Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Topical Politics

Pet Peeves and Minor Grievances

back away now.
Do not test me.

I’m still sick and tired, though I think I’m on the mend. I can tell because I’m grumpier than usual, which is the hallmark of me recovering. I’m at my grumpiest when I’m around eighty percent recovered in part because I’m so fucking tired of being sick. It’s also because my sleep starts getting jacked again, which sucks. I hate that I only get decent sleep when I’m sick, and it gets worse as I get better. I’m also fighting off a relapse, which is no fun at all.

When I’m out and about in this state, I have no patience at all for other people. Not that I have much in the first place, but my filters are not as firmly in place, and I have to work harder not to let the frustration show on my face.

I decided to give into my mood and list all my pet peeves and minor irritations/grievances. Most of them are not really worth talking about, but because this is my blog, I’m going to talk about them ad nauseam. It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to. I want to reiterate that I know most of these aren’t a big deal, but they still bug the shit out of me. Yeah, taiji has made me less irritated in general, but there’s still plenty frothing under my skin.

  1. Blocking the aisle in the grocery store. This one enrages me beyond what’s reasonable, but it’s because it’s so needless. How hard is it to see someone standing next to you or behind you and realize they want to get by? I’m someone who’s constantly scanning the environment around her so it’s almost unfathomable to me to not be aware I’m impeding someone’s movement.
  2. Tailgating. This is a bigger deal, and it causes me to clench my teeth every time. It seems to happen more and more often lately, and I think it’s because of texting and forgetting that cars are lethal weapons and not just mobile homes. Also, I attribute the horrible driving in Minnesota as a way to blow off steam from having to be Minnesota Nice in real life. It’s the anonymity, much like trolling online.I try to keep at least three or four car-lengths between me and the car in front of me, but most people don’t bother. I get really antsy when someone behind me is less than a car length behind (especially since my car accident), and I’ve found much to my amusement that if I hard stare in my rearview mirror (even while wearing sunglasses), the person will back off nine out of ten times. The charitable part of me says that they’re just distracted and my staring at them reminds them to follow proper road rules. The nasty part of me wants to just scream at them for being dickheads.

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The Many Faces of Being Done

I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sexual harassment complaints pouring out of Hollywood–and politics as well. The pace seems to have slowed down, but it’s still soul-crushing to realize how many predators there are out there and how much we accept it as a given in our society. I’ve heard the variant of ‘men are dogs’ and ‘that’s just the way men are’. I heartily protest because I’ve known plenty of men not like this, and I think more of men than many men do. In addition, it gives an excuse for the horrible behavior. If we shrug our shoulders and say, “Men are trash,” well, then, there’s nothing we can do about it, is there?

I don’t disagree that men (and women, too!) have biological urges that can be powerful at times. However, I most heartily disagree that men can’t control these urges. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a comely person and thinking, “I’d tap that ass.” I, myself, have done it many times. But because I’m a woman who has been heavily trained that one simpy must not think those thoughts, let alone speak them, I can keep them to myself when it’s inappropriate to share them. I heard an interesting interview on NPR with a transgender man, and one thing that really bothered him was how once he started taking the T (testosterone), he was driven almost cazy with lustfully thoughts. If I remember correctly, he was given two to three times the amount of testosterone of the ‘typical’ man, and it became difficult for him to control his desires. He said he was so conflicted about it because when he was a she and a lesbian, she prided herself on being a feminist of the utmost order. Once the T was coursing through him, if he saw a pretty woman, all he could think about was fucking her.

Even so, he never attacked a woman, which is my point. No matter how powerful are the urges, it is up to the person to control them. I’ve had powerful sexual attractions to the ‘wrong’ person, and I’ve sublimated them, sometimes with great difficulty. The thing is, you have to set firm boundaries with the object of your affection in order you don’t tip over into grossness. I’m wandering far from the intent of this post, though.

When the news about Harvey Weinstein broke, I was completely disgusted, but not entirely surprised. Then, the other perps were revealed at a fast and furious pace. I noticed that I was having a different reaction based on who the perp was, what he did, and how he reacted to being found out. Oh, and also how I originally felt about him.


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The Meaningless of Life in the Time of Cholera

I’m so tired of being sick. I was feeling slightly better yesterday, but I’m exhausted today. My sleep has been slowly getting better over time, but it’s been all over the place while I’ve been sick. One of the only benefits of me being sick is that I sleep for extended periods of time. It’s the only time my body allows itself to completely let go, which, yay for sleep, but boo because it’s when I’m too sick to enjoy it. The other side effect, however, is that on some days, I’m back to sleeping as little as I used to. The difference is that I’m not young enough to coast on four or five hours of sleep any longer. I can survive on five, but it’s hanging on by my nails survival.

I’ve scaled way back from politics because it seems hopeless to me, and it’s displaying America’s worst traits in all their glory. Egotism, confirmation bias, nationalism, willful ignorance, fame fucking, striated classes, boastfulness, all the isms, and just–yeah. It’d be difficult to deal with at any time, but especially right after President Barack Obama, who has been the best president of my lifetime. He represented the best of America, all that we aspire to be, and to go from him to our current president?

Ugh. It’s more lemon honey ginger tea and Poirot while snuggling with Shadow on the couch. That’s all my little grey cells can handle right now.

The Politics of Art

So, I love to write. A lot. Prolifically. Garrulous. It’s the equivalent to a chatterbox who cannot keep her mouth shut. I can’t keep my fingers from banging away at my keyboard, and I have many broken keyboards to prove it. In fact, this one (on my laptop) is on its last legs, and I should replace it pretty soon. The problem is, people are reading less and less. Rather, they’re reading less of actual longform pieces and novels. I’m old woman shaking my fist at the clouds, but I also acknowledge that it’s probably not going backwards any time soon.

What’s the new big thing? Videos. Streaming. It’s all the rage with the kids these days, an it’s something I’ve thought about doing myself. The problem is, first of all, I hate the way I look on camera. Now, of course, I could stream a game without face-cam, but from what I’ve seen, you get more views with the face-cam on, especially as a woman. Which, therein, is my second issue. The world of video games is still a man’s world with a very bro-y culture. I don’t watch streams on Twitch (except Ian’s! twitch.tv/eenbou) because the chats are fucking toxic. I don’t use that word lightly, but it’s sadly true. Anything over ten viewers, and it’s ‘fuckbois’, ‘faggot’, and ‘i’d fuck that ass’ all the damn time. There’s a streamer I did watch occasionally when he wasn’t too big yet, and I already felt not included by dint of being a woman in my forties. I watched a vod of a recent stream, and he’d changed from being low-key and lovable to low-key and ‘fuckbois’, and it really disappointed me. I’m not naming  him because it’s not him–it’s the ethos of chat. I’m stil working on my Theory of Dudes in which the more dudes you have in one place, the grosser the culture becomes.

Anyway, I watched a podcast with four female streamers, and they were emphatic about not being just boob jigglers, but one of them is known for that, and another is known for being bro-y in her chat. They were all young and conventionally pretty, which is another double standard for women who stream. Dudes can be any age, shape, size, or look, but the women have to be young, not fat, and hot. In addition, most of the female streamers are even bro-y-er than their male counterparts as a way to overcompensate. It’s the same with streamers girlfriends/wives. They put down women, make sexual innuendos, and are pretty jerky. They also feed into the stereotypes of the nagging wife, which is annoying as hell as well.


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Holding Steady is Better Than Relapsing, I Guess

I don’t like being sick for many reasons, some obvious, some not. The actual sickness, the lack of energy, the no motivation to do anything–all of these things are pretty obvious. The worst part, though, is that I become incredibly selfish when I’m sick. My whole life falls away, and all I can think about is how miserable I am. When I am at my lowest (most sick), all I do is the basics, and sometimes, not even that. Hm. Once I write it out, it reminds me of when I was depressed. I’ll have to think about that some more, but at any rate. needless to say, it sucks.

I’m holding steady from yesterday, which is better than feeling worse, I guess. Still tired and exhausted, and that’s another thing I hate about being sick–it’s fucking boring. You can probably tell I’m really grumpy right now. Ugh. But, hey, Alabama didn’t elect an asshole who preys on teenage girls, so win??? Republicans really are showing their asses right now. They rather elect a sexual predator–and by the way, that’s not a pedophile. I don’t know when this started to change, but it’s really annoying. A pedophile is attracted to prepubescent child, but it’s slowly morphing into someone who likes teenagers. I have a big problem with that, but even news sources are using it that way, so I think the ship has sailed on that one. Anyway, it’s still gross and disgusting that Republicans would rather vote for a man who had been banned from a shopping mall for pestering the teenage girls there too much than a Democrat. Family values, indeed!

Anyway, here is Sir Mix-A-Lot with the Seattle Symphony doing ‘Baby Got Back’. Dance like you’re the woman in the front row with the black dress on.

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 Jamaica. 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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