Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka

Dear No One in Particular,

Merry Christmas*, one and all! I hope you're enjoying the holiday season, and nothing but love to you and yours.

Well, I'm finally back in California and am freezing my booty off. Yes, I know that there are parts of the country blanketed in snow, but it's damn cold for someone who lives in a tropical climate! Which leads me to why I'm posting on Christmas night. I should be spending time with my family, roasting chestnuts and singing carols or some Hallmark nonsense. Well, my parents arrived about 2 days ago from their vacation in the Philippines (can you tell we don't like to be cold?) and they're jetlagged out of their minds. They're both passed out on the couch right now, snoring up some very festive harmonies. I'm stuck in the dining room listening to them because I, uh, blew a fuse that blacked out half the house. In my quest to warm up my icebox/bedroom, I plugged in two space heaters and set them to "Death Valley in July". This, coupled with the TV, clocks, cellphone charger and laptop is probably what did the fuse in. Fun part is, no one can get to the fuse box; it's in the garage, which is in the half of the house that lost power. So, no lights until the morning.

Quick change of subject: not that I'm one to brag about my presents, or anything, but my mother, in her infinite wisdom gave me a Kindle for Christmas! I've been on the fence about the Kindle and it's electronic book reader bretheren for a while now: I really like the tactile pleasure of books: the way they smell, the feel of turning pages, the glossy covers. Also, I read so often that I rarely purchase books; I'm a frequent visitor to my local libraries, and harbour dreams of one day being a librarian myself. But, like I said, I read a lot. I'm rarely without a book, which really weighs down my purse and puts limits on which books I can tote around. The Kindle really frees up space in my bag and is light enough to be a non-issue, so I'm psyched out of my mind. I just purchased a couple of books, so a real, in-depth review will be up shortly.
First impressions: it's quick and light, which is great, but the layout of the page-buttons is maddeningly terrible.

So, I hope your holidays were bright and merry and full of food and love, blogosphere. If you're somewhat lonely and have a spare moment, come share a story with me!


*Also: Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and/or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And now for something completely different ...

Dear No One in Particular,

I love covers and mashups, especially when the resulting song is wildly different from the original. It's so easy to copy what you hear, like singing along to the radio; it takes so much more to make it your own. Which is why I absolutely love Lily Allen's take on "Womanizer"*. I really didn't like the original, and Lily's spin feels so much more organic, sans synth beats and auto-tuning (at least to a lesser degree than Britney's version).
The website I've linked to has a ton of covers available for listening. I know I'll be spending a couple of hours there!

Also: I know this isn't much of an update. I'm smack in the middle of my final exams, so I won't be posting ... well, probably at all. Alack, alas, much rending of garments, I'm sure. But! My holiday break is coming soon, and with it an inordinate amount of free time, so there'll be a flood of long-winded posts to make up for these short updates that are probably better regulated to a Tumblr than an actual blog.**

Regardless, enjoy and lovely listening!


*I can't embed the file directly, so a link will have to suffice. [via: 24 Free Dinners]
**True story: I created a Tumblr for myself a little while ago and managed to post exactly twice before I became so intimidated I never looked back.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Confession: I've never seen any Star Wars movies.

"Star Wars": an a capella tribute to John Williams
[via: Capucha]

This video is hilarious, all the same.
For some bizarre reason, it looks like something the Boy would do if he had the energy and editing software.*


I'm not sure why I think this; it's not like he's an insane Star Wars or John Williams fan.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Pound of Flesh

Dear No One in Particular,

The problem of "nude" is a hot-button topic for a number of bloggers recently (Wendy Brandes and Jezebel both dedicated some space to the issue), raising the question: when did "beige" become a synonym for "nude"?

Obviously, this designation did not spring up within the last week. I have distinct memories of Lucky touting "nude" sandals for summer 2006 -- proof that nothing in fashion (especially fashion magazines) is truly original. But why nude? Are Lucky and other magazines so dense that they don't realise that, no, people are not all the same colour underneath their clothes? I can understand that "beige" and "oatmeal", while apt descriptions, have decidedly un-sexy connotations, what's wrong with "neutral" or "taupe"?

Equally troubling are the racist overtones of lauding something as "nude" and promising that shoes in such a hue would elongate the leg line when obviously, this only works for, well, white people. So what -- people who aren't white don't want longer legs? Don't have that option available to them?

Perhaps I'm overthinking this.
While I'm not one to be overly involved with the PC movement, the fact remains that fashion is guilty for perpetuating the myth that white skin = beautiful skin -- a point I've written about before. So yes, political correctness can reach dizzying heights of ridiculousness, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's invalid. From where I'm sitting, the fashion industry could use a healthy dose of it -- and perhaps some diversity training.


P.S. Another issue that comes up in these discussions of "nude for whom" is the Crayola "flesh" coloured crayon. Apparently, the colour was discontinued in the 1960s in response to the Civil Rights movement, and was subsequently rebranded as "peach". Colour me crazy, but I was born a solid two decades after the "flesh" crayon disappeared, but I still remember using it as a wee one in the early '90s. Maybe I had a really, really old box? Or am I making false memories?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Dear No One in Particular,

As someone who once wrote an extensive -- and dead serious (sounding*) -- essay on the ethnographic merits of Borat, this article about Candyland as a metaphor for the American Dream is fascinating. I wish I had thought of it.

In related news, I freaking loved Candyland. Never has a game board mesmerized me so. I always wanted to be Princess Lolly, and Lord Licorice freaked me out. His character design always felt too similar to Disney villans of the time.

What about you? Any fond memories of Candyland, or any other classic children's games?


It was definitely one of those "how far can I push this?" assignments. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to really test my bullshitting skills on a final paper -- good thing it worked out in my favour!

Keep on Dancin' to the Rock & Roll

Dear No One in Particular,

I finally finished my epic research paper, meaning I am that much closer to never needing to write an academic paper ever. again.

To celebrate, I've been cozying up to this fantastic post on Jezebel with a giant glass of red. The commenters have great taste in music, and I've been downloading like a mad woman, inspired by the videos they've posted.

Celebrate with me! Share some amazing music.

Here are my selections:

Squeeze -- "Tempted" (the greatest song EVER. It won't embed, sadly.)
Jamiroquai -- "Virtual Insanity" (much better than "Canned Heat", IMO. Another disabled embed-video.)


(I can't explain why I love this song with passion that burns like the clap. I just do.)
(Also: a great video or THE GREATEST VIDEO?)

What gets your booty groovin'?


Saturday, November 29, 2008

International Dance Party

This is totally great. I'm going to now document my travels by dancing spasmodically on film. Extra points if I can get locals to join in.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Paint a Vulgar Picture

Dear No One in Particular,

This article about a woman who sold an original painting by Adolf Hitler yesterday reminds me of a story a classmate once told me. Her family was Austrian (she was a first-gen American) and her grandfather was a young man when the Nazis invaded. He eventually acquired a copy of Mein Kampf, and placed it in a prominent place on his bookshelf. Whenever a snoopy guest mentioned it, he would respond "Oh yes. It's signed by the author."*


*I have no idea if this is true. It's a nice conversation-stopper, though!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It still hurts, American Girl. Still hurts.

Dear No One in Particular,

Last month I blogged about my distress over American Girl's decision to retire beloved Samantha Parkington. Apparently, I wasn't the only outraged doll owner: I received an email today linking to a story about equally bereft bloggers taking to the internet to express their grief.

It's an interesting read (the PB&J metaphor pretty much encapsulates how I feel about this move) and it's really good to know that while the doll might be pushing daisies, the books are still available. The books, at least for me, were the foundation -- the whole point, really -- of the American Girl franchise. The lovely dolls were simply icing on the cake: pretty figures to aid in acting out the events of the book, tools to nurture the imagination.

I'll miss Samantha, and will continue to believe that she was one of the best characters in the American Girl pantheon. She was one of the most fully realised, and most true to life: she could be a total spoiled brat, but she was really kind at heart, with wide open eyes and an open mind.
While young ladies today might not have a Samantha Parkington to cuddle and play dress-up with, her world is still available to them in her books.


T-Day minus 4 Days

Dear No One in Particular,

Thanksgiving is bearing down upon us and I couldn't be more excited. Which is weird for me, since I normally hate this particular holiday. I've come to realise that I'm super-juiced about Thanksgiving this year because it's all mine -- no cooking for people I don't like, no cooking foods I won't eat. I'm calling the shots this year, and damn it feels good.

I'm also really looking forward to the cooking itself. I love to cook, but I've been so busy recently I haven't had much time to really experiment with new dishes. I'm looking at Thursday not just as another food-laden holiday, but as a chance to get back in my element and whip up some tasty eats. I have a ton of work bearing down on me right now, and I'm trying desperately to finish the majority of it before the holiday, but all I can think of is brined poultry and mulled wine. Obviously, this train of thought does not translate well when writing about Fatimeh and Ali Shariati.

The Boy and I finally put together a finished menu for our Thanksgiving dinner, and we're going grocery shopping tonight. Normally, I hate grocery shopping, especially here in Hawaii. It's pretty depressing, really -- everything has to be shipped from either Asia or the mainland, so what we get is usually half-rotted/beaten to hell and expensive. Milk is $8 a gallon! Lemons are $1.50 EACH. It's ridiculous.
But! Whole Foods has arrived! And it is glorious. Yes, it's expensive, but it's quality organic food -- something Honolulu is severely lacking. Something about wandering the aisles of a Whole Foods is soothing to me, knowing that there is no ingredient I won't be able to find. Having such a store is invaluable, and it seriously eases the tedium of grocery shopping.

Anyhow, here's the final menu for our Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Spinach salad with cranberries and goat cheese
  • Mulled wine
Entree and Sides:
  • Chicken, roasted and brined
  • Bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes
  • Rosemary and sage stuffing
  • Spiced cranberry relish
  • Pumpkin gooey butter cakes
  • Maple apple crisp with vanilla ice cream
Good Lord I'm excited. How about you? Any fabulous Thanksgiving plans? Or perhaps you would just like to talk food. Let's chat!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Beauty Misadventures: Scents for the Streetwalker in Your Life!

Dear No One in Particular,

I've been wanting to blog for a while now, but I'm currently wrapped up with a ton of school work, specifically a 15 page/4,000 word (whichever comes first) essay on the role of women in the Islamic Revolution. Fascinating stuff, no doubt, but not fun to write about -- at least not to that length. I have a couple of features all lined up, but they'll have to wait for a bit longer.

I'm taking a quick break from my marathon writing session* and browsing my new favourite website, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I'm a bit obsessed with perfume right now, and am trying to find a signature scent. BPAL's names really tread the line between quirky and obnoxious (a little too OMG so goth! for me), but themes are cute, and the selection is bananas -- almost to the point where I overload and want to lie down for a bit before looking at the lists and lists of oils available.
But lo! They have "imps' ears": 32 oz sample vials of their perfumes for the low price of $3.50 each or $20 for a selection of 6 scents. Fabulosity for ficklehearts like me. So, utilising my best friends, the search box and, I begin to seek out 6 possible perfumes.

Sounds like fun, no? Um, kind of. Here's a list of the scents I've shortlisted for my shopping cart:
  • French Love
  • Sacred Whore of Babylon
  • Loralei
  • Delight
  • Rapture
  • Old Venice
  • Phantasm
  • Cheshire Cat
  • Succubus
  • 51

Apparently, I want to smell like a French bordello. **
Or at least like a whore. With a predilection for Alice in Wonderland and alien-based conspiracy theories.

I guess ladies of the night really like jasmine and neroli? Because that's what I was searching for. I'm looking mostly for a complex white floral, but what comes up are skanky scents christened with the names of floozies.

Has anyone else out there tried BPAL? Have a signature scent you just can't live without? Do tell! The next time I'm out and about, I don't want to be solicited when all I'm doing is waiting for the light to change.


*My sincerest apologies if this update makes little-to-no sense. I'm already half a bottle of red to the wind, and I'm a bit of a lightweight.
**Not true. Very much not true.

Friday, November 14, 2008

La Petite Amelie

Dear No One in Particular,

I, like just about everyone else on the internet, am utterly entranced by Capucine, the wee French girl people are calling "Amelie Jr." Adorable to the bone, and ridiculously charming, I want to move to France to babysit. (Ignore the fact that I don't speak French -- Capucine can teach me!)

My favourite video involves her telling an wonderful story about a hippo who dies and goes to heaven against his will and a crocodile and a lion who becomes king, among other things:

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

I would kill to possess 1/10 the amount of imagination and joy she has!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

El Perro sin Pelo

Dear No One in Particular,

I have a 6 page paper due tomorrow, exactly 1/6th of which is complete. Naturally, I am procrastinating as hard as I possibly can, specifically by researching the differences between viringos and xolos.*

I justify this by saying that it's actually an educational experience, since most articles on the dogs are in Spanish and it helps me working on my Spanish language skills.

...yeah, I didn't buy it either.


Friday, November 7, 2008

An (Early) Christmas Letter

Dear Santa,

I know I've spent the last few years asking you for a doggy and/or pony for Christmas, and I would get pissy when you didn't deliver (really sorry about tipping off the IRS and UN on you re: elf-slaves and back taxes. Really sorry), but I really had my heart set on a new pet.

I'm more mature this year, and I've been a very good girl. So this year, I'm asking you for a baby pygmy hippo.


You can't deny me the adorbs.

Thanks and hope Mrs Claus and the slaves elves are doing well. Give the reindeer hugs and sugar cookies for me!


No. Way.

Completely drawn on Facebook's Graffiti application. Photo-realistic, no?

I'll admit: I really didn't believe that this could be done in Facebook with a mouse. If you're like me, you need to click on replay to see the proof that it was, indeed, hand-drawn.

One question: how does one learn to do this? Is there a class I can take? Because seriously, sign me up.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ho'omaika'i 'Ana

Some more Obama lovin' to spread around:

Stephen Colbert reminds us of the historical importance of a Hawaiian President. (Close on the pronunciation of Queen Lili'uokalani and ukulele, Colbert, but no cigar.)

And a wicked awesome mix tape dedicated to President-elect Obama.

My President

I didn't want to sleep last night, for fear that I would wake up to a harsher reality than than the euphoric one I closed my eyes on. I was terrified that I would wake to the news that it was all a dream, a wonderful, painful dream and that we, the American people, resigned ourselves to a fate far worse than "more of the same".

I have to tell you, waking up to hear President-elect Obama's voice on the radio and the headlines of "Hawai'i's Own Makes History" is somehow even more incredible than the announcements of last night.

I mention this worry, this deep-seated cynicism, comes from my first election. I waxed in-eloquent last night about my father's first election; mine was the Bush-Kerry Presidential Election of 2004. I went to bed that November night, only to wake to the news that Kerry could have won the election, and instead, conceded without disputing the Ohio votes. The raw anger and disappointment I felt that morning raged throughout the day, making me slightly regret voting for such a man. That election was ours to win -- and we should have taken it.

Four years after swallowing that bitter pill, I found hope in Barack Obama. It moves me so deeply to know that I was not the only one.

Congratulations again, President-elect Obama. For the first time in eight years, I can say with pride "I am an American, and Barack Obama is my President."

"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations, President Obama. Congratulations, America.

I'm not the least bit ashamed: I cried like a fucking baby when Charles Gibson announced Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America.

For this first time in history, the American dream that anybody can be elected president has come true. My sexagenarian father never believed that a black man could be elected President. The excitement and pure emotion in his voice when he called me tonight nearly brought me to tears again. We spoke after the DNC, and I remember him making the inevitable comparisons between Obama and Kennedy. To hear my father, the man whose first vote was cast for Kennedy in 1960, talk about how, not in over 40 years, had he been inspired by a Presidential nominee was incredible. My father cast his vote 48 years ago in Kennedy's historic election, and a few days ago, he cast his vote in yet another historic election.

As I am blogging this, President-elect Obama just walked out with his beautiful family, ready to give his acceptance speech, and I can't keep from crying again. Never has a politician inspired me so, and never before have I felt such hope and love for my country before, not even after 9/11/2001. Change is coming, and it is a much-needed change. Barack Obama is just the man to bring about that change, and I believe in him. He has inspired millions of Americans to believe that yes, my voice is important, and the multitudes have reciprocated, announcing that we believe in America, and we believe that Barack Obama is the man to lead us.

Yes We Can.

Yes We Did.

Yes We Will.


[images via 24 Free Dinners]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"I am French! Why do you think I have this outrageous accent?"

Today's lesson is brought to you by the letter "v". "V" for "vet", as in: vet your vice presidential candidates, and vet your phone calls.

No doubt that most have already seen/heard about this, but Sarah Palin being "pranked" by a Quebecois comedy duo pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pretty, well, ridiculous. It's insanely cringe-inducing, especially given that Palin sounds like a crazed Sarkozy fan girl. The interview quickly devolves into obnoxious-territory, becoming increasingly awkward.

Honestly, I had hard time believing that Sarah Palin could be so damn gullible. Faux-Sarkozy's "French" accent devolves into Quebecois after about 10 seconds; he calls Johnny Hallyday a "close American advisor"; discloses that his wife is "so hot in bed"; and refers to "Nailin Palin" as a biopic -- all signs that someone's fucking with your head.
But what really gets my goat is how unbelievably ignorant Palin comes across. She falls all over herself when presented with the opportunity to talk with "President Sarkozy"; her greeting is far from professional, and she can barely handle the conversation. Just like in the debates, she has a hard time moving past simple talking points -- she actually injects them into her small talk!
Additionally, her "foreign policy" pitfalls are disgustingly apparent here. She doesn't catch the fact that the Candian PM is Stephen Harper, not, as Faux-Sarkozy mentions, Stef Carse. This woman is running for higher office, and not only does she not know what Nicolas Sarkozy sounds like, she doesn't even know who the Candian Prime Minister is! Moreover, she should know that Sarkozy recently entertained Obama as a visiting dignitary, and therefore would be unlikely to call her up out of the blue to commiserate about her faltering campaign and chit-chat about hunting baby seals. Let me reiterate: she's running for higher office, and she's this willfully ignorant.

Schadenfreude, the Masked Avengers haz it.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Feliz Dia de Los Muertos!

*click to view full image*
taken at the Museum of Popular (Folk) Arts in Mexico City (2006)

El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favourite holidays. I've written a bit about it before, but I'd like to reinforce the fact that this, like Halloween, is not a day of fear or morbidity. It's a celebration of life as much as it is a celebration of death.
People visit the graves of their deceased family members not just to mourn their death, but to celebrate their lives. It's a way of remembering that while they might be gone, they made an indelible impact while still alive.

El Dia de los Muertos reminds us that, so far as we know, we only have one life -- make it a good one. Surround yourself with good friends, good food, and good drink; make laughter the soundtrack of your days; see the world through rainbow lenses. Life is too short to be bland.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hope for our Future

Dear No One in Particular,

I don't know about you, but I have the worst case of election-fatigue. 6 days feels far too long; I feel like we know all there is to know, and I can't stand to hear any more.

But then I saw this video and .... and ....

I'm all verklempt.


Monday, October 27, 2008

T-Day minus One Month

Dear No One in Particular,

I am sitting on my couch watching Paula Deen make fudge with Max Brenner, and I can't bring myself to think about anything other than cooking. Specifically, cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

I love cooking, baking especially. I bake to reduce stress, which means that there's almost always cupcakes or brownies in my fridge. As much as I love my Boy, he can't cook. Like, at all. I once caught him trying to boil sausages in a frying pan. Natch, I do pretty much all the cooking for the both of us.

We're both stuck in Hawaii for Thanksgiving this year, which isn't a big deal so far as I'm concerned. I really don't like Thanksgiving -- I know, there are people out there ready to shoot me for such an admission. Honestly, I hate most traditional Thanksgiving foods: turkey repulses me, cranberry jelly with the can ring-imprints terrify me, and I HATE pumpkin pie. That leaves a handful of side dishes for me to munch on, so I don't really get that food-coma that most of my family self-induces. And don't get me started on the Pilgrim-Indian nonsense.
I've slowly started to come to terms with Thanksgiving. I've realised that this is a holiday that most people really, truly enjoy and look forward to; in order for me to enjoy it as well, I had better take the reins, culinarily speaking.

That said, I'm getting more and more excited about this Thanksgiving. While I know the Boy is disappointed that there won't be any turkey or pumpkin pie, he trusts that I can pull together a great meal for the two of us.
I've created a preliminary menu; it looks like a ton of food, and well, it is. Especially considering that I'm cooking for just two. But! I believe that if we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner, we may as well have the 3-weeks worth of leftovers, too.

Amanda and the Boy's Thanksgiving dinner (so far):
--mulled wine
--roasted chicken with sage and herbes de Provence
--cornbread stuffing
--bourbon sweet potatoes
--spiced cranberry sauce with pear
--brussels sprouts au gratin/green bean casserole*
--maple apple crisp a la mode
--pumpkin gooey butter cake**

So, internets, what are YOU having for Thanksgiving?


*I haven't decided which one to make yet.
**Just because I don't like pumpkin pie doesn't mean I don't like pumpkin -- quite the opposite! And we need a pumpkin dessert.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Too Good!

And now, for something completely different:
Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal from"How I Met Your Mother" sing the confrontation song from Les Miserables.

It is so much more awesome than you would think. And, yes, I know you're thinking awesome on the level of unicorn tears.

I have to say, I'm a little shocked at how good NPH does Javert. I've heard him sing as Toby from Sweeney Todd, which is really high (originally a boy soprano), it's no where near the range of Javert (baritone to bass-baritone). That he's so powerful (and can sing so low!) is really awesome.
But the real standout in my eyes is Jason Segal. He sounds eerily similar to original Valjean Colm Wilkinson.

I have to admit, I've watched the video about 4 times now, and it never gets old. It's amazing every damn time.

I wonder where my old musical soundtracks are ....


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love is All You Need

Dear Body,

I know we've had some issues in the past, and I haven't treated you as well as I should have. So today, in honour of National Love Your Body day, I'd like to apologise for all the cruel things I've done over the years.

I'm sorry for all the Chinatown haircuts, and that it took me so long to actually get a real, flattering hairstyle.
I'm also sorry for getting bangs in the 5th grade. That was a really bad idea.

I'm sorry for all the In-N-Out burgers and Jack in the Box fried mac-n-cheese bites. (But they were totally worth it, amirite? Fuggedaboudit!)

I'm sorry for all the times I ate a Cliff bar and called it a meal.

I'm sorry for the days when I just ate a cup of pasta, but spent hours at the gym, burning calories I didn't have to spare.
I'm sorry for forcing you to drop 3 dress sizes in a month -- you looked bangin', but you felt shitty. I'm sorry for making you feel shitty.

I genuinely apologise for all the yo-yo diets. I want to eat healthy, for once.

I'm sorry for not having my wisdom teeth extracted yet. I promise I'm going to take care of that this winter.

I'm sorry for moving to Hawaii, and for staying here. I know you're unhappy here -- I have the skin issues to prove it. We're going back to calmer climes soon!

I'm sorry for not sticking with the physical therapy.
For that matter, I'm sorry for causing all the back problems. I don't remember what I did to cause them, but I'm sorry all the same.

I'm sorry for wearing flip-flops for so long, and I'm sorry I haven't put insoles in my shoes to correct the damage.

I'm sorry for not wearing my glasses.

I'm sorry for that pedicure -- you know the one where the woman slashed open the top of my big toe? Yeah, that one.

I'm sorry for carrying around gigantic purses loaded down with tons of books and crap. I'm also sorry to tell you that it's not going to stop any time soon. What can I say? I have a lot of junk, and it needs to get hauled around.

I'm sorry I don't like vegetables, and that I keep forgetting to take my vitamins.

I'm sorry for all the times I stuffed my size-10 hips into a size-7 skirt.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get a decent bra.

I'm sorry for cutting, for pinching, for scratching, for twisting the skin off my hands and arms. And I'm truly sorry for not getting help sooner.

I'm sorry for not telling you "you are beautiful" every single day.
We are beautiful.

Love with all my heart,

Goodbye, Victorian Rose

Dear No One in Particular,

I received wind of some particularly sobering news this morning: American Girl has announced that they are discontinuing the entire line of Samantha dolls. For good. Tears all around.

Samantha was my absolute favourite, but she wasn't my introduction to the American Girl series.* I remember seeing her picture in the catalog and falling in love with her because we shared a hairstyle (I could be a very shallow 8 year old, but at least I liked to read historical fiction). But really, Samantha was the bomb-diggity. She was incredibly rich, with all the best toys -- her party set was THE best thing a girl could have: little painted petit fours, a working ice cream maker, and don't get me started on her fabulous wardrobe! Fur muffs! Velvet dresses! LINED PURSES, YA'LL. I seem to remember a steamer trunk, too, but I can't be quoted on that.

But despite her very My Super Sweet Sixteen-seeming lifestyle, Samantha was the tops as a girlfriend. She was BFF with her maid/"servant girl" Nellie, and somehow, the relationship didn't seem contrived or condescending. Samantha truly saw a kindred spirit in poor illiterate Nellie, and it didn't matter the stations they were born into.

Samantha was witness to a changing world (really, most of the girls were) and her experiences shaped a lot of little (real) girls' view of history and the world around them. Samantha's grandmother was a hard-ass Victorian prude, but her beloved uncle and his glamourous girlfriend were automobile-owning suffragettes! Samantha was privileged, but she was by no means sheltered. I remember reading the historical notes at the back of "Samantha Learns a Lesson" and crying over the pictures of children working in factories. I had no idea how good I had it, and neither had Samantha. Petting her long brown curls, I realised that we had both learned a lesson about the world and it's cruelty.

R.I.P. Samantha Parkington, raddest American girl of them all. (Kit Kitredge is a punk.)


*That would be Felicity, the spunk sprightly colonial girl ... or something to that effect. My grandmother gave me her entire set of books one Christmas and I read them until they fell apart. I blame Felicity for my love of colonial American history.

Monday, October 13, 2008

#184: Jump in with your clothes on

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm supposed to be writing a paper*, but instead I've been spending time poring over what is quite possibly the sweetest website ever: 1001 rules for my unborn son.

I've made it known that should I ever have a son, I plan on raising him to be a gentleman. The author of this website appears to have the same agenda I do. It's filled with advice, sometimes common sense, sometimes hard-won knowledge. All of it is heartfelt, humorous, and true.

While some of the rules are submitted by readers, it is plain that whoever is lucky enough to have the site's author as a father is blessed indeed.


*It seems that college is nothing more than hundreds of term papers of varying lengths and subjects spread out over the course of 4 years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barack the Vote!

Dear No One in Particular,

Are you registered to vote? I sincerely hope so, since a lot of state deadlines have already passed. We're getting so close to the election, and despite what we've been told, every vote counts.

I know a lot of people who refuse to vote simply because they don't like the candidates. I think this is unbelievably selfish, especially within the context of this election. Simply look at the candidates' voting records and you can see the ramifications of a non-vote. Look beyond your own personal misgivings and think about how the presidency in the hands of Candidate A would be be different from Candidate B. Consequences people; nothing occurs in a vacuum.

I would like to say that this is perhaps one of the most important elections in history, and it's true. We have the opportunity to vote a minority into the White House -- why this hasn't happened before, I don't know. But it's more than that: women's rights are on the table, inexplicably, Roe v. Wade is on the table.

I wasn't going to write a pro-voting post, but reading about a 106 year-old nun voting for the first time in 52 years is an incredible inspiration.
So please: do like Sister Cecilia and vote.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

La Cocinetta

Dear No One in Particular,

It's pretty well-acknowledged that I don't work well with most standard kitchens. I'm wee, see, and most counters are about 3-4 inches too tall for me. If I were to have a dream kitchen, most normal people would have to squat to wash their hands.

Which is why I think Pottery Barn might have a solution to my problem: a gourmet kitchen for children.*

Ok, ok: it's actually too small for me.** I feel like Goldilocks. Perhaps I should just buy some fabulous supplies from retail heaven, aka Anthropologie. Ooh, sale section!


*First of all: where the hell was this when I was a kid? Not at Toys R Us, I assure you. Second of all: who the hell has $899 to spend on toys for their children? Please, come forward. With that kind of money, you can single-handedly bailout the economy. No new taxes!

**Yes, I busted out the measuring tape to check. Don't judge.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm testing out a new moisturizer, and really, all I can think of is:

Damn my face stinks.

[ETA: yeah, that didn't last. I had to wash it off. It's going back tomorrow.]


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heaven is an endless library

Dear No One in Particular,

I love to read, and always have. I was a solitary child, and so spent much of my time holed up in my room reading. I would escape to far off places, befriend whole worlds of new people; books are my escapist drug.
I'm also aware that it's somewhat en vogue to pretend to be dumb(er), and to shown disdain for reading. I also think that's incredibly stupid. While I often struggled to fit in -- and honestly, still do -- I never pretended that reading was a chore. So many beautiful things lie buried in those words, waiting for our imaginations to set them free!

As an intense bibliophile, I carry around long lists of "To Read" books. I have a list entered in my BlackBerry, another in the Boy's iPhone, and a Moleskin notebook with a list 4 pages long. I can never visit a bookstore without padding out my beloved lists.

And here's another one: 75 Books Every Woman Should Read, as determined by Jezebel (and Jezebel commentators). A response to Esquire's 75 Books Every Man Should Read, Jezebel created a woman-centric list that provides a yin to Esquire's yang. (I bet they would love to hear that!)

I've become increasingly ... upset, I suppose, by my current preoccupation with what I call "mac-n-cheese" literature. Mostly chick lit, and picked mostly for their nonsensical plots, bad writing, and incomprehensible page-turning addictiveness, I feel I've been rotting my brain with books that, while easy to digest, are not particularly stimulating.

So, I've decided to read all 150 novels (yes, both lists for sake of a well-rounded reading experience). I've already completed 26 of the tomes over the years, and am currently making my way through Flannery O'Conner's A Good Man is Hard To Find, which I am absolutely falling in love with. Granted, I've long been an admirer of the short story (Salinger, holla!), so O'Conner's brutal prose is right up my alley.

I invite you, dear reader(s ?) to join me in this epic quest of required reading. Naturally, I'm not going to limit myself to just these books -- sometimes, you just need some mac-n-cheese to better appreciate the prime rib -- but I would love to form a sort of book club with someone, plowing through these greats of literature. I'm trying to convince the Boy to join me: I bought him Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Jack London's Call of the Wild, two books that brought me to tears, but he's in the "reading's not for me" camp right now.

What do you think? Interested in joining me in this purely intellectual experiment? Read any of the books and have opinions that burn like the clap? Tell me! I love talking books.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

You know, when I was a kid, I always thought I'd grow up to be a hero.

Dear No One in Particular,

I was planning on writing a blog post, since I haven't written one in a while, but I was greeted with this headline: Paul Newman dies at 83. And now I'm so heartbroken, I can't do much of anything.

He was such a great guy: absolutely gorgeous, deeply humble, a devout philanthropist (his delish Newman's Own brand generated approximately $175 million dollars for charity -- he didn't make a cent), an amazing actor, and an all-around gentleman.

I keep thinking about his wonderful relationship with his family -- his wife in particular -- and making a :-( with my whole heart.

Newman was half of one of the most successful showbiz marriages -- to Joanne Woodward whom he married in 1958. He observed that just because he was a sex symbol there was no reason to commit adultery.

"Why would I go out for a hamburger when [I] have steak at home?" he asked.

R.I.P. Paul, a truly great man.

(Now excuse me while I watch my favourite movie ever, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and weep.)


Monday, September 15, 2008

In what way, Charlie?

[Edit: arg! The videos aren't embedding properly. Links to the NBC website instead.]

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm sure you've seen it already, and it's been discussed to death over the water cooler, but how awesome were Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Hillary Clinton? TOO AWESOME, for sure. It almost makes me want to watch SNL again. (Then again, Tina made me want to watch again after she hosted and endorsed Hillary, but that never happened ...)

At any rate, Tina was spot on as Palin, but really, it was all about Poehler in my mind. The little eye-bug? Her sarcastic undercuts? Were just as amazing as Fey's rifle-pose.

But my absolute favourite part? "I invite you to grow a pair. And if you can't, I will lend you mine." That, right there folks, is my new mantra.
"I can see Russia from my house!" is my new catchphrase.


P.S. Yes, I am supposed to be working on my mass media paper ... what of it?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cave + Bookshelf = LOVE

Dear No One in Particular,

You know how I said I found my dream home? It was missing something. Namely, this:

It's totally earned a spot in this bibliophile's heart. Now if I can find 5,000 Euro, it will have a spot in my home.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drool Worthy Design

Dear No One in Particular,

I think I found my dream home.

all found via Design*Sponge

Mid-century modern coupled with a craftsman-style apartment in Oakland? Bright pops of colour? I'm 100% sold.

Naturally, I'm head-over-heels for Christine's e-store LAMA (the sick Katrina pillow on the bed can be found there), and subsequently have a wish-list as long as my arm. Now I have an apartment to covet, too.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Call Me Baby

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm one of those people who names just about everything: my computer (Betty), my iPod (BrickLove*), my car (Lokelani). I'm also the special kind of crazy that names things that don't exist quite yet, like my future dogs (2, named Benito and Gunther) and, well, my possible future children. Yep. I'm one of THOSE girls.

I seriously believe that our names affect who we grow up to be. A shitty name -- or nickname, for that matter -- can scar a psyche for life. Personally, I HATED being called Mandy. It really doesn't suit me, and I resent the fact that the name is linked forever with that Barry Manilow song. However, Amanda was -- is? -- a very popular name, and just about every class I've been in has at least one other "Amanda".
As a result, I want to name my kids something more unique, so they'll never be saddled with being "Ava 1" or "Jacob 4".

But on the other hand, there are parents who look at naming their children like a personal challenge. The couple that creates the most bizarre name, wins. What the prize is, other than years of therapy is beyond me. Here is a repository of those horrible baby names, with biting commentary to boot. Just about every entry made me giggle out loud, so unless you are made of stone, don't read the website unless you're prepared to laugh.


ETA: This is a great article about the seemingly ridiculous-sounding African American baby names. Wonderfully written food for thought.

*It pairs nicely with my iTune library, "Feck Off, Cup!" Points if you can name that reference.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Turn it On (Again)

A conversation between me and the Boy, held last night.

Me: Wanna hear about something freaky I found on the internets?

Boy: Uh. Sure. I think.

Me: Michael Phelps SWITCHPLATES.

Boy: (looks excited) Really?!

Me: What. Why are you so happy about this? You're scaring me.

Boy: Dude, that's bitchin! (makes a stabbing motion) Bam! You just got stabbed -- by Michael Phelps, bitch!

Me: (laughing) Oh my God, no, I said switchplates, not switchblades!

Boy: (disappointed) Aw, damn. That would've been awesome. (makes stabbing motion again) I just stabbed you AND I won eight gold medals! (thinks quietly for a moment) So ... switchplates?

Me: Yeah, like for light switches. I looked through them and was thinking that they totally missed out on some hilarious places to put the switches.

Boy: Like putting the dual switches on his arms, so when he's swimming, his arms flip up and down.

Transcribing this is convincing me that someone really needs to do this. I might consider buying one just for the novelty value of being able to flip Michael's "arms".

Turn it On

Dear No One in Particular,

Someone likes this photo a hell of a lot more than I do.

The truly creepy part? There are so many more to choose from. And that's just one store!

Etsy: taking the Michael Phelps love to a whole new level.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reality Check, One, Two

Dear No One in Particular,

I've been told that religion and politics are never topics for pleasant conversation. And I've pretty much held to that piece of advice. I'm extremely passionate, opinionated, and infuriatingly stubborn, and while I might be a small percentage of people who possess that particular holy trinity of traits, just about everybody can get worked up into a lather over religion and politics.

When I started this blog, I decided that religion and politics would be off-limits, just like in my real life. I'm about to break that rule now, but this will not be a breeding ground for my liberal politics, just as I'm not really opening this oft-ignored blog into a forum to discuss the presidential race.

I'm genuinely terrified of a McCain presidency. Genuinely terrified. His track record regarding women's rights is appalling, and honestly, pulling a uterus onto his ticket doesn't come close to making up for that. In fact, it scares me more. I am worried that they believe that having a woman V.P. would draw votes simply for the novelty. I am worried that they believe that people are dumb enough to believe that a vote for Palin is similar to a vote for Hillary -- and I'm worried that they're right. I'm really, really worried about what they would do to our country should they -- God forbid -- win.

Full disclosure: I wasn't an Obama supporter from the beginning. I still have my reservations about him. My vote will 100% be a vote in favour of the lesser of two evils -- which, I must continue to admit is not the best phrase to describe how I feel about this. I don't particularly like peas, but if the alternative is eating nuclear waste, hand over the peas. I'll eat peas every day, and while it may not be the cake I wanted, it's not bad, and it's not nuclear waste.

Which is how I feel about the election: something I'm not all jumpity-excited over, but can live with vs. something that chills my bones and keeps me awake at night.

While I'm not a 100%, true-blue Democrat, I do believe that Obama is the beacon of hope that this country needs. He promises change, and I think that, while he is young and relatively (to McCain) inexperienced, he is far from "more of the same". And no matter what lies the Republicans tell, they are more of the same. Possibly worse, because they say these lies and believe them.

I will vote, even though my favourite candidate did not win the Democratic nomination. I will vote because I love this country, flawed as it is, and I know we can make it better. I know it can be better. And I know that, despite that it's been touted so many times it's now a cliche, we need to change for the better. I need to believe in that change, because what we need now is a reason to hope for a future better than the one we're currently experiencing.

I vote in favour of hope. Come November, I'm voting for change.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Pillow Fight

Dear No One in Particular,

The Boy and I have been together so long that we're essentially an old married couple. We rarely converse, we bicker. We argue constantly, yet we can't live without each other. It's sweet sometimes, but mostly it's infuriating, since we don't argue about anything of importance. No, we fight about minor, everyday things, like what kind of milk we should buy. I admit, I have a short temper, but it's mostly his fault, since he provokes me.

This morning, we fought about pillows.
Yes, pillows.

He was doing the laundry (which is nice, I admit), and I noticed that the pillows were stained. Really stained. Like, I can't remember what colour these were originally, they're covered in orange-y blobs stained. Naturally, I was grossed out and told the Boy that we needed to buy new ones stat. He looked at them and decided, no. No, we didn't. The orange pillows were just fine, and besides, we're moving soon anyway so what's the point in buying pillows that are only going to be tossed out?

I stared agog. Seriously? Could he not see the vast amounts of gross? The gross that we sleep on every night? Our faces, our beautiful faces lay on these filth-laden pillows for upwards of 8 hours. They were being thrown out tonight, and we were buying new pillows.

He threw a conniption fit, saying that buying new pillows is a total waste of money. I pointed out that we're not moving for another year, and I refuse to sleep on a Petri dish for that long. He argued that we have extra pillows hiding in a closet, which he pulled out for me to examine. These "perfectly good" replacements have been stored in a dusty, unused linen closet for the past 2 years and are covered in stains of their own. Additionally, they're curiously both flat and lumpy. I tossed them back at him and told him that they're rejected science experiments, and I now have hepatitis from handling them.

He looked more closely at them, and began to laugh, asking why we still have them then. I blew a gasket. I started shouting about how he is a miniature version of his father, and can't throw anything away because -- God forbid -- he might have to spend money to replace something that is absolutely horrifying (can you tell this is a recurring argument?). He laughed some more, while STEAM CAME OUT OF MY EARS. He then attempted to compromise, saying that I can buy a new pillow, while he continued to sleep on the stained ones. I told him if and when his face falls off, he can't borrow my pillow.

The Boy then began to examine our current pillows, saying that maybe we should get new pillows. I picked one up off the bed, shoved it towards his face, pointed at a particularly nasty looking stain and shouted "DIS-GUS-TING."

His reaction? "Ew. Yeah."

And then I fell over dead.

I nearly took pictures of the pillows just to show you what I have to live with, but I have some semblance of self-preservation left. Suffice it to say, any sane person would have looked at them and immediately headed to Macy's. Instead, I had a 30 minute screaming match about why stained pillows are unacceptable DO YOU SEE WHY I WILL DIE YOUNG.

The upside? The Boy conceded, somehow squeezed 4 pillows into a plastic bag making an uber-pillow, and tossed them in the dumpster. That's one small victory for reason, and 4 years off of my life.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

La Vida y la Muerte

Dear No One in Particular,

I feel a bit late to the party (again), but lord am I going bananas for Etsy.

I'm not completely new to Etsy, though. I bought a Christmas present for my mother last year from a seller. It was a great experience, really; the jewelry was beautifully handcrafted and reasonably priced. I don't know why I didn't really throw myself into the website until just recently, but I'm 100% thrown.

One of my absolute, hands-down favourite stores in the history of consumerism? ArtofSkulls. Despite the fact that they scared the poopie out of me as a kid, I'm now completely mad for Dia de los Muertos skulls. I want one in every colour and motif.
Really, this should come as no surprise, since they're a bit kitsch-y, tend to be obnoxiously coloured, and all-around over-the-top in terms of wall art. I'm not all that superficial: I really like that they celebrate death, not view it as something to be feared. Death should not be mourned as the passing of an individual, it should be a celebration of the amazing life they led! The fact that they are reminders of mortality isn't morbid -- it's a reminder to live a beautiful life.

Now, who wouldn't want that?


P.S. I should admit that I already have calaveras art -- I bought a shadowbox/diorama while in Mexico City of calaveras mariachis serenading a lady calavera. I think that it'd go exceedingly well with whatever skull(s) I purchase.

P.P.S. If you're following my Twitter updates, I mentioned a painting of that the Boy did not approve of. Despite the fact that it's a camel, not a llama, I bought it earlier today. It was just too amazing. Good news for you, though: there's a pink and a green version of the same print.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beauty Misadventures

Dear No One in Particular,

Have you ever had one of those mornings when it's not so much that everything goes wrong, so much as it's the fact that the little things get screwy? Like a simple, everyday makeup routine results in panda eyes and Tammy Faye Bakker lashes? Yeah, I had one of those days yesterday.
I, like every other woman, am on the quest to find the Holy Grail of mascaras. I should admit here and now, I do not want natural-looking lashes. I want my lashes to be dramatically lush and long, like false lashes. My God-given eyelashes are actually really long and curly, but I don't think they're thick enough, and they're certainly not going to be mistaken for falsies any time soon.

Given my fondness for user-generated review sites, I frequent for tips on buying my next tube. I had heard good things about my most recent purchase, Max Factor Volume Couture. It had a high rating, and after reading a couple of reviews, I figured it'd be worth a spin.

So. I put on some simple eye makeup and began to apply. First, the brush and handle are ridonkulously unwieldy. I've used Lash Blast without issue, but for some reason, I was not able to apply this mascara without getting black all over my eye. I looked like a five year old playing with Mommy's makeup. I'll forgive a lot for results, so I was willing to overlook the fact that it got more mascara on my eye than on my lashes if it gave me full lashes.
No forgiveness for Max, though. I must admit, I don't like rubber bristle brushes. I know they separate like nothing else, but this mascara gave me fat spider leg lashes. About 5 spider leg lashes per eye, to be exact, which I guess is better than the usual arachnoid, but worse for the human eye.

Normally, that would be the end of my beauty issues, but it didn't stop there. Apparently, like stank perfume and bad exes, bad mascara holds on long after you've washed your hands of it. I couldn't get this crud off. When mixed with some water, the spider legs decided to bond together, forming 2 huge spikes instead of 5 legs. Wonderous. On top of this, what mascara I was able to rub off had melted all around my eye and was spilling onto my cheeks. I looked like someone who just lost their shit and forgot they weren't wearing waterproof that day.

Frantic (because I was running late for school at this point), I spied a Prescriptives makeup remover sample hiding on my shelf, and smeared some it on my lashes. Holy hell, it felt like I just doused my eyes in battery acid. Whimpering like a beaten greyhound, I quickly washed off the carbolic acid that was burning holes in my face. Luckily, the makeup remover worked on the insidious mascara, and I was able to get most of the sludge off.
I realised a little too late that the bottle of calendula oil I have sitting on my vanity also works as a makeup remover. On the upside, I was able to use this to remove the traces of sad panda that the Prescriptives left behind.

Moral of the story: never test a new mascara while running late. Unless you like the Tammy Faye Panda look.

(Also, I am back on the hunt for the Holy Grail of mascaras. Should you chance on this site and have knowledge of one, please send word and let me know it exists.)


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Part Asian, 2x More Crazy

Dear No One in Particular,

Researchers from UC-Davis found that hapas* are twice as likely to suffer from mental disorders.
*For future reference, I refer to biracial Asian-Causcasian individuals as "hapa".

As a hapa woman myself, I can't help but be intrigued by the findings of this study. My knee-jerk reaction was somewhat defensive, but on future reflection, I don't really know how to feel about this. To be 100% honest, I'm hapa and I suffer/have suffered from psychological disorders. Do I think that my ethnicity was the reason for my problems? Not really, and if I'm reading it right, I don't think that the Davis researchers are saying that either.

I think that the research is stating a simple fact: hapas suffer from psychological disorders at a higher rate than their monoracial counterparts. The end. There doesn't seem to be any judgment passed on the individuals; they simply are. I am hapa, and I suffer from mental disorders; I simply am.

This is not to say that the study should be taken at face value -- quite the opposite. Such racially-charged studies tread along very dangerous territory. Studies such as the one conducted at Davis can be used to support eugenics arguments, and have been enacted in the past. Which leads me to one of my major problems with the study -- it goes nowhere positive.

I suppose that statement could be revised to say that "it goes nowhere" period. Like I said before, it makes the statement that, compared to monoracial Asians, hapas suffer higher rates of mental disorders. But that's it! Definitely, definitely there needs to be further study.
Why do hapas suffer more mental distress? Is it an environmental factor? A rearing factor? Or are they simply being over-diagnosed? What is going on here -- and most importantly, can it be remedied?

There is a danger in these findings, but there is also hope. Speaking from personal experience, a lot of my mental distress can be traced back to growing up hapa -- which could be chalked up to growing up as an island. I'm not very old at all, yet I knew only one other girl who was hapa, and I'm the only person in my family who is mixed. Really, there was practically no one who I could relate to, which I guess could have led to my issues with depression.

Perhaps, perhaps if the researchers didn't stop -- don't stop -- working with mentally disordered hapas, they can reduce the statistics and raise the awareness.


Thass Ridi-ka-lous

Dear No One In Particular,

How familiar are you with the unholy creations of International Male catalogue? I have to admit, beyond the passing reference, I had no idea how truly awful their designs were/are. However, I found myself getting an education in horrific this evening while perusing Jezebel. Apparently, they've been dissecting International Male's crimes against humanity for a while now. The photos and commentary have had me LOLing all night. Confession: I laughed so hard at the gauze overalls I cried.

Equally good -- and the source (of sorts) of my post title -- is Something Awful's take on IM. While the pictures are pretty amazing, the commentary has me in stitches.

Laughing at International Male: a great way to end a terrible day.


Thursday, August 14, 2008


Dear No One in Particular,

This is just too awesome. Add Doris Probst to my list of heroes, if only for her moxie. It takes some guts to get up on that stage and just hog call like there's no tomorrow. Congrats, lady!

In other news, I really want to try hog calling. I figure I can yell really loudly and can squeal so loudly it throws the neighbourhood dogs into a frenzy (wish I was kidding). I wonder if it works on Olympic swimmers ....


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get in Line

Dear No One in Particular,

I tried to resist, I really did. But I have to admit: I am fan of Michael Phelps.

Mmmm...Olympic Rings tattoo

Jesus Almighty, what living woman wouldn't be? I believe his goofy smile is adds to his overall deliciousness, but I know that "butterface" has been used quite often to describe Phelps.

So yes, I am one among many, many "Phelps Phans" (gross term, IMO) , and apparently, the New York Times is also a devotee.

Oh, and NYT? Thanks for the opening photo. Really -- thank you.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Service Announcement!

Quick change of the website address!

Blog For No One in Particular is now settled at
The old is defunct. But you knew that, didn't you? I don't know how to redirect from the old address, but since no one reads this, it doesn't really matter.

Piece of Cake

Dear No One in Particular,

As a child, "fancy" cakes -- a.k.a. professionally decorated cakes -- were kind of a big deal. My favourite bakery had some great children's cakes: for my second birthday, I had a huge sheet cake decorated to look like Disneyland. There was a paper castle in the centre and miniature princess dolls and balloons artfully spread about. It was boss.

And then there's Cake Wrecks. Showcasing some of the worst-decorated cakes, Jen writes some biting commentary that encourages laughter to stifle the gag reflex.
Cake Wrecks is seriously one of the funniest, most disturbing blogs out there, and I'm currently combing the archives, giggling at each entry and picking out the Boy's next birthday cake. My personal (current) favourite is this one. What's yours?


Be A Man

Dear No One in Particular,

I stumbled across this intriguing video on deconstructing Disney's portrayals of masculinity.

I recently did a somewhat related project for one of my classes last Spring. Comparing and contrasting two films (Kiss of the Spider Woman and Desperado), I studied popular depictions of "machismo", and came to a similar conclusion. While my project was specifically related to Latin America and Latino men, it is quite obvious that this insistence on dominant men -- physically and mentally -- is tormenting children worldwide.


P.S. The related section is also worth a gander, especially this video on racist themes in Disney movies. I do feel that it bears pointing out that while the crows in Dumbo is widely known as a nod (of sorts) to minstrelsy and other such vile caricatures of black people, the ape scene in The Jungle Book -- in my opinion -- is not. Louis Prima (aka Cousin Louie) was an Italian-American Big Band singer and trumpeter. I feel that his ethnicity bears explanation because, while the song "I Wanna Be Like You" could be read as an African-American wanting to be more white, I feel, this is not the case. Yet perhaps the similarity between Prima's voice and that of another, more famous singer/trumpeter contemporary, Louis Armstrong, coupled with the depiction of orang-utans and other primates speaks about ongoing latant American racism? I really am not trying to shit-stir with this incredibly long-winded post-script, but it is an idea that bears full thought.

Friday, August 1, 2008

By a Thread

Dear No One in Particular,

I love Yelp. Really, really love it. There are a lot of reasons why I am so enamored with this website that I want to marry it, like Pee Wee did with fruit salad. First, there is the totally selfish aspect, the fact that I can find and review various businesses in a given area. I am extremely opinionated, yet I always feel better trying out something new if other people have given it their seal of approval. But more on that later.

The other reason why I think Yelp is the greatest is the fact that its real people -- or at least it was for a little while -- giving real opinions. Websites like Yelp, Chowhound, that hotel reviewing one -- they define how our computer-loving generation communicates. Previously, if I wanted to know about, say, delish Ethiopian food, I would have to rely on word-of-mouth. But now -- but now! -- there is yelp, offering me myriad choices, all rated and reviewed by curious people like me.
This is not to say that word-of-mouth is obsolete. Of course it's not. But I feel as though I can broaden my horizons with websites like yelp; I can look up bizarre foods and check to make sure certain restaurants are worth my time. Sometimes, word of mouth -- for whatever reason -- fails. In which case, yelp is there to help. (Hee!)

Well. Yelp was my saviour this week, when I realised that my previously preferred hair removal method (wax) was no longer viable, yet my brows were unruly. I hate tweezing with the fire of a thousand suns -- appropriate, since that's what it feels like every time I accidentally yank at my skin instead of my hair. I had heard of threading before, and decided now was the perfect time to try it, especially since "brows are the new lips."

Yelp wisely guided me to the M & M thread salon, where I had an absolutely amazing experience. I believe that the girl who did my brows was new to the salon -- yet not new to threading, natch -- so it wasn't exactly a 10 minute session. It wasn't a huge ordeal, either; it lasted about 20 minutes, and while it was more work than I had originally imagined (threading is all about teamwork), I now have some great brows. The owner (I believe) was very concerned about my brows being cleans, which I appreciate. I've had one too many aestheticians send me packing with clumpy brows. While it was a bit painful, it was no where near the level of tweezing, and it was a mite less than waxing. It was also dirt cheap, which everyone can dig.

If you have a thread salon near you, go! It's a wonderful option for hair removal. Just be sure to yelp it first.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eyes like Diamonds


Really, really ew.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Survey Says ....!

(yoinked from Heather of Bewitched Style/Tango Pirates)

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, lent to me by the Boy’s cousin.



FAVOURITE BOARD GAME? Scrabble or possibly Cash Flow, but only because I won the first time I played.

FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? Nylon or Bust. Speaking of which, I need to figure out what’s going on with my Bust subscription…

BABIES? Are one of those things that are good in theory, but are invitations for disaster in reality.

FAVOURITE SMELL? Freshly baked apple crisp. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom perfume. Old Spice.



FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? I’m seriously tempted to name my son Giacomo Alessandro, but I know that pretty much no one can pronounce it. Talia Bella for a girl.

FAVOURITE COLOUR? Burgundy, or deep purple.

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE? Love -- for others, from others, for myself, to do things out of.

FAVOURITE FOODS: I’m an incredibly picky eater, but: Amici’s pesto pizza, super dragon rolls, Champagne Bakery’s raspberry almond croissants, warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts, fresh summer rolls (no pork) and mango pudding from Out the Door (/The Slanted Door).



WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A turquoise 1978 Ford Mustang named Jack Fairy.


DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Nope, just the crowns.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? Good question. I think I’d like to continue to bake, but owning my own bakery seems too stressful. I’d like to be a wandering anthropologist. I love listening to people tell stories, and telling stories of my own. If that’s not possible, then maybe a restaurant reviewer.


DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? No, I don’t hold my hands in the correct position, but I type pretty quickly.

WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? Good question. I think a bunch of plastic boxes filled with shoes and purses.

IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE WHERE WOULD IT BE? I would love to continue to live in the Bay -- especially if my house has a view. Victoria Island in Canada would be pretty great.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? A tatty olive green sweatshirt I stole from the Boy.

BEACH, MOUNTAINS OR CITY? All three. (Hello, SF Bay Area!)


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE MASSAGED? Ok, oddly written question. In terms of body parts, my head and neck.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE KITCHEN ITEM? Nigella my KitchenAid, hands down.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTERLIFE? I’m not sure how to answer this succinctly. My heart tells me that there is. I need to believe that something happens to us when we die; that there is no void, but something comforting on the other side. My head tells me there is nothing, that there is nothing but a void, yet I shouldn’t worry, since I’ll be dead anyway.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Teleportation is a damn good answer.

DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT? Yep: the words for “beauty” in Tagalog and Italian on my lower back. Not quite tramp stamps, but there they are.

WHICH DO YOU PREFER SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Depends on the day and where the food comes from. Ichiraku’s Super Dragon Rolls vs. In-N-Out’s Double Double? Toughie.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? I’ve recently become enamoured with breakfast. Strange, I know. I used to HATE breakfast, but I’ve realised there are so many great things to eat first thing in the morning!

IF YOU COULD TAKE A VACATION ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE? Oh, I have such dreams! Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Thailand, Bali, Turkey, Israel, Iceland, The Netherlands.