Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rigid routine–until Saturday

So I have a daily martial arts routine. I used to call it my Taiji routine, but I have added Bagua to it so ‘martial arts’ routine or ‘internal martial arts’ routine is more apt.

I have evolved it to the point where it’s an hour long (if I don’t stop and scroll on my phone, which I actually do). If I get caught up browsing online, it can stretch to two hours.

Anyway, it goes like this. As Shadow begrudgingly eats his breakfast (or scarfs it down. Never anywhere in the middle), I start doing the arm stretches. It can take Shadow up to a half hour to eat a meal, so I can do all the stretches during that time. Arm, leg, waist, and more. Then, after Shadow finishes his brekkie, I can do the rest of the routine–which is the weapons. Oh, I also do the Bagua while he’s eating unless I’m walking the circle with the DeerHorn Knives. That takes a lot of space, which my kitchen does not have.

My weapons forms schedule is a bit more elaborate. It goes like this. Every day, I do the Fan Form, the Sword Wu-Li (dancing) Form, a row or two of the Cane Form (both sides), staff/spear drills, and the Double Saber Form. Then, on Monday, I do the Saber Form (both sides). Sword Form (right) on Tuesday. Wednesday used to be the day I did the whole Cane Form (both sides), but I’m trying to break it down a bit more to polish it. Thursday is the /egn side of the Sword Form , and Friday is the Karambit Form. The what? The Karambit Form, which is not either Taiji nor Bagua. I’ll get to Saturday in a second.

I also do the weight set on Tuesday and Friday. It’s three simple movements of a freeweight on each side. My teacher said that I only needed to use an eight-pound weight, but I’ve moved up to ten-pound weights. I have a twelve-pound, fifteen-pound, and twenty-pound, too. I gave one of each to my brother’s ex-wife (back when they were married), so I only have one of each left.

Let’s talk Saturday. That is the day I have a class. I want to add another one this year. I would like to go in person, but I’m not sure my body can handle it. My immune system is shitty, and I do not want to get walking (non-Covid-related) pneumonia again.

Anyway. Saturday. It’s the day I’ve decided I can do whatever I want with my weapons. Here’s the thing. I am very rigid in my sechduling. I like to do things in the same order at the same time, etc. But there’s another part of me that just wants to do what I want to do whenever I want to do it. That’s the part of me that I indulge on Saturday. It’s because I have class so I’ll be doing all the warmups/stretches I do on the regular. So on Saturday, I don’t do the stretches and just groove withthe weapons. It’s a nice release, honestly.


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Lords of the Fallen–where the frustration lies

I wrote my first impressions about Lords of the Fallen (HexWorks/CI Games) in my last post. I said after playing up and through the first boss, I would hesitantly give the game a 7 out of 10. I also mentioned that the reviews have been very disparate. And, I agree with almost everything everyone has said. Both negative and positive. I have managed to go up and through the second boss (not that big a deal). The second boss is right next to the first, really. You can do other stuff before that, but you can also just go the the second boss.

She’s in the church next to the hub. She’s called

*SPOILER*

Scourged Sister Delyth. And she’s….ah…I have no idea what’s her deal. Yes there is a remembrance about her, but it’s very vague. And I ran into an NPC who muttered a few vague threats. And there are all the praying people around, but other than that, she’s just a woman with a flail that can be radiant. Oh, and if you figth her in a certain area, she has a shield. Which means you have to find her parasite in the umbral realm and soulflay it before you can fight her–or draw her to the front of the church where she’s not protected by it.

In addition, the arena is weirdly-shaped. This is an issue I’ve had with much of the game. It is way too easy to get caught on a corner or not be able to see the enemy. And not just because the devs LOVE a hidden enemy.

By the way, this is another wrong lesson so many devs of soulslikes have taken from the FromSoft games–hidden enemies do NOT make the game difficult in a good way. In this section of the game, there is a kind of enemy whose first attack is a push. And they like to put him hidden behind a box so that when you walk by him, he pushes you off a cliff.

This happens in Dark Souls III in The Ringed City DLC, and it’s just as infuriating then. That whole opening bit of this area is harder than it needs to be. I actually cried when I reached this bonfire (after a tough boss fight) and was immediately invaded. Ok, that’s speaking to the difficulty of the previous area, but still. This particular section was brutal. I’m talking about Dark Souls III, by the way. Still my favorite game ever, now tied with Elden Ring.

Back to Lords of the Fallen! I had seen Dave from Playstation Access (video included below) do the section I’m in. That helped a lot Well, it comforted me the nth time I missed a jump on the swinging platforms. I did much worse than Dave did, but at least I didn’t have to wear a red dunce cap with someone adding N-O-O-B to it.


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The downsides to being the outlier

I like being a weirdo for the most part. It doesn’t bother me except when it comes to health issues. I’m allergic to everything and have a bad reaction to everything else. Yes, I know that’s not possible, but roll with me on it. I know that I’m going to have an outsized reaction to everything from allergies to bug bites to medication. I just accept that if it takes most people a few days to get over things, it’ll take me a week.

Which is fine and dandy, but the issue is that when something out-of-the-norm happens, I tend to think it’s normal for me. For example, I got a yellow jacket sting a week ago today. It swelled up and got red and stayed that way for a few days. Fine. I cleaned it out and iced it, and I assumed it’d be fine in a  week or so. Everything I read said that it should be ok within a day or two. I dismissed that because I knew it wasn’t true. My Taiji teacher’s husband had severe reactions to wasp stings in which everything around it would swell up like a balloon. He took Benadryl which helped, and the swellen would slowly decrease over a week. Same with her own bites.

So, yeah, I wasn’t worried when the swelling and redness didn’t disappear in two days. It was going down, albeit slowly, and I figured it would be fine in a week or so. I will admit I scratched at it a bit, which is not a good thing. Obviously, but it was so itchy. I did my best, but I gave in to the impulse to scratch now and again.

Yesterday, I woke up and it was swollen and red again. I wasn’t feeling great, but it wasn’t anything obvious like wanting to vomit or diarrhea. Plus, my finger didn’t actually hurt. I slathered antibiotic cream on it and anti-itch lotion. I talked about it with a few people, and they were like, you could get it looked at. Neither were too concerned, and neither was I.

Today, however, I woke up and it was angry red, stiff, and swollen. I had a hard time bending it. It still didn’t hurt, but I was worried. I called my doctor’s office and talked to a nurse. She had me describe it to her. She wanted me to take a pic, but then corrected herself. She said because of how large the red section was (from above the second knuckle to an inch or so on the back of my hand), I should come in today if possible. She mentioned cellulitis, which is an infection. Which was mentioned in the research I had done, but just glancing.

I had been worried about an allergic reaction, but I knew that was immediate. I didn’t think about that it could be infected, but once she mentioned it, it was so obvious. I got an appointementt for today (with the doctor I had left, but I can’t be choosy because i need it to be seen).


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My body rocks

I’m really feeling myself today. I don’t know why. I mean, in general, I’ve upped the self-positivity by 1000%, but today, it’s sky-high. I’m feeling my biceps, literally, loving how hard and bulgy they are. I’m thicc with two cs, but also with a ck. I’ve had muscular thighs and calves my whole life. I’ve always been self-conscious about it, but now, i’m all about it.

The last guy I dated got angry because I had bigger biceps than he did. That was indicative of many things wrong with him, but it also shows the rampant misogyny in Western culture (there is misogyny in Eastern culture, too, but it manifests slighly differently).

I spent so much of my life trying to make myself smaller. That was the first thirty years of my life. Trying to diet myself into non-existence. I was a size 0 at one point, and that wasn’t enough for me. It didn’t help that my BMI at that time had me on the edge of overweight (within five pounds). I say this to emphasize what hot garbage BMI is an a personal assessment tool. And it’s so damn  common in Western society.

Fuck all that noise. I admit. I was feeling a bit down yesterday about my weight. Hey, I live in this deeply fatphobic society. I have been weight-shamed before. It’s sadly a fact of life in this society. And it’s working so well, obviously, as Americans are heavier than ever. Because we know that shaming people is the way to get them to do what you want them to do. It worked on me!

That’s sarcasm, in case you can’t tell. It did actually work on me for a while because shame is what drove me deep into anorexia with a side helping of bulimia! Twice! Shame is what made me hate myself and wish I were dead because I thought I was grotesque and ugly, that no man (at that point) would ever want a disgusting piece of garbage like me.

It didn’t help me that I was Asian, too. Because they are not shy about telling you how fat you are. Weight is not verboten, and women are supposed to take up no space. So, yeah. I got it on all side. My mom put me on my first diet when I was seven, but also gave me contradicting messages. I was fat and needed to lose weight, but I also had to finish everything on my plate because starving kids in Africa.

By the way. I still don’t get how that is applicable to what an American kid is eating for dinner. If the American kid doesn’t eat her Brussels sprouts, it’s not as if they can mail the sprouts to Africa. Also by the way, I didn’t learn to like veggies until I realized that boilng the hell out of them was not the way to cook them.


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More on Ravenswatch by Passtech Games

In the last post, I gave my quick impressions on the game Ravenswatch by Passtech Games. I also updated on my onebro run in which I’m only doing it for fun. As soon as I stop having fun, I’m done. I talked about my apprehension fighting the Capra Demon because of the ridiclously tiny fighting arena and the two doggos who do bleed. Normally, my way of dealing with him is to run past him and up the stairs if I’m not blocked by the dogs. Then, kill the dogs as quickly as possibly before magicking the Capra Demon to death.

I was concerned this time because I hadn’t leveled, so I didn’t know if I’d have enough stamina to do all that. I did have the Grass Crest Shield, which is the stamina regen shield. It only blocks 95% physical. It works even if you put it on your back, and it’s the go-to shield if you can’t level up. At least it should be.

This shield is in an area that most people won’t go to in the beginning ,but you can get there fairly early. I got the shortcut unlocked, which meant I had access to the Flink Shrine and ten Estus Flask sips. I’m still wearing the pyromancer togs, which is one of tthe lightest armor set in the game. I’m contemplating getting the Havel ring in order to wear heavier armor, but I don’t want to deal with him yet.

I had a bit of trouble with the ninjas because I usually just get them from afar. For whatever reasons, they were on me more quickly this time (probably because my endurance is crap), and I ran back in order to find the end of their leash and then cheese them in that way. I think they got me once, but I made it through the second time round. I opened the shortcut and then went to face the Capra Demon.

I bought 98 Firebombs beforehand (you can hold 99 at a time and I picked one up on the way). I had a long bow from a pickup, and while I could not use it, I only wanted it ofro the crosshairs. I got to the Capra Demon with nine Estus sips ready to go. I decided to try it once before resorting to the Firebomb cheese. I took a deep breath and traversed the white light. I had my shield up and raced to the left. Much to my surprise, I got up the stairs and quickly dispensed of the dogs. I had 60 of the basic Soul Arrows because I saved the sorcerer, and once the doggos were gone, I just followed my usual M.O. of spelling the Capra Demon from afar from the ledge as he slowly comes towards me. Then, when he gets up the stairs, I hug the wall next to me with my shield up, take the hit as he jumps down and swings at me with his two massive cleavers, and then heal up before spelling him again.

I didn’t even come close to running out of Soul Arrows, and it was a one-and-done for me. Now, I have 99 Firebombs that I don’t need (one of my RKG buddies called them Minnatov cocktails, which I loved), but I’m sure Ican find a use for them. Next up is the Depths and saving my boy, Laurentius, so I can upgrade my pyro flame. Plus get the Large Ember so I can upgrade my Battle Axe to +10.


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I said the quiet part out loud

Two posts ago, I wrote about how I knew I would be a terrible mother. It’s funny how people freak out when you say that out loud as a female-shaped person. It’s the same when I matter-of-factly state that I’m fat–that really makes some people uncomfortable. The latter is because ‘fat’ has become such a pejorative word. It’s a clinical one to me, stripped of any judgment. I have pockets of adipose on my body. That’s it. That’s all. It should not be a moral statement, but in our country, it most definitely is.

Similarly, when I say that I would have been a terrible mother, that’s not a moral judgmement. That is a shrewd self-assessment that prevented me from making the biggest mistake of my life. I cannot tell you how much horror I have in my heart at the idea of having children. Like, butt-clenching, gut-churning fear. I was once arguing about abortion with a so-called liberal Catholic man who insisted that women had to be punished for having sex outside the marriage by being forced to carry a pregnancy to fruition.

Of course he did not phrase it that way, but that was what he meant. He talked about consequences of your actions, but he meant punishment. Because it boiled down to how dare those slutty McSluttersons have all that slutty, slutty sex and not feel ashamed of it at all? He likened it to breaking your leg while skiing and that while you may not have meant for it to happen, you had to deal with it, anyway. Which, I mean, yes. Because your leg is fucking broken. You can’t do anything about that except have it taken care of. Put in a cast and whatnot. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen or magically make it not happen. But, when you get pregnant, you CAN take care of it by having an abortion. That’s a consequence in and of itself! An abortion from what I’ve read and heard is not an easy thing. Emotionally or physically. It’s not, as I’ve written before, just like deciding to drive through the McDonald’s and get yourself an abortion to go.

Even if it was, by the way, it would still be the pregnant person’s decision to make. That’s something I dislike from the Democrats. Emphasizing that it’s the last resort. It doesn’t have to be! If I ever got pregnant, it would have been my first resort. Without a second thought. I would book it as fast as I could and feel nothing but relief at getting it taken care of.

I pressed the ‘liberal’ Catholic on his desire to punish women for having sexy sex. He was uncomfortable with my argument, but I didn’t care. His religion was not mine, so I did not appreciate him using it to strip me of my rights, especially as he was a dude. He would never have to deal with the consequences himself so it was easy for him to say that pregnant people should not be able to have abortions.

Side note: I once had a boyfriend who stated that he wanted me to have the child if I got pregnant. He had an ex who had an abortion and became severely depressed afterwards. It caused them to break up, which was sad, yes, but I did not see what that had to do with me. He was convinced that it was her getting an abortion that caused the relationship to break up.

Becoming unhinged


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Accepting additional info with ease

People talk about how difficult it is to adjust to the new pronouns of someone they’ve known and love for quite some time. For some reason, I do not have this problem. When gender identity started becoming more talked about as a social issue, I struggled with ‘they’ in the singular. When I changed my thinking to ‘Wait. I use ‘they’ in the singular when it’s a generic person, then it was no longer an issue for me. In other words, when I realized I already used they in the singual, I hod no problem accepting it as a singular pronoun.

And, yes, I kow it used to be one. That is an argument that is proffered frequently, but I don’t find it that persuasive because there are many things that used to be standard that we no longer use. Such as thou and thee. For me, personally, knowing that we currently use they in the singular is a better rationale to me. The other reason that resonated with me was that it’s what people want to be called. I can dig that.

I also had difficulty with neopronouns. I will admit that I’m not as comfortable with those, but that’ss a me-problem. In part, it’s the purpose of pronouns. There is a reason for a set amount of pronouns. They are meant to be stand-ins and not personally applicable to each individual. But, I do agree that he and she is way too limiting. Personally, Idon’t like they for myself, and I have no affinity for the rest of them. I will say that ey/em/eir are the closest to ones that I actually identify with, but it’s more an intellectual connection than a personal one. Honestly, call me any of them other than he/him, and we’re good.

It’s easy for me, though. I rarely slip up, and I also think it’s because I’m in so many ‘other’ categories. I’m not black or white–I’m Asian. Not gay or straight, but bi (or pan, I guess, but I really don’t like that. I tried to just leave it at ‘queer’, but people think that means gay). I have been trying to get away from bi for years, but there really isn’t anything else that I like.

When It comes to religion, I’m not Christian and I’m not an atheist. I am areligious, meaning I don’t care. I like using apathetic for religion, but it’s more hostile than I mean it to be. Or rather, it imparts an ill-intent that I don’t mean. Areligious is good for pubblic consumption because it’s about as bland a word as you can get.


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My queen, Ranni

We’re back into Elden Ring. I need to talk more about Ranni’s quest because it absolutely blew my mind the first time I did it. I am not going to do it justice, obviously, but I cannot get over how it’s just casually dropped in this game like it’s no big deal. This is one thing I love about these games. You have your main story that can be rushed in, let’s be generous, fifty hours in your first playthrough. But the thing is that you don’t know what is the main story and what isn’t, especially if you’re playing real time.

I mentioned the underground world in the last post. The first time I encountered it, I was amazed, wondrous, and thrilled. And slightly scared. What the hell was I getting into? People talked about this reveal to death because it was so unexpected and different. Not that there was an underworld. That’s not unusual in and of itself, especially not for FromSoft. In their first Dark Souls game, when you’re in Blighttown, there’s this massive tree in the middle of the swamp. You have to hit two invisible walls in successioon to get to a bonfire. Then, you have to climb down this tremendously huge tree to get to another area. And, it’s suggested that you go in the second half because you can fast-travel by then. Otherwise, you have to climb UP this massive tree, which, by the way, was hell. I did NOT wait until I could fast-travel before going down so I just had to gird my loins and go back up.

When I was watching the boys of Prepare to Try (now RKG) playing this part, Rory said (paraphrasing), “Imagine if this is the first game you’ve ever played and you came across tihs. It would blow your tiny little mind.”

That’s what happened to me. It’s not the first game I played, but it was close to it (fourth or fifth ‘hardcore’ game). And I have never been the same. It’s hard for me to play other games without thinking, “Where are the elaborate levels and the mind-blowing surprises?” I can’t play Ubi games without getting bored, for example. I tried to play other games, but they just let me…bored.

I probably shouldn’t have played Dark Souls as like my fifth hardcore game. Really, anything else meaty I try to play, I can’t. I know it’s a me thing. I know it’s because I don’t actually like video games in general. I like FomSoft games, some roguelikes, and cozy games. That’s it.


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Being in the minority is hard enough

I’m still thinking about societal norms and the dictum to listen to other people’s opinions. I wrote a post about it yesterday, but it was still percolating in my brain. I didn’t feel as if I had really gotten to the root of the issue, and then it hit me. I’m a minority in almost every way. In the big things–gender, race, age, religion, and  sexual identity. Also in the daily things such as marriage status, having children status, what popular media I like, and even in more niche ways.

I like Taiji and Taiji weapons. That in itself is weird for Americans. Then, let’s talk FromSoft games. Before Elden Ring, it was a very niche genre of games. Yes, influential in many ways and much beloved as a concept, but the actual number of people who have played the game isn’t that big. As a comparison, Call of Duty has sold 425 million copies collectively. Before Elden Ring, the numbers for  the games sold as far as I could find in a quick Google search: The Souls games (plus Demon’s) is 27 million. Bloodborne is 2 million. Sekiro is 5 million. Elden Ring sold 13.4 million copies in the first month. So, pre-ER, the From games sold roughly 34 million copies. ER sold roughly half the total amount of Souls games sold in its (ER) first month.

That’s such a small fraction of the Collar Duties games sold, that I think I can comfortably call it niche. Even within the niche, however, I am even more niche. I cannot parry for shit, and I struggle with the main combat  convention of every game (save ER in which the parry wasn’t that important). It took me quite some time to realize that it’s because I have spatial issues and reflex issues. It’s the reason I like the Souls games/Elden Ring better than BB and Sekiro: I can make up for my deficiencies and cobble together a way to make things work.

I’m currently poking at the Bloodborne plat (true plat because I can only play it on my PS4), and I’m being reminded of why I did not enjoy playing that game. I’m in the Defiled Chalice Dungeon, in which I have half-health. that’s the gimmick of this chalice dungeon, which, honestly is horseshit.

I fucking hate the Chalice Dungeons. I’ll just say it. That puts me in the minority because everyone loves Bloodborne and some people think you can’t say you beat Bloodborne if you don’t do the Chalice Dungeons. To which I say, fuck off, gatekeepers! There is a literal ending in the game (three of them, actually)! Fuck alllll the way off with that bullshit.

I hate the Chalice Dungeons (CDs) and have been grimly plodding through them with nary a moment of enjoyment. Before I decided to do the plat, I had done two or three of the CDs. I quit because I loathed them. They’re all the same and they’re so utterly boring. Plus, I keep getting lost in them, and it’s just not fun. But
I dealt with it until the Defiled Chalice. Oh my god. It’s such utter bullshit for someone who has shitty reflexes. I’m on the Watchdog of the Old Lords (boss for the second level) and there is one move that keeps getting me. And because I only have half-health, it kills me every time. The RKG Discord is eager to help me out, but I’ve been trying to do it on my own. Why? Because I don’t like asking for help. I’ve tried to summon the regular way, but I can’t get anyone. Just the NPCs, which is not good enough for this boss.

I can put out that call, but this just makes me not want to do it at all. I don’t get the point of this, honestly. And this isn’t even the hard boss. That would be Amygdala on the next level. I took a break form the CDs and went to the main game because I have to see the other two endings as well. I have only played this game once all the way through and twice halfway through (once on NG+ and once with a new character). Or maybe a bit further with my new character. I went to do the Forbidden Woods which is such a slog of an area. I made it to the Shadows of Yharnam and summoned Old Hunter Henryk to help me out on my second try. He died halfway through, but I managed to squeak it out with my Tonitrus +9 and TENTACLES TO THE FACE. I wanted to make some blood bullets, but forgot how.

I raced through Byrgenwerth and summoned Damien of Mensis to take care of the Church Hunter before facing Rom. And we got her in one. Easily. Damien ended up with almost full health. It was a breeze! I mean, I’ve never had much trouble with Rom, but this was E-A-S-Y. Granted, Damien was a badass who did WORK, but still.

I’m hoping I can do save-scumming if I choose to continue with the plat. But I HATE the CDs so much. I really don’t understand why that’s a part of the FromSoft plats. Same with the covenant grinding, but way worse because I have to actually be good at killing bosses. Which I most emphatically am not.

Good lord. Look at me going off  on a tangent, per yooz. get me started on a FromSoft game, and you will NOt get me to stop.

My point is that I always have to decide when I can bring up my opinion/idea/point of view and when I can’t. I don’t have the luxury of assuming my opinion is the norm because it’s most emphatically is not. Ever. In fact, my brother and I have this running joke. When he does marketing for his job, he’ll ask me what I think. Then he knows to do the opposite. It’s a joke, but it’s not a joke. If you want to have a marketing idea that would work, just do exactly opposite of what I would like.

That’s why I have such a negative reaction to ‘talk with people with opposing ideas or you’re just living in a vacuum/echo chamber’. I already have to hear/see/read opposing ideas all. the. goddamn. fucking. time. if I were to go around spouting what I believed at the drop of a hat, I would be ostracized. Not necessarily because my opinions are vile (though some may consider them so), but just because they are so outside the norm. It took me a long time to realize just how incredibly weird I am and how to act like I’m semi-normal. It took me even longer to recognize that I think differently and on many different levels in comparison to most people.

This is what bothers me the most about the smug admonishment to think about opposing points of view: It’s never reciprocal. I understand in an advice column, you can only give advice to the person writing in, but still. Maybe take into consideration that the person DID look at other points of view (as proven later when the LW wrote a comment, adding more context). People in the comments were grumping that she should have included the clarification in the original letter, which, fair, I guess, but I understand what the LW wrote from the initial letter and thought the commenters were being unnecessarily harsh.

But, again, that comes back to my ability to read people exceedingly well. I get that not everyone can do that, but it would make my life so much easier if they could.

 

The fury is overwhelming

I can’t today (the actual day of writing, not the day of posting). Not with the news from the Supreme Court. Expected, but still enraging. I did not come back form the dead–twice–for this. I need to let the fury simmer. I’ll be back tomorrow.