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Showing posts from July, 2011

Book Review: The Law of the Garbage Truck (2010)

Note: This post will contain NO commas. Take that grammar! <--see what I did there?

About a month ago I was promised a book -- The 19th Wife -- prompting Boyfriend to wonder what happened to the other 18. Father in his infinite wisdom decided that what I really needed was another book -- one that spoke to the crushing agonies of my soul. So he also sent me The Law of the Garbage Truck by David Pollay who used to be a manager and stuff and even worked at Yahoo! as head of customer care and then later as something else. It's all very specific. I ended up reading Garbage Truck because many chapters could be crushed under my mental wheels whilst I spooned up my yogurt-blueberry-almonds breakfast concoction. I typically rebel against self-help books especially the patronizing ones but Dave seems pretty sincere and his reasoning is not as laughable as say Malcolm Gladwell (who said something so moronic about writing in What the Dog Saw that I snapped the book shut and never picked i…

How to Have a Fabulous Birthday

Hello, readers! Today is my special day! Here are the secrets to having a Fabulous Birthday:

Step 1: Delight in Your Mother's Gift
I don't mean the gift of Life, which of course is the whole point of the birthday. I mean these bad boys, from Who in her right mind wouldn't wear these delightful statements to the endless inventiveness of mankind in the quest to push all fashion limits and make a buck? What deranged creature wouldn't proudly wear these to display her toned calves and shapely ankles on the streets of Boston?

Step 2: Ignore Disparaging Remarks
Someone will tell you that your 29th birthday is not special. When you shoot someone a glare, as you are morally obligated to in this outrageous circumstance, someone will backpedal and say, "Some birthdays are not as special as others." Ignore this. Remember that all birthdays are special, because you are.

Step 3: Obtain Perfect Weather 
This one depends on the celebrant's location. In t…

Mental Discipline

Sometimes, when it's 5 AM on the dot and I'm shambling to my cat's food bowl, the feline herself eagerly following and encouraging me loudly, a half-formed thought scampers through my brain -- Maybe I should go running now -- and promptly scoots back into a safe corner as I mentally growl at it. Who wants to go running at five in the morning, after having been snapped awake by an ear-shattering meow of primal hunger? Who can schlep around Cambridge perkily after having gone to bed a mere five hours earlier? Why, I haven't even finished metabolizing all the alcohol I consumed!

But maybe the thought is right. Maybe it's not a thought at all, but an instinct for health, buried under layers of comfortable fat cells. Maybe it's the voice of my Mental Discipline. 
should run after I get up to feed my cat at the crack of dawn! But what about my sleep? Isn't proper rest as important as proper exercise?
Er, maybe I should go to bed earlier? But what about sociali…

Cat vs Human

Sheba: In the Darkness, Water

I crouched under the bed, shouting defiantly at my tormentor in the pre-dawn light. I am growing old; my memory does not reach so far; and so I cannot understand what triggered this attack. I can only stay here, safe from the waters of rage, and cry out, stop! stop! I am innocent!

When Current Human Person (or "CHumP") whisked me away from the Big Place with Cold Floors to the Tiny Smelly Place, and now to this Nice New Place, I thought we had reached a level of harmony that pointed to our long and warm companionship. I let CHumP know whenever it was time for her to pet me; and CHumP seemed perfectly content to have me on her lap after she came back from wherever she goes during the day. I always used my litter box properly, and she had an array of brushes to help with the all-important task of keeping me clean and shiny.

The only point of contention between us is that she insists on a regular feeding schedule of once in the morning and once in …

Weekend, or How I Met Fat Charlie

Everything started off innocently enough -- on Saturday I did my all usual chores in true OCD fashion, overdosed on coffee that evening to prepare for the night of drunken revelry, and then danced madly as the fabulously gay people of The Donkey Show revived seventies disco. I was particularly enchanted by the woman who played Queen Titania, or rather by the butterfly pasties that were all that stood between her and toplessness. Costume technology is truly wondrous.
After the show, we all went to drink some more and the next morning I found myself with a tattoo of my beloved Sheba in a place that I may not mention for fear of secret Internet censors. I didn't bother to waste my time wondering how the hell I got a tattoo and why it looked like the eyes were drawn in with yellow highlighter. It was clearly a God-given sign that I should stop wasting my life being a good little girl, performing such mundane weekend tasks as cleaning my apartment, going grocery shopping, and doing my…

お風呂 (ofuro)

When I lived in Japan, getting into the hot tub (ofuro) was a nightly ritual. Sometimes, I would get the honor of being the first to go, which was pretty sweet, since the whole family used that thing and there would be unsightly human detritus floating around if you happened to be last.

The first thing you do is get into the washing area and rinse off. After you're reasonably clean, you get into the tub, unroll the bamboo cover so only your head is seen sticking out, and pleasantly steam for as long as you like. Okaasan (mom) explained that it helps you sleep at night. It's so true! Your muscles relax and stuff. Also, homes in Japan usually have no central heating, so there's a big advantage to being superheated right before getting into the futon.

After I moved into my first studio, I made it a habit to have a hot bath whenever I feel tired or stressed. Now I take a hot bath every night, if I'm not home too late. It's become inconceivable to read a book while not…

Windows 7 Pro

Thank you, Microsoft, for creating a gorgeous OS. I say this despite owning a Macbook Pro running OS X.  Windows 7 is easily as sexy as OS X!

Coming to 7 from XP is like having a competent Baskin Robbins cake one moment and a swoon-worthy Finale extravaganza the next. Meanwhile, if you're coming to 7 from Vista (vomit), it's like going from being pummeled by morons to being massaged at a luxury spa by a deeply tanned, lean and muscular gentleman. Or lady, whatever works for you.

My victory is that much sweeter because I had to fight  to get this OS. And by "fight," I mean, "send a polite e-mail requesting a Windows 7 upgrade, and then wait three weeks for a response."

Tell your office to switch to Windows 7 Pro! Tooooootally worth it!

Book review: Adrift (1986)

Adrift is the true story of Steve Callahan's survival in the open ocean for 76 days. The book is gripping, emotional, and will shame you for being a total wuss when compared to the author. Callahan is hurled overboard from his boat one stormy night, and manages to get into his rubber life raft with crucial equipment that allow him to last more than two months with no land in sight. His body consumes his muscles; sharks circle menacingly; his tools fail and require repair or constant tending; open sores erupt on his skin; basically, it's a bloody nghtmare. Fortunately, he's ultimately saved by two things: his resilience and survival skills, and luck/grace. In particular, the dorados that accompany him provide food and a humbling sense of gratitude.

This book is for sailors and seafarers and people who appreciate people who don't suck. Boyfriend, who loves him some sailing, is definitely gonna have to read this.

Thanks to Papa for sending the book our way!


I saw this article on and had to snicker. The writer is concerned about what she views as extraordinarily high compensations for CEOs of two large non-profits. Oh, sugarpie, if only you knew...

Movie Review: Kung-fu Panda 2

Adorable and light-hearted though it was, Kung-fu Panda 2 nevertheless had a lesson to impart: inner peace is the key to moving on. In the movie, Po reached a higher level of kung fu by accepting the horror that happened in his childhood (er, panda cubhood). In real life, I'm realizing that the problem is me. It's a bit of a conundrum: someone being a dick needs to be called out, but it should stop there. In other words, call a jerk a jerk and move on. What I tend to do is point out bad behavior, and then obsess about it. Roar! Roar! But heck, if it can't be changed, then I have to change. That's how one becomes stronger! Roar.

Also: being angry is EXHAUSTING.

That is all.

Stop eating them, Papua New Guinea!

Environmental Alert of the Day:
The pig-nosed turtle population in New Guinea is declining due to over-harvesting. Having learned of their existence five minutes ago, and having seen two photos -- one close-up of a blank stare and another of a bunch of females trapped -- I am now outraged on their behalf. How DARE you, people of Papua New Guinea! Your craven craving for their delicious, delicious meat and eggs is causing fewer baby pig-nosed turtles to flourish under the tropical sun!

Pig-nosed turtle lovers unite! And do send me an update of your conservation efforts!

News article link:

That is why Sheba gets +1,000,000,000 points

This morning I almost fell asleep while watching Sheba blink blearily at me, my chin propped uncomfortably on the cardboard of her scratch lounge. There's so much noise in our lives, noise that we take for granted because it constantly surrounds us: cars whizzing past, horns honking, people chatting, TVs blaring, air conditioners humming, the voices in your head judging you, and so on. But when Sheba's around, all that becomes muted; the world becomes fluffy around the edges; and everything is all right. My most vivid memory of Sheba is also my only memory of perfect silence: in the winter of 2009, I opened my eyes one morning to soft sunlight and her little face right beside mine, her head pillowed on my arm. There was absolutely no sound, just light and cat.

Sheba is a tiny creature who patiently endures my constant need to touch her silky fur; who licks my nose when she realizes it's there; whose whiskers vibrate when she purrs extra loudly; and who coos like a dove wh…


A comedian once joked that the people you hate are the people you'll end up with in your life. Unfortunately, that's true. Here is my tale of woe:

I was bullied as a kid. Said bully would make his friends walk in on me while I'm in the bathroom, or wipe mud from his shoes onto the book I'm reading at that very moment, or kick me off the bed during nap time, or call me ugly. Okay, fine. We all grow up and get over that.

It turns out that the bullies don't. The very pain they were trying to inflict on others stays with them, affecting them until they become unable to function normally. They become weak, in mind and in spirit.

I have the distinct displeasure of living with the very same bully whom I loathed as a child. I've had to listen to the constant whining about how hard his life is; I've kept my mouth shut when he blamed our parents for how he turned out; I've let him stay without paying a single dime toward rent.  And when I try to point out what c…