Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Topical Politics

Focusing When Sick and Tired

One of the side effects of being sick is that my mental acuity isn’t where it normally is. Simple things take more energy, and I feel slow as molasses in the brain department. I went to the store today, and I had to put extra effort into interacting with people. It’s not my bailiwick to begin with, though I’m usually adept at it, but being sick makes it even harder. I can’t take for granted that my automatic responses will flow as easily as the normally do. Plus, just walking around exhausts me. When I came home, I grabbed my three drinks (including tea) and two snacks, and I brought them to the living room. I set down the pop, leaning over as I did, and poured some of the boiling tea onto the back of my left hand. This is the second time I’ve done this, and I know it’s partly because I’m sick. It’s also because I tend to be lazy and want to make as few trips as possible. I’ve hurt myself countless times before by overloading myself in an attempt to save time. My taiji teacher has a saying about a donkey and laziness that I don’t quite remember, but the bottom line is that it’s better to make multiple trips with lighter loads than one trip all bogged down. She is right. Hopefully, I will internalize that one day.

OT: Nioh. Ah, Nioh. I’m having complicated feels about the game, but I don’t want to get into that in this post. I just want to say as a pro tip that if you’re a scrub such as I am, weapons matter. I recently faced a boss that was whipping my ass, though she really shouldn’t have been. She wasn’t that hard, per se, but I do the worst against fast humans. Which she is. Sort of. Anyway, I kept tinkering with my load-out and my different magicks, and I was really frustrated because I felt I had her. I also thought she had a couple bullshit moves, but that’s par the course for these kinds of games.

Anyway. My axe wasn’t doing it. It was too slow. The dual swords/sword (both infused with fire, which I thought would be beneficial for this boss) didn’t do enough damage of stagger enough to be viable, and I watched my stock of elixirs steadily deplete. I decided to try my odachi because the strong attack staggers enemies, which seemed to be what I needed. It was a miracle. I used the appropriate magicks for defense, then I just chopped the boss into oblivion with six or seven hits. OK, I’m sure it took more than that, but it was really short. Moral of the story: I’m sticking with my axe/odachi/magicks combo for the rest of the game. Of course, I’ll swap out to other weapons  if I need to, but the axe/odachi duo is really my jam.

Here is a video of Jun’s Kitchen. He’s a Japanese man with some serious knife skills. In this video, he’s making sushi for his lucky cats. Enjoy!

Staring into the Abyss

The other day, I was talking with a classmate about depression. I was saying how the thing I fear most is when I get hit with depression (serious depression, rather than the low-key depression I normally suffer) is that I’ll be plunged back into the darkness and not be able to come out of it again. Intellectually, I know it’s just a temporary state, but because I lived in it for twenty-plus years, it’s easy to feel as if it’s back for good. It used to be my normal state, and it’s weird to feel it envelope me again like a well-worn coat. It’s shabby, and it has holes in the elbow, but it still fits. Not well, and it doesn’t block out the elements as it used to, but it’s still my old coat.

I’ve stretched that metaphor as far as it can go. The point is, it feels familiar, but still strange.  I can’t believe I used to feel this way all the time; I don’t know how I survived it. I think it’s because I didn’t know any differently at the time. I’ve been depressed for as long as I can remember, and I assumed I would feel that way forever. When the fog started lifting, it was so incremental, I didn’t realize it until I was well out of the darkness. Going back to it, even briefly at ten times less the intensity, it shakes me.

It’s fucking horrible. I’ve tried to explain what it feels like before, and I’ve never come up with an adequate description. Everything flattens out so that when I’m looking at something, there’s a flat affect. Not that it loses color–that only happens when I have a migraine. It’s more like my brain refuses to register there’s color. I become detached from my body or rather, from my brain. There’s a slight wall between me and everything/everybody else, and I feel emotionally cold.

I used to have nightmares all the time, some of them narrated. It was strange to watch myself do something in my dream and to hear a dispassionate male voice say, “She is now walking into the room” and the like as if it were a movie. It often felt as if I were watching a movie, and I was semi-conscious it was a dream, but not enough to lucidly dream. To me, it symbolized how unconnected I felt from myself, and it was a manifestation of my mind/body split.

When I was in college, I started having dissociative states in which I would disappear for up to an hour at a time. I don’t mean physically, but mentally. I’d be talking to someone, and then I’d ‘come to’ and realize I’d lost a chunk of time. Apparently, the other person never noticed, which makes me extremely nervous to remember. Then, it started happening during classes. I’d be ‘out’ for the whole hour, my notes would be filled with gibberish, but nobody seemed to notice. Those were both bad enough, but then I started doing it while I was driving. I’d be on the freeway, then I’d ‘wake up’ several minutes later not knowing how I got there.


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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 One

Backstory: Many moons ago before I was into video games, I had a friend (emphasis on had. He was a hot mess, and I haven’t talked to him in years) who prided himself on finding the prefect game for every person (read, woman. It was one of his pickup techniques). He listened to what I liked in other media, and he pronounced that the best game for me was Heavy Rain by David Cage. I didn’t have a PS3 so it wasn’t an option, but I watched the beginning of a Let’s Play, and, let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. It was slow and plodding, and the *spoiler for a seven-year-old game* death of Ethan’s son felt cheap and unearned. I know it was meant to have the player bond with the protagonist, but because I knew little to nothing about the either of them or the rest of the family, plus it was set up so ludicrously, I just felt annoyed. I’ll get to that later when I discuss the game itself. I dismissed the game from my mind and moved on with my life.

Fast-forward to a few months ago. I decided to watch The Super Best Friends play Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the first and worst* of the Cage games. I don’t remember why I decided to watch it, but watch it I did. A quick primer on the Best Friends: they started out as Two Best Friends (Matt and Pat) for Machinima, and they’re huge. They’ve expanded to Super Best Friends which included Liam and Woolie, but is now just Woolie after Liam decided he needed a break from Let’s Playing. They’re Canadian, and Woolie’s family is from Grenada. This is important because there are very few black Let’s Players. I didn’t like Woolie when he first stared joining Matt & Pat because he didn’t really seem to add anything to the gang, but he’s really blossomed, and his and Pat’s Let’s Play of Dark Souls II really sold me on him being added to the team.

The guys are rude, crude, and often juvenile. They have some questionable material, but they are also really fucking hilarious. It’s usually best when it’s just two of them because of my Theory of Guys**, but sometimes, the three of them can be pure gold. I think Pat mentioned the Omikron Let’s Play in another playthrough, and I was immediately intrigued. I’ve tried to play Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), widely-praised as an innovative game (Cage’s second game), but after an hour or so, I got frustrated by how stupid it was and gave up. It starts with–you know what? We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, we’re talking Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

When I started the Let’s Play, I was anticipating the game would be terrible and the banter funny. I love Let’s Plays of awful games. For example. I was obsessed with Quick Looks/Let’s Look Ats of Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is widely regarded as one of the worst games of all time. It was so bad, it was yanked from Steam, and you can no longer buy the PC version. I watched all the videos on it I could find, and I was seriously tempted to buy it to play it, but I waited too long, damn it. Anyway, I thought it’d be more of the same with the guys and Omikron. Another note: this is the last of the David Cage games that the guys played, even though it was the first chronologically. That means the guys knew all of Cage’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, which they made fun of relentlessly.

Matt*** joked that all the women would be short-haired, white, slim brunettes because that’s what ALL the women in all David Cage games are. Seriously. Most of the women who speak in David Cage games are slim but busty, have angular faces, and have short or shoulder-length dark brown hair. In fact, I’m pretty sure David Cage (and yes, he’s David Cage. Not David and not Cage. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know) wanted Ellen Page for Beyond Two Souls because she’s the physical manifestation of his MPG**** fantasies. It’s creepy how obsessed he is with this type of women, and I’ll talk more later about his even creepier ideas of how women think/behave later on.

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Magic? No, Dvorak!

Today is normally the day I talk about politics, but I’m worn out beyond belief. I can’t take the daily indignation of having the overweening, narcissistic, ignorant, stupid, vain, soulless two-year old as president, and every time I think he can’t get any lower, he does. This thing with the military widow…it doesn’t surprise me, but it disgusts me to my core. I don’t expect better from him, but it’s hard to grasp that even he is this cowardly and venal. He sucks. His people suck. And, irrationally, I LOATHE the Huckabees more than any of this sorry lot. I saw Mike tweet about being in Hawaii and looking for Obama’s birth certificate, and goddamn, I wanted to punch him in the throat. He’s not objectively worse than all the other clowns in this circus, but ever since he ran for president, he’s really gotten on my last nerve. And, his daughter? I hate her. A lot.

Anyhoo, I don’t want to talk about that today or anything serious, so I’m going to write about something that not many people know about me. Many moons ago, my brother was telling me about a typing system that he’d heard of because…well, I don’t remember why, but I was probably complaining about how stupid the QWERTY system was. It’s so unintuitive, and the layout doesn’t make sense. My belief is that it was made that way for the typewriter so that hitting the more common letters (such as t-h-e) in rapid succession wouldn’t get the keys stuck. I just Googled it, and it’s apparently true. Anyway, my brother told me about Dvorak, which endeavors to make typing more natural by putting letters you use in groups closer to each other and by putting the most common letters (such as all the vowels) on the home row. The theory is that this would cut down on typing time, and I decided to give it a try.

It was hell at first, let me tell you. Within a week of learning Dvorak, I had forgotten QWERTY–the latter was that unintuitive to me. And yet, I hadn’t gotten good at Dvorak yet and was hovering around 30 wpm. With QWERTY, I probably typed around 80 wpm, which isn’t bad, but it’s certainly not great. I remember taking typing tests in high school and only doing well because I memorized the sentences and looked at the keyboard. There were certain letters that I never could get a hang of, such as z, x, and q. Once I tried Dvorak, it was like coming home. It immediately felt good. Vowels are on the left-hand home row, and t-h are next to each other on the home row on the right-hand side. the period and the comma are on the top row, left side, which makes much more sense to me.


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Me, Too

I’ve been ranting and raving about the Weinstein situation ever since the news broke. I’ve written about it here several times, and I’m sure I’ll be writing about it again in the future. This post is not about Weinstein, not directly, anyway. In the wake of the whole debacle, a day of ‘me, too’ emerged on Facebook. The point was to write ‘me, too’ as your status on FB if you’re a woman who’s been sexually harassed/assaulted, etc. It started, I assume, to model itself after the #MeToo on Twitter, which I didn’t see while it was happening. Please note: I know men are sexually assaulted, too. I would have been supportive of any man or nonbinary individual who stood up during the day of ‘me, too’. However, the microaggressions and sexual harassment that happens on a daily basis are more common for women, much more common, so that’s what the focus of ‘me, too’ was. I just wanted to get that out of the way so there won’t be a derail. Yes, men are abused, too. Yes, women are abusers. On with the post.

I didn’t participate in the day of ‘me, too’ except to click the sad face emoji on women’s posts. Why? It’s not because I haven’t experienced sexual aggression/harassment/abuse; I have. I’ve written about it on my blog several times. I’ve been very honest and open about it in the past. I am not ashamed of my past (well, not as much as I used to be. I’m still working on it), and I have no problems with discussing it if asked about it. It’s not because I haven’t talked about it on FB; I have done that as well. I have no problems with posting statuses about it, especially in connection with whatever current event is happening (see, Weinstein assholery). I’ve ranted on the mean Twitter streets ad nauseam about my experiences and railed against the inequities of our society that allows this bullshit to continue.

So, in theory, when I saw the ‘me, too’ posts on Facebook (I didn’t hear about the #Metoo on Twitter until after the fact), I should have been the first one to write a passionate post about it with a ME, TOO shouting in the lede paragraph. I should have written about the sustained sexual abuse, the date rape that turned into an abusive relationship, the friends who’ve cornered me while they were drunk and pawed me while I waited for them to let me go. I should have written about living in the East Bay when I used to walk everywhere, and I couldn’t leave my house without getting hit on. I especially remember one drunk white dude coming up to me when I was stretching before my walk, pressing close to my body, leering at my tats and showing me his. How he laughed at me as I ran away, and how my heart was pounding because I was afraid he’d follow me. In broad daylight. I should have written about when I was in Thailand with my college and staying at a hotel. There was a worker who started hounding me whenever I was in the lounge. Asking if I had a boyfriend. Hovering. Not going away even though I studiously ignored him. Making suggestive statements. I stopped hanging out in the lounge. When I later told my teachers about it, they said maybe it’s cultural* and brushed it off.

I should have written about how I used to have an avi of my chest  tattoo on Twitter, but I took it down because I was tired of guys sliding into my DMs to compliment me on my ‘tattoo’. Side note: I have learned the difference between an honest compliment and one that is dripping with sleaze. Most women can see behind the veil of plausible deniability, and it’s just annoying. I should have also written about being on Craigslist and explicitly saying in my personal ad that I don’t want anyone with an Asian fetish or dick pics and having So. Many. Dudes. disregard either or both of those requests.

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The More Things Don’t Change….

I spent much of yesterday morning ranting about Harvey Weinstein on Twitter, and I still have Things To Say about it, so here goes. I said I would write this post, and I’m keeping my promise. More and more women are coming out and Weinstein assaulted them, too. Several famous women who come from Hollywood families. Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are two of the top names, and while I don’t want to focus on them, the fact that they are included on the list indicate just how much of a systemic problem this is. They’re from Hollywood elite families. Steven Spielberg is Paltrow’s godfather, for fuck’s sake. And yet, Weinstein felt free to sexually harass them, probably thinking they’d know it was just part of the culture. I had an argument with a friend about the ‘this is just the way we did things in the seventies’ part of Weinstein’s statement. She maintained that it wasn’t OK at that time, either, even if it wasn’t talked about. I said in his industry, it was absolutely OK. It was tacitly condoned, and I would bet overtly in some cases. In other words, there’s a reason Weinsten thought it would be fine to harass Paltrow and Jolie, and it’s from being steeped in the culture.

I saw statements from more than one male star claiming they had no idea and were horrified. (To be fair, I also saw a few female stars, including Meryl Streep, make the same claim, but it was way more men.) It was after I saw the statement by Benedict Cumberbatch that I snapped. I hasten to add it’s not because of Cumberbatch, and I really appreciated that he added the part about zero tolerance going forward, but I have to say, really? Really you had no inkling? Because shit like this is an open secret. So much so, Seth MacFarlane made a joke about it at the 2013 Oscars and everyone laughed. So much so, Jessica Chastain tweeted about how she’d been warned about Weinstein when she first got into the industry. Glenn Close released a statement in which she admitted she’d heard the rumors but dismissed them. She was frank about how toxic the industry is and that she’s angry.

I wrote a series of tweets to Hollywood dudes who want to know what they can do, but I think it can be used by men in general when they want to know how they can help dismantle the mindset behind systemic sexual violence.


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Fixing a Broken Society

It’s been three days since the Las Vegas shooting, and it’s already fading to the background as new atrocities spring up to take its place. Yes, the news is faithfully reporting about it, but there’s not much there, so it’s not dominating the headlines as it once was. I’ve read about the shooter, but there’s not much there. He’s the oldest of four boys, and his father left the family unexpectedly when they were kids. It turns out the father was a bank robber, which was interesting, but not sure it means much of anything. The picture of the killer is a high-stakes gambler. He met his girlfriend while he was gambling and she was working in a casino. The shooter’s brother said his brother was a multimillionaire, but if he liked to gamble, who knows what happened to the money? Another brother said they were all angry when their father left, but the shooter was the least-angry of the four. Then the brother revealed that he hadn’t spoken to the shooter in twenty years, but wouldn’t say why. To me, that negates the ‘least-angry’ claim as the brother doesn’t know what happened to his brother in the last twenty years. The girlfriend claimed not to have known anything, and she told her brother not to panic. The police weren’t aware of the shooter before this, and there are no immediate red flags as to why he did this.

Putting him aside, when I hear about a shooting, I immediately assume a few things. One, the shooter is male. This one is solid as there have been very few mass shootings done by women. Second, that it’s going to be a white man. This one is pretty solid as the vast majority of mass shootings have been done by white men. One notable exception was Elliot Rodger, the…

::has to Google it because there have been so many mass shootings::

Santa Barbara shooter. He was half-Asian, and part of his screed was a healthy dose of internalized racism. He would see white women with full Asian men and grow angry that he couldn’t get a girlfriend because in his mind, he was better than those full-blooded Asian men because he was half-white. The first people he killed were his Asian male roommates (with a knife), and I bet it’s partly because of his internalized racism. He was a PUA (Pick-Up Artist) and an incel (his word. Involuntary celibate), and he was full of rage because he wasn’t getting pussy he thought he so richly deserved.

His race was notable, but his mentality wasn’t. Another thing I think when I hear about a mass shooting is that the shooter will be an angry man who has a history of violence and/or watches a ton of FOX ‘News’ and gets riled up about all the ‘illegals’, ‘hostile blacks’, and ‘angry atheists’. This man is bitter because his life hasn’t gone the way he’s been told it should go, and he knows it’s ‘their’ fault. It doesn’t matter who ‘they’ are. It could be women (it’s women a lot of the time. 54% of mass shootings involve domestic violence, as I noted before); it could be minorities or undocumented immigrants; it could be Jews; it could be just about anyone else. It certainly isn’t their own fault; it can’t be!


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Memories Are Sometimes Best Left Remembered

I’m on a mission to winnow out my mounds of books, and I started weeding through them today. It can be a strange thing to look at a bunch of books that I labeled my favorites and realize that I’ve moved past many of them. There are others that I still think of fondly, but many of them I put in the give away pile. The unofficial ratio seems to be one book kept for every eight or nine I’m giving away. One bad thing about books is that they were made with cheap material back in the day, so they can get moldy or grimy and feel tacky.

Anyway, I was going through a box of books, and I came across a few cards from an ex. I scanned them, and they were filled with billing and cooing, and I felt…nothing. That’s not exactly true. I felt a bit of regret, disgust, and shame. The regret wasn’t that we had broken up, though, but that we had hooked up in the first place. We were both messed up, and we were friends first. We shouldn’t have gotten together, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. In addition, because I was with him, there was a path not taken that I deeply regret. I was musing about it on Twitter last night because, well, sit back and grab a cold beverage. This is going to be unwieldy because that’s the way my brain works.

I was waxing poetic about how Mike Ness from Social Distortion would have terrified the 22-year old me, but that’s he’s insanely hot. It reminded me of a bartender I had met while I lived in the East Bay who looked a lot like Mike Ness with tats and nipple piercings to match. He was one of the hottest guys I’d ever met in my life. We hit it off, and he asked me out. Unfortunately, I was dating the aforementioned ex, and while we were technically open*, we had to talk about it before doing it. I turned the Mike Ness lookalike down with deep regrets, and I was tweeting about how one of my biggest regrets was that I never fucked him. The bartender, I mean. Mike Ness, too, but that was never an option. We probably wouldn’t have lasted, but my god, he was so fucking hot.


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