It’s supposed to sting

I am determined to fight for what’s right, and fight openly, because I feel I haven’t done enough in the past. It’s time to challenge myself to challenge the world I live in. After this point, when I see something, I need to say something.

This morning, I saw something. This post came across my Twitter feed. One of the many  “it’s not going to be that bad” posts. Let’s see what their reasons are. Maybe they can convince me. I want to be convinced that everything is going to be all right. I started reading… people are scared, the writer is scared, ok, fine.

Then the “my husband voted for Trump and he’s not a monster!” section started.

“I’ll tell you a secret. My husband isn’t a racist, sexist monster (though after being a police officer for 21 years, he is a bit jaded by the people he has encountered). So seeing posts that a racist, sexist nation elected the President stings.”

Let me tell you a secret. IT’S SUPPOSED TO STING.

When you do something wrong being called out on it serves the purpose of making you think about why you did it and why you’re justifying, excusing, and giving it a pass. We ARE a racist, sexist nation. We elected a man who has said and did racist, sexist, and ableist things. WE. All of us. I didn’t vote for him, but I didn’t fight against it hard enough.

I’m not asking anyone to divorce a spouse over political differences. What makes me angry are the excuses, combined with who he is and the power he wields. I am asking her to seriously question why she is excusing a spouse, who she mentions is a police officer, for voting for Donald Trump.

A police officer voted for a man who said the the Central Park Five were guilty (even after being exonerated), and had advocated for death for them.

A police officer who voted for a man who stated that he gropes women without asking, and that he can get away with it because he is rich.

A police officer, who she herself states is “a bit jaded” by the people he comes in contact with in his job.

She’s worried about people hating her and him.

I’m worried about people like her husband killing people of color and the mentally ill because they are afraid and because their experience has “jaded” them about those people’s guilt.

Don’t worry though, she “sent up a prayer” that it’s all going to be all right. Great, lady. I hope it made you feel better. Now what are you going to DO to make those wishes happen?

Am I speaking from a place of white privilege? Probably, but that’s all I got. It’s who I am. And as much as my voice is one that no one wants to hear…I still matter. Everyone does.

This is the part that really kills me. That’s not all you have. You have a brain. You have the experiences of being a woman in this world. Take some of those experiences and use it to apply empathy to the experiences of others. You’re aware of white privilege, but then you use it to complain that no one wants to listen to you because of it instead of using it to help others.

In one paragraph you say everyone matters, but you center it on your hurt. Center it on why we as a country don’t act like everyone matters.

Understand why it scares us that a police officer can hear someone admit to crimes and then still vote him into a position of power, and then go right back to work in his own position of power.

Tell your police officer husband about the reasons why the people he is so jaded about are afraid of him.

Explain to him why women don’t report rape in a world where a man can be elected after outright stating that he gropes women and walks into their dressing rooms because he has the power to do it with no consequences. The police officers that these women have to deal with think that’s not a reason not to vote for him?

I hope it stings. You want people to stop being angry about this because it hurts your comfortable feelings. I am angry that your feelings seem to outweigh the actual fears and dangers that other people who aren’t like you are going through.

Hunting for hidden gems

A few years ago I got a couple of random teas from my local Asian supermarket. At that time, the store was not as good at labeling things in detail in English, and the teas I got were awful. One of them smelled like dirty diapers, and the other was just full of sticks and did not look appealing. Since then, the store has gotten much better at having more details in English on the products, so now it’s a little less like Russian Roulette and more like hunting for hidden treasure to try random things.

 

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So last night, when I went to the market for some steam buns and seaweed snacks, I decided to pick out a tea to try as well. This is a Dong Ding Oolong (also written elsewhere as Tung-Ting), which is grown in Taiwan. The tea is vacuum-packed in a golden bag inside the outer cardboard container. I braced myself, and snipped the bag open…

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And it actually looked quite nice, and smelled pretty good. Kind of creamy and vegetal.

I decided to use my plain white gaiwan set to brew it.

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And it’s mostly a very acceptable, if unexciting, tea. Definitely needs a couple of rinses, as for the first couple brews the leaves have a bit of a cigarette ashtray scent to them. This doesn’t seem to go into the brewed tea, so no worries there.

On it’s own, there’s nothing really memorable about the tea. But then I pulled out the other random thing I decided to try…

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Moon cake! The 15th was the Mid-Autumn Festival, so the store still had a lot of moon-cakes to sell. I had tried one years ago and did not enjoy it, but this time was different. This lotus seed paste moon cake was actually quite enjoyable, and the tea went well with it. This tea goes well with food – it doesn’t have a distinctive taste of its own to overwhelm or interfere with the food’s taste. It’s not like drinking water or anything, it’s still tea, but it blends really well.

Let’s see if I can come up with a ratings system for this. Scale: 1-5

Packaging: 3 ♥♥♥
The text is a little “default font” for my taste, but otherwise it’s pretty pleasant looking. I like the pattern on the lid. Not airtight though, so you’d need to transfer the tea to a better container.

Price: 3 ♥♥♥
$3.99 for 1.76 oz. Very affordable, and available close to home

Scent: 3 ♥♥♥
There’s that ashtray smell on the leaves I mentioned, but dry it’s a nice scent. I couldn’t smell the ashtray smell unless I stuck my nose down into the gaiwan.

Taste: 3 ♥♥♥
Not great, not bad. Good with food.

Would I buy this again? Hmmm. I guess if I had some sort of tea emergency where every other tea I currently have was ruined, like if I had a fire or a tornado, this would be an option. But I’d rather have a tea that excites me more. I don’t regret trying it though!

 

New iPhone & Apple Watch Thoughts

Apple I watched the Apple event eagerly on Wednesday because the battery on my iPhone 7 Plus has been getting a little warm lately. Not Samsung Galaxy Note 7 warm, thank goodness, but uncomfortable warm, yes. Here are my thoughts & impressions, so far.

The iPhone 7 Plus: I want that new camera so much, and its abilities in low light. The water resistance is a definate win, as the last time I was caught in the rain on a walk with my phone in hand I had a terrified run back to my office.

I am torn about the loss of the headphone jack. I don’t mind using the included adaptor for my current 3.5 mm headphones and the concerns people have stated about losing that make me think, “But I will just leave the adaptor connected to my headphones. Unless I ALSO lose my headphones this is a non-issue.” But losing the ability to charge and listen at the same time is a deal breaker for me at this point. I listen to music and/or podcasts on my phone for almost my ENTIRE workday (I’m a software tester, I don’t make calls or have many meetings). I prefer to be able to let it charge while I am doing that, and not have to worry about the battery levels after I leave the handy vicinity of all of the power plugs at my desk.

So the solution to that is to use the AirPods, right? You know, if I have an extra 160 bucks laying around. Hmm. Battery life on those is only 5 hours. Ok, that’s half my workday. 15 minutes in their little case is 3 more hours of power for them. Ok. so if I charge them while I drive to lunch, that might work.

However, I have never had an Apple earbud that will actually stay in my tiny, little ears. I put them in, move my head, and boom, they fall out. If I manage to jam them in so that they don’t fall out, it hurts. I currently use Yurbuds for Women. It’s the only earbuds I have ever found that I can use and run with at the same time.

For right now, until someone brings this technology to something I know will remain in my ears, I am sticking with my Yurbuds.

What about road trips? I have a 2008 Scion TC, and I connect my iPhone to the auxilliary jack for Maps navigation and music/podcasts. The ports are in my center console: a power jack with a USB adaptor with a lightening cable plugged in, and the auxilliary jack. There’s no way I can take long road trips (and in Texas, they are all long) without GPS navigation and not need to charge my phone. I will have to replace my radio with one that has bluetooth. And with my luck, I would probably end up losing my ability to connect my ancient iPod with my entire music collection on it & control it from the steering wheel.

Lastly, we come to the Apple Watch series 2. Better water resistance: Yes, please! PokemonGo: Yes PLEASE! Though I am hoping it won’t require the newer watch and I will be able to have it on my current one, so I am not foolishly impelled to lay down for the new watch as soon as the app is available. I don’t think I need the features of the Nike model, but I am looking forward to the watchband knock-offs – that ventilated design will be nice in the Texas heat. I am hoping the connectors for the watchbands remained the same, so that all the (knock-off) bands I have now will work with the new one if/when I get it.

Am I going to get them? A whole lot of maybe right now – as I prefer to pay in full all at once – no 2 year money commitments for me, thanks. I need to save up the money for it, and a new phone plus a new watch is… let me calculate that…ouch. $1238 minimum before tax, before AppleCare. That’s just for phone and watch, not even getting into new earbuds and new bluetooth radio for the car.

(Also, can we pause a moment for my watch size + finish + watchband available combinations rage? Ooo, I like that gold stainless with the cocoa band – oh, sorry, that’s only in the 42 mm size, sorry, people with twig-like wrists!)

All this means, I will probably wait a bit while I save money and consider my options in relation to the concerns above. But I waaaaaant shiny new toys. I do. But Apple, I need to eat something besides ramen, so this will take awhile.

Buy Nothing Summer & MinsGame Wrap-Up

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August is over, and I wanted to review how I did on my self-imposed challenges.

First off was Buy Nothing Summer, which I did for just August this year because I had a trip in the middle of June & July. Did pretty good – I had one day where I broke down and went shopping, but it was for personal care stuff that will eventually be used up, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Here’s to next year! I don’t know yet if I will do a full Buy Nothing Summer for the 7th edition, but we will see!

Then was MinsGame, which is a challenge from The Minimalists that I learned about through Courtney Carver of Project 333. Basically, you get rid of an ever increasing number of things through the month – 1 item on the first, 2 on the second, and so on. I skipped 4 days during my challenge – one from falling asleep, and 1 from forgetting, and 2 from laziness! But still it culminated in me getting rid of over 450 things! I say over because sometimes I grouped things together (say, counting an electronic device and its power cable as one thing instead of individually) instead of counting them separately. Some of those things were books, which I took to Half Price Books and sold, so I made about $30 for the project – yay!

I will definitely do MinsGame again in the future – it was quite liberating, but a little tedious towards the end of the month when the number of items to find started to add up! I won’t do it this month though, that is a little overwhelming to me to do it for 2 months in a row!  Maybe in January or February.

The next self-imposed challenges I will be doing is in October for Inktober, and then November for NaNoWriMo! Wish me luck!

Above is a gallery of all of the items that I got rid of for MinsGame.