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Barbie's High-Tech Makeover
By Viki Reed
"I'm a new mother of a baby girl. Now I must confront Barbie. She's not going anywhere -- Barbie, that is. Last year a computer-ready Barbie -- Talk With Me Barbie -- was released. She came with a CD-ROM and plugs into a PC. An infrared pick-up in her neck receives the information from the tiny computer in her head and voila! Barbie talks to you! The journalist reviewing her announced: 'Sorry, Ken; Barbie has assimilated. Buy her; resistance is futile.'"

What... Me Thirty?
By Amy Pang
"I'm very surprised that I'm 30. Quite honestly, I never thought I'd make it this far and used to think how glamorous it would've been to die young. Now that I've resigned myself to living out a normal life span (I'm assuming), I actually will enjoy this new decade. Being in my 20s was okay, but I was doing a lot of learning and not enough living. Now I feel like the smart, savvy hipster chick I wanted to be ten years ago."

Barry, Barry, Quite Contrary
In a Life of Many Lows, I Always Had Manilow
By Kim Girard
"Mom and I are finally over Barry Manilow. That 1970s enthusiasm-verging-on-obsession is now but a dim memory. Not that we no longer care about the heartbreaker. Mom, the bigger fan, still cries a wistful 'Barry' if we mention his name while she's sticking a Kenny G recording in her CD carousel. My dad rolls his eyes with a relieved sigh. After all, poor dad had to compete all of those years with this icon."

"The Rules" of dating in a small town
By Heidi Holtan
"There are many things I've learned in my brief, but not always brilliant career as a rural Minnesotan. First off, even if someone who disliked an earlier column labeled me the town whore, it doesn't necessarily mean I am. Sure, I've gone on a few blind dates lately, but that hardly justifies such a harsh moniker. You see, since returning to my hometown of Brainerd, I've been doing unusual things. Not unusual for most folks necessarily, but certainly a break away from my normal social patterns. I've been dating."

Neat freaks, stand up and take a bow
How about some kudos to those who keep things in order -- all the time
By Belinda Pitco
"I'm having a panic attack. The kids are fighting, my sister wants me to fax her family documents pronto, it's PMS week, the laundry's piling up. And I'm out of Lysol."

Dear ÜberAsian: How do new-school Asians attain super status?
By ÜberAsian
"Dear ÜberAsian: I just started reading your column recently, and I find it very interesting, however, all these tips are for middle-aged Asians. What about young college-age Asians like me? I will be a freshman at Georgetown in a couple of days (sorry, couldn't get into Columbia where there is a 24 percent Asian minority) are there any tips on how to achieve super Asian status on campus? Especially for the East Coast Asians because we're different over here. Just compare the two Chinatowns. I think myself and other young Asians would appreciate your tips."

Another tour of duty in the urban war zone
The enemy in Boston is just as challenging as San Francisco
By Kim Girard
"The first time I sat in my new living room I nearly cried. 'We live in Beirut, honey,' I told my boyfriend, Jim. He was crushed. I was somewhat distraught. How could this be happening, I thought, as the traffic zoomed by at a deafening level outside the window. 'It's so damn loud,' I said. Several months ago, Jim found our apartment here in Boston and fretted for weeks about whether I would like the place when I moved back from San Francisco."