Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another one.

I swear this isn't a book review site (right, Bum? That's in the charter, right?). I just finished this book:

And I really enjoyed it. Everyone is unearthly beautiful and all that, but the characters are interesting. Generally flawed (with one noticeable exception) with (more or less) believable motivations. I was actually surprised right up until the denouement and with my jaded, I-saw-that-coming-a-mile-away attitude, that in itself was surprising. No spoilers, but there was a good tension going on and not quite sure which way the author was going to jump.

Was also impressed by the way the author described sex or sexuality or what's going on at the age of 16-20, when you're still and adolescent but dipping that toe into adult-ness (that's totally a word). It was handled with a certain discretion, without being coy, but there, no shying away from it. Plus I love tattooed boys burning with longing.

I am rabid to read the next one.

Not because I fell in love with any particular character or am invested in finding out the course of relationships, but because I am invested in this particular universe and want to see what's coming down the pike for this place and time (that takes place near Pittsburgh. Gotta love the hometown shout-out). What will happen next? I want to know.


Dark Court King and tattoos and troubled bad girl?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

now this is fucked up

Fanny, if I ever end up with a bloke who, while I'm trying to pop out an alien who's been residing in my belly for 9 months, does this: “We had a 14-hour session, her and I did. I sat there with her, right between her legs. We got tribal on it. We danced to it. I was DJing this native Brazilian music," you have my full permission to pull a Christian Bale on me.


Full story of Mr. McConaughey's "dance through [his girlfriend's] labour" here.

fucked up

I read the news about Christian Bale (whom I loved in The Dark Knight but who, I reckon, has acted better in most of his other films) and my first reactions were:

1. It can't be!
2. after reading the story The mum and sister are (female) wankers
3. Really? I need to know more.

I wonder if I'd have felt the same if this were John Meyer or James Blunt. I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to an (alledgedly) violent person. Though, in Britain, "assault" covers a wide range of actions including screaming, yelling and being pissed off (without any physical violence).

Monday, July 21, 2008

short hair woes

Lulled into a sense of unreality by my Thai-settled-in-Berkeley-for-21-years hairdresser's reminiscences of times gone by, I almost coloured my hair blue yesterday. Thankfully, better senses (or, more accurately, hunger pangs and a well-informed email from Fanny) prevailed.

However, I did end up with hair about 1.5 inches shorter than I wanted (and asked for). I wanted a Victoria Beckham and ended up with a mad pixie*.

Today, as I went to my usual coffee shop to get coffee (decked out in eyeliner, mascara and lippy), the coffee chap complimented the new hair and joked about it being very "rock star" (and I'm not a rock star type at all).

* I'm not implying that lady is a mad pixie at all. I, however, seem to look like what I'd imagine an irritated pixie to look like.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dr. Horrible

Enjoy Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillon and some redheaded woman in "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" here. All parts disappear tomorrow night so watch them now.

FYI (and spoilerish comment):
The feminist Interwebs have been frothing at the mouth about Penny's character development.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bad things.

I moved recently. I hate moving. This is not an earth-shattering statement, a particularly unique one, or a particularly surprising one.


Man, I fucking hate moving.

Bum will tell you I have a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. A truly astounding amount of stuff I can't bear to be parted from and have managed to tuck into teensiest corners of my apartment. It's a talent. (Plus I truly believe tiny apartment elves come out while I sleep and make. more. stuff.)

So to get all this stuff home (yes, I'm temporarily living with my parents while crap gets sorted out. Not in the basement, and I have no game consoles or black lights.), I rented a U-Haul truck.So here's the thing. They don't really ask you any questions about what you will be doing with said truck. You make a reservation, you pay with a credit card, you drive away with a truck. For 24-hours. All yours to do with as you want. What if I wasn't moving? What if I wanted to do bad things in the back of the U-Haul? Huh? Like a roving meth lab? Or a roving, tiny brothel? Or a roving band of bandits wandering the Pennsylvania highways? What kinds of bad things?

Lots of bad things.

What would your bad thing be?

blogging bags and books

I went to shop for swimmers yesterday and, after visiting many many (okay, three. But it seemed like a lot) shops, I ended up with a bag instead.

Just like the one you see here, except mine is a darker red colour. Fanny'd tell you I'm really not a (posh) bag type of person and I admit I'm a bit scared of my new bag. I'll keep yous updated on its adventures.

Talking of adventures, I finished reading a book in which various totally sex-filled scenes occur, most of which are rather far-fetched.* But, loads of people getting it off in this book. To the extent that it was enough to make one want to go get a David Tennant of one's own (probably NSFW).

* In my admittedly non experiential basis--sex on a horse? I'm not that keen on horses to start off with and unless it's a gelding, wouldn't it get excited? (and that can't be good for all parties concerned).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

why i like this part of the USA

I *just* had a realisation that I thought I'd share: so, I'm spending the summer on the Western coast of the USA. Northern California (San Francisco and the Bay Area to be precise). I was wandering around town today and thinking why I liked this area so much and reckoned I'd make a list:

1. It's like the best parts of my favourite cities--Sydney and Bangkok--came together and made a baby and this is it.

2. Any type of food/fruit you're after, you can get it somewhere. Often for really cheap. E.g., I had "ngah" (tried to find the English name to no avail but they are reddish fruit and have spine-like things on them) today and bought some "mongkut" (dark red/brown fruit with fleshy white stuff inside) and lychees to take to my dorm with me. In between typing, I'm scarfing down some of the fruit.

3. The shop right next door sells yakult and banana milk as well as Butter Coconut cookies, all staples from my childhood.

4. The many, many second-hand bookstores around the city.

5. The many, many excellent coffee and cakeshops around town.

6. The easy-going attitude towards clothing. I like Bangkok but one would never see locals (or, Asians in general) wearing short shorts or skirts over there. That was something farangs did. I recall being told at work that even non-heeled shoes weren't appropriate (as they weren't "feminine"). My response was that, unlike my boss (and my secretary who actually had a chauffeured Mercedes drive her about!), I had to take public transport in to work. Buses don't usually stop all the way over there--they slow down so you have to run and hope for the best, an activity not conducive to wearing heels. Anyway, clothing. So, here, I see lots of young women, including Asian women, wearing shorts. Not just skinny women but fairly chubby ones too. It's really nice, actually, since I reckon even in Washington (where I usually live), I don't see as many people--of all sizes and shapes-- just wandering around in casual, relaxing gear.

8. The many, many shops selling (mostly Asian-inspired) knickknacks, comic books (of all kinds, including some great small press ones I've found), Doctor Who novels and toys, and especially the people who discuss all these as though it was fairly normal (and not something only a tiny minority was keen on!)


musings on Mamma Mia

I've got a four-day break from teaching so you'll probably be hearing a lot more of my (admittedly not too fascinating) views on life, love and liberty. Starting with this:

Until today, I wasn't sure who the groom was. When I found out it's one of my favourite new actors (in a purely aesthetic sense), Mr. Dominic Cooper, I *almost* regretted buying a ticket to The Dark Knight instead of this.

It's rather sad though that all the publicity has focused on the "oldies" (nothing wrong with that since that includes Mr. Firth and Mr. Brosnan and Ms. Streep). But, for those of us who appreciate a fit lad (and a gorgeous accent) of our own age, Mr. Cooper fits the bill brilliantly. Not to mention that he was one of my favourite boys in The History Boys

Saturday, July 12, 2008

hell, boy!

Loved the imagery of Hellboy II. Was "meh" about the story itself.

Best bit? Hellboy and Abe singing along to Barry bloody Manilow and now the song's stuck in my head.

Other "cool" stuff: the steampunk characters, the troll market under Brooklyn bridge and the details of stuff going on around/behind the onscreen action.

Not so cool stuff: the villain.

Seriously, who decides to cast a former boy band singer as an evil mastermind? He never had a chance, really.


Sitting in a crowded cinema, waiting for Hellboy II (more on that later) to show, I saw the preview to Mamma Mia and realised I'd love to have been able to see it with my Mum. Some of my earliest memories are of my Mum having the radio on, with ABBA playing, as she puttered around the house, waiting for my Dad to get back from uni.

Seeing this at a popular web site and wishing I'd seen it a few days earlier so I could have put my name in the hat. My aunt (who is a voracious reader--not just romances but everything) first gave me Devil's Cub to read when I was a tween. I can still recall how it ends, though I've not revisited it since I entered my teens. I recall liking how the heroine gets things done without waiting to whinge about stuff. During my undergrad years in far off Northern Queensland and when I had my first long-term job and was living (alone) in Thailand, I had Black Sheep and Venetia with me, both of which were excellent beach (and comfort) reads and reminded me of home.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I wonder if I should go buy the new Entertainment Weekly after all? I mean, I'm still not over the Oliver Wood ("fucking hot" as an off blog convo put it)/Cedric Diggory mixup and I've never read any of Stephani Meyer's books (quite possibly a bit too emo, even for me) but vampires. And, perhaps, they'll recap the series so I won't have to go find/read any of the books after all.

In other vampire/vampiric news, Fanny sent me this a while back and I meant to share it with the rest of yous.

The things they do for television these days...


See?  Extreme pastiness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vampires, ahoy!

Following on from Fanny's previous post, when she first mentioned that the actor who played Cedric Diggory was to play a vampire, my thoughts were on this chap.

Actually, until about 5 minutes ago when I read Fanny's post, I was still imagining that chap as a vampire. And loving it.

Now that I've sorted out Cedric Diggory (and not lovely Scottish-accented Oliver Wood) in my head, I'm not half as keen.


I was never a huge fan of Cedric Diggory. In the book or the movie.
I mean, he's, like, okay and all. He's an archetype, a placeholder, the smart, talented, sensitive, handsome, kind jock you wish to meet (or I wish to meet. Though I would probably get annoyed with how perfect and good he is and then call him a pansy).

And I was kind of indifferent to the actor playing him in the movie. Except I didn't think he was that hot.

And now he's playing a vampire.

And I am weirdly, bizarrely intrigued (despite the really bad pastiness the vampires have going on. Really, really bad).

It may be a case of two wrongs equalling a right. As so:

A = Robert Pattinson, who I'm largely indifferent to and don't find that good looking
B = The Stephenie Meyer Twilight series that I am also largely indifferent to, given my distaste for angst-y vampires and the women who love them (Bum). Though the books have pretty covers.

Therefore: Indifference A + Indifference B = Embarrassing Interest C

Though this is all moderated by (Love for Kristin Stewart)X.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Your result for The Imaginary-Job Employment Test...

The Scary but Inept Government Agent!

No, you're not a Man in Black. Although that would be seriously cool. Why didn't we think to have a man in black result on this test? Dang it!

Anyway, no, your low Skill and Morality and moderate Humor make you well-suited to a life of getting outwitted. You should dress in dark suits, wear opaque sunglasses, and never-- NEVER hit what you're shooting at.

We can't stress this enough. When renegade heroes come at you-- and they will-- you let them beat you up. You miss them at point-blank range. Whatever it takes so that you look foolish and they look cool.

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. But hey, at least it's anonymous and thankless, so it's probably not much different than any corporate job you could get...

Take The Imaginary-Job Employment Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, July 07, 2008

Another paranormal.

So I'm currently reading this:

I've generally been entertained by the series. Even if they are vampires. So far I'm a few chapters into it.

This latest one has the MainWoman as Chinese. Taiwanese, if you want to get technical. And one part of me goes squueeeeee...There my bitches at! The other part of me goes uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh. Danger, danger, danger. Because while I agree with Bum in her argument about the convolutions romance writers go through to place Americans in stories where other peoples would work (probably better, more interestingly {is that a word? Is that word that should be used?}), I always have this dual reaction when there are Asian characters.

So it was rather providential when I read this from Karen from Karen Knows Best:

See, I have realized that I tend to avoid books wherein any of the main characters are Latino, particularly Mexican. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I can’t buy the cultural makeup the writer is laying down for those characters. More than once I’ve been overheard saying, “Cojones, dammit, not cajones!!!” or “hispanos are human beings, not a different species!”

Which is funny, because what I sometimes take to be stereotypical representation may in reality come from the author’s life expereince. Case in point: Karen Templeton’s character Félix in Baby I’m Yours. I had trouble with him because I thought he was a stereotypical Latino man based on things like George López or what have you. Turns out Ms Templeton based Félix on a number of actual people she knows in New Mexico where she lives.


So am I being racist in reverse? Am I actually assuming—with all the attendant asshattery—that no one can properly write Mexican or Latino characters that I can relate to?

Which is I feel about non-Asians writing about Asians. Like I think that we're a mystical people who others just can't get, rather than...well, mostly like everyone else and one doesn't need to belong to the club to write about the members.

I don't know.

I want to see more Asians, more minorities in romance (where they are not the mystical or quirky or whatever sidekick, and really just a big offensive cardboard cutout of stereotypes. I'm looking at you, Iris Johanson, Melanie George and others I will remember later). However, I will fall into the trap of looking for errors, how the author gets it wrong.

Contrary? You betcha.


While having dinner at an excellent Thai restaurant on 4 July (and practicing my Thai language skills while I was at it. The owner was hugely impressed but I fear that may have been more due to the fact that I asked for this duck thing that I've been craving for ages and apparently it's not something most people at that place ask for. I'll always be known as the peht girl or duck girl, as it were), I realised I was the only person apart from a mid-50's-ish couple sat fairly close to me.

Two things about empty restaurants:
1. Sound carries
2. Can't avoid listening in, really.

Turns out Man and Woman had met on BigOnlineDatingSite (BODS!). They had had a "connection" (Woman's terms) and this was their first in-person date. They liked travelling and food (duh!) but the woman ordered a "mild very mild pad thai". Really, how can you have mild pad thai? Pad thai is mild enough to begin with. Anyway, the man asked for and went with the waitperson's recommendations. Nicely done, that.

As Fanny would tell you, I'm a very slow eater. During that time, I found out more about those two than I ever needed to know. It's good (or scary) to realise, though, that age doesn't make the dating process any easier or less awkward (especially if, like me, you are trying to do your best not to listen in while obviously being perfectly situated to do so)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

back with a book.

I've realised that June was a rather lean month for Fanny and I. Not "lean" in the sense that we did anything (well, not sure about Fanny so let's talk about me for now)...I did anything that would make me lean (unless we are talking of the Tower of Pisa variety). Lean in the sense that blog posts were few and far between. But, fear not, we are back and posting and ready to regale yous with reams (bits? bytes?) of information that we feel is in your best interest to know.

Starting with this book: Fanny recommended the book to me and I went all the way to San Francisco (a rather expensive proposition, one which costs about as much, if not more, than buying a new paperback) to buy it and have just started reading it. However, I feel a bit like how historians/experts on X/whatnot might feel upon reading that the MainGuy first saw the MainWoman at the "train station in Kathmandu [Nepal]". A bit of research (Googling? Chatting up your local Nepali?) would have made it very clear that Kathmandu doesn't have a train station. In fact, Nepal doesn't have an (operational) railway at all.

I guess that's why I avoid political thrillers (especially nothing on terrorism, thank you) and stick to SFF. World-building, if done well, can't really go wrong. Real world geography can be nigglingly off.

Though now I'm reading about motorcycles in the Himalayas, so, perhaps, I should just take this as SFF as well and enjoy it that way. It is enjoyable so far.

I'll update yous when I've finished.

Update: Not much more on Nepal though the train trip is mentioned again. I liked it, overall, though I'm looking forward to the resolution.

One quibble. There was pretty much no reason to make MainWoman who she was i.e. some mountaineering, scary-dad-having woman from America. She could (and it'd have been lovely if she had been) have been Mingma's granddaughter or even the Rom girl (though a bit older, of course). This odd desire of authors to organise things so that a random American is doing things in "exotic" parts of the world becomes rather grating at times. It's not as if being American was necessary to this story in any way. Mingma's granddaughter would have been able to do everything this woman did--climb mountains, trek, clean up wounds, shag MainGuy, etc. Well, maybe not fly a plane but I'm sure that could have been easily sorted with a sentence like this: "Pemba took a one-year flying course in Kathmandu since she loved the mountains and wanted to be as close to them as possible" (okay, I'm not a writer. But you get my point). Most people there speak English fairly well and I'm sure the Living-in-Sedona part could also have been fudged easily enough. But, no, we needed some American to be conveniently wandering about so MainGuy could find her, bed her and get her into trouble.