Category Archives: pop culture

Anniversary Blues

This past Thursday was Larry and my fourth wedding anniversary.   I still have so many emotions about it all.   Today, it really got to me a big part of what hurts so much still:   Larry was my best friend, in addition to being my husband.  Today was May 4, which is also the day co-opted by Star Wars to become “May the Fourth be with you”, and I bring that up as there was all sorts of fun, cool news from the Star Wars arena that if Larry had been alive, we’d have been talking all about.   We got each other at that base, nerdy level that only reminds me how much us meeting each other, for me, was like catching lightning in a bottle.  We just fit.  Our relationship was solid, and happy, and comfortable.  Of course, cancer really couldn’t give a shit.  I’ve been seeing news about a lot of other people losing their fights with cancer as well, and honestly, it just breaks my heart.  Cancer has become more aggressive and harder to fight and catch in lots of cases.  Our oncologist told us that most people don’t die from cancer itself – it’s the treatment (chemo is basically targeted poison) that ends up ultimately killing you as your body just doesn’t have the energy to support you anymore.  i don’t know, I just figure I’m probably going to get something even worse and then it’ll come down to what will I want to do?  Fight, or see what happens?   I don’t know.

So on April 30, Nicki graciously set up a Zoom call with friends and family around the country.  It was very nice to see everyone at once, even if it was brief.   A few of Larry’s family were there, as were a lot of friends from out here.  We toasted to Larry.  No big speeches from me as I’m not really able to do it anymore.  I loved him, I love him, but I lost him. It’s hard to get over that.

Nicki got me this wonderful artistic rendering of one of the wedding pictures.   I love it:

Nicki got this made for me / us – I love it

Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the wedding ceremony – it’s linked in the wedding posts, but I watched it again.   I’m glad we at least did get that part captured on video – I have regrets about not hiring a videographer now.   But who would have thought that the clock was ticking as loud as it was?

On the Number Ones article series I have written about before, they got to a song that Larry and I bonded over when getting to know each other through chemistry.com:  “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates.  The author gives the song credit for what it meant to Hall & Oates but wasn’t a fan, overall.   To me, it signifies one of the very first points during getting to know Larry before even meeting him when I realized we might be on the same wavelength.   Well, I guess I’ve been morose for as much as I can deal with on this site.   Sometimes I want to reach out to someone about things like the above, and then it dawns on me that no one can help.  Only time, and even then, who knows.  All anyone can say is, “it’ll get better” and I don’t have that confidence anymore.  “Larry wouldn’t want you to be like this” is also true, but can’t help it.

Anyway, I have continued with some retail therapy.   I got a fun Kodak negative scanner and had a blast last week scanning negatives from 1990 to 1995.   Talk about feeling like the world has completely changed.  I got some choice pictures from MHS and UCLA AFROTC as well as some Puerto Rico pics scanned in.  It’s so easy to get done and finally I’m building up my digital pictures from before 2000, which seems to be when I finally got a digital camera.

This is the scanner, and you feed in negatives on the right side.

Ah, good times.  I love the yearbook that I was the editor for.  It took the approach that MHS books had been wedded to and finally opened it up to be editorial and interesting.

Another bit of retail therapy was buying some additional Philips Hue smart bulbs for the theater area of the living room.   I saw this random tweet below:

And I was immediately inspired.  I love the use of lights on the side and around/behind the TV.  So I got two bulbs and had every intent of putting them behind the TV too, but then I realized, hmm, I could easily fuck this up without having someone else here to provide help and a viewpoint.  So I ended up instead placing the lights I got below the TV to shine up and back.  It’s a different look than the one above, but one I still very much love.  I think to do what my inspiration did, you have to have a full strip of lights that will go the entire perimeter of the TV, not just two lights.   Anyway, my results below –

Note, the Apple iPhone camera has gotten very good, but still for some reason, I could not get it to take a picture of the lights without it looking like a harsh spotlight on the wall.  Imagine that instead of what look like spotlights, it’s instead a much more subtle lighting effect.   Anyway, I know Larry would have loved it.   As you may see, the lights are fully configurable in terms of color and intensity, so I change it up depending on what I’m gonna watch to match the mood.  After that successful installation and an inaugural run using them while watching “The Devil Wears Prada”, I got drunk as hell on montepulciano wine.  I had myself a little dance party that Saturday night – in hindsight I realize I was celebrating the wedding reception anniversary a few days late, but on a Saturday night just like our wedding.   I played the wedding reception playlist on random shuffle and had myself a fucking blast.   I got all social and texted and interacted with people online, danced a hell of a lot, and managed to probably keep my hangover on Sunday from being as bad as it could have been, although the delayed headache Sunday night wanted a word.  I’d like to think it was a way to celebrate with Larry’s energy somehow.   Who knows.  Anyway, I took this picture of me in glasses which I like:

Larry always liked when I wore my glasses, and with my lack of hair on the top of my head and me having somehow destroyed my ability to grow a beard full on my face, some visual interest is needed.  And frankly, while I don’t need to (thankfully) wear glasses for reading and office use, when watching TV, it’s such a better experience for me wearing them.

I think that’s a wrap for me for now.  I’m sure other stuff is on my mind, but just wanted to check in here.

Cookies & Music

I made chocolate chip cookies today.  I had bought the necessary supplies to make them but could never muster up the energy to actually bake them.  So I of course wait to make them once it becomes 90+ degrees outside, as you wouldn’t want the oven’s heat to be comfortable inside would you?   Of course not.   They came out spectacularly, as per usual.  I finally have something for dessert.  Last time I made these was for Ken’s Oscar party back in January (?), which honestly feels like a decade ago.   Larry’s death is still so raw but it also feels insanely like it happened in another life.  Anyway, cookies!

Yoga status:  63 days straight!   For my own purposes, my first 30 days was Yoga w/ Adriene’s HOME program,  the second 30 days was her “30 Days of Yoga” program, and currently, I’ve embarked on her Yoga Camp program, and I like it a lot.  Can I straighten my legs yet while doing downward dog?  Nope, but it’s getting better.   And my back is feeling strong, and I love that.   I recognize I can probably add more to my daily routine, but having yoga to start it off every morning is nice.

The new Dyson vac is spectacular.   Stairs are clean, and the floors are also getting vacuumed much more often than before.

Video game status:  FF7R is simply superb, and I am loving it to death.   Of course, tragic events have occurred in the game and while those bummed me out, I’m still totally in awe of the game and can’t stop playing.   I think I’m finally in the home stretch, and it surprises me how well Square Enix was able to do in making this game.  So much fun.

Oh, and Wine.com has been a godsend.  I’ve become a charter member for the free shipping and then I’ve also gone and signed up for some virtual wine tastings – it’s something, right?   Last week, we had a Pinot Noir tasting between a California and a French one.   Definite differences.  Delicious.

Finally, music:  When I finish yoga in the morning, usually Youtube has recommendations for videos I should watch.   For some reason, the following video was waiting for me, and I couldn’t help but check it out:

It’s magical.  How have I not known about Postmodern Jukebox before?  Seriously, never heard of them, and their gimmick is totally up my alley.   The group’s main man, Scott Bradlee, is a master cover musician, but instead of decently straight-forward covers, he reworks the songs into various other retro styles.   The above, “Wannabe”, is done in 1940s style.   Not only that, but he has musicians and singers who just bring the charisma and talent to whatever it is they’re doing.  I think there are over 300 videos so far, and I think Postmodern Jukebox tours too (in pre-Corona times, obvs).  1940s style isn’t the only thing they do though – they do it all.  One of my other initial favorites is the following:

The tap dancer, on top of the Gatsby-esque rendition, is mesmerizing, not to mention I fucking love this song anyway and it fits this style so well.  I ended up watching/listening to a 1990s playlist they put together and oh man, it’s so good, and the Friends theme song “through the decades” is awesome.   One thing I’ll note is that the talent are all very attractive – the women are beautiful and striking, and the men are frequently distractingly handsome.   So yeah, fun music, hot guys, and entertaining videos?   Sure, why not.  The linked video below is for the 1990s playlist – it just happens to start again with “Wannabe”.

Other than that, it’s been an up and down week, emotionally.  I still can’t accurately predict when my mood turns south and I’m feeling utter despair or when I’m not really sad about much at all.   I typically get emotional going to sleep regardless of how the day went.   Still hard to believe Larry’s not sleeping next to me anymore.  I don’t like being alone.  Also having to manage my mom’s finances, and it’s definitely not easy to do much of anything with the Rona out there.   Anyway, I just wanted to get a post in while I had the energy.  I was going to make another of the pork chop recipe tonight, but after cookies today as well as waffles this morning, I’m kind of done with cooking for the day.

I did see the Guy Ritchie take on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” last night and oh man, it was soooo good.  Larry would have loved it, as it had all the 1960s Cold War style on a very fun spy movie, and jesus, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are hot as fuck in this thing.   It’s really surprising it didn’t do better in the theaters when it was out originally.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Keeping Me Sane

The last two weeks or so have been more of the same while staying ‘safe at home’.  If it’s Monday through Friday, I’ll get up, I’ll get myself going and do yoga with Adriene (as of now, it’s been 56 days straight – go me).  Shower, then breakfast, and then I’ll head downstairs (I honestly thought the word ‘downtown’ in my head while typing, lol right – I honestly wonder when I’ll see downtown again) and get to work at my desk.   I’m happy that I did make my desk a standing desk via the on-desk Flexispot thing I bought and put on it late last year:

I’m using a webcam to then dial in to any meetings that we have, as that is now basically kind of our default way to do meetings, which is using video.  Before this, video calls were never really part of the paradigm and it was just voice and maybe sharing your screen.   Anyway, I’ll then continue that until around lunchtime, and by now I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm of ordering a big family meal of El Pollo Loco, and then spread that out through the week.

They turned out delicious!

Then back to work until 5:30 or so, and then the excitement begins as now I can relax at home.   Home, which I haven’t left except for small things for nearly a month.  If I’m not ordering food in, I’ll probably make my chicken-rice-beans or broccoli combo, or if I have a particular meat in mind, I might grill that up.  It’s good.   The image above is how my pork chop turned out – it was spectacular (I even used Larry’s cast iron skillet to do it – intermediate level skills there).

Lately for fun, I’ve been continuing to rewatch Twin Peaks, as I’ve mentioned multiple times previously.  I’m right now right at the penultimate episode of Season 2, right before the crazy 2-hour season finale (now season instead of series!).   Or I may watch a Marvel movie in my rewatch – I just watched Age of Ultron this morning and that movie still is a slog.  Some fun stuff in it, but it’s just a big meh.  Or I play video games, and honestly, that’s a huge part of my time lately, as it just lets me get lost in something else besides crying over Larry, whether it’s thinking about missing him, thinking about him dying, thinking about if I’ll ever have another relationship again, thinking about if he loved me, thinking about if he’s watching me somehow (it sometimes feels like it when I dream and he’s there – this morning I dreamt I had come home and while trying to turn the alarm off, realized it was off already because he was there.   I didn’t think of him as dead, so I was in a rush and he told he had to talk to me, but I was in the middle of something and that I’d get right back to him in a sec but of course I woke up.  Fun.).  Anyway, some video games have helped me tune the world out.

The latest game is Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s a thrilling remake (I know, I know, that’s in the title) of the classic 1997 Playstation game that got everyone in the US excited over RPGs – Final Fantasy VII.  Indeed, I was amongst that group of folks who had our minds blown when playing this game – my UCLA roommates Ryan and Rolondo and I played this that year, and it was a blast.  I’ve replayed it throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever finished the whole thing again as well, it’s a lot.  But since 1997, there’s been talk of getting a remaster or a graphical update of this classic game whenever new video game hardware emerges, and every time, it’s always a no-show.   But in 2015, it was formally announced, and by golly, in 2020, we got it.   And hot damn, it’s amazing.   The early news back in 2018/2019 was the game would be episodic, and the first game is set only in Midgar.   That riled up a lot of people as episodic games can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.   And Midgar’s opening 5-6 hours in the original game are literally just an intro, as the whole world opens up to you after it.  And now this whole first game in the Remake is only there?   Potential concern – but the final product has shut my whore mouth.   It’s fantastic – the graphics are spectacular, there’s voice acting now, and the city of Midgar is immense.   A whole lot has been added to the game and it’s all been entertaining.   My first few hours though were spent gawking at the completely stunning and HAWT side-character named Biggs who is just….dayum…..

I didn’t make this image but it captures my feelings completely – thanks, Reddit.  Biggs’ looks and his voice performance are all so damn sexy, and honestly, this whole game is overtly horny and honestly, I’m here for it.  But yeah, Biggs.   Nice.

Anyway, I’m loving playing this game for just the fun of it and for the escapism.   I’ve continued getting through the end-game-ish stuff of The Division 2 as well.   I’m done with the main campaign (although they keep re-invading Washington DC and it’s annoying) so I now am playing the add-on episode content (National Zoo, Pentagon, Coney Island) and I’ll then get to the New York City expansion (which is where The Division 1 was set).   After that, I think I’ll be content to move on to other games.   Anno 2205 is also a background play for me when I need to zone out (you get to build on the moon, ffs!) as is No Man’s Sky (in VR this game truly is just spectacular; in non-VR it’s another addictive, zen game).

So yeah, that’s my life.   I chat with my friends over text and WhatsApp, we have occasional video calls, and it’s just who knows where this all goes.   I’m tired of it, but the alternative isn’t that great without treatment or a vaccine.   So yeah, great year 2020 is.   We manage to have birthday celebrations via Zoom video chat – earlier in April was Paras’ birthday, and it was fun, but it sucks that 2020 will be a do-over year. 

I bought a new Dyson vacuum as I wanted a cordless one so that I didn’t have to schlep the canister one I also have up and down the staircases.   I went all out on it and got the latest, nicest one, and I gotta say it’s pretty fantastic:

Ta-dah

It even came with its own stand and a couple of attachments.   I also bought a film negative scanner that I will use to go through a lot of my old pictures as what else do I have to do?   And while I do love the Google Photo Scan app for a quick way to effectively take a picture of a picture, actual scanning of the negative will get really good quality.  That should come this week.

Some fun stuff is coming up – wine.com has virtual video wine tastings and the first one I signed up for (along with some coworkers and friends who I sent the invite to) is Tuesday – to taste a French Pinot Noir and a California Pinot Noir.   Wine is also what gets me through the day.  So there we are.  Other than that, no pictures I took are worth showing as it’s just sunsets and looking outside.  I look like hell, and what’s the point anyway.

Finally, a Beetlejuice Documentary!

Holy shit – this has been something I’ve constantly been annoyed at as it never existed or was present in any form of the disc you could buy to watch the movie.   The extras on Beetlejuice blu-rays is always just a wtf.   So imagine my surprise when I log in today and see the news on io9 at this link:

https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-new-beetlejuice-documentary-will-go-behind-the-scenes-1842752008

There’s a preview video for the documentary:

Oh man, this is awesome.  And long overdue.

A Nice Weekend

I’ve discovered I can start crying at the drop of a hat.  Okay, to be more specific, grieving for me can be “okay one minute – absolutely crestfallen the next.”  It’s obviously what grief is in terms of a definition, but it just can take a lot out of you.  This morning, I woke up and just started crying, and that was because I started just thinking about all the things that have happened or are happening in my life, and it just made me sad and anxious.  I have to trust that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now, it’s all tunnel.

Why am I writing that?   Just that when nice things happen, it’s good to enjoy them, as I can find myself very easily in the midst of crying.   So this past weekend, it got started out right by having dinner with Carey & Paras at the Sugarfish in Hollywood.  As I’ve raved previously, Sugarfish is the shit.  The best sushi around especially at the price point you get it at.

The key is to get there a little ahead of the rush – we got seated around 5:45, which was perfect.   When we left around 7, the waiting area was packed, and since Sugarfish doesn’t do reservations, you gotta wait.  We then headed down the street to Arclight to see The Gentlemen.   I had barely heard of this Guy Ritchie movie, and let me tell you, it’s fucking awesome.   An exciting and compelling crime story with a bunch of movie stars having a blast.  If, like me, you’d never heard of it before, by all means go check it out.  Fun stuff.  Hugh Grant is so far from his typical “Hugh Grant”-ness it’s mind-blowing.

Jan 31 Night at Sugarfish and Arclight with Carey & Paras:

On Saturday, I went over to visit mom for the first time since going with her to Helen’s for Christmas Eve.  I brought the wedding album I’d put together and she was able to remember all of that and the things we did then, and she managed to remember Larry had died, but it’s just not the same person.  Stacie and I are going to have to look to find a place for her to live, such as independent or assisted living as it just can’t continue on with how it is now, as it’s no way to live.  So on the way back home, I just wanted to try to make Larry proud, so I picked up filet mignons (enough for 3 people) and potatoes and broccoli, as I invited Nicki and Sveta over for dinner.  Everybody pitched in to help make dinner, and we ended up having medium-rare filets, baked potatoes, and roasted garlic broccoli.  It was fucking great.  Ended up mostly just talking that night, although I keep wanting to play “Ticket to Ride”, the actual board game. One day.

Feb 1 Filet Mignon Night with Nicki & Sveta:

On Sunday, I endeavored to try to start the process of cleaning up some of Larry’s stuff.  As it is now, I can’t even touch his clothes or shoes, whether they’re in the closet or on the dresser.  It hurts too much to think about it and the tears, as explained above, come like clockwork.  So I thought I’d take it easy on myself and just try to clear out some of the bathroom pills and such.  Well, I did manage to clear out stuff that probably Larry should have thrown out long ago, as well as remove excess stuff.   Still couldn’t get rid of things like his glasses though.  It’s not like I can even wear his glasses as my head is too big for his frames; nor can I wear his pants or shoes, so it makes sense that I should probably work on those to go.  But it’s just, I don’t think I can bear to have the closet half empty, or the drawers only filled on my side, as right now, I’m not triggered when I walk into my bedroom.  There’s something comforting about his stuff being there still.  But as I type this with tears in my eyes, I know I have to start bracing myself for that, and maybe I have friends with me when I do, but I don’t even know if that will help.  Fuck all of this.

Yes, I’ve begun the process of seeing a therapist.  She’s come over to the house a few times, and it’s still been an assessment period, so I think the next time would be truly the first session?  But these first few times have felt like a way to talk about these things I’m feeling and I guess it helps.  I just want to see if the tunnel ends.

Later on Sunday, Nicki kept me company while we watched the Super Bowl.  Still don’t really care about it, but at least the game was interesting and the commericals were okay.  The half time show was awesomesauce: