Dinner & a Show – Misuta Chows, Buffalo NY

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My sister is awesome and for my birthday in January, she gifted me with tickets for us to go see the 20th anniversary touring production of Rent when it came to Buffalo. For a long time, Rent was the only musical that I liked. I actually thought I hated musicals with Rent being the exception (yeah….that’s not true at all). But when I first saw Rent in High School (on video) I just fell in love. It’s such a wonderful story and I was so happy to be able to see it live (I’ve seen a smaller production when my sister’s college did the musical, and it was great there too)!!

Seeing Rent at Shea’s was the second time I’d seen a proper production of a musical. The first being when Hamilton came to town (and was everything I hoped and then some). I used to go to a lot of concerts, but I haven’t in a long time because unfortunately, all the flashing lights and the noise often meant every concert I attended came with a bonus migraine. I miss going out and experiencing live music, but I’ve found that musical theater is a wonderful alternative. I’m able to sit, it’s indoors (I swear I’ve been rained on at nearly every concert I’ve ever attended), there’s generally no massive exodus of traffic afterwards, and so far, there hasn’t been any insane flashing lights to trigger my cranky head.

The show itself was great. Somehow I behaved myself and didn’t sing along to every song, though trust me – I wanted to! The cast really did a great job and if the show is coming to your town, I highly recommend getting tickets. Even after seeing it here and there, and watching different versions of the show, it still gets me in the feels. Even all these years later – it’s still such a relevant and wonderful show.

My only real issue were the seats but that was part my body – I overdid it the day before and my back was in a REAL MOOD – and part the historical (read: uncomfortable) nature of the venue. I was in a lot of pain during the show and of course, I switched bags before leaving and didn’t have anything to take for it. As soon as the show was over though, walking started to help and I felt a lot better.

After the show we walked down to a restaurant we were both really wanting to check out: Misuta Chows. I’ve got to admit, the fact that Buffalo is now a place where there’s stuff to walk to on Main st. is sort of a crazy prospect. I mean, there’s always been something here and there, but the city is changing into something I never imagined.

Misuta Chows is part Japanese restaurant and part arcade/bar. The attention to detail in terms of design is excellent. It’s got the feel like you’re in some alleyway Japanese restaurant and despite feeling small, it doesn’t feel too cramped – more cozy. There’s a faux roof on the kitchen area with a little counter, and paper lanterns hang throughout the space. The noise level in the dining area wasn’t bad which I really appreciated. 80s tunes wafted in (also appreciated) and as we were seated at the counter facing the kitchen, it actually felt quite private. The lighting was also great  – I know, perhaps weird details to comment on, but some places are just too bright and too loud for me to deal with and this just felt right, so they get points for ambiance for sure. Also, the Maneki Neko banners on the roof over the kitchen space was adorable. Can I have that please??

 

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Upstairs is a second bar and an arcade, which you get to via a pink glittery Hello Kitty adorned stairway. Because, why not?? The arcade itself is a fun little space with a bunch of pinball machines and about a dozen older video game machines. The games are $0.50 a play, with the pinball machines costing $1.00 a play so they’re not the cheapest thing in the world, but it’s definitely a nice feature and one I can get down with. I think it’d be neat if they did something where you got a token or two to play when you ate there. That’d be a really nice little detail!

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In terms of the food, we started with two appetizers – the cucumber slices and the pork gyoza’s. Missy also got a drink – the “Hey Samurai” which she felt was really nothing like it’s description, and at their drink prices, that was a little bit disappointing. Being seated by the kitchen meant that our food was placed directly on the counter in front of us for us to grab which was nice in a way.

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For our entree’s we both went with the Shio Ramen. I have wanted to try real ramen for years now, but I just haven’t found myself in a place to do so until now, so I was excited to finally try it. Overall it was pretty good. I LOOOOVED the soft boiled egg!! I would have liked more bamboo shoots/scallions as I felt that was a bit sparse, and I personally wasn’t a fan of the large pieces of pork due to all the fat. I’m not a fan of fat because the texture really bothers me, so that might be more a personal issue – but I was sort of anticipating thinner slices of pork. The broth itself was good, but definitely super salty as Shio ramen is meant to be. I’d really love to try a Tonkatsu ramen sometime!

In the grand scheme of things, Misuta Chows is a great little place and I think it’s a welcome addition to downtown Buffalo. I like that while it’s a place with two bars, it’s still a welcoming environment for people who don’t really drink (hi), although we were there early on a Saturday evening and I’m sure it’s likely a different atmosphere later at night.

If I found myself in the area and wanting a place to eat, I’d definitely keep Misuta Chows in mind. I’d love to see them expand their menu options!

 

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Sunday Thoughts #1

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I stopped doing favorites posts for a few reasons. Some months I just didn’t have much to talk about. Sometimes my favorites were the same as past months and I didn’t want to be redundant. I didn’t really make a conscious decision to stop doing monthly favorites posts, they just sort of fizzled out. But aside from just sharing every little thing on Twitter, I’ve sort of missed having a regular place to share things I’ve been reading/watching/eating and just simply, enjoying.

So I thought I could start up something here on the blog – nothing fancy, and not exactly a favorites list per se. No rhyme or reason, and in all honesty, no consistency. I might do these weekly, monthly, or once and never again. We’ll just have to see. For now, let’s just get into what’s been on my mind lately:

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SHRILL – My lovely sister recently signed up for a Hulu membership, and set me up with a Roku, and I’ve been LOVING IT!! I’m pretty upset with Netflix right now, so I’ve been seriously enjoying all that Hulu has to offer. When I first heard about Shrill, I was intrigued but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever watch because I really wasn’t down for signing up for yet another streaming platform. Missy’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect because I was able to watch this new show and I honestly loved it so so so much.

I’m not sure how to even put my love for this show into words. It really made me feel some shit. Happy for such a wonderful show. Sad for my own struggle with acceptance and body positivity. Ecstatic to see what I was seeing, in a TV show. See – I still can barely articulate my feelings. Just know that the show is great and you should seriously watch it. I hope Hulu gives us more.

I said that I’m mad at Netflix right now, and that’s because they decided to cancel One Day at a Time after three wonderful, glorious, beautiful, emotional, seasons. They claim it wasn’t getting enough views. I say claim because Netflix doesn’t share their data. I’m sorry, but call me a skeptic, but I don’t buy it. First off – you can get data on any network show easily. The fact that Netflix doesn’t share their data is just plain dumb, and it bothers me. How do we ever know the truth regarding their content? Great for them, but crap for writers/actors/viewers/anyone else.

Beyond that, even if the show wasn’t doing well ratings wise, I’d say that Netflix has themselves to blame. I only first heard about One Day at a Time because I was doing research for a paper I was writing and was talking about Norman Lear. I then ran across an article discussing how there was a remake of One Day at a Time. I was on Netflix all the time and never once did I ever see anything about this show. I watched immediately and fell in love, but ever since, I’ve been quite aware of how shit Netflix has been when it comes to promoting this show. So to say they weren’t getting ratings, I feel you can put all the blame on yourself, Netflix.

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Because when they cancelled the show, #SaveODAAT was trending GLOBALLY for HOURS on twitter. Since the announcement tons of people have voiced their anger and sadness. People have come together to fight for the show to be picked up elsewhere, including Lin Manuel Miranda (how can you say no to him?!?) and fans of Brooklyn Nine Nine who successfully fought and found a new home for their show when it was cancelled (a show that is on my list to watch now that I’ve got Hulu).

I seriously hope that some network comes through and saves this show. We need more of these characters and their stories. We need the diversity and the representation. Shame on Netflix – a company that keeps triggering shows like 13 Reasons Why and cancels shows like ODAAT which beautifully, and honestly tackled mental health in a way I have never seen done before. CBS could pick up the show since they had the original. NBC saved Brooklyn Nine Nine, so I could see them saving the day again. I personally think One Day at a Time would fit wonderfully into a comedy block on ABC with Speechless (which is yet another show I’ve started watching and have fallen for hard, so please – #RenewSpeechless). One Day at a Time is honestly a show that I would follow and watch anywhere. If you haven’t seen the show yet, get on Netflix and watch the first three seasons!! Trust me, it’s beyond worth it.

I recently ordered some goodies from this wonderful Etsy shop called Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes and thank you brain fog because I totally forgot about it until it showed up in my mail box one day. Not only was it adorably packaged with confetti and sweets – but my pins and stickers are even better than I imagined. I love how bright and happy her designs are, in combination with the messages they display! I can’t wait to put the pins on my bag. The hard part is going to be deciding where to slap the stickers!

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I recently read this article about some of the issues with AirPods and I only feel more vindicated in my hatred of this product. I’m sorry, but I will NEVER pay over $100 for a pair of headphones that I will definitely lose somewhere. Beyond that, I think they look stupid and apparently their battery life is shit. My corded headphones? They have infinite battery life. 😉

Lastly, while I’ve been incredibly stressed and overwhelmed by grad school this semester, I’ve been finding comfort in two things recently: The Goldbergs (thank you again, Hulu), and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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I started watching The Goldbergs in reruns on TV Land because Hallmark has lost their mind and ruined their sitcom schedule (perhaps now that they broke up with Aunt Becky they could fix their schedule? I bet they’ve got space to fill…). At first I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought of the show, but it warmed up on me and now I’m really enjoying watching from the beginning. I’m only in season 2 now, but it’s really good. I am forever impressed by shows that are set in a specific time period and their attention to details in order to make that aspect believable. The Goldbergs is an excellent example of that. I’m loving the 80s vibes of this show.

When I first heard about Nintendo’s new system I was super intrigued. So of course, when it was released, I ran right out and got it. ….yeah, no. I’m nothing if not consistent, and that consistency includes being super late to the party with new tech. I picked up a Nintendo Switch last week, along with Stardew Valley and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I played a bit of Stardew and I basically gave up because I was having trouble doing things in the game and it was pissing me off (help?!). Zelda however, I’m LOVING!!! It’s such a gorgeous game and I love the flexibility and freedom which is always something that I’m drawn to in a game. I’ve only just begun to play the game so I’m not too far into it but I’m really, really, enjoying it. It’s been the perfect escape after working on giant papers for school. I also love the fact that when I feel like crap, the Switch is the perfect system for playing in bed. I’m a huge simmer, but there’s been plenty of times where it’s just too uncomfortable to sit at my desk to play. The Switch feels like the system I’ve been missing.

If you’ve got any game recs for me, please let me know! I’m eagerly waiting for Animal Crossing to be released for switch, but beyond that I’m not sure what games I should be looking into.

Alright, I’ve definitely rambled on long enough. Feel free to tell me what you’ve been enjoying lately in the comments. What have you been reading/watching/playing?

It’s Just Another Manic Monday – Building a Ladder

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It’s Monday – the start of a new week. I don’t know why, but I feel so much extra pressure on Mondays. Like how productive I am today, sets the tone for the rest of the week. Today I’ve been semi-productive and considering that I didn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up with such horrible joint pain, I’m going to consider that a win. Today I am trying to #BuildALadder  – a term created by one of my favorite Youtubers, Martina (of Simon & Martina / Eat Your Kimchi). Martina has EDS and understands that the reality of chronic illnesses means that some days are better than others. Sometimes, you need to try harder to accomplish what you need to, or accept that you’re going to have to find victory in the small things, change plans, or adapt to however you might be feeling that day.

I love the idea because it’s a good way for me to remind myself that every day cannot be perfect. I might have twenty things written down on my to-do list for a particular day, and chronic illness might have other plans. To me, it’s about adapting to my reality – which is often fluid and that means I can’t always plan ahead. The idea of building a ladder helps to remind myself that every day is different and we have to find our victories where we can!

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You might see that we haven’t been posting very often lately. It’s primarily because we’re both in Grad School and we’ve had rather challenging semesters so far. For me, the biggest challenge has been my health. Trying to manage school demands in a body that doesn’t always seem to get the memo can be frustrating. There are days where the nerve/joint pain is so bad that typing is just too difficult. Or a migraine keeps me from getting anything done. Chronic fatigue and insomnia often mean that even the little things can be big challenges. When I can’t be as productive as I want (or need) to be, it frustrates me. It amplifies my anxiety as I start to worry if I’ll meet deadlines or ever get it all done. I worry that I’m not doing enough. I worry that I’ll never be able to.

I’m not writing this to try and make anyone feel sorry for me. I do my best to #BuildALadder and get through every day. But I wanted to explain why things might be a lot more quiet on the blog until the semester is over. I’m also writing this because going forward, I want to be more honest here with my reality.

I’ve always been a fan of the internet. I read blogs, I watch YouTube, and I’m on Instagram and Twitter way too much. But something that I find frustrating is the lengths to which people will go to try and make their lives seem completely perfect. I don’t find it relatable. I want real content – I don’t want people that only ever show the good stuff, while glossing over the harder bits. I can understand the appeal, but for me personally, I find that content like that ends up making me feel shitty. It makes me feel like I’ll never compare or stack up – that I’m just not good enough. I roll my eyes when I watch a YouTube video and someone is saying how they worry that their content is “too boring” because they showed real life bits. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows!! That’s okay!! More and more, I find myself drawn to people who have more of a balance between the nice stuff, and the “real” stuff. Those vlogs that you worry are too boring?? They’re probably my favorite!

My point (yes, I think I have one) is that I want to talk about my real life more on this blog. We started this site as a way to write about the different interests that we both have, and we enjoy doing that. But I want to expand our focus a bit more to include other things – real life things that matter to us just as much. In all honesty, it sort of frightens me to be transparent and talk about things like chronic illness – it makes me feel a bit vulnerable. But my life isn’t just books and TV – there’s a whole lot of other stuff in there too.

So long story short – be patient with us. We’re still around, just super busy right now. When this semester is over, we have a bunch of posts planned and we can’t wait to dive back in! For me, writing is a creative outlet that keeps me sane. I miss having the time to do it on my own terms! In the meantime, feel free to follow us on social media –

Tina – TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Missy – TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Oh, and if you like anything you’ve read here on our blog, you can always Buy Us a Coffee! 😉

and one more thing…. #SAVEODAAT!!!

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All the Education Money Can Buy

I vividly remember my experience preparing for college during eleventh grade. My basketball-loving high school counselor Mr. Brousseau pointed me to the PSAT as a way to prepare for the big one: the SATs. I had been practicing with the College Board’s online practice tests whenever I could. I remember the anxiety I experienced coming in for the PSAT and that wasn’t even the real thing. My mom dropped me off at my high school early that Saturday morning and I nervously sat myself down at an open desk in one of the math classrooms with at least 10 other students in my high school. This was one of the first tests in a long time that I didn’t have accommodations for. I honestly don’t know which was more nerve wracking: the people around me or the test that was about to be on my desk. I had prepared my usual ziplock bag of test supplies – several pencils and a Texas Instruments calculator. Soon the proctor distributed the practice tests and I was a fearful matador in front of my frightening bull that was this practice SAT test. My nerves were frantic as my skin felt like ants marching underneath. I tried breathing to relax, but I quickly faced a crushing blow when the batteries on my calculator died. As someone who couldn’t do any math to save my life, I felt utterly helpless and unsure of how to proceed. My test anxiety was getting the better of me and I felt like I was watching my college future slipping away. I left the test that Saturday feeling beyond defeated and disappointed in myself.

That disappointment faded into a fiery sense of stubborn determination when I sat down to take the actual SAT test in the spring. It also helped tremendously that I was able to take the test with accommodations for time, and a separate and quiet location. I sat down again with my ziplock baggie of pencils, my Texas Instruments calculator and an entire package of batteries (I wasn’t playing that game again). I was still absolutely terrified of the test, but somehow, I felt less frazzled than last time. Each time I exhaled, it felt like I was shedding the weight of my inner buried anxieties, which I had placed on a single test (which was absolutely unfair to do to myself). In the end, I was right and I did really well. The irony is that I didn’t end up needing to take it because I started at a community college, but I learned a lot about myself from the experience.

You see, before the PSAT/SAT one-two punch, I wasn’t really serious about going to college. It was this thing that all of my teachers and guidance counselors had an opinion about and I was kind of flirting with it in a noncommittal way. Taking the test taught me through a so-called failed practice test that yes, this was something I wanted and because I let it slip through my fingers, I was going to fight like hell to get that chance.

When I read the news about the FBI uncovering a college admissions scam with fraudulent testing, I felt so many emotions reading the story. Mostly anger and frustration as I saw these students were falsely and unethically obtaining testing accommodations for the ACT and SAT under the guise of having learning disabilities. As an autistic student now working on grad school, I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the accommodations I’ve needed during my high school and college career so far because I know that doesn’t always happen. I took the SAT with accommodations of extended time and a separate and quiet location which helped me tremendously so when I read about students without disabilities falsifying having learning disabilities to gain access to accommodations in order to buy and cheat their way into college with so-called good test scores, I felt angry that people who have busted their butts and taken the SAT the right way may have been cheated out of an education at their preferred colleges because some privileged white kids made their own lane and fraudulently bought their way into college. Simply put, the people who took and didn’t cheat were cheated – whether or not they have disabilities. If I’m honest, it’s especially infuriating when you are familiar with some of the statistics for post-secondary education like I have become from one of my disability studies courses this semester.

I literally just wrote a paper on the statistical divide in college enrollment, which for a brief review, revealed a tremendous gap between the enrollment rates for students with disabilities and those without. Add to that factors like economic and racial privilege that gets stacked against students with disabilities who are already disadvantaged when it comes to getting a college education. The stats I used for my paper may have been 10 years old, but a 2011-2012 U.S. Department of Education study shows that only 11% of the college population is comprised of students with disabilities.

I also felt incredibly sad for the many students who like me are actually disabled and set out to attend college the right way and had been denied in order to make room for these people who cheated and scammed the system that’s already rigged against individuals with disabilities. This whole story brings up a lot of feelings for me in regard to how people with disabilities are treated. People without disabilities are taking advantage of the resources that so many people with disabilities have had to fight for their entire lives.

I couldn’t help but think of my experience obtaining accommodations which actually hasn’t been smooth sailing. I’ve had to fight to get the support that I need throughout my educational career. In first grade, I was held back a year in order to obtain special education support services, before being formally diagnosed as autistic. I literally had to repeat a grade to get the services I needed, and these parents simply paid for access?

 In college, fighting for support was often an uphill battle. Trying to advocate for yourself and the assistance you need, on top of all the other college priorities is a stress, and a distraction. I’ve had professors who have denied me my accommodations such as a math education class when I was denied use of my calculator despite it being on my approved accommodations. While in many senses, I was lucky to have had relatively medium issues obtaining accommodations – other students with disabilities aren’t always so lucky.

Having able bodied students coached into claiming disabilities to get accommodations they don’t need is a slap in the face of disability activists who throughout history have worked hard in the fight to gain equal rights and fight unnecessary barriers placed by an ableist society that discriminates and constantly stigmatizes people with disabilities.

This behavior sets us back. People fight for accessibility which doesn’t always come easy. This whole scandal is insulting. What happens now? Will these parents face consequences for their actions? Will the colleges do anything to ensure this behavior ever stops or will it just continue on? Because let’s be real: this isn’t new, it’s just an instance in which people were actually caught. What will become of the degrees these students received? Do the students get off with no consequences? Because weren’t they adults who could have stood up and said no thanks, I’d rather get by on my OWN Merits?!?

Perhaps this outrageous story can be an opportunity for a dialogue on the realities of education and disability.