Thursday, November 30, 2006

media update: November

Man, I didn't read shit this month, partly because I spent the majority of the month away from home helping Daddy-O/frolicking about Florida, and partly because I suffered from a dearth of decent reading material. (Seriously, for every book I finished, I tossed three aside in disgust. Devil in the Junior League, I'm looking at you.) Anyway, asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards: On a snowy night, a doctor is forced to deliver his own twins. The son is fine, but the daughter has Down's, so he asks his nurse to take her to an institution, and he tells his wife the girl died. The nurse decides to raise the baby as her own, and the doctor's secret irrevocably changes all their lives forever. Too melodramatic and hokey for my tastes. And WTF with the unbelievably long waiting list at the library for this book? Did Oprah mention it on her show or something?

2. The End by Lemony Snicket: It's really a shame that these books got so crappy, since the series started off so well. Still, it's nice to have closure.

3. Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund: The story of Marie Antoinette, beautifully told in first person.

Read so far this year: 47


1. Dance Naked: A Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Hottie by Jessica "Kayla" Conrad: It was there, okay? Gosh!

2. I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie by Roger Ebert: The famous film critic talks about some of the worst movies he's ever seen. There are plenty of obvious ones in here, like I Spit On Your Grave, but he saves his greatest vitriol for---ready?---North. I mean, I didn't like it either, but he talks about it like it sodomized his mother while pouring sugar in his gas tank. (And yes, that's a Clerks reference.)

Read so far this year: 69


1. Neighborhood Story vols. 6-7 by Ai Yazawa

2. Ai Girl by Sugi Emiko

3. Desire Climax vol. 3 by Ukyou Ayane

Read so far this year: 75


1. Borat*: Oh my holy Christ. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a movie...a sentiment apparently shared by everyone else in the theater, since at times the laughter was so loud and hysterical that I couldn't hear the dialogue. Okay, so the character is a misogynistic, anti-Semitic, bad suit wearing jerk...but come on, how can you not love someone who refers to masturbation as a hand party and brings a black hooker to a snooty Southern dinner party?

2. Monster House*: This animated flick about three kids investigating the creepy house across the street was surprisingly funny and very entertaining. Not only that, but they play Siouxsie and the Banshees over the ending credits!

3. The Upside of Anger: Joan Allen is excellent as an incredibly bitter woman who tries to deal when her husband takes a powder.

Seen so far this year: 79


1. "Revenge" by Ministry: When they were still a synth pop duo, back in the early 80's, I practically wore out my With Sympathy tape. I wrote them a fan letter, and Al Jourgensen actually wrote back, which was very cool of him.

2. "Halloween" by Shawn Lee

3. "Lonesome Town" by Holly Golightly: This song absolutely begs to be used in a David Lynch film.

4. "Virtually Happy" by Holly Golightly

5. "Drive That Fast" by Kitchens of Distinction: I couldn't believe the iTunes store actually had this song! This is one of my ten favorite songs of all time.

6. "Shangri-La" by chatmonchy

7. "Cuckoo Clock" by Rachel Sweet

8. "Lovin' U" by melody.

9. "1000% SPARKING!": I have absolutely no idea who this is by because I can't read the kanji, but I couldn't resist that title.

10. "Ankle Injuries" by Fujiya & Miyagi: The best song you'll ever hear about a kid finding a porno mag while walking to school. (And no, despite the name, this band is not Japanese; they named themselves after a brand of record player and Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

vacation, all I ever wanted

Ah, finally I have some time to sit down and tell all y’all about my Thanksgiving vacation in handy-dandy bullet format. First, however, a cast of characters to help you make sense of this alphabet soup:

  • Madre: G’s mother.
  • Padre: G’s father.
  • J: G’s brother-in-law.
  • A: G’s sister.
  • The lads: G’s nephews, I (12) and D (9).
  • Gramsy: G’s 90-year-old grandmother.
  • Beau: Gramsy’s 94-year-old, um, beau.

  • MONDAY: G and I woke up at the unholy hour of 5AM. On autopilot mode, we showered, got dressed, scarfed down breakfast, and drove to the Van Nuys FlyAway. We took the bus to LAX, and after staggering zombielike through security, we sat in the terminal waiting for our plane. Once we boarded, we alternated between reading, sleeping, doing cryptic crosswords, and mocking the terrible inflight movie. (I can’t even remember the name, but it wasn’t anything either one of us had heard of before, which is saying something considering how many movies we watch.) We met up with Madre and Padre at the airport, and then J picked us up at the curb and whisked us away to his unbelievably cool, 50’s retro home in a swanky gated community. Upon seeing G, the lads immediately attached themselves to his side. In order to watch the Giants/Jaguars game, we went to Shula’s for dinner, where I had an excellent French dip sandwich. There were two Miami Dolphins cheerleaders there, posing for pictures and signing autographs, and when I came back from the bathroom, they were at our table. I said, “God, G, I go to the bathroom for five minutes and you’re already macking on babes?” The Giants lost, putting G and Padre in a funk. We returned to J and A’s house and crashed in D’s room.

  • TUESDAY: I helped G and Padre change the kitchen lighting fixtures, shrinking back in fear when Padre stuck two wires into a socket to make sure they worked. When Padre handed me a screwdriver and said, “Here, [C], you can be my tool holder,” I bit the inside of my cheek bloody to keep from bursting into hysterical laughter. Took a long walk around the neighborhood with G, Madre, and Padre. Dinner was “surprise” ravioli, which meant that they’d mixed together several different kinds and you never knew which one you’d bite into. Traded G all of my roasted red pepper ravioli for his plain cheese ones.

  • WEDNESDAY: We went to the lads’ superposh private school for “Grandparents and Special Others Day”; every time we saw a kid walk by in uniform, G and I hummed the theme song from Bully. We packed up two cars with what seemed like two hundred pieces of luggage, picked up Gramsy and Beau, and drove to Orlando. Padre got hopelessly lost trying to find our hotel, the Disney Port Orleans Riverside. After much bitten-back swearing---the kids were in our car---Padre found it and we checked in. We had dinner at the food court, and then it was off to our rooms.

  • THURSDAY: When we were walking down the stairs of our hotel, Beau took a tumble and fell into the grass. We all gasped in horror---the man is six years shy of a century, for God’s sake---but he dismissed his skinned knee as nothing and our day at the Epcot Center continued as planned. Generously, J and A offered to take Gramsy and Beau if G and I would take the lads; a more than fair trade! We went on rides including Mission: Space (an ordeal that mimics 2G conditions; I felt like a giant was squishing in the sides of my face), Soarin’ (a fantastic hang-gliding ride), and Test Track (a violent but incredibly fun crash test dummy ride). We watched Chinese acrobats and taiko drummers and had a delicious teriyaki lunch in the Japan Pavilion. We met up with everyone else for an unconventional Thanksgiving dinner of red wine and fettucini alfredo, and then we separated into two groups again. We capped off our wonderful day with fireworks before returning to our hotel.

  • FRIDAY: We went to Animal Kingdom, which was packed beyond belief. Despite the unbelievable crowds, we enjoyed rides (including Everest, a brand-new, screamingly intense roller coaster) and gawked at animals ranging from tiny, adorable cotton-topped tamarins to silverback gorillas. The park closed early, so we went to Downtown Disney for dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s. My tempura shrimp was excellent, but I was horrified to find their dessert menu lacking. On a quest for sweet stuff, Padre took G, the lads, and me to Ghiradelli’s for ice cream. I. was exhausted and about two seconds from popping his little brother in the arm, but G expertly averted the crisis. When we got back to the hotel, G and I went to the arcade and the souvenir shop, where I bought a Mickey shirt and a pressed penny.

  • SATURDAY: With aching calves and blistered feet, we bid adieu to Disney and headed back home, stopping along the way for lunch at a nasty rest stop and to drop off Gramsy and Beau. I can’t for the life of me remember anything else about that day, other than whipping G’s ass at a Star Wars video game and earning excited shouts of “Cool!” from the lads. (To be fair, I only whipped him the one time; he’s a much faster learner when it comes to video games than I am.)

  • SUNDAY: J teased me with tales of Monkey Jungle, but instead he took me, G, and Padre to South Beach instead. It was hot and humid, and my hair puffed out into a veritable Cheops of frizz. We had lunch at a sidewalk café and admired the toned, tanned bodies strolling by. I swiftly slipped my credit card to the waiter when the bill came, despite the protests of everyone else, and winced when I found out we’d racked up almost eighty bucks. We strolled past the people setting up for the White Party, and Padre made me pose in front of the billboard featuring a hunky man rising from the ocean. The water was a beautiful Windex-colored blue. To our delight, J pointed out the wild parrots nesting in the palm trees. Later on, Padre, G, and I went to Shula’s to watch the abysmal Giants/Titans game. If G ever looks at me the way he was looking at the TV at the end of the game, I swear I’ll burst into tears, and quite possibly lose control of my bladder as well.

  • MONDAY: Home again, home again, jiggedy jig. Upon arriving at LAX, G and I caught the shuttle back to Van Nuys and picked up his car. We went back to his place, watched Heroes, and played Bully until it was time to go to bed. I curled up next to him and promptly fell asleep.


  • As we walked past the people setting up for the White Party, J said, “Hey, [C], in gay terms G would be a twink, right?”
  • I took a piece of challah and said, “Hey, G, lookit!” Then I held the challah behind my back and said, “I’m a challah back girl!”
  • While waiting in line for Maelstrom, a ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, G pointed at the mural depicting Norwegian life and said, “Awww, those two are wearing hats. They think they’re people!” (G’s animosity towards all things Norwegian stems from his abiding hatred of his former roommate’s girlfriend, a frosty Norwegian woman who constantly stole his peanut butter and waffles.)
  • At the end of the very bumpy Dinosaur ride at Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom, Beau turned to A and said, “That’s it? It’s over already?” May I remind you the man is NINETY-FOUR?
  • When G and I were sitting on his couch watching Heroes, I reached under myself and began feverishly scratching my ass. (Hey, my skin was dry and my bottle of Queen Helene’s cocoa butter was too big to put in my carry-on.) G arched an eyebrow and said, “Whatcha doin', classy lady?”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

best of 2006: anime

Eventually I will get around to sharing the tale of my week in Florida, which included walking into the setup for the White Party (a huge gay party benefiting various charities), watching in horror as G's grandmother's 94-year-old beau tripped on a curb and went sprawling into the grass, winning the undying respect of G's nephews after they watched me kick his ass at a Star Wars video game, and monkeys. But since I am absolutely exhausted and have assloads of work to catch up on, these tales will have to wait, and for now you get this "Best Of" list, which needed only a bit of editing before I could deprivatize it.


WARNING: There are a couple of NSFW pictures in this entry. They aren't really all that bad, but since my idea of "not that bad" is probably much looser than that of the average boss, I thought I should mention it to be on the safe side.

This particular list will be of interest to only a few of you (sup, Amandear?) but I’m posting it anyway. It was a surprisingly blah year for anime, but these managed to keep me entertained. In no particular order, and with apologies for the disparity in picture size, here we go!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Death Note

Based on the excellent manga, this is about a teenage boy who discovers a notebook with unusual powers: if you write someone's name in it, they die. At first, he uses the notebook to rid the world of criminals, but soon he has to begin covering his tracks, and his initial mission becomes far more sinister. The anime adaptation has excellent art and sticks closely to the storyline, and it earns bonus points for using Yamaguchi Kippei, one of my favorite voice actors, as L, the brilliant and bizarre detective with raccoon eyes and a killer sweet tooth.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Another Lady Innocent

This has gorgeous art for any anime, much less hentai; I swear most hentai is one step above stick figures in a flip book. Not much of a plot, but when you've got sex scenes as sizzling as this, you don't really need one. A particularly nice bonus, and an unfortunate rarity in hentai, is that all of the sex is consensual. (Note: despite the DVD cover, it’s mostly hetero. I mention this not to mollify those of you who might be going "OMG TEH GHEY", but because if you buy this looking for nonstop sapphic action, you'll be disappointed by all the wang.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Kashimashi ~ Girl Meets Girl

A teenage boy is accidentally and irrevocably turned into a girl by now what's the girl who's loved him since childhood supposed to do? Funny and surprisingly poignant.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Hataraki Man

A woman juggles her love life and her journalism career while trying to stay sane. The art is a little odd, but the story is funny and realistic, and it has the best opening and ending themes (by Puffy and chatmonchy, respectively) of the year. It’s also nice to see an anime series aimed at adult women for a change.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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 include this film here because the animation was so unbelievably breathtaking.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
When the Cicadas Cry

A twisty anime about a small village plagued by gruesome deaths and mysterious disappearances. The art is pretty subpar, and some of the violence made my stomach churn, but the intriguing storyline and the superb voice acting (some of the best I've heard, actually) make up for it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
High School Girls

If Porky's was made into an anime with teenage girls as the main characters, this would be it. Shamefully funny.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Two young women, both named Nana, meet on a train and become immediate friends and, eventually, roommates. One of them is a sweet, not particularly bright woman who is constantly falling in and out of love; the other is an aspiring rock star who acts much tougher than she really is. Based on one of my favorite manga series, it's alternately funny and touching, and I highly recommend it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ouran Koukou Host Club

A poor scholarship student at a ritzy private school accidentally stumbles into the meeting room of a campus host club, and she breaks an expensive vase. The president of the club says she can work off her debt by becoming a host herself, since she's androgynous and very few students realize she's actually a girl. A very funny and gorgeously animated show. (Explanatory note: Host clubs are very expensive clubs staffed by handsome men who are paid for their company. They're not the same as gigolos, although some hosts moonlight as such. They, and their female equivalents, are more like geisha: excellent conversationalists who know how to fawn and flatter, and provide the pleasant, unconditional attention that the customer may not be getting at home.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Red Garden

At first, the character design really turned me off, but then the story kicked in and I was hooked. It’s about a group of teenage girls who wake up in a fenced-off parking lot and are told by a strange woman that they’re actually dead, and now they’re living on borrowed time. In order to keep living in the “real” world, they must kill on her command…and then a werewolf-type creature jumps out and attacks them. The concept reminds me of Gantz, but I care a lot more about the characters. I’m curious to see where it goes next; hopefully, unlike most of Gonzo’s stuff, the plot doesn’t take a massive shit halfway through the series.

Friday, November 17, 2006

best of 2006: random cool stuff

Today it looked like I would be the only person working the queues---which is too complicated and boring to explain here, so let’s just say being the only person working the queues SUCKS SQUIGGLY PIG CHOAD and leave it at that---but Giggles, who is either a shameless malingerer or the unhealthiest person who is still vertical, actually came in today!

It’s like Christmas in November!

I still have to fill in for the lobby receptionist during her afternoon break, though, which bites. Wonder what would happen if I accidentally-on-purpose hit the threat alarm?

As you may or may not know, I like to post “Best Of” lists at the end of the year. I’m starting a little early because I’m heading off on Thanksgiving vacation, and I get the feeling work will be crazy apeshit when I get back, so I might not have time to write for a while. (What did you say? Write on my off time? Heresy!) If something comes along between now and the end of December that begs to be included on one of these lists, then I’ll update accordingly.

Now it’s time for my list of random cool stuff from 2006. I played way more video games than usual this year, so this list is pretty gamercentric, but there are other things on here too.

A few notes:

  • Not all of these things first made their debut in 2006, but since I didn’t play/eat/hear/see them until this year, they belong on this list.
  • These aren't in any particular order.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • All of the video games were played in PS2 format.
  • I'm sorry about the discrepancy in picture size, but I just couldn't be arsed to make them all even.
  • Some of the pictures have comments if'n you mouse over them.

Oh, shit, it's a mob of horny unwashed fanboys...RUN!
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

I enjoyed the first installment of this series, but this one was much better. The voice acting is greatly improved, the storyline (twin sisters wind up in a haunted village that participates in a nasty religious ritual) is more engrossing, and it features the biggest jump scare I've ever gotten from a video game. I was so startled I actually dropped the controller and shrieked, which has never happened before...not even during the infamous two-way mirror scene from Resident Evil 2.

Maybe this chopper will take me to a better fucking ending...
Indigo Prophecy

You begin the game as Lucas Kane, a man who awakens from a trance in a diner bathroom, only to find that he's brutally stabbed an innocent man to death. He goes on the lam, trying to find out what happened and why, with two detectives (who you also get to play as) in hot pursuit. The storyline takes a MASSIVE shit near the end, but up until then it's innovative and a lot of fun. It also has excellent graphics and a fantastic soundtrack, so despite the aforementioned collapse of the storyline, I have to give it props.

I couldn't find a picture of the cereal online, so you get this picture of blueberries instead, seeing as they're so obscure and all.  This is how dedicated I am to you, the reader.
Ralph's blueberry almond cereal

I bought a box of this on sale, and I've been buying it ever since. It's so freakin' tasty that it's hard to believe it's actually good for me.

"Samson" by Regina Spektor

A beautiful ballad that I've loved ever since I heard it on CSI:NY.

Martina Topley-Bird

Besides being a kick-ass game, Indigo Prophecy also introduced me to Martina Topley-Bird, whose song "Sandpaper Kisses" is prominently featured within. Her album Anything is as smooth and delicious as a glass of pinot noir.

Pirate Pearls

It's a pale imitation---pardon the pun---of the real thing, but I actually like white chocolate, so I happily devoured these limited edition M&Ms.

Jack Thompson's kid is having a bitch of a time getting through high school unscathed.

Okay, I’ll admit it; when this game was still in production, I had a knee-jerk reaction to the title and the rumors that claimed you played a bully who torments the weak. But once it actually came out and I found out it wasn’t the “Columbine simulator” its detractors claimed, I thought it sounded kind of fun, and when Daddy-O offered to buy me a game as thanks for helping him with his computer, this is the one I chose. You play Jimmy Hopkins, a teenage boy who’s been in trouble, but isn’t really a bad kid at heart. He winds up at Bullworth, a snobby prep school overrun by bullies, and he’s determined to protect the other kids from them. I’m not very far into it, but I can already tell it belongs on this list. It’s incredibly immersive, and it’s by far the funniest game I’ve ever played. Plus you can restore your health by not only kissing girls, but kissing other boys if you so choose. Well done, Rockstar…well done.

I've seen enough hentai to know this can't end well.
Rule of Rose

You play a teenage girl named Jennifer, who's off to an orphanage after a tragic airship accident claims the lives of her parents. But when she arrives, she discovers that the adults have long since fled, and the orphanage is ruled by an elite group of girls whose word is absolute. Jennifer must find out why everyone hates her, and she's aided in her quest by Brown, the loyal dog she rescues. This game has many flaws---crappy camera angles, terrible combat, voice acting that ranges from the ho-hum to the histrionic, excruciatingly long loading times, and a few very frustrating areas---but the award-winning CGI cutscenes, unnerving atmosphere, and the incredible plot more than make up for it. The story, once it fully unfolds, is the most emotionally devastating I've seen in a game since Silent Hill 2.

Stan Lee must have been hit with the Evil Stupid Ray right before he voted this guy off the show.
Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

I loved this reality show, in which the contestants vied to win Stan Lee's favor, so much I wanted to marry it. It was a much-needed breath of fresh air during summer's stagnant rerun season, although I was absolutely outraged when the funny and charming Major Victory had to turn in his costume. Major Victory, you'll always be the superhero of my heart.

Confirmed poonhound Hiro was shocked to find a doujinshi pairing him with his best friend Ando.

This TV show took some time to really hook me, but once it did, I eagerly awaited each new episode. My absolute favorite character---and this will surprise precisely no one---is Hiro, the charmingly geeky Japanese salaryman who delights in his newfound powers.

Two great tastes that taste like shit together

Every time I passed the freezer at Albertson’s, I was tempted to buy a box of these, and finally I succumbed. Unfortunately, the concept was much better than the execution. Pass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I have been shamed and it's all G's fault

This morning, a coworker came up to me, handed me a Post-It, and said “Do you have anything for this claim number?”

“Let me see,” I said, turning to the piles of paper on my desk. “That would be an OC [outgoing correspondence], right?”


“Let me check. OC…OC…Osi Umenyiora…”*

I began laughing at my own cleverness.

She stared at me as if I had sprouted several heads, Hydra-like.

Thank god I’m leaving on vacation; maybe by the time I get back, she'll have forgotten.

*From the New York Giants. And yes, I had to Google the spelling of his name.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

oh my gawd, like fer shur

R and I were looking at family photos tonight, and one of them caused me to shriek in glee and race to the living room, where I proceeded to scan it for the amusement of all.

I present myself, circa 1984 or so.

Could you just frickin' DIE? The puffy bowl cut, the disaffected stare, the humongous poster of John Taylor, the Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet posters, and the Ministry mirror I made in art class. (Yes, Ministry as in The Land of Rape and Honey. A little known fact, and one they desperately try not to publicize, is that they started out as a synth pop band. Al Jourgensen derides their debut album, With Sympathy, but that shit is still tight as far as I'm concerned.) Seriously, when I saw this, I sounded like a hyena on nitrous having an orgasm.

Well, that'll just about do it for Minnesota. Today, I sweet-talked a repairman into coming out and fixing the washer, put the patio furniture into the garage, and picked up Daddy-O's temporary disabled parking permit. I also took a long walk with R---it's in the 70's here!---and reassured him that he's up to the task of taking over when I'm gone. Daddy-O's incision looks much better, and he hasn't had any drainage for the last two days, so I think he's only going to get better from here. Finally, I can return to California with a clear conscience and get back to life as normal, such as it is.

Now I must pack.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Daddy-O was released from the hospital on Thursday afternoon, so R and I brought him home. He was kind of grumpy, but he said he felt pretty good, overall, and he was surprisingly fast with his walker.

On Friday afternoon, I got a call from my old friend B-kun, and R was gracious enough to lend me his car for a few hours so we could get together. We got coffee and went to see Borat, and holy christballs...that was the best $6 I ever spent in my life, because I didn't think about all this dramarama once during the entire flick.

And yesterday, we were all sitting in the living room, watching TV, when Dad got up to use the bathroom. As he walked past me, I noticed a stain spreading across the side of his shorts.

"Dad, I think your dressing is leaking," I said cautiously. He swore loudly and asked R and me to help him change it.

I can honestly say that was one of the worst moments in my life. I watch Nip/Tuck and all three CSIs religiously, so my tolerance for ick is fairly high, but it's an entirely different story when it's not only real ick, but it involves someone you love. R and I tried the best we could, but we were having a hard time doing it without causing him pain, and in desperation I got out the Yellow Pages and looked up professional nursing services. I didn't get an answer at the first two places I tried, but the receptionist at the third place said she'd have someone call me back as soon as possible. I didn't hold out a lot of hope, but within five minutes, a woman with a Jamaican accent called me back. I explained what was happening, and although I tried to keep from choking up, I couldn't. She said, "Oh, sweetheart, I know this is hard for you. Your poor daddy. I'll be there as soon as I can."

And about an hour later---she got lost---the marvelously named Margina arrived. Honestly, she looked more like a hooker than a registered nurse. She had bright blonde hair and wore tight jeans and high-heeled boots, and she put on bright purple surgical gloves and strode into Daddy-O's bathroom like she owned the place. She changed his dressing in short order, collected her thirty dollars (I was astounded it wasn't more; true, she was there for less than ten minutes, but it was damned short notice and she drove in from the Cities), and made Daddy-O smile by saying, "Honey, you so handsome I bet you got ladyfriends around the block and around the clock. When you all healed up, you give me a call and take me out dancing."

(Seriously, I couldn't make Margina up if I tried.)

Later on, G came over with chicken fettucini alfredo, salad, sugar cookies, and a bottle of syrah. Daddy-O had to sit in the recliner because the dining room chairs don't have arms, and are therefore next to impossible for him to get in and out of, but it was still an enjoyable dinner. I have to say that I like G much more than I used to. Oh, sure, she still has that whiff of entitlement about her that I'm not too keen on, but she's been amazing during all of this, and he obviously adores her completely.

When G was leaving, she gave me a big hug and said, "Your dad appreciates you coming out here so much. Have a safe trip home tomorrow!"

"I will, thanks," I said, and after she was gone, I took a shower and then climbed into my old bed to read for a while.

I kind of hate to leave, but god, it will be so good to get back to normal, I thought. And most of all, I can't wait to see ["my"] G waiting for me at the baggage claim!

The night, as it has been since Dad got home from the hospital, was anything but peaceful. I imagine it's much the same as when you bring a baby home from the hospital; I sleep, but I'm still on high alert. Throughout the night, when I hear his walker scraping against the bathroom tile, I'm up immediately. I put on my glasses and go into his room, and when he comes out of the bathroom, I help him back into bed and pull the heavy down comforter over him. I get him water and a pain pill if he needs it, and then I tell him goodnight and go flop into bed again. In the morning, when R gets up, he takes over and I get a few hours of completely uninterrupted sleep.

This morning, that sleep was interrupted when R came into my room and said, "C, you better come quick."

Yeah, that worked like a needle of adrenaline to the heart. I leaped out of bed and raced to Dad's bathroom, where he was bracing himself against the counter. A nasty, tricolored stain was spreading against the gauze at an alarmingly rapid pace. I called his doctor's office, got the answering service, left a message, and waited. When the doctor called back, he said he'd call in a prescription for Keflex, and that Dad should come in on Monday for an examination. "It's probably nothing to worry about, but we need to be sure," he said.

R and I did a quick patch job, during which I almost fainted, and then I got Dad settled into the recliner with a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast. I called Margina, and she said she'd come out in the afternoon. I thanked her, and then I went back to Dad and said, "Do you want me to stay a couple of extra days? I don't feel right leaving you with this new development."

He hesitated, and I could see in his eyes that he really wanted to say yes. "It's really up to you," he said. "I don't want this to affect your life anymore than it has. You need to get back to work and get on with your own life."

I said, "I'm going to take a shower and think about it."

And in the shower, I crouched on the floor with the water running over me, and I wept, "I want to go home, I want to go home!"

Suck it up, buttercup. You've been through worse than this, and you'll get through this too. Now go out there and do what you gotta do.

And, in short order, I cancelled my plane ticket for today, booked a flight home for Wednesday night, called G in tears, called K in tears, and called my boss in tears. Then I composed myself and returned to the living room, where I told Daddy-O that I had changed my reservations and would be leaving on Wednesday instead.

"But wasn't it expensive to change your flight at the last minute?"

"Not half as expensive as the therapy I'd need if I went back to California and it turns out you needed me."

And, for the first time in weeks, I felt at peace. I'd faced a crisis, and I'd put the welfare of my family above my own needs. Even when R pulled me aside to tell me the flush lever on the toilet in the hall bathroom had broken, I kept calm, and I went in and took the lid off and examined the problem. Then I borrowed R's car and went to Home Depot, where I stood in the plumbing aisle and looked at flush levers. I selected one, paid for it, and returned home, where I discovered that I'd bought a front-mounting kit, when our toilet's flush lever was on the side.


A little more ruffled, I returned to Home Depot, and this time, as I stood in the plumbing aisle searching for a side-mount kit, a man came up to me and said, "Boy, you look like you're having a hard day."

I gave him a quick, humorless smile. "It hasn't been the best couple of weeks," I said in a classic moment of severe understatement.

"Well, the great news is that Jesus loves you."

Oh. No. He. DINT.

Unfortunately, I chose that moment to suffer from what the French call l'esprit de l'escalier. This fantastic phrase literally means "spirit of the staircase", but figuratively, it means thinking of the perfect thing to say when it's too late. It wasn't until I was in the car that I realized the perfect response would have been, "Dude, when Jesus comes to my fucking house and fixes my fucking toilet and heals my dad's fucking hip, then he and I will be best pals, okay? We'll be hunky dory. Till then, shut the FUCK UP!"

Okay, I've wallowed for as long as I can stand it, so I'm retiring to bed with the new People. Sure, I'm sad that my reunion with G has been delayed, and that I can't sleep in my own bed or see K or pet the cat, and I'm frankly a little worried about possible repercussions at work, seeing as I'm taking off another three days.

But what can I say?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've always been a daddy's girl.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Daddy-O and media update: October

Daddy-O continues to do pretty damn good, considering that he had a huge chunk of metal shoved into his body only two days ago. ("TETSUOOOOOO!") He was pretty worn out yesterday from his physical therapy, so our visit went something like this:

ME: How's the food here?
DADDY-O: Well, this hospital may be more like a hotel, but the food sure ain't. It was...uhhhh...
ME: If you want to sleep, it's fine. You need your rest more than you need to discuss shitty food with your daughter.
DADDY-O: No, I want to visit with y...with y...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, he's got physical therapy and occupational therapy until the late afternoon, so I'll be indulging in a little retail therapy at Mall of America. R and I will visit him in the late afternoon, and when we get home I'm going to take a bath, watch Lost and CSI:NY, and return phone calls and/or notes.

Not necessarily in that order.

As for the media update, asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary. It was a pretty crappy month for fiction, overall, but the one novel I did star is shortlisted for my favorite book of the year.


1. Winkie by Clifford Chase: This has got to be one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's about a sentient teddy bear accused of terrorist activity; imagine Toy Story meets Ted Kaczynski. I didn't much care for it, but it sure gets bonus points for originality.

2. The Brambles by Eliza Minot: The story of three siblings who learn their family's biggest secret when their father dies. Well-written, but it left me cold, probably because I didn't like a single character.

3. Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex: Leonardo da Vinci plays a major role in this historical novel about two sisters in Renaissance Italy. Eh.

4. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: If you read only one zombie-themed novel this year...well, it should be Cell by Stephen King. However, zombie aficionados will enjoy this one too.

5. Sharp Objects* by Gillian Flynn: An unnerving modern Gothic about a reporter who reluctantly returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls. I think the less you know about this book, the more you'll enjoy it, so I won't say anything else. Oh, except that it fucking ROCKS. I would have read it in one sitting if I hadn't had to work and sleep.

6. Lisey's Story by Stephen King: You know, I thought King had gotten his groove back after Cell, but apparently not. This novel is about a woman mourning the death of her husband, a famous author whose horrible childhood led him to a place called Boo'ya Moon. Yes, Boo'ya Moon. Anyway, all sorts of shenanigans ensue and King winds up plagiarizing his own book, Rose Madder, near the end. Disappointing, although there is one genuinely unnerving scene that sort of made everything else worth it.

Side note: If you take the dust jacket off, the book cover is truly awesome. I got a lot of people going "Ooooh, what's that?" when I was reading it in the hospital waiting room.

Read so far this year: 44


1. Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl: This anonymous book, written by a British call girl turned blogger, is pretty cheesetacular...but it's still as much fun as a copy of Us, only ten times as dirty!

2. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture* by Ariel Levy: An incisive look at how women are embracing things like "Girls Gone Wild" and porn, supposedly as an act of feminism. (Disclaimer: I don't think watching or performing in porn means you aren't a feminist. After all, isn't part of feminism being able to do whatever the hell you want, whether it's staying at home raising children, working as a CEO, or being a porn star? But I do agree with many of her points, especially where "Girls Gone Wild" is concerned. Joe Francis is no better than a pimp on the corner, and possibly worse; Google the recent LA Times article on him and see if you can suppress a shudder.)

3. The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery: The story of the author's pet pig, Christopher Hogwood, who she rescued as a runt and who became a much-loved, enormous member of her family. I cried my ASS off. (Fun fact with which you can blackmail Daddy-O: the one thing that will make him go absolutely gooey, goofy, googly-eyed with delight is a baby pig. Seriously.)

4. My Pet Virus* by Shawn Decker: At the age of 11, the author found out that he had received a HIV-tainted transfusion during treatment for his hemophilia. This memoir recalls everything from his dating traumas to the backstage visit with Depeche Mode he received from the Make A Wish Foundation. Darkly funny, self-deprecating, and uplifting.

Read so far this year: 67


1. Swan vol. 7 by Ariyoshi Kyoko

2. Cancer Vixen* by Marisa Acocella Marchetto: A memoir about the author's battle with breast cancer. The art is pretty crappy---I've seen her work in The New Yorker, and she can draw, so I'm assuming she kept it simple due to the length of the book---but it's funny as well as heart-wrenching.

Read so far this year: 71


1. District B13: I can barely even remember what this French flick was about---a government conspiracy to blow up a ghetto or some shit---but this isn't the kind of flick you watch for the story. The tight action in this movie chiefly consists of parkour, a French fad in which participants attempt to pass obstacles as quickly as possible.

2. Lady Vengeance*: In the final installment of Chan Wook Park's revenge trilogy, a woman is released from prison after serving 13 years for kidnapping and murder. It turns out her accomplice is much more to blame, and he's gotten off scot-free, so she wants payback. Visually innovative, nice and twisty, and surprisingly poignant.

3. Jackass: Number Two*: I thought it was impossible to shock me anymore...but I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Seen so far this year: 76


1. "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake: For four minutes and two seconds, this song makes me want to be a stripper.

2. "Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches


"Shangri-La" by chatmonchy

I'm sorry, but J-pop girl bands make me stupid happy, and I love this song. And look how freakin' cute they are! The lead singer is totally rockin' her Klute shag.