Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas, Darling

"Happy New Year, too"


See y'all in the Year of the Rat!



Posting will be sporadic for the next two weeks, if I can even find internet time.
"Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Enjoy Being A Girl

"I adore being dressed in something frilly"

Look how happy fashion designer Reem Acra looks in this photo:

[Fashion Wire Daily]

The elaborately beaded amethyst confection is from Acra's jewel box collection. I would be that happy, too, if I were posing next to such a gorgeous gown. I would be even happier if I were wearing the gown.

I COVET THIS GOWN. It would be a breath of fresh plum air in a crowd of black formal wear at the Metropolitan Opera. It would get me on the Best Dressed List at the Oscars. It would go perfectly with a tiara. And Ewan McGregor.

Oh, sigh. I want to be a movie star when I grow up.



"I Enjoy Being A Girl" from Flower Drum Song

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Dusty and I are leaving early Sunday morning to go "home" for the holidays. We're spending Christmas in Baltimore with my family, then flying to Albuquerque to ring in the new year with his dad and some of our dearest friends. It's going to be hectic and fun and crazy and lovely and exhausting and joyous.

"I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love..."

It has been 15 years since my whole family has been back to the Philippines for Christmas. We all miss spending time with all of our relatives and loved ones during this most important holiday for Filipino Catholics. When the cousins were little, our family would gather at my Lola's compound in Makati for Christmas Eve. Sometimes we would all go to Simbang Gabi [Midnight Mass] together, but no matter what, we all came back for Noche Buena [Christmas Eve dinner] and opened our presents together.

One of the things I miss most about the tradition of going to Simbang Gabi is fresh bibingka and puto bumbong. I remember being hurried up the church steps after I stopped to smell the yumminess wafting from the street vendors' carts just outside church. I remember fidgeting more than usual during Mass, knowing that these treats were waiting just beyond the heavy gilded doors. I can almost taste that heavenly first bite of piping hot bibingka. It was the best reward for living through a nearly two-hour Mass.


"And although I know it's a long road back, I promise you: I'll be home for Christmas. You can count on me."

Christmas 1984 was particularly difficult for my parents. It was our first Christmas in the United States, far away from our relatives, loved ones, and sacred traditions. We were still navigating the social waters of our new country and we didn't know anyone very well. Our downstairs neighbors were kind enough to invite us over for Christmas dinner, but we felt like outsiders in their family celebration. We felt a little stranded; we were most certainly not home for Christmas.

After the party, we all went back upstairs and my mother turned on the Carpenters Christmas album. During this song, my mother suddenly got up and went to the bathroom. I crept up to find that she had left the door ajar, so I peeked in. She was crying into a towel.


"Christmas Eve will find me where the lovelight gleams"

This Christmas, my parents will be surrounded by our growing family and counting many blessings. My brother has just bought a new house and is in a healthy new relationship with a woman my mother actually likes. My sister and her husband are expecting a baby girl in February; their combined brood will number five kids. And of course, Dusty and I are bellying up to the festivities with our own wee-beastie-in-the-making. My brother has predicted that my sister and I will be fighting over turkey portions at Noche Buena. I think we should have a turkey just for the almost-four of us.


"I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams"

Although this song still conjures up sad memories for me, it no longer makes me weep openly. Much. Our family is making new memories and traditions, and redefining what it means to be home for Christmas.




"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by The Carpenters

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

These Dreams

"Every second of the night, I live another life"

Dreams from the First Three Prego Months

Dusty and I are Eastern European river gypsies and proud parents of a gorgeous baby girl with black hair. We are speeding along a brick tunnel waterway and the baby is getting splashed. I ask Dusty to slow down and not take the corners so hard. We finally reach our destination: a large Ukrainian feast hosted by my big boss, Papa Love. There are tables groaning with pyrogies, kubasa, cabbage rolls, and meatballs as far as the eye can see. And in the center, Papa Love is seated on a throne, welcoming us to his party. We eat heartily.

BioWare decides to increase productivity by having us all live in dorms near the office. After work, a bunch of us are watching TV in a very Animal House-flavored room. A co-worker comes in, bearing 12 large pizzas. There are only five of us. I admit to ordering seven extra just for myself. "Bring them here," I bellow. We eat heartily.

KPAX asks me to cater his wedding. [Editor's Note: This is just a dream, ladies. You can still have your very own Paddington bear... if you're worthy.] On the eve of the ceremony, I get a note from him saying that he and his bride-to-be have changed their minds. They just want to live in sin and don't want a big ol' fancy wedding. I look up from the note and see that I'm surrounded by all the yummy food that I had already prepared for the wedding banquet. The dessert table alone contained two cakes--chocolate coconut and strawberry cheesecake--plus pastries and fruit salads and a chocolate fondue fountain. "Can't let all this go to waste," I think. I call Dusty to come to the wedding site. We eat heartily.


Dreams from the Last Three Days

I give birth to a gorgeous baby girl with black hair. A friend comes to visit and we sit in the living room to chat while she holds the baby. I go into the kitchen to make tea and notice the moon shining brightly through the window. I return to the living room to find that my friend had turned into a werewolf. A snarling, drooling werewolf was holding my newborn. My shapeshifting friend and I agree that she should not visit again during a full moon.

I give birth to this. There is much screaming. And then this comes charging into the birthing room to claim the newborn. There is more screaming.

I am on tour with Depeche Mode. The band is practicing on the bus while I nap on one of the long seats. I start to snore loudly [in real life, as well], disrupting the band's jamming. Andy Fletcher gets annoyed: "Who in the bloody hell invited the pregnant lady?"



"These Dreams" by Heart

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let It Go*

" Let it go. Let it go / This is smaller than you know / No bigger than a pebble lying on a gravel road"

Laurel's comment on my recent 32 Flavors post got me thinking [Danger, Will Robinson!]. She said, "It seems to me what you're getting at here is not the desire to shed all labels, because that would remove some of the wonderful 'Cookieness' that we all know and love, but rather expand on the fantastic foundation that is present and to remove the boundaries of any things that you feel are limiting you."

Oh, but on some level, I do have a desire to shed all labels. I've been kicking around this identity issue for years; I've posted before about my aversion to labels. With labels, you see, come expectations. I've realized how often I put undue expectations on myself and others because of labels, so I'm trying to break myself out of labeling. Or at least attaching expectations to labels. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to live up to labels I'm given, consciously or not. When I catch myself acting in a way that doesn't feel natural, that feels like I'm only living up to a label, I figure out how to shed that label right-quick.

One of the labels I've been trying to shed for years is "feminist". Once I accept the label "feminist", then I should be offended by all the things that offend fellow feminists. Honestly, I don't have the kind of time or energy it takes to pucker my butt that much. For example, if I'm a true feminist, then I should apparently be in a white-hot rage over Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to Dungeons and Dragons. I haven't seen this book, but I've heard that feminist gamers are claiming it's horribly, catastrophically bad.

Ladies, how about a little perspective? Losing your family home in a devastating flood is horribly, catastrophically bad. Having a loved one die in your arms during a bloody civil war is horribly, catastrophically bad. This book is a marketing gimmick to attract new players to a niche game for geeks. This book is at worst only mildly, vaguely annoying. It is not invading your country or raping you and all your female relatives. It is not holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy it. So, you know, GET A GRIP. But I digress...

Almost a decade ago, I had a disturbing dream where thousands of unseen hands were wrapping me tightly, using large strips of paper. On these strips were written all the labels that I felt I'd been assigned over the years: feminist, fierce Pinay, flower child, poet, activist, artist, leader, savior, Madonna, whore. I had the sensation of being trapped, suffocated. I wasn't sure I wanted to be all of these things; I wasn't even sure who decided I was any of those things. I only knew that I could become more, if only these labels weren't wrapped around me, encasing me in a cocoon that pinned my wings.

When I was decoding this dream, three questions came up:
1) Is this who I am or who everyone says I am?
2) Who do I want to become anyway?
3) Will it matter what I was to you when I discover what I am to myself?

These days, I believe the answer to #1 is "yes" and that is okay. But I want to become the woman I believe I can be, not who everyone else says I should/could be. It might matter what I was to you because I might surprise both of us when I discover what I am to myself.


"Let It Go" byGreat Big Sea * Updated the song 07/25/08; felt this was more appropriate.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweet Surrender

"The life I've left behind me / is a cold room / And sweet surrender / is all that I have to give"

Scene from Evermans in Canada, Season 3, Episode 70, "What? Nuh-uh.":

Cookie wakes up a few minutes before the alarm rings and goes to the bathroom to pee. It is the day that her period is due, but she has been waking up nauseated for a week and her body is not acting the way it usually does at this time. Just for giggles, she decides to take a pregnancy test. She finishes up and blithely leaves the stick on the counter. She goes back to bed.

When the alarm clock goes off, Dusty wakes up and goes to the bathroom to pee. There is an audible pause in the activities and Dusty comes back to the bedroom, looking wide awake and incredulous. He is holding the stick. He sits on the bed next to Cookie.

Dusty: Um, honey, this is a pregnancy test, right?

Cookie: [yawn] Yeah.

Dusty: There are two lines.

Cookie: [sits up in bed] What? Nuh-uh.

Dusty: There are two pink lines. See? [hands the stick over]

Cookie: Well, holy crap. We're going to have a baby.

Giant grins spread across two sleep-marked faces. Then Dusty jumps back into bed with Cookie. They pull the covers up to their noses, giggly and giddy as two kids who've woken up too early on Christmas morning. They turn to face each other, but nobody says anything for a few moments. Neither of them wants to break the spell. But then...

Dusty: Holy crap! We're going to have a baby!

Both: HEE!

- End Scene -

Today marks 14 weeks of gestation for our wee beastie and everything so far has checked out just dandy. We are ecstatic about our healthy lil' wiggler. So, um, does this officially make me a mommy blogger?



"Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One in a Million You

"Love had played its games on me so long / Doubt had tried to convince me to give in / Said you can't win... / Life showed compassion / and sent to me a stroke of luck called you / a one in a million you"

"Microsoft has confirmed to GameDaily BIZ that BioWare's critically acclaimed RPG is off to a red hot start with one million copies sold in less than three weeks."

Note to you who bought a copy of Mass Effect: THANK YOU!!! Many of you have written to let me know that you're enjoying the game and that makes our geeky little family very happy.

Note to you who have not: All the cool kids are playing it. You want to be cool, don't you?


"One in a Million You" by Larry Graham

Friday, December 7, 2007

32 Flavors

"I'll never forget where I came from / 32 flavors and then some / I'm nobody but I am someone / 32 flavors and then some / I'm taking my chances as they come / 32 flavors and then some / Looking for truth and there is none"

Tomorrow, I will be 33 years old. It's a red letter day on the calendar; not to brag, but my birthday is kind of a big deal, especially in the Motherland. December 8 is a national holiday in the Philippines, celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Catholic tradition and officially marking the start of the Christmas season. Towns often have fiestas, complete with parades. That's right, people. PARADES. With at least one person wearing a tiara.

I learned recently that Bodhi Day is also observed on December 8. According to Mahayana tradition, Bodhi Day is the date on which Siddhartha Gautama realized and presented the Four Noble Truths to his followers. From that point on, he was simply known as the Buddha, Enlightened One. I'm a goal-oriented overachiever, but I don't think I will achieve enlightenment overnight.

I do think, however, that I'm making good on some of the personal goals I set for myself, to be achieved by the time I'm 33 years old. I started setting goals for myself on my 30th birthday; that first year, I resolved to get a book published by the time I was 31. Yeah... that worked out as well as the time Wendel and I decided to give up gossip together for Lent. [Remember that, Wen?] That was the longest 40 days EVER. Well, okay, it was actually the shortest. *ehem*

So I decided to set goals that will make me work harder at this "being a good person" gig. Sometimes being a good person means being good to myself as well as others. I've come to realize that I've relied too much on labels. There's a safety and security in putting people into categories: "You're the jackhole who pissed me off a few times in the past. Therefore, every word that comes out of your mouth must be potential dickery." But is that all they really are? Maybe they were having some off days, like we all do. Do they really deserve to be put into a box like that?

There's a safety and security in naming myself a "geeky hippie" or an "extroverted introvert", but are these things really all I am? Moreover, is my personhood limited to my actions in certain situations? Some of my co-workers have apparently decided that I am defined by my illustriously bad temper and they walk on eggshells around me. The evil part of me thinks that's sort of cool [FEAR ME, MINIONS! BWAHAHA!], but the not-evil part of me is really tired of living up to that stereotype. I can be quite a nice lady when I want to be. Really, I can.

I've been a lot of things in my 32+ years: activist, actress, dancer, daughter, editor, geek, hippie, poet, sister, tita, wife, writer. But the one thing I've never been is free. Free of the self-labeling that can really limit who I am and could be. I resolve to be more free of such labels by this time next year. I am 32 flavors and then some. Instead of a 32-scoop-tall cone, I want to be a giant swirly rainbow of taste sensations. Deeelicious!



"32 Flavors" by Alana Davis/Ani DiFranco

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hero

"And then a hero comes along / with the strength to carry on / and you cast your fears aside / and you know you can survive"

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the TV show Heroes.

Okay, I need to stay calm. I know that there is a writer's strike in Hollywood and they probably wanted to go out with a bang before they took up their picket signs. I know that it's the fall finale and the season has to end with a cliffhanger. I know that last season's cliffhanger also made us wonder whether one or more of the Petrelli brothers would be worm food. Ma Petrelli's boys are the hub of the great wheel o' heroes, so of course they have to be central to the cliffhanger.

But why, writers? Why would you want to hurt me like this? What have I ever done to you except watch your show faithfully every week? I actually gasped aloud when I saw the penultimate scene of Volume Two. All I could think was "NOOOOOOOOO!!! NOT THE PASDAR!!!" Hold on, Nathan. You know you can survive!

The thought that those Lovely Angular Cheekbones might not be part of my weekly TV... feel... faint... room... spinning. I need to lie down.



"Hero" by Mariah Carey

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Singin' in the Rain

"I'm dancin' / and singin' / in the rain"

How do I know magic exists in the Universe? Because this is it:



I miss you, Gene Kelly. When I grow up, I want to be a dancer just like you.


This song is from the movie musical of the same name. When I was your age, videos were called musicals.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vacation

"Back here at home there's nothin' to do... / Vacation / All I ever wanted / Vacation / Had to get away"

Behold the first TV commercial in New Mexico's controversial new ad campaign:



The ad campaign, titled "New Mexico, Earth: The best place in the Universe", is drawing ire from folks like Ken Mompellier, head of the convention and visitors bureau in Las Cruces. Mompellier rightfully asks, "What does this campaign show of the things that we are known for?" After the aliens have their tête-à-tête about how awesome New Mexico is, there is a three-second flash of a mountain and a lake, but the commercial doesn't do justice to the state's desert landscapes, its art galleries, or even my favorite part of New Mexico culture, its cuisine.

While it is hip, bold, and funny, the campaign is also turning people off with its alien office workers, who look more like they're ready to tear into you than go golfing with you. Dale Lockett, president of the state's largest convention and visitors bureau in Albuquerque, wonders "why the state is targeting its centerpiece ad campaign to a younger crowd when baby boomers have time and money to travel."

I understand that baby boomers may traditionally be the ones with time and money, but baby boomers' kids are doing all right for themselves and we, too, have resources at our fingertips. I think New Mexico is missing the boat on younger travelers looking for a desert getaway. Arizona has successfully marketed itself as a destination for high-end spas and I, for one, am considering a trip there with a good friend to escape the harsh Edmonton winter and get a little pampering. New Mexico just needs to find its hook, the reason why people would have it at top-of-mind recollection when thinking about vacation planning. Dusty and I go there all the time, but we have family there, so that's our hook.

The ad company that created the campaign is supposedly planning to redesign it by featuring "less harsh" aliens and showcasing more of what makes New Mexico "The Land of Enchantment". I have two suggestions:

1) The friendlier, cuddlier aliens should be depicted visiting the lovely Georgia O'Keefe gallery in Santa Fe or enjoying the yummy pozole and sopapillas at Los Cuates in Albuquerque or walking around any New Mexican neighborhood at Christmas Eve when the simple and stunning luminaria light one's path.

2) Make the aliens look like this:

Look how happy and cuddly they are! I bet they just filled up on pozole and are getting ready to walk around Old Town. See? One of them has a walking stick and everything. Awwws!

One thing this new campaign has going for it? It gets everyone to visit the tourism board's website. Gotta love that controversy. It sells better than hot sopapillas.




"Vacation" by the Go-Gos

Friday, November 23, 2007

Can't Buy Me Love

"Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy /
I don't care too much for money; money can't buy me love"

Today is Black Friday, the busiest shopping day across the United States. There were people lined up outside of many retail outlets at the ass crack of dawn this morning, waiting to storm the gates for the very latest must-have inane Elmo toy. Or, in the case of this shopper, a big ol' fancy teevee.

[John Gress/Reuters]

I like to call this official start to the holiday season Hell on Earth.

Every year I resolve to buy Christmas gifts piecemeal when I see them on sale or something and stash them away for Christmas. If executed properly, my plan would pluck me from the depths of Hell on Earth, and save me from dealing with holiday crowds and relentless holiday marketing. This plan never works, for two reasons.

1) My hate for shopping burns brighter than the twin suns of Tatooine. Therefore, I don't go to stores or to the mall unless I absolutely MUST. And when I go, I take a list and buy only what is on it. Stick and move, man. Stick and move. I don't really window-shop except at the antique or thrift store and there are only a handful of people in my life who share my penchant for previously loved items.

2) If I do manage to buy gifts throughout the year that would be great for Christmas, I tend to give those gifts away to the people I bought them for almost as soon as I buy them. I like instant gratification [who doesn't?] and I usually can't wait to see the looks on people's faces when they get their unexpected treat on a random Tuesday.

So I end up in the same damn place I swore I wouldn't be in the year before: shopping at the last minute. Goddess bless online retail. It's the only thing that makes holiday shopping bearable.

In recent years, a Great Evil has risen like a bloated leviathan from the murky depths of consumerism to haunt the already nightmarish landscape of shopping for your loved ones. It is the small, hard plastic abomination called a Gift Card. I have looked it dead in the eye and seen that IT HAS NO SOUL. AAAAAAAGGGHHH!!!

A section of my family [who shall remain nameless for their protection] LOVE gift cards. They claim that gift cards make life easier, both for the giver and the receiver. The giver no longer has to agonize over "What should I get for my cousin who likes grilling food and building things with his hands?!" Answer? A gift card to Home Depot, apparently. Receivers of the Great Evil gift card can then simply go to Home Depot and buy whatever they want or need, as long as it's done before the card's expiration date.

On the surface, gift cards are convenient, but mostly for the giver. I can't count the number of times I have forgotten about gift cards given to me until about a week before the expiration date. Then I'm forced to go to the specific store and spend the money on things I didn't necessarily want or need, but as long as I'm here and I have to spend this money... anyone need a wooden fruit buggerer-- um, I mean citrus fucker-- dangit, I mean lemon reamer? Only slightly *ehem* used.

Also? Can we talk about the inherent silliness of exchanging gift cards? Here's what happens:

Receiver 1: [unwraps thin, tiny package] Oh, it's a $50 gift card to Best Buy. Thanks!

Receiver 2/Giver 1: You're welcome. Merry Christmas! [unwraps similar thin, tiny package] Ah, it's a $50 gift card to IKEA. Thanks!

Receiver 1/Giver 2: You're welcome. Merry Christmas!

IT'S THE SAME FUCKING FIFTY DOLLARS! Givers are just limiting the places where the receivers could spend that money. They could save each other the time and effort and agree to get each other nothing but the joy and relief of not having to buy one more damn gift. Or soulless gift card.

And another thing: there's no mystery, no surprise, no allure in a gift card. If you're handed a thin, tiny package wrapped with giftwrap nibs from the end of the roll, you KNOW it's a bloody gift card! Half the fun of getting Christmas presents is trying to guess what you got by shaking the box or assessing the shape or using x-ray glasses that you won with Cracker Jack boxtop-- you get my point.

GIFT CARDS ARE THE DEVIL'S HANDIWORK!

If I had my way--and I hardly ever do--I would get my family to institute a $200 limit on all gifts. Not each gift, but ALL gifts. I think that would bring some imagination and inspiration back to Christmas gift-giving. It might lead to some very creative gifts like handcrafted photo collages and homemade jams. Laurel's homemade jams and sauces are among my favorite gifts every year. Mmm... jalapeño jam... Funny that out of all the gifts I have given in the last three years, my Prairie Wife Jammy Jam also seems to come out on top as the one that people remember most.

I wish we could have grown-up Christmas craft bazaars like the ones from elementary school, where I would pool my allowance for weeks to get gifts for both my parents and both my siblings. Since I usually only had $30 or $40 to spend, it made me really think about what to get for each of them, something small but well-thought-out. Anyone can spend money on gifts, but do you remember what it was like to spend time?



If you don't know who sang this song, then you're not old enough to read this blog.
Run along now. Go on.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank You

"I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life / Oh, just to be with you is having the best day of my life"

Happy Thanksgiving, Shatner-stealing Mexico-touchers! We who live in the Great White North celebrated Turkey Day last month, so today is just Thursday to us. However, in the spirit of the holiday, I want to acknowledge that a lot of things for which I am most thankful are also the ones to whom I am most thankful, on this day and every day.

Thank you, Coworkers. You have really allowed me to let my geek flag fly. Where else could I proudly show off a glowing replica of Sting [the sword, not the singer, you n00b] on my desk? We made the Game of the Year, bunnies! I can feel it!

Thank you, Friends. You make even the longest distances disappear with one Instant Message. I can recognize any of you in a crowded room just by the sound of your laughter. You make summers funner and winters warmer.

Thank you, Family. Y'all have put up with my shenanigans since the day I was born. You figured out long ago that understanding me is not as important as loving me. You recently sent me three boxes of grits because these crazy Canadian grocery stores don't stock culinary gold. THANK YOU.

Thank you, Husband. You're cute and smart and funny and kind. Your neck smells good. Your ears are soft to pet. You let me cry on your good shirts. I like you a lot. A LOT.

Thank you, Universe. You've really surprised me a bunch this year. You've pushed me--sometimes too hard, but we cool--to grow and change and evolve. I think we can make this Life thing work, ya? Ya.



"Thank You" by Dido

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Swear

"I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky / And I swear like the shadow that's by your side"

"Swearing on the job can reduce stress and boost employee morale, a British study has found."

Dear Managers,

All those times I yelled out "Suck on my assault rifle's left nut, you flying space pig motherfuckers!" and "I spit upon your rotting carcass, you son-of-a-donkey-whore editing software program!" and "You went to Pyrogy Hut without me? You fart-knocking bastards!" at the office? I was just trying to boost morale.

You're welcome.

Your loyal employee,
Cookie


"I Swear" by All 4 1 [Shut up. You know you can sing all the words.]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes When We Touch

"Romance and all its strategy / Leaves me battling with my pride / But through all the insecurity / Some tenderness survives / ... / I wanna hold you 'til I die / 'Til we both break down and cry / I wanna hold you 'til the fear in me subsides"

All right. Seriously. Fer reals this time. Everyone needs to back off with the hate on my Kai-Kai. "Back off with the what on Whosafudge now?" I'm talking about Staff Lieutenant Kaidan [pronounced KAY-den] Alenko, the human male squad member and "hunky" love interest for a female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect. Here he is exhibiting his biotic powers:

Egli è adorabile, sì? Sì. When you talk to him in-game, the guy seems pretty well-read and intelligent. But seriously, he's quite yummy. Kaidan is an Alliance marine, so he's got a hot little bod going on, plus--ok, hi--he has incredible biotic powers. Power is sexy; you can't deny it. He also has brooding, darkly handsome features reminiscent of Adrian "So Very Pretty" Pasdar from Heroes, including Lovely Angular Cheekbones.

I am a GIANT fan of LACs on The Pasdar, Sendhil Ramamurthy [Sendhil plays Mohandsome a.k.a. Mohinder on Heroes. Goddamn they have a fine collection of cheekbones on that show! Even the Haitian - shit, that dude could probably cut through your mind with just his cheekbones!], John Taylor from Duran Duran, Johnny Depp, and my beautiful and angular husband:

SIIIIIIIIIIIGH... Where was I? Oh, yes! Kaidan. Yeah, he's hot, too.

So what are people's issues? I've heard various complaints about how Kaidan is "boring" and "straight-laced" and even "whiny". I played as a female Shepard and romanced Kaidan and I didn't find him boring or whiny at all. Yes, he's wound up a little tight, but as a fellow butt-puckerer, I can respect that. Besides, Kai-Kai being wound up means I can be the one to wind him down. Meowr!

What I don't get is that some people call Kaidan "too sensitive". Erm, if I just spent 15 hours trying to save the galaxy by shooting aliens in the face and throwing robots in the air, the last person I want to come home to is an insensitive jerk. After tramping through all those planets and completing vital missions, what I really need is a back rub. And who's going to give me that? A sensitive man, that's who!

Here's where my editorial bias might come in. I was there when the romance plots were being written; I edited them. In a rare opportunity for BioWare's writers, the boys could bounce ideas off AN ACTUAL GIRL in the room, to see if they won their wives and girlfriends by accident or if they really can write this stuff convincingly. I remember one of the boys once asked, "So if I were Kaidan and I said [insert romantic cheese here] to you, what would you say?" Answer? I would giggle. Most of the time, the giggling gave way to outright guffawing, but sometimes, the giggling was girly giggling i.e. the response they were hoping for.

I know that a lot of guys like to play female characters in RPGs. After all, if you're going to spend 40+ hours in a game where the camera will be trained on your character, you will probably want to look at an attractive female avatar. However, this means that Kaidan will be a romance option for you. And here is my point, friends: Kaidan was girl-tested, girl-approved. By the end of the game, I had a special fondness for Kai-Kai. So much so that after the final grueling battle, I was looking forward to some shore leave with the boy.

So next week, while you're playing through Mass Effect [T-minus five days!] as a female Shepard, listen to some of the things Kaidan says and note how he says them. Observe how he interacts with Shepard, the way he comforts her during times of crisis, yet still respects that she is a strong, badass woman out to save the galaxy. This game just might get you laid.


"Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Need A Hero

"Up where the mountains meet the heavens above / Out where the lightning splits the sea / I would swear that there's someone somewhere / Watching me"

WARNING: Spoilers ahead forthe TV show Heroes.

Dear Hayden Panettiere,

Hi! I just want to say I enjoy your work on Heroes. I think you're an incredible actress and you are just about 97 kinds of adorable. Based on all the photos and videos floating around the Interwebs, your cutieboy co-star Milo Ventimiglia seems to agree with me.

Okay, so three things:

1) Way to go with the Milo! Yes, he is 12 years older than you are, but you're 18 and legal, so have fun and ignore all the haters. I admit I watched that video of you and him dancing to Duran Duran at the Emmys after-party--only because it accidentally flashed up on my screen after I clicked on the link by accident, I swear!--and you two looked sweet and cuddly together. Awws!

2) Just remember to keep your underpants on in public. You seem like a nice girl who has so far avoided the intense tabloid scrutiny your fellow starlets court. I'd hate to see you get caught in some nudie photo scandal like that Vanessa Hudgens. Tsk tsk.

3) If you're going to continue going out and about with Milo, please wear something other than this:

What in all of Fugly Hell is that? It looks like a gray sack worn over a black sports bra. No wonder you're trying to hide your face, and with white plastic sunglasses, no less. [Oh, honey. NO.] I would hide, too, if it was my job to be photographed in public looking cute and I wore my beach cover-up to lunch with my hot older man. Maybe if you didn't match it with a gigantic purple tote big enough to carry your beach items, it might be better. Wait... no, no. It would still be a shapeless gray sack.

Listen, I am proud of you for milking this "Are they or aren't they?" thang. It's like something right out of Old Hollywood, when there was REAL glamour and superstar scandals. Innocuous little intrigues like this got ratings then and it gets ratings now. I love that you and Milo are denying everything, even as you are clearly cuddling within sight of cameras. I love that he plays your uncle on Heroes. I love that your new boyfriend on Heroes is also a dark-haired flying cutieboy, like your father and your uncle. West could be related to you, girl! Eew! Now THAT is compelling television.

It's just... Please, for the love of Aphrodite, don't go out in public looking like this again. I loves me a sundress as much as the next girly girl, and I appreciate that you were trying to go all matchy with Milo in his all-black outfit [sooo broody and delicious], and you are probably wearing cute, sturdy panties beneath that tent [good girl], but you are WAY MORE ADORABLE than this! You seriously look like you were running out to the Whole Foods real quick for some organic raspberry yogurt. You don't look like you're going out to lunch amongst a camera-heavy public with your new man. Your HOT NEW OLDER MAN. Cute it up, girl. Enjoy your youth while you still can.

I'm glad we had this talk. Love you on the show. Keep on keepin' on, Claire Bennet.

Hugs,
Cookie



"I Need a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Games

"Think of what you say, think of what you do / Think of what you try to put us through / We're just singing our song"

My darling ading Wendel tagged me for his little blog game and I'm not one to back down from a rousing game of tag. The rules of this game are:

A. Post these rules at the beginning of the post.
B. List six [6] facts about yourself.
C. At the end of the post, tag six [6] people and post their names, then go to their blogs and leave them comments to let them know they have been tagged and they should read your blog for details.

Facts About Cookie

  • When I was growing up, our family pet was a dwarf lop-eared bunny named JJ. His initials stood for "Jordan Jonathan". My sister and I were HUGE fans of New Kids on the Block [hence the song for this post] and we particularly adored the brothers Knight i.e. Jordan and Jonathan. They were just about the most beautiful boys we had ever seen, with their dark hair and light eyes and angelic voices. We used to imagine that we would marry them--Jonathan for me and Jordan for her, which was perfect because Jonathan was the older brother, just like I'm the older sister teehee--and live in a big house together in the Boston suburbs. It would have been the hippie commune of our dreams. sigh

  • I am the only one among my siblings who has never had a retail or food-service job. I have always had office jobs with regular 9-to-5 kind of hours.

  • How fitting that one of the goddesses I most identify with is Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. My volatile temper is legendary. [For those of you who come here for the geeky content: I've been told that I con purple at my spawn point.] I've been known to bite people's heads off for what some might think are minor offenses. The worst part is that those incidents sometimes happen because I tend to bottle things up for a long time, such that when I finally explode with rage, my venom is sometimes directed at the wrong person. I don't take pride in my temper. It is something I can and should control, especially at work. It's just that sometimes, PEOPLE PISS ME OFF. If they would just stop doing that, then we wouldn't have this problem.

  • My favorite curse word is FUCK. I fucking love to fucking say "fuck" whenever I fucking can. FUUUUUUUUUUCK!

  • I still wear a couple of dresses that I've owned since high school. I enjoy pointing this fact out to people, especially women who tell me that I have gained SO MUCH weight since they last saw me. Even if I have gained weight, I can lose it tomorrow. You're gonna be an ugly heifer for the rest of your life, you bitter old hag.

  • I've had a GIANT crush on Drew Barrymore for the last 12 years. If I ever got the opportunity, I would totally tap that. Totally.
Tag! You're It!

  • KPAX - Because I like tagging him. Meowr!

  • Tricky - Because OMG enough about D&D.

  • Cricket - Because he needs something to do now that he's passed the bar.

  • Laurel - Because she hasn't posted since September!

  • Alice - Because I don't know nearly enough random facts about her.

  • Stan - Because I want to help him procrastinate.
    Let the games begin!




    "Games" by New Kids on the Block [Shut up.]

    Friday, November 9, 2007

    Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

    "Do you really want to make me cry? / Wrapped in sorrow, words are token / Come inside and catch my tears"

    We packed up to move to our new offices today. I have only been with BioWare since April 2006, so I don't have much to pack away. Some people, though, have been at the company long enough to accumulate things that don't even belong to them. Like my friend Mac, who was packing up the contents of his bookcase and found a book called Anguished English that apparently belonged to Derek. Inside the book, you see, was an inscription to this Derek, presumably from someone who thought he might enjoy the book.

    How did Derek's book end up here? Why would he leave it in Mac's bookcase? Does he even remember that it was a gift from someone? Doesn't he miss it?

    When I am browsing in a used book store, I am always surprised to find books with inscriptions inside them. If the date of the inscription is older than 10 years or so, I usually make peace with it being re-sold at the store. I imagine that there is a reasonable story behind how it ended up in this place. Maybe Julie was a college professor. When she died and left an office full of books, the people who were in charge of cleaning up her office decided to give away or sell the books. I'm sure Julie, the one for whom this book was meant, would never casually discard a gift with so much thought put into it.

    When I find a more recent inscription, the story I imagine is a little different, a little more heartbreaking. Maybe Elise and Ollie broke up, and it hurt Ollie too much to keep this volume of Pablo Neruda's poetry that Elise gave him on their anniversary. Maybe Katie's mother didn't know Katie hates Stephen King books, but Katie would rather give the book to Goodwill than talk to her mother honestly. Maybe Derek just finished the book and thought he'd clear out his junky bookcase by leaving the book in someone else's office.

    I secretly fear that I will one day find a book with "Love, Cookie" written in very familiar glittery ink inside the cover.



    "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" by Culture Club

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    These Apples 2 - The Reckoning

    "Sometimes I stammer / or mix up my grammar / you get what my meanings are"

    Oh, my darlings. I wish I didn't have to do this, but you've left me no choice. You are still abusing the written English language. I mean, just punishing it. I'm calling out your newest sins right now. This will hurt me more than it will hurt you, mostly because you choose to ignore me. It's okay, though. I plan to be a mother someday and I should get used to obstinate disobedience.

    So! *ehem* If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times!:
    • When you give someone peace of mind, it's a good thing. When you give someone a piece of your mind, it's not such a good thing. In fact, when you give someone a piece of your mind, you are quite literally disturbing the peace of that person's mind. So be careful with that.

    • One must not try and do something; one must try to do something. Unless, of course, you mean that you will do two things: (1) try some unnamed activity and (2) get that PDF proof to me on the frickin' deadline like you promised, you jerk! *cough* Moving on...

    • If you must use they as a gender-neutral pronoun, use the plural antecedent. Awkward: "Before the player engages the Space Pig Boss in combat, they should equip their assault rifle with face-melting ammo rounds." Better: "Players should equip their assault rifles with face-melting ammo rounds before fighting the Space Pig Boss." We struggle with this a lot when we write our game manuals and tutorials; we can't assume that only boys play videogames. And we definitely don't need angry gamer grrls calling our shit out. We have enough issues.

    • To quote my boys Strunk and White: "A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses. Use a dash only when a more common mark of punctuation seems inadequate." The trickiest species of dash is the em dash, which--trust me on this one--should only be used by professionals. Do not use a dash where a comma will do. You'll put someone's eye out.

    • There are many commonly-used words and phrases that simply create unnecessary padding. If these were food items, they would be empty calories that just give you gas. You don't want that, do you? Then at least stop using:

      • "In terms of" - Bloated: "That skirt was hideous in terms of the lacy, irregular hem." Better: "The lacy, irregular hem made that skirt hideous."

      • "Due to the fact that" - Bloated: "Due to the fact that she was an hour late, Jane missed out on the crantinis." Better: "Because she was an hour late, Jane missed out on the crantinis." Best: "Jane was an hour late, so she missed out on the crantinis."

      • "S/he is a wo/man who" - Bloated: "She is a woman who takes pride in her impeccable taste in clothing." Better: "She prides herself on her impeccable taste in clothing."

      • "The reason why is that" - Bloated: "Lori should get a flu shot this year. The reason why is that she is in a high-risk group for getting sick." Better: "Lori should get a flu shot this year because she has a higher risk of getting sick."

    I imagine that in 20 years, one of you will write me a heartfelt, grammatically perfect letter saying, "I understand now. I'm so sorry." There will be hugs and tears and "I love you"s, then we will retire to the veranda for almond tea and all will be well.




    "These Apples" by Barenaked Ladies

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Dear God

    "And all the people that you made in your image / See them fighting in the street, 'cause they cant make opinions meet / About god / I can't believe in you"

    It's official! My niece and I will be reading The Golden Compass together this winter after we watch the movie. It has apparently made Christian groups mad and there are e-mail campaigns* urging people not to take their children to see the movie or support the book. Go go Gadget Christian Controversy! My favorite quote describes author Philip Pullman as the writer "atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed." Someone ought to put that on a t-shirt.

    I'm only on Chapter 5 of the book, and so far it just reads like an adventure story with some dark overtones. I think the Munchkin can handle--and even really enjoy--it. More importantly, I think it's about time we start discussing the idea of questioning institutions like the Church and formulating your own belief system. I wouldn't be doing my job as her tita if I didn't help her ask questions that will make her mother's brain hurt. I can see it now: "She asked if she can start her own Circle? Yeah, um... hey, my house is on fire. Gotta run!"

    Mind you, I'm not working with a blank slate here. Munchkinface has already asked her mom if Uncle Dusty will go to heaven even though he doesn't believe in God. I applaud my sister heartily for responding that the only thing that matters to God is that Uncle Dusty is a good person. Really, that's the only thing that should matter to anyone, deity or not. I'm not sure if heaven or hell or purgatory exist, but I'm damn sure that it just feels good to be a good person here on Earth. It feels good to be bad once in a while, but usually only until the tequila wears off.

    Supposedly, the later books in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy talk about a senile God that the children have to kill or something. I imagine that Pullman is speaking allegorically about God, but the Christians--those cute widdle angry, conservative, literal-minded bunnywabs--probably think he means THE God. So long, flowing gray locks and beard, robes, stern countenance, etc. Sortof like Zeus, minus the debauchery with mortals. Come on, Christians. You steal all your holiday ideas from the pagans, who clearly know how to throw parties, and then you steal your godhead figure from the Greeks, but make Him a petulant party pooper? Psh.

    You know what I think "God" is? Remember that scene at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the Whos are gathered around where the tree used to be? They clasp hands and start singing their Christmas song, and this ball of light emerges from the center. It grows brighter, stronger as it rises, buoyed by their voices and strengthened by their hearts. I think that light, that love, is "God". And it's fairly obvious that this god knows how to get a party started. Bring on the roast beast! That's the kind of god I can believe in.



    "Dear God" by XTC
    * Thanks, Betsy.

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Reading Rainbow

    "Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high / Take a look, it's in a book - Reading Rainbow. / I can go anywhere! / Friends to know and ways to grow - Reading Rainbow. / I can be anything! / Take a look, it's in a book - Reading Rainbow."

    Munchkinface and I share a deep love of books. Whenever we talk on the phone, she likes to tell me about the latest book she is reading and I tell her a just a wee bit about the Grownup Books I'm reading. She is really into fantasy and has exposed me to a lot of books I wish I had read when I was her age. I try to keep up with her reading list because she likes to ask me about certain plot points in books.

    When we read The Chronicles of Narnia together in the winter of 2005, she asked me, "Why would Lucy go to Mr. Tumnus' house by herself when she just met him? And he's half-goat! Wasn't she scared?" After a lot of hemming and hawing, I replied, "Kids in books and movies sometimes do unsafe things they normally wouldn't do just for a taste of adventure." I should have added, "Not that you should do that, young lady! No tea in caves with fauns for you!"

    This past summer, we read Nancy Drew: Murder on the Set together. I'm glad that it was for a school assignment and that she doesn't seem interested in reading any more Nancy Drew books. I found Nancy arrogant, passive-aggressive, and self-centered. Sistergirl was tied up in a basement about to be blown up by the evil baddie and she says: "I thought of my dad... of Ned... of Hannah, and Bess, and George... They were all going to miss me terribly." Swear to god I laughed out loud at that part. I never thought I would actually wish for the protagonist of a children's book to be blown to smithereens, and yet there I was, hoping against hope that Nancy Drew would go BOOM!

    When it came time to debrief about the book, I asked the Munchkin how she liked Nancy's character. She said it was cool how Nancy quickly solved mysteries that stumped even Chief McGinnis. I asked her if she thought there was anything not nice about Nancy, but it seems the 10-year-old mind does not compute that Nancy Drew is a dark-hearted little bitchcake. I even asked leading questions like, "Didn't you think it was mean for Nancy to talk about how Bess, one of her best friends, is five pounds overweight?" Munchkinface didn't remember that part, but she was intrigued and wanted to go look it up. Damn! Bad Tita for bringing it up. So much for open discourse.

    Thing is, Karincita and Jen were both big Nancy Drew fans when they were my niece's age and they didn't recall her being so stuck-up and snotty in the books they read. Maybe Munchkinface and I should read those Nancy Drew books together; this series and this character must have endured this long for a reason, right?

    For now, I'm reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman to see if it is worthy of sharing with the Munchkinface. Perfect timing, too, since the movie will be out by Christmas and we can see it together. I'm enjoying the story so far; I have high hopes that this will be our winter 2007 book.

    What was the best/most memorable book you read when you were in Grade 6 [10-12 years old]?



    "Reading Rainbow" TV theme song

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Night on Bald Mountain





    This is a damn fine piece of music for a spooky Hallowe'en night. BOOOOOOOOO!



    "Night on Bald Mountain" was composed by Modest Mussorgsky and most famously arranged by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov

    Who Can It Be Now?

    "Who can it be knocking at my door? / Go away; don't come 'round here no more"

    I totally copped out for Hallowe'en this year and wore my hula kahiko recital costume from five years ago. I know it doesn't stand a chance in our annual Hallowe'en costume contest at work, but it's a lovely costume and I spent a lot of time making it, so I trot it out once in a while. The bonus is that I can eat all the Hallowe'en treats I want and nobody will be the wiser. I just hope that Laka, goddess of hula, will forgive me for wearing this for non-hula purposes.

    Tonight, I will be doling out candy to the handful of trick-or-treaters that come to our door every year. Last year, we got about nine or ten kids total. I'm hoping that the absence of snow on the ground will mean a bigger turnout. Having a white Hallowe'en is always a bit off-putting: "Oh, you're Spiderman! In a snowsuit! And you're a princess! In a snowsuit!" But at least those kids are actually wearing costumes.

    One of my biggest pet peeves on Hallowe'en: teenagers who just can't be bothered. They shuffle up to my door, wearing whatever they wore to the mall that afternoon. They thrust dirty pillowcases in my direction and mumble something that only vaguely resembles "Trick or Treat!" The sullen looks on their faces say they are entitled to this candy simply because they made the Herculean effort to ring my doorbell. Seriously, kids, if I'm more dressed up than you are when we meet at my doorstep, the only reason I'm giving you candy is to keep you from egging my house.

    After my candy-doling duties, I also hope to set aside a few minutes to celebrate the new year. My Sisters and I gathered early for Circle this month, so we will be celebrating Samhain separately. When I celebrate alone, the ritual is as simple as lighting the candles on my altar, sending thanks out to the Universe for the many blessings I received this year, and calling upon my ancestors and recently-departed loved ones. As the veil between the worlds is thinnest at this time, I strongly feel their presence in my life. I like to give them all spirit high-fives for helping to make me the person I am today, warts and all.

    Friends, I wish you a blessed Samhain and All Hallows Eve! May you wake to a happy new year and a house free of eggs and toilet paper.


    "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men at Work

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Poetry Sunday: 10,000 Letters

    I once read that "great works are never finished; they're abandoned." I think this is especially true of poems. One can always tweak a word or a turn of phrase or the meter of a line to make a poem more perfect. Maybe this is why I love poetry so much. In a given year, I may only write a handful of poems, but with my penchant for constant editing, those poems can be steady work for years. I'm all about job security, baby.

    I wrote the first version of this poem in May 2005, revised it slightly in June 2005, and revised it again just five minutes before posting it. The second version was published in Rags in Fall 2005.

    10,000 Letters

    Since the time of our separation
    a president and a King have been killed
    two and a half unjust wars have been waged
    the Wall fell
    everyone learned how to spell tsunami

    I could’ve written you
    10,000 letters
    but I can barely read
    10 letters
    you wrote to me

    I wish I knew
    how many letters spell
    I am sorry.




    Friday, October 26, 2007

    Bitch

    "I hate the world today / You're so good to me, I know / But I can't change / Tried to tell you but you looked at me like maybe / I'm an angel underneath / Innocent and sweet"

    Dusty and I watched the three-part finale of Justice League Season Two last night. Damn, that is good TV. JL Season One was Folding Laundry TV, but Season Two had deeply engaging stories and real, believable characters. Also, I was right to hate her: it turns out Hawkgirl was a backstabbing, lying bird-spy. She went all Quisling on the planet that she had called home for five years! More importantly, she betrayed her friends and teammates! Yes, yes, she turned her coat back to help the JL once she figured out the Thanagarians' nefarious plan, bittersweet redemption at the end, blahblahblah. Hawkgirl is a BITCH.

    Why? Okay, so the Thanagarians are building this giant generator, right, and they enlist the JL's help. The JL think that the generator is going to power a forcefield to protect the Earth from the Gondarians, the sworn mortal enemies of the Thanagarians. [Umm, hello, Justice League. RED FLAG, darlings.] When the fit hits the shan and it becomes clear that the Thanagarians are a bunch of filthy rotten bird-liars, and they used the JL as manual labor to make this weapon against the Gondarians, the JL is all, "It's on."

    They fight, and fight, and fight, and fight, and fight. But the Thanagarians hit Superman with a kryptonite blast, the Flash with a gravity ray, and GL with a yellow-colored laser. For the first time in a long time, the members of the JL are handed their superasses.

    How did the Thanagarians know the JL's weak spots? Hawkgirl filed detailed reports on each one of her friends, reports that included their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses. BITCH! When the Thanagarians finally encase Supes, Flash, J'onn, and GL in a forcefield cage, Hawkgirl approaches the cage and tries to talk to GL.

    With a busload of hurt in his voice, GL says, "Whose side are you on?" She softly says, "Don't you know?" and makes these wee wounded sparrow eyes at him. GL's green eyes soften, too. And then. AND THEN. Hawkgirl whallops GL upside his head with her mace!

    The last five minutes of that episode made Karincita and Tricky tear up [Tricky reportedly had some shit in his eye], but that moment--when Hawkgirl hits GL IN THE FACE at his most vulnerable time--kicked me square in the ovarios. I wanted to reach through the screen and give GL a big ol' hug. I know honeybee needed some hot cocoa and cookies right about then.

    See, that's when I know I've been watching good TV. When I want to break the fourth wall and be part of the characters' lives, I know that the writers have done a great job making them real for me. So to the JL writers and creative team, I say, "ROCK ON WIT' YO' BADASSERY!"

    And Hawkgirl? You stay away from Green Lantern or I will cut you.



    "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Superfreak

    "She's a very kinky girl / The kind you don't take home to Mother / She will never let your spirits down / Once you get her off the street"

    Dear Hawkgirl,

    We need to talk about your new relationship. First of all, congrats on finally sealing the deal with Green Lantern. I have a profound weakness for green eyes, too, and GL brings the yummy. I'm a little concerned about your compatibility, though. GL's idea of a date was frolicking in the snow and making you a snowman. Your idea of a date was getting him involved in a giant bar brawl. Oh, you don't remember? You might have been drunk at the time, so let me refresh your memory.

    You were generally unimpressed with the adorable snowman that GL built for you on the winter planet you helped save. [He made the eyes, nose, buttons, hat, and arms with his power ring! Do you have ice in your veins, woman?!] So you suggest that the two of you celebrate your most recent heroics by doing something you like. Sounds reasonable so far. You take him to a Blade Runner planet and make a dramatic entrance into a dive joint. Everyone seems to know you at this place and you high-five some people on your way up to the bar. Still okay.

    You order two mugs of a nasty grayish drink with worms floating in it. You pound your drink before GL even has a chance to taste his. Yellow flag right there. You let out a giant burp, which I can respect, and sortof impress/disgust GL. And then. AND THEN. You declare that you really need to ratchet up the fun, so you smash a hugemongous alien's hand with your entirely-too-powerful electric mace and HAND THE MACE TO YOUR UNSUSPECTING DATE. The alien, naturally, bum-rushes GL and the aforementioned giant bar brawl ensues.

    I don't know what that makes you back on Thanagar, but here on Earth, that makes you a BITCH.

    Later on, when you two are admitting your feelings to each other, you say, "We can't worry about each other getting hurt when we're fighting the bad guys." Oh, but it's okay to deliberately put GL--the man you are supposedly in love with--in danger so you can get your jollies? 'The hell? On the up-side, when GL takes your mask off and leans in to kiss you... HAWT. [Incidentally, you are supercute, grrl! You're still an insane bitch, but at least you're a cute insane bitch.]

    Don't get me wrong. My husband and I seem like complete opposites, too, and we make it work. So I have some hope for you crazy kids, mostly because I have faith in GL's ability to soften your bitchy little bird heart. You may, however, need to look into couples counseling. Or at least a fetish club that caters to superheroes. Just try not to kill your new boyfriend and end up on a CSI crossover episode.

    Good luck,
    Cookie

    P.S. When you're in bed with GL, you may not want to make that "HUAAH!" noise you make EVERY SINGLE TIME you hit something with your mace. It's really fucking annoying. Just some friendly advice.



    "Superfreak" by Rick James, bitch.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Who Are You?

    "I really wanna know / Who are you? / Who, who, who, who?"

    Betsy told me during our weekly chat last night that her only issue with my blog is that she doesn't know the source or singer of many of the blog songs. Mostly she treats the lyrics from these unknown songs as bits of random poetry, but sometimes she is intrigued by the lyrics and would like to know who sang it or where she could find it.

    Betsylove, have you heard of this newfangled thing called Gooogle? It's what the kids call a "search engine". Apparently, you type your query into a magic box and it gives you answers! It's fantastic! Maybe if you typed the name of the song and a few of the lyrics into it, you'd get the singer. Try it. It just might work. [End Snark. Lovvve youuu.]

    Seriously, though, Betsy is supercrazybusy raising two darling boys, and I'm lucky she even gives this blog the time of day. So! From now on, I will list in tiny letters at the end of the post who the artist is or, as in the case of "The Scotsman", the source of the song. I already began with last night's post, a song by India.Arie.

    Below is a list of the other artists and songs that have appeared on my blog so far, in alphabetical order. I live to serve.

    ABBA: Thank You for the Music

    a-ha: The Sun Always Shines on TV, Living a Boy's Adventure Tale

    Alphaville: Forever Young

    Joey Ayala: Bathala

    Barenaked Ladies: These Apples

    Chic [sortof]: Le [Geek]

    Elvis Costello: Every Day I Write the Book

    Crowded House: When You Come

    Dido: Here with Me

    Dixie Chicks: Wide Open Spaces

    Patsy Cline: Walking After Midnight

    Cowboy Junkies: 200 More Miles

    Duran Duran: Too Much Information

    Michael Franti & Spearhead: Everybody Ona Move

    Nellie Furtado: I'm Like a Bird

    Garbage: Special

    Great Big Sea: Summer

    Haddaway: What is Love?

    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: I Hate Myself for Loving You

    Carole King: Where You Lead, You've Got a Friend, Beautiful

    Annie Lennox: Legend in My Living Room

    Madonna: Beautiful Stranger

    Barry Manilow: I Write the Songs

    Bob Marley: Three Little Birds

    Sarah McLachlan: Push

    No Doubt: I'm Just a Girl

    Oingo Boingo: Who Do You Want to Be?, No One Lives Forever

    Queen: The Show Must Go On, We Are the Champions

    Corinne Bailey Rae: Put Your Records On

    Malvina Reynolds: Little Boxes

    Sarah Slean: Day One

    Soup Dragons: I'm Free

    Spandau Ballet: Gold

    Stray Cats: Stray Cat Strut

    Cree Summer: Soul Sister

    Telepopmusik: Breathe

    Jill Tracy: Evil Night Together

    The Turtles: Happy Together

    U2: Where the Streets Have No Name

    White Stripes: We Are Gonna Be Friends

    [Folk song]: The Scotsman

    [Hairspray Soundtrack, Nikki Blonsky]: Good Morning, Baltimore!

    [Lion King Soundtrack, Elton John]: Circle of Life

    [Pirates?]: A Pirate's Life for Me

    [TV show theme]: Wonder Woman



    "Who Are You?" by the Who, for my under-30 readers.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Little Things

    "Ain't nothin' in the whole wide world / Like the peace that I have found / It's the little things / And the joy they bring"

    I got into the elevator at work this morning and was followed shortly thereafter by a mom and her two little boys, presumably headed to the kid dentist office on the floor above mine. The boys were about three and five years old, with identical brush cuts and faces scrubbed clean. The three-year-old looked up at me curiously so I crinkled my nose and smiled at him. Then:

    Three: [proudly showing me his Tonka truck] It's fixed!

    Me: Awesome! That's great news!

    Three: [big smile] It's fixed!

    Five: [shows me what he is holding] Well, I have a race car. This is Hot Wheels!

    Me: That's very cool. I like that shade of blue.

    [My floor comes up and the door opens. I get out. The boys toddle after me.]

    Mom: Uh, boys . . . BOYS!!!

    I had to sort of gently push them back onto the elevator. As the doors were closing, I waved goodbye. Just before the doors shut, I saw that their faces were crestfallen.

    They totally made my morning.


    *Betsy, this song is by India.Arie.

    What Is Love?

    "Baby don't hurt me / Don't hurt me no more / I want no other / No other love / This is your life"

    Romance: These orchids are gorgeous , darling! And how did you know Bernard Callebaut chocolate is my favorite? Let's run away to Venice! I just ADORE you!

    Love: Can you come help me pop this zit on my neck? I can't get a good angle on it. Thanks, baby. Luv ya!

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Gold

    "These are my salad days / Slowly being eaten away / Just another play for today / Oh but I'm proud of you / but I'm proud of you"

    Mass Effect Goes Gold! w00t! For those of you who come here for the hippie content: the Underlords of Publishing at Microsoft have blessed and released our game. Praise the Goddess!

    This may be the first time my name has been connected to something so geeky and awesome since my wedding day. I am really proud to have been part of this project. I've said it before and I'll say it again: BEST. FRICKIN'. VIDEO GAME. EVER.

    Stray Cat Strut

    "But I got cat class and I got cat style"

    Now I remember why I don't have pets:

    [click image to view full comic]

    I never want to utter the phrase "My cat's asshole needs to be juiced."

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Poetry Sunday: Untitled

    I fall in love 1000 times a day. Luckily, 999 of those times is with my husband. [Look, every once in a while I come across a photo of Ewan I've never seen before and I fall in love with him all over again. Don't judge.] My Binkylani is just 999 kinds of adorable, from the top of his salt-and-cinnamon head to the tips of his uncut toenails. Smooshy!

    It has been fabulous having Dusty home more often. We have both been such homebodies lately, lounging in bed with our books and games rather than going out on the town. We've even had our usual Sunday brunches at home these last couple of weeks. Never again will I underestimate the value of the two-day weekend. It gives me more time to fall.

    I wrote this poem in June 1999. It wasn't the first poem I wrote to Dusty, but it was the first one I wrote for him.

    Untitled [for Dusty]

    Fire engulfs Earth
    in a baptism of
    creative destruction.

    With only the desert behind you,
    take my hand...

    We can dream of the Sea.

    A Pirate's Life for Me

    "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me"

    It's been ten days since Dusty and I got back from our trip to Las Vegas, and I still can't shake the feeling that I miss it. Or, rather, that I miss this:


    That postcard bears the image of the once-glorious Treasure Island, now branded TI. [The hell kinda name is TI?! That's a high-tech firm selling microchips, not a destination hotel and casino!] We stayed four nights at TI and still could not get used to the absence of the piratical skull and crossbones on its sign. We bemoaned the loss of the Spanish village that once graced the back entrance of the hotel, and the skeletal pirate once guarding his treasure chest right outside the bridge to the lobby. Yet even those tiny indignities are no match for the "Sirens of TI".

    Once upon a time, there was an awesomely piratical show in front of Treasure Island. Every night, there would be a battle on the high seas between Pirate Ship Left and Pirate Ship Right. There were swordfights between the dashing captains! There were pyrotechnic explosions and swabbies flying through the air! There was swinging on ropes! There were multiple utterances of "Yarrr!" and plenty of pirate trash talk! Pirate Ship Right would sink, and the captain always went down with the ship. It was fantastic! Everyone would applaud and cheer when Pirate Ship Right came back up and the pirates took their bows.

    Then, somebody decided that Vegas should be a playground for spoiled 25-year-olds with too much time and money but not enough panties or good sense. It was decided that these brats didn't need a funky Spanish village outside Treasure Island; they needed a generic nightclub lounge. These youngsters would not find the pirate battle exciting. Apparently, what would be appealing is a bunch of generic, scantily-clad J.Lo-backup-dancer-rejects dry-humping everything within booty distance i.e. "Sirens of TI". There was a weak clashing of swords, a sad excuse to set off expensive pyrotechnics, some swinging on ropes, and the sinking of Pirate Ship Right. Yet there was no "Yar!" and certainly not much applause after the show. I found myself yelling, "Boo! You pirate-killing whores! Boo!" I wanted to gouge my eyes out and wash them in memory-erasing acid.

    Thankfully, the trip itself was an absolute blast. Jen and I got to spend a few hours lounging by the pool, under the desert sun, hoping that it would not be snowing when we got back home. I played blackjack for the first time, aided by Drew and Jen's guide sheet. [Tip for next time: I should actually follow what the sheet says.] Jen and I played craps with Drew and Dusty at New York New York; I had a great run and our energy attracted people to our table. Dusty and I got hooked on the Aliens penny slot machines, where we had our biggest winnings [$4 for Dusty and $5 for me]. We didn't win big, but we lost much less money than we thought we would.

    We saw SPAMALOT at the new Wynn Hotel on our second night. The show was uproarious fun! As a sign in the lobby proclaimed, they had "Knights! Girls! Killer Rabbits! Girls! French People!" and a diva-licious Lady of the Lake whose wardrobe I coveted. Also in the lobby:


    That Wednesday, we saw Zumanity, which bills itself "the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil". It is supposed to be part circus, part bawdy burlesque. I don't know if I'm getting jaded in my old age, but I found the show neither amazing as a circus nor titillating as a burlesque. There was entirely too much audience interaction for Dusty's comfort. He couldn't relax and enjoy the show for fear that he would be called up next. I found most of the audience interaction to be tedious; I paid good money to see professional circus performers, not Roger and Linda from Des Moines. So what if it is their 47th wedding anniversary? I will only give two flying fucks when I see two actual flying fucks, suspended from the ceiling on silk cloth. Now this is the kind of audience interaction I like:

    Our last day in Vegas was mostly spent walking around, with designated pit stops for everyone. We stopped at the Mirage for Drew, so he and Dusty could take one last run at craps. Jen hit the Shops at Caesar's Forum to buy her gorgeous dress at Nanette Lepore. [That stop was a bonus for me. Oh, Victoria's Secret, how I've missed you.] I got to enjoy a taro bubble tea and pan de ube at the ticky-tacky Hawaiian Marketplace. We had a monorail adventure to the Luxor so Dusty could see if the arcade, last vestige of the old theme-park Vegas, was still there in the middle of the pyramid. [It was.]

    As we were leaving the Luxor, we saw a giant ad touting Nicky Hilton's birthday party at the LAX lounge the following week. It was placed under a giant banner advertising Absolut Vodka. Oh Vegas, I have faith that one day you shall once again be deliciously tacky. Until then, darling... adieu.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Legend In My Living Room

    "I knew that I was going to be a legend in my living room... / But I've shed my tears in bitter drops until the thorn trees bloomed / To take the spiky fruit to crown myself the Queen of Doom"

    I am a huge fan of tiaras. I own a stunning tiara, which my beloved gave to me on my 30th birthday. [Why? Because Thirty Is A Radiant Age. Duh.] I have given tiaras to some of my most favorite ladies and I'm thinking of starting a campaign called A Tiara for Every Woman.

    One of the women I hope to reach with my worldwide campaign is Priscila Perales of Mexico, Miss International 2007:

    Darling, the Ice Queen of Narnia called; she wants her Christmas bonnet back. Listen to Tita Cookie, miha preciosa. A proper tiara has no CHIN STRAP. A proper tiara has no polar bear fur, no fake gold unicorns, no red felt, no pearl-like beads. A proper tiara is all shiny diamond[elle] radiance to match a shiny smile. Like this:


    That's Jennifer Berry, Miss America 2006. Mira! Look how her diamond[elle] tiara is as shiny as her smile. I covet her tiara. Not her life, just her tiara. Priscila, unstrap that abomination from your pretty little head and go tiara-shopping with this bitch. Ahora mismo, miha.

    Dusty, my beloved Binkypoots, if you are reading this, remember that Thirty-three Is [Also] A Radiant Age. I'm just sayin'. You gots a couple months. Lovvve youuu.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Little Boxes

    "There's a green one and a pink one / And a blue one and a yellow one / And they're all made out of ticky-tacky / And they all look just the same"

    Nine years ago this month, I packed up all my worldly belongings and moved across the United States to California. I had just graduated from University of Maryland with a double degree in public relations journalism and Chinese language and literature [I thought I would be a diplomat. HA!] and I had gotten a job as Assistant Product Manager at a Filipino American telecommunications company. I had visited the San Francisco Bay Area a few times during college and fell head over heels in love with it. San Francisco has a hip, but not too-cool-for-school vibe that seems to welcome everyone, give them a hug [and maybe a toke], and say, "Hi! You're neat. Can we be friends?" SF had a storied hippie past and a promising geeky future and I wanted to be a part of it.

    Unfortunately, then as now, apartments in SF were astronomically unaffordable for a single person. The next best thing to living in SF was living in Daly City, the next town just south of "the city". Daly City's population comprised a gargantuan Filipino community. It was said that when the fog rolled in, it was because all the Filipinos in Daly City took the lids off their rice cookers at the same time. Living in Daly City was like living in a gentler, cleaner, less crime-ridden Manila. I could speak Tagalog to the cashier at Target, eat a decent longsilog [spicy longganisa sausage, sinangag or garlic fried rice, and itlog or fried egg] breakfast for dinner if I wanted, and get my favorite pan de ube [sweet rolls with purple yam filling] at 7-11.

    I lived in Daly City's Westlake district in one of the ticky-tacky little boxes that Malvina Reynolds describes in today's blog song, which she wrote after driving through Daly City. My ticky-tacky little Westlake box looked a lot like this:


    The in-law unit I lived in was located behind the garage, with a sneaky back entrance. When I stood in the middle of the sidewalk outside this house, I could see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Bruno Mountains on the other. Let me repeat that: ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Sometimes, when I find myself driving for miles upon miles upon miles of prairie flatlands here in Alberta, I miss geographical distinction.

    My Westlake house was within walking distance of a grocery store, a Fiipino food store, and a pho place. This was the beginning of my Pho Proximity Requirement: anywhere I live MUST have a readily-accessible pho place. I'll live somewhere that doesn't have pho nearby, but anyone who lives with me in such a place would really wish there was pho nearby. Why not just get a recipe so I can have pho anytime I want? Good idea! I also want a framed reproduction of Caravaggio's Medusa. So I'll print this out and color it while I'm eating my crappy homemade pho. [Can you tell it's been a week since I had pho?]

    My first home was basically one big living/dining/bedroom that I subdivided with creative placement of bookshelves and furniture. There was a tiny kitchenette and a small bathroom with no tub. My pantry and closet were both just part of one huge shelving unit with doors. Most of my furniture was borrowed or second-hand, but I felt like it was all mine. I felt like I was A Real Grownup for the first time; after all, the bills were in my name.

    A few weeks ago, I came across the Telstar Flickr photo set of Westlake. The photo above is from the set. It turns out Westlake was "one of America's first master-planned postwar suburbs." dooce called this photo set "mid-century modern porn." I call it fond memories of the first place I chose for myself as home.