Haw Par Villa

I’ve been wanting to go to hell for a long time, and Easter Sunday seemed like a good occasion to finally bite the bullet.  For the record and despite what people have been telling me my whole life (especially Sean, that horrible holier-than-thou-er from college) it is not possible for me to go straight to hell.  From Yio Chu Kang, you have to switch from the red line to the yellow at Bishan.

After that it’s a pretty straight shot, though.

So I ventured, and it took me here:



Hell is Haw Par Villa, this truly bizarro selfie world that bills itself as an Asian cultural park.  It was built in the 1930s by someone who almost certainly was reincarnated to whomever it was who invented Instagram, because that’s pretty much all people do here.

Hard not to, when there are over a thousand statues and life sized dioramas that look like this:

Haw Par Villa also boasts the weirdest turtle pond ever.


It’s all free, but you do have to get there on time, as elucidated by easily my favorite sign there:


If you head that way, however, you’ll be treated to some extremely graphic artistic displays of all the different ways of being punished for your earthly sins.  They are not shy about showing severed body parts and blood and gore and stuff; it can really put you off your breast milk.

The whole thing’s very Game of Thronesy, yes?  And a decent way to kill a couple of hours.

Don’t get caught, though- I hear the punishment for murder is pretty severe.


Let’s Talk About Sex (Education), Baby

Last night I dreamed I didn’t kill the demogorgon when it was small and innocent, meaning I was responsible for all the lives it took as an adult.  A demogorgon is a monster on Netflix’s Stranger Things.  As far as I can tell from the dialogue, it is a son of a bitch, and as far as I can tell from its appearance, it is both slimy and terrifyingly aggressive.  I mean those descriptors in the literal way, not the presidential way.  Anyway, when it launched itself at me in the dream, I woke right the hell up from my fitful REM.

Went to breakfast.  Narrowly missed being squashed by a motorized sidewalk scooter.  Was narcoleptically assaulted by the smelly man on the train.

It was shaping up to be a really foul day until my colleague wanted to talk about pornography.

“I want to pick your brain,” she said.  We were hanging out in the bleachers watching kids run relays for Sports Day, so there was plenty of time for the chat.

“What do you think about, you know… 13 and 14-year-olds in relationships and stuff like that?”

I know that sounds much more tame than the way I just represented, but bear in mind we had to ease into it.  For starters, who leads with the x-rated in the first set of interactions with a near stranger?  In my experience, nobody outside of Foreplay*, Forest Avenue, or a frat party.  Plus, in the back and forth I have with a lot of the teachers here, we’re always semi-consciously aware that whatever we say might be taken to represent our entire respective countries.  We’re careful until we build the kind of trust that leads to the eye-rolling conversations about how dumb the same stuff is everywhere.  And how hilarious the same stuff is everywhere.

And how problems we’re aware of as teachers are also the same. Those problems include the consequences of our students’ access to porn.

So here’s the thing, we said to each other: what kid isn’t curious? One generation’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover is the next generation’s National Geographic magazine is the next generation’s VHS of Basic Instinct, and so on.  Except now if a kid has a question, the easiest, least embarrassing way to get it answered is to type a couple of words in a search bar.  It is very, very simple to access graphic adult entertainment, and the vast majority of people choose the free route rather than the $130,000 one.

And this presents some problems.

For an in depth look at those problems, check out The Butterfly Effect.  I’m recommending the whole thing, but Jon Ronson specifically talks about its effect on children here. I’d like to say I’ve read studies, too, on kids who have fewer physically interactive relationships because of the Internet, and who have unrealistic expectations for relationships because their information comes primarily from videos of sexual caricature.  I know I’ve heard or read about how the youngest generation is having less sex but more sexual problems than any generation on record, but I don’t want to google it here because I already looked for one study by searching “effects on kids of free porn” before realizing that if somehow my Internet is being monitored, and if somehow they’re only looking at key words, then I’m about to be in some demogorgon-level trial and tribulation.  But I would certainly encourage you to look for the research, because I know I’ve heard oh!  Wait!  I definitely heard stuff on NPR, which is totally safely searchable.

Okay, here: Researchers Explore Pornography’s Effect on Long Term Relationships

It’s fascinating, right?  So this teacher and I were trying to figure out the best way to tackle these issues in the classroom: she in Singapore, I in Maine.  We’ve both seen way too many kids affected by sexual confusion and cyberbullying, and we’ve both spoken with parents who are shocked, sometimes defensive, and more often lacking in the tools/knowledge/understanding of their relationships to be able to be both honest and effective with their kids.  We’re both worried about the repercussions on an entire generation’s social well-being if we neglect to address the reality of something that’s on their minds for approximately 14 hours per day (this estimate is not remotely scientific, mind you.  How on earth would you even quantify that?)

Here, sex education is part of Character and Citizenship Education.  This is mandated by the Ministry, so there’s no question of kids getting it or not like there might be in the United States.  So they’re a step ahead of us there, but it’s not always easy getting the right adults in that position.  Plus, some topics are taboo, so a lot of the questions that kids have might be repressed.  Or answered in this book I came across:


Not ashamed to admit I spent an hour inhaling those chapters.  It’s not one I would recommend for science-based or socially inclusive answers.  On the other hand, there’s a seaweed reference in there that I immediately sent to four of my more immature and like-minded friends.

Anyway, in the United States, as far as I can tell, sex education is a complete kerfuffle.  It might be abstinence, biology, or condoms on a banana.  I know it’s honest and open in some places, but certainly not universally.  What I worry about is that it’s yet another thing that’s often placed on the budgetary chopping block, when realistically it should be a robust part of kids’ health programs (which I believe should be a much bigger part of their education, incidentally.  I mean, what’s more important than health?  Shoot, we live in a country where individuals can’t afford to get sick; might as well teach people how not to.)

So yes, if we want our kids to grow up happy and healthy, somebody has to acknowledge how prevalent this is in their lives and be able to discuss it with them and teach them in a way that’s actually meaningful.

I mean, I’d rather them be watching Stranger Things than stranger things.

*A bar in Portland on Fore Street.  It’s both more clever and more fun than it sounds, but you kind of have to be 26. 

Central Perk

March 23, 2018

So I really wanted Chandler’s WENUS, but my server just informed me that it’s not available and I’ll have to choose something else.  I asked her if I could have one with Bourbon- ostensibly Chandler’s BENUS- and it looks like everything’s going to be just fine.  Here, here’s what I mean:

This place is GREAT.  The setup is just like the Friends set, and the menu is… perfection.

They have Friends trivia, and a Smelly Cat Open Mic, and a Friends beer pong table in the corner. I am astounded and salivating for unagi.

Reruns are playing on a projector and of course there’s random memorabilia everywhere.  I came here to get work done because, well, when I was looking for wifi cafes online and this popped up, I started yelling “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!”, packed my laptop and a notebook, and took off.  But now I’m distracted.

Oh, son of a Gunther, I have to go- my food’s here.  I got the Chick and the Duck (eggs benedict with a side of bacon mallard.)

Friends, guys!  FRIENDS!  Oh. My. Gawd.


They Hire the Heart

March 22, 2018

Last night, I went to a bonfire with about 200 13-year-olds.  They were divided by class section and each performed- as a class- this awesome hip hop dance that they’d choreographed themselves.  They were loud and crazy and so much fun: one team, one dream, they kept saying (before some pop it, lock it, drop it move or whatever kids do these days).

Kids doing some pre-bonfire reflection in team t-shirts the student leaders designed.

The joy they all found in the singing and dancing was absolutely contagious and uplifting.  I mean, what brings people together more than a great song and the feeling you get when other people are as much a part of it as you are?  This was an annual school trip for kids that age, and it was built around music, cooperation, community, and sheer work.  I loved it.  Ed Sheeran happened to come on as ambient music as they were getting ready and they all went bananas.

Anyway, today I made some lists, because I was trying to sort my post-bonfire thoughts about what’s important for kids to learn as they’re growing into their places in the world.  What is truly the purpose of education?  What did I get out of it as opposed to what I needed out of it?  What has been useful to me?  The lists kind of made me mad.  They definitely frustrated me.  Are yours like this?

Useful Stuff I Learned in School

-how to make friends that I still have (recess)

-how to deal with bullying (trial and error, took years, glad I made it)

-how to get cut from teams, lose games, talk to coaches the wrong way, talk to coaches the right way, make teams, win games, have fun while sweating (sports and clubs)

-all the basic math facts (elementary)

-how to communicate both orally and in writing (all schools)

-how to research and read critically (all schools)

-world capitals and locations of countries (Mr. Hickey, mostly. And it’s meant a LOT of smiles and free drinks from people all over the world, which is not necessarily what he intended.)

-how our government works (all schools)

-Latin and German and French and some Greek (high school, not fluent, still love it)

-psychology and neuroscience (college)

-social justice and civic responsibility (having good teachers, eyeballs, and a soul)

Useful Stuff I SHOULD HAVE Learned In School:

-that live music is like the best thing ever (show tunes, Strange Pleasure, my own shower)

-typing (Mavis Beacon)

-how to save money, keep a bank account, manage credit, and pay my bills on time (savvy parents)

-how to eat in such a way that I feel good and don’t die (various, definitely never school, work in progress)

-what kind of person I want to be and how to get there (books, some movies, parents, Mrs. Fallon)

Finally, Pretty Much Totally Useless Stuff I Learned in School:

-Dickens (sorry)

-hundreds of hours of memorized notes that went kablooie right after the tests

-most advanced math, especially trigonometry (potentially still worth it; had crush on like three guys in that class)

-the inner components of a Commodore 64

-9 years times 170 classes/year times 50 minutes/class of Catholic stuff

-conservatively 95% of my “how to be a teacher” classes


So what the irrelevant dickens are we doing?  If other lists are similar to mine, we’re looking at how to allocate budget cuts with absolutely the wrong priorities in mind, and I know Portland has to do that right now (as a result of the fact that, in my humble o, the government’s model of setting those priorities is batshit c).

I’m reading more and more hard science that shows the benefits to kids of learning social and emotional skills, which are practiced and honed in social situations like at recess, and in clubs and sports and bands.  And these skills aren’t just for managing social relationships; they’re correlated with happier lives, lower rates of lifetime illness, and higher achievement in both academics and employment.  I’m reading study after study that shows that employers know that technical skills can be developed on the job, but their most productive and highest performing employees know how to respect each others’ time and talents, innovate and persevere when faced with problems, and create social networks with all kinds of different people that they can call on for help if they need it.

They hire the heart.

It’s time for us to budget accordingly.  Oh, and to dance a little.


March 17 2018

Back in November, when stage 3 winter had already settled comfortably into my marrow, I somehow found the energy to do battle with my proven array of medicinal travel websites.  Pro tip: skyscanner.com has a feature into which you can plug your airport of departure, type “anywhere”, and hit search for your month du jour.  Ohhh, that was a fun, nonsensical phrase, that “month du jour” thing.  I meant whatever month you happen to be thinking about taking a vacation.  Anyway, results pop up as a list of countries sorted by price and you can just fly the cheapest place you’ve never been and see what’s up there.

Turns out, you can fly to like four different countries from Singapore for under a hundred dollars round trip, and Indonesia is one of them.  Bali is in Indonesia.  America’s Next Top Model once filmed in Bali, and I used to have cable so I watched that show and learned how to find the light and smize.

Book it.

The other draw was that I got a red flag when trying to find a $30 a night hotel that looks like this (which incidentally, is laughably easy to find and one of the many reasons you should definitely go to Southeast Asia):


The red flag is that I wanted to stay during Nyepi (pronunciation: sounds like you’re about to say “no” but change your mind to say “yep” the way that “yeeeeeeep-yep-yep-yep-yep-yep-yep, uh-huh” muppet does.  Finish the word by making it kind of Italian.  “Nyepi.”)

Nyepi is Balinese New Year, and it’s celebrated with a day of silence so intense, they shut down the seaports and airports and hire Nyepi police to make sure nobody leaves the house.  Incidentally, this is my third new year in three months.  Thus, my holiday age makes me eligible for AARP movie ticket prices, so it’s a good thing my mental age hovers around PG-13.  Regardless, I’m old enough to book lodging using my own hard-earned money, so I booked one here and figured I’d experience something all fascinating and non-Western.

I did.

Two days ago, I took a walk around town to try to find the famous Indonesian coffee that’s pooped through a civet, making it the most expensive coffee in the world, plus repulsive and irresistible.  What I found instead was that it is, in fact, resistible on account of jerkoffs recognizing what “expensive” could mean to them.  Now civets are kept in little cages and fed subpar beans that make for subpar pooping but equally expensive scam coffee.  It’s a damn shame.  I did, however, come across some ogoh-ogoh statues, which made my ecstatic mouth do the pursing shape you make when saying the word, and then hold it because when you look at these things, you kind of have to go “ohhhhhhhh”.

People all over the island make these in weeks leading up to Nyepi.  If I’m remembering correctly, they’re supposed to hold all the evil spirits of the year.  At sundown on Nyepi, people parade them through the streets while making a right bloody racket to drive all the spirits away, and then they incinerate them in a raucous, fiery display that is both satisfyingly primal and fun for the whole family!  For 24 hours beginning at 6 the next morning (that’s the day of actual Nyepi, today actually) the entire island stays at home for their Hindu traditions of fasting and yoga, following the four rules of no fire/no travel/no working/no play.  And this is not some half-assed American holiday of commercialism and seasonal chocolates; people are legitimately supposed to observe the silence while reflecting on how they can be better during the coming year (in this case: 1940.  Helloooooo, Roosevelt.)  No fire means no electricity, and no travel means not even past your front door.  You can’t go to the beach, or forget and pick up some emergency provisions the day of. My first hotel was shutting off power and wifi, and my second hotel upgraded me to this one so they could close.  Here, they’re sort of catering to us tourists with a limited set menu and electricity, although I only had wifi for 20 minutes or so this morning.  We’re not allowed to leave the premises, but it’s totally relaxing.  I’m reading loads of books and leisurely drinking minibar rums and cokes while my compatriots are putting their Irish Catholic lush hats on back home.

But two nights ago, when I was peacefully eating a streetside window duck in anticipation of the whole thing, all of a sudden people started walking by looking all Balinese and beautiful:


and then the road closed and this happened:


There’s a ceremonial parade two nights before Nyepi, too!  I wish I could look up the ceremonies- I think it has something to do with walking to the beach to make offerings- but alas, my research tool is in inaccessible cyberspace.  Hopefully Aditi, my Bali expert friend, will see this on facebook and fill in any holes.

As for the actual Nyepi parade, it was much cuter than I thought.  Kids who looked like this:


and men who looked like this:


maneuvered the bamboo bases of floats that looked like this:

approximately three square feet at a time until the dude in charge of getting the cumbersome wires out of the way carefully did his job, because no line is safe to touch… ever.

It got even more special when it was dark, but at that point the crowd was much thicker and my ability to see things was somewhat handicapped.  The emcee was verbally vibrant, but I think it was in the Indonesian language of Bahasa so he very well could have been pointing out the bathrooms.


There was traditional dancing, however, which was rhythmic and exciting judging by the tippy tops of their heads that I could see, and I was riveted enough to stick my face in a spider web that I could have sworn I knew was there.

There was music.  There was shouting.  It was fun.

But I’m out!  Jumping on a flight when the airport reopens tomorrow, but A+ to this cultural destination.  Keep your eyes on Skyscanner, y’all.  The smizing will be involuntary.


Should’ve Listened To the Flintstones

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

From this very funny, absolutely not fake- and I’m not even being sarcastic- New York Times article from 2001, I know that Singapore’s population is aging disproportionately because its citizens are too busy to get busy.

I also know this because I just spent three nights in the hospital with what feels like most of them.  Three nights, I should add, of noises that I did not know the human body could produce. On the first night, I lay for hours in one of the bumper-to-bumper stretchers in an overcrowded room that was meant for 12 of us but instead held 30+.  The noises were continuous, a muted thunderous, and heartbreaking.

(Relatively amusing aside, though: this is the room to whom I flashed my boobs when they didn’t close the curtains all the way for one of my electrocardiograms.  Everyone was too sick or injured to throw beads at me or even make excited noises.  I was too numb to react at the time, but now it annoys me a little.  C’mon, people!  That was a rare and special moment for you!  Boobs!)

Anyway, I also spent two nights sharing a room with five other women who I can’t really talk about because thinking about them isn’t fun.  Sometimes you just know when people are waiting out their time.  You can hear it.

It all started when I couldn’t sleep for a few nights because I kept shooting terrified out of bed after I’d stopped breathing.  I’ve been going hard on the fruits and vegetables here but was losing energy, so I doubled down in Malaysia and tried to avoid all the rice and noodles, too.  The breathing issues got worse, however, and I started to get winded just walking from my chair to the beach.  I know, I know… trouble in paradise.

Back in Singapore, I started gasping all the time.  No sleep, couldn’t exercise, constantly fighting for a breath.  It was pretty scary, but kind of reminded me of the trip over here which was easily fixed.  Cool, I figured, one night around 11.  I’m not going to sleep- I’ll just find a 24 hour clinic and get some antibiotics and knock this out.  It is clearly time for something more than garlic pita, papaya, and mango therapy.

I hit the doc.  He sent me to the hospital.  BP exceptionally low, heart rate exceptionally low, slightly wonky ecg- they kept me for observation until 4 in the morning.  They let me go with a referral to a specialist and a warning to come back if it got worse.

It got worse.

On the way back to the hospital, I was convinced that it was my thyroid because I’d spent way too much time on the Internet googling symptoms.  I truly thought they would do a quick blood test and then he’d give me some hormones and I’d be on my merry way.

Nope.  The blood test thing happened (three times) plus a few more ecgs, a CT scan and some pulmonary thing that came out a blur because they kept grabbing my wrists to “settle” me- haha!  remember how much fun I think my wrists are?- which gave me outright panic attacks and left me shaking and crying uncontrollably while some sort of liquid highlighter pumped through my lungs.

Sample conversation:

Doctor (still in braces, not reassuring): I need you to calm down and take a deep breath.

Me: I (gasp) CAN’T!  That’s why I’m (gasp) HERE!

Doctor: (grabs wrist to hold me still to inject things into one of my symmetrical inner elbow IVs)

Me: (complete panic attack, inability to speak, instinctive physical battle against perceived lethal wrist touches, tears and hyperventilation)

It wasn’t pretty.

In my calmer moments, I had a heart ultrasound and a 30 minute cardiac scan.  My resting heart rate kept coming in at around 52 and often, they’d take my blood pressure multiple times and even move my bed around so my feet were above my head until they were satisfied.  I guess 86 over 54 is pretty low.

Regardless, they couldn’t find anything scarily wrong.  After the second night, they sat me down.  (Metaphorically, of course.  I did a lot of sitting there.)

Psychiatrist: We think you have anxiety.

Me: I don’t.

Psychiatrist: Well, when you can’t breathe, are you worried?

Me: Yes.  Because I can’t breathe.

Psychiatrist: Well, we think you’re stressed.

Me: I’m a teacher.  I know stress.  I know anxiety.  I’M A TEACHER.  I haven’t had to teach in two months.  My job now is to read and write and think about interesting stuff in this great new place I get to explore, plus I’m warm all the time.  I just got back from vacation on a tropical beach.  THIS IS NOT ANXIETY.  My life is really, really good except I CAN’T. BREATHE. DURING IT.

Psychiatrist: You need to take this pill which will ease your anxiety.

Me: (thoughts only, still trying to be an ambassador) I hate you- I hate you- why won’t you LISTEN?!?

I took the pill in the interest of making her go away.  I had the most miserable afternoon.  Breathing got worse, plus my mind was racing and my knees wanted to jump all around.  After multiple nights of sleeplessness, I felt like I was going crazy.

There’s a reason I don’t do drugs.

All night, I googled my symptoms and read websites and journals (did you know you can get actual science answers- journal articles- by using Google Scholar?  It’s a priceless research tool) when I could lift my groggy head from between my knees.  I tried to sneak downstairs to buy vitamins but I got caught and sent back to my bed.

Because you know what?  That’s actually what this whole thing was, I think.  Turns out there’s no dairy in Singapore foods, and I tend to stay away from meat.  All my efforts to eat more fruits and vegetables to make myself feel better actually meant I had dropped my b12 intake to approximately none per day.  I had accidentally gone mostly vegan, and you can’t get b12- an extremely vital nutrient and OH how I know that now- without meat products or a supplement.

Whoops.  Holy cow, have I had a lot of cheeseburgers in the past couple of days.  Eat the cheese or hurt yourself, it turns out.

So I’m out of the hospital now, and I’m feeling better.  Got a supplement and some Mos Burger on my way home, and was finally in the frame of mind to appreciate what a great situation I’m in here.  The Fulbright team in Singapore and back home reached out multiple times per day, and the US Embassy in Singapore did as well.  My buddy teacher from the Ministry of Education was phenomenal, visiting me on the weekend, talking to doctors, and bringing me things like a toothbrush and charger, which I don’t know what I would’ve done without. They offered a ton of support at a time it felt good to have it.

Better yet, I’m writing this from my little porch in Bali.  It’s school vacation week, and after I checked myself out I was able to salvage most of the vacation I booked a few weeks ago.  My anxiety level is zero (normal) and this temple is right down the street (not).  I’m not 100% yet, but I’m 100% happy that I’m here.


And that aging population thing?  Well kids, eat your vitamins.  If we have that long a road ahead of us, might as well do what we can to make it smoother.


March 5, 2018

My mom claims she always knew I’d be a teacher.

Apparently I’d line up my stuffed animals in my crib and babble nonsensically at them before my mouth had even developed the freedom of speech.  This was also how she knew I was really sick- because one day, I was quiet.

Also, my neck had swelled up to the size of my face.

Doctors didn’t have the first idea what was wrong with me, but before I was two years old I was lying on an operating table getting my neck drained.  No- let’s be more specific- I was strapped to an operating table in wrist restraints because they didn’t want to anaesthetize me without knowing what the dickens was wrong.  I was wide awake, frantically failing to flail to safety while the strangers sliced open my neck.

Years later, when Santa got me Swatch watches for Christmas because I wanted to be cool- hypercolor t-shirts were also an option- but then refused to wear them, my mom ventured a guess as to why and told me about the surgery.  It was the first my conscious brain had heard of it.

Oh!  That’s why I still don’t wear a watch, or bracelets.  That’s why I still can’t fall asleep unless my neck and both wrists are fully covered.

That’s why I was the only of my friends to sport the frighteningly regular mock turtle.  It’s why in high school, when my tooth doctor grabbed my wrist to ‘calm’ me, I reflexively kicked her in the face.

I had no real memory of what happened, but a piece of my brain retained it just the same.

Fast forward a couple 2, 3 decades, and I’m perched at a beach bar in Malaysia, eating spring rolls and watching the sun set over the limestone archipelago as my Kindle app is open to some brain books.  My mom was right- I grew up to be a teacher, and it’s my mission to be really good at it.  In fact, this is less a vacation than a change of working scenery; I’ve spent most of my time here reading and writing about social and emotional learning, stuff I’ve wanted to do for years but have been too wrapped up in “kids are right there and they need you” priorities of teaching to actually devote any time to.

So here’s what I’m reading:


They’re all pretty great, with sections devoted to neurophysiology- I dig it- and how the research can be applied to traumatized students, or adults, or ourselves.  There are lots of anecdotes about people with PTSD, and lots of fascinating, kind of soap opera-style voyeuristic case studies that keep the science accessible.

I was learning a ton tonight, taking copious notes, and just generally being inspired by what this means for my classroom when boom- in the midst of my Langkawi spaghetti with teeny garlic clams- I read this:


from Daniel Coleman’s Emotional Intelligence.

From this and more research, he contends that the brain makes emotional memories in the amygdala that are totally separate from factual memories in the neocortex.  Since the amygdala is more necessary for brute survival, it’s almost fully formed at birth.  The neocortex takes some years.  At any point in our life, sensory information goes to both of them, and both will interpret and tell the body to react based on their own historical context (and in our early years, degree of formation).

That can be confusing.  Turns out people can form very strong emotional memories well before we have the language to describe them or the factual memory to record the circumstances of them, and we then respond for the rest of our lives in accordance with those primal, inarticulate memories.

It could be why I have no recall of my childhood slicings and dicings, yet I’m still irrationally paranoid and careful of my wrists and neck.

It could be why we have students who respond to apparently innocuous circumstances in ways that seem bizarre or overreactive.

It’s why we have to teach them- and ourselves as well- how to be mindful of the way our brains work, and that if we use strategies to calm ourselves and slow our reactions long enough for our amygdalae to chill and our more rational neocortices to take over, we can potentially avoid some embarrassing and negative consequences.

Like mock turtlenecks, or kicking our well-intentioned mouth doctors.

I don’t totally know yet what to do with this.  As you can see from above, I’m only 12% done with this one.  Perhaps I’ll learn something that negates this stuff, or better, I’ll learn how to control it.

Because you know, I hear those hypercolor v-necks go great with a sleeve of bangles.