Thursday, May 31, 2012

media update: May

I got my first mammogram yesterday morning, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Obviously it wasn't fun getting my breasts squished between plates of glass, but the technician did a great job of explaining everything before she did it and made the experience as pleasant as possible. It was worse than going to the dentist, but better than going to the gyno. And it was over much sooner than I expected, so I had time to go home, watch The Killing, and take a short nap before I had to go to work.

Anyway, on to the media update.

I never put things on my list that I didn't actually finish, but I wanted to make note of four books that I skimmed because some of you might be interested.

First up, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Now, I'm sure you've heard of this pile of crap because everybody from Time to Entertainment Weekly has published coy articles about "mommy porn" and OMG how shocking and subversive it is that women like erotica! Hey, newsflash, media: water is wet, shit stinks, etc.

And speaking of shit...yeah. As you may know, these books were originally a very long Twilight fanfic. Then the author tweaked some deets and changed the names of her protagonists from Edward and Bella to Christian and Anastasia, and the rest is history. Christian is a zillionaire who likes beating and dominating women because he has mommy issues thanks to the abuses heaped upon him by his crackhead mother. Anastasia is a boring twentysomething woman who, despite the lack of any interesting qualities whatsoever, is absolute catnip to Christian. They get involved, she loses her virginity to him (and, I shit you not, she says "Argh!" at the moment of penetration; like, what are you, lady, a pirate?), he ties her up and does things to her, she likes it, they break up, get back together, weird people wreak havoc on their relationship, blah blah. Anastasia says "holy crap" and "holy cow" and "inner goddess" about eight thousand times. Christian broods.

I doubt it needs to be mentioned, but I have zero problem with erotica or consensual S/M or B/D or dom/sub relationships. My problem is with this festering turd of a story not only getting published, but making a trillion dollars. I'm going to dig through the piles of fanfics I wrote back in the day and profit like a motherfucker.

(And if you're craving some well-written S/M erotica, may I suggest the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by Anne Rice, written under the pen name of A.N. Roquelaure? The content is much stronger, but about a thousand times hotter in my opinion.)

Next up, we've got Full Service by Scotty Bowers, the memoir of a dude who claims to have hooked some of Hollywood's hugest names up with both male and female prostitutes. If you believe this book, basically everybody in old school Tinseltown was gay or lesbian except for Bob Hope and Errol Flynn. Anyway, there's a great anecdote that I wanted to share, though be forewarned, it's gross.

...okay, did you put your lunch away? Good.

So Charles Laughton ordered up a young hustler and then proceeded to leisurely make a sandwich, washing the produce, putting it between slices of bread, etc. Meanwhile the hustler and Scotty are standing there like wut. Then Laughton grabbed a pot and asked the hustler to come to the bedroom with him. Several minutes later, they both emerged, and Laughton was eating a sandwich that had a brown "paste" in the middle.

Yep. He'd asked the hustler to provide an extra-special filling for his literal shit sandwich.

At this point, you're like "And why exactly did you share that charming story with us?" Well, because the kicker is that the hustler leaned over and hissed in Scotty's ear, "Why the hell did he bother to wash the lettuce and tomatoes?"


Oh, and to my delight, I also discovered a ton of cheaply priced Kindle singles and novellas by Christa Faust, so I spent a leisurely weekend reading those. If you love hardboiled noir mysteries and you don't mind extremely graphic sexual content involving two ladyfolk, be sure to give Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick in the Double D Double Cross a looksee.

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


1. Deadlocked* by Charlaine Harris: As usual, Sookie Stackhouse is in a heap of trouble. She caught Eric feeding off a young woman who was later found murdered, and thanks to the cluviel dor (an artifact from the land of the fae that can grant one wish to its owner) her grandmother left her, plenty of people want her dead as well. Not exactly heavy reading, but it's fun, and there was one moment that actually made me gasp out loud with shock. This is the penultimate volume in the series, and I bet the final one will be a doozy.

2. All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones: Gyong-Ho and Il-sun are teenage girls who become friends during their stay in a North Korean orphanage. But when Il-sun's secret boyfriend betrays them and sells them into sexual slavery, they must find a way to survive hardship beyond anything they've ever known. Well written but intensely depressing.


1. Let's Pretend This Never Happened* by Jenny Lawson: This memoir covers everything from the author's unconventional upbringing to marriage and motherhood, and Jesus H. Christ is it FUNNY. One chapter, in which she's home alone with a horrible case of diarrhea and thinks a rapist is passing notes under the door to her (you just kind of have to read the story to understand), had me laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face. I'd never visited her blog before reading this book, but I immediately bookmarked it when I was done. Good shit, y'all.

2. Wild* by Cheryl Strayed: Left reeling by her divorce and her mother's death, the author decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, dealing with rattlesnakes, creepy dudes, and fucked up feet along the way. This memoir has been compared to Eat Pray Love, but I doubt too many women will be copying her trip like they did with Elizabeth Gilbert's; there's a huge difference between pigging out in Italy and walking over a thousand miles through treacherous terrain! Plus I liked it much more than EPL. It's heartbreaking at times (be warned, if you've lost a parent, some of the chapters will rip you apart), funny at others, and riveting throughout. Highly recommended.


1. Sakura Hime vol. 7 by Arina Tanemura

2. Highschool of the Dead vol. 6 by Daisuke Sato and Shouji Sato

3. Are You My Mother?* by Alison Bechdel

4. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

5. We Were There vol. 14 by Yuki Obata

6. Mr. Convenience by Nase Yamato

7. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service* vol. 12 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki


1. Haywire: After being set up, a black ops agent (Gina Carano) exacts revenge on the people who betrayed her. I thought I'd like this much more than I did, but the storyline was convoluted and there wasn't as much action as the trailer promised. To be fair, though, the action scenes, though sparse, were pretty choice. Carano used to be an MMA fighter, so she's got the chops.

2. Trigun Badlands: Vash the Stampede accidentally gets involved with an infamous bank robber named Gasback. I was a huge Trigun fan back in the day, so it was nice to spend time with Vash and his friends again. As a bonus, the animation is absolutely gorgeous.

3. War Horse: A young British man is horrified when his destitute father sells his beloved horse Joey to the cavalry, and despite the fact that World War I is decimating Europe, he's determined to get Joey back. I thought I'd like this way more than I did, considering its pedigree, but I thought it was merely okay. I did enjoy seeing Castle Combe, though, since we were just there in December.

4. Shame*: Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful man with a big problem: he's a sex addict. Practically every waking moment is devoted to getting off, whether by himself or with prostitutes or random strangers. But his routine is rocked when his equally troubled sister (Carey Mulligan) comes for an unexpected visit. For a movie about sex, it's about as erotic as open heart surgery; Brandon finds no real joy in what he does. But the performances are powerful, and it's almost impossible to look away.

5. The Innkeepers: Two employees of an old inn are forced to work during the last weekend before it shuts down for good. The inn is rumored to be haunted, so they decide to do a bit of exploring and find out for themselves. It takes forever to get going, and even then it's not particularly exciting. Plus I watched it at home alone, very late at night, with the lights down low---prime conditions for getting scared out of my mind---and I was never remotely frightened. Pass on this dud.

6. Michael*: In this Austrian film, the title character is a quiet loner who comes home from his job every day and goes down to the basement where he keeps a young boy as his prisoner. The actual abuse is never shown---I wouldn't have finished the movie if it was---but seeing the emotional aftermath is bad enough. (One scene, where the child responds to a joke Michael made, is one of the most horrifying and heartbreaking things I think I've ever seen in a movie.) It's absolutely not for everyone, and it's chilling in the extreme, but the performances and tension made it a very compelling character study. During the last 15 minutes or so, I was literally yelling at the TV.

7. Pariah*: Alike (Adepero Oduye) is an African-American teenager whose mother wants her to act more feminine, but all Alike really wants to do is find a girlfriend. The title is overly dramatic, but the rest is golden, especially Oduye's effortless performance. Plus I learned some awesome new slang: "Why you beastin'?", meaning "Why are you so angry?"

8. The Woman in Black: Grieving widower Arthur Kipps (Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe) travels to a remote village to wrap up the estate of a deceased client. But the house is haunted by the ghost of the titular woman in black, who has a particular fondness for making kids kill themselves. It's not particularly scary, but it has a few good creepy moments, including some of the freakiest toys I've ever seen.

9. The Ides of March: Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, the ambitious spokesperson for presidential candidate Mike Morris (George Clooney). Meyers has no illusions about politics being easy, but he's about to learn how nasty they can really get. I'm not generally a big fan of political movies, but this was decent enough, and you certainly can't beat the powerhouse cast, which also includes Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, and Marisa Tomei.

10. The Avengers*: When Loki sets his sights on Earth, the Avengers must band together to take him down. It starts off kind of slow, but lots of terrific action scenes and a sharp script made this exciting movie an absolute treat to watch. And oh my god, talk about eye candy! Forget Fifty Shades of Grey; The Avengers is my idea of porn.

Side note #1: We were lucky enough to see this with the most well-behaved audience I can remember in recent history. If they could all be that polite, I'd go to the movies way more often than I do now.

Side note #2: How the hell has Robert Downey Jr. never won an Oscar? My god, the man is a national treasure! He handily steals every scene he's in.

Side note #3: I actually gasped when Loki called Black Widow a "mewling quim". I can only assume they got away with it because not too many people know that word!

11. We Need to Talk About Kevin*: Based on the incredible novel by Lionel Shriver, this movie stars Tilda Swinton as Eva, a woman who struggles to cope with her troubled son Kevin. When he commits a horrifying act of violence, Eva wonders how much her inability to bond with him has contributed to his crimes. The book is considerably better, mainly because the symbolism in the movie gets to be a bit overwhelming---so much red! But if you're in the mood for a flawlessly acted movie that will make you feel like crap for the rest of the day, here you go.


1. Live Through This by Hole: Man, it had been a donkey's age since I listened to this album, and it still holds up. It also includes some of my all-time favorite lyrics, like "I don't really miss God/but I sure miss Santa Claus" and Courtney Love's sly wink at her reputation as a lousy mother ("I don't do the dishes/I throw them in the crib"). I know she's, to put it gently, a bit wackadoodle, but this album is still brilliant.

2. "My Neck, My Back" by Khia: They played this song at the beginning of Pariah, and I instantly knew I had to have it on my iPod. I'd heard OF it, but never actually heard it, and oh how I love the unabashed raunchiness of it.


(This review contains mild spoilers.)

As you all know, I've been a rabid Silent Hill fan since 1999, so the release of a new installment in the series is like my birthday and Christmas all wrapped up into one. And while Silent Hill Downpour has some significant flaws, there's still much to recommend it.

You play convict Murphy Pendleton, who looks like he could be the hard-living older brother of Henry Townshend, SH4's sexy emo protagonist. Murphy's being transferred to a maximum security facility, but on the way there, the prison bus gets in an accident. When Murphy comes to, he manages to escape the wreckage and flee.

Lucky break, right? Well, not so much, because---you guessed it---Murphy's arrived in Silent Hill, a place which makes prison look like Happy Kitten Orgasmoland. He must atone for his sins and find a way out before the town's twisted inhabitants kill him. But they multiply and get stronger in bad weather, and it's rainy season in Silent Hill.

I'll put the rest of this review in handy-dandy list format.


  • The backgrounds are almost photorealistic at times. There's a wooded area with a waterfall that's especially pretty.
  • Murphy is an intriguing character, and I especially liked how you didn't really know whether you should be rooting for him or not until the game was almost finished. (I will not, of course, tell you which one it wound up being.)
  • Although he had some huge shoes to fill, I thought Daniel Licht did a very good job with the score. Nobody will ever be able to replace Akira Yamaoka, of course, but I have no nits to pick with Licht (heh).
  • The mapping system remains a thing of beauty.
  • It doesn't come close to being the scariest game in the series---that honor will always belong to the first one---but SHD had some truly creepy moments. At one point, I was almost too afraid to open a particular door!
  • If you played SH3, you may remember the red light in the Borley Haunted Mansion that could kill you instantly if it touched you. Well, something similar shows up in SHD, and although it's not an instant kill, it will fuck you up but good. Running from it provided some of the game's tensest moments.
  • There are several sidequests you can do, and although some of them aren't worth the effort---more on that in the "loathed" section---one of them just might rank in my top 10 favorite Silent Hill moments ever.
  • Ample fanservice for the Silent Hill fanatic, like a radio playing "Magdalene" (the music that plays in SH2 after a particularly pivotal scene) and Travis' truck parked by the side of the road. (I won't spoil the best one, but even G was delighted when it happened.) And I also appreciated that the fanservice did NOT include Pyramid Head! Excuse the mini-rant, but I got so fucking annoyed when Pyramid Head showed up in Silent Hill Homecoming. Pyramid Head has no reason to exist outside of James Sunderland's version of Silent Hill! Yes, he's a cool character, but he needs to stay in SH2 where he belongs.


  • Jesus Christ, that stuttering frame rate! It's not quite as bad when Murphy is indoors, but outside? Really, really, REALLY bad. I'm waiting for the patch to be released before I do a second playthrough.
  • The facial animations aren't always as good as they could be.
  • I know that disorientation is a big part of the Silent Hill universe, but I don't think I've ever gotten as lost in a game as I did in this one, even with the excellent mapping system. Frustrating.
  • Not much variety with the enemies. Excluding bosses, I think there were only six types.
  • A couple of the sidequests have really disappointing payoffs. One in particular took forever to complete, and then we got a really lame "present" for our troubles.
  • You can't skip the cinemas. Obviously you'll want to see them at least once, but there was one I got to see about six times, coming as it did before a clusterfuck of a fight.
  • The game autosaves, and not nearly as often as I would have liked.
  • They implemented a morality system, but they only use it three times. I would have liked to see them use it more.

So should you play it? If you're new to the series, not yet, grasshopper; pick up the recently released Silent Hill HD Collection to get a gander at the best the series has to offer. (Oh, Silent Hill 2, you will always be my favorite.) But if you're a longtime fan, there's much to enjoy here, assuming you wait until the patch is released. Just watch those skies, because the forecast calls for rain...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(EDIT) I'll give you fish, I'll give you candy

EDIT: Now with answers!

Also, while I'm at it, I got a few questions about Daddy-O's wedding, so I'll cover those here as well.

  • I bought my dress online at Kohl's. It's no longer available on their site, but if I remember correctly (which is always dicey), it cost about $50, which was a fucking steal. It accentuated the things I wanted to show off (boobs, waist) and hid what I didn't (stomach), AND it's machine washable. I got damn lucky with that dress. Shit, it took me longer to find a bra that wouldn't show underneath! Now THAT was a goddamn ordeal, because all of the "plunge" bras I found were padded, and I don't need any help in that area.
  • Although I can see where you'd think that, based on the way she's dressed, my new stepmother A is not British but Dutch. (I made a joke to my dad about having a Dutch wife and then I had to explain that "Dutch wife" is slang for a sex doll. First he was amused, then he was not, and then he went back to being amused again.)
  • I assume that married life is treating them fine, but I don't actually know for sure because they're currently in Morocco on their honeymoon. Yeah, that's about the face I made when I found out where they were going too. I'm sure it's a beautiful place, but it seems a bit..."adventurous" for my dad. I hope to Christ he remembered to pack Imodium.

Oh, and Jezebel was doing an epic game of FMK with the dudes from Game of Thrones, and somebody posted this picture and I laughed so hard I may have peed a little.

Is anybody in the world cooler than Peter Dinklage? No. No they are not.

Oh, and speaking of Game of Thrones, it's weird because Sean Bean (Ned Stark) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) are both in the next Silent Hill movie. Which will be a bit of a distraction.

A delicious, delicious distraction.

Okay, now to song identification.

Bored as all heavenly shit, so I done swiped me the following meme.

The rules: Put your iPod on random. Quote lyrics from the songs that come up in the rotation. See who can guess the song and artist (and, as with every quiz, no googling). I'll edit with the answers later on. Bonus credit for guessing the source of the entry title as well.

1. Let's play musical chairs, one of my favorite games/especially now that you and I have traded place

ANSWER: "Sofi Needs A Ladder" by deadmau5

2. So you think maybe you'll be a prostitute/just to pay for your lessons, you're learning the flute/ladies wouldn't pay you very much for this/looks like you'll never be a concert flautist

ANSWER: "Inner City Pressure" by Flight of the Conchords

3. Wanna be a ghostbuster/first black president, owner of Hustler [Note: this song was obviously written before President Obama was elected.]

ANSWER: "Magna Cum Nada" by The Bloodhound Gang

4. And all the storms you've been chasing/about to rain down tonight/and all the pain you've been facing/about to come into the light

ANSWER: "Deadman's Gun" by Ashtar Command. This song plays over the credits of Red Dead Redemption, and I don't know if it was written specifically for the game, but if it wasn't, major kudos to whoever found it because it's an absolutely perfect choice.

5. I saw her just the other day/jackin' Mike D to my dismay

ANSWER: "Girls" by The Beastie Boys.

Speaking of which, RIP, Adam Yauch. You know, I really appreciated it a couple of years ago when he said (not verbatim; I read this interview a long time ago and don't remember where), "I'm sorry we said such awful things when we first started out [like the charming lyric "Her father had AIDS so I shot him in the head"]. We were young and stupid, which is no excuse, but we regret it now." Gone too soon, that guy.

6. Hordes of zombies on the horizon/who you gonna call when the dead are rising?

ANSWER: "His Name's Frank!" by Lifeseeker, an awesome tribute to total badass Frank West, as featured in the ending credits of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record.

7. Oh I could make a career of being blue/I could dress in black and read Camus/smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth/like I was 17, that would be a scream

ANSWER: "I Don't Want to Get Over You" by Magnetic Fields.

8. Big eyes and a big ass to match/Jean wasn't fast, she was easy to catch

ANSWER: "Jane Fonda" by Mickey Avalon

9. I know just what you mean, my mom been so sad and gray/my dad can't satisfy her in the bedroom ever since he passed away

ANSWER: "Motherlover" by Lonely Island

10. And some pretty titty shaven kitty's gonna charm the world

ANSWER: "Across the Stars in Blue" by The Oohlas

11. Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding/the cretins cloning and feeding/and I don't even own a TV

ANSWER: "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger

12. Happy Thanksgiving! Would you like a little white meat?/I'll stuff my Butterballs and you'll eat

ANSWER: "Coo Coo Ca Choo" by The Bloodhound Gang

13. Well I got dick like Marlon Brando

ANSWER: "Push It" by Jessie and the Toy Boys. This lyric comes from Yellawolf's rap in the middle, and is immediately followed by Jessie singing "Heh! That's good to know". Yes, yes it is.

14. Withered flowers forget/what they wept for day by day

ANSWER: "Your Affection" by Shoji Meguro, the glittering J-pop gem that plays throughout Persona 4. This one was totally unfair because I had to look up the lyrics and then I was like "Holy shit, THAT'S what she's saying?" I love this song but it sure is difficult to understand.

15. If man is five/then the devil is six/and if the devil is six, then God is seven

ANSWER: "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven" by The Pixies

16. You fucking bitch, well I hope your insides rot/liar, liar, liar

ANSWER: "Bruise Violet" by Babes in Toyland. Fun fact: this song is allegedly about Courtney Love, who singer Kat Bjelland accused of biting her style.

17. Well he ain't my boy but the brother is heavy/gave away my possessions and moved into a Chevy

ANSWER: "Gone Guru" by Lifeseeker, another iconic song from the Dead Rising universe.

18. You mentioned Kant and I was shocked, so shocked/you know where I come from none of the girls have such foul tongues

ANSWER: "Hasta Manana Monsieur" by Sparks

19. Don't cry, there's always a way/here in November in this house of leaves we'll pray

ANSWER: "Haunted" by Poe. They played this in Alan Wake, so every time this comes on, I want to play Alan Wake.

20. She colorblind tired eyes, her hallway aching/she'll never move him, likes it that way/he's just a walker and he'll never stop walking away

ANSWER: "Not Too Soon" by Throwing Muses

BONUS CREDIT: The entry title comes from "Give Me Back My Man" by The B-52's. Originally I used a lyric from "Anything Anything" by Dramarama, but then I realized I'd misquoted and the real lyric was too long to use. Oops.

Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Daddy-O and A, sittin' in a tree

So my trip to New Jersey for Daddy-O's wedding didn't get off to the greatest start when the woman sitting next to G pulled out an enormous, ultra-stinky burrito and began nomming on it enthusiastically despite the side eye I threw her way. I mean, I don't care if you bring food on the plane, especially since the airlines don't feed us anymore, but could you at least make sure it doesn't fucking REEK?

And then the plane had to return to the gate because a "maintenance light" had come on. Okay, kind of important, and at least we hadn't actually taken off yet. That took about an hour to fix, and I had to chuckle when the pilot announced that the problem had been fixed by rebooting the plane's computer. Planes...they're just like my 2004 Compaq Presario!

But once we got into the air and the stanktacular burrito had been polished off, the flight was uneventful. G and I alternated between dozing and playing Professor Layton and the Last Specter.

As we were landing in Philadelphia, a flight attendant announced that there was a passenger experiencing a medical emergency and that we needed to stay in our seats until he'd been helped off the plane into the ambulance waiting on the tarmac. So of course what happened once the seat belt sign turned off? Practically every motherfucker leaped into the aisles and began pawing through the overhead bins to get their luggage. Lovely. I hope they all missed their connecting flights or, if they were staying in the Philly area, experienced massive stomach cramps followed by explosive diarrhea.

Anyway, it had already been a long day by the time we got off the plane, what with the drive to the Van Nuys flyaway and then the bus ride and then waiting in the terminal and then flying to Philadelphia, and it wasn't over yet. After meeting up with my brother R at the baggage claim, we hopped in his car for the 2 hour drive to Long Beach Island, New Jersey, where my dad was getting married in less than 24 hours.

Now you may be wondering, and you are right to do so, why Daddy-O and A would get married in New Jersey when they live in Minnesota. Well, her parents live in New Jersey, and they're in their mid-90's and not in the best of health. They didn't go to her first wedding---not sure of the story there---and it was really important to them to attend this one, so Dad and A decided to bring the wedding to them.

When we pulled into town, I experienced a frisson of delight. It was shrouded in fog, many of the stores were closed for the season, the streets were deserted, and the stoplights, swaying in the breeze, slowly blinked their yellow eyes. (I later found out that they're only turned on during the high season; the town is too sleepy in the off season to bother.) I excitedly twisted around in my seat and said to G, "We're in Silent Hill! What have we done and how do we atone?"

Once we arrived at Magnolia House, the bed and breakfast where we were staying, we checked in and Tony and Cheryl, the proprietors, served us snacks. One of the other guests strolled in wearing his bathrobe and said, "You can pretty much get away with murder here."

...huh. Fawlty Towers much?

G's and my room was a bit old-fashioned and the bathroom was small, but it was nice enough. Personally I would have been much happier staying in a hotel, especially since you don't generally have to make small talk with hotel employees over the breakfast buffet! I mean, don't get me wrong, Tony and Cheryl were extremely nice, and Bathrobe Guy was a bit of an odd duck but friendly and polite enough, but I didn't really feel like talking to strangers. And I think it was way overpriced for what you actually got, but Dad insisted on picking up the tab so beggars can't be choosers etc.

On Saturday, we had a delicious breakfast of scones and suffered through more small talk with Tony and Cheryl. Well, actually, R was super chatty and quite happy to talk to them. If a stranger had come into the room and was told one of us had Asperger's, I guarantee my brother wouldn't be the one they'd suspect! He's really come a long way since his initial diagnosis, and although he can irritate me like nobody else can (which is MY failing, not his, since I'm one of the most impatient people you'll ever meet), I'm so fucking proud of him.

Shortly after breakfast, Dad and A came over and we all headed out so A could give us a tour of the island. Her family has a beach house there, so she's very familiar with the area. (And in case you're wondering why we didn't stay at the beach house, it's because her extremely large extended family got dibs, which is only fair since, um, it's theirs.) We stopped in a coffee shop so A could get a latte, and an air raid siren went off. (Well, it wasn't an air raid siren, but it sure sounded like one.) Delighted almost beyond measure because I'm such a hardcore fangirl, I whispered to G, "See? It really IS Silent Hill! We must [spoiler for Silent Hill Downpour redacted] at once!"

Dad and A dropped us off at the Magnolia House just as G's parents, better known here as Madre and Padre, arrived. Now, I'm sure you're wondering why my boyfriend's parents came to my father's wedding, right? Well, I'm not telling you.

...okay, fine. Madre and Padre live in New Mexico, which my dad visits semi-frequently for wine festivals and/or the opera. A couple of years ago, when he was in the area, he took Madre and Padre out for dinner to thank them for their many kindnesses towards me and they became good friends, so he invited them to the wedding.

Anyway, I introduced them to R and then we all went to lunch together. Back at the B&B, G and I took a short nap and then started getting ready for the wedding. Now, as you all know, I haaaaaaaate to shop, but I managed to score the perfect dress, silver heels, and a matching silver clutch. Even though I have pretty low self-esteem, when I was finished getting ready I was damned happy with what I saw in the mirror! And G looked so dapper in his suit that he put Don Draper to shame.

R and I had to leave early because we were part of the procession, so G said he'd get a ride with his parents and R and I took off. Dad was pretty busy when we got there, but he took a few minutes to give us a hug, introduce us to A's children (I now have three stepsisters and a stepbrother), and show us their suite, which was fucking gorgeous. Seriously, if I could design my dream bathroom, it would look a lot like that one!

After posing for a few pictures, R and I stood around waiting for things to get started. A's son-in-law gave me a really cool corsage of roses, orchids, and a peacock feather strung together on a beaded bracelet, and R got a matching boutonniere that I had a bitch of a time pinning on for him.

When it was time for the wedding to start, R, A's children, and I got in line, and as soon as the musical cue started (not the traditional wedding march but an operatic selection), we walked down the aisle. As A came down the aisle, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Not because she looked bad or anything---she looked radiant---but you know how they say women shouldn't wear white to weddings so as not to "compete" with the bride? She was also wearing a purple dress and silver shoes! Granted, my dress was much darker, but it was still funny.

Here's a picture of my brother and me kicking things off. This photo was NOT taken by the official wedding photographer, but by one of my dad's friends. Once I get copies of the official pictures, I'll post them, but this one (and another forthcoming) will have to suffice for now.

(Don't ask me why my brother is doing a Napoleon imitation; I don't know either.)

They kept the ceremony fairly short because it was gray and freezing and threatening to rain, but it was really a beautiful ceremony. I managed to keep my emotions in check until Dad reached over to thumb a tear off A's cheek, and then I absolutely lost it. I cried mostly because I was happy, of course, but also because if my mom was still alive, the wedding would never have happened. And as much as I like A and think she's a great match for my dad, I would much prefer to have my mother alive.

Anyway, they wrote their own vows and they were really touching. A had a few funny lines in hers that had the crowd roaring, like when she said she had been afraid to date after her divorce because most men her age are looking for "a nurse or a purse"! Rings were exchanged, the officiant told my dad he could kiss the bride, and everybody erupted in cheers and applause.

The happy couple:

When we all went inside for dinner, I was seated with G, his parents, R, and my Uncle B, who I hadn't seen since my mom's memorial service. Uncle B is generally a good guy, very jovial, but he was really starting to work my nerves, especially when he turned to me and said, "So I guess it'll be your turn soon enough, huh?"





Champagne flutes were passed out for a toast, and then several other people gave toasts, including A's mother, A's best friend since the age of 3 (!!!), and a couple of Dad's friends. Dinner was excellent; I opted for the filet mignon with truffled mashed potatoes and wiggled around in my seat with delight. They didn't have a wedding cake, but a table loaded with individual desserts. I couldn't decide which one I wanted more, so I opted for all three: creme brulee (awesome), chocolate souffle (yum), and tiramisu (good but I could only eat half because by that time I was about ready to pop the seams on my dress).

The B&B had covered the wraparound porch with a clear plastic tarp to keep the wind out while we danced. Dad and A got the first dance, of course, and they were really good! They've been taking lessons for years, and it obviously paid off. G and I slow danced to Elvis, followed by rocking out to Black Eyed Peas and LMFAO (and I doubt I'll ever recover from hearing my dad shout "Everyday I'm shufflin'!") and some more slow jams. I asked the DJ to dedicate "Someone to Watch Over Me" to Madre and Padre, since that's their song, and they were very touched that I'd remembered. At one point during a fast song, a group of teenage boys on bikes rode by, staring at us, and G whispered, "They're totally thinking they've never seen whiter people in their lives!"

Eventually my feet started to hurt, so G and I went back to our table to sit and enjoy another round of drinks. "Single Ladies" began playing, and Uncle B boomed out, "Yeah, if he likes it he should put a ring on it, don't you think?" I gave him a look that could kill kudzu and I think he finally took the hint, because he didn't talk to me for the rest of the night.

As the night began to draw to a close, I glimpsed Daddy-O and A out the window, slowly swaying back and forth in each other's arms, and I honestly don't remember the last time I'd seen him look so blissfully happy.

Gloomy weather and meddling uncles aside, it was a damn good day.