Pimple Poem

To all the pimples I’ve ever known:
You’ve never left my face alone.
On my forehead, chin, and cheeks,
Complexion prospects were very bleak,
From achy red bumps I couldn’t pop
To embarrassing ones with white tops.
Scores of blackheads on my nose;
I never could get rid of those.
You sprouted at the worst of times,
Made my appearance a social crime.
No matter what ointments I would use
My facial features seemed to lose.
But for all the shame and misery
At least you kept me company.

Can You Feel the Heat Tonight?

Hello, my Above Average readers!

Another summer, another incredible rise in temperatures.

It feels like every summer I have to make a post commenting about how hot it is where I live.

But such is the drama of my life.

Holy hell, it is hot outside right now. Baking temperatures. I feel like a piece of bread that has been placed in an oven to crisp. My evening walks, even if the sun is down, feel as hot as a midday stroll. In order to maintain my physical health (of which I’m doing a very poor job), I’ve had to do some exercises indoors. And when I do go for a walk outside, it’s an absolute must to bring a bottle of water with me. (And a pair of clothes that I don’t mind getting drenched in sweat.)

My sister lives in a desert that has an active monsoon season around this time of year. So while it is still warm weather, these summer storms laden with heavy, lightning-filled clouds will roll in, giving the land a much-needed moisture dump.

The heat almost matches the broiling summers in the desert where I live, but petrichor-smelling winds and cool droplets of rain make her desert a lot more enjoyable.

Of course, the summer isn’t without its perks. I get to hear news stations along the United States’ East Coast talking about how it is a “sweltering ninety degrees.” I’d like to see them melt alongside me in 120 degree heat.

Your mouth dries up with every breath, and there is a heaviness to your lungs that you can’t shake. All your body’s moisture migrates to your armpits, your brows, the small of your back, and behind your knees. If it’s really hot, your eyeballs sort of start to ache.

But sometimes I find the heat welcoming, like a really large, overbearing sweater. The air conditioning inside a building can feel harsh, chill, and artificial; summer heat can feel like a natural blanket of warmth that wants to smother you with affection.

I like it and dislike it.

So just as I wait for summer during winter, I am now waiting for winter during summer.

My love for summer is currently sweating itself away like an hourglass full of sand that trickles down.

Life Update #10: The Power of the Sippy Cup

Lately, I’ve faced a quandary.

I have been trying to increase my water intake, which means I always keep a cup of water by my side when I work.

However, my entire career is basically housed in this computer. If I were to accidentally spill water on this baby, I would be in big doo-doo. So keeping a mug of water on hand dances with danger.

I’ve dabbled with plastic water bottles. They come complete with cap, and I can take a quick swig without worrying about sloshing water all over the place. The downside is that you can only reuse them so many times before they start to stink, and they are rather wasteful when it comes to the environment.

So then I tried using a reusable metal water bottle. I could wash it and use it as many times as I wanted. Problem solved, right?

No!

See, in order to be able to properly wash these water containers so they don’t smell to high heavens, the neck and mouth of the bottle have to be wide enough to stick my scrubber brush down when I clean it. And if the neck of the bottle is too wide, I run into the same problem as when I was using glasses and mugs. I can’t recklessly swig down water without fearing for the dryness of my shirt and my keyboard.

What’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what.

You get a sippy cup.

My tias (my aunts) gifted me a blue sippy cup, and it is the answer to my water-drinking prayers. It is a metal cup with a plastic lid that has a small opening. It can keep chilled drinks super cool, and it solves the issue of improper water output.

It has seriously changed my life, transformed the way I drink water.

I like it so much, and professed my liking so much, that my mom even gave me the one she got from my tias, which is why I have a blue and a pink sippy cup.

Honestly, this isn’t a very big life update to be called a Life Update. In fact, calling it a Life Update seems laughable in retrospect.

But I’m drinking a lot more water, which is an essential element to living life, so that counts for something. Right?

I’ve Never Put on Makeup

Okay, so that title is a bit of a lie. It makes it sound like I’ve never had makeup on my face, and to some extent, I have.

I use lip balm fairly regularly, and if I’m going someplace fancy, I’m not averse to using lip gloss or even lipstick to make myself feel like I’m sprucing up.

In addition to that, for my high school prom, my sister insisted she do my makeup. So I stood stock still, i.e. cringing away from her every time I got uncomfortable, for a whole half hour, as she generously applied various products to my face.

However, that’s it for my makeup experience.

To this day, I’ve never sat in front of a mirror and “made up my face.”

It’s not that I have anything against people who put on makeup. As a matter of fact, it’s not always apparent to me when people are wearing it, especially if it’s a stranger. When I’m scrolling through pictures on Instagram, I can’t point out people who wear makeup (though I’m fairly certain it’s a large majority). I can spot a filter a mile away, but makeup is shrouded in mystery.

However, I do know that one of the positive aspects of makeup is that it highlights and accentuates good features on your face. (Errr, subjectively good features, I guess.) It can cover blemishes, even out your skin tone, make your lips appear fuller, your eyes brighter. It can sharpen the angles of your cheekbones and soften the lines on your face.

So don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate makeup. If anything, I’d like the opportunity to look better than I do, highlighting what I consider my best features and obscuring my worst.

Plus, the ritual of it appeals to me. I’m rather fond of daily habits.

But there are things about makeup that hold me back from just biting the bullet and trying it out.

For one thing, I’m incredibly sensitive about things around my eyes. To illustrate my point, that is why I wear glasses. For those of you who don’t know, I wear glasses. Here’s a picture:

I have terrible vision, and my prescription has only increased over time. When I first got glasses, contacts weren’t really a thing, and when it was mentioned that I should try them out during high school, I said “Hell no.”

Contacts are little slices of plastic that you shove onto your eyeball. Does that sound pleasant?

No, it does not.

I have a very reasonable fear of sticking things near my eye, so right off the bat, mascara, eye shadow and eye liner are no-gos for me.

Another reason why I don’t wear makeup is because it makes my face feel heavy and caked. The one time I did wear full-on makeup during my prom, I felt like a clown. I could feel the various layers of powders, creams, and gels weighing my face down. It was not pleasant.

Which also leads to another issue I have with makeup: cleaning up afterwards takes time. Good makeup is the kind that stays on your face for a long while. But a consequence of that is that it takes time to remove it. If I’m hanging out with friends late at night, I don’t want to have to stay up even later to take up painted grime from my skin afterwards. I want to be able to hit the sack immediately after an outing without worrying about leaving a skin-colored smear on my pillow case.

My last big issue with makeup is the cost. Makeup costs money. Maybe not too much if you’re buying cheap brands, but if you keep using it, makeup becomes something akin to groceries. You have to consistently purchase it in order to maintain your favorite appearance. I already have a hard time buying my favorite soap bar (these fantastic-smelling blue ones from Lush) on a regular basis. Do I want to add mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, eyebrow pencils, concealer, foundation, bronzer, primer, powder, blush, setting spray, etc. to the list of things I need to buy every week?

In the future, I may decide to give makeup a try, though definitely not during a pandemic that a) keeps me indoors most of the time, b) has limited my social interactions, and c) reduced my income. My first efforts by myself will be laughable, so if I do give this the old college try, expect a few posts absolutely steeped in self-deprecation.

For now, I’m good to just leave my face the way it is, by which I mean positively Below Average.

How To Make a Mediocre Meal

Look, let’s face it. We can’t all be Remy from Ratatouille. In fact, some of us might even be the opposite. We don’t have a little chef inside of us instructing us on how to craft delicious meals. We have a brain-dead ignoramus who can type up a pretty good blog post, but who knows absolute shit about making a decent-tasting meal.

Not to worry, my friends. I’ve got you covered. Before you utterly destroy a food item you’re attempting to cook, take a look at my FIVE EASY STEPS for prepping a meal. With these handy tips, making food for yourself will be a non-daunting task!

1. Embrace the Microwave

Technology has taken leaps and bounds since the first time a stove was invented. One of the most useful items constructed for a kitchen is the microwave. This handy device heats up food within minutes, even seconds, depending on the food.

So what if it doesn’t always heat up food evenly? Those random cold spots in your meal provide some temperature variety for your tongue to enjoy.

Ignore those hoity-toity nincompoops who scoff at you for using the microwave more than you should. Embrace the ease a microwave gives to you!

2. Accept More Cold Food into Your Diet

A lot of the difficulty in cooking comes from heating things up. Whether you’re baking something in the oven, frying something on the stove, or boiling something in a pot, the tougher aspects of cooking come from cranking the temperatures up.

Clearly, the best way to make your life easier is to eat things at room temperature or colder. Go the way of the refrigerated cheese sticks. When you grocery shop, pick items that you can simply pluck from the fridge and munch on immediately.

One day, I had a breakfast that consisted of an apple and a slice of bread, a lunch that consisted of baby carrots and a leaf of lettuce, and a dinner that consisted of cold pizza. I was in utter bliss, i.e. abject misery, the whole day.

3. Bread Should Be Your Food Foundation

There’s a reason why people say, “This is the greatest thing since sliced bread.” That’s because sliced bread is awesome!

There are so many ways you can eat bread, so many meals you can craft from two measly slices. You can make a PBJ sandwich. You can make toast with a variety of spreads, be it butter or jam. You can dip it into cold soup. Or you can roll it into a ball and just stuff it in your mouth.

Bread is one of the most versatile food items you can eat. It’s the unsung hero of my diet! Wait, hold on. I’m reading something about an overloading of carbs. Ah, well, it’s too long. Didn’t finish it. Anyway, bread should comprise the majority of your diet!

4. Use a Lot of Salt

Flavor is important when eating. Why? ‘Cause otherwise you’re just absorbing a bunch of tasteless nutrients into your mouth. And by far the easiest flavoring to achieve is that of the salty variety.

No matter what you’re attempting to create, it never hurts to throw a dash of salt on there. If you have a salt container of any kind, it should be the most prominent thing on your kitchen table. It should be within reach of anyone who wants to flavor up their meal.

Is there such a thing as too much salt? Maybe. Yes. No. I don’t know. Too much of anything can be bad for you. All I know is that I just put salt in my coffee and I’m experiencing whole new levels of fantastic grossness.

5. Mix Everything in a Bowl

I prefer bowls to plates because when I have a plate in front of me, I can see how sparse my prepared meals look. The gaps between my food items remind me of how empty my life really is and how I’m in this endless cycle of trying to fill up those spaces with meaningless and trivial things like baby carrots and puns and sweaters and once I realize how inept my attempts to cover these holes in my soul truly are I feel myself spiraling into this abyss of eternal torment and low self-esteem that I can’t claw my way out of so I just eat more baby carrots and wear multiple sweaters and spout off more puns until I feel like my mind will explode.

Which is why I use bowls now.

Putting your food into bowls gets rid of those nasty spaces, so you can go about your day in total peace.

5 Disturbing Moments in Kids Movies That RUINED Me

Strange things can creep you out when you’re a kid. But one thing I’ve noticed is that when I saw something that freaked me the eff out as a child, it stuck with me for a while.

As in, to this day, I’m still unsettled at the initial object of “terror.”

My wild imagination coupled with my penchant to lie in bed reminiscing over distrubing images makes for an unpleasant combination.

Anyways, today, I thought I’d go over some scenes/images/characters in kids movies that scared the hell out of me even though I don’t think they were supposed to.

Side note: And my parents thought they needed to keep me from watching R-rated movies. If only they had taken a look at these purported children’s movies.

Be prepared for some distubing pictures up ahead. You’ve been warned (albeit briefly).

The Fireys – Labyrinth

Stuff of nightmares, am I right?

Let’s be honest, the whole of Labyrinth is pretty terrifying. From the stalkerish Goblin King to the tunnel of hands, it is a nightmare fest. But nothing made me squirm in discomfort quite like the Fireys.

These “playful” critters torment Sarah on her journey, and they have this terrifying song-and-dance number where they cavort around like demons from the fires of hell. They even kick their own heads off and play with them like hacky sacks.

I haven’t seen Labyrinth in years. And I’m not planning to. While I am very curious to see how I’d feel about it as an adult, those damn Fireys are keeping me away. I don’t think I’m going to touch this movie with a ten-foot pole.

Artax in the Swamps of Sadness – The NeverEnding Story

He literally died of sadness…and part of my heart did, too.

If people thought Mufasa’s death in The Lion King was traumatic, then they never saw the way Artax died in The NeverEnding Story.

On a quest to save his land, Atreyu and his loyal horse, Artax, have to travel through the Swamps of Sadness. These swamps are incredibly dangerous because it can make you feel so sad, you become so heavy, you sink into the treacherous muck.

Atreyu is protected from the Sadness thanks to the amulet he wears (called the Auryn). But his horse has no such protection.

Artax slowly starts sinking into the mud, and at one point he just can’t move at all.

This moment scarred me because Atreyu is screaming the whole time, trying to get his horse to stop feeling sad. Also, since I had read the book, I knew exactly what Artax was thinking as he sank into the mud forever.

E.T. – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Come on, he looks kind of freaky.

Don’t judge me.

I know E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a classic film, but as a kid, E.T.’s design freaked me out.

I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Both my boyfriend and I shared this distaste in our respective youths. It impacted our enjoyment of the movie as a whole.

However, the two of us have largely grown past this, and we can watch the film and appreciate it for what it is.

But whenever I’ve seen the movie on my own, I always wonder who in the world okay-ed E.T.’s appearance in a children’s film. I’ve seen better lovable aliens in sci-fi horror movies.

Rat Bellies – The Secret of NIMH

Ouch.

Overall, I actually very much enjoy The Secret of NIMH movies, but that first one was incredibly dark, and it’s only now that I look back at them that I realize this.

If you haven’t seen the first film, I would highly recommend it to you. There’s just one part that made me absolutely squeamish. When recounting the rats’ time at the National Institute of Mental Health, we’re treated to a montage of flashbacks showcasing these experiments. And boy, they did not hold back. The image of rats getting injected in the belly has been forever imprinted in my memory.

I don’t know why this moment in particular stuck with me. It just did. And later on in the film, when the evil rat Jenner gets sliced in the stomach with a sword, I had flashbacks.

The Elderly – Spirited Away

Yubaba wants my soul.

Look at the detail given to Yubaba’s facial features in Spirited Away, and I think you’ll be able to understand why she scares me.

That’s right. “Scares.”

She still does.

Every indent on her lips denoting where her teeth are located, the brightly jeweled rings on her fingers, the massive wart in the middle of her forehead, her clawed nails, and the menacingly pale eyeshadow she has applied all contribute to making her the most feared elderly woman I’ve ever encountered.

And Spirited Away is by no means lacking in freak-out moments. Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs, the gigantic needy baby, and No-Face’s gluttonous rampage are all disquieting moments.

Yubaba takes the cake when it comes to the scariest of them though.

Ode to a Pretzel

The twisted, salty sweetness of your dough
Causes my poor stomach to ache
With a longing I cannot mistake.

To be without you is a certain woe.
I need those buttery pretzels
That can only be found in lame malls.

Baseball pretzels will not do:
Expensive and too dry to boot.
The crunchy ones just make me sick;
Salty, small, and not as thick.
The only pretzels I want to get
Are ones that later give my bowels regret.