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Showing posts from November, 2012

Adventures in Brideland, Part I

A successful bride needs awesome bridesmaids. Good thing I can pick 'em. With my two big sisters currently unable to cross the Pacific to be my slaves my pillars of womanity, C and K stepped in.

These two ladies share my deep and abiding love for food. We're friends for other reasons, obviously, but food is the main one, let's face it. And by that I mean that they have both fed me on numerous occasions, and I have liked it every single time. Such a bond cannot be broken! As a Leo born in the year of the dog under the moon of the Philippines, the way to my adoration is through my stomach.

But enough about me. This post is about my bridesmaids...helping me. Er, yes. Here's how they did it:

#1: They Helped Me Buy My Dress

C beckoned us to a place called Vows in Watertown. We went during a weekend, and the place swarmed with brides, their entourages, and camera crews. Turns out they're filming for reality TV! Possibly due to her glowing face, C got interviewed.

"Ar…

Book Review: Snuff (2011)

Snuff follows Sam Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, as he attempts to enjoy a peaceful vacation in his country estate with his family. The lands belong to him courtesy of his wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin, she of the spectacular bosom and other body parts of planetary proportions. However, seasoned readers will immediately know that Vimes' vacation will be anything but quiet, since a central tenet of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series has to do with crime finding policemen, and vice versa. There's also the fact that the reasonable tyrant Lord Vetinari sends Vimes off into the countryside. Vetinari is always out to "fix" something, and Vimes is usually his unwitting hammer of choice.

What follows: tension between "noble" and "common" men; a discussion about goblins as vermin; surprising discoveries in the darkness; philosophical musings about the nature of the law; and of course, a variety of interesting minor characters. Pratchett int…

Comic Book Review: Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist follows the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, in their quest to regain their complete human bodies after a failed alchemical experiment. They had attempted to resurrect their dearly departed mother, and paid the price -- Ed lost his left leg, and Al lost his entire body. Since the core law of alchemy is "equal exchange," Ed sacrifices his right arm to transfer his little brother's soul into a suit of armor. The neighborhood granny takes them in, but word of the brothers' prodigious skill in alchemy has reached the military. The ambitious Col. Roy Mustang comes in person to recruit the boys, unaware of their condition. Meanwhile, a group of superhumans named after the seven deadly sins works secretly to incite bloodshed all over the country. So it begins...

For me, one of the bests part about this manga series is the perfect balance between action-packed confrontations and physical humor. You get everything that manga delivers: contorted limbs, …

Let's Talk About Sex...ism

Today, BBC News covered the story of Dana Bakdounis' unveiling, which I'll use momentarily to segue into my favorite topic: me. But first, the background: Dana had been following the Uprising of Women in the Arab World page on that scourge of humanity Facebook, and posted an image of herself on the site, unveiled and holding up a photo of her veiled self with a note in English that read: "I'm with the uprising of women in the Arab world because, for 20 years, I wasn't allowed to feel the wind in my hair and my body." Verily, a powerful expression of freedom and courage, from a young woman raised in conservative Saudi Arabia.

Side note: One of my friends lived in Saudi Arabia as a kid and the other kids threw rocks at her because she wasn't an Arab, even though she's Muslim just like them. Religion: not quite the unifying force of your imagination!

I hope the coverage of Dana's story continues. In the meantime, I remain grateful for my boring life…

Company Bake Sale

I like working for Proposals R Us, the development arm of Enhancing Lives, Inc. (Disclaimer: Names changed to protect blogger.) My boss doesn't mind my needy cries for supervision; free sandwiches abound; and the benefits can be pimp if you choose the right combination, like a Happy Meal. Cheerful greetings echo in the kitchen as we elbow each other out of the way in our desperate quest to reach the coffee/tea machine. It's super awesome compared to what I endured while working at BOOBS (the Best Organization Of Boston Society, in case you've forgotten).

Today we're having a bake sale. Proceeds go to our charitable foundation, and the CEO has pledged to match the raised funds. My distaff coworkers rolled up their sleeves and got to baking. In my ruthless campaign against the size of my inbox , I had deleted all invitations to bake for a good cause. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, we had scrumptious, homemade delights such as peanut butter cooki…

"Come with Me if You Want to Live...On the Edge."

Hello and happy Friday. Let's get down to business.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse or some other civilization-ending catastrophe, you'll want to surround yourself with people who regularly demonstrate competence. Emotional and mental stability would be a happy bonus, but that usually goes out the window once people start losing loved ones. Ideally, you'd find the right individuals to form the traditional five-member team capable of surviving the odds: the leader, the lancer, the big guy, the smart guy, and the chick.

Let's look at the pros and cons of having me in every position.

The Leader
When I feel like it, I can be charismatic, level-headed, and capable of making decisions based on ruthless reason. I am also very nosy, which allows me to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my fellow survivors, meaning I can deploy you to perform the task that probably won't kill you. I can strike heroic poses at the drop of a hat. Finally, I have no problem being b…

Book Review: Snow Crash (1992)

I didn't want Snow Crash to stop. I wanted to read more about Hiro Protagonist, Y.T., Uncle Enzo, and the other characters who made up this spectacular universe. I hoped Neal Stephenson would go on about his brilliant premise that combined history, archaeology, computer science, cryptography, and religion into a mind-bending knapsack of hidden delights that I continue to unpack in my mind, even now. Alas, every story must end. But getting there is just the beginning.

The novel opens with a vivid description of a post-government America. Private corporations and franchises operate as autonomous entities within the former states, and it's a dangerous world out there. The two main characters, hacker Hiro and courier Y.T., meet under adverse circumstances. The two reunite when they realize the other would be a terrific partner for all sorts of moneymaking schemes: Hiro can program anything, and Y.T. is a tiny escape artist and speed demon. Meanwhile, a new drug called Snow Crash …

Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

Pack your bags, we're going for a ride! The latest Bond features all the regulars: rooftop chases, brutal hand-to-hand combat, sniping, flirting, dry witticisms, and of course, a sex scene that would have involved the police if it happened in real life. Skyfall also packs an emotional punch that easily tops the one in Casino Royale.

The movie opens with 007 and his partner (Naomie Harris from 28 Days Later) pursuing a stolen list of embedded MI6 operatives in terrorist organizations. Bond does his badass best, even using a backhoe to prove that he doesn't just specialize in small and sexy gadgets. Alas, a shot goes awry, and the missing list remains a crucial plot point.

After the credits, the first hour and a half of Skyfall is predictable. MI6 comes under attack by someone who hacks into M's (Dame Judi Dench) computer and warns her: "Think on your sins." Her loyal 007 returns to her side and hunts down the villains. It all unfolds in a paint-by-numbers thrille…

My First World Problems, Let Me Share Them

Everyone in this great country has problems, and usually a bitch is one. But since I'm a bitch ("A little bitch," assured an ex), I have other issues. Namely, these:

1. Guys who spend endless minutes finding the perfect weight-lifting song on their iPhones.

Not only am I surrounded by enormous sweaty sausages at the gym (down, gays!), they have the gall to sit at the space, legs splayed apart like they have hernia, and go through their entire playlist before picking just the right Taylor Swift song to pump iron to. How do I know the artist? Because it's blasted through their earphones so loud I can hear it over the gym speakers.

Side story: Tonight, Husband-elect approached me after I secured a spot at the rowing machine, and I swept my arm grandly at our surroundings. "Behold," I proclaimed, "sausages!" Husband-elect smiled comfortingly and said, "Don't worry, I'm here," then thought about that for a bit before saying, "...…

A Drink for Each Elector!

Our election night shenanigans occurred in Greentown Labs, a work space for energy entrepreneurs (= nerds). We honored the electoral college by providing a unique drink for each state and having shot glasses that corresponded to the number of electors there. For example, Hawaii had 4 Pina Coladas, California had 55 Cabernet Sauvignons, and Indiana had 11 Indiana Joneses. As the night wore on, we looked thirstily at Ohio, which had 18 Bloody Marys on offer. We attacked near midnight, and boy was it worth the wait! In fact, it easily rivaled the tastiness of my first drink of the night: a White Russian courtesy of Alaska. Props to the drink mixer.

Husband-elect had the time of his life. He wandered around, beer in hand as a chaser, and talked to everyone. At one point, he attempted to wrest control of the microphone from the organizer. He eventually succeeded when said organizer got so hammered that he went off to flirt with his girlfriend; at least, I think they were together. Anyway,…

Fuck You, AT&T Customer Service

Last month, I bought the iPhone 5 and decided it was time to get a new number, too, a Boston number to reflect my current location. I'd had a Philadelphia number before. I stayed a loyal AT&T customer, and what do I get? They're scamming me an entire fucking month for a phone I no longer use. Fuck you, AT&T.

Backstory: I happily activated my new phone, with its shiny new number. I called AT&T Customer Service and spoke to Jason, who then passed me on to Michelle. I explained to Michelle that I had a new phone (Boston), and since the contract on my old phone (Philadelphia) had expired, I wanted to terminate that line. She assured me that the Philadelphia line would be cancelled at the end of the next billing cycle. I confirmed the date -- October 26, 2012 -- and she said there would be no charges after that day, that there would be no more wireless bill for that number, and it would simply stop working as a cell phone.

Today: I plug in the old phone to check what O…

Game Review: The Last Story (Wii)

The Last Story has a terrific soundtrack, boring characters, fun gameplay, and a derivative story. A veteran JRPGer can breeze through this game in under 24 hours, maybe with some reloading of saves due to a surprise learning curve during boss fights, especially toward the end. Overall, this game disappointed me.

As background, The Last Story mainly takes place on Lazulis Island, known as a shield for the Empire because of its Lazulis Cannon. You know what they say: the best defense is a gigantic high-tech cannon! Your player, Zael, and his fellow mercenaries have been hired by Count Arganan, ruler of the island, to investigate a cave and wipe out lizard-people in the process. The leader of the group, Dagran, takes the job hoping to gain the Count’s approval and eventually have everyone raised as knights. Meanwhile, Zael flips out in the cave and receives a mark on his hand that attracts enemies and also heals downed allies. Later, he meets a mysterious girl hiding in a cart, falls for…