Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Monday, May 30, 2005

The Sundial Girl is Back!

Gabby asked me to revamp her blog, which was not the easiest thing in the world to do because she wanted scarlet and sunflowers; and red and yellow, from my perspective at least, are not the easiest colors to work with in tandem. (Though really it's my fault because I'm the one who went and asked her what her preferences were... I mean, I could just put up whatever the heck I want, but nooo, I have to be all "personal touch" about it. Damn me!)

Why do so many bloggers ask me for red templates? Do they know it's my second-least favorite color to work with? (After black; despite the fact that I'm perenially dressed in black, I find black blogs hideously discouraging to read.) Fully a third of all the blogs I've designed have had to be red, by owner preference. It's a conspiracy, I tellya.

Anyway, about a month ago I actually decided that Cams's blog (which she and I are still discussing) would be the last request I would do for free. Because it does cost me in Internet time, peoples! Which means that I actually ought to have charged Gabby, since she asked me after Cams did; but Gabby has been going through a lot of shit lately, and I figured that what a girl absolutely needs in her circumstances is a good makeover, whether literal or virtual.

So there you go, Gabs--think of it as my own HTML magic spell, meant to bring you strength and serenity, enhanced creativity (like you need it!) and laughter. Everybody else, check out Sometimes Sunlight.
Actually, Gabby kind of is paying me... in cake! Gabs, favorite flavors are lemon, mint, raspberry, and rum. Mango cream pie is good, too, mm.

Dear My Readers, should you want a Nikki-designed template of Your Very Own, the aforementioned "fee" is really only Php250, or the corresponding ISP Bonanza prepaid Internet card (which will save you a couple of bucks, and me the trouble of buying it). Email me, and I'll see if I can fit you into my schedule. And please put "Template design, please!" in the subject line so I don't think you're spam.

See? I'm really not all that intimidating. I actually have a kind and generous heart, only nowadays you have to pay me for it. Haha!
Nikki bit in at 4:18 PM :: ::
Thursday, May 26, 2005

vignette: Sauce for the Goose

There is a song my mother used to sing to me--or hum, rather--when I was a child. Fal la la da da da da, it went; and this is the tune I have woven with a little chant of my own devising, to send Conrad stumbling and scurrying away from me in fear, pretending to chase after his hat. He thinks it is a kind of magic that blows the hat off his head and all across the hillside--it would never occur to him that I simply take care to sit on a rock upwind, where the breeze gusting downhill takes care of his importunate advances.

It’s a matter of observation and timing, you see. In magic; in music; in everything.

Possibly the song never really had words--more likely, though, my mother simply could never remember them. She is a kind woman and generous, though quick to forget and hard-pressed to make decisions. These are far from dreadful qualities in a mother, but likewise far from desirable in a ruling queen. Though she finally agreed with her council that an alliance by marriage was the only way to save the kingdom, she wept so hard and so copiously at our departure that I never did manage to ask her what the song was named.

Sela wept, too. She is the most gently-bred of my handmaidens, and therefore the one I chose to keep by my side after the six of us crept out of camp by moonlight. It was not as hard as might be imagined: Bree and Tessa, who once were milkmaids, easily knocked the two guards unconscious with their work-sturdied arms. The poor men had thought they were meeting for a midnight assignation, after all.

I do not know if the milkmaids or the other two have been caught yet. I sent them fleeing in opposite directions, in pairs, to lead my soldiers on a merry chase. They would not know which group I was with, you see. Believing that I fled an arranged marriage, they would never think to look for me here, where I was meant to go in the first place.

For her part, Sela, despite and because of her gentility, is playing her part well. Every morning as we take the geese out and every afternoon when we bring them in, I speak out loud to the horse’s head that has been nailed above the kitchen door. More magic, Conrad thinks; more misdirection, in truth. It gives me a chance to check for the report Sela leaves each day in the horse’s mouth.

Today’s note reads: My lady, the Prince continues unfailing kind, though I fear he grows more fretful at my tearful refusals in the bedchamber. He struggles for patience however; and instead tells me of his plans for our kingdoms: how each will support and benefit from each other, how he intends to unite them into a single, stronger whole. Dear my lady, is it not time we ended this deception and returned you to your true place and status?

She is deeply uncomfortable with this charade, of course; as who would not be? She also remains unaware, it seems, that the prince has begun to suspect something is amiss--from little missteps in her comportment, from her choice of words, from the simple fact of her continuing reluctance to fulfill her royal duty. Soon enough, he will wonder where she goes off to every morning and afternoon. Soon enough, he will make it his business to find out, and follow.

By then, perhaps, I will have made my own decision: whether the man I am coming to know--albeit from a distance--is truly worthy of me, or whether I shall simply take the goose up the hill one day and keep on going until I reach some place where I would like to stay. It is rather an extraordinary courtship, I admit, but I have never been a particularly ordinary princess.

“Fancy talking to a dead horse’s head!” Conrad sneers at me, trying to substitute bravado for bravery. “And one without a proper name, even.”

“I have found,” I say, without bothering to look at him,” that most horses, when separated from their bodies, tend to be dead... unless they manage to make better plans. And Falada is a far superior name to Conrad.”

Before he can devise a retort, I walk on ahead of him, out of the kitchen and into the morning, humming a snatch of my “sorcerous” little song.

It’s a matter of observation, you see. And timing.
Nikki bit in at 3:55 PM :: ::
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Just an Idea I'm Tossing Around...

If (and only if, because I'd still have to talk him into it) Dean were to hold some kind of writers' workshop, would you pay to attend? If so, how much would you be willing to shell out? I'm sure Dean would like to limit the number of participants so he could give each person the attention he/she deserves (and block off enough time to properly critique each submission), which would mean that ten or fewer people would have to be able--and willing--to offset the cost of the venue and sundry expenses. But I'm pretty sure there'd be an audience for this (Am I wrong, Dean-o-philes?) and I know Dean would secretly really love an opportunity to directly help out and encourage aspiring writers.

So, whaddya all think?

To paraphrase Roxy Hart of Chicago: I love my readers, and I think some of my readers love me, and I love them for loving me, and we all just love each other. What perplexes me is that there are apparently people over at Dean's blog who go around reading and kind of liking me as well, and they keep telling him about it. Him, not me.

Why not me? I have comment script, too. I have a tagboard. I don't bite--well, not much, and y'know, not anywhere that it would show outside your clothes or anything. Kidding... mostly...

I would assume that it's because I'm snarky by nature, but we all know that Dean is really the Sultan of Snarkiness (as Sassy is the Empress), whereas I am merely a humble harem girl in the Mosque of Mischief. So come on, people--if you're reading here, speak up! I promise not to make fun of you... unless you write in txtspk, in which case all bets are off.

I never said I was nice, just approachable.
Nikki bit in at 10:44 AM :: ::
Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Been a while since I last wrote one of these, but as I have been devouring reading material with gluttonous glee lately, I thought I'd share some of the best:

The Prestige by Christopher Priest
I don't know why I'd never heard of this World Fantasy Award-winner before I spotted it at Booktopia, because it is every bit as good as an awardee ought to be. The story of the vicious rivalry between two 19th-century stage magicians (and how it affects their families generations down the line), it's tasty with trivia tidbits on prestidigitation and glimpses into the itinerant lifestyle of the professional magician; and ends with the satisfactory resolution of the various intriguing mysteries that pepper the plot. For a semi-epistolary work, it refreshingly manages to maintain solid characterization, especially since it covers a number of decades and a pair of protagonists in the course of the tale. It's also a beautifully-designed book--and just this once, you really can judge it by its cover.

Ultra: Seven Days by the Luna Brothers
It feels like forever since I've read a new comic book I really, really liked; then this trade paperback came along. Pearl Penalosa is Ultra, a superheroine in a world where such heroes are rich and famous... provided that they're managed by the right corporation. But really, the only-somewhat-innovative milieu and even the superheroics themselves are merely peripheral to the real plot, in which Ultra's friends drag her to see a fortune teller, and she's told that she will find true love in seven days. Although Pearl doesn't quite believe this, things seem to fall into place... and fall apart again just as quickly. Clothed in (skimpy!) superhero dress, Seven Days is well-drawn and well-written; the magazine-style covers and features for each issue add to the fun and cleverly help establish the characters and setting. I was actually afraid that the Luna Brothers had dropped the ball towards the end, but they proved me wrong, wrapping things up with admirable truth and grace. (The occasional terrible misspelling is forgiveable in light of the spot-on portrayal of the friendship among Ultra, supermodel-turned-goddess Aphrodite, and rich-girl-turned-environmentalist Cowgirl.)

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
I actually just picked this up in the children's section of Powerbooks because Dean offered to buy me a book when we were out with Sage, and I was too lazy to go scour the racks elsewhere. So I guess it's my month for enjoying stuff I've never heard of before! ...Beauty is the story of Gemma Doyle, a sixteen-year-old British girl who is moved from India to a boarding school in England after the brutal and mysterious murder of her mother. Set in Victorian times, ...Beauty might well be mistaken for your run-of-the-mill girl's boarding school story, but aside from the murder mystery, there's also Gemma's discovery that she is the inheritor of powerful magic. It's a surprisingly sophisticated read: from the penetrating-but-not-preachy social commentary on the Victorian age and its treatment of young women to the insightful depiction of complex personalities and relationships. No one in this novel is purely good and hardly anyone is simply bad--everyone has her flaws, her virtues, and her reasons for both stupidity and heroism... you know, kind of like life. A great and chewy read.
And while we're reviewing things...
There's a reason Episode 3 of Star Wars is called "SW3: ROTS". Because man, did it rot!
Nikki bit in at 2:05 PM :: ::
Monday, May 23, 2005

Foot Ware

I’m a little bit of a freak as a female, because I only own six pairs of shoes. Count ‘em: six. (Gigi and Fleece are writhing in horror as they read this, I bet.)

I don’t know why--I probably have seventeen versions of what is essentially the same little black dress, but for some reason I have always been able to get along perfectly well with one version or another of these footwear staples:

1. strappy high heels – The current ones are a shockingly comfortable pair I found, of all places, at the Greenhills tiangge (bazaar). I wear them every chance I get--well, at least whenever I actually have the energy to deal with the straps, and feel reasonably sure that I will not have to traipse over an expanse of loose, slippery stones (which happens more often than you would think).

2. kitten-heeled slides – because more often than not, I have to be able to just jam my feet into a pair of shoes and go! Which means these are the shoes I pretty much live in--they have to be low enough to walk around in all day, but still sexy.

3. pretty flats – My kulang sa pansin (desperate for attention) shoes: slides bedecked in multicolored sequins, for those days when I just can’t be bothered to think about what I’m wearing, but want to look smashing anyway.

4. dressy stilettos – for evenings when I’m sure I won’t have to stand for more than a couple of hours, or are so damned snazzy I’ll willingly endure the “agony of de feet”.

5. knee-high boots – I actually adore boots, and will wear these whenever the weather even hints at being appropriate (which is sadly rare in the Philippines). These used to be a pair of Doc Martens, but eventually the ritual of lacing the things up drove me mad; luckily, I was able to find boots that slip neatly over my calves while still hugging them sexily (or so I think). Above-the-knee would make me even happier, but being 5’8” makes tall boots a bit of a trial to find.

6. funky sneakers – I generally loathe sneakers, but even I have to admit there are occasions when you need shoes that are (gasp!) practical, and don’t threaten to either slide off your feet or give you a sprained ankle at any given moment. You know, like when I’m dragged, kicking and screaming, to some physical activity or out-of-town excursion. My XOXO shoes are fortunately cute enough that I can just about stand looking at my feet when these events occur.

The point I’m making is that when one of the aforementioned pairs of shoes finally surrenders to my relentless abuse of them, there is no backup. I literally have nothing to wear with a significant portion of my wardrobe. (My male readers will probably be mystified by this, but I’m sure my grrlz get it completely.)

It’s even worse when the Shoe Malfunction occurs when I’m out, which is exactly what happened yesterday. Dean, Sage, and I were having our usual Sunday family outing when the sole of my beloved kitten heel (Sob!) decided to part company with the rest of my right shoe. Luckily, I could still walk in it--long enough to get to my favorite shoe store where, even more luckily, my ultra-generous husband shelled out the cash for a new, improved, super-sexier pair. Sage helped pick them out, pretending I was Cinderella--and I felt like Cinderella! I know I’ve said this before, but my man rocks.

This was actually the second time this has happened to me. The first time, I was hanging out at the mall with Sage when my entire left shoe simply collapsed. Since these were high heels, I couldn’t walk around in just one shoe without lurching like Dr. Frankenstein’s Igor, so I took the other shoe off and walked around barefoot until I found a replacement pair I both liked and could afford. The amazing thing is that no one noticed--which goes to show just how far a big smile and ineffable aplomb will take you… even if you only have six (or five!) pairs of shoes.
Nikki bit in at 7:24 PM :: ::
Saturday, May 21, 2005

Tips for a Happy Relationship


When your man shows you an old photograph of yourself and says, "Look how cute your hair was!" it's time to get a haircut.

More often than not, in fact, when your man makes a comment on a specific aspect of your appearance, it's an indication that something is wrong. If he says "I like your blusher today," it means you've put on too much and it's waaay obvious. If he says "That's a really nice skirt," it very likely means you look like either a convent novice or a street hooker.

Because if you've got your look down right, all a man will notice (unless he works in fashion or design) is that you generally look good. He'll say things like: "You look great!" or "My woman is hot!" or, simply, "Wow!"

Except, when he says he likes your ass or tits, he probably just likes your ass or tits. Go ahead and translate this in your head to "I love you"--odds are, he doesn't say that as often as you'd like, and that's kind of what he means anyhow.

So anyway, day before yesterday, having received said photo with said comment from my husband, I went out and got my hair cut. I think I look like Deena Pilgrim from the comics series Powers (below).

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Only, y'know, not quite so tough. But the smirk and the cigarette fit...
Nikki bit in at 2:00 PM :: ::
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fast Car

Of course you kibitzers all want to know about the car! Let's just hope my daughter never reads this post.

Okay, it all started with a mushroom. Don't ask me what kind of mushroom it was, because in those days (I was fourteen or fifteen by then) I had no frickin' idea what I was putting in my veins or my mouth. (And you can interpret that last one aaany way you want to, sugars...) Suffice it to say, there were mushrooms; there was booze; there were cigarettes, not-exactly-cigarettes, and considerably worse items of illegal arcana that I shall refrain from describing here, so as not to become even more of a Bad Influence than I already am.

So there I was, comfortably ensconced in Bad Boyfriend Miguel's lap, feelin' fine, when the carpet began to crawl up my legs. It was a very nice carpet as I remember--possibly Persian, and certainly too well-bred to engage in activities such as harassing not-all-that-innocent young girls. With stoned calm, I got to my feet and attempted to brush the impolite carpet off, but it was recalcitrant and reluctant to let go. After some inspired hopping around and maybe even jitterbugging (received with cheers from my then-friends), I finally got the carpet to slide off... only to find that it had left distressingly psychedelic paisley patterns all over my shins.

At this point, absurd as it seems now, my primary concern was: "How will I explain this to my mother when I'm supposed to be rehearsing for the school play?" Everyone knows that you cannot get paisley patterns on your legs at the school auditorium, while it seemed perfectly reasonable to me that you could pick them up (like an embarrassing disease) in the common area of your boyfriend's rented apartment. So this is what I was stressing about when the carpet renewed its amorous advances on my legs.

I panicked and ran; and Bad Boyfriend (who was really not altogether bad in a number of ways) ran after me. I explained that the carpet was chasing me; and he agreed, with grave and equally-stoned comprehension, that this was a matter of serious concern. So we trooped around the house trying to escape the persistent carpet. It was a large house (of which he rented only one room, but was allowed to use areas like the living room, dining room, and kitchen) and, unfortunately, a fully-carpeted one. We could not get away from our menacing adversary--which was what led to Miguel's suggestion that we take the car and flee.

The problem, of course, was that it was not his car; it was his landlord's. Nevertheless, we got into it; Miguel managed to get it started by fiddling with some wires (a skill I had not previously known he possessed); and we drove off into the night, blithely leaving friends, paraphernalia, and carpet behind.

The next day, I woke up at home (Not-That-Bad Boyfriend had apparently gotten me home somehow) to the sound of the phone ringing. Groggily, I picked it up and heard Miguel's rather tense voice: "Babe? Do you remember what we did with the car?"

I furrowed my brow, trying to remember. "Car?" I repeated blankly.
We eventually did figure out where we'd left the car, and the landlord was so happy to get it back unharmed that he did not press charges. He did kick Miguel out, though, which seemed utterly unreasonable to me at the time... So now, all of you who think I'm so bleedin' wise know that it has not come without cost!
Nikki bit in at 3:14 PM :: ::
Tuesday, May 17, 2005


My brother’s 13-year-old daughter is staying with us for a couple of days, and as far as I can tell, she is just the nicest kid. Because I’ve told her: “You wanna go anywhere, we’ll go. You wanna go off by yourself—as long as it’s nearby, you take your cell phone, and I know where you are—that’s cool. You wanna eat anything, read anything, watch anything lying around the house, grab it and do so; or if we don’t have it, tell me and we’ll get it. The only rule for you here is ‘don’t give your parents a reason to kill me’.”

Among my five nieces, I’m sort of The Cool Aunt. Yet even so, all Camille seems to want to do is sit around and play with Sage until their other cousins can come by. This is utterly baffling to me.

When I was 13, there was hardly anyone in my life I wasn’t lying to, in order to cover up one thing or another that I wasn’t supposed to be doing and most enthusiastically was. For instance, I told my school friends that my boyfriend was a family friend; told my non-school friends that my boyfriend was the brother of a school friend; told my boyfriend that I was 16; and told my family that I was rehearsing for the school play when I was hanging out with said boyfriend. Because not only was I not supposed to start dating (and only group dating, at that) until I turned 18, I certainly wasn’t supposed to be seeing a motorcycle-riding, drug-taking, sexy-as-all-hell 19-year-old college dropout whom I just happened to meet at a mall fashion show. Ever.

You would think that the necessity of fabricating and maintaining this tissue of lies would have clued me in that something was wrong with this relationship, but that’s only because you didn’t know me when I was 13. In defense of my appalling stupidity over the next two years, however, let me just expound on the circumstances of our first meeting:

I was hanging around the mall when I decided to check out this fashion show that was going on. A couple of the male models were pretty darned cute, so, being me, I wriggled my way to the front of the crowd, ending up directly in front of the front end of the runway. It was there that I noticed that one of the models I had noticed had started noticing me. Even so, I figured it was just wishful thinking that he seemed to be smiling specifically at me… until, near the end of the show, he walked all the way to the end of the runway, got down on one knee, extended his hand to take my hand, and kissed it.

Now, come on! Any 13-year-old girl with half a hormone would be smitten; and boy, was I smote. Over the next couple of years, Miguel introduced me to kissing (The peck on the cheek I received from Boyfriend #1, when I was 11, doesn’t count), smoking, drinking, and drugs. (This list probably would’ve included sex if he hadn’t belatedly discovered my real age.) It wasn’t until I had to be rushed to an emergency room after downing a cocktail of alcohol, who-the-hell-knows-what illegal substances, and asthma medicine that I realized that, just possibly, this kind of thing wasn’t really for me.

So I broke up with Miguel—in a truly Made-for-TV scene of high drama—although it must be admitted that I backslid a time or two until I graduated high school and we lost track of each other. I haven’t touched even a joint since that night at the hospital, and I’m not too much of a drinker, either. Y’all know the smoking stayed with me, though.

Thirteen. I’m glad my niece is so much smarter than I was, and I certainly wouldn’t go back and do it all over again if you paid me… But I wouldn’t change a thing, either.

Not even that time when we stole someone's car.
Nikki bit in at 3:54 PM :: ::
Monday, May 16, 2005


Scuttlebutt has it that Neil Gaiman will be in Manila this July. If so, then I will certainly be joining the predictable throng of fans, if only to have Neil sign the Year's Best anthology that he and Dean were both featured in last year. (Yes, my husband and The Sandman Scribe himself are technically colleagues; how's that for cool? Only two or three degrees of separation between Neil Gaiman and me, baby!)

I actually have a couple of Gaiman-signed items floating around the apartment already, thanks to my globe-trotting and very generous (He had them dedicated to me, after all!) husband. Peculiarly, I also have a chapbook written by Neil Gaiman, but autographed by Margaret Weis. This happened because Dean spotted the Dragonlance author while wandering around a convention, but had nothing on hand other than Gaiman's On Cats and Dogs (and was not enough of a Weis fan to actually buy a copy of Dragonlance, having read it already). Hence, my copy of On Cats and Dogs bears the curious notation "I am not Neil".

Well, sugar, few of us are.
Nikki bit in at 4:35 PM :: ::
Saturday, May 14, 2005

Book and Bed (which is usually my idea of bliss...)

Being one of the, like, eight people in the world who didn't actually like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, I found the blurb for its parody, The Asti Spumante Code, blessedly hilarious:
"Why... did the dead man leave so many bafflingly inane clues when a Post-It note would have done? Why does our code-breaking hero know so much useless stuff, and why is he usually wrong about it anyway? charts new territory for the conspiracy thriller. For, extraordinarily, it does not feature Leonardo da Vinci..."

Meanwhile, the new bed we bought for Sage arrived yesterday.

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We got it from Funktionell in Galleria, which has some really nice stuff, is generally even cheaper than Our Home, and has really pleasant staff-people who gave me a tiny-but-much-appreciated discount just because I told them I'd come back and I did. (Which probably means everything is hideously overpriced in the first place, but considering the bed was 5,000 bucks cheaper than the one I'd been planning on getting, I'm not complaining!)

Of course, Dean and I are now having to pay the additional cost of picking a bunk bed, which is having to endlessly clamber up and down a small wooden ladder that was really not designed for anyone more than four feet tall. Oh, the price of love!
Nikki bit in at 4:05 PM :: ::
Thursday, May 12, 2005

Feature Lust

The truth is, I am horribly, terribly envious of my friend Gigi's blog, mainly because she has all these cool things like a calendar that shows her entries for the month and a list of the most recent comments, complete with which entries they commented on. Coolest of all, she has these two sideblogs: one with stuff (mostly kikay) she has bought or wants to buy, and the other with music she likes. It's kind of like reading Lucky magazine, only updated several times a week instead of monthly, and available for free!

Anyway, because of the Evil Gigi, I am now considering switching blog hosts, except that Gigi (like Blogger Extraordinaire Sassy) pays for her blog hosting, and I am way too stingy to do so. (What, and spend my hard-earned book-and-beauty budget elsewhere? Like that's gonna happen!) So my only recourse is to find a free service provider that provides even more flexibility than the already-quite-admirable Blogspot.

The current contender in my ongoing research is journalspace, which is payment-free (the primary consideration, remember?), ad-free, has features like the aforementioned calendar as well as easy posting of Amazon wish lists/recommendations, and even claims to provide moblogging (although I suspect that, like the Blogger variant, this only works with foreign telecom service providers). And so far, publishing on journalspace is super-speedy-mega-fast! (Probably since this huge horde of us are all clogging up the BlogSpot blogosphere...) The drawbacks are that--considering I'm a person who likes to mess with her blog design a lot--the template adjustment system is a little irritating; and, y'know, the basic fact that I'm gonna have to move, and y'all are gonna have to change your links.

I don't know; maybe I just haven't explored BlogSpot thoroughly enough. I'll probably mull it over some, and play with my currently very ugly (Do NOT go there!) journalspace blog a lot more before making up my mind. Suggestions, anyone?
Woohoo! The unbelievably generous Rickey got me a WordPress blog! So yes, the Contradictory Chick* will be "moving house" soon... Stay tuned for your invites to the blogwarming party.
*Rickey, does this make me the original Con Con Girl?
Nikki bit in at 3:04 PM :: ::
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Flesh for Fantasy

Jason says I have the dubious honor of being the Most Blocked Website on his list of links.

I guess I can't argue, seeing as I have now been linked by Johnny Blue, author of The Blue Riders' Club: "the layman's guide to seducing women". A "boys's own" how-to "loaded with sex stories and risque humor", it's touted as a hybrid of The Art of War, the Kama Sutra, Sophie's World, and Sex and the City. Seems like a lot to live up to, but the reviews promise that it will turn you into "David Cop-a-Feel" if you only choose to "sleaze the day". Oh, I'm such a sucker for a good pun...

In any case, the deep and abiding personal amusement for me is that I am now listed along with such luminaries as, Buttercreamkinkykisses, DrBizzaro 100% FREE XXX Sex Porn, and Hustler Platinum, the Best Hustler Site! Yes, my husband may be a big Blogging Superstar nowadays, but I, to quote Right Said Fred, am too sexy for my shirt.

But seriously, folks, I know there are people who are puzzled at how I can be an ardent feminist, a bona fide mommy-mom, and a former porn writer and continuing porn devotee all at the same time. But if you read my earlier post on feminism, you know that my contention is that we are all, before anything else, human beings; as human beings we are sexual beings, and therefore entitled--whether male or female--to as much damn fantasy as it takes to float our respective boats.

Yes, there is a lot of pornography out there that is exploitative of women, but if you scratch the surface just a little, you'll find there's also a hell of a lot that exploits men, aliens, vampires, robots, and the occasional octopus. (Yup, you read that right.) In other words, porn isn't meant to be taken seriously, people! It's not social commentary, and it certainly isn't a Guide to Life. It's fantasy; in fact, it's frequently comedy, even when it doesn't set out to be.

Am I saying that 'equal-opportunity exploitation' makes exploitation okay? Of course not. What I am saying is that sex doesn't always have to equate to sexual politics. Sometimes it's just for fun... at least if you're doing it right.

And if you're not doing it right, apparently, you can always consult with me. Or, you know, BigButtNicole.
Naturally, my husband now proposes that if someone actually goes around calling herself "Big Butt Nicole", I should therefore immediately adopt the sobriquet "Nikki Knockers". He's lucky I have a sense of humor...
Nikki bit in at 2:25 PM :: ::
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bleep and the City

I had the dubious pleasure of watching a Sex and the City rerun last night on local (i.e., non-cable) channel RPN 9. It was a rather challenging experience in televiewing: with every third word or so bleeped out due to censorship, I really needed to exercise my ability to extrapolate dialogue from lip-reading and context clues. The character of Samantha, poor thing, was practically speechless for the entire program.

Now, okay, I can kind of comprehend censoring out the word 'orgasm'--oops, excuse me, orbleepsm. You know, for all those six-year-olds who happen to be watching TV at 10:30 in the evening. But honestly, do we truly need to protect our children from the word 'breasts'? Half the human population has, will have, or has had brbleepsts (not even counting those who wish to someday acquire brbleepsts). Even chickens have brbleepsts; and supermarket displays and restaurant menus the world over have no problem publicly acknowledging this. But God forbid that we actually say 'breasts' on TV when we are, in fact, referring to: tits, boobs, knockers, whangers, bazongas.

You can probably tell that I find this squeamishness with sexual terminology peculiar and perplexing. I just feel that it says something distressing about our culture that we are completely comfortable speaking words like 'murder', 'mutilation', and 'massacre' (lots of nasty words that start with the letter M...); yet many of us are simply unable to say 'cock' or 'pussy' (one or the other of which, it may be presumed, each of us possesses, after all) out loud. Even their more polite, clinically-approved cousins, 'penis' and 'vagina', are generally eschewed, if at all possible, in favor of the enigmatic phrase 'down there'--spoken, by preference, in hushed tones, as if discussing state secrets.

'Down there', really. Are we discussing genitalia or Australia? Either way, apparently, it's something of a foreign country; and evidently, the people who engage in persistent sexual censorship and/or euphemism are determined to keep it that way.

I should probably be grateful they didn't change the show's title to 'Intimacy and the City'.
Nikki bit in at 1:08 PM :: ::
Monday, May 09, 2005

The Essence of his Presence

Having known my husband for 15 years now, I occasionally make the mistake of underestimating the effect he has on people who’ve never met him in person before.

If you haven’t had the privilege yourself, you’re going to think I’m hyperbolizing here, or that I’m saying these things because I love him--which I do, but which does not compromise the simple fact that he is slightly different from the rest of us homo sapiens.

I’m not even talking about the fact that he is a very, very talented and accomplished writer, which many of you may already know. What I mean is that he has this charisma, on almost a JFK level of magnitude.

Admittedly, when people stare at us as we walk into a room together, they are generally just either taken by his height or staring at my tits (I’m resigned to this). But if--as in the case of last Saturday’s i-Blog blogging summit--Dean has the opportunity to address the audience, then the peculiar alchemy of his sheer force of personality takes effect. In less than three minutes, guaranteed, my boobs will be forgotten, by even the horniest males in the room.

Dean opens his mouth; and area by area, person by person, you can actually watch the audience members realign their bodies and attention, as if to accommodate the fact that he somehow takes up more psychic real estate than anyone else. This goes beyond his being very, very loud (he is); very, very funny (he is); and very, very opinionated (If you don’t know that, you’ve really never met him). He is simply more there than anyone else you’ve likely met; more resonant, more arresting, more present. His words seem to have more weight--a color and texture you can almost see and feel. He could sell you snake oil or the Brooklyn Bridge… and as long as he’s still there and still talking, you would buy it and thank him for the privilege.

A friend of ours used to refer to this as “the essence of his presence”: the notion that Dean is capable of altering a room just by walking into it, and that you can actually sense he’s there before really seeing or hearing him. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but really? Not by too much. He’s one of those rare human beings that are catalytic by nature--when he’s around, people think better, laugh louder, react faster, and are sometimes even inspired to do more.

I’m not really sure how or why it works, but it does. And every now and then, on occasions like this most recent one, I remember how lucky I am to be the only one of the awestruck audience who gets to take the man home with me.

Nikki bit in at 1:15 PM :: ::
Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Great and Secret Show...

… as I call it, is that I don’t have any deadlines looming on the horizon. None, zip, zero. This is a concatenation of happy circumstance that has not occurred in the last four months, so you better believe I’m enjoying it. Hence the adjective ‘great’, to describe my currently hedonistic lifestyle; coupled with ‘secret’, which connotes my sneaking suspicion that once this state of events becomes known, the Powers That Be will somehow conspire to inundate me with work once again.

And look, I’ve foolishly gone and blogged about it. Not that work is necessarily a bad thing, as more work means more money, and less free time for my daughter to use me as a trampoline. (Which is, y’know, heart-warming, but quite literally bone-wearying!)

Meanwhile, I’ve been gloriously wasting my non-trampoline time doing utterly pointless things like watching TV, painting my toenails, and surfing the Net--which is how I ended up making little Ragnarok-esque sprites to represent our fictional adventuring party from Dean’s role-playing game.
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If you’re interested, you can try to figure out which ones represent Elana, the Prince(ss); Elke, the Tailor; Ellis, the Soldier; Tarlun, the Barber; and Zoilo, the Tinker. Then see if you can guess which of those characters are played by Alex, Kate, and me!
Nikki bit in at 9:19 PM :: ::
Tuesday, May 03, 2005

vignette: REVELation

Epiphany, when it came to Miggy Montano, arrived with much of the force and many of the trappings of biblical revelation. It might have been the lighting of the club that contributed to this semblance of holy awakening: the hectic, stained-glass hues that strobed across Miggy’s upturned face and the torso of the young god whose penis was most palpably yearning to spill its own sacramental libation down Miggy’s industriously-laboring throat.

There, in that place, at that moment, and on his knees, Miggy realized with a curiously relieved finality that he had, quite simply, had enough. “I’m tired,” Miggy said, as much to himself as to anyone, having released the straining penis as tactfully as possibly from the confines of his overstrained jaws.

“Hunnh?” said the young god—whose name, Miggy suspected, might be Paul. It was a name that started with ‘P’, at any rate; and he felt sure that he would have remembered the hilarious aptness, all things considered, had the name happened to be ‘Peter’.

“I’m tired,” Miggy said again; adding, for good measure, “I’m sorry.”

“Nnno,” said Possibly-Paul, blinking, visibly straining to return to earth from whatever level of heaven he had so far managed to attain. “No. Hey. That’s—cool. You know. Take a break, if you—It’s cool—”

“No, I mean I’m tired of this. All this,” Miggy said, not really sure why he felt the need to explain, least of all to someone whose name he hadn’t even bothered to commit to memory. “I’m 37 years old and I spend my weekends cruising just to wind up with some young thing’s dick in my mouth. It’s not that I mind—I mean, obviously, I don’t mind—but I’m getting to the point where spending my evenings on my fucking knees has just stopped being my idea of nirvana.”

“Yeah, okay,” said Possibly-Paul. “You wanna just get to the fucking? We can go upstairs; I know the manager here…”

Helplessly, Miggy felt the laughter bubble up inside him, effervescent as the antacids (‘Dissolve two tablets in water’) he had started having to take in the aftermath of these all-night sexual no-longer-adventures. With an effort, he controlled the impulse to laugh in the young god’s face—or in the general region of his genitalia, more accurately—and contented himself with saying, “Jesus fuck.”

He rose to his feet, feeling the joints of his knees pop—if not quite with the audible creak of middle age, then certainly with the ominous threat of its inevitability. “Jesus fuck,” he repeated, marveling at his ability to be both amused and appalled at the same time.

“What’s that, like, with my arms spread out and my legs straight down? I can do that,” said Possibly-Paul, apparently eager to oblige his abruptly-unengorged partner. “That’s cool, too.”

Shaking his head, Miggy Montano walked away from the young god, toward the exit, and through the outpouring of unsuppressed mirth that accompanied this sudden revelation—whether divinely inspired or demon-driven—that he wanted more from the rest of his life than simply the rest of his life.

And gods young and old, he reasoned—as much to himself as to anyone—could go fuck themselves. Or find someone else to do it.
Nikki bit in at 11:55 PM :: ::
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