Tuesday, November 30, 2010

media update: November

I'm back from Florida, cranky as all shit (being away from work for 10 days and then coming back to an exploding inbox will do that to you) and a few pounds heavier, but I gotta say: key lime shakes are fucking WORTH it.

Anyway, as you might have noticed, I failed miserably at NaNoJoMoOhNoPoPo, but I had limited access to a computer when I was gone and I wanted to live in the moment, man. I'll write an entry covering the last few weeks as soon as Padre sends me pictures; my camera took the opportunity to go toes up on this trip. Here's a teaser for some of what you can expect in my recap, though: food porn, an item crossed off my bucket list, two lovely surprises, and one sad one.

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


1. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane: I'm not going to say anything about this book except that I enjoyed it. No, I'm not being ornery; this is a sequel to Gone Baby Gone, and I don't want to spoil anything in case you haven't already read/seen GBG.

2. Full Dark, No Stars* by Stephen King: A collection of 4 grim novellas from the master of horror. My favorite was "A Good Marriage", in which a woman discovers her husband's shocking secret life.


1. The Tattoo Chronicles* by Kat Von D: A collection of Kat's journal entries and photographs of the work she's done for other people. This is a gorgeously designed book and a lot of fun if you have any interest at all in tattoos. (Or even if you don't; G's not a big fan of tattoos, but he was still impressed by some of the pictures I showed him.)

2. What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets* by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio: An oddly compelling book showing 80 people from around the world posing with the food they ate in one day, grouped from lowest calorie count (800 for a Masai tribeswoman) to highest (12,300 for a British woman who replaced her drug addiction with a food addiction). Warning: includes some graphic photos of slaughtered animals.


1. With the Light* vol. 7 by Keiko Tobe

2. Hero Heel by Makoto Tateno

3. Preacher* vols. 1-9 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon: Okay, this is officially one of my favorite graphic novel series of all time. The art isn't that great and the story meanders here and there, but it's breathtakingly audacious and the writing is phenomenal.

4. Tail of the Moon: The Other Hanzo(u) by Rinko Ueda

5. Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala

6. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

7. The Boys* vol. 7 by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson: Hoooooooly shit. This right here is classic Garth Ennis, and my favorite volume yet.

8. The Ghastly Ones by Richard Sala

9. Blood Honey by Sakyou Yozakura

10. Batman RIP* by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel, and Lee Garbett

11. Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi

12. X'ed Out by Charles Burns


1. The Karate Kid*: A kid from Detroit (Jaden Smith, a tiny clone of his father Will) moves to Beijing with his mother, where he falls prey to bullies. The maintenance man (Jackie Chan) at his apartment building takes an interest in him and offers to teach him kung fu. Yes, this remake should have been called The Kung Fu Kid, but whatever. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it, mostly thanks to the gorgeous scenery and Jackie Chan.

2. City Island: A prison guard recognizes a new prisoner as the son he abandoned years ago, and he decides to bring him home on conditional parole. Nobody knows about this long-lost son, but everybody in his dysfunctional family has a few secrets of their own. A charming, slightly dark comedy.

3. Date Night: Thanks to a case of mistaken identity, a married couple's date night goes horribly awry. Some good laughs, but ultimately forgettable.

4. Pontypool: Shortly after getting to work, a radio DJ hears about strange behavior among the residents of Pontypool. As he tries to make sense of the reports coming in, things just keep getting worse and worse. I'd heard really good things about this movie, but I think my expectations were too high. Still, it's a unique take on the zombie genre.


1. "Fuck Me, I'm Famous" by Dougal & Gammer

2. "Bruise Violet" by Babes in Toyland

3. "1901" by Phoenix

4. "Hybrid Moments" by The Misfits

5. "Angelfuck" by The Misfits

6. "Spinal Remains" by The Misfits

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

best of 2010: manga and graphic novels

And now it's time for my list of the best manga and graphic novels of 2010! Before I begin, a few notes:

  • Aside from the first title listed, these are not necessarily in order.
  • I doubt anyone still harbors the belief that "comics" are strictly kids' stuff, but just in case: some of these titles are for mature audiences only. If a title contains exceptionally strong content, like the equivalent of an R rating or higher, I've made a note of it.
  • Not all of these titles were originally released in 2010, but that's when I first read them.
  • These are all commercially available in the US. I read plenty of fan translations online, but none of those really stood out to me this year.
  • As always, your mileage may vary.


Superheroes...who doesn't love 'em? Well, as it turns out, many of them are hiding very dark secrets beneath their masks and capes. The CIA forms a black ops team called The Boys to keep an eye on them and, if necessary, kill them. Some of the superhero teams are relatively harmless and only need a stern talking to if they get out of line, but others are incredibly dangerous. THE biggest superhero team (think Justice League caliber) includes some of the worst offenders, like the genuinely psychotic Homelander.

The Boys all have their own reasons for joining the group, though I won't spoil most of them. There's Billy Butcher, the aptly named leader; Mother's Milk, one of the only people who isn't afraid to get up in Billy's face when necessary; the mute and extremely violent Female; and The Frenchman, who can track people by their smell. In the first issue, Billy recruits a Scotsman named Hughie, whose girlfriend was accidentally killed by an unrepentant superhero. Hughie is the most likable of the group, in no small part due to his (intentional) resemblance to Simon Pegg.

This is a hard series to describe without giving things away, but trust me, it's awesome. It's absolutely not for the easily offended; there's gutwrenchingly graphic violence, some truly depraved sexual content, blacker than black humor, and language strong enough to shock a sailor. (Billy is a Brit and tosses around the C-word like most people use "the".) But underneath The Boys' lurid facade lurks a genuinely compelling saga of conspiracy, betrayal, heartbreak, vengeance, and love.


After her family goes bankrupt, former rich girl Choko gets a job as an office worker...and her boss turns out to be her former servant! He keeps alternating between tyranny and adoration, and poor Choko has no idea how to handle the situation, but she's pretty sure she's falling in love. Yuki Yoshihara has been one of my favorite mangaka for years; in addition to her artistic chops, she can turn out some very funny stories. As a bonus, this series features one of the hottest deflowering scenes I've encountered in any medium. (Reader advisory: nudity, sexual innuendo, and fairly graphic sexual content. No actual penetration shown, but there's zero doubt what's happening.)

In the latest series from Japan's most successful female manga artist, we meet Sakura, who's able to see ghosts and spirits thanks to a childhood brush with death. One day, she meets a new student named Rinne, who works as a shinigami; think Grim Reaper, but not as creepy. A fun story that promises to get deeper as it goes along.

When she was young, Rasetsu was attacked by a demon. He marked her with a rose-shaped tattoo and promised to come back to claim her when she turned 20 if she hasn't found true love by then. Rasetsu, blessed (or cursed) with spiritual powers, takes a job as an exorcist and tries to find the man who will save her before it's too late. It's like a much darker take on an old fairy tale, and I really like Rasetsu, both for her feistiness and the fact that she must recharge her spiritual powers by ingesting massive amounts of sugar.

A charming and witty collection of comics from the writer of French Milk.

A young couple's joy at the birth of their first child, Hikaru, turns to concern when it becomes apparent that he's not like other children. After months of frustration and incorrect diagnoses, Hikaru is finally diagnosed as autistic. Sachiko, his mother, is the primary caretaker and has to deal with the ignorance of people around her, ranging from neighbors to her mother-in-law, who thinks the autism is Sachiko's fault for taking "shortcuts" like using disposable diapers. (According to the extremely informative translation notes at the back of each volume, the characters used to write autism in Japanese literally translate as "closed off syndrome", which has led to a common misconception that people with autism are voluntarily antisocial.) With the Light can be heartbreaking, of course, but more often, it's uplifting. Sadly, Keiko Tobe passed away this year, but according to the American publisher's website, they will finish translating what she had completed before her death.

After reading The Boys, I knew I had to get my hands on Preacher. I haven't finished it yet---as of this writing, I'm up to volume 6---but whoo, what a ride so far!

As a child, Jesse Custer was groomed by his psychotic grandmother to become a preacher. When he grows up, he reluctantly assumes the position, and one day he's preaching when he's possessed by an entity called Genesis. In the process, his church is destroyed and the entire congregation dies.

Because Genesis is the product of an angel and a demon, it's composed of both pure evil and pure goodness, which gives it powers strong enough to rival God's. God is freaked out and abandons Heaven, and Jesse decides to track Him down and make him answer for His crimes against humanity. Along the way, he's joined by his ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy, but plenty of people will stop at nothing to make sure they don't find God.

Can I just say this series fucking rules? Granted, it can be extremely blasphemous, but even religious people, if they keep an open mind, will find plenty of food for thought in this series. (One of the most glowing reviews on Amazon is from a self-described evangelical Christian.) Like The Boys, it has plenty of salty language, gore, and sexual content, but it also has a heart. I'm going to say something blasphemous myself: at his best, Garth Ennis is almost as good as Alan Moore.

Oh yeah, I went there. And believe me, that is NOT something I would say lightly.

When Catwoman steals an important notebook from Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl (aka Barbara Gordon) is determined to get it back. Beautifully illustrated, fluffy fun that undoubtedly served as the inspiration for a thousand femmeslash fanfics.

Nanami has a crush on her fellow student Yano, but he's still mourning the death of his girlfriend. Can she break through his reserves, or will she have to write him off as a lost cause?

This manga won the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, and it's not hard to see why; it perfectly captures the bittersweet sensation of first love.

I've only read two volumes of this series, but Jesus H is it funny. It's about an isolated all-male boarding school where the students have no idea how to interact with females on the rare occasions that they run into them. One of my favorite moments when a character, trying desperately to think of something to say to the girl he likes, blurts out "You have a pussy between your legs." I could identify with the poor guy; I remember when I was about 12 years old and for some reason it occurred to me that hey, EVERY SINGLE MAN ON EARTH (well, excluding a few unfortunate souls, of course) has a penis. I was mortified and couldn't look any male, aside from my neutered cat Sprite, in the eye for days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

100 hairs make a man

(Note: if the pictures in this entry are enormous and/or sideways, please refresh the page. Photobucket is being ornery 'n' shit. Also, the lyrics in this entry are from the song "Mustache" by Sparks.)

I have neglected my NaNoJoMo duties, and as such, I shall do penance by showing you the following pictures.

A lady gets a lot of things
She gets the 20-carat rings
She gets the alimony too
She gets to look good in the nude
But there's one place that she's been missed:
Between the nose and upper lip

I tried a handlebar design
My Fu Manchu was real fine
My Ronald Colman made 'em blink
My Pancho Villa made 'em think
But when I trimmed it real small
My Jewish friends would never call

They call me sir, and that ain't bad
Sometimes they think that I'm my dad
And women flirt and you can bet
They like that tickle that they get
The only time I feel bad
Is when they guess the lunch I've had

Friday, November 12, 2010

got your eyes down low but you hold your head high

(Entry title comes from "Holiday", a glorious slice of Europop 80's cheese by The Other Ones)

This gif is an accurate depiction of my day at work:


Ergo, no entry to speak of, but here's a random picture of some of the Canadian geese that are waddling around outside:


These are some nasty bastards. If you get too close to them, they hiss like a pissed-off cat, and they leave enormous globs of green shit everywhere. It's like The Birds 2: The Shittening out there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

25 things you (probably) don't know about me

Taking a cue from the similar feature in Us magazine, I now present a list of 25 things you probably don't know about me.

1. I had to take speech therapy when I was in 2nd grade because I kept pronouncing "th" words as "f" words, like fing instead of thing. I didn't mind, though, because the speech therapist was really nice and I had a crush on another student in our sessions. His name was Doug Turley, but I can't remember what his particular impediment was.

2. I never had braces, but I did have to have one of my canines filed down because it was so unusually sharp.

3. My very first memory is of sitting on the ugly brown leather couch in our New Jersey apartment, eating hamster food. Lest you get the wrong idea, I wasn't eating it because we were poor (though we were; dinner was typically a 25 cent box of mac and cheese split 4 ways), but because I liked the taste.

4. The hamsters in question were Pixie, who was a colossal bitch, and her daughter Honey Bunny, who was not.

5. The dimple in my right cheek is so deep that I can hold a piece of popcorn or plain M&M in it. Fun party trick!

6. This is an interesting enough story (YMMV) that I'll probably dedicate a full entry to it at some point during NaNoJoMo, but I was forced into a single room in my senior year of college thanks to a creepy roommate situation straight out of a horror film.

7. I didn't try pizza until I was almost 18 years old.

8. I have a sweet tooth---well, more like a sweet jaw---but when I'm feeling snacky, I almost always go for something salty instead.

9. Not including the US, I've been to 8 countries: Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, France, Japan, Iceland, Norway, and Costa Rica.

10. The country I'd most like to visit that I haven't yet? Italy.

11. My favorite fast food restaurant is Wendy's.

12. I took ballet and jazz lessons for 7 years, and even did a solo recital to "Dancing Queen" while clad in an awesome blue satin spangled fringy leotard with matching gloves.

13. If I could live in any other time period, it would be the 50's.

14. I have a major girl crush on Christina Hendricks.

15. As a kid, I wavered between wanting to be an author or an opera singer.

16. The two movies I'm most excited about seeing in the near future are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Black Swan.

17. As much as I love movies, I don't have an all-time favorite; too hard to choose.

18. I have a thing for guys in glasses, especially atheist Giants fans.

19. I think female drummers are seriously awesome, in no small part due to the fact that my mom was a drummer. (Not professionally, though.)

20. I bit my nails for almost 16 years, and only stopped when my grandmother offered me $50 to quit.

21. When I'm feeling particularly anxious or insecure, I grasp my right thumb between my left thumb and index finger.

22. Three is my lucky number.

23. The best gift I ever got as a kid was a 2XL.

24. I'm very klutzy, but have somehow never broken a bone.

25. And because I'm also very superstitious, after typing that last sentence I whispered "antijinx, antijinx" under my breath.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


For today's NaNoJoMo entry, I've created assorted lists for your reading pleasure. A quick note for the lists of favorites: aside from the #1 slot, they are not necessarily in order, and as always, your mileage may vary.


1. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria Mc Cann
2. The End of Alice by A.M. Homes
3. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder
4. The Green Mile by Stephen King
5. Dark Hollow by John Connolly
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
8. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
9. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
10. Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres (nonfiction)


1. Silent Hill 2
2. Heavy Rain
3. Resident Evil 4
4. Dead Rising 2
5. Odin Sphere
6. Persona 4
7. Illbleed
8. Resident Evil 2
9. Resident Evil: Code Veronica
10. Silent Hill


1. Old-fashioned sugar cream pie
2. Filet mignon
3. Blue moon ice cream
4. Cheesecake
5. Pizza
6. Grilled cheese
7. Teriyaki beef
8. The extra-spicy chicken curry plate from Curry House in Little Tokyo
9. Hamburgers
10. French fries


1. Cats (both domestic and wild)
2. Monkeys (excluding baboons)
3. Apes (excluding chimpanzees)
4. Sloths
5. Octopi/cuttlefish


1. A picture of G and me sharing a pretzel in New York City
2. A picture of G and me standing in front of a large flowering tree (type unknown) in Pennsylvania
3. A picture of my friend Susan and me posing with an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas, housed in a frame made of multicolored dice
4. A picture of John Connolly and me
5. A small Hello Kitty figurine I got from a vending machine in, of all places, Pizza Hut
6. A Sunshine Buddy
7. A framed picture of Elvis reading fan mail
8. A plush Mt. Fuji toy I bought at a souvenir stand at the halfway point of Mt. Fuji
9. A wax gorilla from Monkey Jungle, one of the greatest places I've ever been...well, at least domestically
10. A pink flamingo that was one of the first things G ever bought me


1. My hair
2. My face
3. My shitty eyesight
4. My poor impulse control
5. My temper


1. Funny
2. Smart (excluding math)
3. My dimples
4. My legs from the knee down
5. Quirky


1. KareKano
2. Ai no Kusabi
3. Perfect Blue (rest in peace, Satoshi Kon)
4. Paranoia Agent
5. Ebichu
6. Azumanga Daioh
7. Hana Yori Dango
8. Kiki's Delivery Service
9. Brother Dear Brother
10. Monster


1. Post this entry
2. Take a seriously wicked piss

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

a day in the life

8:00 AM Bitchslap alarm.

8:09 AM Bitchslap alarm.

8:19 AM Turn off alarm and grudgingly roll out of bed. Jesus, it's freezing in here! I check the thermostat and it's 56 degrees in my apartment. I turn the heat on and then do the pee-pee dance to the bathroom. Ah, sweet release...

8:25 AM I weigh myself. Boy, that's an unpleasant surprise. Yikes. But to quote Jason Love, I'd like a nice body, but not as much as I'd like dessert. I enjoy food far too fucking much to deprive myself...well, within reason. Okay, USUALLY within reason.

8:26 AM Oooh, that milk is smelling funky, and not the good James Brown kind of funky. Instead of cereal, I have a Fiber One oats and caramel bar and a bottle of water for breakfast. I check my favorite websites and do the Yahoo crossword puzzle.

8:50 AM I always shower at night and wear very little makeup, so it doesn't take me long to get ready for work. I sing along to The Misfits as I get dressed. Strangely enough, The Misfits always remind me of my mom because she actually liked them. I must have had the only mom in the world who preferred The Misfits over They Might Be Giants. She HAAAAAATED TMBG. I think the lead singer's voice bugged her. Anyway, it always cracked me up when she'd start singing "I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch, you better think about it baby!"

God, I miss my mom.

9:15 AM I walk downstairs, toss the nasty milk into the dumpster, hop into Ginji, and drive to work.

9:25 AM I pull into the parking lot and speedwalk inside. Somebody from the other company that shares our building gives me stinkeye, presumably because of the way I'm dressed. Hey, bitch, we have a casual dress code, okay? Your approval is neither desired nor required.

9:30 AM I start up my computer, put my lunch in the break room fridge, and get to work. The temp who sits on the other side of me is hacking and sneezing. I'm grateful for the wall between us, because even though it won't protect me from the germs she keeps thoughtfully spraying into the air, at least I don't have to look at her. She's got a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle.

9:45 AM One of my coworkers, L, is sweet but quite possibly one of the stupidest people I've ever met. Yesterday, she forwarded a cloying e-mail to our department about a dog being put to sleep and how it taught the original writer a lesson about life and love and blah blah.

This morning, there was an e-mail from L saying "I feel bad about that e-mail I sent because M's [other coworker who was out of the office yesterday] dog died on Sunday so please don't bring it up to her because she's very upset."

She cc'd M.


10:15 AM My goddamn Outlook keeps crashing. It's a good thing that this project my boss has me working on doesn't involve e-mail at all.


Great, my coworker refilled the pail on her desk with more Halloween candy. Before, it was Starburst, which I can easily ignore.

But Twix?

Twix are my Golgotha.

11:15 AM I head out on my morning walk, pleased to see "my" egret Shiro out front. It's 70 degrees and the sun feels wonderful on my bare arms. I could walk all day!

11:30 AM ...but I can't. Now I'm back at my desk, sulkily staring at my inbox and nursing a bottle of Fiji water.

12:15 PM I eat lunch at my desk: a PBJ sandwich and a Coke Zero. This isn't my official lunch break, but my "real" lunch break is at 1:15 and I'd be chewing my arm off if I waited until then. I check in on Maru and then return to the sucky suckiness of my ass-sucking project of suck.

1:05 PM Fucking Outlook! Stop crashing every two seconds! Screw it, I'm taking an early lunch.

2:00 PM I'm back at my desk and procrastinating, as is my wont. On my lunch break, I did a full circuit around the parking lot. Ever since I was harassed by a carload of teenage boys, I take my lunchtime walk around the parking lot instead. I figure those little douchenozzles were on their lunch break too, since there are two high schools within walking distance of my workplace, so if I avoid going out into the "wild" at around that time, the odds of a repeat occurrence are much lower.

It's not so bad, though. Most of it is shaded by the trees all around the property, and it's so big that walking around the entire thing takes me about 25 minutes, even though I walk fairly fast. And last week, I saw two kittens, one gray and one white and orange, crouched under a car. I tried to lure them out, but they ran away. Usually my animal sightings aren't quite so exciting, though; lots of squirrels.

When I got back inside, I had about 20 minutes left, so I took my book and bottle of water to the break room and read. Now it's time to get back to it...

3:15 PM Wow, I actually managed to make a colossal dent in my workload! I reward myself with a nice walk and, upon returning to the building, a bag of pretzels, a Coke Zero, and some quality websurfing.

5:55 PM I spent the last few hours alternating between being productive and (figuratively) picking my asscrack. Now it's time to make like Bob Marley and blow this joint!

...goddamn, I'm pissed about Prop 19. Such bullshit.

6:00 PM Thanks to epic marathons of Crafting Mama, I've got the bug to do some crafting of my own, so I drive to Michaels and wander the aisles. I finally decide upon scrapbooking because it reminds me of when I was a kid and kept enormous sticker albums. (Specialty: unicorns.) I decide to start off with some basic items and skip the ultrafancy shit like $20 paper punches. I still wind up shelling out $30.

I leave Michaels, grab a quick bite to eat, and hit up a nearby store that specializes in candy and soda from around the world, i.e. the greatest store in the history of evertime. I buy an assortment of goodies, plus a bag of imported Dutch black salted licorice. I'd rather eat a warm dog turd than black licorice, especially SALTED black licorice, but Daddy-O's girlfriend is Dutch and loves the stuff, so I thought I'd tuck a package into the Christmas parcel I'll be sending him next month.

My final stop is the library, where I pick up two books that are being held for me (Smile by Raina Telgemeier and Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane), the DVD of Pontypool (which, oddly enough, Netflix doesn't have), and a scrapbooking guide. Then I read the latest issue of New York magazine before checking out and heading home.

8:55 PM I pull into my complex, get my purchases out of the trunk, and grab the mail: two catalogs, some junk mail, and the new TV Guide. Could be better, could be worse. I go inside, put my stuff away, boot up my laptop, and check the usual websites.

10:00 PM Shower time. I grudgingly shave my legs because I have a massage tomorrow night and don't want to force the masseuse to run her fingers through my lush legpelts.

10:30 PM I have decided that I am wildly in love with my Turbie Towel. I saw them at CVS, but they were something insane like $15, which, I'm sorry, it better do my taxes if I'm going to spend that much money for what's basically a super absorbent hand towel. But they were on sale for $5 last week, so I got one, and it's awesome. My hair is the thickness of baling twine, so it takes forever to dry, but this towel has cut my blowdrying time in half. Yay!

Anyway, after drying my body/hair and liberally coating myself with lotion, I get into my woobs, get myself a bottle of water, and check my e-mail and OD. I think I'll hop into bed and read until I fall asleep.

Night night...

Monday, November 08, 2010

your affection

The last time G and I were in Little Tokyo, we saw a Persona 4 (awesome video game that, despite being an RPG, is one of my 10 favorites of all time) t-shirt with Chie, one of the main characters, on the front.

"Aw, man!" I said. "I wish they had a Teddie shirt instead."

Fast forward several weeks later, and G surprised me with this shirt he'd had custom made for me (please excuse the blurry picture; I never claimed to be Ansel Adams, GOSH):

Awesomest shirt ever?

Yes, I think so too.

Kuma kuma!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

pizza slut

Last night, when G answered the door, the pizza delivery guy said, "Hi there, I have a large sausage for you."

G somehow managed to keep it together (I was in hysterics on the couch), but the second the door was closed, he looked at me and said, "Isn't that how most pornos begin?"

It's been almost 16 hours, and we STILL keep quietly humming bow chicka bow bow music to make the other laugh.

True love is finding someone to be this freakin' immature with.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


When I can't think of anything to write about during NaNoJoMoJoJoJo, I'll post a random picture. Yes, that's cheating; no, I don't care.

Here's a gif that will come in handy for your daily life.

Sure do hope they stop whatever the shit they're doing next door within the next couple of hours, 'cause the noise is gonna interfere with our precious Saturday nappin' time.

Friday, November 05, 2010

until the end of the world

I have an irrational fear of those tall inflatable wavy arm guys in front of car dealerships. Well, not fear exactly; they just make me feel kind of creepy.

I also get irrationally angry when a business has "Concepts" or "Solutions" in its name.

But on a more positive note, nothing makes me much happier than having something new to obsess about, and right now it's the graphic novel series Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. I'm about halfway through the second volume, and already I'm chomping at the bit to get to the third.

***G: skip to the next section if you plan on reading Preacher***

The story's about as complicated as trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in a wind tunnel, but I'll try to explain the basics. There's a preacher named Jesse Custer who's been possessed by a creature called Genesis, the child of an angel and a demon. Because Genesis is composed of both pure good and pure evil, it's powerful enough to rival God. Jesse has undergone some pretty bad shit in his life, and he wants to make God answer for His crimes against humanity, so---armed with his new abilities---he sets out to find God.

What's cool is that even though Jesse has the power to make anyone do whatever he says, he absolutely will not abuse it. (Well, as far as I've read, at least; I know this will probably change.) At one point, he's talking to his friend Cassidy about how horny he is, and Cassidy suggests that Jesse use the "Word of God" (the name Jesse gives his new power) to tell Tulip, the ex-girlfriend he still loves, to sleep with him. And Jesse refuses because (quoted from memory since I already returned volume 1 to the library, so this isn't verbatim), "That would make me a rapist, and I would deserve to burn in Hell just like every other rapist since time began."

Anyone who's familiar with Garth Ennis knows to expect foul language, gutwrenching violence, and some seriously depraved shit---I still haven't recovered from volume 5 of The Boys---and Preacher is no different, but it's highly moral at its core. Even if it wasn't, I'd still be hooked.

Right now I'm reading The Tattoo Chronicles by Kat Von D. It's a gorgeously designed book, and despite her atrocious taste in men (Jesse James, Kat? The guy who cheated on Sandra Bullock and brought the wrath of an entire nation down on his head? REALLY?), I really like her and think she's amazingly talented.

I don't think I'd get another tattoo, but if I did, I already have a few ideas, one of which is this portrait of Alessa Gillespie:

I've always loved this picture, and I think it would make an awesome tattoo, especially with the burned edges.

But I'd probably get a tattoo in memory of my mom. My current (lone) tattoo is kind of a tribute to her, because I have such good memories of going to the Sanrio store with her when I was little, but it also commemorates my love of cats AND Hello Kitty AND Japanese pop culture, so it would be nice if she didn't have to "share"! So I think I'd get an egret in her honor, because they were her favorite bird, and now they're mine too.

There's an egret that occasionally hangs out in front of my workplace. I've named him Shiro (which means white in Japanese), and whenever I see him, I get a big smile on my face because I instantly think of my mom. I took this picture today:

One of the reasons my mom loved egrets so much is that when they're flying, they look like they're waving goodbye.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

you better do what I say...that's amore!

(Title taken from Bibi Love's song in Dead Rising 2)

I'm sitting here waiting for somebody to call me back and help me with this new project into which I was dragged kicking and screaming. Needless to say, the meeting with my boss yesterday did not go in my favor. I love how she always tells me that I need to speak up more, and then when I DO, I get reamed for it.

I forgot to mention that yesterday, when I walked to Bristol Farms on my lunch break, there was a huge Radar Online van in the parking lot. I didn't actually see any paparazzi, but it wouldn't surprise me; Britney Spears, Heather Locklear, and Denise Richards have all been spotted in that shopping center, though not together and never by me. It's always a trip when I'm flipping through one of the weekly rags and see the same Bristol Farms where I buy Coke Zero and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies.

Stars...they're just like us! Only richer. But goddamn, I would never want to be famous; I think it would be utterly miserable to not be able to buy tampons or Cheez Whiz without flashbulbs constantly going off and people blogging about my fashion choices and how I went to CVS without makeup on and OMG STONE HER AS A WITCH. I'd be okay with being a famous author, though, since you get the perks without most of the problems. How many authors would you recognize in public, after all? I'd recognize Stephen King, John Connolly, Danielle Steel, Joyce Carol Oates, and JK Rowling. Maybe Dean Koontz.

Speaking of gossip, sorta kinda, do you all read Dlisted? Because if you don't, and you love gossip and things that are awesome, then please take a looksee. It's run by Michael K, an openly gay blogger who can be absolutely caustic to celebrities, but isn't afraid to take what he dishes out. Two of my favorite Michael K lines (these are from memory, so they might not be verbatim):

  • (On a picture of Ryan Gosling eating an apple) It really is the simple things in life that give you a reason to take your pants off in the middle of a work day.
  • I spent my Saturday the same way I always do. I watched TV for ten hours and then I cried in the shower.

..wow, this chick is never going to call me back.


Hey, what's in my purse? Let's look!

First of all, here's my purse. Well, not my actual purse; I got this picture off Ebay. But this is what my purse looks like, only a bit dirtier:


  • Pink Juicy sunglasses case with black Juicy sunglasses and a cleaning cloth inside.
  • iPod
  • Dr Pepper Lipsmacker
  • A pen shaped like a tube of toothpaste that came as a freebie with one of my Japanese manga magazines
  • Regular boring pen
  • Bottle of Aleve
  • Las Vegas keyring holding my car key, apartment key, and mailbox key
  • Purple hairbrush
  • Horribly outdated cell phone, but it still works so I don't give a shit because I hate talking on the phone anyway
  • Hand sanitizing wipes. Seriously, y'all, these are a must have. Either you'll need one, or someone else will, and they will be very impressed when you whip one out.
  • Tokidoki compact mirror
  • Small notebook where I jot down books I want to read, things I have to remember, etc.
  • Emery board
  • Two generic Claritin tablets
  • Wallet holding approximately $16 and change, 2 library cards (one for the county where I live and one for the county where I work), the usual customer loyalty cards, 2 credit cards, a Jamba Juice giftcard, ATM card, driver's license with an appallingly goofy photo.

The number of items in my queue is well past 300 now, and I still don't know how to do this shit.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

clouds up

I made every light on the way home, so I got home a mere 7 minutes after leaving work.

Unseasonably hot, even for California. I opened my living room windows and looked out at the last vestiges of light fading from the horizon, wisps of pink cotton candy cloud festooning the sky. The blinds are slowly swaying back and forth in the faint breeze.

Dinner was cold blueberry almond granola and a Coke Zero, the dinner of singletons everywhere, give or take a salad and/or alcoholic beverage.

The cover of the magazine I got in the mail promises that sexy hair is easier than I think.

The Virgin Suicides soundtrack is playing on my iTunes.

A dog barks in the distance.

Alone, but at peace.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

how does lemur skin reflect the sea?

I don't think I can fully commit to NaNoJoMo because November is kind of a busy month for me, but I'll try to write every day. I cannot promise coherence, entertainment, and/or enlightenment, however.

When I can't think of an entry title, I'll use a song lyric from whatever's playing in my head or on my iPod. Today's title is from "Velouria" by The Pixies.

So today I had this big e-mail war with my boss, because she wants me to take on a project of epic suckitude, and tomorrow morning we have a meeting that's sure to be delightful! In her final e-mail of the day, she basically ripped me a new one. The skin will probably eventually grow back, but right now it's so tender.

So, so tender.

After work, I walked over to a nearby shopping mall and got my eyebrows done. Waxing: the aesthetic equivalent of cutting! The giggly technician made me hold a hand mirror up by my face so I could see what she was doing, and it kind of ooked me out because it reminded me of the Trinity Killer in season 4 of Dexter. I couldn't see anything without my glasses on, so I just kind of grunted every few seconds until she was done.

Afterwards, I went to Pick Up Stix and ordered lemon chicken to go. They make everything fresh, so it takes forever, but their lemon chicken is the second best I've ever had and I was craving its sweet solace. I barely even noticed the wait because I had my DS in my purse, and I played Crafting Mama while I waited.

...stop laughing. I LOVE those Mama games. They're very soothing. Crafting Mama is nowhere near as good as the Cooking Mama games, but goddamn it, I was down and I needed to hear Mama say "You did a great job!" when I handed her the scarf I'd just made.

Appropriately enough, that game makes me want to start crafting. I may hit up Michaels tomorrow after work and see if anything strikes my fancy.

My cookie had no fortune in it.

Nice metaphor, universe.

Monday, November 01, 2010

media update: October

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


1. The Hunger Games* by Suzanne Collins: When Katniss Everdeen's sister is chosen by lottery for the Hunger Games (a televised fight to the death to gain food and favor from the oppressive government of Panem), Katniss volunteers to take her place. The other competitor for her district is a boy named Peeta, who has a crush on her...which would be sweet if they weren't supposed to kill each other.

I read this novel because I'd heard it was the new "crossover" hit, i.e. written for teenagers but appealing enough for adults, like Harry Potter and the Twilight books. Nowhere near as good as the former and nowhere near as bad as the latter, Hunger Games falls squarely in the middle of the spectrum. It's derivative of many other works, such as Battle Royale and The Running Man, and some of the writing is choppy, but I raced through it in two days and couldn't wait to get my hands on the next volume. It's as addictive as potato chips, as evidenced by the fact that I went out and bought the second book shortly after finishing this one.

2. Catching Fire* by Suzanne Collins: Thanks to her act of rebellion during the Hunger Games, Katniss has become a symbol of hope for the districts. But the government isn't about to let another uprising occur, and Katniss is once again thrust into the Games in hopes that she won't survive a second round.

3. Mockingjay* by Suzanne Collins: Trying to write a synopsis of this book without spoiling anything from the trilogy would be next to impossible. I'll just say that if you enjoyed the first two, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.


1. Have You No Shame?* by Rachel Shukert: A collection of essays about growing up Jewish in small town America, ranging from her childhood belief that Nazis were hiding in her family's drywall to furtive handjobs under the table at a convention for Jewish teens. There are a few somber chapters that deal with her anorexia, the death of her grandmother, and living in New York City during 9/11, but for the most part, it's uproariously funny. My favorite line: "[Gentiles] think a virgin gave birth? No wonder they can't do their own taxes."

2. Half a Life by Darin Strauss: When the author was in high school, he accidentally hit a classmate with his car and killed her. In this brutally honest memoir, he talks about trying to survive with the guilt, even though he was found not at fault by the police, and how the accident went on to shape every facet of his life.

3. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010*: Every year finds me wondering which category to put this anthology in, since it includes both fiction and nonfiction. But since there's slightly more of the latter than the former, I decided to put it here. As always, it includes plenty of food for thought. My favorites this year are Sophie Blackall's whimsical illustrations of Craigslist personal ads, Lilli Carre's bittersweet "The Carnival", and "Man of Steel", a heartbreaking short story by Bryan Furuness.

4. Carnal Knowledge by John Baxter: A fascinating and occasionally gross (you don't want to know why Russian prisoners fight for garden duty, trust) compendium of assorted sexual topics from AC/DC to zoophilia. I was occasionally irritated by some of the writing; for example, manga is described as "Japanese comic strips, mostly [emphasis mine] of an erotic and sadomasochistic nature." Um, no, asshat. Adjust yourself, 'cause your bias is showing.

5. Hello Kitty Sweet Happy Fun Book!* by Marie Moss: I would like one of every collectible in this book, please.

Side note: Demeter just released a second set of Sanrio-themed fragrances, and one of them has this description: "Sanrio fans are sure to recognize this familiar scent! The Sanrio signature fragrance is inspired by the scent of a Sanrio store, a combination of Japanese fruit-flavored gum and scented erasers." SOLD.


1. With the Light* vols. 1-6 by Keiko Tobe

2. Kaze Hikaru vol. 18 by Taeko Watanabe

3. Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo vol. 7 by Matsuri Akino

4. Seiho Boys' High School* vol. 2 by Kaneyoshi Izumi

5. Stepping on Roses vol. 2-3 by Rinko Ueda

6. In the Flesh by Koren Shadmi

7. Barefoot Waltz by Romuco Miike

8. Black Bird vol. 6 by Kanako Sakurakoji

9. Jinxed by Day Leclaire and Akemi Maki

10. Club 9 vol. 3 by Makoto Kobayashi

11. No Competition by Debbie Macomber and Yukino Hara

12. Grand Guignol Orchestra by Kaori Yuki

13. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service* vol. 11 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki


1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Based on the video game series, this stars Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular prince who tries to stop a mystical "time rewinding" dagger from falling into the wrong hands. When it was done, I wanted to use the dagger to rewind time so I could get those two hours of my life back.

2. Babies: A documentary following four babies from Namibia, Japan, the US, and Mongolia during the first year of their life. There's no narration and very little dialogue, so you could pretty much watch this on fast forward if you wanted to. I wouldn't consider it essential viewing or anything, but it's interesting to compare the differences in child rearing around the world; for example, a shot of the Namibian baby happily gnawing on a bone she found on the ground is followed by a shot of the American baby's mother fussing over her clothes with a lint roller.

3. Batman: Under the Red Hood*: A mysterious man called Red Hood starts terrorizing the crime lords of Gotham City, demanding part of their profits. When Batman investigates, he begins to wonder why Red Hood seems so familiar. A surprisingly good story with decent animation; the action scenes are especially fluid.

4. How to Train Your Dragon*: Hiccup is a scrawny Viking boy whose lack of interest in slaying dragons is a huge disappointment to his father. But one night, Hiccup is toying around with a contraption he built and manages to knock a dragon from the sky. When he goes to investigate, he winds up being charmed by the dragon (which is more like an overgrown kitten or puppy than a fearsome beast) and eventually befriends it. Then...oh fuck, I'm seriously tearing up remembering this movie. Let's just say it's stunningly animated, often funny, and achingly sweet.

5. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths: In an alternate universe, Lex Luthor is one of the good guys, and he petitions the Justice League to help him take down a crime syndicate. A few good lines, but movie #3 on this list is far better.

6. Iron Man 2: The government wants Tony Stark's technology, but he refuses to hand it over. Additional trouble arrives in the form of a nasty Russian called Whiplash, who's recruited by Tony's rival to take him down. I enjoyed this one more than the original, and of course Robert Downey Jr. elevates everything he's in.

7. Jackass 3D*: More gleefully gross pranks and stunts from Johnny Knoxville and pals. If you have a low tolerance for vomit, penises, and/or feces---ESPECIALLY feces---I'd warn you to stay far, far away. Me? I was wheezing with laughter, but I'm immature like that.

8. Get Him to the Greek*: A record company intern must escort his idol Aldous Snow to his anniversary concert in Los Angeles, but Aldous is much more interested in sex and drugs than rock 'n' roll. Lots of fun, and Russell Brand and (surprisingly) P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs/whatever the hell he goes by these days are especially good.


1. "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by The Walker Brothers

2. "Not A Virgin" by Poe

3. "Mustache" by Sparks

4. "Don't You Want Me" by Human League

5. "Jump in the Line" by Harry Belafonte

6. "Switchback" by Celldweller


(Note: this review contains mild spoilers for psychopath/combo weapon descriptions.)

Last month, G and I played Case Zero, the downloadable prequel to Dead Rising 2. I was a bit nervous because Capcom passed development duties over to Blue Castle. But Case Zero was an absolute blast, and it was the perfect foreplay for what I hoped would be a major goregasm courtesy of Dead Rising 2.

So, you ask, was a goregasm achieved? Oh my sweet fancy Moses, we're talking multiples.

Chuck Greene is a motocross champion and reluctant star of Terror Is Reality, a TV show where the contestants must slaughter as many zombies as possible. Chuck is morally conflicted by taking place in the show, but because he has to buy outrageously expensive medicine to keep his infected daughter Katey from turning into a zombie, he feels like he has no choice. After filming an episode, Chuck is heading backstage when the arena is rocked by an explosion that frees the zombies. Chuck and Katey make it to Fortune City's emergency shelter just in time. But Chuck finds out that he's being framed for the zombie escape, and in the 72 hours before the military arrives, he has to clear his name, make sure Katey gets her Zombrex every 24 hours, and rescue as many survivors as he can.

Whereas Dead Rising took place almost entirely in one large shopping mall, Chuck has an entire city to explore. He can visit casinos, shopping malls, and even peep shows. (You don't get to see anything, though.) You can earn money by playing/smashing slot machines and ATMs or as a reward for escorting certain survivors, and you'll need it in case you can't find any free Zombrex, because looters have taken over the pawn shop and are happy to sell you a dose for an exorbitant price.

Can you pick it up? Then you can use it as a weapon! Bottles of ketchup and mustard, chainsaws, stuffed animals...they're all fair game. But in a new twist, you can also combine certain weapons to make a superpowered new one. Some of them are funny as hell (like a giant stuffed bear that turns into an automatic killing machine when combined with a machine gun, or a revamped electric guitar that dispenses head burstin' riffs), some of them are seriously nasty (a pitchfork/shotgun combo that stabs zombies and then systematically shoots off each limb), but they're all wildly effective and help you level up quickly.

Zombies aren't your only foes in DR2. You also have to contend with human psychopaths who have either been driven mad by the outbreak or are just taking advantage of the chaos. Some of the most memorable are a horrifying creep (voiced by Patton Oswalt!) in a pig-shaped bondage mask who's trying to force a young woman to marry him, a delusional diva who thinks the zombies are her fans, and a chef who's making nasty meat-based dishes that would never get a USDA stamp.

Other great things about this game: they improved the survivor AI, so they don't need constant babysitting. With the exception of an elderly woman who sounds all of 25, the voice acting is terrific, especially Bibi Love (the aforementioned diva) and TK, the charismatic emcee of Terror Is Reality. It can be very funny; for example, you can use a dildo as a weapon, some of the zombies refuse to budge from the slot machine they're playing (just like Vegas!), and Chuck can change into outfits including women's clothes (though he's not as enthusiastic about it as Frank West), toddler pajamas, and even a Borat swimsuit. The graphics are seriously awesome, and even with up to 7000 zombies onscreen at a time, you can still see a lot of detail in their faces. The soundtrack is quite good; background music fits its location perfectly (like thumping techno in a nightclub and oom-pah-pah music in a bratwurst restaurant), and the sound effects are appropriately creepy. One of the zombie noises actually made the hair stand up on the back of my neck! And DR2 has something that the original lacked: a heart. Finding Zombrex for Katey isn't just a mindless "fetch quest"; you care about Katey and want to keep her safe. The relationship between Chuck and his daughter is genuinely sweet.

Like Dead Rising, DR2 has a story mode. You can play the game without doing the story segments, but then you'll never know the truth behind the zombie outbreak. G and I started off doing story mode, but we got our asses handed to us by a couple of nasty sword-wielding bitches, and time ran out. Were we happy? No, we were not; assorted swear words were screamed at the TV. So we decided to just play through the game several times to level up, and that proved to be a wise decision indeed. Even the instruction manual advises players to level up a bit before tackling story mode. Take their advice, and mine, because some of the bosses are excruciatingly difficult even at a high level; they'd probably be borderline impossible if you weren't sufficiently leveled up. DR2 is so much fun that you won't mind playing it several times, believe me.

So I'm sorry for doubting Blue Castle, because DR2 not only exceeded my expectations, it replaced the original in my top 10 list. Video games don't get much more addictive than this.