June 2011

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I don’t have a lot of time and there’s no internet at this beach house so I’m in a bar with free wifi. My life is sooooo hard, beer by my side.

Books Read: 13

Books Unfinished: 8

Books Re-read: 3

Books Bought: 2 ($25)

Books Borrowed: 15

Books Given: 7

Money made from selling books: 0

Favorites Books: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, …. and Book ‘Em by me. I’m sneaking it in at the end there. Yes. I read my own book again and I still like it.

Just Like Heaven is the newest Julia Quinn. I love her. It was about a Smythe-Smith (they play instruments very badly and have been recurring characters in some of her other books). It’s a romance novel, obviously. It was cute, sweet, funny etc. I enjoyed it.

Deathless by Valente was kind of amazing. It’s an actual adult fiction novel and I don’t read many of those so if one actually drew me enough to finish, I feel it counts as a good recommendation. It was set in Russia and is all magical realism, historical, Russian folklore/myths. Basically it’s about a girl who is taken to the sort of underworld by a handsome man who rules it and enters in the battle between death and life and makes friends with mythical creatures. Overtones of Hades/Persephone obviously. Except her mother is not trying to get her back. She is very real and conflicted in her love/hate/love of the guy and her desire to live a normal life back in the real world. I thought she was a fool. Their relationship was super intense, yes, but they defined the rules and all that mattered was honesty. Everything else goes. And there was a lot of everything else. Next I shall read her The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, which I am very excited about.

Megan Whalen Turner was recommended to me by Jocelyn who was reading the 4 book Queen’s Thief series. I got the first one from the library and devoured it. They’re a quartet from the 1990s that are YA fantasy. They’re fabulous. It took me a while to realize what I loved most about them (and it’s very much a writer/reader thing). So, in most books the narrator is either omniscient or transparent. Generally, all information is presented to you–the reader–and surprises are rare (maybe I’m reading the wrong books, but I read a lot of them and I am seldom surprised by plots). These books surprised me because she wrote them withholding information. Her characters might know something but they didn’t share it. They didn’t even hint at it most of the time. The reader would find out the truth only when it was revealed to other characters. There wasn’t internal monologuing or a lot of wishy-washy debate happening in these books. They were straightforward, action moving forward, and then surprise! You weren’t expecting that! The main character–Gen–was also fantastic. Super smart, tricky, secretive, snarky, Some of my favorite character traits in a fictional world. I highly recommend at least the first two in the quartet to anyone who likes great story-telling and interesting surprises. I didn’t love the third and fourth ones as much. The third one adds an additional perspective which I wasn’t fond of. And the fourth one is mostly about a side character from the first one which I was less interested in. But the first two I really really loved.

Least Favorite Books: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (started out good, switched writing style halfway through and became just terrible), Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn (also started out good–I read almost the whole thing but then skimmed the end–but it was kind of….boring, I guess is the best word.), I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (the movie is based on this and I was curious. I shouldn’t have been. Horribly written), Die For Me by Amy Plum (another in a string of recent angel/human tortured love tripe. Bad), and Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck (was all excited. Indian myth, tigers, circus, but soooo boring).

Favorite Quotes:

“A marriage is a private thing. It has its own wild laws and secret histories and savage acts, and what passes between married people is incomprehensible to outsiders. We look terrible to you, and severe, and you see our blood flying, but what we carry between us is hard won and we made it just as we wished it to be, just the color, just the shape.”

–from Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente.


Mabel learns to read

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Admittedly this is on Facebook, but because I hate FB and it will quickly disappear on there to “Older Posts”, I need to archive it over here.

It it it, I keep saying. Sorry. So yesterday I let my mother take a copy of my second novel, Book ‘Em, to let our hairdresser borrow.

FB Post:

In the abstract I didn’t mind the idea of my mom giving a copy of my second novel to our hairdresser but now that she has left with the book….Guh. Do you know how many sex scenes are in there? Neither do I! Because I lost count!

Erica, Jason, and Jolie commented all up and down, left and right on this. Suggesting fishbowls and dramatic readings. Jolie eventually full-on demanded a reading by Mabel, one of my most memorable characters. I played Mabel in Real World Old and Real World Old: Permanent Vocation. She is old. And quite sassy.

At midnight, this is what Mabel had to say:

” ‘You are a very dirty girl. I’m going to scrub you clean with my…’ What’s that word? No! That is unsanitary! In MY day we washed like the good lord intended us to. With our eyes closed. Alone. Hmph. You think my hands are shaky? Well, it’s just my thing. But you should see the hands of people who SAY that word. Let alone TOUCH it. No. I know how to stay clean. Don’t get dirty! And that’s my two cents squared or cubed or whatever amount of reality is plenty enough for decent women.”

Oh Mabel, how I love you. I came this close to liking my own comment.


Conversation with my Mother

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Me: It’s an hour and a half drive from Pahrump to Death Valley.

Mom: And there’s nothing to do there.

Me: I could visit the whore-houses.

Mom: You could learn a new profession and make more money at it.

Me: Please, mother. I already know how to be a whore. I’m female.

It’s possible discussing WITH MY MOTHER whether or not to take a job in Death Valley is not the best course.

1. She’s kind of a homebody and reinforces my tendency in that direction.

2. She thinks I should get a job in a brothel.


Goat Attack! You never know when the buggers will strike.

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In the petting zoo, I was happily touching a wallaby (touching a wallaby) when something bit into my calf.

“Ouch!” I whirled around to see the completely uncaring goat chewing it’s cud (or whatever goats chew) behind me.

“No,” I said with severe reprimand in my voice, leaning over to shake a finger directly in its face, “Bad goat!”

Jon, next to me, broke into giggles. I’m not even kidding here. This six foot tall gorgeous thing, in giggles. I nervously (you would be constantly nervous around someone this good looking too) laughed with him seeing the joke in how sternly I had just shaken my finger at a petting zoo goat.

Later, outside the petting zoo, Rebbeca came up and jokingly yelled at Jon for pinching her. I put two and two together very quickly and tried to swiftly kick him in the shin (I don’t care how pretty he is, I will kick anyone in the shin) but he jumped backwards, giggling again.

“You yelled at a goat,” he giggled some more.

I was all, “Argh!”

Later he shared his gyro and a funnel cake with me and I sort of forgave him. I told Kris the story while sitting on a bench watching Rebbeca ride the $15 carnie ride and Kris laughed so hard I think she peed a little.

Alameda County Fair, thank you for the good times. Pictures here.


Suck on that, Pinocchio


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On Monday, I let my freak flag fly and attended a Shadowrun RPG.

A role playing game, yes! I haven’t played a role-playing game since I was maybe 14 and in Oregon at my grandparent’s house. Let me set the scene for you. Earlier in the day, we went crawdad’ing in the crick. My aunt by marriage’s nephew was there and he threw a crawdad at a tree and bashed its brains out. I decided I hated him. Back at Grandpa’s, me, my cousins John and James and this jerkwad sat around the pool table playing some D&D. Jerkwad kept trying to tie me up with rope in the game. It was a toss up between being flattered or disgusted. I erred on the side of horror. I could still see the poor crawdad. I mean, I can still see the poor thing. This story has hit a low note. Ok, the point is that I last did a RPG many many years ago. I’m not telling you how many. And everyone involved was 16 or younger so we weren’t super great at it. My review of this experience was, “Meh. Gross boys wanting to tie me up. Won’t be doing that again.” But then a couple months ago, Jacob was looking for people to join a game and I thought, “I might not mind some rope burns…”

We spent many hours making characters. More hours than I would have thought possible. At the end of all these hours, I had created an alter-ego. Let me tell you about her! She’s 32, her name is Emmy, and she’s a metahuman Troll Physical Adept. Seven feet tall, +1 reach, dermal body armor, thermographic vision. Let’s be clear here, she KICKS ASS. She’s crazy powerful and I expended a lot of points buying agility and stealth skills so she’s also flexible unlike a normal troll. My backstory is that she grew up in a circus with a famous trapeze artist mother and martial arts father. Best of both worlds.

I had some favorite moments from the first day in the campaign. The first part happened in San Francisco and we were kind of wandering around trying to figure some things out. And mostly just mocking ourselves and each other.

So, favorites quotes from that:

Alfred (Aaron): Do you want to go sailing?

(Alfred lives on a yacht at the yacht club and dresses like a preppie golf aficionado in Burberry. Sailing is now a running joke. Evidence again when I changed our audio aid from the bumping club mix for classical Vivaldi when we moved to the yacht.)

Smoky (Ivan): I don’t think the library is open.

(Mocking Gene’s desire to go use the internet at the public library at midnight because none of us had a smartphone)

Rusty (Gene): This community college is *awesome*.

(A comment directed at Smoky’s awesome dice rolling to achieve internet searches, which, you know, he learned at CC).

Next we were planning an attack:

Scott (Adam): Let’s send our troll thing down.

Me: Thing?!?

Smoky: Watch out. You’ll hurt its feelings.

Me: IT?!?!

We were in a fight where I threw a hick bandit at two other bandits and killed all three of them (and caused two of their heads to explode into fine mist). Aaron had been planning on doing some magic against the foes, instead:

Alfred: I change my action to a slow golf clap.

Gene shoots a 20 foot bear with a loaded cannon.

Me: Would there be treasure in the bear if I ripped it open and searched?

GM (Jacob): You really want loot, don’t you?

Me: Shiny things are my favorite!

Then we got attacked by some half-man, half-ant/centipede things and I jumped off the roof of a building on to one, putting my knee through its back and my fist through it’s skull. I made that bitch my hand-puppet. Suck on that, Pinocchio.



Su Casa Es Mi Casa


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The thing is that I’ve been house-sitting so much that I’ve kind of reached the point where I enter someone else’s home and just make myself completely at ease immediately. Case in point, I stayed with Marina in San Diego when I was there last week. I arrived around 7pm on a Thursday and Marina was still at work. She’d left me a key and so I busted in to the beach shack, dragging in my suitcase (packed with like 10 dresses for a fashion show), a box full of 8 pairs of shoes, misc grocery bags full of stuff, my laptop case, my mini cooler, my leftover McDonald’s food, and my purse. I was loaded down, people. Having strewn things all over the house, I took a shower. Yes. I took a shower in a house I had just broken in to. And then I went through all the kitchen cupboards and drawers until I found a bottle opener and a dish to microwave broccoli in.

Yes. I brought my own broccoli. A new CSA box had just come! Shut up.

Also my own wine–six bottles. By the time Marina came home, I was on the couch watching “So You Think You Can Dance”, with broccoli and Chicken Nuggets in front of me, wet hair, painting my toenails on her table, and slightly drunk.

It was awesome. You should have seen her face. Also you should have seen the super shitty job I did on my nails. Don’t paint toenails drunk after driving for 9 hours when everything is still vaguely vibrating.

A few days later she took me shopping to this awesome mall by her house which rents out space to crafty people and has 101 different mini little section/stores in it. I spent way too much money. I wanted to spend so much more. There were so many fabulous things!

Like hats.


Cabana Boys and Shotgun Weddings

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As some of you know, I recently went to San Diego for a wedding. I also made it down there in time for the bachelorette party which was at an all day hot springs. Let me now relate to you the most awesome thing about hot springs:

Cabana Boys.

Yes. Boys that do your every bidding. Who come and go with food and towels. Who escort you to appointments. Who offer a never-ending supply of champagne! Cabana Boys! My favorite was Marcus, but Jeff had the bleached tips in his hair, and Alex was adorable (but not as good at bringing the champagne on demand).

So on the drive to the hot springs, Kim (Jenny’s sister and maid-of-honor) told us we would have cabana boys. The back seat went silent.

Laura: Cabana boys?

Kim: We have our own private cabana and deck. They’ll be around doing things for us.

Francie: What will they do for us, exactly?

Kim: Bring us things. Take us to our massages. You know, those kinds of things.

Jenny: Apply our sunscreen?

Kim: Sure.

Francie: That might be awkward.

Michele: I don’t see how.

Francie: Well, I’m married!

Michele: So? It’s a cabana boy. His job is your pleasure!

Jenny: Will they peel grapes for us? *

Laura: And give us foot massages?

Francie: I do like foot massages.

Michele: I bet they’ll even suck on your toes. If you ask.


Michele: Too awkward?

* Later, Sue (Jenny’s mom) demanded they peel grapes for her. Kim, in embarrassment, grumbled that this was why she wasn’t originally on the cabana invite list.

My other favorite thing about the hot spring was the mud pool bath thing. You climb in and the hot springs sulfur water opens your pores, then you slather mud over your entire body and lie out on chaise lounges while it dries. And then you make faces at yourself in the full length mirrors they have set up all over and rub it off for exfoliation purposes. It flakes off in chunks and you’re surrounded in a cloud of dust just like Pig Pen! It was incredible and felt awesome. Mud! Who knew, right? Well, lots of people. But not me until now.

On Sunday I went to the wedding. It was lovely and joyous and all those things weddings are. It was also horrendously awkward for me as I knew no one except the bride’s family and the bridesmaids from the bachelorette party. All of whom were obviously busy for the first bit. Lesson learned: Never go to a wedding by yourself where you know no one.

Eventually though the bridesmaids were done with duties and I hung out with them. Francie and I expended a lot of effort and made friends with the waiters in order to get the peanut butter cup cheesecake (as opposed to the plain, the raspberry, the creme brulee, or the bailey’s). It was the third one cut in to. We had two pieces each. The wait staff found us hilarious as they would offer us the first slice of each cake and we would peer at it uncertainly to ascertain the lack of peanut butter and then wave it off to some poor sod who didn’t know what they’d be missing.

Francie (and her husband Alex) and the PB cup cake.

Later, I sauntered off nonchalantly to sit by my latest crush, Lori. Seriously she looks like Mellie from Dollhouse. Gorgeous. And hilarious. Totally fast with the witticisms. And interesting–she was in the Navy for 6 years and chased down pirates on the high seas! Really!

So we’re sitting there chatting and Jenny makes an announcement about the bouquet toss.

Lori: I hate the bouquet toss. Single ladies! Identify yourselves! Come up so we can throw things at you! Shame on you!

Michele: I hate it too. **

Lori: We should get married.

Michele: I have rings!

I give her one of my stackable paste diamonds.

Lori: So I see I’m the generous one in this marriage. You have two and I only have one!

Michele: Let’s not fight already. We should still be honey-mooning.

Jenny: Come on you two! It’s bouquet toss time.

Lori and Michele: So sorry! We’re married now.

Jenny: Bitches.

After the bouquet toss, Lori gives me back my ring.

Lori: I guess this is it. Our whirlwind romance ends in annulment.

Michele: It was fun while it lasted.

Lori: It’s not you, it’s me.

Michele: I’m pretty sure it’s my genitalia.

Lori: I do like the hot dog more than the taco.

** Um. She made me kind of tongue tied. Sadly not in more ways than one. Hoo!

Me and my new wife. Now ex-wife.

More photos from the wedding here.

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