Wednesday, January 31, 2007

media update: January

Guess what I recently realized? I am only separated by three degrees from Kevin Bacon. I used to date M2, who was in Beautiful Girls with Matt Dillon, who was in Wild Things with...drum roll please...Kevin Bacon! You may touch the hem of my garment now; please form an orderly line. No pushing.

I didn't read a single novel this month, which has to be a first. I started Next by Michael Crichton, but it got so outrageously stupid that I tossed it aside about fifty pages into it. Some of you might think I didn't give it enough of a chance; I can only quote Mark Twain's famous comment about how you don't have to eat an entire sandwich to know if it's bad.

However, it was quite a month for non-fiction; everything got a star! As you may recall, they denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006*: These collections are always really good, and this one's no exception. It includes everything from fake headlines from The Onion to an article on plastination, the process of preserving the human body by injecting it with resin and other preservatives.

2. Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping* by Judith Levine: The author, disgusted by overconsumption, decided to go a full year without spending money on anything but absolute necessities. That meant no movies, no books, no Kleenex (because you could just use toilet paper), no trinkets, no eating out. Ugh! Very eye-opening, and it made me take a closer look at how much useless crap I buy on a regular basis.

Side note: Once, in a desperate attempt to figure out where all my damn money was going, I kept track of every single penny I spent in one week. Of the $186.39 I spent, only $61.35 was on necessary items. That was a bit of a wake-up call...well, for a couple of days, anyway, and then I cheerfully returned to buying candy, magazines, and Korres.

3. I Am Not Myself These Days* by Josh Kilmer-Purcell: This memoir about the author's nights as Aquadisiac, a drag queen with live goldfish in her plastic bra, and romance with a crack-addicted male prostitute is hysterically funny and absolutely riveting. I entreat you: if you don't read this book, at least grab it in Borders and read pages 41-44. I had to leave the break room at work and rush to the bathroom, where I proceeded to spew Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose in a brackish stream.

4. There Is No Me Without You* by Melissa Fay Greene: The powerful, moving story of an Ethiopian woman who, devastated by the deaths of her husband and daughter, found solace by taking in children who had been orphaned by AIDS. One of the best things about this book is that she's not portrayed as a saint, but as a woman who, albeit more generous than most, still makes some very human (and, occasionally, very big) mistakes.

5. Letter to a Christian Nation* by Sam Harris: I think anyone of any faith could learn a lot from this book, but man, if you're an atheist or an agnostic, this is going to be your (pardon the pun) Bible. Whether you agree with him or not, he makes his points clearly and intelligently. (And no, this is not the same Sam Harris who won Star Search with his flame-boyant rendition of "Over the Rainbow".)

6. Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper* by Diablo Cody: I wanted to read this book mainly because the author worked in Minneapolis, including a stint at the notorious Sex World. I still vividly remember walking past the peep booths to get to the Ms. Pac-Man machine (seriously), and seeing a booth baby sitting there topless, engrossed in a copy of Modern Bride. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. She neither glamorizes nor demonizes the industry, and her writing is sharp and snarky (for example, Minneapolis is the "city that never wakes"). I only wish it were longer.

7. Tainted Life* by Marc Almond: God, I used to be such a huge fan of his; I still remember buying a tape of Soft Cell's Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret at Gemco while my parents weren't looking, and being utterly enthralled by "Sex Dwarf", "Seedy Films", and (of course) "Tainted Love". I also loved his solo stuff, as well as Marc and the Mambas, and I even saw him in concert at the Pantages in 1988. Needless to say, I was eager to get my hands on his autobiography...and, with its tales of sudden fame, deep depression, unbelievable amounts of drugs, and breathtaking promiscuity, it certainly didn't disappoint!


1. Fan by Yamato Nase

2. Under Grand Hotel* vol. 2 by Sadahiro Mika: Notable not only for its graphic depictions of hot prison manlove, but for an African-American main character, which---for obvious reasons---is a rarity in manga.

3. Explosion Diva 21 by Kaoru Igarashi: The title sounds kind of porny, but I swear it's not.


1. My Super Ex-Girlfriend: When a man dumps his superhero girlfriend, she does everything in her power---literally---to make his life hell. Cute premise, and it has some very funny lines (mostly courtesy of Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight from "The Office", which I really need to see someday), but it's ultimately forgettable.

2. United 93: Devastating as hell. I know, when it was first announced, that people thought it would be too soon after 9/11, but it's done with the utmost respect for the passengers and crew on that flight.

3. Grandma's Boy: A middle-aged video game tester is forced to move in with his grandmother after his roommate spends all their rent money on Filipino hookers. Unrelentingly stupid to be sure, but it's actually really funny, and the DVD extras are great.

4. Stay Alive: A group of teenagers gets their hands on a video game where, if you die in the game, you die in the same way in real life. God, was this shitty. The only good thing about it was that it mentioned both Silent Hill 4 and Fatal Frame, and one of the characters even has a camera exactly like Miku's.

5. Pan's Labyrinth*: A dark, twisted fairy tale about a young Spanish girl who discovers a magical world in the backyard of her new home; imagine if Alice fell into hell instead of Wonderland. Beautiful and disturbing; its images and ending haunted me for days after seeing it.

6. Enter the Dragon*: Considering my love of martial arts, it's pretty shocking that I'd never seen a Bruce Lee movie before now...and now I'm wondering why the hell I waited so long. From the scene in which Bruce Lee kicks the ass of a then-unknown Jackie Chan to the insane fight in the hall of mirrors, this is essential viewing.

7. Little Miss Sunshine*: I thought this movie couldn't possibly live up to the hype, but I was wrong. It's a screamingly funny and occasionally poignant movie about a dysfunctional family on a road trip to a beauty pageant. Alan Arkin is great as the potty-mouthed grandfather, but I think Steve Carell should have gotten the best supporting actor nod instead.

8. Saw 3: Not even the first two Saw movies prepared me for the sheer grossness of this one; I actually had to look away from the screen a couple of times. Not a very good installment in the series, unfortunately.


1. "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Hudson: Y'all hush.

2. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (video game soundtrack)

3. "Jellyhead" by Crush

4. "Sanctuary" by Hikaru Utada

5. "Rest of My Life" by Less Than Jake

6. "Ride On Shooting Star" by The Pillows

7. "Tank!" by The Seatbelts

8. "Blue" by Yamane Mai

9. "You Wear It Like A Stained Glass Window" by Ghost Stories

10. "#12 L'Enfant" by Helium

11. "Wake Me Up" by Norah Jones

12. "Across the Stars in Blue" by The Oohlas: I want my next car to be a convertible just so I can put the top down and blast this song.

13. "Good" by Better Than Ezra


Armed and Famous: This reality show follows a group of D-list celebrities who have been sworn in as police officers. As soon as I heard they were working in Muncie, Indiana, my curiosity was piqued. When I was a kid, we lived not too far from Muncie, and whenever we wanted to see a movie or eat at a restaurant that wasn't Dairy Queen or Burger Chef, we had to go into the "big city". Then I found out Jason "Wee Man" Acuna was one of the celebrities, and I knew I had to tape that shit. It's just as wonderful and terrible as you'd expect, and it's already been cancelled. Oh well.

(And my god, when did Jack Osbourne get HOT?)


Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented

A young woman named Rei, still mourning the loss of her fiance, finds herself drawn into a nightmare world when she falls asleep. Out of the three Fatal Frame games, this one creeped me out the most; one ghost in particular made me scream every time it appeared. My biggest complaint is that the end boss is a colossal pain in the ass, but that made it all the sweeter when I---er, okay, G---finally put her to rest.

And, oh, that ending made me cry.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I wasn't born with enough middle fingers

There’s a woman in my office I like to call Mean Grandma because she seriously looks like the kind of grandmother who’s sweet as pie to her grandchildren in front of everyone else, but when nobody’s looking, she pinches their tender cheeks hard and hisses “You better keep your nose clean!” If I answer someone else’s phone while they’re away from their desk, and it happens to be MG, she’ll always say, in a voice like a snot-filled bonbon, “Oh, I didn’t want YOU.”

Well, screw you too, lady!

Here’s how deep my dislike of MG runs. A couple of weeks ago, G and I were waiting to be seated at one of our favorite restaurants when, to my horror, I saw MG waiting in line to pay her bill. I hissed, “G, that’s Mean Grandma!” and hid behind him until she left.

Anyway, she came over to my desk yesterday, wearing the kind of sparkly shirt that only a woman with too much time on her hands and a frequent customer card for Michael’s could possibly own, and she said, “Say, what are you bringing to D’s baby shower?”

“Baby shower?” I asked. I was perplexed not because I didn’t know D was pregnant---with twins, no less, so it’s rather obvious---but because I barely even know the chick. She works in a different, albeit neighboring, department, and although I know her by name and face, I don’t know her well enough to attend a baby shower.

“Yes, the baby shower. We’re having it next Thursday at 1PM, so what are you bringing for the potluck?”

“Well, I don’t think I’ll be attending,” I said.

MG actually put her hand over her sequined heart and said, “You AREN’T?” Her tone of voice was so horrified that you’d think I had wished actual harm on the mother and her unborn brood.

“I don’t really know D personally. I certainly wish her the best of luck, and I’m very happy for her, but I don’t want to come to the shower. I’d be glad to sign a card if there’s one going around.”

MG harrumphed and shook her head in dismay, giving me a look that implied I was the worst person in the world, on par with a cop killer or a kitten raper. Then she turned to the woman in the cube across from me and said, “J, what are YOU bringing to D’s shower?”

“I’m not going,” J said, not looking away from her computer monitor.

“Well, whyever not?”

“I don’t know D all that well, and besides, I don’t like babies.”

Hey, I was no longer the worst person in the world!

I had yet another encounter with MG today, much to my delight.

I was frowning at a Post-It note left on my desk, trying to figure out who had written it and what exactly they wanted, when MG came up to me. This time, she had an actual work-related question, and as I researched the answer for her, her attention was drawn to the calendar I had hanging in my cube.

“Well, that’s certainly an…interesting picture,” she sniffed.

The calendar in question was a free one I got with the January issue of Shojo Beat, an English-language manga magazine. The picture was of the two main female characters from Nana holding hands. It’s not like it’s some graphic display of lesbianism or anything; they’re not wearing strap-ons or labrys necklaces. It just looks like two female friends expressing their platonic friendship for each other.

Still, I had a feeling she’d complain to management, so rather than deal with that sticky wicket (“No, they’re just friends! I refer you to volume 4 of the manga, where…”), I decided to change calendars. I had another one in my desk, this one a freebie from a Japanese magazine, and I tacked it up. The picture shows a teenage boy holding a teenage girl in his arms, and they’re smiling and cheerful and TOTALLY HETEROSEXUAL. A nice, happy, red-state friendly picture.

And then I realized the teenage boy had drawn a pair of breasts on his white sneakers, along with the Japanese katakana for boobs (oppai).

With a sigh, I painstakingly used Wite-Out to erase the offending mams.

Is it fucking Friday yet?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

some pretty titty shaven kitty's gonna charm the world

Currently I'm all melty, thanks to my massage, so I don't have the brainpower to write anything coherent. Hence, a meme!

Rules: Set your MP3 player or other music player to random and record the first fifty songs. Post them, and let your pals see what makes you groove.

1. "Becoming a Geisha" by John Williams: This is from the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack, which would be perfect background music for a massage...certainly better than the usual Enya/whale song crap.

2. "Bomb a Head!" by MCAT

3. "The Kraken" by Squirrel Nut Zippers: Uh huh huh...release the kraken...

4. "Words" by Missing Persons

5. "End of Small Sanctuary" by Akira Yamaoka: From the Silent Hill 3 soundtrack.

6. "Chiyo's Prayer" by John Williams: Also from the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack.

7. "Shake the Disease" (extended mix) by Depeche Mode

8. "The Air Is Getting Slippery" by Primus

9. "We Were Lovers" by Jean Jacques Burnel

10. "Tennessee" by Arrested Development

11. "Kissesmack of Past Action" by Shudder to Think

12. "Girl" by Tori Amos

13. "Mo Ichido Tenderness" by KIX-S

14. "Taking Retards to the Zoo" by Dead Milkmen

15. "Mars Needs Cheerleaders": From the classic Super NES/Genesis game Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

16. "Crush" by Dave Matthews Band: One of the sexiest songs of all time.

17. "Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches

18. "No Aloha" by The Breeders

19. "Across the Stars in Blue" by The Oohlas: From whence my entry title comes.

20. "Why I Was Born" by Gene

21. "Take Control" by Lords of Acid

22. "So You Wanna Be A Rock Superstar" by Cypress Hill

23. "American Music" by Violent Femmes

24. "Anything Anything" by Dramarama

25. "If I Can't Change Your Mind" by Sugar

26. "All I Want Is All I Need" by Paul Oakenfold

27. "Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny" by The Bloodhound Gang

28. "Jack U Off" by Pansy Division

29. "Never Say Never" by Romeo Void

30. "Oblivious" by Aztec Camera

31. "Bullet" by The Misfits

32. "I My Me Mine" by The Polysics

33. "Stop!" by Jane's Addiction

34. "Life Is Like A Boat" by Rie Fu

35. "Smell" by The Dambuilders

36. "Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler: This is the song he sings to Drew Barrymore at the end of Wedding Singer.

37. "Last Kiss" by Bonnie Pink

38. "Underwhelmed" by Sloan

39. "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Hudson

40. "Climbing to the Moon" by Eels

41. "Independent Love Song" by Scarlett

42. "LSD" by My Little Funhouse

43. "Feelin'" by The La's

44. "The Winner Takes It All" by Queen of Japan

45. "Earthquake Song" by Little Girls

46. "No Truth" by Curve

47. "Ant Farm" by Eels

48. "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service

49. "Sonata in C, K.545 - Allegro" performed by Maria Joao Pires

50. "Love Will Keep Us Together" by bi-phonic

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

gas houses

Last night, after dropping off my library books and buying Diet Dr Pepper and bread, I stopped at Borders. (I know, you're astounded by this, but OMFG, y'all, it's TOTES my favorite store!) I grabbed several magazines---including Everyday with Rachael Ray, which I hid at the bottom of the stack as though concealing the basest pornography---and retreated to a chair at the back of the store.

As I was reading, an elderly man flopped down heavily in the chair next to me. This annoyed me, because there were several other chairs he could have taken instead, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I continued reading.

About ten minutes later, he stood up and said in a loud, singsongy voice, "Toot-toot!" I glanced up nervously, and he walked past me and emitted a fart that lasted, I shit you not, at least ten seconds. It sounded like a cross between air escaping from a wet balloon and a growling puppy. I can't tell you if it stank or not, because I grabbed my stack of magazines and fled in the opposite direction.

I guess I can't really throw any stones at the gaseous grayhair, though, considering what happened on Sunday night.

G and I were sitting on the couch relaxing. Apparently, I was a bit too relaxed, because before I could stop it, I let fly with a rumbler. I screamed in horror and buried my face in the arm of the couch as G laughed.

Well, we've been going out for 2 1/2 years now; I guess the fart barrier had to be broken sometime. I just didn’t think I’d break the sound barrier along with it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: the year in review

JANUARY: 2006 got off to an unpleasant start, thanks to a supremely aggravating trip from New Jersey back to California. G got so pissed off over the outcome of the Giants/Panthers game that he dropped an F-bomb…something he never, ever does. Went to Little Tokyo and discovered the glory of baked potato and butter-flavored chips. I was accosted in Long’s by a man who kept rhapsodizing about my “creamy” skin; this was ironic because I had the most colossal zit of my life at the time. Enjoyed a full month of getting paid to do nothing but sit on my ass, reading and surfing the internet. Went to Claim Jumper for a work-related luncheon and had a lemon bar brulee which almost made me pass out with ecstasy. Interviewed for a job in fire claims which ultimately went to the wife of a team manager. Got an unexpected e-mail from Wad, which sent me into a frothing rage. Auditioned online for Jeopardy! G’s dad came to California on a business trip, and we went out to dinner, took a long walk, and played Taiko Drum Master. Read 12 books and 12 volumes of manga; saw 12 movies. (Okay, that’s kind of weird…)

FEBRUARY: My boss, T, rudely pimped me out to another department which I absolutely loathed. Went to a goodbye dinner for G and C’s friend D, who was moving to Italy; had a big bowl of utterly delicious Greek soup with an unpronounceable name. Stopped going to the chiropractor, who wasn’t doing much other than emptying my wallet, and started getting biweekly massages instead, which was almost as expensive but much more enjoyable. Went to Culver City to audition for Jeopardy! in the flesh. Not content to force me to endure one shitty department, the powers that be voluntold me to work in the mail and file department for a couple of weeks as well. G sent me gorgeous flowers at work on Valentine’s Day, and then I went to his place after work for pizza and presents. Finished playing Indigo Prophecy. Went to the Huntington Gardens with G, C, and M. FINALLY scored a new job in the department I’d been gunning for, although I had to finish out my time in the other crap-ass departments first. Tried Tab Energy and stayed up all night twitching. Got my taxes done, and although I owed federal, I got almost the exact same amount back from the state, so it wound up pretty much even. Read 9 books and 4 volumes of manga; saw 4 movies.

MARCH: My bedroom window and the kitchen window began leaking during the rainstorms that plagued SoCal throughout most of the month. Watched the Oscars and almost threw a Papa John’s box at the screen when Crash won Best Picture. Had my first Luther. Finished Fatal Frame. Had to work mail and file all by myself one day; survived relatively unscathed, aside from several paper cuts and a nasty blister. Gleefully said goodbye to the craptacular departments to which I’d been pimped out and settled into my new job. G and I bought M silver candlesticks for her birthday; awww, our first joint present! Went out to dinner for M’s birthday and shocked the table by professing my preference for Steve Martin over Johnny Depp. Bought an iDog. Read 9 books and 8 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

APRIL: G played a mean April Fool’s trick on me by claiming Southwest had gone under and our trip was cancelled. Saw Shannen Doherty outside a local movie theater and the bitch gave me a look that could freeze lava. Screw you, Shannen Doherty! I was a Melrose Place girl anyway. Had to explain Prince Alberts to my sweet Filipina coworker. Went to New Jersey with G for Passover, during which I finally got to try a Magnolia Bakery cupcake, survived my first encounter with his cousin’s evil kids, and got horribly sick. Our flyaway bus was rearended at LAX by an incredibly unobservant man. Went to the doctor because I could barely speak; he diagnosed me with acute bronchitis and sent me to Long’s to pick up a slew of prescriptions. Had a geekgasm over the Silent Hill movie, although it needed more Pyramid Head. Read 11 books and 11 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

MAY: G’s friends G2 and R were in town, so we all hung out, talking, playing The Great Dalmudi, and laughing until our sides hurt. Had a kobe burger at Cheesecake Factory that gave me the shits something fierce. My jeans ripped up the back when I was getting into my car after a massage. Since that was my one pair of jeans that fit, I had to go shopping the next night, and wound up getting a migraine when I accidentally looked up at the light in the changing room. Clothes shopping + migraine = my personal circle of hell, if you add spiders, clowns, and onions. Went to the Third Street Promenade and the Century City Mall with G, C, and M. Went to a new gynecologist and was horrified to see a picture of Matthew Mc Conaughey on the ceiling, but at least it wasn’t Colin Farrell. Daddy-O went on a business trip to China, but someone forgot to tell him to get a visa (oops!), so he had to fly to Hong Kong to get one. I had a fantastic weekend with G that included two of my favorite things: monkeys and French pastries. Read 13 books and 7 volumes of manga; saw 9 movies.

JUNE: A simple trip to 7-11 became an occasion for joy when I found white chocolate M&Ms, a Cadbury Crème Egg ice cream drumstick, and the premiere issue of ultra-trashy magazine Shock. G surprised me with a trip to Old Spaghetti Factory, one of my favorite restaurants. Renewed my driver’s license; when it arrived in the mail two weeks later, the picture made me want to cry. An employee appreciation BBQ at work left dozens of people with horrible food poisoning; fortunately, neither K nor I were among the afflicted. Went to G2’s surprise party at Morton’s in Beverly Hills; chowed down on double-cut filet mignon, the best key lime pie I’ve ever had, and constant refills of red wine. In a perfect example of “good news/bad news”, my least favorite coworker was moved to a new position; unfortunately, this meant that I inherited her massive workload. Observed the 9-year anniversary of my mom’s death by sitting in my room, lit only by a candle, and telling her how much she meant, and still means, to me. The heat made it borderline impossible to do anything during the day. Read 12 books and 9 volumes of manga/graphic novels; saw 8 movies.

JULY: Drove up to Sequoia with C and met up with G and his sister’s family. We spelunked, hiked approximately fifteen thousand miles (many of them uphill), and communed with nature; it was exhausting but fun. On the way back, I finally got to sample Sonic, and found all but the cherry limeade disappointing. G and I had a lightsaber battle in the toy aisle of Rite-Aid. Celebrated C’s birthday at Café Fiore; I gave him a book on understanding Finnegan’s Wake (hey, that’s what he wanted!) and gorged on Milky Way martinis, margherita pizza, and an enormous goblet filled with gelato. Three days later, we celebrated G’s birthday. I gave him Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams for the PS2 and two Lee Oskar harmonicas in keys he didn’t have. Won a cheesy astrology book in a magazine contest; why can’t I ever win the spa trip or the Sephora giftcard? I turned 35, and celebrated the occasion by taking the day off work and treating myself to shopping sprees at Borders, Beautyhabit, and Target. Later, G, C, M, and I went to dinner at Kate Mantilini’s, where I had filet mignon and cheesecake on a stick and opened my goodies. Mercilessly teased Daddy-O, a very unlikely boy band fan, when Lance Bass of *NSYNC came out of the closet. Played an insane amount of Taiko Drum Master and actually got perfect scores on several levels. Thanks to an ungodly heat wave, I got more reading/movie viewing done than usual; I read 16 books and five manga volumes/graphic novels and watched 11 movies.

AUGUST: G and I went to Little Tokyo, but sadly we could not find the baked potato and butter-flavored chips that we swooned over back in January. The Giants won every preseason game, putting an enormous smile on G’s face for the entire month. Went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with G, C, and M to see an outdoor showing of Psycho; unfortunately, we had to sit next to a group of drunk, boisterous, rude guys, and by the end of the movie, I was about to inter them myself. Discovered my journal from 1994 through 1996 and spent many hours reading it and alternating between shaking my head, laughing, and bursting into tears…sometimes all at once. Went into a fit of rage when Major Victory, my absolute favorite contestant on Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, was inexplicably given the boot by Stan Lee. Went to a dinner party and washed down ultra-spicy Cajun food with almost a full bottle of wine; remembered the next morning why I shouldn’t drink anymore. G and I celebrated our second anniversary with gifts and dinner at Cheesecake Factory, the site of our first date. Read 9 books, one graphic novel, and 10 volumes of manga; saw 7 movies.

SEPTEMBER: Finished playing Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly. Since September was an unusually good movie month, I spent a lot of time at the local theater. Daddy-O shocked the shit out of me by getting engaged to his longtime, on again/off again girlfriend. The return of football necessitated many hours in front of the TV. Had to restrain myself from committing violence against a claim rep who decided my cube was his personal supply closet. Tearfully said goodbye to one of my favorite coworkers, who left for greener pastures. Got cholesterol and bone density tests and accidentally flashed my bukiluki at the technician. G’s friend R came out for a weekend visit, so we went out to eat several times, sat around and shot the shit, and saw a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” at our local arts center. Claim Jumper gave me diarrhea. Read 10 books and 3 volumes of manga; saw 8 movies.

OCTOBER: Finished Rule of Rose; cried. When I went to get my hair cut, I decided to have the stylist dye it as well, and until the color faded a little bit, I looked unnervingly like Severus Snape. K and I went to see 80's cover band Mini Driver, and we were surprised when two guys dressed as pimps in red velvet coats and zebra platforms strolled in. Went to a corny (but fun) fall festival with G, C, and M. Got horrific food poisoning at a Chinese restaurant and G once again proved his worthiness---not that it was ever in question!---by cleaning up copious amounts of puke. Daddy-O, his fiancee St. G, and my brother came to California for a brief visit, and G joined us for Daddy-O's birthday dinner in Santa Barbara. I had the pleasure of playing skeeball with B, a fellow blogger I’ve read for years. During a team meeting, a coworker passed an envelope to me, thinking it contained work, and it turned out to be a $20 bill. When I ran into her in the bathroom, she asked for it back; I laughed in her face. Returned to Minnesota to help take care of Daddy-O after his hip replacement surgery. We had a couple of days beforehand to hang out; he treated me, R, and St. G to dinner at one of my favorite Twin Cities restaurants, and I finally got to try authentic kobe beef, which had me moaning like a porn star. I was a nervous wreck right before his surgery, but thankfully---a few snags aside---he came through it like a trooper. Read 10 books, 1 graphic novel, and 1 volume of manga; saw 3 movies.

NOVEMBER: The beginning of the month found me still in Minnesota, helping Daddy-O recover after his surgery. There were a few really bad days, and my return to California was delayed due to a problem with his incision, but eventually he was doing well enough that I could leave without guilt…well, too much guilt, anyway. My reunion with G was glorious; I almost squeezed him to death as soon as he opened his door. Played lots and lots of Bully. Spent Thanksgiving vacation in Florida with G and his family, visiting Epcot Center and the Wild Animal Kingdom and scarfing down ungodly amounts of food. Much to my dismay, my boss reshuffled my job responsibilities, saddling me with something even more annoying and shitty than I’d been doing before. Read 5 books and 4 volumes of manga; saw 3 movies.

DECEMBER: Went out for D’s birthday; afterwards, at C and M’s, I peeled about five layers of paint off their bathroom walls, thanks to a sudden attack of the squirts. Treated myself to an early Christmas present in the form of a silver iPod Nano. Finished Bully. Despite being a very inexperienced cook, I managed to make passable roast lemon chicken for G as a surprise. Watched lots and lots of football. Feigned pleasure over the Secret Santa gift I got at work. Spent Christmas weekend with G, watching movies and playing games. Picked up the slack at work for everyone who was out on vacation. On the day after James Brown died, I freaked out when I put my iPod on shuffle and the very first song to start playing was “James Brown Is Dead”, a techno song from the early 90’s. Against all odds, the Giants made the playoffs. G threw a New Year’s Eve party, and I was privileged to ring in 2007 with some of my favorite people in the world. Read 11 books and 1 volume of manga; saw 6 movies.