Friday, March 31, 2006

media update: March

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


1. Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena: Overly complicated sci-fi/horror novel about a cellular mutation called Eve. There's an old Playstation game with the same name and basic premise that I played way back when, although the game didn't include any lengthy descriptions of Eve's morphing, gushing vagina, fortunately.

2. In the Company of the Courtesan* by Sarah Dunant: The adventures of a famed Italian courtesan and the dwarf who is her constant companion. Gorgeous prose as elaborate as any Renaissance painting. Dunant's last novel, Birth of Venus, made my 2005 top ten, and although it's too early to say for sure, this one will probably follow its predecessor to the 2006 list.

Read so far this year: 11


1. Please Don't Kill the Freshman* by Zoe Trope: An occasionally annoying and frequently brilliant memoir supposedly written by a high school freshman, although with all the recent kerfuffle about Frey/Burroughs/LeRoy, I wouldn't be surprised if she was outed as being a middle-aged man. The first half is far superior to the second half, but I'm giving it a star because of quips like "I'm the reason I don't want to have children".

2. On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson: Critical essays on, well, Michael Jackson.

3. Self-Made Man* by Norah Vincent: The author was curious about how men really act when women aren't around, so she went undercover as a man for eighteen months. This is a riotously funny, occasionally sad book that made me feel both unbearably tender and incredibly pissy towards men.

4. Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt: The story of the three teenage boys (aka the West Memphis Three) who were convicted of the brutal murders of three little boys, largely due to their musical tastes, black clothing, and interest in Wicca. If even half of the allegations of judicial inepitude and damning evidence pointing to another perpetrator are true, then these guys deserve a new trial. There's an excellent documentary about the case called Paradise Lost that's worth a looksee.

5. Cruising the Anime City by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama: Man, I wish I'd had this book when I went to Japan last year; it's an invaluable guide to otaku paradise. True, it's fun to just wander around aimlessly and stumble upon cool stores, but I could have used the informative maps in here!

6. The Year of Yes* by Maria Dahvana Headley: Bored and wondering if she was too picky when it came to guys, the author vowed to go out with anyone who asked her on a date. Parts of this book were so funny that I was doubled over laughing in the break room, earning me nervous looks from my coworkers. It's also a good reminder that sometimes the biggest chances you take reap the greatest rewards.

7. What Einstein Told His Cook 2 by Robert L. Wolke: An unusual and informative tome about kitchen science.

Read so far this year: 19


1. Buddha vol. 6-7 by Osamu Tezuka

2. Maka-Maka by Kishi Torajiro

3. A Relation Is Still a Level 1 by Kazuhiko Mishima: No, I have no idea what the title means either, and I READ the damn thing!

4. Haa Haa* vol. 2 by Yoshihara Yuki

5. The Sword of Paros* vol. 3 by Yumiko Igarashi and Kaoru Kurimoto

6. Sweet II (anthology)

7. Desire Climax by Ukyou Ayane

Read so far this year: 24


1. Saw 2: It's not as inventive as the first one, but it's still tense as hell, and it gives you an idea of what Rube Goldberg would be like as a sadistic killer. Thankfully, the acting is infinitely better than the first installment...which is not to say it's Oscar caliber or anything.

2. Dark Water*: A woman in the process of a nasty divorce moves into a dilapidated apartment building with her young daughter, and it soon becomes apparent that things just ain't right. Suspenseful and surprisingly quite sad. John C. Reilly is uncharacteristically crappy as the hinky landlord, but both Jennifer Connolly and the girl who plays her daughter give excellent performances.

3. L.A. Story*: G made me watch this against my will, but I grudgingly have to admit that it was funny and charming. Don't tell him I said so.

4. The Libertine: Johnny Depp plays a horny writer in 17th century Britain who butts heads with the nobility.

5. Walk the Line*: An engrossing biopic about Johnny Cash, enlivened by excellent performances and a killer soundtrack.

6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: You get one guess as to whose movie choice this one was. Actually, though, it wasn't bad; the animation was very stylish, there was a twist I didn't see coming, and Mark Hamill did brilliant voice-over work as the Joker.

7. Howl's Moving Castle*: I get the feeling they omitted a lot of things from the book, because there were several plot points that either didn't make sense or were left hanging. However, I must give this a star because the animation was so unbelievably breathtaking.

Seen so far this year: 23

Thursday, March 23, 2006

just give me the damn cookies

“Um, excuse me,” a meek voice said as I walked out of Longs.

“Yes?” I said, looking around for the person who had spoken. I finally looked down, and saw a tiny redheaded cherub in a Girl Scout uniform.

“Um, wady, would you wike to buy a box of cookies? Girl Scout cookies?”

Oh my god. Oh for cute. She was absolutely petrified, and her chubby knees shook as she fearfully gazed up at me from behind a screen of ginger fringe.

“Sure!” I said, fumbling in my purse. “Can I get a box of Samoas?” (For my coworkers, y’understand.)

Her brow furrowed. “Um, what?”


MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” she bellowed. A harried-looking woman scurried over and I blinked at her in confusion.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?”

“Um, this wady, she um wants something we don’t got.”

“Don’t have,” the woman automatically said. Then she turned to me and said, “What were you looking for?”


“Oh, they’re not called that anymore. There were some…issues. They’re called Caramel Delites now.”



What, did the good people of Samoa rise up and demand that the cookie be renamed? Why? I can’t imagine they thought it was some kind of slur. We’re talking about the most delicious cookie of them all...drizzled in caramel and dusted in flakes of perfectly browned coconut. What’s so offensive about that? If someone wants to name a delectable snackfood after me, they are more than welcome to do so. Some possible suggestions:

*C’s Sardonic Shortbread Surprises
*Four-Eyed White Girl De-lites
*Neurotic Nuggets
*Whitey McWhiterson's Wafers
*Buy These Cookies…Or Don’t, I Don’t Care. But Please Do Because I Need the Affirmation
*Do My Cookies Look Big in This Wrapper?
*Praline Paranoias

EDIT: Mere minutes after posting this, I was discussing the whole debacle with a coworker, who had some inside ‘fo. Apparently, there are two major companies that produce Girl Scout cookies, and only one of them has the right to the Samoas name; the other company calls them Caramel Delites. Eff that noise, they’ll always be Samoas to me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Had a Luther, baby...

...surprised it didn't kill me.

Yes, this weekend I cashed in on my bet and made G take me out to get the fixin's for a genuine Luther.

Well, "genuine" probably isn't the correct term for it, as I had to improvise somewhat. The nearest Krispy Kreme store is about 30 miles away, so we bought two glazed donuts at Yum Yum instead. Then we went to Carl's Jr. and I got a cheeseburger kid's meal. The Luther calls for bacon, but all of the bacon cheeseburgers (seriously, they had like four different kinds) had weird sauces and, you know, vegetables on them, so I decided to go without. (Yes, I could have asked for just a plain ol' bacon cheeseburger, but the cashier didn't seem too, shall we say, with it and I didn't trust him to convey my request properly.)

When we got back to G's, I took the donuts out of the bag and immediately realized that there was no friggin' way I would be able to use both of them as buns unless a) I used a fork and knife, which I refuse to do with a hamburger, or b) I somehow managed to unhinge my jaw like a snake. I cut one of the donuts in half and set the other one aside for Sunday's breakfast.

"I cannot freakin' believe you're going to go through with this," G said as he watched me dismantle the cheeseburger and slap it between the donut halves.

"I have to," I said solemnly. "I cannot rest until my curiosity is satiated."



Well, the contrast between sweet and salt was definitely interesting, but the mustard and ketchup oozed out of the holes in the donut, which was messy and looked disgusting as hell. It was neither as good as I'd hoped nor as nasty as I'd feared, so I don't think I'll be consuming another one.

Work today blew syphilitic goats.

As you may recall, I was voluntold to work half days in the mail room for the three weeks that one (out of two) of the regular employees will be out on vacation. It hasn't been so bad, really. Sure, being on my feet all afternoon isn't particularly pleasant (especially since the mail people are subject to the same dress code as everyone else, which is just moronic in my opinion because they're running all over hell's half-acre all day; Jeebus, let them wear jeans and sneakers!), but it makes the day go by quickly.

Anyway, the other mail room person, J, had today off, and that meant I was running the show all day.

By myself.

Okay, let's think this over for a second. If J can't handle it by herself when she actually knows what she's doing, how am I, who has minimal training in that department, supposed to do it all by myself? Granted, it ain't rocket science, but there's more to it than you might think, and there's just a metric fuckton of things to do.

So I was really dreading today, and when my alarm went off, I was even more loath than usual to get out of bed. I performed my morning ablutions, fed the cat, had a big bowl of cereal, messed around online for about 15 minutes, and then I logged off and headed back upstairs to get dressed. I selected a top and skirt and then I thought, "You know what? Screw it. If I have to do this crap all goddamn day, I'm going to wear something comfortable and if they don't like it, they can find another freakin’ desk monkey to take over." I put on a black shirt, white jeans that could pass for plain white slacks if someone wasn't particularly observant, and sneakers, and then I headed off to work.

Oh dear god.

It wasn't quite as dire as I'd feared, especially because people kept giving me complimentary Girl Scout cookies during my rounds, but I had a close encounter with the serrated edge of a tape dispenser (owie), plus I was very busy and, by the time I got off, very sore and tired.

Good thing I thought ahead and booked a massage right after work, eh?

And oh, my pretties, it was unbelievable. This chick did this move that no other masseuse has ever done on me before, and I swear to you I was about fifteen seconds away from a happy ending. I don't know if she hit a particular pressure point, or if I was just really hypersensitive for some reason, but whatever it was, for the first time today, I wasn't complaining.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I don't do chipper

To my delight---and by "delight", I mean annoyance---I received the following questionnaire from my new bosses, S&M. (Yes, that's really their initials; only time will tell if that's cruel irony.) I've encountered various permutations of this same damn thing several times during my tenure at the Cube Farm; ostensibly, it's their way of finding out what kinds of goodies they can treat you to if you perform like a well-trained seal. I've never actually gotten something that I listed on one of these questionnaires, but whatever.

Anyway, reading this questionnaire made my inner child (a 14-year-old boy named Leon) perk up like a nipple against an iceberg and want to fill in outrageous answers. However, I enjoy such luxuries as a roof over my head and, you know, food, so I would never submit anything but the boring gospel S&M, anyway.

You, on the other hand, get Leon's version.

What is your favorite candy bar? What's with this "bar" shit? What kind of ghetto bullcrap is that? "Bar". Eff that noise! I'll take a ballotin of Godiva chocolates. Make sure they put a bunch of those oysters in there, because they're my favorite.

What is your favorite soda? Diet Lemon Coke, which they pulled off the market. Find it anyway.

What color do you like? The mellow crimson of the day-old paper cuts all over my hands from all this paper-pushing.

What is your favorite restaurant? Anywhere the cook doesn't toss a big glob of manbatter into my food.

What is your favorite ice cream or sorbet flavor? Blue moon, which you can only find in the Midwest. Make a special trip.

What type of flower do you like? That one that grows in the rainforest and smells like decaying meat. Those are cool.

What is your favorite kind of cookie? Yes.

What type of food do you like? The tender flesh of the unbelievers.

What is your favorite snack? Yes.

What is your favorite animal? I like cats and monkeys. If you can combine the two, that's even better. To wit:

And don't be giving me no lameass Beanie Babies. I have a cat, but I want a REAL monkey. I have to keep it in my cube, though, because my roommate won't let me have one. Feed it on the weekends for me; I'm not coming in here on my time off.

What is your favorite sport? Football, but only if the New York Giants are winning or the Cowboys, Redskins, or Eagles are losing.

Who is your favorite author? Whoever writes the letters in Penthouse Forum.

Who are your favorite musicians? The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Day-Glo Abortions, Rock Kills Kid, Sandy Duncan's Eye, Pansy Division, The Crucifucks, Olivia Newton-John.

What is your favorite song? "Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny" by the Bloodhound Gang

What is your favorite album? White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean by NOFX

Would you rather receive a cash-based award or a non-cash award? Yes.

Anything else you'd like us to know? :) First of all, emoticons are lame. Try using something else for a this!

Substitute Tom Cruise's face with this survey and you'll get a pretty good idea of how I feel every time I have to fill one of these things out.