Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Musings

Consent is hot as hell

I’ve been struggling with anger in the past week, and now it’s come crashing down around me and has settled into a thick goo of depression. i have a hard time finding motivation for anything, and I have a fatalistic viewpoint. I mean, I do in general, but it’s especially bad right now. I have the tendency to be negative, and the pandemic sure isn’t helping.

Side note: My right eye has been twitching for no reason. This has happened in the past, but not to the extent it’s happening now. In addition, my sleep has been really fucked over the days. Not unusual for me, but it’s reverting back to early days sleep, which is discouraging. I don’t sleep enough, and then I’m drowsy all day. Then, when I try to sleep, I’m suddenly wide awake.

As my readers know, I am a big fan of advice columns. I call them my stories, and I have a loop I do every morning. One of them is, was, Doctor Nerdlove, and I need to talk about it. I want to say before getting into the controversy that while I enjoyed reading his column, I did not like his podcasts or his videos. It was puzzling to me how someone who could write a good column with solid advice could not do videos/podcasts well (in my opinion, of course). In addition, while I agreed with his general advice, his specific tips in dating were borderline cringe-worthy to me. His idea of flirting was aggressive and skewed cliched, and if he were to his tricks on me in real life, I would be very turned off. That said, his general advice was sound, and I allowed it to overcome the grimace I always had when I read his specific advice. This is relevant to the rest of the post, I promise.

So, there has been a spate of stories about sexual harassment in different branches of geek culture. Games and comic to be more specific. Doctor NL wrote a post about a mentor of his who was accused of…not exactly sexual harassment, but of sexualizing the attractive young women in his forum in a way that would assume de facto pressure. He had a lot of clout in the industry (comics), and a leg up from him would do a lot for someone’s career. Add to that the fact that comics are still largely white dudes, and it’s easy to see how he could use his power for evil.

In the comments, there were people who didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Distressing, but common. There was one dude who ‘just wanted to understand’ and kept asking questions. It was clear that he really did want to understand, but he was coming at it from the wrong angle. I had a Twitter interaction with an Asian friend that was crashed by a rando who was ‘just asking questions’ about a racial issue, but it became quickly clear that he wasn’t arguing in good faith. I muted him and moved along with my life. In the above case, however, it didn’t really matter that the guy was arguing in good faith because the starting point was so different for him and for the actual situation. He didn’t think the behavior was bad enough to classify as damaging, which was pretty myopic of him. But, it’s sadly common in that people often feel that they are the standard of norm. I’ll delve more into that in the future.

A few days after this, the doc then penned a post about his own situation. He was at a con in 2017 and was flirting with a woman at a bar. He’s in an open marriage, so there’s nothing there (unless he didn’t mention it to the woman involved). By his own recount, they flirted and had chemistry. He thought it was going well, so he reached over, gently wove his fingers through her hair, and lightly tugged.


Continue Reading

Channeling my inner Furiosa

The first four months of lockdown, I was holding it down fairly well. Yes, there was a low level of anxiety and my sleep went to shit, but I was mostly fine on the daily. I’m not saying it was easy, but I did not feel the overwhelming stress and depression that other people did. I’ve mused as to why that is–PTSD means I’m best when it’s the worst-case scenario because then my inner world matches the outer world. In addition, I’m already pretty much a hermit, so it wasn’t that big an adjustment. Sure, my productivity took a hit, but I got done what I needed to do, even if it took much longer.

Now, however, that we’ve entered the reopening stage, this has changed drastically. I’m fucking pissed off. Why? Because Americans fucking suck. We fucking suck so hard. Texas and Florida are spiking again, and the governors are acting as if they’re surprised. ‘Whocuddaknown?’

via GIPHY

EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING WORLD?!?

Look. Back  at the very start of all this, I could understand the confusion. The experts were pooh-poohing masks and saying they were useless. The basic rules were there are no rules! Just, wash your hands a lot. But that was four months ago. Then it was acknowledged that staying six feet apart was the bare minimum (somehow, crystalizing into six feet is magical) to stay apart, masks are good even if we can’t get them, wash your hands repeatedly, and take as few risks as possible. The message has been the same for at least two months. Stay in if you can, mask up and physically distance yourself if you have to go outside, and wash your goddamn hands. Outside is better than inside. It’s not really that hard.

All the bullshit about the masks is just that–bullshit. What kills me is that it’s the same people who talk about going to war for their country. Going to war? You can’t even wear a fucking mask. Yeah, it’s much easier to be a keyboard commando than to actually do something in real life, isn’t it? I’ve written in the past about extenuating circumstances and understanding why people are champing at the bit to get out. But…right now….

I don’t fucking care. I’m furious, and I just want to punch every asshole in the face. Not every non-mask wearer because there are valid reasons, but the ones who are aggressively NOT wearing masks at people. Or coughing on people. Or trying to grab other people’s masks. Fuck allll the way off. If you want to endanger yourself, fine. But the problem is that in this case, you’re endangering everyone else as well. And it’s exponential. It isn’t just, well, you get sick and your spouse and kids get sick. It’s everyone they run into who is exposed, multiplied.

Fuck all of you. Fuck you hard. I’m trying to slowly reincorporate going out of the house again into my life, but it’s hard to do when I see people not wearing masks and not physically distancing themselves. It’s one thing if they are outside, but it’s another when it’s, say, the pharmacy or the gas station. I’m gearing for the grocery store, but the last time I went to my local co-op, it was a woman who worked there being unmasked and pushing her way through people that sent me into full lockdown mode. I may try to go to the co-op nearer to downtown, but it’s hard for me to even contemplate. I know I can leave if it’s too much for me, but just expending the energy is a lot.

In addition, it’s ninety degrees this week. I’m not a heat person at all. My taiji teacher mentioned having open practice sessions in the park once a week instead of an online class. My instant response was, “No fucking way.” Not because of the ‘Rona, but because it’s fucking summer. No way I’m doing anything outside in above 70 degree weather. By the way, this is another reason I’m angry. The relaxations on outdoor activities. Why? Because I’m allergic to everything, so I stay inside as much as possible, anyway. Whenever I used to get those allergy tests on my thigh, there would be twenty or so swollen bubbles that were hot to the touch. I have a bunch of foods that I react to as well, and it’s just fucking depressing.

But mostly I’m angry because the selfish assholes are making it harder on those of us who are at the highest risk. Or higher risk. I don’t think I’m highest risk, but I’m definitely higher than average with my shitty immune system. If we all take the maximum precaution and do our best with the recommendations, then it’s better for society at large. But, the anti-maskers aren’t having any of that. It’s freedom! It’s liberty! It’s MURIKA.

It may surprise people to know that I’m a libertarian in that I think people should be allowed to do what they want–up until the point where it harms someone else. That’s what’s going on right now, and I’m so fucking tired of it. In addition, we’re probably not going to have a vaccine for at least a year, more like two. I can’t do this for two years–not even me. I mean, I’ve joked about being hermetically sealed, but I do leave the house a few times a week. Now, I have a hard time even forcing myself to do my once-a-month pharmacy run.

At this point, I don’t know why I’m bothering. I hate the fact that I have to be extra-careful because there are so many assholes out there. I know that’s life, and I know it’s up to me take care of my own business. I’m going to do all that, but I can’t help the simmering rage that is boiling my blood. I’m hoping it’ll pass if I acknowledge it and let it have it’s say. Other than that, though, I have one last thing to say. Welcome to the Thunderdome.

Even more alienated than usual

I’m depressed. This is not new or unusual as I’m depressed all the time, but  I’m even more depressed than usual. Why? There are several reasons. One, obviously, Covid-19 and racism. Two, it’s summer. I fucking hate summer. Heat is the absolute worst. Three, I’m spending too much time online. This is my life in general. I tend to take negative opinions too much too heart, and it’s easier to do absence of context. I was reading a question on Ask A Manager, and it was about deliveries not being done correctly. The person asking (OP) wondered if she should go to management. She was very careful to say that she knew it was last resort and she didn’t want to get the person in trouble, but she wasn’t happy with the issues (not wearing masks, demanding she answered the door, etc.). Most people were pragmatic about it–talk to the delivery person through a closed door, put up signs, etc. But a small minority castigated the OP, calling her cruel and said that she was outsourcing her risk to others.

Now, let me be clear. They’re right. She’s paying someone else to take the risk that she isn’t. I know that I’m doing the same thing, and I’m profoundly grateful to the people who do my work for me. I’m not even taking issue with the ‘check your privilege’ attitude because it’s a good thing to recognize where you have privilege in order to decide what to do with it. What bothers me is that by throwing that out there, they are completely shutting down any communication that can be had on the subject. Scolding someone feels good in the moment, but it doesn’t really add to the conversation. I know I’m biased in this case, but I’ve always felt this way. Even when I’m the minority. Yelling at people about how awful they are isn’t going to get them to change their minds. I’m not saying don’t call out the issues, but name-calling and putting others down is not the way to do it. In addition, it can amount to bullying, which I see happening too often online.

In this case, some people pointed out that one person doing the shopping and delivery for a bunch of other people did cut down on the danger in general. They got jumped on, too. Again, I’m not disagreeing about the base point, but it’s more nuanced than that. In addition, the people typing angrily about privilege, well, they have it as well. They have something they are typing on, most likely a cell phone. Which was probably made in China and boxed by people at Amazon or somewhere similar. Places with miserable working conditions, and in some cases, the places had people jumping off the roof to kill themselves so they wouldn’t have to keep working.


Continue Reading

Micro (and macro) aggressions and virtue signaling

A situation has arisen with Bon Appetit that makes me want to talk about it, systemic racism, the protests, and virtue signaling. I know that’s a lot to cram into one post, but that’s how I roll.

A confession before I start the post. I don’t like Bon Appetit’s videos. When they became all the rage during lockdown, I watched a few of the eight chefs at home videos and could barely get through them, and that was with heavy fast-forwarding. I liked Priya Krishna, but most of the other chefs left me cold. I’m naming one specifically because even while I was watching him, I was thinking that only a white dude (and probably het/cis*) could get away with acting like that. It’s Brad Leone, and I cannot watch him. I don’t doubt he’s a good chef, but his whole persona is the epitome of loud clueless white dude, it’s extremely off-putting. But, putting him aside, there are a few other of the white cast who set me on edge as well.

Back to the topic at hand. Five or six days ago, it emerged that the (ex) EIC of Bon Appetit, Adam Rapoport and his wife had dressed up in brownface for Halloween 16 years ago. His wife reposted a pic to Instagram in 2013. They were dressed as stereotypical Puerto Rican in ‘da hood’, and it’s very cringe-worthy. That was just the tip of the iceberg, however. After the photo was released (along with the story by a freelance writer that her piece on Puerto Rican rice fritters was rejected because it didn’t reflect “what was happening ‘right now’ in the food world”, Sohla El-Waylly described a long list of injustices she had to face at work as one of the few PoC working there. Here’s a summary of the story thus far.

Long story short, Adam Rapoport resigned with a lot of mealy-mouthed words about having to be a better person. Other staffers came out with mea culpas or yelping about how they had to do better. Do I sound cynical? It’s because I am. I’ll get to that in a minute, but let me confess something else.

I’ve always viewed Bon Appetit as a snobby faux-elite website. I’m not saying it was a wholly rational, but they always rubbed me the wrong way. They seemed so self-important and self-congratulatory, and I never payed much attention to them even though I like watching making food videos. The brouhaha over their astoundingly tone-deaf article on pho only cemented my feeling. I had forgotten about that until this shit sprang up, but going down the rabbit hole reminded me of it once again.


Continue Reading

Embracing the Model Minority Mentality

My mom called the other night and wanted to ‘discuss’ an email she received from a (Taiwanese in Minnesota) friend of hers. Or at least I assume it was a Taiwanese in Minnesota person for reasons I will reveal later. It was about the George Floyd murder, and…let me give you some  background. My parents, especially my mother, were appalled at what happened to him and couldn’t believe it happened in Minnesota. I will get to that in a minute as well because it also came up in this conversation.

I will say, my back was up at the start of this conversation because of the way she phrased her initial comment. Telling me she got an email from her friend and that she wanted to fact-check it with me didn’t set well. Not just because she could have Googled if she really wanted to learn more about it (yes, I know not everyone can Google efficiently, but you have to start somewhere. I wasn’t born knowing how to Google. I know I allow her to rely on me too much, but it’s not worth the argument), but because while she may have really been looking for a discussion, the way she phrased it was teeth-setting. I’ll give you examples.

She started by asking if George Floyd was Somali. That already put my dander up because why would that matter? She went onto ask if Somalis were terrorists, and I lost my damn shit. She began reading from the email without allowing me to talk (another of her tactics. She asks questions, but won’t listen to the answers. It’s fucking annoying, and I’ve learned to cut her off and talk over her. It feels rude, but it’s the only way to get a word in edgewise), and it was about how Somalis came here en masse when there was a war in their country. Yes, the history is true, and, yes, Minnesota took in a large amount of Somali refugees (same with Hmong), but the leap from that to terrorist is a big one. When I told her she was full of shit (not in those words), she said she was just trying to get the facts.

Uh huh. She’s a psychologist. She should know about confirmation bias. Anyway, I first tried to correct or repudiate her points one by one. No, George Floyd was not Somali. Yes, there are a lot of Somalis in Minnesota, but that did not make them terrorists. I did not want to get into the complicated relationship of the Somalis and Minnesota because she didn’t even understand Racism 101, let alone this issue.  Finally, I completely snapped when she asked if it was true George Floyd had been in jail. I didn’t even bother Googling it (until later. I have an incurable need to know shit). I said for maybe the third or fourth time, “He was killed over a counterfeit $20 bill. Even if everything you said was true, did he deserve that?”


Continue Reading

Watching as the city burns

I know what I titled the post, but I’m going to do a little bait and switch with this post. I’m going to touch a bit on the protests, but the post is going to be more free-form, stream-of-consciousness about what is on my mind during these times. So, apologies ahead of time when I jump all over the place.

We need to start with Amy Cooper. She’s pretty infamous by now, but I’ll summarize. She was walking her dog off-leash in Central Park when Christian Cooper (no relation), a black man who was birding, asked her to put her dog on a leash. She refused, and he started recording. She told him to stop recording or she’d call the police. He invited her to call the police, which she did. She then told the police that there was an African-American man threatening her, and she begged them to come protect her.

There has been plenty of ink spilled about her and why her actions were so profoundly disturbing–and, yes, racist. Both Aya Gruber and Aymann Ismail from Slate wrote about it from different perspectives, and I would recommend both reads highly. The thing that stood out is that afterwards, she both ‘apologized’ and claimed she wasn’t a racist. She also said she didn’t intend to harm Christian Cooper. I call bullshit on all of that. Or rather, I’ll say that it doesn’t matter if she’s a racist in her heart or not. I don’t give a shit if she has a million black friends and listens to rap in her spare time.

I don’t care who she is–I care about what she did and to a greater extent, how what she did affected someone else. Also, I care about the broader context in which she made the decision to call the cops and knowingly use ‘African American man’ as the whip to goad the cops to racing to her protection. There’s a whole history of white woman fragility and black man scariness that Gruber touches on in the post above, so I won’t belabor the point. I just want to say that it beggars belief that Amy Cooper meant no harm. I mean, come on! If you watch the video, she was the aggressor the whole time. He remained where he was, and his voice is calm and polite. She’s the one who goes towards him and points angrily at him.

I will say one thing–people have discounted her claims that she felt afraid. They say she was angry, but why can’t it be both? I think she was afraid, but it’s because of the endemic and enduring racism that is interwoven in every fabric of our society–black men are dangerous, especially to white women, not because Christian Cooper was threatening her in any way. This is something I don’t want lost in this incident–she’s not the problem in and of itself–the systemic racism that allows her to be this way is. She was obviously also angry at being called out by a black man as well.


Continue Reading

What the Covid does to the brain…specifically mine

Today, I woke up feeling markedly better than I have in the past few days, which was a relief. I’m still not at 100%, but it’s doable. I’m still exhausted, but I think that’s partly because everything is fucked up right now–and I mean everything. I had been saying one of the upsides to the Covid-19 was that I hadn’t gotten my usual bi-monthly (every other month) sinus issues.

Side Note: One of the, not solutions, but suggestions always offered when talking about how to battle depression is exercise, specifically walking. People talk enthusiastically about how their minds are so refreshed and clear after walking. It always makes me feel even worse about myself because I fucking hate walking. I used to do it when I lived in the Bay Area. I’d walk four miles a day, and I hated every step. I get sweaty no matter how much or how little I exercise, and I become uncomfortably hot. Walking and/or running actually makes me angry, and it’s nothing I’ve learned to mitigate. It doesn’t energize me; I don’t feel better afterwards. In addition, I am allergic to everything in the world, so walking outside is always fraught for me. I like to joke that the outside is where it belongs–outside. And away from me.

Anyway, not going outside at all except for a few minutes a few times a day for a few puffs had left my nose free and clear  for the past few months. I still have the tender, prickly nose, and my head is thumping. I’m worried I’m about to get a migraine headache or a sinus headache, but it’s not bad enough for me to justify taking meds yet.

I’m tired. I woke up early, and I just have no energy today. Here’s a video of Outside Xbox’s Mike and Andy competing to see who has the worse ten bad games of the two according to Metacritic, the critics and not the users. Jane was the looker-upper.

Tired of being a freak

I’ve written before about the upside of being an outsider. This is not one of those posts. I have seen people on social media blasting the whole ‘introverts living their best lives’ themes, saying that they were introverts, but who is living their best life right now? The tone is ridicule/anger, and it makes me uncomfortable because while I’m not living my BEST life, I’m not suffering like other people are. Meaning, I’m not visibly more distressed. Yes, my sleep  is more fucked up. Yes, I randomly want to kill myself, but it’s not an active feeling, and I have it during regular times as well. It’s not as intense then as it is now, but it’s there. Yes, I’m having way more family time than I want. Yes, I’m having a hard time focusing. But in general, I am less anxious than I am during regular times.

In addition, I don’t really miss hanging out with people. Granted, I didn’t do it much during normal times, but the reduction isn’t bothering me. The fact that I couldn’t do it chafed at the beginning of the lockdown because I don’t like to be told what to do, but in general, it doesn’t bother me now. The state is doing a soft open tonight at midnight for very depressing reasons (Americans suck as self-denial and no political will to go hardcore), and we haven’t even hit our peak yet. I’m resigning myself to another spike after the soft reopen, and I’m just grateful that I can do what I’ve been doing and ignore the soft opening all I want.

I don’t feel like I can say that I’m not any more stressed or anxious now than I was before. I know it’s because I had an unreasonably high amount of stress and anxiety before and that everyone has risen to meet my level, but it still doesn’t sound great when I say it outside. I also don’t miss being around people except sex. For whatever reason*, I want to fuck the next ten people I see. I’ve been rewatching Chiodini’s Kitchen (from Eurogamer, well, he was, now he’s at Dicebreaker and a DM extraordinaire), and one of them has the actual voice of Geralt from the Witcher series. Doug Cockle. Johnny was brewing a beer from the games at an actual brewery, and he sent a sample to Doug Cockle. Cut to the end where Doug is sitting in front of festive stuff, wearing a Santa hat. He talks a bit in his regular voice, tests the stout, and then says something in Geralt’s voice.

Full disclosure: Geralt is one of my vidya gaemz boos. I have the hots for him, and it doesn’t matter that he’s a video game character.

When Doug Cockle was talking in his regular voice, I was like, he’s a nice guy and he’s fine, but whatever. The second he slipped into Geralt’s voice, however, I wanted to bone him. I’m a sucker for a deep, husky growl.


Continue Reading

It’s complicated. No, I’m complicated

I’m irritable. In general, but more to the point, right now. The filters I have set so carefully in place are…shall we say…stressed. As are we all. Here’s the thing. I have a constant dialogue in my brain–dialogue? Monologue. Lots of time, it’s just anxious chatter about how I’m fucking up. But, otherwise, it’s a snarky MST3K voice sniping about everyone and everything around me. I’m pretty good at keeping it under wraps for the most part–except when I’m driving. I have bad road rage. Or rather, I used to have bad road rage. Taiji has helped with it a great deal–but then it comes bursting out at the exactly wrong time. I’ve had this issue all my life so it seems as if I overreact to something small after all the rage has built up inside me.

I was taught never to show negative emotions, especially anger, by my father. He was the only one allowed to be mad, and he was very unpleasant to be around when he was raging. He would make his displeasure known one of two ways–either by shouting at the top of his lungs or by completely ignoring you. I don’t mean just not speaking to you, but looking straight through you. Unfortunately, I’ve perfected that ability, and in my case, it’s my way of escaping an unpleasant situation if I’m trapped. It’s my safe space, and I’m really good at blocking out everything.

Side Note: I know the silent treatment is not a good thing. It has a bad rap, and deservedly so. However, as someone who has been trapped in situations in which I cannot win, it’s the least-worst of all the bad options. When I was a kid, I was scolded about whatever. If I tried to protest, I was told not to talk back. If I sat there without saying anything, then I was attacked for the sulky look on my face. I felt as if I couldn’t win, so the only thing I could do was have a blank look on my face while being yelled at.


Continue Reading

Covid, COVID, covid…no matter how you spell it

It’s week whatever in lockdown, and I’m about the same as I ever was. Unhappy about the golfers not practicing good social distancing/masking, but I know that’s a me-problem. Meaning, I’m in my house. There’s no way their germs can reach me. I know that being outside in a widely-dispersed area greatly negates the risk, and yet. The fury rises within me, and I have to talk myself down. I can’t control other people, obviously, so I can only do my best to distance myself.

Speaking of which. I’ve read several people online with compromised immune systems saying they don’t know if they’ll ever feel safe to go out again. I can relate. I have a very mild case of agoraphobia–it’s more accurate to say I really don’t like to leave the house if I absolutely don’t have to–and it’s ratcheted up during this time. All the fears that have been percolating in my brain in a low-key fashion before this mess have bubbled to the surface, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to feel comfortable around other people again.

On the plus side, my sinus issues have gone down a ton. I’m still a bit afraid I’m having sinus issues right now, but it’s nothing compared to what I used to get. Which has led me to the conclusion that the outside really is trying to kill me. I mean, what can the conclusion be but this? I’m saying this in jest, of course, but it’s not untrue. I’m allergic to almost everything on earth up to and I like to joke including the air, and, obviously, I can’t control the environment around me when I’m outside. Now that I’m only going out to smoke (yes, irony alert) and to grab up the packages delivered to me before I put them in the garage to live out their natural lives–yes, that’s where the packages go to live–before disinfecting everything, of course.

Side note: I’m trying not to freak out at the ever-changing information as to what is and what isn’t helpful when it comes to covid-19. It’s hard, though, when even the experts are changing their recommendations  on a regular basis. Remember back in the day when us plebes were absolutely not to wear masks ever and they wouldn’t help, anyway? Now, it’s mandated in some states that you have to wear them, and it’s heavily recommended.


Continue Reading