rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Oct. 29th, 2013 10:22 am)
It's my birthday! I expect next year to be great. Especially since I will be done with school (well, at least done with classes - I can't technically graduate for another six months) in December.

My 20s were a big improvement on my teens, and my 30s were a HUGE improvement on my 20s. I hope and expect my 40s to be even more awesome.

One friend gave me a box of assorted macaroons, and another took to me the Lazy Ox Canteen, where we split a bottle of white house wine, an appetizer of caramelized cauliflower with lime and pine nuts (I'm not usually that big on cauliflower, but we'd had that before there and it was great), and the two best desserts in LA: Lazy Ox rice pudding with whipped cream and no raisins (the Devil's work) and butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce and sea salt. For an entree, she had pumpkin gnocchi with asparagus. I had suckling pig with barbecue sauce, rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, and cole slaw. The pig came with a giant sheet of crispy crackling.

Today I'm on crisis call and also have a paper to write, but I mean to take at least a little time to curl up with my macaroons and The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, Book 4). I will also be doing catch-up celebrations intermittently all week.

For a birthday gift, please comment with something you think I'd enjoy: a snarky review, a recommendation, a description of a delicious meal or cooking disaster, a pretty picture, a poem, an amusing anecdote, etc.
Ridiculous cover poses below cut.

I'm afraid mine are less accurate than Jim's and Scalzi's, due to time and live animal model constraints. Sherwood and I spent some 15 minutes trying to get a calico cat, then a corgi to stay still enough for me to stand over them melodramatically waving a broom. When we finally got the corgi to lie down for a moment, I had to do the pose from memory for fear she would only stay in "dead dragon" mode for seconds, which indeed proved to be the case.

Read more )
I feel like many of us could use some levity right now, myself included. To that purpose and to make up for the total lack of content on this blog lately, I will, if time permits, take a leaf from Jim Hines' journal and model some book covers while I'm on a writing retreat. (Departing tomorrow.)

Please nominate covers you would like me to model. Like Jim, I am interested in the difference between the depictions of male and female characters on the covers of similar books, so paired requests (like fantasies with similar stories, but different genders of protagonists) would be especially interesting. Or, you know, just something ridiculous you'd be amused to see me imitate. (Must be at least theoretically physically possible, ie, no zero-g.)

By the way, I tried the pose that he and John Scalzi are doing as a fundraiser. I know it's similar to a martial arts pose, but the position is not meant to be executed in high heels, firing a crossbow with your off hand randomly on the floor. I can do the kung fu position, but when it's done like it is on that cover, OW.
I got a last-minute invite to see a one-man show of "A Christmas Carol" at the International Printing Museum in Carson. If you don't live in south LA, Carson is a place you would probably otherwise go your entire life without visiting; the only reason I'd ever been there before was that it was part of our area when I did disaster relief with the Red Cross.

It was fun! The actor was a charming, talented Large Ham. Also, I got to see various forms of early printing presses, which was bizarrely apropos as the day before I had gotten editorial notes which included, "How are they producing their newspaper?"

But mostly, I wanted to share the moment in which the actor got several audience members to play small roles by giving them hats and a sheet of paper with their lines.

The small boy playing Tiny Tim squinted at his sheet, then read, loud and clear, "God BILGE us, every one!"

My friend Halle and I nearly fell off our seats. Afterward, her son asked us if bilge meant something.

"It's dirty water in the bottom of a boat," I said.

Halle elaborated, "So if you say, 'God bilge us,' it's kind of like saying... 'God, please PUKE on us!"
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Oct. 29th, 2012 11:55 am)
Thank you very much to everyone who sent me birthday wishes!

If you are so inclined, a lovely gift would be a review, long or just a few lines, of a book or some other thing (a manga! a burger!), whether wonderful or interesting or hilariously bad, on your own LJ/DW or in comments. One of my best birthday gifts ever was the year two people independently decided that the perfect gift would be a review of Crazy Beautiful. And, folks: late is okay!
I am right now preparing Crispy Pork Belly (Siu Yuk), to be eaten with rice and sauteed ha choi. While I'm doing the parboiling, I am watching Nyesha kick ass on Last Chance Kitchen.

Also, I have pretty Parisian shoes. )
A naked three-year-old boy rushing out of the bathroom with a six-foot streamer of toilet paper trailing from his butt like a banner, tearing around the dining room table and shouting, "I'm a rabbit!" He made three laps before his mom re-captured him.
This book, one of the required texts for my 10:00 AM Monday Human Sexuality class, suggests that the class, while possibly lacking in academic rigor, will not lack in amusement value. I am picturing a cross between a 70s encounter group and a "Let's all draw our vulvas, watch a video of women ejaculating, and then make an offering to the Great Goddess!" workshop.

Its arrival this week was perfect timing, given that the month to date was the sort which, to completely misquote Emma Bull's War for the Oaks, left me grasping for straws of comfort like, "No matter what else happens today, at least I still like my clitoris."

This is the sort of book which has an anatomical drawing of a clitoris, and a woman pointing to it and exclaiming "WOW!"

The book has some interesting information about clitoral anatomy (the little button part is just the tip of the iceberg; a large portion of the female genitalia is made up of clitoral tissue and structures.) But most of the book is basically, "Wow! A clitoris!"

There is a long chapter on female ejaculation, in which women enthusiastically describe their gushing orgasms, with slightly terrifying details like, "And then I had to mop the floor!" The author then notes that you too may be able to teach yourself to ejaculate, if you don't already. Personally, after I am done having solo or partnered sex, the last thing I want to do is mop the floor.

Despite some dubious history and a cringe-worthy discussion of the Tao and Tantra, this book is mostly harmless. I expect it would be delightfully eye-opening to any women who aren't already familiar with their anatomy or the possible range of their sexual response. But for a graduate course... seriously? This is the best you can do? If anyone knows of more academically rigorous or up-to-date or more culturally sensitive books on female sexuality, please rec them to me, and I will rec them to the school.

I also boggle that this apparent typo in chapter one didn't get corrected through many editions: From as far back as the Kinsey report in 1953, intercourse has not been found not to be the most effective means for women to experience the full range of their sexual response, and yet, penis-in-vagina sex remains the ne plus ultra of sexual activity.

And I boggle more at this: During full-blown sexual response, clitoral tissues expand enormously. The erectile tissues fill with blood, causing the clitoris to protrude enough, as one woman put it, "to fill my cupped hand."

The Clitoral Truth: The Secret World at Your Fingertips

Hilariously pornographic cheery illustrations below cut )
rachelmanija: (Text: She runs lunatic)
( Sep. 9th, 2011 01:28 pm)
While compiling my lists, I ran across these two books:

Unnatural (Archangel Academy)

A reader wrote, "...long, long ago, a chick from Atlantis slept with a vampire dude, thus creating a strange hybrid race of - wait for it - vampires with webbed feet and hands who can breathe underwater. No, I'm serious! Vampire mermaids (or mermen) Do we call them merpires? Vammaids? No, wait! Vermen!"

What makes this even better is that I initially misread it as, "A chick from Atlanta."

Blood Ninja

School Library Journal wrote, "The author makes a good argument for the logic of ninjas being vampires—they only come out at night, they move with stealthlike speed, and they seem to be invincible."


I have arranged the photos below the cut to represent my experience walking through the town, entering the gardens, now looking at the entire view, now leaning in to inspect a single flower.

Come walk through the gardens with me. )
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
( Jun. 18th, 2011 03:32 pm)
I am working on a boring task which requires me to be planted at my computer for a while. Let's play an amusing game so I don't go mad while working on it.

Recommend something to me that you think I'll like. It could be a book, a movie, a TV show, music, food, a place to visit, or an activity, and tell me why you think I'll like it. (If it's a book or show, please check my tags to see if I'm already familiar with it.)

In turn, I will recommend something to you. It can either be the same sort of thing (ie, also a food) or something you ask me to rec (ie, "Please recommend a YA fantasy novel with a female protagonist who isn't a warrior or a wizard. Ideally, she will have an animal companion who isn't magical and doesn't speak.") Obviously, the better I know you, the more likely I will be to rec something which you're not already familiar with, and which will appeal.
rachelmanija: (Fishes)
( May. 28th, 2011 02:20 pm)
Happy birthday, Sherwood!

You asked for images of beautiful or interesting things. I'm putting up a set of photos my mom took of her neighborhood in Ahmednagar, India. I think she's a very good photographer, and she lives in an exceptionally pretty rural area.

Cut for photos )
rachelmanija: (Autumn: small leaves)
( Dec. 6th, 2010 12:24 pm)
In case anyone feels like doing something to make my winter that much cheerier, here are some possibilities:

1. Donate to my beloved Virginia Avenue Project, a mentoring-via-arts organization which I've volunteered with for the last fifteen years. They do great work, and are strapped for funds due to the recession. Feel free to say I sent you if you do so!

2. Donate money or used books (if they're in good condition) to Reader to Reader, an organization which gives books to needy libraries, including on Native American reservations. They are particularly looking for manga for the latter, and also books by and/or about Indians.

3. Mail me baked goods, mix CDs, used books, or other goodies you think I might appreciate. In case you already own any books you're looking to unload and I'm looking to acquire, here is my Bookmooch wish list. I'm also including my Amazon wish list just in case because it has some older stuff on it, but that's mostly new stuff and I'm not actually asking anyone to buy me new stuff.

I'll put up my own "up for grabs" list later, in case I have anything anyone might want.

Finally, in the category of "not actually a gift but feels like one," an enthusiastic review of Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk (forthcoming on January 25), right here.
...Got up at 6:30 AM. AUGH. (I am doing emergency teenager-sitting for my downstairs neighbor.) Second night in a row of only six hours of sleep, too.

I have to do various work-related things today, including teaching a class. I will have to think of something nice to do to celebrate later. Perhaps a visit to Chantilly lies in my future...

I cannot believe that I am thirty-seven! I keep counting up from 1973 to see if perhaps I am mistaken. I feel about sixteen (all the better to write YA with, my dear,) or maybe thirty at the most. Maybe because sixteen was the point at which I was most certain that I was completely responsible and mature and a real grown-up, and I have never felt that certain since.

For my birthday, please comment with a book recommendation (with reasons why I would like it), description of the most awesomely bad thing you've encountered lately, link to music, photo of a baaaaby animal or cakewreck or exquisite vista, amusing anecdote, or some such pleasant item.
rachelmanija: (Emo Award: Shinji agony)
( Apr. 27th, 2008 09:18 am)
Have Captain Trips, a deadline, ants in the kitchen, no food in the house, and cold medicine that merely adds an overlay of "vaguely and unpleasantly stoned" to my wretched state of being. Yecch. When I feel better I will disinfect the house.

Here, have a sizzling-hot preview of the Project Blue Rose chapbook, going on sale in June.

And a photo of my not-hypothetical spherical cat.

And the cat-owl.

Feel free to comment with anything you think might cheer me up.
rachelmanija: (Fowl of DOOM)
( Oct. 30th, 2006 07:38 am)
I really appreciate the birthday wishes, birthday gifts, and my adorable Her Majesty's Dog birthday fic from [livejournal.com profile] untrue_accounts and "manga fowl of DOOM" icon from [livejournal.com profile] oyceter. Thank you all very much!

I had a lovely birthday yesterday, culminating in my parents taking me out for lobster. Yes, at that same restaurant, with our $75 gift certificate. I informed the waiter that it was my birthday, so he brought me a free mud pie (mocha ice cream in an oreo crust heaped with whipped cream.)

My step-Mom reminisced that when I was a teenager, I was always pestering them to take me out for lobster, and they could never afford to. Dad added that when I was a child, I always pestered him for lobster, which wasn't available in Ahmednagar and which they couldn't afford when we lived in LA. (I know they did manage to scrape together the money occasionally, though, because I vividly recall the few occasions when I got it.)

It's great to be an adult and be able to indulge those childhood fantasies which you can still appreciate. (I would not get such a thrill over Jello now, though I loved it as a child.) For me, lobster, and college, and publishing a book, and living by myself with two cats and a whole lot of books are the fantasies which most lived up to my childhood imaginings.

What childhood fantasies and treats did you grow out of? Which ones were just as good when you finally obtained them as an adult?

The lobster, a live two-pounder flown in from Maine, boiled plain and served with melted butter, was delicious.
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