rachelmanija: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2014 09:59 am)
Pick up the book nearest to you and turn to page 45. The first sentence explains your love life.

I got the tragically apt Bruce gave up trying to eat.

- Ransom, by Lois Duncan.

Amuse me by doing this in comments, minions.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Aug. 1st, 2014 02:11 pm)
I am attempting a meme.

[profile] wordsofastory gave me...

rachelmanija and food.

Food is my passion. My first meeting with [personal profile] oyceter consisted of an hour-long discussion of tropical fruit. (Best tropical fruit: fresh lychees and Alphonso mangos. I have still, sadly, never had a mangosteen. Worst tropical fruit: custard apples. They taste fine. I just can't deal with the grainy AND slimy texture.)

One of the very best things about Los Angeles is the food. Even LA-haters cannot deny that this is a great city for food. We have great high-end fancy dining. We have excellent medium-priced restaurants. We have AMAZING low-end cheap food - taco kitchens at the back of corner stores, food trucks, guys with rainbow umbrellas selling fresh fruit - mangoes, soft young coconut, pineapple, oranges, cucumbers- that they slice up while you watch and douse in chili, seasoned salt, and lime.

People in LA love food. They are passionate about food. They photograph their meals and post them on the internet. They follow food trucks on twitter. They make earrings of teeny cupcakes and wear them to pastry shops. If you read the Chowhound board for Los Angeles, every single restaurant thread will have at least three posters claiming that it used to be good, but now it's gone downhill. This includes restaurants that opened last week. The sushi is always fresher on the other side of the freeway.

My grandmother used to say, "Food is love." I would say, "food is feeling." Food is memory. Food is culture. Food is passion. A bad relationship with food, or an illness that affects eating, or only bad food available will make you miserable in a way that goes way beyond the actual moments where you confront the problem food. Being able to enjoy food again is a shocking joy.

As I type, I am drinking a cup of coffee with powdered creamer because my milk ran out, and eating wafer cookies with black sesame cream.

rachelmanija and werewolves.

The biggest influence on how I think of shapeshifters is Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. If you transform yourself into an animal, you think as an animal thinks. Will you remember how to become a human again? Will you still want to, when you can soar as a hawk?

To me, the most interesting thing about being a person who can become an animal is what it would feel like to be an animal. I can't know what that would be like, but when I think of the moments when I've thought the least and felt the most, when I've reacted most purely on instinct... they're all moments that felt, if not good exactly, very pure. Very clear. Stripped down to the basics. Usually, in fact, that does feel good. If it doesn't, it's because of context - like, you're fighting for your life. But that can feel good, too.

When I imagine being an animal, I think of a combination of being enraptured in the present moment, caught by the beauty of a sunrise or the taste of a peach, and of an adrenaline rush. Halfway between combat and meditation.

I'd like being a wolf, I think. It would be very tempting to stay one.

rachelmanija and fashion.

I had no interest in fashion until [personal profile] oyceter convinced me to watch Project Runway, and in between designers squabbling and having meltdowns, I started getting a sense of how different silhouettes and colors create different feelings, and the history of fashion, and why people get very passionate about matchy-matchy. Watching the designers dissect the designs and listening to them explain why they liked one dress and disliked another, I started seeing what they saw. And then I started having opinions.

I now own quite a few dresses. And shoes. And blouses. And skirts. I periodically poke through ebay and etsy, and I wear shoes to work that I bought in Paris. I have Betsey Johnson dresses and Prabal Gurung for Target shirts and a dress. I wear my matchy-matchy belt and shoes and smile to myself.

For myself, I like very girly dresses with fitted tops and skirts that swing. I like bright colors and jewel tones and patterns, and also slinky black and corsets. I like black leather jackets and Battenberg lace, and slashed tops and high boots and trench coats. I don't wear stiletto heels.

The main thing I learned from Project Runway is that fashion is supposed to be fun, and it's about wearing things that you like and that make you look good.

I used to think of it as this horrible game of one-upmanship and that it was all about desperately keeping up with the correct thing, or else everyone laughs at you. But now that I'm out of high school, I think of it as a buffet you pick and choose from, and a set of elements that, if you understand them, you can use to create a look that will say what you want to convey. It's like writing, if you think of it. You select the tropes, or you select the silhouettes and colors and shoes. If you do it right, you have said, and you feel, "Playful!" or "Sexy!" or "Badass!" or "Classic Elegance!"

You are embodying a feeling, not just a look. Sometimes you're embodying a story. See how these dressesconvey the sense of an atmosphere and a story? And these convey a different story.
It just occurred to me that some of you may have never experienced possibly the most amazing song in existence, MacArthur Park. I refreshed my memory of it yesterday. It's not a parody song - I think - but appears to be very serious. Which makes it much more hilarious. Go on, check it out. At least the first minute or so.

Here, have the Donna "17-minute orgasm" Summer cover. I think I left the cake out in the rain. OH NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Please nominate the most irritating, ear-grating, vomitously sappy, wildly offensive, or otherwise horrifying song, of any era, in any language. Ideally, with a youtube link. (If the horror is partly due to lyrics and they're not in English, please tell me what they mean.)

This is open to anything, including joke songs, avant-garde songs that might secretly be jokes, etc. The only nominees I don't want are songs that you only dislike because you have completely personal bad associations, like that it was playing when your true love dumped you. They should be annoying because of inherent qualities in the song itself. Though being relentlessly over-played can add to the horror. You may make several nominations.

Yes, I am aware of Dave Barry's "Bad Songs" column. It's one of my all-time favorites.

I will start off the race to the bottom with a song that makes me want to rip my ears off every year, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Also They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha, which I believe has been scientifically proven to induce psychosis. In me, anyway.

ETA: This may be a case of "personal bad associations," but I had a much-loathed roommate whose alarm clock was John Denver's Leaving on a Jet Plane. She always played the entire song, so every morning I was forced to listen to John Denver leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaving on a jet plane. Go on! LEAVE.
This is brought to you by yesterday's diagnosis of acute bronchitis. In retrospect, I probably should not have waited one month to go to the doctor. I kept thinking, "It is just lingering irritation from the flu! It will go away any day now!"

Yesterday my boss listened to me tragically cough my way through our weekly meeting for the fourth week in a row, and said, "GO TO A DOCTOR."

I now have two prescriptions, an inhaler, six canceled clients, one blessed co-worker taking over the meeting I was supposed to run today, and a week off work. The inhaler, which I had never used before, is great. I hadn't realized just how much trouble I was having breathing until suddenly I wasn't. (Don't worry. Apparently my oxygen saturation is fine. Also, I don't have pneumonia.) Anyway, I am staying home and resting as much as possible for the next week.

Please recommend or send to me anything in the following line:

1. Things which are comforting. If you're not actually going to send or link them, they should be things I won't need to go out in person and buy. (On the advice of LJ, I already have a humidifier.)

2. Media in which someone is comforted. If you have heard of hurt-comfort, that is what I mean. If not, media which prominently features stuff like someone with pneumonia, a gunshot wound, hypothermia, etc, being cuddled, fed soup, or the equivalent. Any genre! Fiction, fanfic, movies, etc.

3. Media in which someone feels worse than I do. Any recs for good survival stories, with people stumbling around Mt. Everest, Death Valley, adrift on a raft, etc? Fiction or nonfiction.
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.
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