Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Tirades

Applying Taiji to My Mental Health–and Finishing The Sexy Brutale

One of the hardest things about being sick is how depressed I get over it. It didn’t used to be this way. Or rather, I used to be depressed all the time, so getting sick didn’t really add to that depression. Also, I mistreated my body so badly, I really couldn’t expect it to be kind to me. I was a hot mess in general, so having bronchitis for months at a time (not an exaggeration) wasn’t that noticeable of an added detriment. However, two things have changed that. One, I hadn’t been sick in years. For about five years (during the middle of my taiji studies), I was blissfully cold and flu and bronchitis-free. Then, I got a cold or flu one winter, and it was hellish. This was three or four years ago, and it’s happened every year since. I get sick (undefined. The one year I went to the doctor, twice, she wasn’t able to pinpoint anything. In fact, I got even sicker after visiting her. Rightly or wrongly, I blame going to the clinic for getting even sicker. It was really awful), and it lasts for weeks. Even worse, I get better, go back to my normal life, and then I get sick again. That’s what happened this time, and it’s discouraging. I didn’t think I overdid it this time when I got well again, but I could be wrong.

I’m coughing a lot. I get this coagulation in my throat, and then I have to hork to try to get it out. It immediately settles back in again, and it’s infuriating. It’s better today as the ball of snot (that’s how I think of it) lodged in the back of my throat is smaller, but it’s still there no matter how much I hork. I have mentioned a time or a hundred that I am a huge control freak, and not being able to will away my sickness pisses me off. It’s not rational nor reasonable, but I still get irritated when I can’t hork out the snot ball for good. I get pissed that I tire so easily and that going to the store drains me completely. I wake up, and the only thing I want to do is go back to bed.

I know that being mad at my body isn’t helping. It’s not going to mend faster simply because I internally yell at it. It’s frustrating because in other areas of my life, I’ve been able to relax and not get so uptight about what’s happening. The example I pull out every time is when I got in my car crash. The second I realized that I couldn’t prevent it, I relaxed and suffered no more than a massive bruise on my abdomen from the seat belt and the airbag. The key was to realize that there was nothing I could do to prevent it, relaxing, and accepting that the crash was going to happen.

I wish I could do the same with being sick. Do the things I know that will help me get better, then just ride it out. Getting mad doesn’t help. Berating my body doesn’t help. You know what does help? The Sexy Brutale. OK, not really, but I finished it recently, and I needed a graceful segue into talking about it. Spoiler warning: I’m going to try my best not to spoil anything about the ending, but I can’t talk about it without a few minor spoilers. In addition, I want to include pictures from the end game, and if you’re going to play the game, you best just skip this all. Everything about the game is below the cut.


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time–Shut the Fuck Up

I hate Christmas. Longtime readers will know this about me because I won’t shut up about it. To be fair, I hate all holidays, but it’s Christmas that really rubs me the wrong way. I wrote an editorial in my high school paper about the crass commercialism of Christmas, and that was thirty years ago. My feelings for Christmas have only grown in disgust since then. Many moons ago, I started posting yearly about the one Christmas song I like (‘O Holy Night’), including several versions of the song. I also posted about depression as many people get depressed at this time of year, whether it’s because of Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) or dysfunctional family issues coming to a head or whatnot. I know there are other people who feel the same way I do, but we’re drowned out by all the aggressively good cheer. And Christmas commercials. Oh, lord, the Christmas commercials. I saw my first one this year a few days after Halloween, and I’ve been grumpy ever since. The first Christmas commercial denotes my season of personal hell in which I grit my teeth and bah humbug my way through the month.

Speaking of Christmas commercials, that Kay is a ho, ain’t she? Every kiss begins with Kay my ass. I love how Christmas commercials have become a way to guilt your love ones into buying you expensive presents to show you they love you. And by love, I mean I want to burn it in a fire.

Burn it ALL in a fire, Angela!
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Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

First of all, I am not a big fan of holidays. At all. I used to hate them with a passion for many reasons, but my hatred has mitigated over the years. Side note (and, yes, I know I just started the post. Deal): Many of my negative emotions have lightened over the years, and I give credit to taiji and therapy, but mostly taiji. I’ve written tons about that before, however, so moving on. Holidays. I see them as society-dictated enforced family time. That’s fine for people with good families. For those of us with dysfunctional families, holidays can be fraught with drama and hard feelings. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my hatred for holidays has subsided as my relationship with my family has improved. However, I still LOATHE Christmas and how commercialized it is. I also hate how it starts so early. I saw my first Christmas commercial in early November, and there’s a local radio station that plays Christmas music all through December. It seems they’ve already started. It’s also annoying how rabid fundies (read, FOX) bleat about how us dastardly heathens are ruining Christmas by forcing people to say Happy Holidays in stores, and they don’t see the irony in their complaints. They want a secular place that is doing secular business that supports the secular reason for Christmas to say Merry Christmas. Irony is not their strong point, nor is rational thinking.

Anyway, I have problems with Thanksgiving for other reasons, obviously. We can all agree that killing off the native population and giving them small pox is a bad thing, right? RIGHT! In addition, I’m an introvert and don’t like to be around groups of people for an extended period of time. Partly because I’m a weirdo who has very few traditional/mainstream ideas, but mostly because I tend to attract all the sad sacks who want to tell me their sob stories. I’m working on not asking follow-up questions, but it’s like second nature to me. In addition, I don’t always have to ask questions for people to want to pour their guts out to me. I guess there’s something about my demeanor that invites other people to tell me their woes.

Side note: I used to not talk about my opinion ever because I was taught what I thought didn’t matter. Then, in true overcompensation fashion, I started to espouse my opinions all the time. I’m the ‘well, actually’ guy in my brain a lot of the time, and I can get caught up in the nitpicky details when they don’t actually matter. Sometimes they do, but they often don’t. It’s because I’ve lived with unreliable narrators my whole life, so I tend to hold on to ‘facts’ as if they’re talismans against the shifting sands I often find myself on. I’m learning now how to differentiate between opinions and information that should be shared, and ones that I can just keep to myself. I have a few trigger topics like psychology. I hate how people throw terms around that they’ve heard or read but don’t really know what they mean. Ahem.


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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part Three

This is post three on my David Cage screed, and we’re getting deep into it now. Here is part two so you can catch up. Heavy Rain is the game that pushed me from thinking David Cage is a creeper to feeling revulsion every time I see his name. He is lauded in some circles for being innovative and a creative thinker, and I firmly reject that on all levels. His story-telling makes no inherent sense, and his characters don’t act in a way that is logical. I’m not talking about logical in general because people often act in ways that look illogical to outsiders, but they don’t act logically for themselves. I said before it’s because David Cage is a raging narcissist who cannot empathize with how other people feel, so he just projects onto them and believes that’s how they would act. When we left the last point, I was going on a rant about ow David Cage is shit towards women, and I feel I have to at least note that he’s also shit towards men, but in a different way.

The problem is that David Cage thinks in stereotypes. People aren’t real to him, and it’s exceedingly clear in his games. His main characters if they’re male are ciphers with tics. In Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the protagonist literally has no body. Your soul jumps from NPC to NPC, which is interesting in concept, but not well-utilized in the game (a recurring theme with David Cage). There’s nothing to know about the main protagonist because of this conceit, so David Cage gets away with this shortcoming in this game. In Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), the main male protagonist is Ethan M–er, Lucas Kane, is a mopey, slim, depressed man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. That’s the extent of what we learn about his personality. David Cage seems to think the fact that he’s a good-looking dude (with dark hair because David Cage only likes dark hair. I mentioned it with the women in the game, but it’s the same with the dudes. Most of the important male dudes have short dark brown hair. They are brooding intellects with mental health issues. One of the times David Cage broke his self-imposed rule, the result was Tyler, a cringe-inducing stereotype of a black dude with swagger, so maybe it’s best he sticks to what he knows) is enough to make women drop their panties for him. There are no queer relationships in David Cage games, which, quite frankly, is for the best. I shudder to think what he’d do with it.

In Heavy Rain, two of the male protagonists, Ethan Mars and Norman Jayden, are basically the same person in two different roles. They look the same, and they both have psychological issues. Scott Shelby is different with a graying buzz-cut, a florid face (he’s an alcoholic) and being overweight–and older. Oh my god. I just realized that David Cage’s type–slim, white, short dark brown hair, dark eyes, gaunt face–holds for everyone of importance in his games. The fact that Scott Shelby was radically different looks-wise should have been a big red flag that he was the killer. Side note: I really like the idea that any of the main characters can die, including Scott Shelby, except he can only die at the end. I know at least Norman and Madison can die during the game, and I know Ethan and Scott can die at the end. Again, it’s a fascinating concept, but it’s not really well-executed in the game. In fact, Woolie had Norman die in his game, and that’s when he was done with the game. The controls for keeping him alive is way too fucking complicated, and Woolie was infuriated by it. Not to mention, in that scene, the guy who kills Norman is the epitome of black gangster thug. David Cage has never met a stereotype he won’t gleefully embrace.


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Zero Tolerance Policy for Creeps, Harassers, Predators, and Rapists

When the Harvey Weinstein story broke, I heard whispers about Louis CK that were vague in nature. That he was ‘one of them’. That he had done things to female comics. Tig Notaro, on of my favorite comics in the world, distanced herself from him, saying he needed to deal with the accusations. When I finally found out what they were, my stomach sank. Before I get into the actual allegations, let me tell you, five years ago, I would have thought, “Oh no. Not Louis CK. Please don’t let it be true.” He was one of my favorite comics. I laughed uproariously at his stories, even when they made me uncomfortable as well. Uncomfortable because they were too close to the truth. I quoted him all the time because I could always find the relevant Louis CK story. I’ve seen almost all his specials, and I thought he was hilarious. Yes, he was a sad sack, but he mined it for his comedy. Five years ago, I would have had a hard time accepting that he had done what he was accused of. I would have accepted it, of course, but it would have been a struggle.

This time, however, when I read about it, my immediate response was, “That sucks. He’s off the list.” I didn’t talk about it because I needed to process it, but I believed that he did exactly what he was accused of doing. Specifically, that he asked lesser-known female comics/actresses if he could undress and masturbate in front of them because it’s such a fucking pathetic thing to do. I saw a woman tweeting about it once the story broke, and a man wrote back that it’s terrible, but there has to be a line between abuse and harassment, and where’s that line? It was a bad time to ask that question, and it was directed at the wrong person, but the question itself is not terrible. It was asked by a huge Louis CK fan who was struggling with the stories and didn’t know what to do with them.

The question was genuine, and it’s not terrible, but it’s irrelevant in the court of common opinion. Or rather, in the court of MY opinion. Yes, it may not be objectively as *bad* as what Harvey Weinstein did, but I don’t give a shit. I’m tired of powerful men preying on vulnerable people (mostly women, but there are stories of men being abused, too. More and more so, sadly), and right now, I have a zero tolerance policy. If I hear of a celebrity/politician being a sexual predator, he is off the list. Conservatives are trying to ‘but what about’ with Roy Moore, and Ann Coulter, bless her heart, tweeted that JFK was 45 when he had an extra-marital affair with a 19-year-old. She addressed the tweet to ‘Hey Dems!’ like she had a gotcha moment. The response was swift and mocking, ranging from, “Well! I’m not voting for JFK, either, then” to my own, “She does know JFK is dead, right? Bless her heart.”

The thing, though, is that Dems aren’t defending Weinstein’s behavior. In general, Democrats are much harsher on predators within  our midst than are Republicans. Some Republicans are frantically defending a thirty-five year old man’s right to prey on teenage girls as young as 14, which is disgusting, but not surprising. There are a bunch of politicos (white dudes. They’re mostly white dudes) who have expressed their credulity that sexually molesting a 14-year-old isn’t an automatic disqualifier. They say they can’t believe it, and they believe it’s because of this president. I want to tell them not to be so fucking naive. Men have gotten away with sexually assaulting teenage girls since the beginning of the time, and not only have they gotten away with it, it’s been excused, justified, or even approved of in some cases.


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The Identity of Politics

My taiji teacher and I were talking about our food allergies today. She’s allergic to dairy (and maybe casein and/or whey). I am lactose intolerant (and perhaps have issues with casein and/or whey), and I have gluten sensitivities. It morphed into a discussion about why are some people assholes about food sensitivities to the point of not believing the person who says they have them. This led to a discussion about how people can be such jerks to vegetarians/vegans, and I pointed out that to be fair, there are some vegetarians/vegans who are assholes. She agreed, but pointed out that the vast majority are not. She gave the example of bikers. Yeah, there are some asshole bikers, but they would be assholes if they were drivers or pedestrians. In other words, they were just assholes in general.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and it’s actually what I wanted to write my post about today even before the discussion. I have an issue with someone who’s a minority saying, “I’m ________, therefore I am the expert on this issue. If you disagree with me, then you’re ______ist.” This might be true. It might also be that you’re an asshole and/or wrong. I have made a truism: You can be a minority AND an asshole; the two are not mutually exclusive. It’s hard for me to be coherent about this because I have many conflicting thoughts. One, it’s good to include a diversity of opinions. In the past, the automatic default of straight white bio-male meant that a lot of people were being overlooked. One example relevant to me: most medical studies in the past were done on white men. When I had trouble sleeping, my psychiatrist at the time suggested I try sleeping pills and gave me the lowest dose. I took a pill and didn’t wake up for nearly twenty-four hours. I cut it in half at her suggestion, but I still slept for far longer than I wished. I cut it into a fourth, but it still knocked me the fuck out. I gave up and stopped using them. Many years later, I learned that Asian people need a smaller dose than white people, and, of course, women in general need less than men. Had I know that at the time, I would have been  lot less frustrated.

Two, experiences as a minority vary widely. Growing up Asian American in a Minnesota suburb in the eighties is very different than growing up Asian American in LA ten years ago. My experience is valid, and I’ve run into many Asian Americans around my age who grew up in similar environments and had similar experiences. However, it would be a dick move on my part to insist that my Asian American experience is the ONLY Asian American experience,  and anyone who said anything different was invalidating my experience AND a racist to boot.

Three, pointing out problematic behavior/thoughts/words is the beginning of a conversation, not the end. There are some things that are definitely, say, racist. Let’s take the obvious extreme–being a Nazi/white supremacist. Oh, wait. That’s apparently not so obvious these days, but that’s beside the point. Most rational people would agree that thinking you’re a better person just because you’re white and explicitly stating this is racist, so let’s move on. The problem is, there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to social issues, and not everybody agrees where the line is drawn. There’s a lot of talk about microagressions these days, but one person’s microaggression is another person’s hilarious joke.

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Burn It All to the Ground

I was listening to NPR on the way home from the grocery store, and they were talking about how the Weinstein Co. is negotiating to receive equity from a private donor in order to continue. The CEO of the equity company (who was some kind of adviser to this president during his campaign. MASSIVE side eye for that) said something like he wanted to ensure that the quality of independent film-making continues.

The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, and I’ll tell you why. Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predatory behavior did not exist in a vacuum. He’s been doing this since at least the eighties, which is thirty years. There is a harrowing account of an actress trying to leave the situation, asking the assistant if her car was there, only to be told no and to go into Harvey’s room. Think about that. It was such common knowledge, the assistant was in on it*. There is no way in hell the assistant knew and Bob (the brother) Weinstein and/or the members of the board didn’t. They might not have had concrete proof, but they knew. They heard the rumors. They saw the way he acted. They chose not to know so they wouldn’t have to do anything about it.

I don’t want Weinstein Co. to continue and flourish. I want it to be burned to the ground. It fostered the atmosphere in which Weinstein was able to traumatize countless women with no consequence except writing a check now and again. The numbers may seem significant, but for a man like Weinstein, writing a check for a hundred thou was nothing. He probably shit away more than that on a regular basis. It’s much easier for him to write a check than to have to go through sexual harassment/sexual assault trial, and it doesn’t put his reputation at risk, either. Sure, it was an open secret he was a predator, but that didn’t cost him anything in Hollywood. He was still a powerful man–it’s his victims and potential victims who had to adjust their behavior. Angelina Jolie said she warned others about him. Jessica Chastain said she was warned about him. Yet, not one single thing  was done TO him.

Side note: Can we please stop with the ‘it hasn’t been proven in court’ derailments that always crop up when cases like this happen? Twitter is not The Law, and it’s perfectly fine to judge him in the court of public opinion. I am more than comfortable saying that Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator, and I don’t need a court to confirm the stories I’ve been reading about him. Of course he deserves his day in court (if it even comes to that, which I’m quite cynical about), but that doesn’t mean I have to pretend I haven’t already made up my mind.


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The Unbearable Lightness of Believing Your Own Hype

This weekend, the news that movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, is a serial sexual harasser broke with more disturbing details being revealed on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis. As I was reading an article about it, I was caught by surprise when I read that he had hired Lisa Bloom as one of his attorneys. Lisa Bloom is a lawyer who rose to Twitter fame roughly around the time of the start of the BLM because of her wokeness* on the issue. I saw her being constantly retweeted, checked out her tweets, and followed her. She was a champion of feminist causes, including standing up for victims of sexual abuse, and I was ready to roar alongside her.

Fast-forward several months, and I noticed that she was beginning to believe her own hype. I don’t know how to explain it clearly, but the tone of her tweets changed. They became more about her and less about the people/causes she was championing. It’s hard to give a quantitative response as to how bad it was, but it was enough to cause me to unfollow. I stopped paying attention to her, but I still saw her RT’ed on occasion. In my mind, she was a feminist lawyer who cared passionately about racial discrimination and victims of sexual abuse. I was glad she was out there fighting the good fight, even if I no longer wanted to read about her exploits on Twitter.

You can imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when I read that Weinstein had retained her. I was disappointed because it gave him a shield for his behavior, but I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to think that maybe she actually believed he could learn and change, but statements about him being a dinosaur from a different age and minimizing his behavior (saying he didn’t know how his behavior could be seen as inappropriate if not intimidating) really disappointed me. In addition, her refusal to call it sexual harassment and calling some of the women liars…yeah, I wasn’t pleased at all. In addition, everything Weinstein said in his statement screamed spin control to me. Saying he grew up in an era when it was Just The Way Things Are? Check. (I saw a tweet pointing out that this dinosaur was hep enough to name-check Jay-Z, which is also a good point.) Saying he knows he has to do better? Check. Tossing in the bit about the money he’s giving to women in film? Check, check, check. Pandering to his base (bigwig Dems with deep pockets) by saying he’s going after the NRA? Check. The one part that was weird and really offensive to me was the bit about him trying to change this for the last ten years and not being able to. If that’s the case, it makes it worse. He was aware that he had a problem but simply couldn’t help assaulting young, vulnerable women around him? He should be locked up then until he can keep his grubby paws to himself.

I didn’t see real remorse on his part, but this post really isn’t about him. I will probably do that post in the near future, outlining what is wrong with a society that codifies this kind of behavior in powerful men–he’s been doing this for decades without any serious ramification–but that’s not what this post is about. Quick side note: Republicans need to STFU about this. They sanctioned Roger Ailes and look at who they elected president. Weinstein is scum, but at least many Democrats are coming out and saying this. They need to clean their own goddamn house first before crowing over this.

Back to my point, and I do have one.


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Lay Down Your Guns, Boys

I woke up to the news of the Las Vegas shooting, and I had a complex set of reactions. First, horror. Second, anger. Third, disbelief. Fourth, resignation. They happened rapidly and in that particular order. Sadly, the disbelief was just for how many people were injured/killed. It wasn’t that it happened, oh no. That’s a daily occurrence in America, and it barely gets a yawn from the press. The only reason this made the national news is because over 500 people were hurt and at least 58 people killed (according to ABC News). The scope is unfathomable, and it’s certainly newsworthy. I think the horror and anger are self-explanatory. The resignation, however, is because nothing will change. We’ll all be shocked and horrified–for a day or three. The politicians will say it’s terrible, and they’ll pray loudly for the families and friends of the victims. Then, they will continue to do exactly jack and shit about gun laws and other problems besetting America (more on that in a bit), and keep trying to take healthcare away from as many Americans as possible.

Let me be clear. Normally, when I’m railing about politicians, it’s implicitly understood that I mean Republicans. In this case, however, Democrats haven’t done much more to change our gun culture. I don’t think Democrats are as wedded to their guns as are Republicans, but it’s not a priority to them at all. Even PBO recognized the futility of trying to tackle this issue and mostly took a pass on it.

I’m not a fan of trotting out ‘the children’, but when Sandy Hook happened without barely a ripple in the national discussion of our peculiar brand of violence, I knew we had lost that fight. Most Americans at least give lip service to the sanctity of children’s lives, but we allowed Sandy Hook to happen with only the meekest of protests. That’s when I knew that we had accepted guns and some people’s inordinate love for them as an acceptable trade-off for losing lives at the blunt end of them.

I went on a Twitter rant right after I heard about it because I can’t believe we’re still putting up with this shit. Here it is:


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No Flag, No Country

Eddie Izzard is hilarious, and he has several bits about being an empire and colonization. It’s funny because it’s apt, and he has the typical British self-deprecatory sense of humor. One of my favorites is one in which he tells how the UK became a great empire with the cunning use of…flags.

“I claim India for Britain.”

“You can’t claim us. We live here. Five hundred million of us!”

“Do you have a flag?” (Funny grimace.)

“We don’t need a bloody flag. It’s our country, you bastard.”

“No flag, no country; you can’t have one. That’s the rules that I’ve just made up! And I’m backing it up with this gun that was lent from the National Rifle (riffle, as he pronounces it) Association.”

(Back to being Eddie)

“And that was it. You know.”

 

I bring it up because of the brouhaha being stirred up over the American flag, which isn’t really the issue, even though it’s become the center of the drama.

Quick background: Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, took a knee last year during the national anthem as a peaceful way of protesting the systemic injustices that black people, men in particular, suffer in this country. The backlash was swift, and he became a pariah to many white Americans. They wanted him to just play football and keep his politics out of their Sunday entertainment.

Fast-forward to this year and this past week. This president opened his gob and more stupid shit fell out. For whatever reason, he thought it would be a good idea to comment on the situation and said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners — when somebody disrespects our flag — to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'”

Now, I’m not surprised that’s what he said because it’s who he is, but he didn’t have to open his mouth at all. He could have said nothing, and it would have been better than what he did say. Then again, that’s true of approximately 99% of what he says. Before I get into the meat of what he said and why it’s idiotic, the best response to this shitty statement is from Colin Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa. She tweeted:

OT: I really hate the habit of using an asterisk for one letter of a ‘controversial’ word (or more asterisks for more letters), especially in a written piece. Who the f*ck do you think you’re fooling? Like, people aren’t just putting in the g*dd*mn letters as they’re reading? It’s even worse than saying ‘n-word’. There’s a great Louis CK bit about this that says, “You’re just making me say the word in my head so you don’t have to be uncomfortable saying it out loud.” Anyhooooo….

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