Monday, August 31, 2015

On being basic

On this episode of Val rants, we're going to be talking about being basic.

I'd like to point out, right at the beginning, that I don't consider "being basic" to be an insult. In fact, I think it is more telling of the person saying it, within context, than the target of this insult. I've ranted about similar things before (see: On being a hipster) but today the rant is a bit different.

So let's start with some background. I like makeup. I love coffee. I love cute animals. I giggle at just about anything. I enjoy putting clothes together and calling them outfits. You can take my phone off my cold dead hands. My instagram is updated regularly; there are plenty of pictures of food. I love Zooey Deschannel and her bangs. BRUNCH. I am very fond of the rain. I love Fall and Winter. I say things like "Sweater weather makes me happy!" and "Yes! It is the season of pumpkin flavored everything!" and I mean them. I generally enjoy and hold esteem for the Halloween season, like folks esteem Christmas, et al. I have my reasons for all of that, and this blogpost is not about that. I'm digressing...

Earlier today I said just one of those catch phrases I've been saying a lot lately with the change of the weather: "Pumpkin flavored everything!" and someone jokingly said to me: "val u so basic"

I know he was joking. I replied something along the lines of "Oh I know, I just don't care" which is true. That much has always been true about me. The talk was amicable, and then we went back to work as we do.

Later that day, I was talking to one of my few girl friends about this, right after I said something like "This weather makes me so happy!" and shortly after, told her the above interaction. She said something like "he's... not wrong" quickly followed by "but you pull it off in an endearing way"

I hadn't really taken it the wrong way until she clarified. I decided to prod this further, because, why not? I have opinions! We started talking about a different gal, who says things like "I don't like to admit I like x or y because I don't want to sound basic." I always eye-roll at that sort of statement, by the by. If you like something, you like something. The end.

So my friend, goes on to say that you can be basic without being a basic bitch, and that it's all about context. All is good and dandy at that point, we're in agreement. However, she follows that with: "I would be incredibly insulted [if someone called me basic]"

Ding, ding, ding, ding what I was waiting for. I basically (lol) went "But what is the part that is insulting exactly?" I clarified shortly after I posed the question, but that is the point I want to make in this post, so I won't write it down yet.

She basically (no pun intended, I swear) said that if someone called her basic she'd assume they meant it as an insult, due to the negative connotation of the term. She clarified that it would mean they are associating her with someone who is not her, someone far removed. She knows who she is and how she wants to be perceived as. But here comes what I wanted to hear... err read in this case, she said: "if someone's going to think that [about me] they're probably not worth my time."

I then came clean, and told her I was just instigating the conversation to make a point. Why is being basic bad? What exactly is bad about it? There's seldom a good answer for that. I don't believe a good answer to that exists. That's why whenever someone calls me or anyone "basic" in a more serious manner, I instigate this type of conversation.

I mean, is it a crime for someone to enjoy popular things? Read that again, people get hate for enjoying things everyone enjoys. Oh the irony.

However! That's not even the worst of it. I said it in plain text to my friend, and I'll repeat it now since we're finally arriving at the point. Calling a girl/woman "basic" is in essence, hating her for no other reason than "she likes things." Hating women because they like shit they like.

Are.
you.
kidding.
me?

Who died and made you the king of enjoyment? Who are you to call someone basic? I can guarantee you're probably far more basic than the so called basic bitch you're talking about, particularly because you use words like "basic" to describe people.

Whatever, I'm basic, but I'm also a Bolivian person who is bilingual, an Engineer, enjoys heavy metal and was an actual ballet dancer for 10 years. Please, go bore someone else with your... stereotypes.

/rant

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

12 months, 12 books, and 3 other things

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.

This post is going to be all about 2014's New Year Resolutions. I think I did really well on all of them, really. I guess this is a small survey of what my 2014 looked like in some form or another.

There's some study floating around somewhere that says that you're less likely to complete your goals if you shout them to the world. Something about feeling like you've done the work just because you've told someone that you were going to do the work, so you end up not actually doing the work cause you're pleased with yourself. Humans are funny that way.

So I decided not to shout it to the world; instead I just wrote them down on a blog post that I would publish a year later. This is said blog post, edited heavily throughout the year of course, and my list was actually very short and in my opinion, very manageable:
  1. Read 12 books, one book a month should be manageable.
  2. Embrace the girly side. 
  3. Keto-on to be below 155 lbs.
  4. No video games. 
I obviously didn't achieve all these, no one ever succeeds in all their new year resolutions, but I did fairly well all in all. In August, I did a brief check-in with myself and wrote what I actually had accomplished in the year in terms of my resolutions, here's that tally as I wrote it verbatim on Aug 24th:
  1. 8 completed books before the end of August, about 5% into the 9th. Right on schedule.
  2. It's become a problem. I have developed a really bad makeup addiction.
  3. Have failed miserably so far, and have actually put on weight. I had started the year at ~160 and as of today I'm ~175. Not to worry though, there's still time. The summer has been a terrible influence. I was hovering around 165 most of the year. All hope is not lost.
  4. I call this a success (so far) even though I've logged into Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 a handful of times, and none of those have been longer than than 20 minutes.   
The final tally for all of the above in December doesn't look terribly different:
  1. Read 11.5 books. Sadly, the Harry Potter books get longer as time goes on, and I got busier with life. Alas. I still call this a success though, it might as well be 12 books.
  2. Success! I've embraced the girly side so much that I really do need to do something about it. Let's just say that this involves a 2015 resolution now.
  3. Super failed. I ended the year at 175 lbs. I'm not stressing though. Sometimes I go: "I should keto and be skinny again" and then I go "but, now I want cupcakes..."
  4. Success! I can't believe that I actually managed this one. I actually am not even sure if I'm going to binge play anything now, or anything. I have half-a-mind to keep this going. I really don't want to let it get out of hand again. I rather eat, and explore restaurants/bars/things with friends. We shall see.
For anyone interested, here are the books that I've read and re-read. Why I chose to read them and my thoughts on them:
  1. Quiet, the Power of Introvers by Susan Cain (January)
    • This book I picked up for a couple of reasons. It hadn't been long since I had figured out that I was introverted, or at least put that label on myself. I picked up the book to see if I would find more about myself from it. I didn't really, but it mostly reinforced things that I had thought about in the past that were kind of never plainly stated before. I had also picked this book up to see if there was any value in giving it to my father, in an effort to help him understand me better. I thought better of it though, and didn't do that in the end. I might eventually, who knows.
  2. The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (January/February)
    • This book was a second read through for me. I had read it the first time in college and loved it, and I loved it all over again the second time around. It makes me really sad that this is the only novel that Oscar Wilde wrote. His voice is so great, and the way he writes so clever. Also to consider the fact that Oscar Wilde was openly gay in a time when it was not okay to be gay, gives the novel a completely different air and perspective. Much love for this, will probably re-read it several times in my lifetime.
  3. Longbourn by Jo Baker (February)
    • This was a recommendation from a coworker that knew I was really into period pieces and specially love Jane Austen's work. This is based off Price & Prejudice, one of my favorite novels ever. It made no attempt at the Jane Austen voice, which was very refreshing, but did try to keep the dialogue on-par with the time it was set in. It is a novel that happens to the servants of the house in which the Pride & Prejudice ladies live in, their daily lives, and basically compares and contrasts how life is so different for people in the servants' hall vs. the ladies of the house. It was like a book version of Downton Abbey, but better. 
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone by J.K. Rowling (March/April)
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (May)
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (June)
    • At this point in the year, I had decided that I needed something more elegant than the simple voice of the first Harry Potter books. I guess one could say that I was looking for something with more wit. I toyed with the idea of reading a new period piece, but I ended up picking up this old friend for a 4th time. It simply does not get old. The Jane Austen voice is too good, so witty, so complex. I love reading a paragraph and thinking "wait, what did she say?" and have to re-read it several times over to grasp the intricacies of it. I'm sure it will not be the last time I read this book either.
  7. Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde (July)
    • I actually really loved this, it was very well done, and the story-line kept you on your toes. I picked this one at random from the index on my Kindle. I had recently purchased all of Oscar Wilde's works. I was not disappointed. 
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (August)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (August/September)
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (September/October/November/December)
    • Don't judge me! This one is long, and I was moving in Sept/Oct. 
  11. Harry Potter and The Hald-blood Prince by J.K, Rowling (December)
  12. Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (December)
I feel like I don't need to explain why I re-read the Harry Potter series this year. I just love it so much. I always catch new things every time I read it. This marks the 4th time I've read them all. It's plainly written, and it grows up as it goes. By the end of the series, it is just so dark in comparison to the first book.

Lastly to end this, here are a few pictures of me at the beginning of the year, in the middle of the year, and at the end of the year. Funny how people change, or don't change, huh?


 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

On Change

So lately, and by lately, I mean since January or so, I've been making changes. There are many things that I've been meaning to work on, in general. I find that new habits are formed slowly, and not through drastic change. For me anyway. Many of my keto habits remain to this day, even when I'm not actively on keto (namely the water drinking and eating times/portions) I really do want to get back into keto later this year though, mostly because I've noticed that I'm starting to get thick again. I'm hovering between the 165 and 170 mark. The problem is that I've been also enjoying trying out new foods and drinks, lately. I have, since the new year, discovered a head-over-heels-love for hard cider, which is not keto friendly obviously, but really nice to drink in the summer!

Among other habits that I've slowly picked up as I've gotten more and more into makeup, have been of the skincare type. I now wash my face 2 times a day minimum, regardless of anything, and try to select things that will make my acne clear out. It's been an on-going effort, but I've noticed the difference.

I also read more now, and spend far less time in front of my computer (aside from work obviously) and generally spend more time playing my guitar, and/or hanging out with people I know.

However, not too long ago, I decided that I had spent enough time being a shut-in and refusing to go outside. My excuse of being pale and easily sun-burned has a very simple solution. Specially now that I'm more into caring for my skin, I wind up with sunscreen on everyday anyway. So I've been venturing outside more often. I actually do things like go sit in the park with a book for instance, or simply sitting outside on the Jive balcony. Baby steps.

I've also been trying to be less messy with my apartment, but that's a never-ending quest I tend to fail. It has gotten a lot better! I still live like a college student for the most part though... For now I mostly try to put effort into keeping the bathroom and kitchen areas always clean. If I make something, I clean the kitchen that same day. If I get my bathroom mirror or counter dirty with toothpaste or lotion, I don't just let it sit there anymore. I'll be damned if I ever make my bed though; I like a messy bed. My carpet is still a sad excuse of a carpet... I swear I'm going bald.

Hair. Balls. Everywhere.

I'm probably gonna be more diligent about that once I move to my new apartment, which has hardwood floors. At first I wasn't specially excited about those, because I like to be barefoot most often. Now, I'm more inclined to like it, as it'll be easier to keep clean with a broom, sweeper, and minimal effort. We'll see if my high-entropy desk situation ever changes though. I do love my chaos. That all said, the packing madness has begun, and as such, there's crap all over my apartment right meow.

Another thing I've been working on, since the new year or so, is that I'm trying really hard to not freak out when people touch me anymore. I'm making a very conscious effort there, and it is getting a lot better. So, yay! I will note, however, that I still reserve the right to ask people not to if I feel they're getting to handsy with me or something.

... and with that, I go! /whoosh






Saturday, June 07, 2014

"Please, don't touch me."

I've been considering writing about this for a while now. I finally decided last night that I would just go ahead and do it though. It probably won't seem like a huge deal to anyone but me, and it's hard to explain why or where all of this comes from, or how it even started. I don't normally talk about this, even though people often ask me. It's not some major traumatic thing, by the way. Just throwing that out there, I'll get to that later on...

Anyone who's known me longer than a week probably knows that I do not like to be touched. I do not hug people unless it's a special occasion or you're someone very special like, my family or my significant-other. So first, I'd like to go into what touching means to me:

In the wonderland that is my brain, if I let you touch me, or I decide to touch you, it means that I trust you implicitly. I feel safe around you, boy or girl. I'm known to flinch to people's touch regardless of anything; they startle me, even if it's something simple like putting their hand on my back while they talk to me. This is my problem, not yours. If I haven't asked you not to touch me at this point, how would you know? That's all good and dandy. When it's not good and dandy: when I ask you not to and you do it anyway.

Often times people assume that it is okay to touch me because they are comfortable with touch. I always put the breaks on that early on, and never rudely. I always say something like "Please, don't touch/hug me, I don't like being touched." When I said that to (who would later on become my best friend in college) Trevor, he dropped it. No questions asked, which is the reaction I wish more folks would have to that. I don't think that's too much to ask, frankly. At this point the problem is still my problem, not yours. A somewhat funny side-effect of that is that when I gave Trevor a hug for Graduation and for his wedding, he freaked the fuck out. It was super cute.

However, what happens more often is that when I ask people not to touch me, their reaction is to touch me incessantly. I mean, things like "Oh, it's just a hug!" and hug me anyway, or hover-hug me, because tongue-in-cheek "I'm not touching you", or poke me non-stop because they immediately assume that I'm joking because "lol who doesn't like to be touched?" Lots of people actually, and I'm guessing rape victims who have similar issues find it even less amusing than me.

I'll tell you what happens on my end of that equation, whatever trust I had in you at that point, vanishes into thin air, and is severed permanently. For those who don't believe that, they could ask my very good friend Paul, who I've known for about 7 years, whether I let him touch me. Let's just say it's a shortcut for being in the so-called "friend zone" permanently. I can still be friends with people who I don't fully trust, but that's as far as it would ever go. I also am not even sure I'd rely on him in a time of deep trouble either. It's a trust issue at that point, but you know I'm a-ok hanging out and laughing about random things with him, but I'll always back away if he comes too close.

Why is this such a big deal to me? Because I like people to respect what I say and more specifically, what I say about my boundaries. I shouldn't need some traumatic event in my life to justify that I do not like being touched. It's none of your goddamn business. You're welcome to ask me why, which I may or may not answer.

Touching me when I explicitly ask you not to, instead of simply asking why, is like the difference between asking someone why they don't eat sushi, and forcing sushi down their throats. If I tell you to not touch me, and you do it anyway, what are you going to do if you make any type of sexual advance to me and I say no? I understand that I'm extrapolating here, but that is what I think of. If I refuse someone's offer to buy me a drink at a bar, I shouldn't need to invent a boyfriend to get them to back off. My word on the matter should be enough.

... And at the end of this road, it all circles back to my feelings on feminism. lol.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Girly Tomboy

Most people who know me fairly well, by now know that I'm in a "girly phase." I'm the first to admit that I went full 180 from where I was last November/December. I used to resent girly things, mostly because they remind me of just how shallow I used to be during my first few teenage years. My mother still gets pissed off when I say that. She's delusional and maintains that I was never shallow to begin with. The kicker is that I consider her to be one of the shallowest people in my life, if not the shallowest. I once re-call that she wanted me to skip dance class because I had a pimple on my shoulder. So her opinion is questionable at best, but I digress...

When I went full nerd during my college years, I more or less also went full tomboy. Whenever I told people that I used to be a full-time ballerina, the reaction was always incredulity. Disclaimer: I've always been a ballerina with a dark streak.

Sometime before the new year I did some thinking on all of this, and on my own accord decided that this was a pretty stupid reason to hate on girly things. My inner monologue was at war with itself. I had been thinking about feminism too much at that point in time. I was also apprehensive at first, and took a lot of me to start wearing a full face of makeup to work. Mostly because it is just weird in this industry; I always get the impression that women don't get taken seriously if they have a full-face on. As always though, I march to the beat of my own drum and went: "Well, fuck that. People at Jive should already know what I'm capable of. I do what I want." If anything, the makeup helps with the whole "Being polished" thing.

Now here's what's starting to bug me about all of this. Whenever I do *anything* remotely girly, most of my friends feel inclined to make a comment about it. "I'm so confused to see you so girly" or "why are you suddenly girly?" I guess five months is not quite enough time to get used to the girlishness after many years of being virtually one of the dudes (A No Doubt song comes to mind.) I mean it's fine, they're curious/notice the change and that's fine. They also noticed when I dyed my hair blue. What's not fine, is when the questions don't come out as "I'm curious" but rather with a disappointed air. As if this was somehow bad. I get it, there's a substantial subset of guys in this planet that prefer girls who wear no makeup, or rather, what they perceive to be no makeup. I'm so tired of making these two points to people lately:

1. People who claim to not like makeup just don't understand that there's different styles and degrees of makeup application. Here's a little secret for those people: no-makeup makeup generally requires more makeup than just wearing red lipstick, liner and mascara. Though the latter look is often referred as "too much makeup" or "caked on" even though you didn't even put on foundation.

Exhibit A.

No-makeup makeup. # of products? 13.

Exhibit B.

Ridiculous makeup. # of products? 3.

2. I don't do my makeup for you. I do what I want; leave me alone. Shoo.

I know I ranted about that in more detail not too long ago... I honestly feel like a broken record at this point.

At any rate, I've also been doing my nails and just generally paying more attention to my appearance. I'm glad that I learned how to apply makeup and do my nails early-on in life thanks to Ballet shows and my mother, because once I decided to embrace all of this again, it just came back naturally. Eye-shadow blending skills are still pro after years of not utilizing them. Hell, I'm pretty sure I could still put on false eye-lashes with my bare fingers (that's actually difficult) but I haven't found the need/desire to put on fake eyelashes. Nothing quite like stage makeup to teach you everything you need to know about makeup and your face.

I like makeup in the same way I like to change my hair, same with my nails. They're creative outlets. Similar to drawing or playing an instrument. I consider myself a creative person, I gravitate towards those types of things generally speaking. I realized that I virtually shut that part of myself out altogether when I was in college, because I needed to cultivate the so-called other side of the brain. That said, I actually think that being creative and thinking like an artist enhances my technical abilities instead of hindering them.

Anyway, this long rambly entry had no real point to it. I've mostly been inside my head about how I look lately, and have been in a quest to re-design my style. The first of many changes was the makeup and the nails quickly followed, but now I'm looking at other things. Such as wardrobe, shoes, accessories, etc.

I've pretty much settled on the type of style I want to achieve. Think of the White Stripes album covers, Zooey Deschanel, Dita Von Teese and skinny-jeans in a blender.

I started with going back to all-black hair, and obtaining Zooey Deschanel bangs:



Coming up next: 
  • I'm getting rid of all my colored clothes. Only keeping items that are either black, white or gray (or otherwise considered neutral, like my cargo jacket or jeans.) My wardrobe shall be monochromatic from now on. 
  • I'm also archiving my t-shirts, opting for proper tops/blouses. I'll be acquiring more tops in the near future. Including some white ones. *gasp* I don't even remember the last time I was seen in public wearing a white top.
  • Lastly, the hardest of them all, I've decided to archive the chucks. I won't be buying any more pairs; I won't get rid of them either, but I fully intend to stop wearing them. To achieve this, I'm in the market for 3 pairs of shoes:
    • Black flats
    • Flesh toned heels or flats (jury is still out on the heels)
    • Red flats
  • I may consider some longish skirts+leggings at some point. I know this will raise many eyebrows. Last time I wore a dress to work people kept asking me "is that a dress?" I almost wanted to say no. Questions like "Why are you dressed up?" and "Do you have a date?" were also heard throughout the day.
  • I fully intend to accessorize with mostly red things, like belts and headbands. I will, however, also include other bright-colored accessories. Since the rest of the wardrobe will be neutral-toned. 
  • For the winter, I *must* acquire a nice red coat. It's been 2 winters I've been looking for a nice one. I refuse to go another winter without the perfect red coat.
I guess it is somewhat ironic that these days I'm pretty obsessed with the red/black/white scheme, when my favorite color is actually blue. lawl. I maintain that red, black and white are the components of the holy-tricolor-grail. There is no superior tricolor. That is all.

And at the end of this road, I just want (the proverbial) you to rest assured that my inner tomboy is still alive and kicking. There's still a metal head in my soul, a techie in my heart, a foul mouth to speak, a super nerd, and the appetite and table manners of a trucker. 

Woooosh.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Quirky McQuirckison


I have many quirks; I thought I should make a list for the lulz. Why? Because, yes.
  1. I hate minimizing windows.
  2. I type quickly, but hit backspace very slowly when I need to delete something I've typed. Don't question the quirks.
  3. I absolutely cannot stand having unread items in my inboxes. Any of them. This causes me to obsessively read everything I can get my eyes on.
  4. I don't do phone calls; if you want to get a hold of me, text me. I can guarantee you, I'll read it immediately.
  5. If I can use a semi-colon instead of a period, I will.
  6. Sometimes I stop talking mid-sentence while I frantically search for the word I want to use. A synonym will not do. Sometimes, it's a matter of translating a word from Spanish.
  7. When I want to know the time, I say "Que hora son, mi corazon?" When I'm around people, I just say it in my head, but rest assured, it happens!
  8. I take the same route to work everyday, and I take the same route from work everyday. However, the route to work is drastically different than the route home. If I'm walking with people, and they change either of these routes on me, I feel weird.
  9. I am more uncomfortable than I care to admit, when someone touches me, even if it is to take something I handing them. 
  10. I play Tetris everywhere. Specially when I'm packing.
  11. My desk has elevated entropy, and if you move anything on it, I will notice. I like my chaos, dammit. I know people mess with my desk at work. Let me tell you, it does not amuse me. 
  12. I dislike boring socks; my socks are always interesting
  13. Incidentally, I never wear matching socks.
  14. I basically wear the same thing every day; outfits take too much effort.
  15. People that misspell "definitely" drive me positively bonkers.
  16. I get bored of my hair quickly, so it changes often.
  17. I love saying "They don't call me little ghost for nothing" even if it's not really applicable. 
  18. I dislike ambiguity. 
  19. I take long showers; they're one of my favorite things in life.
  20. I like to dress in neutral colors with bold-colored accessories. These accessories seldom match each other.
  21. I listen to symphonic metal obsessively. 
  22. If you ask me a question, I will answer honestly, and sometimes without applying a filter. 
  23. I have an odd relationship with my electronic devices, when one of them breaks, I mourn for them.
  24. I am so much of a Harry Potter nerd, that I am often embarrassed to admit it. 
  25. I bite the tip of my left annular finger when I'm reading something interesting. I don't even know why.
  26. If I could talk in memes all the time, I would.
  27. I own 45+ hats. This includes a $150 top hat.
  28. I like to sit in odd ways. Sitting cross legged is probably my favorite way of sitting. I hate that my feet fall asleep if I sit that way for too long.
  29. I don't like natural blonde hair. 
  30. I can't feel anything on the left side of my tongue. That generally means that I bite it by accident and make myself bleed without really realizing it until I taste blood. So much fun. 
  31. I recognize people by the way they walk.
  32. I do not multitask. I concentrate on one thing at the time, and that's that.
  33. If I have a choice to pick or make something blue, I will. I like blue. I really wish I looked better in blue eye shadows. Blue mascara, is super cool. I should wear that more often.
  34. I talk to myself, all the time, by the way.
  35. Somewhere between my second and third drink I go from super tipsy to shitfaced. Don't put it to the test please.
  36. I really like Opera trained voices, more so than any other style of singing. Diana Damrau is a goddess. 
  37. I drink red wine or white russians. That's about it, though there are some exceptions. I've been enjoying sweet hard ciders lately.
  38. I eat for fun.
  39. I evaluate people's appearance by how good/bad of a ballet dancer they'd be given their physical attributes. 
  40. When my dog whines at me, I whine back in the same tone.
There's probably more... but I think that'll do for now, and with that, I go!