Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Social Media

Explaining “That’s Too Bad” For the Uninitiated

Before I get into the meat of my post, I have one request from everybody when talking about this president. Stop saying, “Can you believe he said ____?!?” Yes, yes I can. As I’ve said before, unless that phrase is followed by, “I’m sorry to all the people I hurt, and I realize that I’ve been so wrong”, nothing this president says surprises or shocks me. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still disgusting and disturbing, but it’s not surprising. I feel we’re wasting too much energy on, “A president can’t/shouldn’t/won’t ____.” This is who he is. He’s not going to change at this late date. He’s been spouting hateful shit all his life, so do not act shocked now. It’s amazing how many people, mostly white, were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt or said it was just an act. Many of us minorities knew exactly who he was from day one.

This relates to the post of the day because of what happened with the USS John McCain–side note, it’s really distracting to my brain that it’s named that because I keep thinking they’re talking about the senator for whom it was named (and his father)–and this president’s reaction to the news. When informed that the USS John McCain had been in a collision and ten naval officers were missing, this president replied, now famously, “That’s too bad.”

The reaction and backlash were swift. “How could he say  that?” “Omigod! He’s sunk even lower than I imagined!” All the responses were in this vein, which was very annoying for reasons mentioned above. I know we’re all still clinging to the notion of how a president should and shouldn’t behave (and, by the way, this president has shown how much of that is tacit and not explicit), but get the fuck over it. We have to deal with the way things are, not how we think or wish they should/would be.

My formula for figuring out what this president is going to say on any given topic: What is the worst thing I can think of him saying, and then what’s even worse than that? Double that, and it’s close to what he’s actually going to say. Look, I’m not saying don’t be outraged at what’s happening in our country–I’m just saying it’s a waste of your emotional reserves to be continually shocked and surprised by what this president says. Some people are addicted to the outrage, though. I felt that when I’d see people ranting about Morning Joe day after day. Dude. You don’t have to watch. Also, it’s who he is. You know that!

I realize the president is different in that we can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) just turn him off and pretend he doesn’t exist. Still. We need to accept that he is an ignorant, thin-skinned, bullying, narcissistic, incurious, cruel, sociopathic asshole in order to better deal with him. There is no better side to him. There is no deeper layer. He is exactly as he appears, and we would do well to remember that.


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The Stick and the Carrot

the line can be blurry.
It’s not always that easy.

One of the positive and negatives about social media is how easy it is to call someone out when they show their ass. It’s a positive because it’s the great equalizer. If someone is on Twitter, you can talk to them–at least until they block you. I will note that if you swear at a check mark (verified account), you might have your account restricted. Twitter frowns heavily on that, though they are just find with actual threats and harassment. So, telling someone you hope they get killed probably won’t get you a rap on the knuckles, but calling them a fucker will. You can guess how I feel about that, but that’s not the point of this post.

It’s great when there’s something important like making sure the abomination that was ‘repeal and replace’ didn’t pass, and it was glorious to watch the cavalcade of angry and passionate tweets on the subject. Of course, this was in tandem with the actual protesting and calling of recalcitrant senators, and it worked. In the 11th hour, Senator McCain strode dramatically onto the Senate floor and voted no. You could hear the gasps throughout the Senate, and he was able to ride off like a hero. I and several other people noted that Senators Collins and Murkowski, both women, coincidentally*, had stood firm throughout the whole debacle, and I thanked them for their dedication. I also noted that the Dems stood together throughout the whole thing as well, and they deserved to be commended for it.

This doesn’t seem very controversial, but I saw several people angry about having to thank the three Republicans for doing the very least they could do, the basest of decency (in their eyes). Now, I understand that feeling; I really do. While watching all this play out, I had both a feeling of sickness in the pit of my stomach over the cruelty and a sense of disbelief. How could anyone be so unfeeling and monstrous as to take away health insurance from 20-some million people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’–by the way. I hated that the media played into the Republican framing (as they always do) as if it were a pair of jeans or a latte–‘only’ took insurance away from 16 million. Then, there were several Republicans saying they’d vote for it only if they were guaranteed by the House that the bill wouldn’t become law.

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Third Saturday Social-Media Free

So, this is the third Saturday I’ve been social-media free. I managed to remember it this week and didn’t even peek in the morning when I woke up. I had to check something from one of the people I follow on Twitter, and I managed to do it without looking at my TL itself. It’s a weird feeling of being simultaneously disconnected and in tune. Disconnected from social media and the world at large, but in tune with myself. Which is not necessarily a good thing. I may try extending the blackout through tomorrow if it continues to go this well.

My teeth are hurting. They have been on and off for the past few months. At first, I thought it was a sinus problem, but now I’m not so sure. I know I grind my teeth, and I used to have a mouth guard that was made specifically for me. I bit my way through it though, and it’s not cheap. Anyway, when I eat hot or cold food, my teeth hurt like hell for several minutes. They dully ache at other times. I know I need to see the dentist, but I’ve been dragging my heels on it. I hate going to the dentist for several reasons, not the least because I haven’t gone in a few years, and I’m embarrassed about it. My dentist is really good, though, and I like the dental hygienists, too.

I also should go to the doctor to get my thyroid meds checked again, along with what food sensitivities I might have. I already know I’m lactose-intolerant and have a sensitivity to gluten, but I’m starting to realize that there are other things that affect my digestive system in a negative way.

It’s Sunday. My self-imposed ban of social media is over. I checked my mentions and responded as necessary, but when I started looking at my feed on Facebook, I found myself getting tense. I haven’t even looked at Twitter yet. I think I may go a second day without checking my TL and feed. We’ll see how far I can take this!

On a different note, I’ve been watching more clips of best and worst auditions for various talent shows, and I have a few general tips. One, don’t ever compare yourself to icons like Whitney, Mariah, and Michael (Jackson), let alone sing their songs if you’re not an absolute powerhouse. Match your songs to your personality. Well, first of all, make sure you can sing. After that, though, the song has to match your voice. This young woman who said she sounds like Whitney had this kittenish voice which would have been better suited to…um…well, not Whitney.

I also have a top three list of songs you should never sing in audition. I’ll give you the reason for each. 3. Proud Mary by Tina Turner, especially if you’re a white dude. Yes, I know there’s a CCR version, but people singing it in audition are definitely trying to do the Tina Turner version. From her growl to her wiggle to the outsized attitude, it’s a performance that I have yet to see anyone else pull off. 2. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and a million other people. The reason for this is a bit different. This song has been covered within an inch of its life. I love this song and have heard dozens of covers, each better than the last. Most people who try to sing it in audition want to put their own spin on it, but butcher it mercilessly. I have only heard one good version of it, and it’s mostly because the guy’s voice was amazing. The arrangement was pretty pedestrian, but he made it his own.

By the way, I saw David Williams’ comments from the initial audition, and he wasn’t mean at all. Plus, he’s hot. But that’s another post for another time. Anyway, Kyle’s version is pretty much a straight cover, which is why it works for his voice. If you can sing like this, then go ahead and sing Hallelujah. Otherwise, stay away from it.

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Social Media Addiction and Me

social media all day long.
You were always on my mind.

I woke up this afternoon (Saturday) and forgot what day it was. I went about my morning routine, and then as I was on the toilet, I checked Twitter as I usually do. A few minutes later, I remembered that it was Saturday and that I was NOT going to check social media on Saturdays. Oops. Now, I could have just said, “Fuck it, I’ll do it tomorrow”, but I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole. I decided I’d just stop and not look any longer.

Easier said than done. It’s so embedded in my genetics now, any time I’m on the toilet, I almost automatically check Twitter. I don’t know why the two are connected (shit on shit?), but it’s a reminder for me that I need to be more mindful about my social media usage. It’s become like second nature to me, and I have to stop myself from checking. It’s weird because when I’m not checking, I don’t think about it. The minute I’m on Twitter and/or Facebook, I get sucked in, and I waste way too much time scrolling through my feed/TL.

Right now, I’m fine. I haven’t looked at social media in a few hours, and I don’t care. We’ll see how I am in a few more hours.

Oh! Funny note. I sent my father a Father’s Day e-card to my mother’s email because my father doesn’t do email, and my mom called me that night saying all she saw was a pink background. I was puzzled, and I told her to check the flash thing we had to deal with the last time as well. It wasn’t that, so I told her to try to open the card again from the email. Then, she said she couldn’t find my email, and she spent a few minutes looking for it. I sent her another version of the card, and then she realized that she was looking for my name, but the emails were being sent by the website. So, the other email didn’t disappear; it just wasn’t sent directly by me. It still wouldn’t work, so I sent the same card to myself to see what was the problem.

Side note: I know I can take control of her computer, but I didn’t want to do it for two reasons. One, I don’t want to set up the software. Yes, that’s a lazy reason, but I think I’ve established I’m a lazy person. Two, I want her to learn how to do these things herself. I don’t want to just do them for her, even if that’s what usually ends up happening.

Anyway, I clicked on the card, and I only had the background as well. I refreshed the page, and then it loaded. YAY! I figured it out! Now, the next problem was explaining to my mother what she had to do to see the card. With someone with computer savvy, I would simply have to say hit the refresh button, but that’s not my mother. This is how I explained it to her. “You see the white bar at the top of the page? Where you put in the website’s address?” Fortunately, she knows what an address is, and, oh, I remember the days when she didn’t. Once I’ve confirmed this, I say, “See the i in the circle next to it?” We had just talked about this the last time I needed to help her with a card, so she knew what I meant. Unfortunately, she was panicking at this point, and she said, “Yes. The I. Should I right click it?” “No, Mom, don’t right–” “Right click it?” “No, Mom. Look next to the–” “Right click it?” “NO, MOM. DO NOT RIGHT CLICK IT.”

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Social Media Unplugged

crashing into social media.
A constant social media stream.

Ed. Note: I’m writing this on Saturday, June 17th, 2017, which is the first day of my experiment of not checking social media on Saturdays. I decided to live-blog the experience to fill up some of the time in which I’d otherwise be surfing my social media. If I have to suffer, so do you. Enjoy.

Ed. Note II: I define a day as starting when I wake up and ending when I go to bed. So, my days start around noon and  end five or six in the morning. 

12:45 p.m.

Woke up late, and am already frazzled because I have to leave for taiji in twenty-five minutes. I haven’t done my morning routine, and my instinct is to check social media because I have several notifications. Immediately, I start bargaining with myself. “I’ll just answer my notifications and then say I’m going to be off social media for the rest of the day. That’s a good compromise.” I am stern with myself because I know if I allow for that, I’ll soon slide my way back into social media all the time. It helps that I have to do my morning routine and change before heading out to taiji.

3:15 p.m.

I’m in the restroom at the co-op, checking the temperature as I pee. Verdict: Unfuckingbearably hot. I studiously ignore the notifications until I put my phone away.

4:00 p.m.

The notification numbers are staring at me, mocking me, from their respective tabs. I can’t stop seeing them, so I put them in their own separate set of tabs. It’s in the back of my mind, though, that I should check. It’s time to admit it: I have an addiction. By midnight, my hands will be shaking, and I’ll be scrounging for all the social media scraps I can find, muttering to myself, “I just need one hit, Hong.” Yes, I call myself by my last name; I don’t know why. I’ve been doing it for decades, and it probably won’t change any time soon. For now, though, I’m holding steady.

4:30 a.m.

One way to ease the hunger is to take a long nap. It was so long, I’m tempted to call it my actual sleep and check social media. That would be cheating, however, because I know I’ll sleep some more in a bit. Oddly enough (not really that odd), the longer I go without checking, the more distance I feel from it. I’m tempted to see how many days I can go without checking, but I know I’ll give in at some point.

Ed. Note: It is now Sunday, so I’ve made it through one day of being social media-free. Am fiercely making up for it now.

I woke up this morning*, and the first thing I did, of course, was check social media on my phone. Facebook, not Twitter, because I wanted to take it a leisurely pace. I put it away while I fed Shadow and did my morning routine. Then, I jumped into my mentions and got right back in it.

When I was checking Facebook, I felt OK. The minute I looked at Twitter, though, I could feel my anxiety rise. All the constant poutrage and incessant yelling at each other wore me down in an instant. There was a reason I had decided to take a break from social media, and it was this. Social media, especially Twitter, heightens my anxiety and my anger. It also disrupts my ability to focus on other things because I always have the tabs open. I’ve muted my phone so I don’t get the constant notification beeps, and that helps, but it’s still hard not to glance at the Twitter and Facebook tabs to see if I have any notifications.

I think it’s been good to take a day off from social media, and I plan to do it every Saturday. However, I also think I need to regulate my daily intake of social media. The thing I noticed on my day off was that after the initial anxiety of not checking in every few minutes, it was so damn freeing not to think, “What’s happening on social media?” and feeling compelled to check. The longer I went without checking, the more I was able to relax and let it go.

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Learning to Let Go (of Social Media)

cut me off, ma. i've had enough.
Why are my emotions dialed up to eleven all the time?!?

Recently, I had a situation in real life where I had an intensely negative reaction to something someone said. It was instantaneous and visceral, though I tried to restrain it as best I could. Later that day, I started thinking about cutting back on social media, and, yes, the two are connected. One thing I’ve noticed about spending a lot of time on social media, specifically Twitter, is how it’s made me more reactionary. If I see something I don’t like, my body flushes, my heart starts racing, and I feel as if I want to punch someone. Part of that is because people tend to be declarative on Twitter, leaving no wiggle room. There’s a lot of name-calling, putting other people down, and negativity in general, and that’s just between Democrats–which is arguably worse than some exchanges between Democrats and Republicans.

It’s also because when something starts trending, everyone has to throw in their two cents, even if they’re not knowledgeable on the subject. So, much of my TL becomes a wall of the same ill-informed, not-nuanced opinion, and reading it over and over again has had a bad effect on my brain. In addition, my attention span has shortened, and I’m not happy with that. I can still read a long form piece, but it takes more concentrated effort on my part than it used to. When I write, I find myself thinking, “Let me just check out what’s happening on Twitter/Facebook” about every half hour or so. I’ve recently muted my notifications on my phone so I still get them, but I don’t get the beeps. That means I’m not constantly checking to see who’s said what to me, which really can wait until I’m done with whatever I’m doing–especially writing.

There have been studies on what overuse of the internet has done to our brains, but it’s still too early to say a lot about the results definitively. This article on the negative results match what I’ve found to be true in myself, though I will add that I’ve always skimmed portions of novels, even before the internet. I don’t like pages-long descriptions of scenery, so I always scan those or skip them completely. I prefer to visualize the environment in my own mind, and I don’t like flowery purple prose, anyway. The point remains, though, that when I read, I am more apt to check my social media than I am comfortable with.

Back to my IRL situation. The problem isn’t that I had a reaction to what was being said because my reaction was not out of line–it’s the intensity of the reaction that bothers me and how it was instantaneous. I’m not making the civility argument; I’m making the, “This is not good for my health” argument. I’m also making the, “This is not a good way to have a discussion” argument. I’ve already written in the past how I feel worse about myself since ingesting social media as a steady diet. I used to think I never should speak up about anything because my opinions weren’t valid or worthwhile to state. I also thought, “Why would anyone want to hear anything I had to say?” With the help of taiji and therapy (the title of my self-help book!), I’ve been able to work through it to the point where I was spouting my opinion all over the damn place. Hell, it’s what I do here all the time. But, ever since I’ve started using Twitter on a regular basis (and to a lesser extent, Facebook), I find myself biting my metaphorical tongue more often.

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Hypocrisy Isn’t Ever Pretty

There’s a picture of this president at the G7 summit in Italy riding a golf cart while the other leaders are walking. The headline is snarky, and, predictably, many liberals had some cutting things to say about it as well.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, and I hate that I have to do anything that even resembles defending this president, but it’s not cool to make fun of someone’s physical abilities and/or looks. I’m saying this with bile rising in my mouth because I loathe this president with the heat of a thousand suns, but wrong is wrong, and making fun of him for riding in the golf cart is wrong.

I want to make a distinction. If there’s something in his health that makes it impossible for him to do his job, that’s fair game. It’s the same when Reagan started acting forgetful at the end of his presidency. It was clear there was something wrong with him, and it came as no surprise to learn he’d been struck with Alzheimer’s while in office.

Do I think there’s something in this president’s health report that makes him unfit to be president? Hell, yes. Is it the fact that he chooses to ride a golf cart rather than walk? No. Even if it means he’s out of shape, it’s mean-spirited to take jabs at his shape.

Look. It’s not about him. I could give two shits. It’s about what you’re saying about fat/out-of-shape people in general. As someone who is both and has dealt with eating disorder issues all my life, I have to tell you it’s not a good look.

It’s also incredibly frustrating to see people who advocate being fat positive or not shaming people based on their looks to make fun of this president’s weight. I know we humans are good at cognitive dissonance, but how can they not see that it’s not about this particular person, but about the attitude in general?

I ask this all the time, though. It’s the same with watching liberals tear into Melania for her accent, for being an immigrant, and for posing for nude photos. It’s one thing to attack conservatives’ hypocrisy of relentlessly slagging on Michelle Obama and then calling Melania classy or whatever, but again, the difference is in the details.

I know it’s trite, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I’m not above stooping to someone else’s level on occasion, but my upper lip instinctively curls when I hear a holier-than-thou person who has been chastising everyone else for not being tolerant suddenly questioning Ted Cruz’s viability for president because he was born in Canada. Or calling Melania a slut because she posed nude. Or making fat jokes about Chris Christie.


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The Downside of Social Media

I’m a heavy user of social media, at least two of the venues–Twitter and Facebook. I get most of my news from Twitter, which is how I found out about the Manchester bombing this morning. (Tuesday morning). I read up on it, and it broke my heart. All those excited young girls going to the concert of their life (Ariana Grande), only to be terrified and traumatized, and many of them killed. At last count, 22 dead and 59 injured, and I have no doubt the numbers are going to rise. It was a suicide bombing by an Islamic fanatic, and we have to address the elephant in the room. I’ll get to that in a minute, though.

I check my social media right after I wake up, and I’m realizing that’s not the best thing to do for my mental health. I mean, I’ve known it for a while, but it’s really hitting home, especially since this administration has taken over. I’m already a pessimistic person with a negative view on life. The last thing I need is a steady diet of all the things wrong in the world the minute I wake up.

It’s a tricky thing because I believe you should be informed about current events in order to be a productive member of society. However, it doesn’t help to drown yourself in all the negative news, and I don’t know where that line is drawn. The problem for me is that I feel the news as if it’s happened personally to me, and while I’ve worked on erecting a wall between me and other people’s feelings so it’s not as bad as it used to be, I can still feel the pain as if it were my own.

This brings me to one of my pet peeves on social media–pictures/stories of abused children and animals. I know some people believe you have to make people see the ugliness in the world, but I don’t need to see it to feel it. I especially don’t need to see the same picture of a dead kid/animal over and over again on Twitter. It hurts me every time I see it until I eventually am numb, and I don’t think that’s the end result people are looking for. It’s the same as Sarah McLachlan’s SPCA commercials–they just make me feel shitty and helpless because I can’t save all the animals.

The brain isn’t designed to deal with repeated negativity that isn’t able to fixed. At least mine isn’t. It just makes me depressed and feel hopeless about the world in general. I know I have to curb my social media intake, and I’ve been doing it incrementally over the past year or so. We’ll see if I can keep on keeping on.

I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I’m still recovering from the crud. I’m sad. Here’s a Maru & Hana video.

(I remember what I said earlier, but I don’t feel like tackling it right now. Maybe in another post.)

Let’s Talk Social Media Etiquette; Just Call Me Miss Manners

gotta have the last word.
SOMEONE’S WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

Social media is not going anywhere, and since it’s become a mainstay in the way we converse, I decided to address a few issues I have with it. First of all, Facebook, stop switching my feed from Most Recent to Top Stories. Also, do not wish me a good morning, afternoon, or evening–it’s none of your business how I’m doing. Third, ‘suggested posts’ are ads, no matter what you call them. Stop it. Twitter, don’t sit there in the corner smirking; I have my issues with you as well. One, while I appreciate you taking out the @s as part of the 140 character count, making it more difficult to take people out of the conversation is not welcomed. Two, where you at on that banning trolls thing? Bueller, Bueller, anyone, anyone? Three, please show me the tweets of everyone I follow, not just who you decide I should see by some weird algorithm you’ve concocted. Actually, that last one is also aimed at Facebook as well. Oh, and while we’re at it, FB? The background color thing is silly as hell, and you can get rid of it at any time.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on to the real reason for this post. First of all, full disclosure. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’m probably considered a heavy user, and I get most of my news from Twitter (followed by Google research in order to confirm), and I have several Twitter/FB friends with whom I would not interact in any other fashion. Side note: I don’t consider social media friends to be the same as IRL friends, unless you take the friendship off social media. It’s too easy to present a persona in small doses on social media, and, yes, we all have personae in real life as well, but a mask is much harder to sustain on a regular basis. It’s not to say that social media friendships aren’t important or valuable; they are. Friendships come in all different flavors, and this is just the newest kind.

With that said, I have been slowly pulling away from social media in fits and starts. I used to spend most of my time on FB, then I switched to Twitter when FB seemed too slow. Twitter was up to the minute and always happening. The downside to that is that everything on Twitter is ephemeral, and a new poutrage of the day seems to arise on an hourly basis. We’ve all been there. We see a tweet being RT’ed and all the outrage surrounding it (or praise, but it’s usually outrage), and we eagerly jump in to pile on the original OP. I would like to say that’s not my style. Even if I don’t agree with a tweet, I rarely out-and-out shit on someone for what they say. Sometimes, an outraged response is called for, but I think it should be a last result. It’s like when W. had the color terror alert thing and it was always on orange. We all just chuckled and laughed when we say that the terror alert was orange because it lost any meaning when it didn’t ever change. I feel the same about the constant outrage on Twitter; my tendency is to tune it out. I don’t want to be mainlining anger as it’s exhausting, and some people just want to be aggrieved all the time.

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Pricking the Concept of a Liberal Bubble

I’ve been weaning myself off of social politics for several reasons, but I got caught up in political Twitter this morning. I saw a tweet  by Trump being circulated around in which he called out Meryl Streep for the speech she made at the Golden Globes Awards. I read about what happened, and then I saw Meghan McCain call out the speech as the reason people voted for Trump, and it irritated me. Then, a Hollywood type responded to McCain, and she said he lived in a Hollywood bubble. That set me off on a mini-rant of my own because I hate the conceit that liberals live in a bubble. Her father said something similar back when he was running about liberals in their salons, and it pissed me off then as well. Here is the first tweet in my mini-rant:

First of all, Meghan McCain is the last person to be talking about bubbles. She’s grown up very privileged as the daughter of a senator, and I’m pretty certain that most of the people she is friends with are from a similar background. That is human nature–to cluster with like-minded people. We all do it, but for whatever reason, only liberals are called out on it. I’d also like to remind McCain and her ilk that many liberals don’t live in bubbles. There are plenty who live in very red areas and are doing their level best to turn their states blue. I admire them because they’re doing yeoman’s work, while I sit in a fairly reliable blue city, relatively safe from destructive policies.

More importantly, I’m tired of all this talk about how we (liberals) have ignored the white working class and/or look down our noses on them. As I said in my first tweet, it’s not necessarily untrue that some liberals do look down on the white working class, and I’m not against including them in our umbrella. I’ve written about this subject before, most recently in this post*. We do have a problem with talking about the poor in our country. We avoid it like the plague, even liberals. We talk about the rich and the middle class, but the working class and the poor? No. We just ignore them. We pretend they don’t exist, or, worse yet, we blame them for their situation. It’s a failing of all Americans, and I do not want to sweep that under the rug.

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