“if the tipping culture goes away…. I’ll be making so much less a year.”

I saw that Michigan has passed the- I don't know what the phrase is for it, um for tipped workers where we have to get paid now a minimum wage of 12 dollars an hour instead of the whatever it is like $3.75 or whatever. I get $5 an hour and then plus all my tips. And it's kind of I know people are appealing it and bringing it up into higher courts, and it's probably going to go to the Michigan Supreme Court. And I got to be honest, I don't know how I feel about it passing. I think people are doing it because they want to help. Because they think it's really unfair that we're not making real money. But like I have this fear that if it does pass. You know, the tipping culture will go away. Which don't get me wrong, it is stupid, like the whole idea of it is dumb, I understand, but it's my life and I'm accustomed to it now. Yeah, and so if the tipping culture goes away to wait tables for 12 dollars an hour and then you know say maybe you get like five percent or 10% tips on top of it. I'll be making so much less a year. Like there's no way I would stay I will let you know right now. There's no way I would keep waiting tables, you know at 31 years old. If I was making twelve dollars an hour, like right now I make somewhere between I don't know, between $25 and $40 an hour. Which yeah, why would I want to change that? And then I do understand like some people think that like it would make more sense to have more fair salary between front of house and back of the house. But my opinion is take all that extra money that you would give me for the twelve dollars an hour and just give it to back of house. I don't think people that work back of house should be making any less than 20 dollars an hour like that should be the minimum. It's a hard job. And it's hot and it breaks your body, and you work every night and every weekend and every holiday. And most of the time you get no insurance. No benefits. No sick leave, no paid time off. No 401k. But it's a skilled labor job,…

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“The word ‘east’ reminded me of him.”

Okay, I'm not gonna go to the questions yet because surprisingly I have something to talk about East. So, I've- I'm half Chinese and lately I've been interested in like Chinese mythology because like it's so cool. And so, one thing I've been looking into was like different little creatures and gods and spiritual beasts and stuff and there's this one really cool dragon in Chinese mythology called the green dragon or azure dragon depending on how you say the name I guess and he's like the man of the east the East Sea is his, even though like when you look on a map of China is only the eastern side is connected to a sea. I don't get why I like Black Tortoise, Vermilion Bird and the White Tiger all have like corresponding oceans to them when China is surrounded by Mongolia and other countries like that, but I'm not gonna fret about the details. Could be like, you know established before when China is bigger. Maybe I don't I like know nothing on Asian history, even though I'm Asian, I'm like shameful to my ancestors. We need to be taught more about stuff in school. But yeah, I don't know the word East just reminded me of him. His name is 'Qinglong'. I forgot his other name. But yeah, that was something cool.

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“She just crashed right through the surface. My parents and the other parents did everything they could…”

Content Warning: Mentions of drowning and death My best friend, when I was eight years old, we went camping in Oscoda and and we thought where we were was frozen over and spoiler was not frozen over the very surface was frozen but she walked onto the ice and she fell through and we found her three days later. She was dead. She had drowned. That was my first introduction with death. Actually, It's kind of a morbid story, I am sure it's not the light-hearted ones that I think are expected, but to her credit or to my parents' credit. They did not know that we were out there. We were supposed to be on the shore and not go near the water. We were kind of having like a little picnic with another family that we'd met at the campground. and I being overly cautious, then and now, I remember saying "I don't think this is really a great idea." It doesn't you know, my mom said it's not it looks more solid than it is and neither of us were very small children. We were very very stocky overweight to be honest children and she, I don't know what her plan was, I think she thought she could make it like a large slip and slide. Or a slip n' bleed rather. Yeah, she took she just took off running and then kind of made like that diving motion you make on a slip and slide and she just crashed right through the surface. My parents and the other parents did everything they could. They tried to get rope, but she kind of she was flailing a lot. We couldn't get her back to the hole. She was under the ice and she was kind of drifting away from the the hole where my parents couldn't couldn't grab her. They tried to grab her and my father wanted to go in and he couldn't- he couldn't fit through the hole and he was you know punching at the ice trying to make the hole bigger and it just it wasn't making it bigger. You know looking back maybe we could have gotten something to make the hole larger but none of us- I mean, I was eight. My parents were freaking out. Everyone was freaking out. They called the police the police. I don't remember how long…

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“And she just had this incredible story and it turns out she’s a hundred and three years old…”

I do have, kind of a fun story. We had at the library this summer a series of book talks which we do every year. So authors come in, talk about their work. And people get to ask questions and have a chance to buy their, buy their books and have them signed, that type of thing. So we had- usually we try and have, Michigan authors or stories that take place in Michigan something that has some sort of a local Michigan connection and one of the books this year was called the Dock Porter, which is about the dock porters on Mackinac Island. And the two guys that wrote it were actually dock porters. I think in the 1970s 80s something like that and they just remember their- just an incredible experience being these dock porters on Mackinac Island, that's where they met each other and have stayed friends, you know since then. So they gave this talk one of them was in person and one of them actually lives in the Philippines. So we zoomed the second author in. And it was a really great talk really interesting, you know, a lot of really good questions from the audience and then this lady who was in the audience started to tell this story and she was very quiet. It was kind of hard to hear and she looked like she was you know quite elderly. And she talked about this story about how her mother was a schoolteacher on Mackinac Island and how they used to live there, and they used to walk across the channel between the you know, they used to walk across well Lake Michigan and to get from the Upper Peninsula to the lower Peninsula and they used to plant, I should- plant- but they used to put trees down to kind of make make a path, so people knew where they were going, so they put these trees in the ice. And she just had this incredible story and it turns out she's a hundred and three years old and really just had some amazing amazing stories about walking across the ice from Mackinac Island to the lower Peninsula and it was such an incredible such an incredible story that I thought that was I thought that was pretty cool.

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“Okay, I’ve revised my answer, I want it to be a Saturday.”

If I was stuck in a time loop, what day would I pick? I always have questions around these prompts. Like how long does the time loose loop last for because that would change my answer. But I think if I just if I didn't know that then it could go on indefinitely. I would probably pick a day that I don't have any set obligations. So like Saturday or Sunday where, in theory, I could do all different kinds of things that day. So it would be a Saturday or Sunday in the summer. Um, I would want everything about my life currently to remain true. So, I have a partner I would want to be with my partner. I wouldn't choose a day in the past before I knew him. And then I think I would just kind of reinvent the day each time. So sometimes maybe it would be really structured and I'd go out to events and things and other times. I would just kind of lounge around. I would- I guess okay- I've revised my answer. I want it to be a Saturday because some things are closed on Sunday. So it's a Saturday which means the library would be open. So if I wanted to read all different kinds of books this loop just went on forever and ever and ever. That would be really nice and I wouldn't have to pay for it. Although I guess my bank account would reset each day. So it doesn't matter. I was gonna say that I might try to gamble but it wouldn't matter again because even if I won it would reset the next day. Yeah. A random Saturday in the summer with my partner. No, nowhere to be. No plans I'm missing.

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“And then we started sinking.”

What do you think of when you think about up north? One of our team members goes camping and tubing up north every summer. So I don't go tubing up north. I go to a place with my cousins once in a while. And it's not the cottage, and we usually go tubing. The tubing is so fun! And one time, seven of us were on a tube and we were just going really fast, super fast. And then we started sinking. And then like almost every everyone but one of our cousins was - jumped off it and it was just so funny because it was just sinking and sinking and sinking. And another time when we were tubing, two of them who were the most cocky - like, "You guys are gonna fall off. We aren't." They were the two who fell off and we had to circle back to get them. I'm so glad it didn't happen to me, that'd be kind of creepy. But it'd be refreshing. And so that was just a really fun experience that I had. It was super fun. It was more like down south, but yeah going tubing is one of my favorite things to do. And it was for my grandparents 50th anniversary. And it was just super fun like because we had to take photos later in the day - family photos. But until then we'd just go tubing and when we got back we had hot dogs and we got to do stuff at the beach. It was super fun. It was like one of the funnest experiences I've haded in my - I've had, not haded in my life.

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“…the experience of rain falling on you in the middle of the night.”

Have you ever slept outside? What was it like? Does camping count? I've been camping countless times. I've been in Munising camping. I've been out east camping. I've been out west camping. I've been like down southish probably camping. I've been like camping like a lot of places we go camping quite a bit. So does camping count 'cause we - we're in a tent? We're not, no offense to people who use campers, but that's not camping. You don't get the experience of rain falling on you, in the middle of the night. And sounds not being blocked out and no AC and no actual bed. Like come on people you say you're going camping, but you're literally just in a mini house. I will say that when I went "camping" quotation marks in Vermont that was not camping because guess what we got a cabin. It was so fun. And we were like right on this little pond that we couldn't sleep or that we couldn't swim in, and I always love when there's some place where we can swim, but we didn't get to. So that was fun.

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“It just always breaks my heart…”

So I had the opportunity to give a spray bottle of hand sanitizer to a person on the side of the road this afternoon, Michigan Diaries. And it just always breaks my heart to see folks standing on the side of the road, with signs often when you exit the highway. I just don't have it in my power to solve all of those problems for people. Yeah, today fate just kind of lined up. I was cleaning out my storage unit. And I was loaded up, heading back east. And yeah, saw this guy with a sign, "Single father anything helps". Quickly looked around, kind of my dash area under my car radio. Saw I had a spray bottle hand sanitizer that I keep handy for myself. And yeah, dropped my window down, just shouted out, "Hey man, wanna bottle of hand sanitizer?" And he was like, "Yeah, anything helps!" And he ran up to my car and handed it off and he said, "God bless." And yeah, I just don't know where that's gonna take him. Tough road ahead.

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“…we bought tickets and went even though we were not done with our semester.”

Have I ever been someplace where it never fully got dark? I have not been some place where there was never a sunset but I've been someplace where the sunset really late. So my sen - I guess it's not really my senior year - my last year of my grad program, I was living on the East Coast pretty close to Boston and a lot of flights out of Boston, especially going to Europe are so much cheaper than they were when I was living in the midwest. So I found myself - and at the time I was also dating someone that lived in Ireland, so I kept an eye on flights for that reason. But it was probably 2015, and at that time there was a - I can't remember the name of the airline, but there was an airline that was advertising for trips to Iceland really really inexpensively. And I think their kind of shtick was that they would do a lot of like layovers in Iceland give people an opportunity to kind of tour around and then you had the option to continue onto other places in Europe if you wanted to. But they also just flew people kind of, you know straight to Iceland as well. So I remember it was my last semester and we were not done we had maybe two weeks left of class, and my friend texted me that she just found flights round trip to Iceland for a hundred and eighty dollars, I think. And so we were like, "Oh my gosh, we have to go!" And so we bought tickets and went even though we were not done with our semester. So we got there and I remember it was really convenient because the sun didn't go down for so long. I think it was bright until like 11pm, maybe even after that. And so we were kind of exploring the country during the day and then trying to stay awake and write papers. We had one big paper that was due while we were there. Thankfully, the person that went with me we were both in the same class. So we kind of had that to commiserate about, but it was really nice to have it'd be so sunny for so long. I definitely as you know, I think most humans do find their energy waning…

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“…uh oh, I didn’t see this question before”

Have I ever had pasties? Uhh uh oh, I didn't see this question before and I - I don't know. Oh my! This is pretty funny. Let me re-read that question. Have I ever had pasties and did I like them? So I googled pasties, which is pretty funny because I get it's either a British baked pastry. And it looks like there's stuff inside of it. Or it's another name for nipple covers, which I think I've heard it used in that realm before. I haven't tried either frankly. But I would be open to giving it a shot. I kind of want to click the Wiki page and see what's going on inside of a, a pasty. Beef skirt, potato, swede, and onion. My main weakness is being a picky eater, one of my main weaknesses I - I just am and I - I wish I wasn't but trying crazy foods is just seems like abnormally difficult for me. Seems like everyone else can try new stuff no problem, and it's all fine. But this - this is a - that's a lot going on there for me and to try it would probably... It takes willpower for me. I think that's the thing, with other people it seems like there's no willpower involved in trying new foods it - its just a thing you either choose or choose not to do. And for me, it's a wall I have to climb to some degree. Not to make it sound dramatic, but sometimes it feels traumatic like like trying a pasty full of beef and potato and onion mashed together would be a big deal for me. But I don't know, catch me on the right day and I guess I'd give it a shot.

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