lately (01.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

I! 👁 Would like to make more blog posts than I did last year. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be, but here’s my first one for 2020. Since the start of this year, I’ve been…

crop top knitting progress

…knitting and frogging and knitting and frogging (and frogging and frogging) the same crop top I’ve been working on for ages. The going is slow, but I want to get it right! I actually restarted the whole thing sometime late last year, so in addition to the original hot pink yarn, I’m also using an emerald green one and an oatmeal/sand one from CamelotDyeworksLLC on Etsy. My original plan was to do very chunky colorblocking, but I think I might end up doing stripes of random widths instead.

…reading Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I know I read an Artemis Fowl book in middle school, but I think I must not have started from the beginning of the series, because I didn’t remember anything that happened in this book. I did somehow recall the gnome swearword, “D’Arvit,” but nothing else was familiar. I really think I would’ve remembered reading that dwarves can unhinge their jaws in order to tunnel through the earth at such a rapid pace that the dirt comes shooting out of their anuses at speeds high enough to concuss a man. My GOD.

…starting to read

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things i liked in 2019

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

It’s been eons since I last made a blog post, and I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of recapping everything that’s happened since June, so instead, I will resurrect the spirit of 2016 me and list some things I liked in 2019. Here they are.

movies watched 2019: spider-man: into the spider-verse, a monster in paris, murder on the orient express (1974), little women (2019)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which, yeah, came out in late 2018, but I’m including it here because I didn’t watch it until this year. It was truly a delight for my eyeballs, and Miles Morales and his leap of faith got me right in the heart.

A Monster in Paris, a v. charming animated movie from 2011 that my partner and I randomly selected on Netflix one day. It was unexpectedly really, really funny, and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for something fun and a lil funky.

Murder on the Orient Express, the 1974 version with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Anthony Perkins. I tend not to watch a lot of movies made before the 90s, but the deliberate overacting and dry deliveries in this had me literally lol’ing.

Little Women, the Greta Gerwig version. It is visually gorgeous (whomst among us did not leave this film desperate for Jo’s entire wardrobe!!!), and the storytelling is so tender, with so much loving attention paid to the March sisters. Of Greta Gerwig’s films, I’ve only seen this and Ladybird, but the way she depicts her characters’ humanity, their imperfections and hopes and fears and their basic desires to be good people and feel loved – it all makes me so soft. I also really, really love that Little Women in particular is so effective at treating the ~little domesticities~ of being a woman with gravity.

tv watched 2019 - nailed it - travel the world on exo's ladder - 100 days my prince - busted!

Nailed It!, which is a very soothing combination of cringe-y scripted schticks, wholesome encouragement, and hysterically disastrous baking.

Travel the World on EXO’s Ladder, both seasons of which are sososo calming to watch, or as the EXOs would put it, Healing™. Basically, EXO goes on vacations and has to play games and complete missions to “earn” their food and spending money so they can buy souvenirs. It’s honestly kind of a joy to watch them all just… be together, messing around and amusing themselves and not being mobbed by fans.

100 Days My Prince, a Korean historical romcom series. I love it SO MUCH, and not just because EXO’s D.O. is in it. I guess I’m just a sucker for the fun combination of a fake marriage (and amnesia!) plotline + political intrigue.

Busted!, a Korean variety show that includes Sehun from EXO. (And Sejeong from gu9udan, whom I would like to be, and Park Minyoung, whom I would like to marry.) Basically, there’s an overarching plot involving implanted microchips and detectives and solving mysteries/crimes, and the cast members have to complete a series of absurd escape rooms, alternate reality games, and nonsense tasks to get the information they need. It’s so dumb, and I love it so much.

books read 2019 - know my name by chanel miller - red white & royal blue by casey mcquiston - the prince and the dressmaker by jen wang - station eleven by emily st. john mandel

Know My Name by Chanel Miller. She’s a remarkable writer, but you probably already knew that if you read her victim impact statement on Buzzfeed back in 2016. Reading this book was so, so incredibly painful, but it felt like something I needed to do – to witness her.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’ve seen some reviewers call this book too idealistic or unrealistic, but, like, the premise is that the POTUS’ son and the Queen’s son fall in love and cause an international scandal, so, like, I don’t know what else you’d be expecting. This book is QUEER and SAD and FUNNY and I LOVED IT. Also, speaking as someone who was once pretty sure I was straight, Alex’s internal monologue when he goes running is TOO real, and, speaking as someone who lost a parent too young, the pie crust analogy about “when your brain isn’t even done fully cooking” broke me, in a very sad and very true way.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This is a YA graphic novel with SUCH A BIG HEART. Basically, the prince secretly likes to wear dresses. I cried!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This was on my to-read list for ages. It’s a story about the apocalypse, but rather than glamorizing the destruction and violence that an apocalyptic event would doubtless bring about, it takes a look at the best parts of human nature and our tendency toward cooperation, ingenuity, and hope. It gets a little philosophical about humanity at times, but it seems only fitting for a story about surviving the apocalypse. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

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lately (06.23.19)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

binch cookies

I have no introduction for this post, but it’s been a while, so let’s do this.

(As a grammar disclaimer, I tend to write lists of songs out as “Song Title”, “Song Title” instead of “Song Title,” “Song Title” because I find the hyperlinks are easier to distinguish this way. “Proper” grammar is a social construct anyway!)

Over the past month and a half-ish, I’ve been…

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on childhood bereavement

another toast - samglorious - on childhood bereavement - grief - succulents - adidas

Two weeks ago, I wrote (and later deleted) a disjointed blog post about re-grieving, and how my eldest uncle’s death set off an emotional breakdown that spiraled out of control to a degree that I haven’t experienced since my paternal grandfather died.

I learned of my paternal grandfather’s death at the doctor’s office, during my first visit with a non-pediatrician physician, at the end of my freshman year of college. I remember being unreasonably nervous about the appointment, to the point where I couldn’t make eye contact with the doctor, a youngish white woman with a ponytail. It didn’t help that she seemed both annoyed and skeptical when I told her I wasn’t sexually active, like she thought I was either lying or a total loser. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t able to give an answer she found acceptable.

My mom was with me, and when I was asked about my family’s medical history, I was surprised to hear my mom tell the doctor that my paternal grandfather was deceased. I panicked and wondered when he’d died and why I hadn’t known, given that I’d seen him the month before, but I didn’t have much of an immediate outward reaction. (I later found out my mom had refrained from telling me until then because it happened during my finals week, and she didn’t want it to interfere with my studies.)

When my mom left the room so the doctor could repeat her questions about my sex life and drug and alcohol use, I was also asked to repeat the details about my father’s death, for reasons I still don’t really understand. My mom had already mentioned that he died in a non-alcohol-related car accident, and when I tried to repeat this fact, I burst into tears and cried for so long that the doctor left to deal with the next patient without completing the rest of the standard checkup procedures, but not before telling me that “this isn’t normal” and “don’t you see there’s something wrong with you” and “you shouldn’t be crying like this anymore” over something that “happened such a long time ago.”

Unfortunately, I believed her.

For a long while, I’d been at peace with the thought that I would always be carrying a piece of darkness inside me. It was painful and very, very heavy, but over time, I’d gotten tired of trying to rip it out of me and had learned to live with it.

But that visit to the doctor’s office convinced me that once again, I wasn’t grieving “correctly,” because I hadn’t gotten over my father’s death yet.

After my dad died when I was seven, my mom put me in grief counseling with a woman whose name I think was Laurie. I remember feeling very, very annoyed during our sessions, and whenever Laurie asked how I was feeling, I would point to the face on the chart that said “bored” until she gave up and handed me crayons and paper for me to draw on. Her questions always made me feel like I wasn’t grieving adequately, like I wasn’t being sad enough. She once asked how my Christmas was, and I told her it was fun because I got to see my cousins, and she asked something like “But weren’t you sad that your dad wasn’t there to celebrate with you?” and I felt guilty, because I hadn’t thought of him once over the holidays, so I said that I was sad, even though I hadn’t been.

I’ve spent my entire life suspecting that something in me was fundamentally broken as a result of experiencing childhood bereavement, that I was damaged in some irreversible way because my father died when I was too young to be able to handle the intensity of my grief.

Two weeks ago, I (somehow for the first time in my life) decided to spend my Saturday night looking up books and research papers on the effects of bereavement on children’s development.

What I found felt personally damning and yet also incredibly relieving, because it confirms what I’ve thought all along: There is something specific about losing a caretaker during childhood that is different from any other relationship and any other period in your life.

I guess it might be alarming for a child to express virtually no sadness at the death of their parent, but it turns out my behavior was absolutely normal, just as it was and is absolutely normal – textbook, even – for someone who experienced childhood bereavement to repeatedly re-experience their grief with new perspectives as they mature and develop deeper emotional capacities.

Some choice quotes from Bereavement: Reactions, Consequences, and Care (1984), which I wish I could shove into that idiot doctor’s face for telling me something was not normal about still having tears to spare, over a decade after my father died (emphasis my own):

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lately (05.16.19)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

panda express fortune cookie - your zest for life is unparalleled

lmao

Hello, friends.

I’m writing this while curled up on the living room couch with tissues shoved up my nose like nostril tampons. I’m slowly filling a Panda Express takeout bag with snotty tissues, my voice is shot, and my cough is inexplicably both wet and dry. I’ve somehow caught a cold again, which isn’t very sexy of me.

This is going to be another very K-pop filled post, so buckle up.

Since my last life update, I’ve been…

 

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lately (04.09.19)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

It surprised me to write this, but here is the truth:

In the words of BTS… I’m feeling just fine (fine fine).

In the depths of depression, it never feels like I’m going to return to any kind of sustainable equilibrium. It feels impossible, and pointless to try at all.

But here I am.

Sure, I’m still eyebrows-deep in my obsession with EXO (now with other K-Pop artists in the mix, as well), but this particular fixation’s purpose in my life has evolved. Instead of being pure escapism, a survival mechanism to keep myself from fixating on the futility of existence – instead of being a way to induce positive emotions in my broken brain, it’s now just… soothing, and sometimes exciting. A nice thing to look forward to. Some brain candy to reward myself.

It’s good. It’s sustainable.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately, in the form of an extremely (ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ) long blog post:

 

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lately (12.11.18)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

OKAY, PALS!!! Let’s set the scene.

I’m… crouched(?) on the floor of my bedroom (kind of in catloaf form but with sphinx arms; it’s very cute and sexy of me) blasting a playlist of EXO’s slow songs with my Frostbeard Rainy Day Reads candle burning atop my dresser.

The main development since my last life update is that I’ve gone whole-ass into K-Pop fandom, specifically the EXO fandom. I am now an EXO-L/Eri. (You can witness my thirsty descent over on Tumblr, assuming I haven’t been banned for reblogging this screencap of Sehun and Chanyeol from the “We Young” music video, which was flagged, possibly because Sehun is wearing a suit that’s too close to his skintone. 🙄)

I’ve casually enjoyed K-Pop since high school, and I started getting into specific K-Pop groups around 2013 (namely SHINee and EXO, to the extent that I learned the members’ names and picked out specific songs (and faces) I liked), but it wasn’t until recently that I became obsessed.

It started when I was scrolling through this post by Tracy at fanserviced-b and decided to watch the “Love Me Right” music video. Incredibly, I’d already seen and enjoyed the “Call Me Baby” MV, which was released just 2 months prior to “Love Me Right” and which is also a visual stunner and a big ol’ bop, and I’d seen and reblogged “Love Me Right” pics and GIFs (#sad defeated asian boys in athletic wear), but somehow I never actually watched the music video itself.

And then I did.

And it was just… shot after shot after shot of practically everything I find aesthetically pleasing on men. Tailored suits! Above-the-knee shorts! T-shirts tucked into tight jeans! Exposed legs and ankles! Men in pink! Suspenders! Floppy hair! Beautiful faces in ugly glasses! Sports uniforms feat. shoulder pads! Dirt smeared on their faces!

It was overwhelming. It was like the first time I watched the “Growl” MV and lost my goddamn mind over SO many dancing boys looking like hooligans in dress code-violating school uniforms. (Please keep in mind I first watched this five years ago, when I was five years younger. I was and still am younger than EXO’s oldest member.)

The difference was that this time, when I lost my mind over an EXO music video, it was mere days before their comeback single, “Tempo”, was released, which was simply too much good content for my small decrepit body to handle in such swift succession.

“Tempo” involves leather jackets, ripped skinny jeans, military-inspired jackets, decorative chains, and Kai in a DISTRESSED CROPPED SWEATER, SUSPENDERS, AND LEATHER SKINNIES, and yet! It was a mere ten seconds of Baekhyun in an unbearably smoldery smoky eye singing and dancing (from 3:08 – 3:18, see the clipped video below) that BROKE ME!!!

So now I’m here, awaiting packages from AliExpress, for an unlicensed cropped EXO hoodie with cat ears, and Snapfish, for 25 glossy 4×6 photos made from HQ images I found online of Baekhyun, Sehun, Chanyeol, and Kai.

(For the record, I was briefly interested in BTS in 2015 when they were mostly still going by Bangtan Boys, but while I like their music and dancing from an artistic perspective (not to mention this A+ cover of the Biebz’s “Mistletoe” c/o @keisha_pl), I’ve always preferred EXO’s musical aesthetic, which leans more pop/R&B. I also prefer their vocal line (here’s a cover of the Biebz’s “Boyfriend” by D.O., who may just have the smoothest voice in current K-Pop) as well as their faces (I am deeply biased for many reasons, but the biggest one is that Baekhyun has really pretty hands and looks absolutely unreal in makeup), but both groups have their charms. For example, BTS has a stronger rap line (EXO’s is solid and has good technique like pretty much all artists under SM Entertainment, but BTS’s rap line is really good) and is waaay more “knowable” in terms of social media and general media presence, thanks to Big Hit’s marketing. Anyway, they’re both great, but EXO came into my life first.)

But slipping down a fandom hole isn’t the only thing I’ve done lately. Since my last life update, I…

  • had various nose and throat problems for about a month and a half. I legit only started being able to breathe through my nose again around Thanksgiving. The smoke from the Camp Fire certainly didn’t help, but my boyfriend had surprised me with a Coway air purifier a week or two prior, since I’m allergic to the cat with whom we live, and it’s helped a lot. Now I’m just dealing with what seems like neverending post-nasal drip.
  • read some books and fanfiction that I will detail in a follow-up post
  • watched some movies and television that I will detail in a follow-up post
  • cooked some new things. Sometimes I enjoy cooking, but mostly I just cook out of necessity. Weeknights are especially tiring (or at least they were when I was working 9 to 5 with an hour-long commute each way), so I’m always curious what other people cook during the workweek. I’m aware of meal prepping as a concept, but throw in food allergies, specific nutritional diets, and a bit of environmentalism, and the appetizing options narrow significantly. Anyway, here’s some of the stuff I’ve made recently:

crispy oven baked honey garlic tofu (i am a food blog) - roast eggplant with yogurt and tomato relish (smitten kitchen) - crispy fried eggs (smitten kitchen) - spicy vegan jackfruit tacos (minimalist baker)

Left to right, top to bottom:

Crispy oven-baked honey garlic tofu, using this recipe from I am a Food Blog. I tried making this like 5 times in a row and I’ve decided that medium-firm tofu works best, as long as you press out almost all of the moisture. I also foolishly used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper at first, which just made the tofu stick to the pan. IMO, this is a really tasty way to make tofu, but it takes a while to cook, and it gets chewy unless you eat it right away. (Did I overdo it on the green onion? The answer is no.)

Roasted eggplant with yogurt and tomato relish, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve only eaten this with rice, not the suggested couscous, but the flavors are strong (and delicious!!!), so it’s a good idea to serve this with a plain starch. This is hella good, but it involves a lot of cutting.

Crispy fried eggs, using this recipe/guide from Smitten Kitchen. I don’t know how you can make this without a splatter guard, because it’s VERY dramatic, but these are fantastic over fried rice or with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Barbecue jackfruit taco filling, using this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I made this exactly once, and it took SO long to prepare the jackfruit that I will never do it again. Does it looks arrestingly similar to meat and have an appealing texture and tangy flavor? Yes. Is it worth the ridiculous amount of time it takes to deseed and cut/shred the canned jackfruit? No. Plus, jackfruit isn’t a good source of protein, so while I’ll gladly eat jackfruit tacos at a restaurant, I don’t think it’s worth having to prepare both the jackfruit and a protein (e.g. beans) for a nutritious vegetarian meal.

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