Friday, June 27, 2008


DBF and I are off to drive up to New York state. This weekend we are visiting a couple that we were friends with back in Africa. She's ex-peace corps like me, he's Malian like DBF. And they have three adorable kids, one of whom we've never met. So hooray for roadtrips!

See you all next week. Behave yourselves! Don't do anything that I wouldn't do. heh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Of DIKs and things...

(The picture has nothing to do with this post...I just have a soft spot for LOLcats and thought that was funny. *g*)


Once upon a time there was a group of five or six romance bloggers who were chatting on AIM. A good time was had by all as books were discussed and best reads evah were named. One thing led to another and the notion of a DIK (Desert Island Keeper) list took shape. Initially there were six of us in the chat, so we decided that each person could bring six books to our made-up island. Which would make a library of 36. That's how it started. Since then, the DIK-mania (heh) has grown and morphed into a free-for-all hero-choose-a-thon and now (drumroll) a blog! Excellent reads, hot men, author interviews, these things will be covered in detail. Good times.

I've been pathetically remiss in shouldering my share of the blog's duties (shakes fist at summer MBA courses and full-time work schedule) but I always seem to find time to pimp myself. ha. Well, that is/was my "about me" day on the group blog. So if you wanna know my answers to such scintillating and life-changing questions as "what is your favorite sex song?", then hurry on over to the DIK Ladies blog. woot!

Monday, June 23, 2008

MLM - The Hell You Say!

I should have known. I was warned. Everyone said that Jake Riordan would break my heart and it's true. *sniff* I may never get over this.

Oh hi there. Did you come to celebrate ManLove Monday? Yeah. I'm sorry, but I'm not in the festive mood. Let me tell you why. I fell in like (as in, plz be my BFF) with this guy named Adrien English. He's everything a BFF should be. Funny, witty. Wry and sarcastic. Good taste in books and movies and a thoughtful gift shopper. S'rsly. Every girl needs a good gay friend. And I want Adrien to be mine. But I can't stand watching him get his heart crushed by his erstwhile closeted boyfriend, Homicide Detective Jake Riordan. The rotten bastard!!!!

Lemme go back a bit. I'm clearly getting worked up. See, there is this mystery series written by the incomparable Mr. Josh Lanyon. The Adrien English Mystery Series. And this past week, I read book 3. Title: The Hell You Say. I think it's been reviewed very soundly and thoroughly by many other bloggers out there. So I'm not even going to try to do a proper review. This is my quickie review. But yeah, I'll attempt a brief summary.

Adrien finds himself in the middle of a mystery that includes young college-aged occultist wannabes, missing persons, pentagrams drawn in red blood and a university professor that may or may not be all that he seems. In the meantime, Adrien's mother is thinking of getting remarried and he has to negotiate the relationship with the new potential in-laws. And of course there is the police detective that he's been seeing secretly. Secretly because said policeman is totally in the closet and can't admit to himself let alone the world that he is teh gay! The plot moves along at a good pace. We're not sure who we can trust and the one person we ought to be able to trust (the rat bastard boyfriend) ends up pulling a whopper of a betrayal. But I'm not bitter. No. Uh uh. *ahem*

Anyways, back to the writing. It's good stuff. I've read short stories by Lanyon before and the elements I liked about his writing there stay true here. He has a deft touch with humor and takes the maxim of "show me don't tell me" to heart. The writing is tight, and we're treated to Adrien's take on events as they happen. Being inside Adrien's head is a great place to be. He's funny and sarcastic but also has an edge of vulnerability. It's the vulnerability, the ordinariness and realness of him that really gets me. Because unlike some heros in a murder mystery, Adrien acts like you might expect a normal person to react to finding things like dead bodies. Shock, fear, confusion but with a stubborn determination to feret out the truth behind the lies. It's this determination and ability to move beyond the knee-jerk reaction to horrible events that makes Adrien such a scrappy contender. He may not be a muscle-bound he-man, but he's got a brain and he's not afraid to use it.

I finished this book in a swirling mix of emotions. Happy that I had had the chance to meet Adrien. Satisfied with the denouement of the mystery. And absolutely spitting furious at Jake. Really. Angry. (just ask my buddy lisabea...I was sending her raging emails. lol) I think that it's a testament to Lanyon's writing skill that I feel so strongly about these fictional characters. I may not like what he's done with them, but I'm going to trust (fingers crossed) that it will all work out in the that the next book or the one after it. I'm certainly going to be along for the ride.

Visit Josh Lanyon's official website here. Buy The Hell You Say here as an e-book or at Amazon in paperback.

Oh and be sure to visit my partner-in-crime lisabea for more MLM today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just Cuz

alright, this seems to be the blog meme o' the day. I have to laugh at mine. How sad and true it is. poor lonely blog. I really need to rescue it from its solitude. lol.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Congratulations to the happy couples

*sniff* Such a happy day for so many...and such a long time coming.

More photos at SF Gate. Careful though, you just might get a little choked up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday exclusive - where's the beef?

First of all, can I just share this picture with you? How hilarious is that? S'rsly, I start convulsing in giggles whenever I look at it. A classic DOH moment if there ever was one. Well, maybe this one also qualifies.


Ok, I just thought those were funny and would help start off the week with a giggle.

Moving on...

Yesterday whilst speaking with my parents during our once-a-month-or-so phone conversation, my mom and I started to discuss menus and one thing led to another and we got talking recipes. Our family likes to cook, you see. As we were talking, Dad was in the other room whipping up a batch of homemade biscuits and sausage gravy (yum!). And Mom was telling me about a great recipe she had for daging rendang (Indo/Malay beef dish). We lived in Indonesia for some thirteen plus years and Indonesian dishes are like comfort food for me. Unfortunately, as an adult I haven't always been able to find recipes for the dishes I ate as a child. So when she started talking about this recipe and I realized that I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients on hand, I asked her to email me the recipe.

After we got off the phone, I rushed to my email and started hitting refresh. No recipe. I gave it some time figuring the length of the intertubes from England to USA might have gotten tangled. Refresh. No recipe. So I shot mom a quick email asking if she was going to send me that darned recipe after all, cuz I wanted to make the dish for supper. As I waited, I googled around and found a plethora of alternative recipes for daging rendang. They all were a little different. Apparently, there are multiple ways to prepare a dish, not necessarily one RIGHT way or wrong way. Kind of like book reviews. Anyways, with this in mind, I would like to share with you an exclusive recipe for a different way to prepare beef than your standard hamburger helper meal. My mommy's recipe! *g* For people with an open mind and an adventurous palate, this may be something to try. At least I can say that my boyfriend polished of a huge helping of it last night and gave me big props on my cooking mojo.

Daging Rendang
600 grams lean beef (1.5 pounds)
4 shallots sliced (small red onions)
6 fresh red chillies (or cayenne powder to suit your taste)
1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic
300 ml coconut milk
50 ml. Vegetable oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Ground black pepper

Chop the meat into cubes and place in bowl. Chop shallots and place half to one side. Chop the chillies and garlic and mix with ground ginger, half the shallots and a small amount of coconut milk. Pour this paste over the meat, stir to evenly coat. Marinate for 20-30 minutes. Heat oil in a large frying pan and sauté the remaining shallots until soft, add the meat along with the marinade. Season with the coriander, cumin, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the remaining coconut milk and boil, stirring frequently. Lower heat to simmer until the meat is tender, approximately 1 1/4 hours. Finally, add a bit more coconut milk and continue cooking over medium heat uncovered until the liquid has been almost completely reduced.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

sexy pasta

Sunday afternoon. I'm sitting here multi-tasking: watching Discovery channel specials out of the corner of one eye, studying for an economics quiz on my laptop, simmering some Indonesian dishes for supper (which smells fantastic, btw). And my attention was caught by this ridiculously funny ad for pasta.

Can someone please tell me how being a good mom by serving your kids and extended family a special kind of pasta from the box will net you a hot Italian stallion? Not complaining about the eye candy, but the juxtaposition of the elements just makes me laugh. I'm switching pasta brands NOW! *snort*

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Loving Day

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states (according to wikipedia)

It's mind-blowing to me to think that some 40-odd years ago my relationship would have been illegal in the state where I currently live. Heck, our future president's parents would have been criminals in 16 states at the time of his birth just for the fact of their marriage. Amazing.

So I hug my loved one tight to me and celebrate our multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural love. Diversity is beautiful. I pray that someday soon my gay and lesbian friends will be able to claim the same equal rights that I take for granted.

Happy Loving Day!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blast from the past - Princess Bride

So after that all-day study-a-thon, I came home last night totally wiped out. DBF and I curled up on the couch together, ate pizza and flipped through the TV channels. Turns out that Princess Bride was on, and DBF had never seen this class film! I had great pleasure in introducing him to one of my all-time feel-good favs.

I mean seriously...this movie is quotation heaven!
"As you wish!"
"No more rhymes now, I mean it!" "Anybody want a peanut?"
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
"My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die."
"Your friend is not all dead, he's mostly dead....All dead and there is only one thing you can do....go through his clothes and check for loose change."
"Mawwiage...mawwiage is what bwings us togever today."
"There is a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. Twould be a pity to damage yours."
"Drop. Your. Sword."


I had such a teenage crush on Westley, although I didn't really want to be Buttercup. Even then I could realize that she was too much of a ditz (check out her lame reaction to the R.O.U.S. in the fireswamp.) But Westley...oh my little heart went pitter pat. I distinctly remember wearing out a hole in the VHS tape (remember those?) on the part when they rolled down the mountain and had their big reunion. AND being annoyed at Fred Savage's character for stopping all the good kissing bits.

Memories. Heh. Anyways, my BF really enjoyed the movie and now I'm sure to hear the Inigo Montoya line in the future.

Anyone else want to reminisce with me? Btw, if you are brave, ABC has this 20 year retrospective where they show then and now pics of the actors involved. My poor teenage seriously crushed. yikes!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

economical studying

Economics = study of the use of scarce resources

My scarce resource of free time is being consumed today by the study of economics. A mid-term exam looms at 6pm tonight (yes, SUNDAY night, ugh) and of course I am a professional procrastinator. So today will be spent unplugged from teh intertubes as I attempt to cram five chapters of boring theory into my brain, ready to be unleashed in five essay questions.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

At long review of this anthology. First of all, let's talk about the cover. Phew, that's hot stuff. Definitely a book that would be fun to take out in public to read and watch people's reactions. heh.

Now I have found that anthologies tend to be a mixed bag. It's pretty rare that I find each entry to really 'work' for me and this book was no exception. Some of the stories were stronger than others. One of them really didn't work at all. I'm gonna give the little blurb from the back jacket and then try to quickly cover a thumbnail sketch of each plot and my take on each vignette.

First up...

Hot for You - Jodi Lynn Copeland
Cocktail waitress Carinna wants a man to tie her up, not tie her down. Little does she know that her most willing partner yet has something else planned for this fiery Latina bombshell.

Jack and Carinna have known each other forever. They were childhood friends and have remained friends into adulthood. Carinna has serious emotional baggage regarding getting serious about anyone and prefers to love 'em and leave 'em. Or at least to just have sex with no strings attached. When the story begins, we're told that she and Jack indulged in one night of hot sex a few months back and that they both got spooked by how vulnerable they felt one to another. After a high stakes game of poker, they begin to explore a sexual relationship that just might turn serious.

I think this was my favorite entry in the book. The author uses a device I haven't seen often which is alternating first person POV. The story is told in Carinna's voice for half a chapter or so, then we switch into Jack's head and get his take on what just happened as well as the next few moves of the plot. It sounds clunky, but oddly enough works very well here. Particularly because the conflict of the story lies in Carinna and Jack's differing take on "what it all means". Carinna is terrified of being tied down to any man. Jack realizes that she is the love of his life but that he has to convince her to get over her fears of commitment. I like the gender role reversal and the sexxoring is hot stuff. Overall, a satisfying little read and I'm going to keep my eyes open for more by this author.

Stripped - Lauren Dane
Dahlia is a burlesque dancer with a brain for business and a bod for sin. Her latest admirer may be a sweet-talking Casanova, but despite what he thinks she's not giving anything away for free.

Stripper by night, MBA student by day, Dahlia just wants to be respected for her brains and not her hot hot body! How dare our hero Nash hit on her after he sees her stripping, oh no, I'm sorry "burlesque dancing" (cuz apparently, there is a big difference). It's so unfair! *pout* Um, yeah. Clearly, I didn't buy into the setup of this one. Maybe I'm being too snarky, but the "I'm a stripper to pay for my MBA and I just don't understand why people don't take me seriously" schtick did not work for me. Probably because I myself am in the middle of an MBA program (and have not yet resorted to exotic dancing. lol).

Rich playboy Nash sees Dahlia dancing onstage at the club that his brother owns. We're told he's rich and a bit of a player so when he propositions Dahlia it's not surprising but a little disappointing. In general, I want my heros to be a little more heroic. Dahlia goes OFF on him (how dare you assume that just because I do burlesque dancing I am a slut...I'll have you know I am an MBA student, etc.) and he apologizes and tries to remedy the situation by being very polite and gentlemanly. He tries to get to know Dahlia as a person and spends the next few encounters wooing her gently. Interestingly enough, it doesn't take them all that long to embark on a relationship. The conflict in the story has more to do with Dahlia feeling like she's out of her league by being with a guy in a higher social class. For his part, Nash actually grows on me. For being a playboy, he reforms pretty quickly and seems genuinely attracted and devoted to Dahlia. I guess he's not a bad hero after all. And Dahlia is a nice person. So why don't I CARE more?

I'm not sure how to evaluate this story. It didn't really engage my emotions, so I never felt all that invested in the outcome. Not bad, not great. Average?

Red-Handed - Kit Tunstall
Meanwhile, Amy has the perfect plan to rob the Liege Casino blind...until the intimidating owner catches her red-handed. Now she knows she's going to pay...with both pleasure and pain.

Ah, the sexual blackmail plot. How do we love thee? Let me count the ways...

As the blurb indicates Amy is in the middle of robbing the Liege Casino with her no-account cousin who has convinced her that their family has to have this money or lose the farm (or something). She thinks she's a real tricky trickster but alas, Roan, the owner of said casino, is trickier and she gets caught. Uhoh! He hauls her away and threatens to hand her over to the cops, UNLESS.... Well, let's just say that somehow Amy ends up proposing that she play sub to Roan's very controlling dom side for the next month in exchange for him not turning her over to the law. Wow. Alrighty then. Before you call me a prude, let me just say that I can dig a little captive seduction/BDSM fantasy as much as the next gal as long as it's believable. But unfortunately, this one was not. I'm supposed to believe that through all of the wannabe BDSM stuff (and honestly, it didn't actually come across as genuinely kinky) these two are forging some kind of deep emotional bond. I just did not see it. We are treated to lots of internal angst in both Amy and Roan's thoughts, and I felt like smacking them both upside the head and telling them to quit being silly and just TALK to one another. And by the time Amy has had not one but TWO scary encounters with other dudes thinking that because she was Roan's sex slave she was fair game, I was SO over it.

The Deal - Anya Bast
Professional shill Cassidy is ready to experience a breathless rendezvous with her "friend with benefits." But when he proposes five delicious nights of sexy blackjack, the stakes have never been so high.

One can always rely on Anya Bast for a super hot story that hits all the right notes and entertains. This is a friends to lovers plot and I am a sucker for those. Cassidy was left at the altar by her fiance and has never recovered enough emotionally to trust another guy (not surprisingly). The best man at the cancelled wedding was James, and she's remained close friends with him. James has always been attracted to Cassidy but could never act on that connection because she was his friend's fiance. He's kept his distance for a year since the break-up to give her space, but now he wants to make his move. Five nights of blackjack with sexual prizes at stake? Oh yeah, this is the Vegas I'm talking about, baby!

This is a fun little tale. James and Cassidy are a great couple and they already know each other's quirks and foibles. This is part of why I dig the friends/lovers thing, especially in a short story that by its nature doesn't give one a lot of time to develop a relationship. We can get right down to the sexxoring, and hoo boy, it's hot. James is an adventurous sort, and it's fun to see him seduce Cassidy into letting go of her inhibitions. Cassidy regains a lot of the self-confidence she lost when she was jilted and she gets a sweet, hot sexy guy in the bargain. A definite win-win. I thoroughly enjoyed this entry and ended the book on a positive note.

Overall, I would give this anthology a B-. The best stories bookended the collection (first and last) and I'm going to keep Anya Bast on my list of go-to authors and add Jodi Lynn Copeland as a new author to watch. Oh, and I'm going to keep this book on my bedside table because it's fun to watch DBF double-take at the cover. lol.

A big thank you to Ann Aguirre for holding the contest and sending me the book. Mwah!