Underneath my yellow skin

Author Archives: Minna Hong

It’s the Little Things

It’s late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, and I’m loving this social media-free Saturday thing. I had a bit of a conundrum, though, because a friend of mine was going to be attending a difficult event, and I remembered a few hours ago that I told her to tweet through it. I checked my mentions, and she had tweeted me (and a mutual friend). I wanted to be supportive, so I checked her tweets and answered one of them. I didn’t look at my other mentions or my TL, and I feel like that’s a good compromise.

I also realized that the air conditioner had been running for the past few hours. I checked, and my thermometer said it was 79. That wasn’t right because I had bumped the set point to 76, which means the temperature should have been less than that. I felt the air coming out of the vent, and it was cool, but not cold. Damn it. The air conditioner had shut off. I didn’t want to go out, but I was sweating bullets. I hate the heat as I’ve mentioned several times before, and I knew it would only take one push of a button to reset the air conditioner.

“It’s dark out, and I don’t want to,” I said to myself grumpily. I also didn’t want to sweat bullets all night long, either, and if I didn’t do it, no one else would. I grabbed my phone to set my flashlight, then went to the side of the house. There were bugs everywhere, and I tried not to think about the new bites I’d be accruing. I’m covered in bites, which is another reason I fucking hate summer. I pushed the button and went back in, and then I waited to see what would happen.

I know it’s a little thing, but it felt like a mountain to climb before I made myself do it. I’ve been in a funk lately, and I’m struggling to get out of it. I’ve written before about the difference between internal depression and external depression, and this is definitely external. I acknowledge that I have no reason to be depressed, and I don’t know what’s causing it, but it’s still there. I don’t want to kill myself, but I do have intrusive thoughts such as, “No one cares about me”, “What is the point of life?”, and, “I’m tired of being alive.”

Everything takes extra effort. I went to taiji class last night at the other studio for the first time in months, and I almost talked myself out of going. I’ve realized that I hate driving at night now, ever since my accident, even more than I did before. Let me rephrase: I hate driving on the freeway at night. Even if it’s not dark, I just get tense in a way that I don’t while driving during the day. It doesn’t help that there’s no air at the other studio, which is not fun, believe you me.

My stomach is hurting, and I think it’s the honey dew melon this time. I’m discouraged because after I gave up gluten and dairy, my digestive problems cleared right up.


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POOG: 10 Things You Need to Know

So, apparently Gwyneth and the gang at goop have had enough, enough! I say, with people making fun of them and their asinine ‘health’ practice. They’re so angry, they’ve written a sternly-worded post about it in which they push back at their haters. It’s pretty bog standard about how these mean people don’t understand them and how they’re trying to uplift women, blah, blah, blah. They take a particularly pointed swipe at Dr. Jen Gunter. Grudging Midwestern respect to how they did it so passive-aggressively perfectly without ever mentioning her (until the doctor letters, anyway).

In fact, Gwyneth herself tweeted it out with the quote, “When they go low, we go high.”

::big pause::

Gurl. GURL. You are not allowed to twist Michelle Obama’s word to suit your inane purposes. How dare you, madame?!?

Gwyneth thinks she’s Taylor Swift in Bad Blood:

“Come at me, bro!” This is her A-game, I suppose, but as you can guess, Dr. Gunter hit back, and they’re still  mopping the blood from the streets. Dr. Gunter was like:

I’m not going to defend Dr. Gunter because she does it commendably herself. I will say, however, that the reason goop went after her specifically and not the cadre of others who have poked fun at goop is because she’s an actual doctor. When you’re selling pseudoscience, go after the actual scientist. She’s also probably right in the fact that they went after the chick with the blog, rather than the man with the national TV show (Stephen Colbert) or the corporations that have mocked them because they thought she’d be a soft target. They were so wrong. I will admit to being like this while reading Dr. Gunter’s post:

via GIPHY

Her takedown of Dr. Gundry’s condescending letter is particularly delicious, and the shade, oh, the shade.

However. As someone who regularly drums the goop beat, I am afraid they might be after me next. I’m not doing it for attention or money, either, though I wouldn’t mind either or both raining down on me. Please don’t come after me, Gwyneth. I don’t think I could bear it! I doubt she will ever see my little blog, but there may be others who are confused as to what I’m trying to do with my POOG posts. As such, I’d like to clarify what POOG is and what it isn’t just so there’s no misunderstanding. Grab your own bag of popcorn and let’s get ready to rumble!

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Salt and Sanctuary: A Bit Salty; A Bit Sweet, Part Three

on my way to the blackest vault.
Going DOOOOOWN!

Ed Note: This is part three (and hopefully last) of my Salt and Sanctuary review. As you can tell, I have a lot to say about it. You can read part two here

I uninstalled Salt and Sanctuary last night. I didn’t want to play it any longer, but I found myself thinking, “I’ll just play a few minutes” only to look up and the sun is rising. I’m two-thirds of the way through my melee playthrough, so I feel I can comment on the differences between playing as a mage and playing as a tank. By the way, when I say tank, I mean still being able to fast/medium roll. I watched playthroughs of people clunking their way through the game, barely being able to roll or not rolling at all, and no thank you–especially as I still am not using a shield. I tried, but I still find it awkward. Also, it was useless against the boss I was having a shit-ton of trouble with–more on her in a bit–because she can drain your stamina in a blink. If you’re going to block, you can’t roll and dodge at the same time, and I couldn’t remember that in the heat of the battle.

My tank is leveled higher at this point than my caster was by the end of the game, and I still can’t wear my paladin armor without fat-rolling. I’m not happy about that, and it’s part of my dissatisfaction with the stats-leveling in general. As I mentioned before, you have to level everything up separately, and I’m sure that’s a common thing for a certain genre of games, but it’s horseshit. Light armor and heavy armor are separate tree branches, for example, which meant I couldn’t wear most of the light armor, even though I could wear some heavy armor. Currently, my tank character is rocking the Iron Butterfly VI and the Seawolf Cutlass VI. One is a  Class 3 Greataxe, and the other is a Class 3 Greatsword. Now, in Dark Souls, all I’d have to do is level up strength to probably thirty or forty, and I’d be able to wield both of these weapons*. In S&S, I have to level up each category separately up to the Class 3 in order to use them. And, it’s not just….

OK. Quick primer on the leveling up system. You have to use Black Pearls to level up your stats. You get a Black Pearl every time you level up in general, and you can find a few in the wild. If I want to level up swords, for example. I have to get to the Class 1 Swordfighter node from the nodes I had at the start of the game as a Paladin (spending Black Pearls on varying stats along the way), and then spend one Black Pearl on Class 1 Swordfighter. Then, you have to traverse up the branch again, buying other stats, until you reach Class 2 Swordfighter. You have to spend 2 Black Pearls for a Class 2 node, and so on up to 5 for Class 5. I had to do this with two different branches as I wanted to wield both greathammers/greataxes and greatswords. There are Gray Pearls that allow you to remove a skill, but not many. It’s hard to explain, and it’s confusing to use at the start. I figured it out pretty quickly, but I still didn’t like it. Souls games are known for their obtuse and unintuitive leveling systems, but I much prefer them to the Tree of Skill.

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My Sword is My Life

so tempting, and yet, so wrong.
My new nemeses.

Health update first: I’m around ninety percent, but I’m having bouts of being besties with my toilet. It starts with stomach cramps, and it ends with me rushing to the bathroom as fast as I can. I sit on the toilet for up to half an hour, and it’s not fun at all. I had hope that by cutting gluten and dairy out of my diet that I’d not have to deal with this any longer, but it’s still happening, albeit much more infrequently. I bought some vegan Fettuccine Alfredo sauce from the hot bar at the co-op yesterday, and I was hesitant because it had noodles in it. However, the description card for it only noted it contained soy (I really appreciate they point out the major allergens in the food they provide), but I could SEE noodles. I didn’t see rice as an ingredient (a common substitute for wheat in noodles), and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask. I’m pretty sure they would have put wheat on the card if there was wheat in it, but it also said the item was just the sauce.

The other thing I’ve changed is that I’ve added more fruit back into my diet. This time, plums. I ate a plum after eating the vegan Fettuccine Alfredo, and I think it’s the plum rather than the Alfredo that caused the problems. I’m going to test it today by eating them at different times, and hopefully, that will pinpoint the problem. I’ve also had an issue with grapes and possibly cherries, so I’ve self-diagnosed the problem as either an intolerance/sensitivity to fructose or IBS. I don’t think it’s the former because there are fruits I can eat without problem. Oranges, apples, blackberries, and strawberries, for example. Watermelon, too. Also. I did have a bad reaction to a banana once, but only once, so maybe it was something else. It might also be that I’m not used to the amount of fiber I’m now ingesting. That’s another

I know I should see my doctor, but since I got sick after the last two times I went to my doctor, so now I have an irrational fear it’ll happen again. I know correlation is not causation, but it’s still in the back of my mind. I’ve been sick for nearly six months, and I don’t want to deal with another bout. For now, I’m just going to keep testing myself and hopefully come to the correct conclusions.

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Salt and Sanctuary: There’s a Lotta Salt in My Sanctuary, Part II

onion kniiiiiiight!
The Masterless Knight, one of my only friends.

Ed Note: This is part two of my review of Salt and Sanctuary, a game that wears it Dark Souls inspiration firmly on its sleeve. You can read part one here. There will be spoilers abound in this review, so be forewarned. Now, on with the show.

I just finished Salt and Sanctuary last night, and I have several things to say about it. Buckle in, boys and girls, it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride. I have a hard time talking about this game because my feelings on it are over the place. On the one hand, I’ve been obsessively playing this game, even starting a new game as a melee player (much more on that later), thinking about it even when I wasn’t playing it. That’s a sign of a game that has crawled up in your spine and made its home there. I finished the game in roughly forty-five hours, which is one-third the time it took me to finish the original Dark Souls plus DLC (don’t judge), and that’s with plenty of exploring and grinding. I probably could have finished it in thirty-five to forty hours if I really booked it through. This way, though, I feel as if I’ve seen most of what the game has to offer, though I’m aware of a few things I’ve missed.

However, about a half to two-thirds of the way through the game, I begin to hate it. It started to feel like a destructive relationship in which you’re totally in love with the other person, but you know they’re going to be the death of you. No, I’m not saying Salt and Sanctuary is going to kill me–let’s not take the analogy too far. You know what’s a better analogy? Having a big bucket of popcorn at a movie. At the beginning, I’m munching the popcorn and feeling pretty good about. Who doesn’t love theater popcorn with the mysterious butter-like syrup they pour over it? I’m munching through the previews, and the popcorn is delicious! I have handful after handful, and about halfway through the bucket, I start to feel slightly sick to your stomach. “I should put this down,” I think, but do I? Of course not. I paid good money for it, and who likes stale popcorn? Plus, some theaters now give free refills(!), so better keep on eating that popcorn. Three-fourths of the way through the bucket, I’m grim. I don’t even know what movie I’m watching any longer because my stomach is hurting, and all I can think about is that damn popcorn. I know I should just get up and throw the bucket away, but I’ll be damned if I let it best me. I am going to finish the bucket if it kills me, which it probably will. By the end of the movie, I’ve stuffed every kernel down my gullet, and I’m already regretting it. Once I’m done, I feel nothing other than remorse, shame, and bitterness at the popcorn for being there. Then, I go to the concession stand to get my free bucket just because I can. I never learn.

Again, it’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s pretty close to my feelings as I went through Salt and Sanctuary. I want to make it clear that the game is still a solid game, but the last third of it really made me sour on the experience in general. I also have to say that I went through a similar fatigue while playing Dark Souls, and it’s probably because when I play a game, I gobble it down as quickly as possible. It’s similar to when I watch a TV series; I binge-watch until I feel slightly ill. Anyway, in the last third, the game started becoming more focused on platforming, which is not the part of the game I enjoyed. I mentioned in my earlier post that the platforming feels oddly squishy, and that it’s hard to tell when you can safely jump and when you can’t. In addition, there are disappearing platforms, crumbling platforms, and platforms you can’t see until you’ve jumped a certain distance. What’s worse, there are combinations of all these, which nearly did me in.

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The Art of Note-taking

taking all the notes.
Back to school!

First of all, I’d like to report that social media-free Saturday has become normal for me, and I’ve noticed that I’m much less stressed when I’m not constantly scanning my social media outlets. I did see the notifications on my phone, and I did have to fight the  impulse to check my friend’s posts on FB, but other than that, I didn’t even think about it. Today (Sunday), I woke up and after my morning routine, I answered my notifications. I quickly scrolled for news, and the biggest news in that the new Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, a woman! I stopped watching during the Smith years because I hated what Moffat did to Smith and River Song. In addition, I couldn’t stand Clara to the point of cringing every time she was on screen, and I haven’t seen a single Capaldi episode. However, the news that the new Doctor is female and that Moffat is gone might be enough to push me back into watching. I’ll probably give the new series at least one episode.

I was a pretty good note-taker when I was in school. I learned over time what I needed to write in order to remember the rest of what the teacher said. It got a bit hairy when I used to have fugue episodes* for an entire semester during my sophomore year, and I’d come back to myself with pages full of scribbles. Other than that, though, I had it down to a near science.

Fast-forward to taiji classes. My teacher has suggested throughout the eight years I’ve been practicing that I take notes. I’ve resisted for the first several of those years because I write every day (type rather than write, but same thing), and I didn’t want to make it a chore. However, she’s been more direct about in the last year, saying I should take notes (not just me, but her students in general), and it’s not like her to give a direct order, so I took her seriously. I started carrying a notebook with me in my purse, and I would scrawl down whatever I thought was important.

By the way, another reason I love my computer is that I have terrible handwriting. If I’m writing quickly, I can barely make out what I’ve written. I considered getting a tablet just so I could take notes efficiently in class, but in the end, I opted for good old-fashioned notebook and pen.

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General Housekeeping News!

may i have your attention, please.
Cleaning house!

As I stated in a recent post, I’ve been thinking of changing the categories on this blog. Brief history: I used to blog about whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted because you are not the boss of me. Funny thing is, I had planned on replacing the ‘Topical Politics’ category, but I continued to write about politics. Instead, I’m going to change ‘Myopia’ to ‘Musings’. It’ll still probably be all about me because it’s my blog, but it’ll be like peeking into my diary, only more interesting. I’ll leave the ‘Myopia’ posts as marked because I can’t be stuffed to change the tags, but from now on, Monday posts will be categorized under Musings.

I’m also considering making POOG the permanent category for Fridays and moving the other ‘Fun’ topics to Thursday. I’ll have to come up with an alliteration for it, something like Topical Culture. Topical works with pretty much everything, really.

Anyway. That’s it from the management. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled program.

Salt and Sanctuary: A Love Letter to Dark Souls, Part I

shivering shore sanctuary
Firelink Shrine, anyone?

Salt and Sanctuary is a game that wears its Dark Souls-inspiration on its sleeve. It’s a 2D, side-scrolling, platform, Metroidvania-like Souls game, and I wrote about my first impressions in another post. Now that I’m roughly twenty-seven hours into the game and ten bosses down, I feel I can make a more informed commentary on the game than I could earlier. Be forewarned that I will be hearkening the hallowed name of the Souls franchise frequently and unapologetically throughout this piece because there’s no way I can talk about S&S without mentioning DS.

First of all, let’s get the graphics out of the way. They’ve been divisive in the Souls community (and let’s face it, that’s mostly who’s playing this game), with half the people loving it and half the people hating it. I’m on the loving it side, but I can understand why people are put off by the cartoonish look to it. It’s mostly the characters that people hate as the environments are absolutely gorgeous. The characters almost look anime with their round eyes and wide mouths (not to mention spiky hair if you choose), and I think they’re adorable. I can see how it’d be jarring, though, to have a cute, cuddly character traipsing through a dark world, slaughtering all she sees. I mean, right in the beginning, you’re on this ship. You’re talking to an NPC, and he suddenly gets murdered right in front of you by a man dropping on him and shoving his sword down into him. To then see the cute turtle-like face of your character with her eyes moving back and forth, yeah, it takes some getting used to. I, however, love the art style, so let’s move on.

I want to note that I complained about the controls in the last post I wrote, and then I realized I probably could change them. I mean, it’d be stupid not to let me, right? I went into the settings, and lo and behold, I could, indeed, change the controls. Now, B is roll as it should be, and all is right in my world again. RB is light attack; RT is strong attack, and I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

Side note: The B button on my old XBone controller is sticky, and I was telling my brother about it (as to why I bought a new one). He said he could fix it, but he also suggested I remap roll to another button. I reacted as if he said I should murder my first child*. That was unthinkable to me, which he found hilarious. A is not used very much in Souls games, so he said I should switch roll to A. OH HELL NO! Roll is B. It always has been, and it always will be. Amen.

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Vying for the Stupidest Man Alive

Just when I think this president and his posse couldn’t get any stupider, they prove me wrong. Again. Amidst all the accusations of collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Junior released an email chain that revealed how he was expecting to meet with a Russian government attorney who had damaging information about Clinton that would expose her or some such*.

::double headdesk::

The sheer stupidity of it had me at a loss for word, which is highly unusual for me. All the frantic denial by this president and his people, and Junior casually tweets out the emails like it ain’t no big thing. Independent journalist, Jared Yates Sexton, went on a Twitter rant about how he’s been chasing this story for a year, and then Junior just went and told on himself. Sexton was just as dumbfounded as I was, though he said it much more eloquently. My favorite tweet is this:

Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of ellipses to indicate incredulity, but it neatly sums up the ‘what the fuck just happened’ feeling that all rational people experienced when reading about this hot mess.

I will say, though, this tweet made me laugh:

How can you not go a bit crazy after reading what Junior did? Normal people don’t willingly put the noose around their own necks or their father’s. Now, granted, the NYT was going to publish a piece that contained the same information, so maybe Junior thought a good offense is a good defense, but giving how strenuously the president and his acolytes have been in denying any of this shit happened, it’s astounding that Junior would just give it out for free.

This was my brain’s way of dealing with it:

I tend to joke when I can’t process something, and I’m still reeling over this particular idiocy on the part of Junior. He’s explained that this is how you do things in business which is problem number one. Running the country isn’t the same as running a business, and there are very different rules.

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Just Call Me Mulan

When I was younger, I used to go to bed praying I’d wake up a boy,* and I would be severely disappointed when I woke up still a girl. Even as I grew older and stopped believing in God, I thought I would have been better off as a man. Let me be clear: I never felt as if I were trapped in the wrong body. It’s all about the rigidity of patriarchy and how punishing it is to people who don’t fit in. I played with dolls, but I preferred stuffed animals when I wasn’t running around playing softball and other sports. I was what was called a tomboy back then, hating dresses and anything feminine not because they were feminine, but just because they didn’t interest me.

As a teen, I didn’t care about makeup and clothes, though I tried desperately to fit in. I had a Farrah Fawcett flip, and I’m wearing a powder blue sweater and pink eye shadow in my senior photo. I look like a freak and not at all like myself. I curled my hair, used hair products, and applied makeup like it was spackle. Also, I’m allergic to everything, and most makeup was rough back then. Literally and figuratively. I was allergic to whatever was in it, which was not a pretty scene. In addition, I hadn’t perfected the skill of eating without eating off my lipstick, which made me constantly worried about walking around with my lips outlined in lipstick and nothing else. I also was allergic to whatever’s in shaving cream, so I would get bumps any time I shaved. Imagine how fun that was the one time I shaved my pussy.

I gave it all up at some point–makeup, shaving, and trying to keep up with fashion. The shaving thing happened when I was on my semester abroad in Asia and a shower was a hand-held sprayer. Plus, I’m Asian. I don’t need to shave as my body hair is pretty sparse. I haven’t tried makeup in decades, but I know it’s better now than it was when I attempted to wear it. I wore lipstick for longer than I did any other makeup, but I gave it up when, OK, backstory. Wand lip glosses were in for a hot second, and I thought, “I can handle that. It should be pretty easy to apply.” I bought a rich plum-colored lip gloss (I prefer dark shades) and tried it on in the parking lot of the glasses shop. I looked in the rear view mirror, and it looked like someone had punched me in the mouth. I blotted and reapplied, but it didn’t look any better. I concluded I was shit at makeup*** and gave it up that day.


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