Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Personal Life

A mishmash of ideas floating in my brain

I’m hot and swollen and just done with it all. In the last two months, we’ve had several weeks of 90+ temps, and a solid week of ‘feels like’ 102 and above. Yes, we get some 90 and 100 degree, but not like this. normally, I use my air three or four times a summer–it’s been putting in work this year. I’ also have my personal fan going on high 24/7 and drink tons of cold beverages. I’m wearing a tank top and shorts, and I’m STILL hot. To me, 65 is when it starts to get unpleasant for me and 90 is untenable. 100 and above? That just hurts my feelings.

Here’s the thing about the heat–it makes me very sleepy. However, I can’t actually sleep in the heat so I’m getting less sleep than usual. Then I spend the whole day being groggy and working at half-productivity. It’s a vicious cycle because no amount of cold can change the actual temperature outside. And, look, I realize that I’m very lucky. I have a house. I have air. I don’t have to be out in the heat. I don’t do physical labor. And still I hate the heat so much.

In addition, I have a multitude of swollen mosquito bites that are making me miserable. I am allergic* to them and they swell up, lasting for days if not weeks. They are tender to the touch and can sometimes be unbearably itchy. I try not to scratch them as it just makes it worse, but sometimes, nothing can stop that itch.

Pairing the heat with the mosquito bites means that I’m miserable. The temperature is currently climbing and is ‘feels like’ 94. It saps my energy and my will to do anything. Writing, my bread and butter, is interspersed with my bitterness at being miserable. The pandemic has been hell on my concentration and I don’t know when I’ll get my focus back. I am still able to get shit done, but it takes three times the mental energy.

I’m also mad about the pandemic itself. I can’t help thinking it didn’t have to reach this point, but that would have entailed changing the entire fabric of our society. It would mean we needed to have put our collective foot down years ago when the Republicans started going off the rails about science and not pretended that their viewpoint was equally valid. We’d actually need to go even further back and value education again, but I’m not getting into those weeds. Needless to say, it’s frustrating as hell to see all these people blithely ignoring science because of their feels, and what’s even worse, not learning a lesson from it.


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Running in place

Ian and  I recently talked about a thing in video games that is annoying. This is in games that are continuous, such as Destiny 2 or any other ‘game as service’ game. There is a thing that when the season ends and a new season begins, all the caps are reset and you basically have to start over again. Not exactly, but it’s close enough. I felt that way with Monster Hunter World. I took it to surprisingly and poured hundreds of hours into it. I really liked it until the Tempered Elder Dragons and quit cold turkey. Then, Iceborne, the DLC came out. I was hyped, but it was only on consoles at first. I want to say just PS4, but I’m too lazy to look it–ok, it’s both PS4 and Xbox One. I had to look it up because that’s my nature. The internet has been a boon, but it’s also been a curse. In the olden days, if I didn’t know something, I just had to deal with it. Now, I can look it up whenever I want. It’s almost a compulsion, but a benign one.

The basic armor you are given in Iceborne is better than anything I had crafted in the entire base game. Same with the base weapon. I know why they did it–because they wanted the newbies to be able to try the new content without having to grind in the base game. Truly, I understand. From a business standpoint, they want as little obstacle to entrance as possible. If newbies had to play hundreds of hours in order to even get to Iceborne, well, then it would be Dark Souls. So I can’t blame Capcom for doing that. However, it was deflating as fuck to get that good shit and realize that my time in the base game was all for naught.

I know that’s not the case. I know that the enjoyment I got from the base game is something in and of itself. But, it still left a sour taste in my mouth and I could never really get into Iceborne. Part of that was because it so much harder than the base game (which was another reason for the better gear), but it was also because it felt like those hundreds of hours I put into the base game were for nothing. N00bs who were playing for the first time had the same equipment as I did, so why even bother? If I had just picked up the game as a whole, I could have cruised through the entire game on easy mode. Again, I realize that the experiences I had with the game wouldn’t have been the same and would probably have been trivialized, but it’s hard not to feel bitter.

It’s the same struggle I have with taiji. My teacher’s teacher is changing things up, especially with the Solo Forms. I’ve explained this before, but we used to do the Long Form by Master Liang. Which I hated. Then, he developed the Medium Form based on movements by Master Choi. He decided the Medium Form was going to be the main form so my teacher put the long form aside and began teaching us the Medium Form. Her teacher also developed the Fast Form, which was based on the Medium Form and she started teaching that to us as well.


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I’m as cold as ice

It’s 69 degrees (nice) and I’m a happy clam. It’s still outside my comfort zone, but after two weeks of over a hundred, I’ll take it. Being outside didn’t make me want to claw my own face off and I could actually feel a nice breeze. I fucking hate summer. We get a hundred day here and there, but nothing like the last two weeks. Even with air con, a fan blowing high, ice water, ice packs, and as little clothing as possible, it’s miserable. I can’t think in the heat–it feels as if my brain is frying. It makes me snappish, irritated, and unable to concentrate.

Even though the weather is much more tolerable, it’s still not fun for me. I’m fine with 20-50 degrees, but I prefer it under that, honestly. Down to zero is nice and then it’s a bit nippy when it gets to sub-zero temps. I talked to Kat Friday night and we reminisced about how back when we used to go out, we’d have such a different reaction to the weather. She’s a Florida gal and revels in the heat. When we went out in the summer, I would be whining and moaning about the heat, barely able to move while she would be flitting around, clearly in her element. In the winter, however, the shoe was on the other foot. She would be hunching over, shivering, demanding to know why my spine wasn’t scrunching up. I, on the other hand, would be in my element and loving it.

As I grow older, my ability to deal with cold gets less attuned*, but my ability to deal with heat hasn’t gotten better at all. If anything, it’s gotten worse. I would love to live in a place where the weather never rose about 50 degrees.

Let’s talk demos. Still trying them out and I really dig it. I can play a game for ten minutes or an hour and not have to commit to it. During the Steam Next Fest, there are so many demos! This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because I can try out any game that catches my eye without plunking down money for it. It’s bad because, well, there are so many bad games out there. That ain’t throwing shade at video games because that’s the case with, well, everything. 98% of pop culture is pure crap. That’s just the way it goes.


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Life is (not) like

E3 is going on right after Summer Game Fest and so far, I have been less than underwhelmed. On Thursday, I suffered through two hours before finally getting Elden Ring. There was one or two other games that sparked an interest, but for the most part, I got gloomier and gloomier because I started thinking there would be no Elden Ring. Plus, there was just so much filler. So. Much. Filler. Then, there was the Ubi conference and there was nothing there for me. Nothing at all. Granted, Eurogamer didn’t find much to get excited about, either, in part because it was all trash.

Here’s the thing. I came to the realization a few years back that I don’t really like video games. Wait. Let me expand that. I don’t like most of pop culture in general. I never watch movies–well, rarely, which is why I’m still salty about how much I hated Knives Out. My one movie last year and I was excited to see it and it sucked so much–and I rarely watch TV. When I do, it’s reality competition shows with contestants who are nice to each other.

My point is that it’s not specific to vide games–it’s just me. I don’t like most of what other people like and most of the time, I’m fine with it. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult because I don’t want to be the joykiller when other people are squealing over something I could not give two shits about. It could be Game of Thrones or the endless Avengers movies or Gone Girl, either the movie or the book. I’ve long since accepted that I am an outlier, but it wears on me.

Not only is it pop culture, it’s just me in general. I’ve listed it all before, but here are the ways I’m different than everyone else: Not married; not cohabitating; no children; agnostic; the list goes on. I’m a freak and I know it. I was able to realize and accept it for most of pop culture so I don’t know why it took so long to do the same for video games. I think it’s partly because the first game Ian suggested to me, Torchlight, I enjoyed immensely. I adored the protag because she could be Asian if you squinted. Then, he suggested Diablo III and once the disaster of launch day was fixed, it was lots of fun. Then, Borderlands 1 and 2, which I played back-to-back for over a hundred hours–each? Maybe? I dunno. It’s been a hot minute.

Then, it was Dark Souls, Dark Souls II (SotFS), Dark Souls III, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. On the indie side, Cook, Serve, Delicious! (All three), Binding of Isaac (all iterations, I guess, but mostly Rebirth), Spiritfarer, Hades, and Cozy Grove.


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Fat, health, and what lies between

I want to lose weight. I got weighed at the doctor’s office and yeah not happy with the number. Even though the rest of the numbers are fine. It doesn’t help that the doctor, much like most doctors, is focused on that one number to the exclusion of the other numbers. I know I’ve been steadily gaining weight in the past several years, even when giving up gluten and dairy. Part of the problem is that many of the substitutes for dairy are full of fat themselves–which I didn’t really think about but was reminded of this week.

I will be painfully honest. I could say that I’m concerned about my weight for health reasons, but it’s not true. It’s all about looks and the fact that as much as I’ve become neutral about being fat, I still would prefer not to be. I know that it sounds like I’m splitting hairs, but it really is a different mindset.

Side Note: It’s similar to when I took the depression survey. I garnered a total of twelve and anything over six is considered worrisome. However, I was sure that I scored fifteen to twenty before (which my doctor ignored), which meant that I was in a much better place than before. That meant nothing to the doctor as she was focused on the 12. I understand from her point of view, but she didn’t even try to see it from mine.

It’s the same with my body. I used to hate it with the heat of a thousand suns. I worked on deescalating that hatred for many years and now I’m mostly neutral about it. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it the way I once did. I don’t actively want to beat it into submission, for example. Because of taiji weapons, I now like my biceps and my ass. That’s an improvement.

Goddamn it. It’s too hot and I’m wilting like a delicate flower. It’s been 90 to 110 in the past few days, which is way out of my comfort zone.

The heat is getting to me

It’s been hot lately. Like nearly 90 degrees hot. That’s not my jam at all and I just want to snooze. I can’t get my shit together today so here’s a video of Asian teen girls/Latinas screaming against the patriarchy in a public library. Here’s the story in NPR. I give to you The Linda Lindas singing Racist, Sexist Boy. I love everything about this. Rock on, girls!

The quiet place of me

I have talked at length about how I’m different than most people. I’m talking in big ways–Asian, bi, not married, no children, agnostic, food issues, etc.–and small–liking winter, preferring night to day, etc. When it comes to pop culture, it’s pretty much a guarantee that if something is popular, I will hate it. Movies I hate: Star Wars, Titanic, Amelie, Se7en, and Pulp Fiction. Music groups: The Who, Led Zepplin, and The Beatles. Books turned into movies I tried to read and couldn’t: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I read the first chapter of the first one three times before finally giving up because it was such bad prose. As for the latter, I instantly haaaaaaaaated the narrator and couldn’t get past it. Oh, one more. The first Game of Thrones book by George R. R. Martin. The prose was so purple and turgid, I had a hard time not laughing out loud. A few more: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin.

Let’s move onto TV. It’s the area in which I am the weirdest. It’s also something I don’t talk about hardly at all because I’m so squarely on the side of weird. Popular TV shows I absolutely hate: Seinfeld; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Game of Thrones*; Breaking Bad; House of Cards; Arrested Development. I will add that I’ve only seen one episode of GoT and BB so there’s that. The GoT one was the Red Wedding and the BB one was the penultimate episode. I absolutely LOATHE Seinfeld. All the characters are narcissistic, smug, entitled, whiny, and overwhelmingly white.

Speaking of, the most recent movie I watched was Knives Out. I was really looking forward to it because it had gotten such great acclaim and I loved Agatha Christie, especially Poirot; it was clear the movie was an homage of sorts to Christie. The cast was stellar, ranging from Jamie Lee Curtis to Toni Colette to Don Johnson. Oh, and Daniel Craig as the detective. I wasn’t impressed by the frenetic cut-editing of the trailer, but I figured it was just a way to get people to see the movie.


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In an alternate lifetime

I am a weirdo and I know it. Most of the time, I’m fine with it. More than being fine with it, I’m happy that I’m not part of polite society. I make it easier on myself by only being friends with fellow weirdos (though some pass better that I do) so I don’t really think about it on the daily. Sometimes when I talk to my brother because he’s definitely more mainline than I am, but he’s starting to skew more towards weird the older he gets.

A week ago or so, I was talking to my BFF. Somehow, we started talking about kids and school. Probably because she’s a teacher and has a teenager of her own. She got her first jab and will be getting her second this week. Yay! I’m so happy for her. I’m not eligible because most of my issues are not documented. And, they’re not as serious as many people’s. I mean, yes, having bronchitis for six months is no fun, but it’s not life-threatening, either. That’s sums up my myriad of health issues. None of them are terrible in and of themselves, but they could lead to something worse and the sum is worse than the individual parts.

For example. Having a cold or bronchitis for months is not a big deal in and of itself. Constantly getting them, though, is an indication that I have a really shitty autoimmune system. Nothing too serious, I don’t think. I’ve never had a doctor voice concern about it, but there could be several reasons for that. Oh! My thyroid issue is a big deal, but that’s mostly taken care of. Migraines? I consider myself fortunate that a full-blown migraine is rare for me and when it does happen, it just puts me out of commission for one day and most of the next. And, by out of commission, I mean weakened, exhausted, extra-sensitive to stimuli (I’m already sensitive to stimuli in my day-to-day life), and being fragile. The second day after the migraine, I’m about 80% back to normal. Given the descriptions I’ve heard/read about how terrible some people’s migraines are, yes, I consider myself lucky. Also, if I catch one in time, I’m just stuck with a low-level headache, slight nausea, and hurting eyes for the day.

When the pandemic started, I knew that if I got Covid-19, it would most likely hit me really hard given how badly my body does with regular colds. The last time I got the flu shot, I was out of commission for three days afterwards. Yes, I know it wasn’t the flu, but it sure felt like hell, anyway. I will be getting the vaccine for Covid-19 when I’m allowed, but I anticipate having a bad reaction to it, especially the second dose.

Where was I? Oh, right. So my BFF and I talked about how for most of her kids, the pandemic has sucked school-wise, but for a minority of them, they have thrived doing online schooling only. I said I felt similarly. Because of my PTSD, I am aces in a crisis. It’s only the imminent threat has passed that I fall apart. For the pandemic, that meant around month four or five. I went from being calm and focused to being incandescent with rage. For two or three months, I was furious. Some of it was reasonable, but some of it was just generalized anger at the world around me. Two things I regret most about last year (other than the pandemic itself, of course) were my missed trips to see my two best friends. I’m hoping to see both of them in 2022, but it’s still hard to swallow.

While my BFF and I were talking about school and neurodiversity, I mentioned that I wished there had been more known about neurodiversity when I had been a kid. I would definitely have preferred online school to in-person school for several reasons and would have love the current situation from a school point of view. If I were to go back to school, it would be online with me doing most of the heavy work by myself at home.


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Not my mother’s daughter

One thing my mother does that irritates me is endlessly complaining about her various injuries/pains. Not the complaining in and of itself because I know how wearing chronic issues can be. No, the annoying part is that a lot of it is self-inflicted. My mother is a very busy person and refuses to cut down on anything. Plus she’s an anxious person who is constantly looking for something that’s going wrong and is ruled by her anxiety. I get the latter thing because I’m like that, too. The only difference is that I keep it mostly to myself whereas she emotionally vomits all over about it to me.

She’ll tell me about this or that injury and most of the time, it’s because she’s trying to do five things at once, her anxiety makes her radically change what she was about to do, or she’s rushing from one place to another. I tried to tell her Master Liang’s mantra of ‘no hurry, no worry’ and how it was better to do something slowly and with intention (and it actually saved time in the long run). I could empathize with her because I tend to try to do ten things at one time, especially if it’s carrying things from one area to another. I have several burns because of this as I tried to carry my coffee/tea mug in the crook of my elbow. It’s a travel mug, yes, but there’s still an opening so I can drink from it.

The next time I talked to my mom, she proudly announced that she and my father had modified the saying to ‘no hurry, no going too slow.’ I didn’t say anything, but I rolled my eyes at her. Don’t worry, she couldn’t see because we were talking on the phone. That completely missed the point of the saying, but I knew why she did it. It was her fear of not getting everything done, of missing something important, and of being lazy. She’s driven to be the one to count on and in doing everything. I understand that. But, what I was trying to drive home to her was that if you took your time and did something properly the first time, you actually saved time in the long run. And pain.


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On the contrary; life as a contrarian

I’m a contrarian. I know this and to some extent, I embrace it. I swear to the heavens that it’s not out of spite or because I think I’m better than anyone else, but it’s just how my brain works. I tend to look at something from several angles and poking holes in theories. I will say that part of it is me always rooting for the underdog, which means I want to represent the minority viewpoint more often than not. It’s also because I hate things being misrepresented. It’s one reason I had to step back from politics because of the in-fighting. I expect Republicans to attack Dems, but it’s Dems viciously tearing each other apart that drives me fucking nuts. It’s always been that way, but it started getting really bad during the 2016 primaries and it has just gotten worse over time.

I am a far leftie in theory and a not-quite-as-far leftie in practice. That means I get to see the ugly on both sides. It really irks me that some Democrats online spend more time slinging arrows at each other than across the bow. What is the fucking point? I’m not talking about discussing the differences and hashing out what’s important to the party. I’m talking about demonizing the other side and declaring them the enemy. Seriously. We’re talking about degrees of how far we should go on an issue rather than being on opposite sides. It’s frustrating and irritating, and I want no part of it.

However, this post isn’t about me being a contrarian about ideas and politics and whatnot, but rather about me being contrarian when it comes to pop culture.  Now, while it’s true that in the aforementioned instances, there is often a small part of pure contrarian because that’s who I am. It’s 95% not that, but maybe 5% that. In this case, though, it’s simply I don’t like what other people like. I know some people think it’s me being hip or whatever, but it truly isn’t.

A recent(ish) example is Knives Out. It was a huge success and it got raved about over and over again. So many superlatives, so little time. It was an ensemble cast with a quirky detective, which should have been right up my alley. I watched the trailer and was…not impressed. Everyone talked about how great Daniel Craig was, but I could not get past how terrible his accent was. Maybe it was purposeful? I mean, he’s a great actor so I cannot imagine he couldn’t do a spot-on accent. Also, he appears clueless, but it had to be an act, right? Like Poirot.


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