From the monthly archives:

December 2012

So the world didn’t end in 2012.

Sorry Mayans. You have been wrongfully blamed for incorrect prophesy when in fact people simply misinterpreted your calendar system. But no worries, we will probably bring an end to ourselves soon with all the sinners and the sinful things we commit on a daily basis.

In total honesty though, I have been on vacation for five days, and it’s been a long five days because I forgot to pack my hairbrush so this head of long hair hasn’t been brushed since we left home for Florida on December 27… I digress. I’ve been away with no computer, no TV, no wifi most of the time, so I haven’t been up on the news. This morning I thought, let me check to see what’s up with the world on the last day of 2012.

Kim Kardashians is pregnant with Kanye West’s baby. And people can’t seem to shut up about it. (Yah, I get the irony that I’m talking about it too. Touche.)

That’s the headline news I got when I queried the Interwebs for “Hey, it’s new year’s eve, tell me something significant and meaningful.” This speaks to why we still need print newspapers, if you ask me. So be it, world. Or, more accurately, so be it, USA. (Pretty sure the Chinese are obsessed with something more meaningful on this day… I have no idea actually so drop me a line if you have the answer.)

Anyway, I’m blogging from my Android, and this is a roundabout way to wish you a happy new year.

Think of it this way: there is no other way for us to go but up in 2013.

Love from a sick blogger on a cold St. Pete Beach in Florida.

Yes, next year is looking better already!

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(Pictures taken on Fort Desoto Beach, named Best Beach in the USA in 2005. Still gorgeous, still worth a trip here if you could ever swing it. Love always, Lin)

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Maybe it is because the release of the movie trailer for The Great Gatsby (2013) starring the Titanic “I am the king of the World” guy, the roaring twenties is certainly a popular theme for holiday parties this year. Based on the limited sample size of three, I confess: Two of the company parties (in different offices) I was fortunately enough to be invited to were of “The Roaring Twenties” and “Speakeasy” themes. And the hotel we will happen to be staying in on New Year’s Eve also will be a roaring twenties party.

So here is a tutorial on how to rock the 20s…

#1. Be white.

Ok, I am being facetious.

#1. Don’t tell your co-workers at a retro theme party that as a matter of fact if we were in THE era, you would not have been allowed to be in the same room as they, unless you were working as a waitress.

Hey, just want to get it out of the way.

 

#2. If you are a gentleman, wear your 3-piece suit and a gangster hat (i.e. expensive-looking fedora). You are done! See the gentleman in the picture who’s pointing his gun at me. Pretty sure he did not even have to dress up for his gangster acting gig.

#3. If you have short hair, wear a pretty elastic beaded headband the “wrong” way. Find any earrings that are dramatic and preferably in the Art Deco style (or, in fact, any geometrical shape will do. i.e. no hoop earrings…) at your local Marshalls and T.J.Maxx. If you have medium to long hair, you could be all professional actress-y and do the Finger Waves or Pin Curls. Or you could be lazy practical and tie your hair in a pony tail, tuck the tail inside the hair above the elastic band, stick 100 pins to keep the tucked hair in place and call it a day. See the crazy wombat on the right in the picture.

#4. You don’t need a dress strictly in the 20s style. Something with a simple silhouette will do. The key, I found out accidentally after the effect, is to have a nice, classy shawl.

#5. Take advantage of the fact that women did not know about “F* Me Heels” back then and spare your feet on the dance floor. Wear low heels with t-straps or some Mary Janes also look right for the occasion. I ended up with these.

#6. Scour your local second-hand stores for a beaded purse. I got mine for $12.

#7. Costume long black gloves, $8. Costume cigarette holder, $2. Going all out in lalaland, priceless.

 

#8. Take advantage of this opportunity to try out the “smokey eyes” makeup techniques from YouTube. Don’t fall asleep while watching this lady taking frigging 20 minutes to do her eyes and then think that you could just wing it. Don’t even attempt to draw in your eyebrows. Unless you have had practice before, let’s just stay away from the eyebrows. I don’t care if women in the 20s had strong eyebrows. If only we all looked like Louise Brooks and her amazing eyebrows!

#9. Make peace with your eyebrows.

#10. Perhaps you should consider getting enough sleep so the black circles under your eyes will not become augmented the night of the party and conveniently blend in nicely with the smokey eye look and turn it into a rabid raccoon look. Or, if you are Chinese like I am, it would be a nice panda look.

  Ta da!

 

 

 

 

#11. When you walk into the second party and immediately realize that you and your date are the only two people who actually dress up for the theme, don’t panic.

#12. Charm the actors hired to be a gangster and a British Constable (yes, do ignore the fact that there is a British Bobby at a Speakeay party) so greatly that they grabbed you as soon as you walked in the door to have pictures taken with you, not with your camera. While you are at it,  become simpatico with the actresses/flappers because of your awesome Louise Brooks choker.

#13. Yes, it’s ok to let the gangster kiss you on the cheek as he points his gun at you. (What you gonna do about it anyway?)

#14. When someone you know upon recognizing you actually bursts out laughing, and instead of approaching to say hi and telling you how awesome you are for having the guts, turns in another direction, stay cool.

#15. Make belief that you and your date are at some random bar surrounded by strangers (which may as well be the case, the part about “being surrounded by strangers”). The only difference is — Everything is FREE! Have more fun than everybody else around you.

That’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone having a good fucking laugh. — Chuck Palahniuk

 

 

And finally, as always, channel Louise Brooks wherever you are.

 

For two extraordinary years I have been working on it – learning to write – but mostly learning how to tell the truth. At first it is quite impossible. You make yourself better than anybody, then worse than anybody, and when you finally come to see you are “like” everybody – that is the bitterest blow of all to the ego. But in the end it is only the truth, no matter how ugly or shameful, that is right, that fits together, that makes real people, and strangely enough – beauty…

Louise Brooks on writing a memoir

 

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Confession: I am married to a geek. I am probably biased because I am surrounded day in and day out by awesome people who would have been labeled as geeks and dorks, including the three men in my house, my coworkers, and our family friends, but I really do believe that geeks make the best husbands.

My husband LOVED LOVES D&D (Dungeons & Dragons). In fact, introverted as he is, it is amazing to listen to him as DM (Dungeon Master. Not as sexy as the name implies. He’s basically the emcee, the host, the referee of the game. I also see a DM as playing the role of a storyteller whose imagination sets the stage for the characters to come to life on). You could see the actions unfold in front of your mind’s eye as he describes the characters, scenes, dialogues and actions filled with imaginative details that greatly help bring the characters to life.

In my job function, in addition to engineers and programmers, I also work with people on the business side. Not surprisingly, I am often made fun of by those colleagues (all male) for having married to such a nerd and for all the dorky things we do as a family, such as going to Ren Faire (Renaissance Faire), dressed up to go to Ren Faire, having a closetful of costumes, dressed up to go to Medieval Times (or just, simply going to Medieval Times and genuinely having a great time), (still) dressed up for Halloween, obsessing over Doctor Who, and other geekery in general. It does cross my mind that to these coworkers of mine, we are very UN-American, and I cannot help but wonder what they do with their families on the weekend. Watching football? And… watching football?

Of course when Fantasy Football season comes around, it’s all I could do to not snicker and bite my tongue at the frenzy of these men engaging in D&D like behaviors.

 

 

 

If you ever pick up one of the D&D rule books and handbooks, you will notice the big words used. As a parent, I am delighted that my children are learning and using these words. Furthermore, they are also learning composition when they describe their characters’ appearances and actions, often with complete dialogues. As they decide the next step taken by their characters, they are forced to consider the relationship between actions and consequences, something children are not inclined to doing by nature. In addition, they are encouraged to play their characters based on who their characters are, i.e. their characters act and speak according to who they are, and I believe, this is great training for empathizing and learning how to predict how someone who is not you may behave under certain circumstances.  Because the play is free form (albeit within a set of parameters and confines), you could use all the imagination and creativity you could conjure up, especially when you are cornered by some monster and you really need to be clever to get yourself out of the bind.

Some have argued, perhaps jokingly, perhaps “kidding on the square”, that D&D is the gateway drug to all things nerdy. I am FINE with nerdy. I adore nerdy. In fact, I am in awe of nerdy.

 

 

 

Geeks like algorithms. We like sets of rules that guide future behavior. But people, normal people, consistently act outside rule sets. People are messy and unpredictable, until you have something like the Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. Once you’ve broken down the elements of an invented personality into numbers generated from dice, paper and pencil, you can do the same for your real self.

For us, the character sheet and the rules for adventuring in an imaginary world became a manual for how people are put together. Life could be lived as a kind of vast, always-on role-playing campaign.

Don’t give me that look. I know I’m not a paladin, and I know I don’t live in the Matrix. But the realization that everyone else was engaged in role-playing all the time gave my universe rules and order.

Adam Rogers, “Geek Love“, New York Times, 9 March 2008.

 

The best thing about D&D? I have been sitting here listening to the non-stop conversations and laughter from the other room for over an hour and they have not shown any sign of slowing down.

More than that, I am going shopping this afternoon and I don’t think any one of them will be missing or needing me.

WIN. WIN.

WIN. (US Economy)

 

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