History Today – April 19, 2019

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • The Mueller Report came out today. I heard about it on the NPR podcast “Up First.” It was about investigating the allegations of President Trump colluding with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. Apparently Trump views it as an exoneration, but the podcasters didn’t make it seem like that. I don’t think I’m going to read the Mueller Report, but maybe I will, so I can finally understand a little about politics. I did a little research while writing this paragraph, and what other people are focusing on is that the Obama administration knew about Russia during the 2016 election.
  • I just realized that Trump has been President for two-ish years now. My life hasn’t personally changed that much because of him. I haven’t noticed any real change in my taxes, except that I’m getting a smaller refund than usual, but I believe my withholding has been slightly lower throughout the year.
  • The Yellow Jacket movement in France is still going since December 2018, but I hadn’t even heard of it until a few days ago (not that this means much, since I don’t always pay attention). I did a small amount of research about it, and it seems to be anti-Macron (their young entrepreneur president) and the “globalism” that he represents (a term I had never heard used with contempt). The movement burst into fruition in December because Macron instituted gas taxes to help encourage the move toward renewable energy. It mostly affected rural people who have to use cars more. People have described it as a tax on the poor. The movement seems to have some anti-immigrant roots (again the anti-globalism). I saw internet chatter mostly in comments on YouTube videos about the movement.
  • Spring is absolutely beautiful in Northern California. It’s my first spring here from LA, and I’m now reconsidering my previous distaste of the season, which in LA was mostly an extension of summer.
  • I ordered the Nixit menstrual cup online today for $49.00 plus ~$6 shipping. I’m trying it partially for a more environmentalism friendly life and partially because I hate having to use tampons so much. Thinking back the the Yellow jackets in France, it’s a luxury to even be able to put my dollars toward more environmental solutions.
  • A friend of mine spent the winter in Europe, including Paris, but she never mentioned the protests.
  • Even though the internet makes information so readily available, it has such a tunnel-vision aspect to it that I could be on it all the time and not know almost anything of current events.
  • I’ve been rollerskating a lot lately, fell down a lot and finally bought some safety gear. I have not fallen since. In my town, we can rollerskate on the sidewalk legally, so that’s why I’m doing this instead of bicycling.
  • I’m trying the minimalist thing for my wardrobe. I like it so far!

History Today – March 2, 2019

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • A good friend of my fiancée died yesterday. She was only 33 and left behind two teenage boys. I didn’t know her that well. But she had just been helping us a few weeks ago moving a new couch into our house. She was surly and quiet about her problems. She had health problems, but the way she acted, I wouldn’t have guessed. I think she believed in heaven.
  • I went for a ten mile walk today, even though it was raining. I enjoyed being alone in public.
  • Bernie Sanders had a rally today I think. Apparently he is going to run for the presidency again. My fiancée thinks he’s going to win this time. His campaign raised almost 6 million dollars in 24 hours last week, according to CNBC, with an average donation of $27. I wonder what the median donation was.
  • I visited Forever 21 — the store — for the first time in what feels like a few years. I finally understand the outfits I see on some of the instagrammers I follow. I thought they were digging up stuff from the 80s (or maybe 70s? I’m not up with the fashion decades), but stores actually sell this stuff. And it’s cool. Funny how fashion is cyclical.
  • Coming back from a trip in North Carolina, I met a woman named Catherine (I didn’t ask the spelling, so I’m just guessing). She had pure white straight hair to her shoulders, and she journaled. In fact, for a majority of the flight, she was writing in her journal, handwriting it. It was pages and pages. She was very friendly and told me about herself. She used to teach, but now she edits, freelance. Her daughter has a PhD in French and is a professor. I learned way more about her than I would’ve expected, but the interaction made me want to go back to handwriting. I type instead of handwriting now, because it makes editing easier. But there is a sort of magic in handwriting. It makes you closer to the words. It feels less like work, I think. Maybe that’s why I find it so hard to write nowadays.
  • Girl Scout cookies are still $5 a box.
  • Crop tops are back in fashion.
  • Trader Joe’s has bags of Orzo for $0.99. I think pasta in general is probably the best thing to eat for high calorie content on a small budget. Or big bags of rice.
  • I’m shopping online for clothes and shoes more than ever. It’s so much more convenient. Amazon is super helpful with this. Interestingly, I don’t always get the best prices on Amazon.
  • Amazon’s new HQ2 is not moving New York City. Sometimes I worry about Amazon becoming a monopoly or too powerful as corporation. I researched a bit about them, and they’re willing to accept “razor thin margins,” a phrase I saw a lot. I’m not sure they can actually become a monopoly in the online retail space, because the barrier to entry for new e-commerce stores is incredibly low. However, their Web Services infrastructure is huge. A few years ago in 2017, that infrastructure went down because of some employee accidentally taking too many servers down, and lots of huge companies websites didn’t work. The Internet shouldn’t be so easy to temporarily crumble. Internet infrastructure, like the railroads back in the early nineteenth century, is incredibly important to daily life currently, and anyone having a monopoly there is worrying.
  • Tesla always seems to be struggling to meet its demand for the electric car, but I’m super stoked to see self-driving cars become the norm. I think personal travel will become more accessible than ever. Automated Uber-like services will be the future in my opinion. Owning a car and only driving it twice a day or less is incredibly inefficient.

My walk made me very thoughtful.

History Today – July 12, 2018

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • Last Wednesday was 4th of July, and the sentiment I noticed being echoed throughout social media was that it’s odd to be celebrating America’s independence and freedom while illegal immigrant children are imprisoned and lost. But celebrations continued — it’s hard to resist a tide. I went to a park and sat so close to the show that a firework that was still sparkling hit the ground five feet away from me. I believe it hit someone, but he was fine. I heard the event planner after the fireworks show saying they would change how close people could sit the next year.
  • I can’t imagine working a 40 hour or more a week job for 20-40 more years.  But that’s a well-accepted reality for some reason.
  • At home, we’re trying to eat out less by buying groceries. It’s been moderately successful. The weekends are harder, but we are spending less.
  • I’ve been on my computer more in the last few weeks, as opposed to my phone. I don’t understand why. I am watching more tv shows online.
  • I’ve been listening to podcasts on my daily commute to and from work. I cycle through different types of podcasts: Up First, This American Life, The Mad Fientist, Lore, Terrible Thanks for Asking, Feminist Current, Feminist Killjoy PhD, and more. I don’t always listen to people I agree with (if it’s political or advice-based), but I’ve noticed that I can usually always find some common ground with the podcasters. I think it’s a wonderful method for sharing information. I learn a lot.
  • I’ve been trying to use my MoviePass as much as possible, but my fiancée has been too busy to go with me.

I just am feeling stressed a lot lately, and I’ve been getting tension headaches. This is just a mood I get in sometimes.

Pushing through the uncomfortable times seems to be a thing that our culture prizes highly. But is it worth it? Could I be contributing to society more effectively by seeking my happiness and contentment first and then contributing.

History Today – June 20, 2018

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • I daydreamed about coming into a windfall. I’m middle class, but money still feels so elusive.
  • Because of the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy in relation to illegal immigration, there are children separated from their asylum-seeking parents who illegally crossed the border and immediately turn themselves into border patrol. A lot of people that I’m friends with on Facebook are donating to help — though I’m not sure who to — and posting about it in outrage. Apparently, the outrage is working. This is being compared to concentration camps and fascism. I see posts about who to call/email and annoy. It’s amazing to see so many actually doing things. Public pressure will accomplish things, if enough people are taking action.
  • I’ve been watching ASMR videos on YouTube. It doesn’t put me to sleep, but I get the tingles.
  • I visited a Sanrio store, and it reminded me of childhood. Gudetama — a depressed egg cartoon who has given up — is my favorite. Apparently, I’m not the only one who revels in the nihilism. I think that says something about the culture of today.
  • I recently spoke with a family member who expressed incredulity that I’m depressed but also not “seriously” doing anything about it. I’m actually doing a lot about it. Maybe I’m too relaxed about it. I couldn’t survive though if I didn’t laugh about it and downplay it. Maybe that’s folly. I don’t know. But it’s similar to the culture on Tumblr. I am an amalgamation of the social media platforms that I regularly frequent.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fixing problems. And I’ve come to the conclusion that solutions are different for everyone. There is no right answer.

Being hung up on trying to do something the “right” way might not be right way for every single person.

History Today – June 4, 2018

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • Facebook ads have always been a successful medium, but today was the first day they were able to successfully lure me into clicking on not one ad, but three. Technology knows me better than I know myself. It inclines me to clear my cookies and my cache, but I don’t think that would stop Facebook from knowing me.
  • I have a desire to share more of myself than ever in my life. Especially to strangers on the internet.
  • I heard a recap of the Hookup Hotline segment of 97.1 Amp Radio this morning on my drive to work. The date between a forward woman and a conscientious man went well, without a vocalized complaint by either party; they went to Malibu and had margaritas (or at least she did). I wondered how I would be on that segment, even though I’m currently engaged and not looking. Maybe it’s my love of adventure (and books) that has my mind twirling in maybes.
  • I replied to a poetry contest that I did not win, but was earnestly encouraged by. I said I was already editing. It’s the truth. I still wonder if I should enter more contests or self-publish. I love the idea of winning, but I love the power of doing it myself.
  • I did not hear about a school shooting, but I suppose that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one.
  • I’m practicing a tighter budget again, not necessarily because I need to, but because I want to challenge myself.
  • I went to Disneyland yesterday. The tickets are $117 for a single park, per person. In high school, it was way less. They take pictures of you when you enter the park, instead of hand stamps. It’s to help with fraud, I believe.
  • You can’t seem to win on the financial front unless you’re lucky, smart, or hardworking. Pick two, minimum.

I saw more than three ads today about starting my own business. I know ads are targeted, but someone has got to be running these ads, which means there’s clearly a community for this sort of thing.

I once bought the book of one of these people. While there was some good information, there was nothing that I didn’t already really know.

Perhaps we need to be babied and told stuff we already know to break out and be the people we want to be. This includes me.

Currently, I’m going through changes in my life: a move, a slight change of jobs, and launching into the completeness of my being.

I’m going to try to make part-time work sustain me while I pursue things that I need a kick in the ass to do: write more and build an unrelated business. It’s interesting that trying for things that will benefit me are so hard to get underway.

Successful people in media seem to have a gusto that I don’t think I possess, but I’ve lately been coming to the realization that they are as lost as me. I just am a bit more obvious about it. My friends and loved ones do not have as perfect lives as their social media leads me to believe.

It’s actually a breath of fresh air when someone posts a negative thing about their life on Facebook. We are not perfect, though there is this instinct to curate ourselves until we are. I have it too.

History Today – May 29, 2018

This History Today series aims to document what life is like in this period of history. I update whenever I feel like it.

Aspects of daily life:

  • I have my smart phone with me everywhere, even the bathroom.
  • I’ve started buying more feel-good items lately like jewelry — something I’ve never really done.
  • My commute is 35-45 minutes one-way to work, but I go the opposite direction of traffic, so it’s not that bad. I take a car.
  • I heard a radio program this morning about lesbian radio dating. It was recap of how a date went that the radio hosts had set up that previous Friday. The date went well. I smiled the rest of my drive to work. I’d listened to the radio segment before, but this was the first lesbian date that I’d heard of. It was the Hookup Hotline segment of the New Guys morning show on 97.1 FM.
  • The only news I heard about was that the lady from Roseanne said something terrible — a racist comment I believe — and had her new-old show cancelled. The people I discussed this with thought what she said was deplorable. I did no research.
  • I went to the movies using my MoviePass — a service that lets me see “unlimited” movies for a flat monthly fee. It costs me less than one ticket would cost me. The lady in front of me in line at the ticket line commented to her daughter that her movie cost $16. “When did that happen?” she asked. I don’t know. When I was in high school in 2010, movies were at least $4 cheaper. I saw “Life of the Party” today. I enjoyed it.
  • I used my Dictionary.com app twice today, to look up words and confirm definitions.

I’ve always been curious about what it was like to live in a certain period of history. History books show only a limited view of society. So why not add my screaming into the void as a form of documentation.

For example, my grandma escaped a communist country during the 1960s. She and my grandpa failed a few times — landing her in jail, much to her amusement. And I do mean “amusement,” she actually laughed while she was in jail. It just goes to show that ordinary people have extraordinary lives. There is so much that doesn’t land in books, so much that is lost when the person who experienced it dies.

What is life like today? Keeping in mind that I’m a white, millennial, upper-middle class lesbian in California, it’s odd. I scroll Facebook so many times a day, seeing other people screaming into the void, and I feel both connected to and disconnected from them. When it comes to politics, I don’t know what to think. I don’t want to be wrong. But it’s so hard to truly care deeply about everything that happens when so much happens. Every single day, Trump has started up a new controversy. At this point, it’s gotten to the point where I feel like there’s a devastating school shooting every month. I was in high school less than a decade ago, but it wasn’t something we worried about. We all knew about Columbine — a school shooting in 1999 — but it felt far away. Now I see ads where high school kids hold up signs about how it’ll be for their parents if they die in a school shooting. These kids have to go through so much. Is every high school student thinking like these kids in the ads? Are there kids out there that were as oblivious as I was back then?

I don’t know.

Has every period of history always felt so tumultuous for the people experiencing it? Or is this period of time especially rocky?

I don’t know.

And yet while all this happens, I float through my life. Going to work everyday, slowly chipping away at my goals, because can I really just stop my life? Can I be paralyzed by what seems to be ripping apart modern society? It’s not shreds yet, maybe I should just hope for the best. Maybe life is a tattered but comfy blanket that you’ve had since you were born, and it’s all you have. Make do and do some darning when you have the time and energy.

I kiss my fiancée in public. I speak loudly when I go to restaurants. I post sad poems on the internet. I’m living, but I can’t shake the feeling that everything that’s wrong with the world is my fault for not being more vocal. I grew up being told that every vote counts, so I’m a registered voter. In college, I was a part of LGBT organizations, contributing to activism. I try. Is that enough?

I know people my age who feel the same. Who feel like they’re failing the world for not exhausting every bit of energy they have to making it better.

I’ve got to imagine that helping when I can is sufficient. One of my favorite sayings is the safety spiel when I hop on a plane: “put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.”

When I can’t do more than go to work everyday and then straight to bed when I get home, what use am I to the world?

 

*Hopefully this is a good level of detail. I’ll figure out more of what I want to write about as I do more of these.