Thursday, June 30, 2005

media update: June (fortified with bonus random shit)

We have a summer intern working for us that I shall call Howdy Doody, thanks to his alarming resemblance to that puppet of yore. Howdy is the grandson of the secretary to the top dog in our department; nepotism is so nice, dontcha think?

Anyway, he came over to my desk yesterday and handed me a letter. “Is this supposed to go out with any attachments?”

Fair enough question. I scanned the letter and said, “No, this can go out as is.”

Big eyes blinked moistly, and his pale, sluglike tongue darted out to catch the beads of sweat on his peachfuzzed upper lip. “Uh, okay.”

He went straight from my desk to Marge’s and said, “Uh, Marge, does this letter go out with any attachments?”

What the fuck? This dude is in his sophomore year of COLLEGE, for chrissakes, and he couldn’t understand something as simple as “No, this can go out as is”? Did I accidentally slip into Farsi?

Another irritation: he rolls his chair over to the printer instead of physically standing up and walking to it. It’s ten friggin’ feet, max. Come on, Howdy! I know you can do it! Surely your strings are long enough!

Conversation between G and me, whilst playing Haunting Ground:

ME: Um, did Debilitas [the mentally challenged giant obsessed with Fiona, the main character] just call me his pretty pink meatpie?

G: Aww, that’s sweet. I’m gonna start calling you my pretty pink meatpie.

ME: Please don’t.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. The Black Angel by John Connolly: Oh, how it pains me to say this, but this wasn't very good at all. He focused too much on cheesy mysticism (trying to cash in on The DaVinci Code, maybe?) for my tastes. Still, Angel and Louis get some great lines, as always, and there are some poignant moments involving Charlie's lover and their baby daughter.

2. The Devil of Nanking* by Mo Hayder: A troubled young woman, inexplicably obsessed with the atrocities in Nanking in 1937, goes to Japan in search of a scholar/Nanking survivor. She makes some dangerous friends and even more dangerous enemies, all of whom are obsessed with a mysterious elixir. There are some scenes of palpable terror (most notably involving "The Nurse") that literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the ending packs a powerhouse punch that left me in tears. Already shortlisted for my favorite book of the year.

3. Chloe Does Yale by Natalie Krinsky: Uninspired story of a Yale coed writing a sex column for the school newspaper, and how it affects her "real" life. Marginally redeemed by the occasional great zinger like "I felt like a finalist at the Special Olympics version of the Miss America pageant".

4. Wasted Beauty* by Eric Bogosian: A drugged-out supermodel begins an affair with a married doctor, and it takes them places neither one expected. I frickin' loves me some Bogosian.

5. Towelhead* by Alicia Erian: I went without reading material at work for days---days!---because there was no way in hell I was going to read this and risk someone calling HR on me. ("I saw [sairentohiru] reading a book called Towelhead in the breakroom! She's a racist!") Anyway, this is a great book about a 13-year-old girl whose mother sends her to live with her Lebanese father in Texas. The man next door becomes obsessed with her, and she finds herself sexually experimenting with him (as well as a boy at school), trying to make up for the love she doesn't get from her family. Highly recommended.

6. Rage* by Jonathan Kellerman: His last few books ranged from meh to utterly craptacular, but Kellerman finally redeems himself with this engrossing story of two teenage thrill killers and the dark truths behind the murder they committed. It’s about time, dude!


1. I'm Not the New Me* by Wendy McClure: A collection of mordantly funny and occasionally bittersweet essays from the webmistress of Candyboots.

2. Don't Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock: Some interesting factoids about the fast food industry, but you can safely skip this if you've already seen Super Size Me. Well, you can safely skip it either way. For a much more incisive look at the evils of fast food, check out Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

3. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang: This is a meticulously researched and utterly bone-chilling account of the Nanking atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers against Chinese citizens in 1937. To give you some idea of the depravity, the Nazis condemned the Japanese army's actions. The friggin' NAZIS! Reading this moved me to tears of rage and sorrow several times. If you decide to read it, be warned that there are EXTREMELY graphic descriptions of cruelty, along with photos.

4. The Italian Boy* by Sarah Wise: Intriguing, Dickensian account of the lucrative bodysnatching trade that sprang up in 1800's London.


1. B-Men Kazoku by Kayono

2. Parfait Tic* vols. 4-13 by Nanaji Nagamu

3. A Mermaid's Tears* by Yukari Kawachi


1. Meet the Fockers: Many of the jokes and gags were recycled, but there were still some great lines, and this is probably the only time Barbra Streisand hasn't bugged the hell out of me.

2. High Tension: First off, the title could not be more accurate; I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. However, a gore content unlike anything I've ever seen (and I used to be a big giallo fan) and what I consider to be a very cheap, somewhat offensive twist keep me from recommending it.

3. Land of the Dead: Meh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


  • I found a Carvel just a few miles down the road from our new place, and I began drooling like Pavlov’s dog. I used to go to Carvel all the time as a kid, until they closed down, and my favorite was always vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles, so that’s what I ordered. I sat at the counter, and my thighs stuck to the faux leather seat, and as I ate, licking the spoon like I would a lover, I watched the people scurrying outside in the heat and thought, This is true happiness.

  • G and I saw Land of the Dead, which had its moments, but could easily have been called Land of the Meh in my opinion.

  • G’s fortune at the Chinese restaurant where we feasted on lemon chicken and vegetable fried rice: “Study metaphysics to be truly happy.”

  • He asked if I would be willing to help him shop for groceries, as it’s a bit difficult for him to do so with his broken foot, and I readily agreed. It was like playing house as I steered the cart through the aisles and he told me what to grab. “You like Mug root beer, right?” I asked, and he said yes.

  • We played Haunting Ground, a new survival horror game for the PS2, and I shrieked as my shapely character, Fiona, tried to evade the demented giant chasing her through the corridors. “Whoa, look how much detail they put into her bouncing boobs,” G commented, and I aimed a sideways kick at his (uninjured) shin.

  • The best public access show ever: “Dinah Sings Jesus!” As G talked to his mother in the other room, I stared with mingled shock and glee as elderly Dinah sang praises to Jesus against a musical background that sounded like brain-damaged monkeys pounding on a Casio keyboard. “Goodbye cocaine! Goodbye pain! Jesus came and washed it away like holy rain!” she howled, and the second I heard G hang up the phone, I raced to the kitchen and forcibly dragged him back to the couch. “You need to see this immediately, if not sooner,” I commanded.

  • After I carried G’s dinner out to the couch for him, I returned to the kitchen and got my own. When I returned, he stared at the carton of Ben & Jerry’s, package of string cheese, and bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade I had set out before me. “What is that?” he asked.

    “That’s my dinner,” I said cheerfully.

    He thrust a finger at the kitchen. “Get back in there and get some real food!”

    When I came back, I brought a can of Coke and a TV dinner consisting of a corn dog, vanilla pudding with cotton candy sprinkles, corn, and French fries. He looked at it and said, “I think you might have been better off with that other shit.”

  • On Monday morning, we stood on his doorstep embracing, and I whispered, “Let’s just call in sick and go to Disneyland.”

    “In September,” he said, rubbing my lower back, “when my cast is off and the kids are in school. Maybe I’ll take you in September.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

they come to snuff the rooster

One time, I was driving home from Borders and I stopped at a light behind a large pickup truck with a bumper sticker that read “Yes, this is my truck. No, I won’t help you move.” I got a kick out of it, and I could certainly understand the sentiment…but that didn’t stop me from asking HangDog if he would help a sista out.

So yesterday after work, he and I hopped in his truck and headed towards the old homefront. We were chatting, and he said, “Man, my neck is bugging me. I didn’t think that MRI would take so long.”

“What MRI?”

“The one I had this morning.”

“[HangDog]!” I shrieked. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would never have asked you to help out today if I’d known.”

“No big deal,” he said casually. “I said I’d help, so I’m going to help.”

I love HangDog.

When we got to the Happy Ranch, our first priority was lugging our two couches out to the dumpster. Now, of course, K and I need furniture in the new place, but there was no way we were going to bother taking these two pieces of shit with us. We bought both of them used for a grand total of $40, and they have more mileage on them than Paris Hilton’s pussy.

Much groaning and grunting and dragging and swearing later, HangDog and I had managed to get the couches out to the dumpster. We dusted our hands off and returned to the apartment to begin grabbing boxes and bins.

On one of our trips out to the truck, a woman I’d never seen came over and said, “Excuse me, did you two just put those couches out there?”

Now, her tone of voice was neutral, but I didn’t like the way she said “you two”. I was sweaty and achy and felt about as filthy as if I’d been dipped in Crisco and rolled in the pubic shavings of a horrifically hirsute man. I wasn’t up for anyone stepping to me, and I was about to deny any knowledge of the couches when HangDog said casually, “No, uh-uh.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, walking away.

Once she was out of earshot, HangDog grinned at me and said, “See, sometimes it helps to have a Jesus fish on your truck.”

Did I mention I love HangDog?

Pretty soon K showed up, and we continued loading up the truck and her car with as much stuff as we could. There’s still plenty left over, but at least we have the biggest and most important things moved, and all (in a world where “all” means “god, there’s more?!?”) we need to do now is get the remainder of our crap moved to the new place and clean the holy hell out of the old one.


But! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the Merry Mansion (as we’ve christened the new place) is so damn wonderful. I was able to sit on the carpet and not feel like I needed to put an ass gasket down first.


I will say this, though, that first night in my new room was extremely surreal. The shadows filtering through the blinds were different, and I had to be careful when getting up in the middle of the night, lest I take a wrong turn and wind up tumbling down the stairs. It was like spending the night in a stranger’s house, but I don’t anticipate it will take too much time to get acclimated…

…with the sole exception of the rooster.

Yes, someone in the neighborhood has an actual ROOSTER. Fortunately, every time I’ve heard it, I’ve already been awake, but if that thing ever wakes me up on a weekend, I’m going to find it and I’m turning it into dinner.

Monday, June 20, 2005

movin' on up

The front door swung open and I raced inside, squealing happily. “It smells like freshly cleaned carpet,” I moaned, bending down to touch the floor.

“It’s so bright and airy,” K said, running her hand over the countertop. “And clean! And the dishwasher is BRAND-NEW.”

“The bathroom has an adjustable showerhead!” I screamed ecstatically from upstairs.

After we’d calmed down a little, we went over the move-in checklist that our sweet new landlady, Lois, had provided. The few problems we had were pretty minor: a small hole in the screen, a faint pink stain on the carpet, and the back of my closet door was horribly (and inexplicably) water-stained. (Ever vigilant against the Mold Menace, I practically put on a loupe to inspect the stains, but I found nothing worrisome.) We dutifully checked them off on the list and turned it in.

I spent Friday evening packing, and on Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and loaded my car from floor to ceiling with boxes, tchotchkes, and gewgaws. I felt like a goddamn Okie escaping the Dust Bowl. Despite the extra weight, Ariel faithfully chugged up the grade with nary a protest, and when I got to the new place, I began the laborious process of hauling everything inside. If Bil Keane had been behind me making dotted lines to show my progress, it would have looked like this: Car, up the stairs, into the apartment, up THOSE stairs, bedroom, bathroom, downstairs, downstairs again, car.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Six times.

Once everything was inside, I got back in my car, returned to the old digs, and packed the car again. Then I drove up that stupid fucking grade one more time (won’t miss THAT commute, no sir) and repeated the cycle. It was at least 85 degrees out and I was sweating like a pretty boy in prison. I put as much stuff away as I could, and then I hung the new shower curtain and took the most blissful shower of my life. I could feel the grime sluicing off my weary body, and I nearly wept with gratitude as the water ran down my aching calves.

When I’d dried off and gotten dressed, I drove to G’s and rang the bell. I could hear his crutches thumping against the floor as he made his way to the door, and when it swung open and I saw his wonderful face smiling at me, something like a fist slowly unclenched itself inside of me.

Monday, June 06, 2005

meet the parent

Last night was the fateful meeting between G and Daddy-O, and there isn’t anything I could possibly say about it that isn’t better summed up by this picture:

Okay, not really. Here’s the full scoop.

G was supposed to meet us in the lobby of Daddy-O’s hotel, and as I fussed with the side tie on my kimono top, I said, “You’re going to be on your best behavior, right, Dad?”

“Mmm,” he grunted non-commitally.


“Yes, little Ro, I will be on my best behavior.”

My heart soared when my NS walked in. I leaped from the couch and gave him a big hug, and then I did the formal introductions. We chatted for a few minutes, and then we piled into Daddy-O’s rented Camry and headed to Café Fiore, a lovely restaurant in beautiful downtown Ventura. We ordered drinks, and I gulped down my Milky Way martini in no time flat.

The conversation went well. I sat back and stayed quiet for the most part so they could get to know each other. They talked about everything from Daddy-O’s days in Taiwan and prep school to G’s job, and there were several times when we all burst into raucous laughter over some anecdote or another. The food was excellent, as usual, and as I spooned up the last drops of my vanilla bean gelato, I thought, This went much better than I could have ever hoped.

Back at the hotel, we all sat out by the pool and continued our conversation, and then Daddy-O excused himself, saying that his hip was bothering him and he was going to lie down and rest. (I don’t think G noticed the sly wink he shot me.) When he was gone, I immediately pounced on him and gave him a hug.

“I missed you so much,” I murmured.

“I missed you a little bit too.”

I pulled away and pouted. “Just a little bit?”

“Maybe a smidge more than that,” G said.

We kissed for a long time, and when he finally pulled away, he said, “I really like your dad.”

“Good! He obviously likes you, too.”

“Man, I would never hurt you anyway, but I SURE wouldn’t after meeting him. How tall is he anyway?”


“And how tall’s your brother?”


“Uh…yeah, I’m going to try to avoid ever pissing you off.”

I buried my head in his shoulder and snaked a hand around to grab his sweet, sweet can. “I don’t think you could piss me off if you tried,” I whispered.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe

Oh, what I wouldn't give to have my own washer and dryer, tucked into a little nook in my apartment! I could do laundry at 3AM if I wanted, and I wouldn't have to deal with jackasses at the laundromat.

To wit:

Tonight, I walked into the laundromat and began wearily shoving my shit into a washer. I was turning my beloved Silent Hill shirt inside out to preserve the transfer, when the man next to me barked.


I surreptitiously inched over a few feet.

He barked again, and then he said something in a very heavy accent that I couldn't understand. Fearfully, I glanced over and saw, to my mingled relief and irritation, that he had a small dog next to him in a laundry basket.

(Side note: I have nothing against dogs. I do, however, have something against people who think it's their inalienable right to take them wherever the fuck they want. When I worked at Schlockbuster, one of my least favorite customers came in with an enormous Doberman straining at its leash. I asked him to please take the dog outside, and he snarled, "PETSMART lets me bring him in!" Yeah, that's because Petsmart is a goddamn pet store, genius. Now take the Hound of the Baskervilles outside before I neuter the both of you.)

Later on, after my clothes were dry, I began folding them and the man heaped his laundry on the table next to me. "Do you vant to pet my dog?" he asked.

"No thank you, I'm allergic." (Lie)

"Oh, vat a shame. Dogs are the most perfect creatures in the vorld."

I picked up my favorite pair of panties---pink with black ribbon and lace trim---and folded them. My peripheral vision caught the man staring at them, so I quickly flung a washcloth over them and folded a couple of shirts before picking up another pair of panties. This one had a cartoon woman and "Nice girls finish first" on the front, with "End of story" emblazoned on the butt.

"I..." the man began, and audibly swallowed. "I like your panties."

"Uh, excuse me?" I said, hoping I had misunderstood him either due to his accent or my tendency to assume the worst of people.

"I like your panties. All of vem."

I immediately crammed everything into my laundry basket and drove home.

I almost feel guilty writing this next part, because I would like to think I'm too mature to revel in someone else's misery...but considering who it is, I feel rather justified.

Remember Wad, the former coworker I had an inexplicable crush on for the longest time? The one who treated me like shit? The one whose very first words to L, one of the sweetest people I have ever had the privilege to meet, were "You'd be hot if you weren't so fat"? The one who brought new meaning to the words "tool" and "dickhead" and "syphilitic blister on a dead pig's balls"? The one who married an Australian woman with whom he'd had an internet relationship, and thankfully moved there to be with her instead of vice versa?

All is not well in paradise, it seems.

Wad called his best friend Red, the strident, fake-tittied claim rep who still works in my department, and said he was considering getting a divorce and moving back to the US because his wife kept taking his credit cards and spending money they don't have (since neither one of them has a job) on things they don't need.