Transplanted Life
Friday, February 04, 2005
Well, that "men suck" attitude lasted a couple weeks.
Met up with Kate and Jen tonight to get measured for and help select bridesmaid dresses. The wedding planner looked at us and shook her head, saying that Jen just had to make it challenging. I didn't know what she meant, but the others apparently did. It's the whole "matching dresses" thing. The planner said that anythiing that while such-and-such style of neckline would look good on me, it would make Kate look like a boy, to which Kate said, hey, standing right here.

Allow me to reiterate at this point that Kate is one of the sexiest girls I know, and in a previous life I would be all over her, even if she doesn't believe me. That said, we don't share clothes. I'm pretty hot, too, but it a busty, curvy way; Kate's the svelte, long-legged type. She's also got a much prettier face than I do. But, yeah, a neckline that shows deep cleavage on me would show far gentler terrain on her, the same way that a cut of jeans that makes her look athletic makes my ass look huge. It used to bug her a lot more, especially when she first found out about me, but it hasn't lately, or maybe she's gotten more skilled at hiding such feelings.

Which is good, because it meant an endless hour and a half which could have gotten ugly became mostly good-natured ribbing. I said, hey, just choose something that makes Kate look her best, and I'll deal. So Kate was like, oh, so it takes an effort for me to look good while you looko good in anything. Damn right, I said, just as long as it's not pink. I don't do pink. She says she's seen my underwear drawer, and that was before I moved in with Maureen so don't say some of hers must have just gotten mixed up. Hey, I say, can I help it if the previous owner of this body owned a pink thong. Oh, that's right, I said, I don't do thongs. Trust me, Jen said, these dresses are seldom that tight. We wound up flicking tiny wads of paper at each other. This lady probably thought she was dealing with children.

Anyway, Jen finally decided on pastel green things with U-shaped necklines that didn't do the cleavage thing. They were going to be strapless, but that would apparently highlight the difference in our body types too much, so now they're even going to have three-inch long sleeves. Yeah, I know, I've been a girl long enough that I should know whatever the word for them is. Anyway, we'll all look cute but not quite as cute as Jen, which is as things should be.

Afterward, we went out for drinks and Kate asked if I knew anybody who wanted a ticket to the Boston Sci-Fi Marathon in a couple weeks. No, I've got mine, and that's not really Maureen's thing. Kate and her boyfriend had ordered tickets back in December, but somehow she wound up with custody of them after the breakup. I said, hey, they're not assigned seats or anything, so why not just let Dennis sit somewhere on the other side of the theater while she sits with me? She mentions that in a moment of anger she made threats and leaves it at that.

Well, if I meet anyone who wants one, I'll put them in touch with you. Good, she says, although maybe if I don't find someone in a couple weeks, I'll see if the marathon is Alan's thing. Which leads to "so, who's Alan?" from me, Jen, and two other bridesmaids. Kate just blushes, saying that he's this guy who moved into her building last month, and he's not-bad-looking and smart and they sort of seemed to click in the laundry room the other day. For all Kate knows he's already got a girlfriend.

Jen winds up telling us both we should be putting ourselves out there more, that I can't expect to get this "being the girl in a relationship" thing right without practice, but I don't really feel much of a sense of urgency in that department. As I said, I want to be able to relate to men without sleeping with them, because it's sort of been a while, and Telly doesn't count. Jen's cousin asks why, what with the sleeping with them being the best part, but I say I don't think it's healthy and leave it at that.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Shameless Greed
Nothing much happening today. Maureen is working late, actually going around trying to make contacts of her own so that she can be a better concierge. Right now, she basically acts as a middleman between the guests and the head concierge, but if she's able to do more on her own, she'll be able to satisfy guests' insane desires quicker and thus get more favorable reviews. Also, if one of her colleagues leaves and takes her contacts with her, that would leave her starting from zero. So she's spending the week going around clubs, theaters, and restaurants, handing out business cards.

And I'm stuck at home, because I still haven't gotten a new ATM card, which makes it tough to get money during the week, since I'm in and out of town before the banks open. So I was reading some of the comics that have piled up - I am a sucker for a $10 manga but flinch at paying $7.99 for a six-hundred page paperback, which is kind of wrong - and I hit one that surprises me. I try and pick up comics/movies/books with gender-bending themes anyway, because they amuse me the same way the computer dialog on 24 does (it sounded like Edgar was trying to program in assembler on Monday, when nobody but people who write compilers does that any more). I figured, hey, why not make reviews of such products a regular feature, since I figure I've got a unique perspective on it. And, you know, there's store credit to be made if people use the Amazon links (and review copies would be cool, too, anyone reading this).

I wasn't expecting to find anything like that in Instant Teen - Just Add Nuts! Volume 2. The basis of the story is that Natsumi, an eleven-year-old girl, gets hold of some "miracle nuts" that temporarily transform her into a sexy young woman. She and her best friend Asuma (who has a bit of a crush on her) manage to get into wacky adventures.

Admittedly, the concept is absurd. Aside from my usual "conservation of matter" reservations, you've got to wonder about the scientist who was initially angry that Natsumi swiped the nuts but now basically supplies her with them and helps out. She's not what you'd call a good role model. And the lead story in this collection involves someone proposing marriage within days of meeting the grown-up Natsumi, which is kind of a silly plot even without the fantasy elements.

I initally was interested in the series because I saw the potential for fun satire as well as the whole "hey, all of a sudden I'm a woman, with the boobs and guys after me and all" thing. The description had Natsumi becoming a model, and I figured you could do some fun dark comedy about the entertainment industry sexualizing someone who is basically a child. If I were writing something like it, I'd set it in the music industry and try to make the reader feel damn uncomfortable about the whole Britney Spears type of phenomenon. That's not the way Haruka Fukushima went; the rating on the book is "10+"

It's a fun book, though. It's a somewhat busy art style, which jumps from cartoony to super-deformed and back a lot, and uses montage and weird sorts of collage a lot. Still, the artist does have expressive faces when she wants to. There's a fun, madcap style to it once you accept that this scientist is often a terrible influence. The characters are believably kids, too - they're mostly innocent, but they're also capable of being selfish and expecting the grown-ups to bail them out.

The gender-bending thing happens in the second part of the book; Natsumi and Asuma are poking around the doctor's garden, and swipe a few heart-shaped nuts that have the ability to switch bodies. So, of course, while they're on a school ski trip, they do. Complications ensue - Asuma can ski, Natsumi can't, one of the other girls on the trip has a crush on Asuma and so plans to deliberately wipe out so that Asuma can "help" her... It's also fun that the effects of the body-swap nuts sort of triggers the effects of anything else in the system, so Asuma finds himself an eleven-year-old boy in the body of a hot adult girl, and is kind of oblivious to how he affects young men.

I get a kick out of how kids have the concept of "sexy" without the concept of "sex"; it makes for a different perspective. A lot of times, when I read a story about a guy and a girl switching bodies, I don't buy it, but I think these two would act like this in this situation, which is really all you can ask.

This isn't close to my favorite manga - maybe I'll review Ray sometime - but I can see how kids might like it, and it's always a kick to stumble across something that's just a daily part of one's life presented as ridiculous fantasy/sci-fi stuff.

So buy it. Or don't. But if you do, use that link and make me forty-five cents or so.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Women should not be exposed to advertising before March
(Understand, when I say "women", I am an exception. Obviously.)

I suppose it's good that Maureen is over Carter to the point where seeing Valentine's Day-related stuff on TV and in magazines gets her upset about being single in general, as opposed to something Carter/Sam-specific. I mean, sure, I'm not supposed to mention his/her name around her, but that's relatively normal and reasonable, given the abnormal and unreasonable situation. But, hey, she's at least trying to move on, and I figure that's a good thing. Just don't set some weird February 14th deadline to have a girlfriend, because you'll just make yourself crazy until then and feel like a failure afterward. Just put yourself out there.

Oh, she intends to. But maybe I could help...

"Basically," she says, "I'd like it if you could teach me how to hook up with girls. I mean, you must be good at it - whenever you talk when you were Martin, you mention that you were sort of a nerd with a tendency toward being overweight, but, like, I don't think Maggie exactly had low standards and I've counted at least four or five other ex-girlfriends. You might not have been a player or anything, but you did all right."

I try to point out that she's got to have a better idea of what a woman wants than I do, that I tend to exaggerate when I've been drinking, and, besides, we're talking about women who were looking for men. And she says that's the problem, that she knows how to be one of them, even though it doesn't do much for her, but she doesn't have any idea how to go about being a lesbian. I replay that I don't necessarily think that it's something you learn, just something that is, you know? Just do what comes naturally.

She asks me what comes naturally for me, and I say that's different, because there's different biology and hormones and physical measurements and stuff, but I take her point that, yeah, I did pretty much have to learn how to be a girl even if my body was making it very difficult to do otherwise. But, I tried to observe regular girls and what I remembered from just normal interaction - it's not like I asked drag queens for pointers.

Yeah, she says, but I don't know any gay people. Well, okay, there's a guy at work, but he's a guy, so what's he going to know about her situation. I'm apparently the best she's got. Or, at least, she doesn't know anybody else so she'd know they're gay. She asked if she shouldn't have some sort of instinct to tell if another girl's a lesbian, too. Good Christian kids just don't learn this stuff, she says.

And, I'll grant, a lot of what she says makes sense. I still want to steer well clear of the mess this will inevitably become, though.

Sunday, January 30, 2005
My own fear of irrelevence
Met up with Kate at the Sunday-morning movie club today. The movie was an awful speculative thing about Napoleon's last years; badly written, directed, and acted. One of the questions raised was how someone as active and intelligent as Napoleon could, as presented in this movie, apparently spend his exile not driven out of his mind with boredom.

The answer is, it just sort of happens. You get used to it. I mean, I've had nothing to talk about for five days, for the second time in two or three weeks. How can that be? Not only am I an attractive, intelligent woman with cool friends living in a nifty city, but, hello, living science fiction story! And, hey, finding out about Telly would, if my life were a TV show, be a big plot twist that drove two months worth of stories.

Instead, I find myself steadfastly refusing to talk about snow, because I already talked about snow last week and as boring as repetition is for people to read, it's even more deadly for me to type. But, hey, another storm, more trains being late. Second verse, same as the first.

I did get a kick out of Maureen's boots, though. My winter boots are pretty throughly functional - they're like high-top sneakers, only black and made of a sturdier material with a deeper tread. Unlike normal girls' boots, the opening at the top is wide enough to tuck your pant legs into them, creating a sort of seal. Okay, I confess, I found them in the mens' section of the shoe store. They work, dammit.

Maureen's, on the other hand, are something I like to call "Wookiee feet". They're black and have fake fur on the outside. I want to comb or groom them. They don't appear to keep her feet particularly warm, and tend to pick up snow and drag it with her. Sure, they look snazzy, but just how practical can they really be?

Well, time to hit the sack in order to get to work tomorrow. No reason for the trains to be late any more.


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Note: This blog is a work of fantasy; all characters are either ficticious or used ficticiously. The author may be contacted at