize Clinton would carry MN), but being told that it’s more important to have any warm Democratic body as president rather than to have a GOOD Democrat as president is an indication of a broken system.

It’s difficult to fix a whole political system, however. It’s much easier to place an outsized sense of importance on each individual vote AND it’s easier to feel satisfied you’ve actually done something by voting rather than working on improving the system which may or may not be a lost cause.


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All and asundry

heyboohey
Qadir is hotter than the burning sun.

I want to find a new game, but I haven’t. Not really. I’ve dabbled in Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York by Draw Distance and–by the way, the name irritates me every time I see it because it’s so pretentious. A colon and a dash? Please. Anyway, I’ve never played any of the other VTM games even though it should be my jam (love vamps!) because they’re old. It’s old. One game thus far with a sequel being teased. I was gifted the game by Ian and decided to give it a try the other night. There are three clans from which you can choose (classes, if you will), two of the three which intrigued me. The anarchist class and the artistic/lover class. The third class is the blue blood (wealthy) class, which leaves me cold. I will try it at some point, probably, especially as it’s the only female character of the three, but I have no interest in it.

I started with the anarchist, naming him yanluo–the Chinese god of the underworld. I never capitalize names in games and I don’t know why. After roughly fifteen minutes, I started over again as the artist, naming him gamab–the African god of death. Sense a theme? The basic story is the same. Oh, it’s an interactive graphic novel, by the way. All the characters are impossibly hot, but that’s to be expected because they’re vampires. Well, there’s one who isn’t because he belongs to the Nosferatu clan, which is the hideous monster clan.

It starts with a mysterious vampire (I presume) talking to you at the beginning and explaining that some powerful vampire had died. Then it goes back to how you became a vamp in the first place. It’s a different story for each character, but it ends up the same. You get turned, your sire deserts you, and the *sigh* Sheriff, Qadir, comes to clean things up and whisk you away. I’m sighing because he is yuuuuuuuuuumy. I was Googling the game for reasons and there are quite a few people thirsting for him.

I like the game. I’ll try the blue blood character at some point, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll play it. It’s interesting, but none of the dialogue choices are ones I’d choose. It’s the bane of dialogue-driven games, unfortunately. One of the choices is usually close enough and I haven’t had a situation where all three choices are completely off. While I like it, however, I just don’t have much compunction to play it. There’s no burning desire so we’ll see if I actually go back to it.

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Free to breathe

I have a problem doing what I need to be doing. In this case, mailing in my absentee ballot. I’m registered to vote and requested my ballot in the beginning of September. I didn’t get my ballot and didn’t get my ballot so I checked the SoS website. It said it was sent September 18th. What??? I only checked my mail once a week (Sunday when I went to put out the trash) and there it was–two weeks after they said they sent it. Which meant it took at least five or six days to get to me–which shouldn’t be the case.

Then, I set it on my counter and didn’t do anything about it for two weeks because that’s how I roll. We had a bit of snow yesterday and it was predicted we’d get 5 – 8 inches today (now downgraded to 4 – 6) and it was getting uncomfortably close to the election for my taste. So, I went to mail it (I don’t trust my mailbox for good reason) and it felt so damn good to be driving with the windows down in 30 degree weather. I felt alive and refreshed; I had forgotten how much I loved doing that.

By the way, voting in my small city is so easy. I just Google candidates for about fifteen minutes and bob’s your uncle. Even for ‘non-partisan’ (yes, in quotes) positions, it’s fairly easy to tell where they stand on issues. If the first thing they mention is taxes, they’re not the candidate for me. If there’s no mention of social justice (especially with the current events being what they are), hard no. If there’s no challenger such as with judges, I don’t vote. I’m not feeling great about this year’s election for many reasons, but I knew I had to vote.

Being in the car with the window down, the brisk wind reddening my cheek, that felt good. Now, I’m on snow watch and it’s coming down hard. I can feel my soul expanding as I watch it fall. Oh, this is another reason I am not good with people. I love winter. I love snow and the cold. When the weather drops below forty, I feel more alive. Other people get SAD in the winter; I get it in the summer. Or rather, I get irrationally angry when the temperature rises about seventy. Put me in zero degrees with my weighted ‘cool’ blanket and a mug of dairy-free hot chocolate with my cat on my lap? Hell to the motherfucking yes!


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I can’t eat any of the sandwiches

In reading my stories (advice columns), I came across a post on Ask A Manager from the owner of a company’s wife who was disappointed because the employees of the company said they wanted money as their Christmas present this year. The post is here and I heartily agree with SHOW ME THE MONEY especially in this year of all years. I highly doubt that all the employees loved the lavish parties thrown in the past, but more to the point, this year of all years, throwing a lavish party of any kind (on Zoom or in person) would be so out of touch with reality. In addition, the letter writer (LW) mentioned that the dinners were at The Palm which is a surf and turf restaurant, and that there were plenty of options so that ‘even those with dietary restrictions have plenty to eat’.

Well. As someone with many dietary restrictions, I took a look at the menu of The Palm (as did more than one person in the comments). Most of the starters if not all have dairy or gluten in them. The salads have dairy or one of my ever-expanding veggies-I-am-sensitive list in it. All the steaks have parsley butter on them. I could eat a few of the sides, but that’s it. And maybe they could cook it without the parsley butter, but that means another thing to worry about. Also, alcohol. So much alcohol. Of which I do not drink. I have a really hard time eating in restaurants these days and not just because of the pandemic.

She also said her initial idea was to send something to each employee like a Harry & David dinner box or a wine & cheese box, but it was shot down by the employees. I couldn’t eat either of those, either. In addition, she said there would be the usual speeches by the owners (on Zoom), which, I mean….


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To Hades with the devil

who's a good boy?
Cerberus is best doggo ever!

I’m still playing Hades by Supergiant Games. Still think it’s a terrific game that is out of my reach. I recently timed how long it took me to do each floor, and it’s 15 minutes for the first floor, 15 minutes for the second floor, and 30 minutes for the third floor. Each floor is a grind though I can whiz through the first floor by now.

Side note: There is an interesting system of giving Nectar to the different characters you meet and they give you a Keepsake in return. Each of the Keepsakes have a different benefit and you can level up each Keepsake the longer you wear it. You can only have one on at a time, and you can only switch them after each floor (if you buy a certain item). That’s my M.O. I switch them out after each floor. There’s also mini-achievements in the game that you have to do in order to get rewards. One is to wear each of the Keepsakes at least once. I have ignored the Keepsakes of many of the Olympian gods because theirs are specific to them and their boons. As I wrote in my past post about this game, some of the gods have clearly superior boons (Zeus and Ares especially).

The third floor of Hades might be my hard stopping point. I don’t die on it any longer, but it takes so much time, effort, and resources to get through it. It’s so fucking tedious, and room after room of spear guys and bow guys is boring as hell. Also, so much twitch reflexes needed. So. Much. I have four total revives (death defiers) on the third floor if I haven’t lost any of them prior (and at this point, I shouldn’t. The fourth is from a Keepsake, and I only put it on after the second floor), and I’m usually down to none by the time I’m done with the third floor boss.

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Fighting mad

I’m still feeling shitty. I’m doing another excavation as to what is causing my digestive issues. Strawberries for one. Also, berries are really frustrating in that they go bad in three days, but that’s not the point of this post. Strawberries are starting to hurt my stomach, which is a shame. Blackberries and blueberries are on the cusp.

I woke up feeling super shitty today and slammed down two migraine meds (non-prescription). I’ve been trying not to use them every day because I don’t want to blunt the usefulness, but that has meant white-knuckling a few days where I didn’t use them.

I’ve had to pare back on my taiji weapons because I just can’t do it all. I mean, it’s a lot to begin with, but my body is not up for doing the whole thing. I don’t like it, but there we are.

Neverending shrinking world

When I was young, I had to get allergy shots. I didn’t know why, but I had to get them every week. My mom never explained them to me nor did the doctors. All I knew was that I had to go get poked and then suffer through burning, itching, and short of breath. My brother went with me for a while, but then he stopped. I couldn’t understand why he got out of it when I had to suffer through it week by week. Nowadays, I would ask why I had to go through this, but back then, I just did what my parents told me to do. I mean, they were my parents, right? Wasn’t that what I was supposed to be doing? Nowadays, I would also immediately Google what was happening to me, but again, this was little me who knew nothing of that sort.

Recently, I talked with my brother about allergies. We had talked about it before, but this time, it clicked in my brain. He talked about how he’d had such a bad reaction to the shot, they had to stop. I asked if that was why he quit going and he said yes. I didn’t know that at the time and merely envied him for getting out of the miserable experience, but that’s how my family rolls. Or at least how it rolled when I was a kid. I honestly did not know that they were injecting me with the allergens in order to build up a tolerance for it. I was just miserable, hot, and itchy every week without knowing why. And I had a hard time breathing. My mom claims that shots worked for her but she’s not the most reliable narrator. My brother says that his clean eating has mostly cleared his allergies now.

Me, my allergies have just gotten worse. Now, I’m having food issues that I’ve never had before. I’ve ascertained that I have problems with gluten and dairy, plus I’ve given up caffeine. Now, I’m having more issues, and it’s really wearing me down. When I went to visit my BFF last year (right about a year ago), I had a violent reaction to a cauliflower dish that caused me to immediately declare cauliflower off-limits, but now I think that it’s more likely there was a cross-contamination. I have never had any reaction to cauliflower before. The reason I think it’s cross-contamination is because my response to my recent gluten mix-up was similar to the one I had after the Cauliflower Bezule, which was the most delicious thing I’d eaten in a long time. If it’s true that it was cross-contamination rather than a reaction to the cauliflower, then I’ll be very happy. I bought some cauliflower to try it out.

I’m also starting to have reactions to certain fruits including a stomachache, some tingling in my mouth, and just a negative reaction in general. Strawberry is the main culprit so far. This reaction is another reason I think I was wrong about the cauliflower. That intense of a reaction isn’t something that happens out of the blue.

Anyway. I’m tired and need to rest. Here is a video.

Brute-forcing Hades

So. Hades by Supergiant Games. What a great game. It’s addictive with that ‘just one more run’ feel to it. It looks great, feels great, and sounds great. And I’m thinking of quitting. Why? I touched about it in my last post about the game and would like to expand on it here.

Side note: It’s going to sound familiar because I had the same issues with Children of Morta by Dead Mage, another great game that I quit cold turkey for similar reasons.

Look. I know balancing a game is hard especially if you’re making a game that is based on difficulty to a certain extent.

(Do NOT mention FromSoft and Souls games. Damn.)

But, my pet peeve in any game is throwing tons of mobs at the player in the name of difficulty. I hate, hate, hate it because I think it’s lazy, boring, and because as someone with terrible reflexes, it’s very stressful. And not in the fun way. I think many of the criticisms for Dark Souls II were overblown, but the one I agree with was that they threw way too many mobs at the player as a way of artificially inflating the difficulty.

What’s more, it’s usually the same enemies over and over again, which makes it boring on top of frustrating. I do not mind the same enemies for the same floor, but this game really overloads the type of enemies for each floor and many of them are ones in which twitch reactions are important. I don’t do twitch reactions, so it’s really frustrating to me.


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