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Busy Weekend

The sis-in-law (the one who's married to a minister) had a rotten week: her employer is transferring her, with almost no notice, to a different facility, and as she runs a senior center (basically, daycare for senior citizens), it means leaving behind not only staff, but also clients. So she decided at virtually the last minute to come down (with our nephew in tow) and see the Young Lady's play (our daughter is crewing her school's not-quite-spring musical, Beauty and the Beast) Friday night, because she thought it would cheer her up. This meant I had to clean up the guest room, which was wall-to-wall wrapping paper bits and rolls still, from the last installment of Xmas. But when I got home, there was an Amazon box waiting: I have Samurai Deeper Kyo 27, xxxHolic 11 [thanks, megan!!], and Takumi-Kun 2!

Saturday I was not feeling well - malaise about sums it up - and nothing much happened except meals out (lunch at Oriental East, which has great dim sum and forgettable service; dinner at Austin Grill, which is quite good for a chain) and the week's grocery shopping. The Young Lady was crewing again and had to eat leftovers for dinner. Oh well - it builds character!

Sis-in-law left early Sunday morning, and then sanada came to visit! We had brunch at Jackie's (retro American cuisine in a groovy-funky 1960s industrial setting) and talked manga nonstop. A good dose of fangirling makes one feel ever so much better. Then we went and saw the matinee of the play ourselves. Energy level good, one or two really good performances, scenery very uneven (the Beast's castle was very, very good, the village scenery was pretty lame), costumes pretty nice (althought the dinner plates were awful), and the special effects were much fun ... during the Beast's transformation at the end, petals fell from the catwalks onto our heads. They were meant to be rose petals, but all I could think of was (a) Sakura of Doom and (b) Nanao dumping baskets of petals over Shunsui. And the casting was the usual marvellous Blair High School racial mix: Oriental Belle, African American Gaston, Hispanic (I think) Beast, and so on. Dinner was what the Mr. calls "the meat place" - Brazilian BBQ.

Comments

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chomiji
Mar. 10th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)

Sad to say, eating out is our major hobby these days ... and definitely a major factor in why we're both more or less square in shape! I'm sure Washington can't compete with New York or San Francisco for number and variety of eating places, but we give it a good try.

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chomiji
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)

You a fan of the fantasy works of Diana Wynne Jones, by any chance? In one of her children's books (Charmed Life), a bitchy young girl is berating her cousins for being fat. They smile placidly and say "Fat is comfortable. It's much more of a nuisance looking like a china doll, like you do!"

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chomiji
Mar. 12th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)

You might want to check out the DWJ recs I did for smilla a little bit ago ... your mileage may vary on Dogsbody, which is a very sweet book but rec'ced here mainly because of the dog angle. The rest are things I'd happily rec to anyone who likes fantasy/magical stuff.

(And there are C.J. Cherryh recs there too, but I have no idea if SF is your thing at all.)

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chomiji
Mar. 17th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)

You might like the light space opera The Witches of Karres, which I just talked smilla into reading, as well!

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smillaraaq
Mar. 11th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
Just grabbed a couple of DWJ's Chrestomanci series on BookMooch, btw!

(So who has good curry in Union Station? I haven't ventured into their food court in ages...)
chomiji
Mar. 11th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)

Anything by DWJ is better than the best things by almost anyone else ... but my faves are actually not part of the "Chrestomanci" books. Of those, my favorite is The Lives of Christopher Chant.

Aditi Indian Kitchen on the lower level (food court) is where I get mine. How good they are in the absolute sense - I don't know. I'm a tyro when it comes to Indian food. I only like mild heat, and the Mr. doesn't care of Indian-style spices at all, so I rarely get it.

smillaraaq
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
That's a cuisine I've only begun exploring in the last decade or so -- out of Tyler Cowen's reclist I've been to and quite enjoyed Minerva, Bombay Curry Company (local favorite of a foody/chef friend), Jaipur. It looks like Aditi might have links to a couple of other places he rates as decent, so I'll have to check it out the next time I'm hitting Union Station...

(I'm probably not a good person to ask for recs here, mind you, as aside from the milder palak paneer I tend to gravitate towards spicier dishes, including extremely fiery vindaloos...)
chomiji
Mar. 12th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)

> cringes <

We'll have to get the Peruvian roast chicken from the Chicken Place in Wheaton for you then, and you can dress it to your hot-blooded heart's content with their amazing green chili sauce. I have to dilute it 10:1 with ketchup ... .

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meganbmoore
Mar. 10th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
"Samurai Deeper Kyo 27, xxxHolic 33, and Takumi-Kun 2!"

I want your time machine(though I have no idea what Takumi-kun is)
chomiji
Mar. 10th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)

Hee! I fixed it! Of course SDK really is at 27, and this is indeed the second Takumi ... . I seriously doubt Takumi-kun would be to your taste, megan-san: pretty boys in a private boarding/prep school kissing a lot (and more - but the drawings fade away tastefully). It's my version of romance crack, I think. Now that I have more than one of them, I might blog it ... but the next one out April 1, so maybe I should wait. (I have several other things - manga and books, in queue to blog already.)

meganbmoore
Mar. 10th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
I think I'm sick and tired of most of the school-centric mangas regardless of genre, actually.

Personally, I still long for a Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow blog post(though, IIRC, you didn't like it quite as much as I longed for.)
chomiji
Mar. 10th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)

Oooh, good point - I should re-read it, which I meant to do anyway. (Now where did I put it? sanada had to watch me paw through dozens of stacks of stuff in my office looking for my Saiyuki doujinshi that I wanted to show her ... it's a sad state of affairs.)

You know, you're quite right about the school thing. Hmm. I guess I'll have to blog that point when I do write it up. I think the reason that's not driving me nuts is that the emphasis is more on Takumi's internal mental/emotional processes and not on the school hijinx.

meganbmoore
Mar. 10th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting for Amazon to send me the second book.

Looking at my backlog, I do still follow a fair number of books with some focus on school, but most are like Fruits Basket where every once in a while, the manga-ka goes "oh yeah, and sometimes they go to school" and the couple I have waiting for me to start focus on clubs...one is about a girl who joins the anime and manga club because her boyfriend is an extreme otaku and she wants to save him from the dark side, and the other is a romantic comedy about an obsessive compulsive and a slob, set around classical music.

But a few years ago, most of my collection was high school shojo-centric, with books like SDK, BOTI, Basara, RuroKen and a few others that weren't mixed in that were my favorites...now I've realized that most of it annoys me(it did then, too, but I thought it was what I was supposed to want to read-that and yaoi because that's what all the female fans read) and now it's almost all historical and fantasy and hybrids.
chomiji
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)

>> I thought it was what I was supposed to want to read - that and yaoi because that's what all the female fans read)<<

Well, I'm sure that didn't help with your dislike for those things. Whyever would someone assume that there was any kind of "supposed to" for anything read for pleasure? I started with SDK because the Mr. brought it home, and no other reason. And then I got into Saiyuki and some of the others because sanada though I might like them on the basis of discussions we'd had on SDK and on SF&F novels. The only things that have deeply disappointed me thus far are Nana and most recently Wallflower, both of which have been highly recommended (which is another story for another time ... I want to think harder about why I loved Ouran and dislike that one).

I had no expectations at all for Basilisk, so the fact that it sucked wasn't upsetting.

meganbmoore
Mar. 11th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
Until a little over 2 years ago, I thought there were only 2 female anime/manga fans in the world(1 I knew online, 1 I knew in person) who didn't hate almost every female character ever and look for slash in everything they picked up...if I mentioned I liked two male characters or that my two favorite characters in a series, it was automatically assumed that I slashed them(I remember mentioning two characters one time and then getting a 30 minute spiel about how they were so perfect for each other, and being mystified as one was married and-though we never met her and she was only mentioned briefly-obviously pretty respectful of and committed to his wife, and the other was one of those who was basically walking around with a "personal property of *insert*" tattoo on his forehead

That's interesting about Wallflower and Ouran. I started out liking them about equally, but I've largely lost interest in Ouran(I think because the last few volumes I read were heavy on the Haruhi/Tamaki implications, and as much as I love Tamaki, I just can't convince myself that she wouldn't kill him inside a week) and now that Basara and Night of the Beasts are through running their main stories in the US, it's probably a toss up between it and Fruits Basket for my favorite shoujo that's still coming out. I wonder if it may be how the two turn over all the normal tropes for shoujo? Ouran turns all the tropes on their head, but also giddily embraces and revels in them...Wallflower has all the same tropes, but done in a way to show just how absurd they are. The slash is a good example. Ouran is rather like Hana Kimi, Yuu Watase, and some Fruits Basket(Ayame, Shigure, Haru) where it makes it clear that the characters are straight, but tosses around the slash left and right(a lot of other shoujo, too, but those are the ones you're familiar with off the top of my head) for fun. Wallflower is actually heavier on the slash than Ouran in some ways, but also has a very strong "but if they caught you slashing them, they'd rip your throat out" undertone to it. (As a side note, based on comments, I'm pretty sure the mangaka is a yaoi fan, unless I missed a comment directly addressing it, it's just the tropes and stereotyping that she's playing with.) And it does that with everything: the fan girls, the pretty girl, the hot guy, the playboy, the girlish guy, the shy girl, the serious guy, the "hot guy brings shy girl out of shell" stereotype, etc. If I'd read Wallflower the first year or so I was reading shoujo, I probably would have run from it, thinking I was being told there was something "wrong" with liking shoujo, but encountering it when I was starting to get tired of shoujo, it was basically the best thing ever.

Now, Nana? Came highly recommended to me, too. I struggled through about 3 volumes...thought rocker Nana and the characters from her old band were pretty cool, wanted to strangle girly Nana and do extremely unpleasant things to her boyfriend...even before he cheated(and he actually chose a girl even more annoying to cheat with!) I've actually had a LOT of manga recced to me-even in the last year or so-that I could tell just by how people were talking to me about it that I'd despise it, and they would tell me how I'd love it ever so much. Then again, they're some of the same ones who told me I'd like the Goong live action, and that was 24 hours or torture for me, and essentially proof that, while I like "alpha jerk and sweet girl" a lot in certain cases, most of the time, it's just "alpha bastard and spineless doormat, but it's ok because he has angst as an excuse."

Basilisk...*scowl* I had expectations. Saw the movie, thought it was pretty decent(the guy playing the main guy pretty much sleepwalked his way through it, but is a good enough actor that he still did well) and, since I liked the plot's take on "enemies as lovers" and had been told the manga was much better...and it was just fight-rape-porn. I'm not sure I would have realized, based on the first two volumes, what the central plot was meant to be if I hadn't known beforehand. I looked at the last volume when it came out and it never got better.
chomiji
Mar. 12th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)

One of these days I'll start remembering that you're a complete original in your tastes, and I won't feel so worried about things I rec that you don't like! Your reaction to Nana is so very like mine, ditto for a number of other things, and yet we so thoroughly disagree on the whole slash thing. It is a puzzlement. But it is what it is, that's all she wrote, end of subject.

As mentioned previously, until I encountered female roleplayers playing gay male characters online about 10 years ago, I had not a clue that I was not some isolated pervert for liking boys on boys, and that's why I'm so enthusiastic about it now. But that has nothing to do with what you like.

Do try to find Lymond - I really think you will love it. There are some slashy things going on here and there, but it's generally a very wildly het story, and with much angst and snark and politics and disguises ... . You can, BTW, get the newer quality paperbacks of them in good condition for less than $5.00 apiece on abebooks.

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smillaraaq
Mar. 10th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
I have all of the Twelve Kingdoms anime burned to CDs here, courtesy of a kind crack-pimping friend. Now I just need to actually sit down and watch them one of these years...

(But first I need to finish watching the Ginga Densetsu Weed fansubs, because at least that series I'm halfway through, and there's just something deeply amusing about your basic sort of shonen action crack with an all-canine cast.)
meganbmoore
Mar. 10th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
12k is essentially the prefect example of how you take someone weak and whiny and annoying and turn them into something awesome. Youko int he first few volumes is about the most annoying thing to ever exist, yet, by the end of the anime, she's just aboutthe best thing ever.
smillaraaq
Mar. 10th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
*nods* "Actual character growth" was one of the raves I kept hearing about this one.
meganbmoore
Mar. 10th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
LOTS of actual character growth all around. Well, notreally Keiki...he does try, though.
smillaraaq
Mar. 10th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Hrm, that publisher's blurb page is a little fuzzy on their BL history -- Song of Wind and Trees was also one of the groundbreaking early classics of the genre, but Heart of Thomas came out two years earlier.

I'll be curious to hear about this one, per past discussion I don't generally get into high-school stories, romantic or not, but this one sounds like it might be something of a throwback to the old-school shounen-ai storytelling but with modern art, which could definitely be appealing...

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