Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Today is Stay Home Because You're Well Day.

Reason enough for me!

wish list
I just found out from Kat's blog that people on Live Journal are now posting their Christmas wish lists. I've actually been doing this every year since I was about eight; pre-blog, I used to just tape it up on my bedroom door, on the pretext that it was there for 'Santa'. The real purpose, of course, was to make shopping a little easier for anyone who was planning to get me something anyway, and also to minimize the chances of me getting something dopey like yet another set of 'days-of-the-week' underpants from my maiden aunt.

(And just what is this thing with aunties and weekday underwear, anyway?)

The neat thing with the LJ version is that the point is supposed to be less about getting what you want, and more about the opportunity to fulfill someone else's Christmas wish, even if it's just by giving them a Friendster testimonial or passing on some secondhand item that may be worthless to you but priceless to them.

Of course, we all know I'm really a mercenary little bitch at heart, so let's not pretend I'm posting this with actual good intentions or anything... Kidding! Well, mostly kidding... Seriously, folks, go on and post your lists, and we'll see what I can do, okay? (I've volunteered to do Kat's blog layout, for instance!)

Nikki's List:
1. a connection cable thingie so I can hook my PC up with my Nokia 6230
2. a new, cute, small notebook (a little smaller than hand-size, as long as you're not Vin, who has huge hands) with nice ruled paper
3. a set of ink refills for my Inoxcrom fountain pen (only Php25 at National Bookstore!)
4. Philosophy Lemon Meringue three-in-one shampoo, conditioner & body wash (available at Beauty Bar)
5. a pair of excruciatingly simple dangly silver earrings to go with my elaborate silver bracelet
6. a tin of pate de foie gras, the ritzy kind from Santi's Deli
7. any Tim Powers novel that is not Earthquake Weather, The Anubis Gates, or Declare
8. a subscription to InStyle magazine
9. a roll of scalloped ecru lace for my DIY clothing embellishment projects
10. Acuvue or Acuvue Clear disposable contact lenses, grade 275
11. a gold locket pendant
12. a replica of the now-tarnished vermeil bracelet I inherited from my grandmother, this time done in gold and crystal

As you can see, my desires range from the utterly reasonable to the ridiculously overpriced, so those of you who are not Dean are fully expected to ignore items 11 and 12.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the reason there isn't more reading material on this list is because I never know I want 'em till I see 'em.

And yes, the Live Journal version specifies a list of only ten items, but I've always been an overachiever.
Nikki bit in at 4:06 PM :: ::
Saturday, November 27, 2004

Today is Pins and Needles Day.

No wonder Some People have been so prickly lately...

down here with the best of the rest
So there I was, happily reading Time magazine's 'Best of Asia' article, when it dawned on me that only one of the 'bests' mentioned was located in the Philippines. Around thirty-plus categories, mind you, and what did we get lauded for? Best destination for whale sharks. Not best hotel, not best shopping, not--as one might have expected--best beach. Heck, we didn't even rate 'Best Bowl of Ramen Outside Japan'!

I mean, sure, I think it's great that whale sharks can enjoy gallivanting unmolested just off our shores. But it's kind of disheartening to note that the one thing we're recognized for in the region, we didn't even put there.

Vexed in the City
I've completed my sister-in-law Jo's blog redesign! When she first asked me to set her blog up for her a few months ago, I had no idea that she would be such a prolific writer--or such a hilarious one! So the original design I made for her--with a narrow space for entries and a scholarly motif because she's taking her graduate studies in education--turned out to be all wrong for the actual content and personality of her blog. Now it's much more fitting, and much more fun, if I do say so myself. Check it out here.
Nikki bit in at 5:22 PM :: ::
Friday, November 26, 2004

Today is Aura Awareness Day.

I like to think that mine is teal.

the price of (more or less) success
I'm beginning to feel nostalgic for the days when I first threw prudence to the winds and decided to become a freelance copywriter. I had hardly any clients, and would therefore rarely leave the house for fear of being tempted to spend money I didn't have. Dean kept me housed, fed, and clothed, of course, but then--as now--any luxury expenses were pretty much my own lookout. So I stifled my never-ending desire for kikay products, and read every book in my library at least thrice out of desperation.

Then came the halcyon Hong Kong days, when Dean was making enough money for me to be a luxuriously kept woman, going shopping when I felt bored and buying a minimum of one new book a week. By then I had actually amassed a modest stable of copywriting clients, but since I was abroad, it wasn't too convenient for me to keep up with the corporate projects. But that was okay, because I was making pretty good money writing Internet porn instead. Yup, porn--a pretty penny just for writing twelve pages a month of "ooh ooh ahh ahh no please don't stop". Not exactly challenging, but lucrative enough and excellent fodder for amusing conversation!

Two years later, Sage came along, so we came back to Manila. (Well, it was a little more complicated that that, but I digress...) I practically had to start over with the copywriting again (because the porn company, alas, folded), dealing with such challenging clients as a well-known purveyor of pineapple juice whose name starts with 'D' and ends in 'E'. D----e insisted that they were not a fruit company, but rather, a technology company who happened to deal in produce. Whatever. It wasn't like I could pick and choose.

Nowadays, while I'm not exactly rolling in it, I pretty much can pick which projects to take and which to turn down. I rarely do, though, since (a) I try not to look a gift client in the mouth, and (b) as we have often established, my appetite for things like makeup and bath products is well-nigh insatiable. (And let's not forget luxe linens!) So it's come to a point where I rarely go more than two days of late without a new project cropping up. I kid you not. I've been back from the States for about a month now, and I still haven't finished the pile of books we brought back; and it's taking me forever to get through the PC game I bought weeks ago--Evil Genius; and the number of blogs I've been promising to vamp up for people is piling up scarily towards the two-digit mark.

The price of success, apparently, is success.
Nikki bit in at 3:40 PM :: ::
Thursday, November 25, 2004

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

I grew up in a household where we actually celebrated Turkey Day, which is pretty weird if you think about it, considering that while my mom, brothers, and I are Americans, we are not white people. And if you think about it, the whole origin of the holiday is not exactly reason for us non-Caucasians to jump up and down with glee.

However, my mom is totally the human equivalent of a Nutter Butter cookie. (The more common phrase is 'Oreo cookie', but in Mom's case, she's brown on the outside, white on the inside.) So every year in my childhood, we'd do the whole thing: the turkey, the stuffing, the cranberry jelly, the pumpkin pie. And it's not like I minded, at least not until I developed enough sentience to consider what, in fact, we were celebrating. (Not to mention my belated realization that, while stuffing, cranberry jelly, and pumpkin pie are indeed grand and glorious things, roast turkey is truly not much more, taste-wise, than an adequate platform for copious amounts of gravy. Gak, I feel guilty and traitorous just typing that.)

So anyway, when I married Dean, I pretty much stopped celebrating Thanksgiving, except for the occasional lunch with my mom in the years when it occurred to me. But now I sort of feel that I should introduce Sage to the holiday, since it is, one way or the other, part of her family heritage. After all, I may not think much of the marginalization and exploitation of the original Americans, but I can appreciate setting a day aside each year to take stock of blessings and be thankful. I'm still a little ambivalent about the whole deal, though...

So today, Sagey and I shared a turkey sandwich. I like it well enough with horseradish Dijon, and any excuse to go out and hang with Mommy is okay by her. It's a start.
Nikki bit in at 10:54 PM :: ::
Friday, November 19, 2004

Today is Have A Bad Day Day.

And thanks a lot to whoever thought that one up!

Okay, due to the extreme interest in the preceding post (and because I really have no more use for them anymore anyway), I figured I should perform a public service and publish...

Nikki's Surefire Tricks for Attracting Guys
(The author hereby disclaims any responsibility for anything caused by incautious use of the following. Please note that they have only failed once in 18 years, so don't say I didn't warn ya!)

1. THE TOO-SHY-TO-SPY Make eye contact with target male. Widen your eyes ever so slightly, and allow your lips to part, showing just a hint of teeth. (The goal here is to appear overcome with attraction, but not panting with it.) After a second or two, blink and quickly look away, as if you've only just realized that you're staring, and are now embarrassed about it. Use your own discretion to decide whether you should dart another quick look his way before turning 'shyly' away again.

2. THE GUILEFUL SMILE (for advanced flirts) Smile at target male as if you've just thought of something impossibly naughty. While smiling, bite your lower lip, and allow it to slowly slip out from under your teeth, returning to ripe fullness as you let your gaze travel all the way down his body. (Do not try this with dry lips, or you'll just look silly.) Turn away, smiling widely about the X-rated scene he now thinks is playing in your head. If possible, whisper to a nearby female companion and start laughing.

3. THE BRA BOOST Again while maintaining eye contact, hike up your bra strap, forcing him to combat his natural instinct to obviously check out your boobs. This works best in actual conversation with target male, especially if you mention his name while doing the bra hike. (Not the best move for gay flirts, however.)

4. THE TILT 'N' TEASE Also while in conversation, tilt your head to listen to him, resting your chin on one fist. This shows off your face and the long, lovely line of your throat, so only do it if you actually have a nice neck and complexion. (You can disguise a pudgy jawline with strategic placement of the fist, however.) When making a conversational point, move your hand to almost touch his, but don't actually touch it. Instead, visibly hesitate for a fraction of a second before resting said hand against the table (or whatever surface you're leaning your elbow on) next to his hand. If you have long hair, you may allow it to 'accidentally' brush against any area of his exposed skin.

5. THE SNEAK TWEAK With someone you know well enough, pluck a real or imagined piece of whatever off his hair (or scalp, as the case may be). Lean in close to do this, so that your breath tickles his ear. Wear your best perfume, and make sure to run your fingers against his scalp in the process. Works best for those with longish fingernails.

6. ORAL PROPS If you can't make a man sweat with a lollipop or ice cream cone in your mouth, then really, girl, you need more help than even Trick #7 can give you.

7. SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER(only to be used in extremis by expert flirts; never use more than once a year or so with the same guy, because he will remember!) Ask for assistance in adjusting your shoe (whether it needs it or not). Holding on to his arm, bend down and fiddle with said shoe. Then, staying bent down, look up, smile, and thank him for his help, smoothly unbending thereafter into standing position. If this combination of your touch, the machismo-boost of assisting a damsel in distress, and the sight of your face in the vicinity of his groin continues to leave the man unmoved, then baby, there is no hope, and target male is possibly gay.

If this all sounds pre-feminist to you, just think of it the way I do: Manipulating Men for Fun and Profit. Because sometimes, they just don't know what's good for them, the poor things, and you have to hit them where it counts--in that region between the waist and the knees. (And now every male I've ever met is examining my past and present behavior towards them... aren't you, guys?)
Nikki bit in at 1:52 AM :: ::
Monday, November 15, 2004

Today is America Recycles Day.

But last Saturday was much more interesting, so let's talk about that instead...

It was mostly my fault, really.

Last Saturday night, for a lark, some friends and I went to see a male strip show. I was actually bored for the majority of the time, and even repulsed once or twice by some of the less-appealing specimens of masculinity. ("My eyes! My eyes!")

After a while, I started to notice that some of the straight guys among the dancers were taking special notice of me--that is, in their usual practice of making 'meaningful' eye contact with audience members, they would gaze at me; then their eyes would hastily flick back for a startled double-take. I looked around the room and realized it was because I was the only female in the room who was not wrinkly, horribly made-up, and probably someone's grandmother.

Possibly due to a combination of my boredom, my annoyance over the gender-discriminating entrance fee (See below), and sheer bloody-minded caprice, I started practicing #1 of my long-disused Surefire Tricks for Attracting Guys (more on this in a later post). Apparently, it remains surefire, because in a matter of moments, Dancer Guy had shimmied over to the side of the stage directly in front of me, and was undulating his barely-clad body two feet from my face.

The next thing I knew, the lights had gone out. I barely had time to register a darker patch of darkness looming over me; then Dancer Guy straddled me, ground his erection against my crotch, and planted a long, wet lick on my right ear.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed this more if Guy hadn't (a) smushed my nose under his chest, and (b) all but suffocated me in the scent of male sweat and cheap cologne. My husband, of course, was vastly amused.

Lessons learned at the Male Strip Show:
1. At such places, entrance costs 50% more for women than for men.
2. Even strippers can appreciate tastefully-restrained cosmetics use.
3. My Surefire Tricks for Attracting Guys still work, but
4. They can be dangerous.
5. It pays to always have clean ears.
Nikki bit in at 11:12 PM :: ::
Sunday, November 07, 2004

Today is Gingerbread House Day.

Just don't go eating anyone's windowsills or you'll be sorry!

No Mo' NaNoWriMo
So, remember how I was all to-ing and fro-ing about joining the National Novel Writers' Month thing? Well, I'd finally psyched myself up to do it--made a new blog template and everything--when my hard drive decided to commit felodise. (No doubt it sensed that I had been making goo-goo eyes at my stepfather's flatscreen monitor while in the States. Ah, the price of infidelity!)

That ate up a whole week of the twentysomething days allotted for me to write 50,000 words of at least marginal sense. I could probably still do it, if I tossed everything else on the back burner. Which I can't. I could, of course, give it the ol' college try anyway, but I pride myself on never yet having missed a deadline in my adult writing career, and I'm not about to risk my clean slate now.

Instead, I wound up creating new templates for Dean's and Vin's novels-in-the-making, which--if I do say so myself--are nearly as lovely as the actual writing my husband and best male friend are somehow managing to churn out day after day. Do take a moment to check out Salamanca and Midnight Marquee, as well as Andrew's Pop Monster (also well-written, but not nearly as pretty, haha!).

one of the 'everything else' that keeps me so busy
One of the little side projects I've done has come out: an article on reading to unborn children in this month's Smart Parenting. Check it out if you have kids or take care of kids; otherwise, it will probably bore you out of your skulls. And don't say I didn't warn you!

Thanks to everybody who commiserated with me over the tooth and the computer, as well as alla youse who welcomed me and mine back to the country. And welcome to the blogroll, Kat and Ella!
Nikki bit in at 3:41 PM :: ::
Thursday, November 04, 2004

This Wretched Week...

My tooth cracked, my health crumbled, and my hard drive crashed.

Which is why I haven't been posting anything, why I haven't been working on my NaNoWriMo novel as planned, and why, in a frenzy of frustration, I ended up overhauling our entire kitchen and library area at home.

I did manage to overcome my fever eventually; hopefully my poor PC will be all hooked up again by tonight; and I have a dental appointment tomorrow to deal with the tooth. I'm currently typing this in Dean's office, just so y'all know I haven't been kidnapped by little green men or anything.
Nikki bit in at 5:08 PM :: ::
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Nikki Alfar is really not as sexy as El's illustration would have you believe... but she doesn't mind if you think of her that way.
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Location: Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

class act/guttersnipe. tomboy/girly-girl. serious writer/comics hack. wife & mom/tart & tease. obssessive-compulsive/laid-back. sweetheart/bitch. all that.

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