Underneath my yellow skin

Author Archives: Minna Hong

Personalized anxiety quirks

I was talking to my mother the other day–by the way, I curse my brother for teaching her how to Zoom. Not because she’s using it, but because she hasn’t quite got the hang of Zoom etiquette. She called me and asked if Zoom was working. She had sent me an email with an invite, you see, and I hadn’t clicked on it. I had to explain to her that if I wasn’t expecting an email, I didn’t check it–especially not that one. She kept rambling about Zoom and making sure it worked and she had sent me an email, and I had to tell her to chill the fuck out (not in those words, obviously) as I was clicking on the link.

Side Note: My mom has always been an anxious talker, but it’s gotten worse in the past few years. My brother and I were talking about it how you literally have to talk over her because she just won’t stop.

Side Note to the Side Note: This is actually true of both my brother and me as well. Not the anxious talker part (though that’s me), but just the talking part in general. My mom has complained to me about my brother talking so much as well, and I know that once I get on a tear, it can be hard for me to shut my trap as well. The difference is that I’m aware of this. I am working on it. I am pretty sure that’s not the case with either my brother or my mother. Oh, and my father also likes to pontificate from time to time, and he definitely has no idea when he does it. I just don’t talk to him as often as I do to my mother and my brother.

Back to the first side note. My belief is that it’s because my father has retired. I have no proof of that except that the chattering started about the same time he retired. My hypothesis is based on the fact that her whole life revolves around him. Now that he’s home the whole time, she’s probably talking to him more than not. He needs attention all the time, and she’s the one who gives it to him. He’s a very cruel and exacting person in that he’s both overweeningly arrogant and excruciatingly thin-skinned. He’s suspicious to the point of paranoid about people talking about him, and he can find something to take offense at in anything anyone says. So, my mom has to walk softly and constantly couch what she says in a way that he won’t take offense. It doesn’t work, obviously, which means more talking and frantic explanations.


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When plans go awry

I had a whole post written and everything, but I decided not to post it. I don’t have time/energy to write another one, so you’ll have to settle for this lovely little video about a tour of Rory’s (from RKG) island in Animal Crossing New Horizons…that is apparently alternatively known as Murder Island.

Laughter in the time of covid-19

Even before self-isolation, I used to keep something in the background as a way of white noise. Podcast, Let’s Play, old episodes of the original GBBO, etc. It helps me concentrate, though I do admit that I will take mini-breaks in order to listen/watch the program at hand. Of course, many of the Let’s Players I watch are now self-isolating as well, which means more solo livestreams. In particular, the members of RKG are used to working in a group. Mostly three, sometimes two. I don’t think there’s ever been a solo stream by any of them before the move to self-isolation. They are Brits, which means now they are in lockdown. They put a post on their
Patreon about the solo streams they were going to be doing, and the one that had me most excited at first was Krupa’s Dark Souls plat run, part 2 for obvious and not obvious reasons.

Obvious reason: Dark Souls. Also, this is a producers stream, so it was more intimate than the other streams. It’s a great community, and the producers streams are a nice way to relax and chat with like-minded folks. Not so obvious reason: Krupa is the reason I clicked with the group in the first place. I was watching an episode of them playing Dark Souls III, and Gav said something about Krupa being a great teacher, the kind you were terrified of at the time but realized years later how great he actually was. After some bantering, Krupa shouted, “I’m not telling you what a sestina is again!” (He had been studying for his English PhD and had to student teach as part of his studies.) That he had worked ‘sestina’ into an episode of a Dark Souls Let’s Play reeled me in. Also, he’s the one who’s the most similar to me, so there’s that as well.

The stream was great as Krupes ran through NG+, the second part of the game, with the help  of many summons and crushed out the Dark Lord ending. Every time he finished upgrading yet another kind of weapon, a trophy would pop, and he would put on the achievement music. We would all crow about it and praise that sun HARD. \[T]/ Which is really fucking hard to do in the Dvorak system. It went for 7 1/2 hours with cameos by Ramen, his Maltipoo, who is incredibly adorable. A few of the other members and I started the Cult of Pyros in which we praise Vamos, our lord and savior. He is the blacksmith who deals with all the fire weapons, and he’s really hard to find. Hm. I think we should add Izalith as our Goddess. She was the witch who tried to recreate the First Flame with disastrous results. Anyway, it was hilarious, and we’re thinking of getting a t-shirt.

There was a real feeling of community as we helped Krupa on his journey for platinum. I don’t play on the PS4, so I was mostly moral support and Google Maps when Krupa needed to find something. Sometimes, a know-it-all can be helpful! The reason I know the game so well is because I died so. many. times. In addition, there is no map, so I was forced to rely on my memory. I have a great memory, but I’m terrible with directions. It was only with repetition that I could remember where everything was. Even then, I had some pockets in my memory. Such as trying to get Power Within in Blighttown going backwards through the area.

Side Note: I feel as if I’m the crazy auntie of the group since I’m one of if not the oldest of the group. I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest, but I’ll allow for the fact that there might be one or two who are older.

The stream was 7 1/2 hours, and he’s still not finished. He needs to make all the unique weapons and that’s it. He has to kill Quelaag, Sif (sob), and Gwyndolin one more time, which means making it to Anor Londo once again. That’s gonna be another two to three hours of Dark Souls goodness! It’s a very chill way to spend a day, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment as well when he gets one of the trophies.


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My (non)optimal way of dealing with self-isolation

There are several posts/videos out there telling you the proper way to work at home in this time of self-isolation. This is for those who don’t work from home normally, and they are full of fine information, such as to have a routine, get dressed as if you were going into the office, and have a way to separate your ‘work’ life from your, er, life life. As I said, this is all good advice. I also break two of the three with abandon. The first one, I mostly do. I get up, feed the cat, have a half cig, do my taiji for half an hour, then sit down to work. First, blog post. Then, quick (or not-so-quick) break. Content writing for a few hours. Another break. Fiction writing. Then, whatever. So my work is interspersed throughout my day, but I do the same thing in the same order every day, so that qualifies as a routine. I wear sweats and a t-shirt to work, and that’s what I wear to sleep as well. I work from my couch with my cat on my legs for much of it, and I get up for breaks every few hours. So, here we go with how I’m dealing with the covid-19 self-isolation, and I would not advise it for anyone else. I’m going to do it in the format of the conventional wisdom and how I deal with it (or not. Mostly not). Shall we start? Let’s go!

1. Go outside for at least thirty minutes. Outside is not my friend. Outside is where everything is trying to kill me. I am allergic to everything under the sun, and probably including the sun. As such, I flinch whenever I’m outside. Last time I went to Cubs, there was a man wearing so much cologne, I almost vomited. No, that’s not nature, but it was me going through nature to get there. And it’s technically outside of my house. Anyway, I don’t like outside is my point. I do go outside to smoke a quarter cig every three hours or so, and that’s how I get my thirty minutes of outside. Five minutes six times a day. Done. Sorted!

2. Get thirty minutes of exercise a day. I got that one sorted with my morning taiji routine. I also stretch every time I get up, so no worries here. By the way, I watch a shit-ton of British content, so that’s why some Britishisms creep into my vocabulary like ‘sorted’. I used shattered to mean emotionally drained to Ian, and he was confused for a hot second. I’ve always had a thing for the Brits, and it’s even stronger now.

3. Get thirty minutes a day (yes, that’s a theme emerging) of contact with other people. No. Moving on. Kidding. I’ll elaborate. Most of them are talking about real people, not internet people. Obviously, we’re all trying to self-isolate, but they mean by calling or by Zoom meetings or whatever. By the way, I didn’t know what Zoom was a month ago, and now it’s all over the place. That’s what my teacher uses for our online classes. I’m a loner in the best of times, and the last thing I want to do when it’s not the best of times is to make extra-effort to talk to people. I mean, I want to touch base with *my* people on a more than regular basis, but I don’t need to talk to someone every day. And, the idea of attending more meetings, social or not, exhausts me. So, yeah, no. I’ll watch streams and participate in chats now and again, but I don’t want any more than what I normally do.

4. Shut off social media apps while you are working. I don’t use apps. I don’t use my phone except when I’m on a smoke break. I work on my laptop, so I have the social media open at all times. Right now, I’m accepting that my brain is fragmented and will be for some time. I am getting my work done, but it’s just taking longer over all because I’m taking mini-breaks along the way. I’ll write for ten minutes, then check social media. Write a few more minutes, then browse an article on whatever. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s hard not to berate myself because my day-to-day life hasn’t changed that much. However, that doesn’t help anything so I’m trying to be a bit more gentle with myself and just accept that I’ll get it done when I get it done.


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Trying to Goldilocks it over here

Love in the time of the covid-19 is so strange. First of all, my OCD tendencies makes me cringe every time I type it because everyone does it differently. COVID-19, covid-19, Covid-19….WHICH IS IT? Can we still call it the coronavirus? Do we *have* to say it’s the novel coronavirus? That’s the kind of thing my brain gets caught up in when I don’t want to think about the matter at hand. Speaking of, I was at Cubs today, and there were a lot of people not practicing good social distancing. Standing smack dab in the aisle whilst looking at their phones, not paying attention to anyone around them. I mean, I know they’re probably like that, anyway, but come on, people. Gonna have to switch and go at 9 p.m. as much as I  prefer to get it done first thing in the morning.

I’ve been having a problem with how I should be reacting to this. I’ve written about it in the past, but I have PTSD. That means I overreact to small things and under-react (or maybe rightly react?) to big things. I’m also having a weird reaction to enforced isolation–I’m mad at it. It’s what I do on a regular basis, anyway, and I really my alone time. A lot. More than I enjoy being with other people most of the time. I have no problem not leaving my house except for shopping and taiji in my regular life. Now, it’s down to Cubs once a week with taiji online Zoom classes, and it’s just weird. Like, my life is pretty much as usual though my brother dropped by twice this weekend. Which is strange. I mean, he does it every now and again, but two days in a row? That’s weird. Then again, he was in the neighborhood two days in a row, so maybe it was just that. I think, though, it’s that he’s an extrovert and is lonely for some conversation. The first time, I was in my taiji class, so he just did work in the dining room. The second time, we stayed ten feet away from each other and chatted. He is wearing a mask when he’s out. He has one of those masks that look as if he’s surviving a nuclear war and a plain three-layer cloth one. He’s doing social distancing, but he’s still showing houses and doing his realtor business. I told him he’s not invincible, even though he has a great constitution.

I’m not that worried about me, oddly. Mostly because I’m as isolated as you can get. But, I have flares of irrational fear that are hard to tamp down. It’s the uncertainty and the fact that it doesn’t seem different–but is so very different. Also, we don’t know how long it’ll last–that’s a big part of it as well. It might be two weeks (unlikely); it might be two months (more likely); who the hell knows? Nobody, and that’s part of the problem. There is so much conflicting news out there, it’s dizzying. I’m trying to keep my news intake to a few times a day, but it’s difficult to do. It’s everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I saw a lady wearing a scarf in Cubs, and they had a sign about social distancing by the cash registers.


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Fiddling while Rome burns

While the world is aflame around me, I’m still trying to find the One True Game. Since I self-isolate much of the time, anyway, my day-to-day life isn’t that different. Although, I had a bunch of errands to run yesterday, and I stopped by a different Cubs to see if they had any toilet products. They had a few small boxes of Kleenex, but that’s it. As I walked around, there was an older man who was glaring at me. It wasn’t like a quick look, look away situation. He was leaning on his cart and GLARING at me. I stared back because I was not having it. There was a tense moment where it seemed as if he might come at me, but then he deliberately looked away. I know it’s probably because I’m Asian, which is annoying as fuck.

On the funnier side, this happened:

I posted a similar status on FB, and I got much love for it. I was pretty proud of it, tbh.

Anyway. I tried AssCreed Origins. Or rather, I wanted to try it, but my computer said NO. The freeze/stutter was annoying as fuck, and I Googled the hell out of it. I tried several of the remedies. I lowered all the settings. It fixed much of the issues, but the stuttering still happened in the cities. And I realized that I wasn’t ready for another AssCreed game because I was so impatient with all the little shit. Like only being able to dive in a specific area of the ocean. And putting two missions right next to each other that were 2 and 5 respectively where the logical way to get to the 2 mission was through the 5 mission. That did not work out well. Oh, and not telling me what exactly Senu was supposed to do. I was nitpicking everything, and that’s when I realized that maybe I wasn’t ready for another AssCreed. I’ll give Odyssey a shot because it’s free this weekend, but I doubt I’ll actually play much of it.

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My contrarian side coming out to play

In this time of enforced self-isolation, I feel a compulsion to leave the house. I’m not going to do it unless absolutely necessary, but it’s part of my, shall we say, oppositional personality. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll do the opposite. I’m the same in arguments. If someone gives me one side of a story, then I automatically see the other side (even i f I agree with the first side). There are few topics in which this does not hold true, but in general, I can think of a thousand reasons why someone might have done something.

Side Note: Advice columns are a great way to see the fallacy in people’s thinking. And reading comprehension. Recent relevant example. There have been a few letters about the covid-19, of course, and in each, the LW was asking about how to navigate living with a significant other and dealing with business-related issues such as trying to interview while your partner is taking a conference call in a 500-square foot apartment. The partner was specifically at home because of the covid-19, so it wasn’t a normal situation. Several of the first comments were, “Go to a nearby cafe/library/park.” I mean….Not to be rude, but that defeats the purpose. Which, thankfully, several other people pointed out. It happens regularly, and it’s pretty annoying. Or, people will go down one train of thought and no matter how much evidence to the contrary, refuse to give it up. I know it’s natural human nature, but it’s annoying as fuck.

Side Note II: I am extremely picky when it comes to consuming popular media. I have so many things that irritate me, it’s difficult for me to find something that doesn’t tick me off on some level. It’s the same as my sensitivity to, well, everything. It’s why I don’t watch many movies or television shows, and it’s why I fall off things hard after some time. Right now, I’m trying to find a Sekiro* playthrough, and I’ve watched the first five minutes of a dozen YouTubers/Twitchers. I’ve done this before with the same results. I watch five minutes, cringe, then shut it off. What are the things that turn me off? I’ll quickly list them.

  1. Sexism. Unfortunately, it’s still a man’s world, and it’s still rife with sexism.
  2. Teabagging. I think it’s stupid, and I hate the underlying gross humor.
  3. Screaming and shouting as theatrics. Not my style. At all.
  4. A grating voice. Ugh.
  5. Someone who talks all the time.
  6. Chicks who try to out-bro the dudes.
  7. Anyone who is too good.
  8. Someone who misses things by not paying attention/not reading.


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The thin line between preparation and flat-out panic

The world is in a tailspin right now as we all know. I’m trying to keep up to date about what’s happening without freaking the fuck out. I’m already anxious by nature, and one way I cope is by only keeping up on the basics. It’s kinda impossible to do right now, but I’m keeping it to a minimum. Why? There is only so much I can do, and having the news bombard me 24/7 doesn’t help. In addition, I pretty much self-quarantine, anyway, except for taiji and the grocery store. Occasionally, I see my brother, but that’s about it. I reluctantly decided not to go to taiji this weekend (Friday because I felt like shit and Saturday because of the self-isolation), but the only other concession I’m making is that I’m washing my hands more. I have a tube of aloe, which is good because my skin on my hands is cracking a bit.

Another thing is that I’ve realized I touch my face so fucking much. So. Fucking. Much. I’m trying to break the habit, but it’s not easy. I mean, I have to push my glasses up in place, but beyond that, it seems there’s something itching at all times. Plus, I’ll put my laptop on the coffee table and then prop my chin up on my hand while I’m on my side. Any time I catch myself doing it, I yank my hand away, but it’s still way too many times for my comfort. I just don’t know the perfect reaction to the situation, and I can’t match the panic I see around me.

My parents called last night because the number of cases in MN went from 2 to 14. My mom was freaking the fuck out, and she kept talking over me. She claims that my father is the anxious one and that he’s the one who made her call me. I tried to point out to her that may be true, but she was the one who babbled endlessly to me about how terrible everything was whereas my father mainly said, “You’ll be fine. RIGHT????” Neither is great, but I’ll take the latter over the former. My mom insists that she’s just going about her day and that her regurgitating her fears to me for a half hour isn’t anything unusual. My best guess is that as usual, she’s using me as a dumping ground because she doesn’t feel like she’s being heard by anyone else. I know my father doesn’t listen, and she’s the therapist among her friends. That’s sad for her, but I just can’t handle her anxiety on top of my own.


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Going to Mordor to find the one true game

Lucy Thorne, my nemesis, vanquished.

Since we last talked about games, I’ve quit playing Syndicate. Not out of hate or disgust, but I just stopped playing one day, and I haven’t picked it up since. I had way more fun with it than I thought I would, and since I got it for free, I got plenty of bang for my (zero) buck. I’m not mad at it, but it’s pretty much a disposable game–like the video game equivalent of the summer blockbuster popcorn movie. I have no desire to go back to it, even though I think Evie kicks all the asses. Jacob is back on my shit list, but I just treat him as an annoying younger brother–which, in my head canon, he totally is the younger of the two twins.

I’ve put in almost 40 hours into the game, and I’m…maybe 70% done with the story? I’ve cleared all but two of the boroughs and am about 90% done with the one borough. Plus, a whole new borough opened up that focuses around Jacob’s grandchild, Lydia Frye. Ok, I just looked up about Evie and Henry Green. Now I kinda want to finish the game just to get to the climax of that relationship. I’m strangely invested in the two of them hooking up, and I want to see it happen. But, knowing me, I wouldn’t be able to rush through the main storyline to get to it without being distracted by the other stuff. I really want to see it, though, so I may just grit my teeth and do it.

But! I’ve also been trying some other games, and I want to talk about them. Void Memory by Gustav (one dude, I think) is a 2D Castlevania Souls-like blah blah blah. I liked the look of it, and it has mostly positive reviews on Steam. It was on sale, so I bought it and gave it a test drive. I used a controller because I always used a controller for games like these*. There was an immediate problem of the prompts being shown for the k/m no matter that I was using a controller. In the menu, they showed the keyboard bindings, but not the controls. So, it was a fun game of ‘Which button do I press? Who knows?” as I figured out which buttons controlled which actions. I might have dealt with that except that the choice of buttons for the controller are really, really shitty. Attack is left trigger. LEFT FUCKING TRIGGER. That is not fucking acceptable. If you want to use your ranged weapon, it’s something like hold right trigger and then tap left trigger. I don’t remember because I wiped it from my mind as soon as I requested a refund, and there isn’t any buzz about it online.

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What is my life really?

I woke up today convinced it was Wednesday. Then, I thought, “Wait,  I have to write my post on health and wellness. Did I fuck up yesterday?” Then I checked my clock, and, no, it wasn’t Wednesday–it was Tuesday. This time change has really fucked me up. I don’t know why as I normally don’t have a problem with it. For whatever reason, it’s been messing with my head this year.

My nose is simultaneously running and stuffy. I’m incredibly tired and for the first time in a long time, last night as I was lying on the couch, I wished I were dead.  Not enough to do something about it, but it was there.

Side Note: I have spent much of my life not wanting to be alive. I’m used to it, and it’s not alarming. Really. It’s just a part of me the same way I like to read and I like swords is. I have no desire to be alive, but, and this is the important bit, I don’t WANT to die. At least not for the most part. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I did want to die when I was in my severest depressions. There were a few times I actively worked towards that goal (most of the time, it was passive such as not wearing a seat belt).

It’s something that I rarely talk about because what’s the point? It would just make people feel bad, and there isn’t anything they can do about it, anyway. I also don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. It’s not a good thing, mind you. It’s just a thing. I wake up. I brush my teeth. I don’t want to be alive. I know it sounds dramatic every time I say/write it, but it’s pretty mundane to me by this point in my life.

When I slide from not wanting to be alive to wanting to be dead, though, that’s cause for concern. There’s no rational reason for it, but depression isn’t rational. We all know that. I can tick off all the reasons why I should be happy to be alive or at least neutral about it, but it means jack and shit to the weasels in my brain.

I just can’t today. I just can’t.