Silliness

1
Mmmm … Delightful Nova Scotian Foreskins
2
Oreo Cows in New Scotland
3
The 20-Week Scan
4
How Big is Your Baby?
5
Broad City … Once You’re In, There’s No Pulling Out
6
The Problem with The 100 (SPOILER ALERT)
7
How I Know It’s Not a Writing Day
8
5 Things That Would Make Me Throw a Book Against the Wall
9
Twas The Night Before Christmas, Writer Style
10
How I Met Mr. Cow

Mmmm … Delightful Nova Scotian Foreskins

While we were in Nova Scotia, we visited Jost Vineyards, the province’s biggest and oldest winery. The main building had walls of bottled wine surrounded by a steampunk décor that reminded me of Restoration Hardware. Ugh, more quaintness. How can the locals take so much quaintness? I would just die.

A staff woman approached and greeted me. A few words of mundane pleasantry ensued. My eyes hopped over to a sign that advertised the wine tasting. Her eyes followed mine. “Would you like to try our foreskins?” she asked.

“Huh?” I stilled. My face flushed, although I had forgotten to slap on sunscreen that day so I might’ve been somewhat burnt anyway. I scanned around to make sure I was still in a winery.

“Foreskins.” She smiled. In a completely innocent way.

I stared at her, still wondering if I heard wrong.

“Foreskins,” she said again, louder and her smile wider. 

I tried my best to muffle giggles from the juvenile boy within me. “Uh, I was actually hoping to try—”

“Our foreskins are really good.”

“I’m sure yours are,” I lied. To be honest, there was no way I’d know whether her foreskins were any good, but I had to be polite. After all, I was a foreigner in her country, her province, her store. “However, I already have—”

Her eyes narrowed. “You have some too?”

I nodded.

“Really?” she asked as if I lied.

“I think so.” 

She frowned a little. “I bet ours are better than what you have.”

That was quite presumptuous. I should’ve been offended, but I really wasn’t. Not a big deal. What makes foreskins better or worse, anyway? Some like them one way, others another. Many, regrettably, don’t like them at all. It’s all subjective. Still, I had to defend my honor, or whatever. I wondered if there was a way to prove myself without violating local laws. “Well,” I said, shrugging, “mine is probably not that bad.”

She waved a hand as if to say, whatever. “I insist. You must try ours before you go. You won’t regret it.” This woman sounded like someone who really knew her foreskins.

“I dunno.”

“Our foreskins are even more exquisite when paired with the local artisanal cheese.”

I wasn’t sure if “cheese” was code for something, but I was afraid to ask.

“The result is a long, smooth buildup to a deeply satisfying finish bursting with fruity flavors amidst a woody subtlety,” she moaned. “It’s sooo good.” Her eyes closed as if to savor a celestial moment.

“Wow. Fruity flavors, eh? I’ve never heard that before.”

“See,” she said smugly. “I told you ours are better than yours.”

“Oh, okay,” I said meekly.

In the end, I did sample some local foreskins. Who knew Nova Scotia would have such fine foreskins?

(The above exchange was very loosely based on what actually happened.)

foreskins - IMG_6925

 

Oreo Cows in New Scotland

‘Tis hard to believe, but it’s been over two (long) months on the road.

We just left Nova Scotia, a Canadian province whose name means New Scotland. Before we left Los Angeles, we didn’t plan on going to Canada, much less Nova Scotia, which is so far away from LA it might as well be the old Scotland. In fact, Nova Scotia is farther away from LA than any contiguous USA location. It’s more northeast than Maine, which is already super far.

The most common comment we’ve been getting from strangers is: “You’re a long way from home.” Yes, we are. And they’re even more shocked that we drove. I had no idea people looked at car license plates so much.

How did we end up so far? When we got to Lake Superior, we wanted to continue east. The two choices were to go via the north shore (Canada) or the south shore (USA). Montreal and Quebec City seemed like nice places to see so we went with the Canadian route. After those cities, Nova Scotia appeared merely a bit further east, so we rolled on. Newfoundland tempted us, but we shut down that idea before it wandered too far. Plus it would’ve required a long ferry ride. It’s easy to keep going forever if you keep on thinking, Oh, it’s just a little further.

Nevertheless, I’m glad we visited Nova Scotia. It is the most beautiful region we’ve seen thus far. Here’s a photo of a pasture we passed by.

bulls charge

Yup. Nova Scotian humor. Hahaha.

You can’t see the cows that well in the photo, but they have broad swathes of white in the middle of their bodies. At first I thought they was shaved or painted, but later I found out they’re actually Galloway cows, a breed originally from Scotland. Sometimes they’re called Oreo cows, as in the cookie. Cute. Friggin’ Nova Scotia, even their cows are quaint.

Upcoming post … slurpin’ on delightful Nova Scotian foreskins.

The 20-Week Scan

Getting a scan done is always an exciting thing. It’s awesome getting to see how the bebe has grown. Are her legs still little nubs that resemble green beans? Will we finally be able to see her wee face?

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The 20-week scan is probably the most exciting one, because it’s also known as the anomaly scan, where the doctor will check for, well, anomalies. Is your baby’s heart developing well? Her brains? Her liver? Her spine? It’s also the first scan where you might catch a glimpse of her actual face.

s_HelloWaterColor(8)s_HelloWaterColor(9)

False expectations? Never. All I expect is the cutest little baby in the whole entire universe who comes out clutching a TI-84 calculator (because obviously she’s been doing calculus in my uterus like a good little Asian baby).

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Like Christmas morning.

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As it turns out, the picture we got wasn’t quite what I’d expected.

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Doctor, I think there’s a mistake. You’ve given me a poster of the latest Hellraiser movie.

At least Mr. Cow didn’t seem that bothered by it.

s_HelloWaterColor(12)Oh well. Onwards and upwards until the next scan!

How Big is Your Baby?

When you get pregnant for the first time, you’ll find that many pregnancy websites and apps attempt to give you a weekly update to help you visualize the size of your fetus. Most of the time, they do this using fruit. Which isn’t as helpful as one might think, because of this:

s_HelloWaterColorLet’s face it, it’s not the most accurate system out there. They also tend to give you the exact measurements in inches and/or cm, but that doesn’t quite cut it in terms of imagining the size of your bebe. And it’s suddenly an imperative to know just exactly how big is this thing growing in your uterus, so you come up with your own ways of visualizing its size. Except sometimes, your partner doesn’t quite appreciate your creativity.

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s_HelloWaterColor(2)s_HelloWaterColor(3)And when your partner takes the initiative, you might not appreciate his creativity.

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Broad City … Once You’re In, There’s No Pulling Out

 

Two young, goofy women deal with daily life in NYC—not the most original premise, but the humor of the TV show Broad City is all fresh. Less serious than Girls and less quirky than Portlandia, but funnier than both. Like Seinfeld, Broad City is a show that seems to be about nothing yet mines comedic gold out of the most pedestrian grounds.

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, who created and star in the show, are best friends whose specialty is getting into situations that go wrong. Ilana “works” at a company that promotes internet deals, yet the only time she produces results is when she hires free interns to do her work. Abbi is an artist, but her day job is cleaning endless disasters in the restrooms of an obnoxiously positive fitness club. “Oh Abbi, hey, I know you’re not working today, but we could really use some Abbi magic. There’s a pube situation in the locker room that is unprecedented.” Hahahaha. Yes, I’m juvenile.

One of the funniest scenes is in the premiere episode of season two, when Abbi mutters a double entendre about “pulling out.” Pure comedic beauty.

Broad City is not afraid to push satire into risky territory, touching upon ethnicity, rape, sex offenders, and anal sex. And this is the deftness of the show’s style: it embeds subversiveness into humor and teases out absurdities from serious matters. Under the jokey veneer are thought-provoking takes on the complexities of taboos. Their jokes don’t usually have political content (maybe they do, and I’m just too dense to get the nuances). It’s always funny first, then implicitly asks you what you think.

Any twit can babble commentary (you’re reading it now). Smart commentary is hard. Funny commentary is harder. Smart and funny—that’s the hardest. Glazer and Jacobson are subtle enough to not seem like they’re trying to prove how smart and funny they are. I kinda have crushes on them both.

Seinfeld was the last pure comedy (i.e. not comedy mixed with drama) I loved on network TV. Since then, the best pure comedies have been non-networks, e.g. The Daily Show, South Park, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David ended his show, and to my distress, Jon Stewart will be leaving soon (please change your mind, Jon). Good thing Broad City has come along. On Comedy Central, of course.

The show has gotten great reviews, with the second season even better than the first. Though still a bit under the radar, Broad City deserves many more seasons to come. The Comedy Central website has locked all of the episodes except the first one of the second season.  It’s only twenty minutes, and I’d watch it just for that one joke. I probably replayed the scene five times already, giggling like a doofus each time. Yes, that’s how mature I is.

I watch Broad City on Hulu Plus, where you can stream all the epis. I’m also watching The Vikings and Twin Peaks, and about to start on Empire. Between Netflix and Hulu, there’s really no time for anything else in life.

The Problem with The 100 (SPOILER ALERT)

WARNING: This contains SPOILERS for Season One of The 100.

What it’s like watching Season One.

14241926331751424193838223This is one of the main reasons why I can’t get into The 100. The frikkin’ false tension means that whenever a major character supposedly dies, I assume they’re still alive somehow. So far, I’ve been proven right, although that does mean the show delivers zero tension for me. Maybe Season Two gets better?

How I Know It’s Not a Writing Day

Any writer knows. Some days you feel it, some days you don’t. Today was a no-feels day. Here’s how I knew:

I spent the first two hours of daylight with my laptop open in front of me while I stared out the window. See, a bird couple was investigating the birdhouse. They’ve come to check the place three days in a row now, but have yet to take up residence. I started making up stories about them. I decided they’re picky house hunters trying to incite a seller’s war. “You won’t get a year’s supply of premium seed from me, chickadees!” 

 

I told myself to buckle down. I opened my current chapter and typed one sentence. I got stuck on a word. I opened Thesaurus.com. I opened Twitter. I opened Seahawks.com. I opened Dogshaming.com. I critiqued a query at a writer’s website I frequent. I got hungry. I went to the kitchen and ate a handful of Swedish Fish. I craved salt. I went back to the kitchen for potato chips. I wanted chocolate. I went back to the kitchen for a piece of Ghirardelli sea salt milk chocolate. I got a sugar rush.

I sat my butt back down. I looked at my sentence. The stuck word was still stuck. I looked at the clock. It was 9 AM.

I thought about needing to write. I wondered how warm it was outside. I watched funny videos people linked on Twitter. I did dishes.

I thought about cleaning the spare bathroom.

…..

…….!!

 

That’s when I knew I was done for.

 

5 Things That Would Make Me Throw a Book Against the Wall

* Note: All these things are inspired by books I recently read, but I’m not going to specifically name any of the books because karma is a scary, scary beast. Yes, yes, I’m a cow…ard. Hur hur. Geddit, geddit? Uh, moving on…

1. Unhealthy relationships which are hailed as awesome ones.

Look, I get it. I get that no relationship is perfect. Mr. Cow and I fight quite a bit (mostly his fault, of course), but at the end of the day, we love and support each other and we make sacrifices which we don’t rub into each other’s faces, at least not unless we feel like it. But recently, this happened in a book:

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I thought this was a good conflict, because you know, sometimes people behave like dicks. What is NOT good is the fact that the MC totally fell apart because of her assholey husband, dropped everything including the Once in a Lifetime chance, and flew across the country to make up with this man-baby, and that was the happy ending. Just, no.

2. Major subplots which are never resolved.

Post10bI don’t usually mind questions that are left with vague answers, but in this case, it happened with a major subplot — I could even argue that this is the main plot because it was mentioned in the blurb — and there was no answer, not even a vague one. I still have no clue what the heck happened, which might be okay for small subplots, but not ones which are a selling point to the book. (I mean, I picked up the book because this very plotline sounded so interesting. BWARGH.)

3. Books without meaningful female characters.

Post10cBy “meaningful”, I don’t mean female characters need to be the main characters, but they do need to exist for reasons which are completely independent of their male counterparts. I’m not interested in books which delegate one-dimensional roles to the female characters, like “the wife/girlfriend/LI”. Also, can we please have more than just the ONE token female character? We do make up half the world’s population, after all.

4. Books that are obviously wish fulfillment for the author.

Post10d

These kinds of books become embarrassing to read, because I feel like I’m taking a peek into some hormonal teen’s diary. I blame the beta readers, the agent, and the various editors at the publishing house for this. I mean, really, at some point, did no one think to point out that 100 pages of sex with a wood nymph goddess thingy is kind of gratuitous?

5. Good guys are good, bad guys are bad.

Post10e

I hate black and white morality. Mostly because I feel that such simplicity insults my intelligence as a reader. Most people aren’t all good or all bad. I like complex characters, flawed MCs who do shitty stuff and antagonists who give you pause and make you think, “S/he has a point…” Give me your despicable good guys and compassionate baddies anytime.

What are your pet peeves when it comes to books?

Twas The Night Before Christmas, Writer Style

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, whom I have shamelessly ripped off).

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land,
Writers were all cursing, “I do not understand!”
How am I supposed to know when to hit go?

 

All year I have edited, polished each word,
December is awful for queries I’ve heard.
With so much NaNo nonsense hitting agents desks,
Each new one is looking more and more Kafkaesque.

 

Then comes Christmas time, and so many will say,
Now’s no time for queries, agents are all away.
Out at bookish parties, full of festive cheer,
They won’t open their inbox, until the New Year.

 

But writers are eager to show off their book,
They must get an agent by hook or by crook.
So they work themselves up into a frenzied state,
They think tiny errors might be make or break.

 

Their betas will tell them, now start on something new,
Instead they surf the net, they must know what to do!
Should they submit now, or will it kill all chance?
These agents they lead us on a merry dance!

 

Everyone tells them now is not the right time,
To query agents, they’ll get lost in the line.
But what if this book is their Jack Reacher version?
That will cause the agent to have a conversion?

 

The book that will make her dance, and shout out with glee,
This is just perfect as a new novel for me.
It needs no more edits, it’s done and complete,
The deal it will do me will taste so darn sweet.

 

The writer checks forums, please say what is best,
Until she has queried she will get no rest.
Chill out and relax, there’s no right answer they say,
Still she keeps worrying through the whole of the day.

 

If I don’t query now, then when shall it be done?
I’ve heard in the summer they’re all out in the sun.
No agent’s at work, work’s no fun, it’s too hot,
The writer’s is really a confusing lot.

 

So many rules set out to trip them all up,
All they want is to drink from the publishing cup.
Can it really be true that just one errant word,
Is enough to get their agent dreams all deferred?

 

Desperately trying to tick all the boxes,
Will this be the manuscript that just outfoxes,
The vigilant intern who knows it’s their job,
To protect their boss from the writer’s lynch mob.

 

So now the writer, festively optimistic,
Redrafts the query showing their feats linguistic
It seems so stupid, idiotic, absurd,
To listen to all the strange stories you’ve heard.

 

About when to query and when you should not,
It matters little if your writing’s red hot,
If the prose is all tight, and the grammar is clean,
If you’ve checked every word, polished it to a sheen.

 

However there’s just one final thing to beware,
Even if your book fits their wish list and has flair,
Agents who say they are closed to all queries,
Should not be contacted and you should be leery!

How I Met Mr. Cow

After graduating from college, I decided to pursue a Masters degree. I applied to eleven schools, and was accepted to one. The school that accepted me was celebrated throughout the world for being all that and a bag of chips, so, full of wide-eyed excitement, I packed up my bags and left. I’d lived in three different countries prior to moving there, so I foolishly thought I’d settle in just fine.

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