Wednesday, May 31, 2006

media update: May

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


1. Lovers & Players by Jackie Collins: Trash. There are tons of plot twists in this book, but none of them will surprise you unless you have never read a book or seen a movie before in your entire life. I had nothing better to read at the time, though, so it served its purpose. (Trivia: Allegedly this is one of Jessica Simpson's favorite books, and if a movie is ever made, she wants to play aspiring singer Liberty. Yeah, Jessica, because you can REALLY pass as biracial.)

2. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life "by" Kaavya Viswanathan: I'd gotten about halfway through this book when I read on Gawker that the author plagiarized from at least two other books. All I can do is quote Morrissey here (and this is from memory; I didn't even have to Google this because I'm such a freaking nerd Smiths fan): "If you must write prose and poems the words you use should be your own/don't plagiarize or take on loan/there's always someone somewhere with a big nose who knows/and who'll trip you up and laugh when you fall." I finished the book anyway, but although it has a few amusing moments, it's not very good, and it feels like it was written with the inevitable movie in mind. Word to the wise: the publisher recalled this book after the scandal hit, and copies are selling on Ebay for far greater than their original purchase price, so if you happen to see it, snap that shit up. (My copy came from the library, alas.)

3. Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson: They're not exactly great literature or anything, but I really enjoy Davidson's culinary mysteries. This isn't one of her better ones, though.

4. Gone by Jonathan Kellerman: Two aspiring actors set up a kidnapping hoax, but one of them is murdered shortly thereafter, and Alex Delaware agrees to help his detective friend Milo Sturgis (my favorite character in the Delaware novels; gotta love a recurring gay character who's actually ugly and dresses poorly) with the case. Kellerman's stuff is usually either really good or really bad, but this one falls squarely in the middle of the spectrum.

5. Three Kinds of Asking for It (anthology): A collection of three erotic novellas. My favorite, "Jodi K.", was very well-written but not erotic at all; the other two are okay. I didn't, you know, rub one out or anything.

Read so far this year: 21


1. Hershey by Michael D'Antonio: Biography of Milton S. Hershey, the founder of the Hershey's candy empire and, apparently, one hell of a philanthropist. I shall support his charitable endeavors by eating some chocolate this very minute!

2. The Other Hollywood* by Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osborne: A fascinating, extensive oral history (um, no pun intended) of the adult film industry, from the "nudie cuties" of the fifties to today's superstars.

3. Fresh Fruits: At first I wasn't sure whether I should include this, since it's just a photobook of Japanese street fashion, but meh...might as well pad my stats. Anyway, some of this shit is wild. I'm a big fan of the Gothic Lolita look myself (not, of course, that I could wear it; some things you just have to be a Japanese girl to pull off).

4. Don't Try This at Home (anthology): World-famous chefs share their biggest horror stories, from temperamental maitre d's to trouble with meringue.

5. Coroner's Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie: Recollections of a coroner's most interesting cases. My personal favorite anecdote was the call he got about three human fetuses behind a Costco. When he got there, he realized they weren't fetuses, but uncooked Rocky Mountain oysters. Now, what they were doing there, nobody knows.

6. A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger: Account of the Boston Strangler's reign of terror. The author was inspired to write this book because Albert DeSalvo did some construction work on his childhood home.

7. Eat This Book* by Ryan Nerz: An incisive, funny, and occasionally utterly revolting look at competitive eaters, or "gurgitators". Oddly enough, two of the biggest champions in the field, Sonya Thomas (11 pounds of cheesecake in nine minutes) and Takeru Kobayashi (53 1/2 hot dogs, with buns, in 12 minutes) are tiny. (See the book's "Belt of Fat" theory for why thinner people may do better at this type of thing.)

8. The Devil's Picnic by Taras Grescoe: And in keeping with the food theme, here we have a book by a man who went around the world in search of "forbidden" foods, beverages, and other treats, such as absinthe, Cuban cigars, bulls' balls, and unpasteurized cheese. I think I'll pass, kthx.

Read so far this year: 33


1. President Dad by Rhim Ju-Yeon

2. Cafe Kichiouji De* vol. 2 by Yuki Miyamoto and Kyoko Negishi

3. Peach Fuzz by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges

4. Swan* vol. 6 by Kyoko Ariyoshi

5. Love Vibes by Erica Sakurazawa

6. Cat Street* vol. 2 by Kamio Yoko

7. Assume the Position!* by Hisami Shimada

Read so far this year: 42 volumes


1. Hard Candy*: An incredibly tense film about a 14-year-old girl (Ellen Page, who's phenomenal) who hooks up with an older man online. His intentions are bad; hers just may be worse. Highly recommended, although men may have a very rough time watching it.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha: The book was better, largely because the acting in this movie is pretty subpar. (To be fair, though, it has to be difficult to act in something other than your native language.) It's still worth watching because it's such an unbelievably beautiful movie. During one particularly breathtaking scene, I said, "Oh my god, this makes me want to go back to Japan so bad" and G patted my arm and said, "Just think of the tentacle porn, dear."

3. Shopgirl*: A melancholy valentine about a young woman who finds herself torn between an older man who's much more generous with his money than his affection and a goofy guy her own age. I found the narration distracting, but fortunately there isn't much of it.

4. Diggstown: No one has a way with a snarky line like James Woods.

5. Thank You for Smoking*: A brilliantly barbed satire of the tobacco lobby. I was disappointed that my absolute favorite scene from the book was shortened, but it's still a great movie.

6. Tremors: Giant worms terrorize a small desert town. The special effects are pretty dated (understandable, since it was made in 1990), but it's fun, and Kevin Bacon is pretty damn hot.

7. The Squid and the Whale: This portrait of a disintegrating marriage and the toll it takes on the children is certainly no chucklefest, but it's incredibly well-made and the performances are stellar, so even though I can't say I enjoyed it, I have to give it props on those merits alone.

8. Transamerica*: Felicity Huffman is absolutely brilliant in her performance as Bree Osborne, a transgendered individual who's one operation away from being a complete woman. She discovers the teenage son she never knew she had, and together they embark on a road trip. Parts of it are a bit too soap operaish, but overall it's a fun, poignant movie.

9. Everything Is Illuminated: Elijah Wood plays a young Jewish man who goes to the Ukraine in search of his roots. A very odd but fascinating little movie, the highlight of which is Eugene Hutz as the translator. ("The women all want to be carnal with me. This is because I am premium dancer.")

Seen so far this year: 39


1. "Ooh La La" by Goldfrapp

2. "Night Moo Moo" by Akitaka Tohyama

3. "None But the Lonely Heart" by Junko Nishi

4. Memoirs of a Geisha (soundtrack)

5. "The Bad Touch" (Daft Punk remix) by The Bloodhound Gang

6. "Short Dick Man" by Gillette (I have Amandear to thank for making me dig out my old Raunchorama! mix CD just to upload this song; all of the sex-themed songs this month are from that CD.*)

7. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" by Revolting Cocks

8. "Oh Nick Please Not So Quick" by E-Rotic: The catchiest song about premature ejaculation ever!

9. "Deep Sexy Space" by Lords of Acid

10. "Take Control" by Lords of Acid

11. "Sadeness Part 1" by Enigma

12. "Rough Sex" by Lords of Acid

13. "I See You Baby" by Groove Armada

14. "Bunnies" by Pansy Division

15. "Lick It" by Gillette

16. "Drop Your Pants" by Hilary

17. "Sit on Your Face" by Lords of Acid

18. "Jet Boy Jet Girl" by The Damned: I remember hearing this on KROQ back in the mid-80's and being utterly scandalized.

19. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails

20. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones: Yeah, "Don't Know Why" was played to death, but I still maintain that "I've Got to See You Again" is one of the sexiest damn songs I've ever heard.

21. "More Than This" by Norah Jones

22. "Bessie Smith" by Norah Jones

23. "RSVP" by The Bloodhound Gang

24. "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie

25. Perennial Favorites by Squirrel Nut Zippers

26. "Smell" by The Dambuilders: Contains one of my all-time favorite lyrics: "My nowhere heart/strained through years of one-hand worship".

27. "Shrine" by The Dambuilders

28. "There She Goes" by The Boo Radleys

29. "Saturday Night" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin

30. "My Insatiable One" by Suede (Remember when they were supposed to be the Next Big Thing? Wh'appened?)

31. "Two Princes" by The Spin Doctors

32. "Mope" by The Bloodhound Gang ("Naw, bitch, I'm talkin' 'bout motherfuckin' Falco and shit!")

33. "Yummy Down on This" by The Bloodhound Gang ("Ouch, it won't reach my mouth! If I could do it myself I'd probably never leave the house")

34. "The Ballad of Chasey Lain" by The Bloodhound Gang

35. "Magna Cum Nada" by The Bloodhound Gang

36. "The Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang

37. "Along Came Mary" by The Bloodhound Gang

38. "10 Coolest Things About New Jersey" by The Bloodhound Gang: It's ten seconds of total silence.

39. "You Get to Burning" by Yoko Ishida

40. "incl." by meg rock: no, i didn't break my shift key.

41. "The Sound of Settling" by Death Cab for Cutie

*Someone left me a note last month along the lines of "Damn, you must be loaded to buy all these songs from iTunes!" Actually, this list is comprised of anything I've added to my iPod, whether it's a song I purchased or something I've ripped from a CD I own or borrowed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

buggin' out like Tori Spelling's eyes

Daddy-O left recently for a business trip to China, so I called to wish him a safe journey.

"Thanks, little Ro," he said. "I'm afraid it's going to be mostly business, but we're supposed to get at least one full day of sightseeing in. It will be fun to see how it's changed since I was last there."

Daddy-O lived in Taiwan for several years when he was a teenager, so he got to visit China on numerous occasions. No, we are not Asian (although I have been asked several times during my life if I'm "half", both because of my interest in Asian culture and my eyes; the most recent example of this came from my Filipino coworker Kitty, who asked, "So you half-Japanese or half-Chinese or what?"); my grandfather took a job offer there.

Anyway, here's where the conversation took an alarming turn.

"I am a little concerned, though."


"Well, there haven't been any recent outbreaks of bird flu, at least not that I've heard, but the company doctor gave everyone Tamiflu in case there is an outbreak. He said the only good thing about it is that it's not mutating from person to person; if it starts doing that, it's going to make the black plague look like a Disneyland picnic."


"Well, just don't eat any birdies," I said, trying to keep my voice light.

"No worries there." He sighed, and then he said dreamily, "Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing the old country again."

Uh-oh. I knew this tone of voice, and I knew what anecdote was coming next.

"Yeah, it ought to be great," I said hurriedly. "Anyway, Dad, I love you and I hope you have a fun time."

"Boy, Taiwan was such a great place to grow up."

"I remember the stories! Anyway, I better get back to work; I slacked a little this morning and now it's piled up."

"With my allowance and the money I made bagging groceries---"


"Um, Dad..."

"I made about ten bucks a week. You know what you could buy for ten bucks in Taiwan in the early sixties?"

"Oh, there's my boss! I better run."

"You could get the most gorgeous hooker and still have money left over for a bag of fireworks and a Coke."



Monday, May 15, 2006

Turner and Cooch

Last Wednesday, I left work three hours early.

Goodness, how hedonistic! Was I swanning off for a massage and a matinee, or a croque monsieur and crème brulee at the swanky little French café nearby?


No, in fact, I would rather have stayed at work, for I was off to see the crotch doctor.

I was especially nervous because I had never seen Dr. F before. I’d decided to go with a new gynecologist, because my old one was no longer convenient after last summer's move. My only criteria was that she be part of my insurance plan’s PPO, which meant a lower copay, and that she be, well, a she. Not that I’m worried a male doctor would go wild with desire---considering they probably see a dozen a day, I imagine a strange vagina holds about as much appeal as a Big Mac does to a Mc Donald’s fry cook at the end of their shift---but I just feel more comfortable.

And honey, when you’re lying on your back with your feet in stirrups and your bitchbox blowing in the breeze, you HAVE to be comfortable.

So I got to the office and gave my forms and insurance card to the receptionist, and then I sat down. I was impressed by the magazine selection; every issue on the table was recent, and she had good stuff like Jane and Allure. Unfortunately, I’d already read everything of interest during my last Borders run, so I flipped through an issue of Parents (whee) and waited.

Eventually, a nurse came out and led me to the exam room, where she weighed me and took my blood pressure. “I’ll take you to Dr. F’s office now,” she said.

Dr. F was an attractive woman about my age, and she shook my hand warmly. She asked me a ton of questions about my family and medical histories, and then she took me back to the exam room. She waited outside while I changed into the gown, and then she came back in and directed me to lie down on the table and put my feet in the stirrups.

Now, I’ve never been to a gynecologist who didn’t have a picture of some sort on the ceiling, ostensibly to give you something to focus on while they poke and prod at your most intimate areas. My previous gynecologist had a poster of a tropical beach; Dr. F had a picture of Matthew McConaughey.

I shit you not.

This was especially ironic, because it wasn’t all that long ago that I was complaining to G about People choosing Matthew McConaughey as their “Sexiest Man Alive”. He’s not bad-looking, to be sure, and I can see why other people find him attractive, but personally he leaves me as dry as a popcorn fart.

Still, I stared up at him while she examined my breasts, and then she said, “Okay, I’m going to do the pelvic now. I’d like to do a culture, but I can’t use any lubrication because it will alter the results.”


“I’ll be as gentle as I can,” she assured me.

Yeah, um…you can be as delicate as a prima ballerina toe dancing on eggshells, but there just ain’t no way a speculum sliding into a totally dry orifice is going to feel good. Now, if there had been a picture of, say, Josh Holloway up there, a veritable Nile of nectar would have issued forth from my ladyflower, and there wouldn’t have been a problem.


Then Dr. F said, “Now I’m going to slide a finger in your bottom. This won’t be as bad because you’re used to it.”

Um huh wha---? What exactly was she implying? I wracked my brain, trying to remember if I’d had some sort of bizarre Tourette’s while filling out my forms, and written in “Seymour Butts’ Tushy Girl” for my occupation.

She must have felt the waves of umbrage rolling off me like heat off a desert road---she sure couldn’t see my expression from where she was sitting---because she hastily added, “That was badly phrased. I meant it wouldn’t be as big a deal after the other one.”

Okay then.

Fortunately, it was over quickly and I was allowed to get dressed. She pronounced me healthy and instructions to get a bone density scan (since I’m at higher risk for osteoporosis) and a cholesterol test (because, well, I’m 34) by the end of the year.

This did not improve my mood at all.

Funnily enough, “All These Things I’ve Done” by The Killers came on the radio as I was driving home, and when Brandon Flowers sang “I’m so much older than I can take,” I sighed knowingly.

Truer words were never sung.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I see London

I don't spend much money on myself.

I mean, sure, I have the same expenses as your average single woman (rent, gas, groceries, a spinster pack of batteries every couple of weeks), but I don't generally spend my money on fun things. Sure, I read a metric fuckton every month, but I never buy books and rarely buy magazines, opting instead to visit the library and pore over the latest trashy celebrity weeklies at Borders. And I see an assload of movies, but most of those are thanks to the wonders of G's Netflix subscription.

Well, yesterday was an exception. I had the day off from work, so I caught a matinee of Hard Candy. It's about a 14-year-old girl who hooks up with an older man she met on the internet, and it ain't romance she has on her's revenge. The audience was made up mostly of men sitting by themselves, and although it's unfair to assume such things, I kind of wondered if they were pedophiles/ephebophiles hoping to catch a glimpse of "underage" tail. (Ellen Page, the actress, was 17 years old at the time the movie was made, but she sure as hell could pass for much younger.) Therefore, I was gratified when certain events began to transpire in the movie and I heard creaking as the male patrons uneasily shifted in their seats.

That was fun.

Afterwards, I went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch because I'd heard that they started serving kobe beef hamburgers. I've always wanted to try kobe beef, which comes from cows that are fed corn and beer and then massaged to evenly distribute the fat. And damn if it wasn't a tasty and very juicy hamburger, but it wasn't the gustatory orgasm I'd been hoping for; I think perhaps you need to try it in steak form for the full effect.

(Side note: I don't know if somebody forgot to wash their hands before they handled my meat---uh huh huh huh---but an hour later, I was sitting in the library flipping through Entertainment Weekly and was wracked with horrible stomach pains. I had to run to the bathroom, where I took the most massive shit of my life. And just when I thought I could shit no more, MORE came out. Imagine squeezing a pastry bag to get every last bit of frosting out; that's what it felt like someone was doing to my intestines. Neat!)

Where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about how I very rarely spend money on myself.

Anyway, occasional excursions like yesterday aside, the one luxury I allow myself is a biweekly massage. I get them done at a local massage school, and since they're performed by interns, it only costs $30 (plus tip) for an hour-long full-body massage. It would take some seriously dire straits for me to give up my massages, I tell you what.

When I was getting ready to leave for my appointment tonight, I poked my head in K's room and said, "Hey, I've got my massage tonight and then I'm probably going to stop at Long's. Do you need anything?"

"Yeah, could you get me some Tylenol PM?"

"Sure," I said.

My massage was, as usual, sublime, and I practically floated back to my car afterwards. I opened the door, slid into the seat, and...



I drove home and went upstairs. "Uh, K?"


"Sorry, but I didn't stop at Long's. And here's why." I turned around, and she burst into hysterical laughter.

Guess it's time to go shopping for jeans.