Sunday, October 28, 2007

What's Your Fantasy: The Office Edition

I don't know about you, but after I admitted to bingeing on romance novels I wasn't really expecting some of my dirtier, bodice-ripping dreams to include THIS guy:

John freaking Krasinski? REALLY? Heck, I've only seen bits and pieces of the last season of The Office (US) and I thought he was endearing, but not enough for me to start watching the show obsessively. And yet, here he is in my subconscious mind, sitting in the world's most ergonomic executive chair and waiting for me to walk through that door so we could finally [censored for unsuitable erotic content*]. Jim and Pam who?

And he's not even the biggest crush I have in the Office-verse. That honor goes to the original-recipe British version, embodied here by one Mr. Martin Freeman.

No, I'm not expecting of them to duel for my hand in marriage. (And considering that both of them have played boyfriends to Mandy Moore in two different movies, I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.) And I'm not going to ask them to resolve this with a Halpert-Canterbury sandwich, either. But, really, though, it can't be all that bad, right?

*EDITED to add that the best way for me to explain what I had cut out of that paragraph is contained in this video, which I ganked from YouTube via Cute Overload. Of course, if you had John Krasinski purring sweet nothings in your ear like the kitteh on the left seems to do, you'd be convinced to break a few policies yourself, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Song Will Be Lodged Into Your Head Till Christmas

Seriously. It's been 24 hours since I've been introduced to "Apologize" by OneRepublic, and already I've played it a million billion times on iTunes. If it gets lodged in my head, it will get lodged in yours, and it will stay there no matter how many times you try to get another song in there. I guarantee that.

That said, I have to admit that the song is ten million times better as a Timbaland remix. The original OneRepublic song, unfortunately, is way too meh for me; if it wasn't for the Massive Attack-meets-flamenco-beats, it might as well be a song by a band called My Frayed Chemical Maroon T's. And the "official" "video" that actually came out for the version they did with Timbaland... OY. Methinks that the Universal Music Group made a wise decision to not let hoi polloi like me embed this filmed piece of heinousness from their YouTube account.

Thank goodness, then, for whoever it is who did this mash-up of Timbaland's remix over the original video that Adam Platt did for the song. Because, really, it's stunning.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Case for the Bodice Ripper, Part 2

After realizing that I had a few brain cells to kill this week, I went on a romance-novel reading binge. Mind you, I don't always read them for the plot (hah), the dialogue (I've read department memos with more heartfelt passion) or the characterization (if I wanted pretty, perfect characters whining about the same damn thing over and over again, I'd watch a marathon of The Hills). That leaves us, however, with the only other thing that's worth reading in romance novels: Teh Sex.

Now, before we get into the discussion of what a dirty old woman I've become, let me explain. I'm not saying that romance novelists don't know how to write about sex. A good number of them actually do, in fact. And we're not talking softly-lit, well-choreographed Mary Sue sex, or so-dirty-I'm-surprised-Jenna-Jameson-hasn't-bought-the-film-rights sex. I'm talking the kind of sex that these books are supposed to be about in the first place: messy, spontaneous, combustible - the kind of sex that affirms your life and tests your limits at the same time.

But let's face it - as I mentioned in my first "bodice ripper" post last summer, many sex scenes in these novels are actual sources of unintentional comedy. And even the good ones follow the same format as the bad ones. The way I see it, if you are spending upwards of $7.99 on a romance novel, you are actually paying for an average of three sex scenes per book. And if your book contains the requisite three, they should be in the following order:

#1: First Contact. Clothes drop, bosoms heave, Tab A goes into Slot B. This should happen around 1/4 to 1/3 the way into the book. The sex must occur as a highly spontaneous coupling where one does not realize that s/he has silently consented to do the nasty with the partner initiating the contact prior to the scene itself. Readers of historical novels should know that the first sex scene is always a tip-off: If the rumpy-pumpy occurs in the context of the male coercing himself onto the female - or his preceding "foreplay"-like actions may be construed as illegal under international law - you are definitely in the hands of a bad writer.

#2: We're Bored, Let's Pad The Book. Usually happens if the plot is going nowhere. In contemporary romances, Sex Scene #2 is the tip-off to the writer's flaw, because this is where the usual Something Interesting happens, no matter how long (or short) it takes. Take note: If Sex Scene #2 leads to 1) the female lead having the orgasm that she has "never felt before", 2) one or both leads realizing something integral to the plot that they never realized until recently; or 3) both ("I've never felt like this before! Wait, I just realized something"), the gig is definitely up - and unless the writer can come up with a disingenuous way of convincing us with the mind-clearing properties of that sex, put the book down and walk away.

#3: Let's Make Looooooove, All Night Loooong! ! And to get the full effect of what I'm talking about here, imagine Faith Hill and Tim McGraw singing the last sentence to each other. Why? Because this is where our characters take their clothes off a little slower, touch each other more tenderly, kiss each other in various places (and often with varying amounts of tongue - in some cases, this is where your heroine learns to Get Real Freaky After All and "pleasure the man"). And you'll know it because it will take two to three pages, max, before the author summarizes it with some BS line about how our Intrepid Hero and Brave Heroine made love a few more times that night, over and over again. Most times, the sex is also intertwined with the penultimate I Love You moment, where one or the other realizes that they are Meant for Each Other. But often the prolonged sex will be treated as some kind of bittersweet metaphor about death, since it will be followed by an inevitable separation that keeps them apart for the last few chapters. But not, however, before they have this post-coital conversation:

Guy: Marry me.
Girl: I can't.
Guy: Why?
Girl: (comes up with sad, pathetic explanation of why she can't be married to him because she's unsure/ unsuitable/ broken/ yada yada; in some contemporary novels, this is also where the girl explains the Reason Why I May Never Have Children Again Unless That's What You Want Because Otherwise I'm A Broken Woman Like That).
Guy: I don't care, I love you. That's all that matters.
Girl: Then why are we not going to see each other again for the next few chapters of this silly novel?
Guy: ...Oh, yeah, you're right. But it's our book, remember? It's not like we're never going to end up together.
Girl: But I love you. (cries)
Guy: Aw, sweetheart. Here, let me hold you one last time while I get horny thinking about some way for us to get rid of that one last complication in the next few chapters.

Again, I'm not saying that all romance novelists follow the same formula. Sometimes there are authors who will add more than one scene - usually Scene #3 for the inevitable "makeup sex" that happens, or Scene #2 to test out the author's knowledge of awkward positions and/or lingerie product placement. Sometimes the kinkier sex happens first without the characters even so much kissing each other or giving out their last names/ phone numbers/ Social Security information. Sometimes the sex doesn't even have to happen with the same person. But if you know the MO, and still the book doesn't give you more bang for the buck (ahem), you might as well hold out and find yourself a real book.

Say, Love in the Time of Cholera is beginning to sound like a really good book right about now...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Obligatory College Bookstore Entry

Okay, so I'm obviously not getting paid (enough) to plug this sort of stuff... but after six months of working at our college bookstore, I found myself drooling over some of the new jackets that came in from Jansport. Yes, the backpack people. It's too bad that they don't have examples of their clothes on their website, though, because some of the logo hoodies and jackets we've received are at once lightweight and sporty - just the way we like 'em when we need something to throw on for coverage when we're sitting in the air-conditioned classrooms. And we're not even talking baggy, shapeless hoodies here - the JanSport women's jackets I've seen on our racks are cut close to the body, and even come in cropped, motorcycle-inspired styles.

See this Nike Women's Max Relax jacket? It's on sale for $39.99 - almost as much as you'd pay for a similar Jansport style at our store. I don't know if you feel one way or another about school spirit, but I'm still biased towards the Jansport ones because (in my not-humble opinion) I think it's made of sturdier material, and the tailoring is excellent. Plus we have this hoodie in colors other than baby pink or blaring fucshia, too!

The only complaint I can lodge against Jansport, however, is reserved for their lightweight women's tees, and especially the ones that come in junior sizes, which are made of tissue-thin material. Easy to pack? Yes. Easy to layer? Definitely. But enough to cover your modesty on their own, even with the best bra in the world underneath? I have my doubts. Also, I've gone on the record in this blog about being against the fake-layered look, so imagine my horror when I saw what I basically call the Frankenshirt: a regular lightweight T-shirt with longer, contrasting sleeves stitched under the seams, to create the look of layering a shorter tee over a longer tee. Ew! It's no wonder the Frankenshirt is one of our slow movers at the store; we're just waiting for somebody to buy out our stock of those shirts so we could put the newer, cuter tees on the hangers.

Anyway, Jansport still continues to turn out great backpacks and messenger bags (and here I'm definitely biased in a non-bookstore employee way, after slogging through the '90s era of overpriced yet not-sturdy-enough nylon packs - Eastpak, I am looking at you), and even their rolling bags have the right mix of function and whimsy - seriously, I've seen folks from university admin going all "ooh" and "ahhh" over the Hawaiian and fake-Pucci prints on some of the rollies. It's not Prada or Tumi by any means, but if you're going to spend a reasonable amount of money on luggage anyway, Jansport is a pretty good investment.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Randomesticity: Mynah Mynah

The title of this story comes from a Cane Haul Road shirt that I bought from Mango Season on S. King Street. I bought the shirt because I thought it was a Hawaii pun on "Mahna Mahna" - until the saleslady told me it was a pun on the word "minor" - pronounced, as locals usually do, as "minah." So when locals say "minah minah," it usually means "don't sweat the small stuff."
But then, minahs is what we're dealing with right now on this entry, so... (doot doo dururoo) MINAH MINAH!
- So I got my hair cut super super short last week, which was the result of me dropping in on a beauty school at lunchtime on Friday. It could've been a major disaster (and at $5.50 with a novice haircutter, probably expected) but it was remedied at the last minute. I still think it looks like a cut that belongs to a skinnier woman, what with its overall shagginess and the near-mullety length in the background (owing, according to my haircutter's primary instructor, to the fact that my hair in the back grows downward... not a bad thing, actually) but now I'm beginning to like it a lot more, especially now that looks like a cross between Jane Fonda and Pat Benatar. Added bonus: Because of this cut, my hair has started to adapt towards a side part, so I don't have to look like Alfalfa any more.
(And yes, I'm working on getting pictures!)
- Because of the shorter hair, I also noticed that I've changed attitude-wise, as well - now I've turned into a no-BS, no-sugarcoating tough gal at work, which isn't surprising considering that I could belt out "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at any minute. And I've been dressing sexier too - or at least trotting out the mid-length shorts more often. Funny.
- Random movie-related comment: Am I the only one who thinks that Rendition looks like crap, judging by the trailer alone? Even the presence of my perpetual movie boyfriend Peter Sarsgaard isn't even enough to save me from disappointment. (And, Pete: Seriously, if you're going to make movies for cash anyway, would it really hurt to cast yourself in a comedy right now? Even if it means spending an entire movie wearing a head bandage?)
- Current fragrance: Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Vanilla alternating with Aura Cacia's Natural Perfume in Root. Someday I will get away with layering these two together.
- No other obsessions right now, although right now is the time of the year when everybody at work is talking about getting new handbags and stuff. Maybe when I'm not as harried as I am this month, I'll start talking more.