Monday, February 18, 2013

50 Shades Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

All right, all right, you guys. I'll get back to the reviews now. It had actually been so long since I read the three chapters I'm about to do that I had to go back and skim them all again to remember what my notes were about. I realized in doing so that just being extremely busy working on grad school applications and related moving issues wasn't the only problem I was having in sitting down to write this. I also just really don't even care. I don't think anything I write today is going to be funny because I don't care about the characters in the book. There's so much unending drama that it's ceased to be shocking in any way. She's made such a mockery of the BDSM lifestyle that I don't care to correct the errors anymore. Want to try out some kink? Then read these books and do the exact fucking opposite of every single sex scene she has ever written. That's my advice. Now, let's get this over with.

When we last saw our douchebags, Elliot had just proposed to Kate at the end of an entire chapter that was only written to foreshadow that scene. An ENTIRE CHAPTER of the book was just devoted to the antics of two characters we barely know and could not give one ounce of fuck about. And because the author thinks that suspense always involves dropping some half-assed bombshell at the end of a chapter (rather than, you know, writing a compelling fucking scene people actually want to read), that same shit continues at the beginning of THIS chapter as well. Here is the overly dramatic first paragraph of Chapter 14:
The attention of the entire restaurant is trained on Kate and Elliot, waiting with bated breath as one. The anticipation is unbearable. Silence stretches like a taut rubber band. The atmosphere is oppressive, apprehensive, and yet hopeful. (emphasis mine)
 Jesus Christ where to even start? There is more stupid happening in this paragraph than there are actual words in it. Really, James? The ENTIRE restaurant has stopped breathing because it is of paramount importance to every single person in the room whether this one total stranger will agree to marry this other total stranger? I find that unlikely. And even if they are that fucking interested, it's not because they are all so "hopeful", it's because at any given public proposal, at least a quarter of the people watching are hoping she'll shoot the guy down in front of everyone, because that is a much, MUCH more entertaining story. Also, could you please explain to me in some logical fashion how this situation can be both oppressive and hopeful at the same time? Because those things don't go together.

Anyshit, Kate says yes obviously and then there's drinking of the finest champagne, and then they all go clubbing at the most exclusive club in all of Aspen. I fail to see why she continues to tell us these things, I think by now we can all just assume everything is the best, most exclusive, most expensive thing imaginable unless we are told otherwise. The coat check guy looks at Ana while taking her coat and Christian gets jealous and then the hostess looks at Christian while escorting them to a table and Ana gets jealous. It is obvious that everyone wants to fuck up their marriage. The fact that both these people are paid to specifically make you feel welcome and want to stay there and spend your money can't possibly explain this sinister welcoming behavior. Christian orders water and tells Ana to drink it, which she immediately argues about because DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. Mind you, so far today Ana has had two glasses of wine and a margarita at lunch, three glasses of wine and two glasses of champagne at dinner, and she is about to have a third glass of champagne right now. Also keep in mind they are in Aspen which means they are at altitude, and one of the things that happens at altitude is you get dehydrated much faster. She should have been drinking water all day to counteract that anyway - the alcohol is not going to do her any favors in that department. Ana has an unbelievably reliable habit of mistaking concern for being controlling and being controlling for genuine concern.

So then Ana goes off to dance, and we get the only scene in this whole section that managed to incite any rage in me. Ana is dancing, with her eyes closed for some fucking reason, when she feels a pair of hands on her hips, which she assumes is Christian coming to dance with her. Except that it's not. It's some complete fucking stranger. I need to pause a second to tell you that this exact sort of thing is a huge pet peeve of mine. If some drunk jackoff comes up to talk to me in a bar, I will stand there and listen to him make a fool of himself all night long. But the second that guy tries to touch me uninvited he is going to push a button with me and I am going to lose control and make a scene until someone comes to remove him from the establishment. This is, in fact, just about the only way to get me to shout at a complete stranger in public. Touching someone who hasn't expressed an interest in being touched is NEVER ok. So when this happens in the book and Ana immediately turns around and slaps him across the face, I stupidly think to myself "Yeah! Finally something that makes sense. Go Ana!" Once again, I have failed to grasp who I'm dealing with, because James IMMEDIATELY ruins this by having Ana hold up her hand to show him her rings and shouting at him "I'm married, you asshole!" Because for some reason, the fact that she is married is the ONLY THING SHE SEES WRONG with this guy's behavior. I am not kidding you. Christian immediately comes to her rescue and punches the guy, which I am fine with, but Ana immediately starts to second guess both of them. Maybe a total stranger violating her personal space in a way that makes her uncomfortable isn't that big of a deal. Maybe she shouldn't have hit him. But she knows why she did it, and rest assured it's not because she has a right to dance in a club without getting groped by total strangers against her will. It's because she knew it would upset Christian, and the thought of someone being able to upset her husband made her really angry. It's not about her - her own safety and control over her body doesn't matter at all. It's only wrong because Christian might wind up wif a bad widdle feewing. FUCK YOU. FUCK. YOU. YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE. I AM ASHAMED TO SHARE THE SAME GENITALS AS YOU. FUCK YOU SO HARD YOUR VAGINA EXPLODES LIKE A GRENADE. YOU DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE ONE.

Ugh. So the rest of the chapter is, everyone goes home, and Ana is drunk, and Christian takes off her make up for her which for Ana is the most astonishing thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind, and then they go to bed without fucking because the Dead Kennedys. Ana wakes up in the morning at the start of Chapter 15 and the first thing she notices is that allegedly her palm is still red from when she slapped that guy exactly one time EIGHT FUCKING HOURS AGO. She is going to continue to complain about how much her palm hurts through the whole chapter. Unless she's made of glass this is complete and utter bullshit. After that there are seven pages of entirely forgettable sex. Literally. I have forgotten every detail about it and only remembered that it happened at all when I went back and skimmed the chapter to find out what my notes meant. Everyone gets ready to go home, which is boring, and then they do go home which is boring, and then there is a series of unbelievably pointless emails that are only there to show the passage of time and which I will read aloud to you in my next video because they are truly, bafflingly, without any sort of plot advancement or even context and are not interesting AT ALL and will somebody, PLEASE, take this woman's writing instruments away from her FOR THE LOVE OF GOD? Apart from another fake bombshell moment, that is seriously every single thing that happens in Chapter 15. The sheer number of trees that were felled in order to print this chapter as many times as it's been printed to date is a tragedy in and of itself. Let us all have a moment of silence for those poor trees.

Thank you. So at the end of the chapter we find out that Leila has appeared at Ana's office building asking to see her. I'm including that information with the stuff from Chapter 16 because that's where it fucking belongs - it is COMPLETELY unrelated to anything that happened in the rest of Chapter 15. Chapter 16 consists entirely of Ana's conversation with Leila, and then Ana's subsequent conversation with Christian. It is somehow miraculously EVEN MORE DULL than the series of "maybe we should have spaghetti for dinner" level emails that dominated the last chapter.

I have just paused in writing this for the last 20 minutes and alternated between rubbing my face in frustration and staring despondently at my notes because it's just so stupid I don't even want to think about it, let alone summarize it.

Ok so here's what happens. Leila shows up and she's got another ex-sub of Christian's with her called Susi, who had better fucking appear again later because so far she has been completely irrelevant, other than for Ana to point out that she and Susi look alike, which we already know from having established that ALL Christian's subs looked like her TWO AND A HALF FUCKING BOOKS AGO. Leila has come to her because she wants to see Christian, but he is ignoring all her attempts. She claims this is because she wants to thank him for helping her and paying for her art school. I have absolutely no idea why she couldn't just write that in a fucking letter. Leila also tells Ana that she was in love with Christian which we also already know because half of the last book was devoted to exactly that. Then Christian shows up, as we all knew he would, including Leila, which was her entire scheme to get to see him in the first place. Christian fires Ana's bodyguard, threatens to cut off all of Leila's school funding and lets her leave with Susi. During all of that Ana's internal monologue is entirely about how can Christian be so mean to this poor girl and oh he shouldn't have fired the bodyguard, that was so unfair! By the way, in the whole rest of the book she hates that particular bodyguard and she is always jealous of everyone who has ever slept with her husband, so none of that makes any sense, and the only note I write in that whole section is "I can't believe how insane this is." Then Ana and Christian argue about the whole thing and Ana wants him to admit that he cares about Leila and Christian claims that he doesn't have a heart and OH MY GOD EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THIS IS SHIT WE ALREADY READ ABOUT ENTIRE BOOKS AGO. In keeping with that theme, we also have some more demonizing of BDSM - the part about how all his subs look like his mother because kinky sex can't just be about kinky sex, it has to be a pathological sickness about wanting to punish his own mother, and the other part about how Elena was a monster and a pedophile who almost ruined his life and now that he thinks about it, maybe he didn't enjoy any of that kinky sex and it left him severely damaged - I can't even get angry about this anymore, this woman's understanding of that culture is as well developed as Wile E. Coyote's understanding of basic physics. Then they argue about going home. Then they do go home. Then they have sex. Then they send some more worthless emails. Then E.L. James does that thing that she has now done in seven out of the last sixteen chapters, which is to end the chapter on a bombshell that is entirely unrelated to the rest of the chapter in a futile attempt to add drama and intrigue to her thoroughly plotless story. Ana's dad has been in a car accident. DUN DUN DUN/DRAMATIC VIOLINS/COMMERCIAL BREAK FULL OF VIAGRA  AND WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT ADS.

I am so bored right now. So bored.

UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention it before, but I am planning to live tweet my reading of a future chapter so you can see my reactions in real time. I'll let everyone know when I'll be doing it, so if you have the book you can follow along as I torture myself.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How I Celebrated Valentine's Day

Right, so I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day or whatever, love, roses, blah blah blah. The bartender seemed to think it was also "sabotage your roommate who has to be naked on stage in four months day" and the house is now fucking full of candy.

As some of you already know, I hate Valentine's Day with only slightly less passion than I love Christmas. It's almost like it was specifically set up to be a no win situation. If you're single and sad about it, the entire day is like getting stabbed repeatedly with a magical dull knife called the Knife of Loneliness that turns your unhappiness into physical pain. If you're single and happy about it, tough luck pal, enjoy being excluded from absolutely everything today and by the way, just wanted to remind you that everyone else in the whole entire world is looking down on your personal choices because if you're happy AND single something is obviously wrong with you. Being in a relationship doesn't help you either. There are requirements that must be met: flowers, candy, an unreasonably expensive dinner, jewelry, or some particular combination of these things is expected of you and god help you if you get it wrong because not only does it mean you're not having sex tonight/this week/until your birthday and then only grudgingly but it is also obvious that YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT ME AT ALL WAAAHHHHHH. That isn't love, it's extortion. And don't even get me started on how shitty it is to be in a long distance relationship on Magical Togetherness Day because there is no better reminder than a Skype chat that you are not actually anywhere near the person you most want to be near.

No matter what my relationship status is in a given year, Valentine's Day never applies to me: I don't like getting flowers because they're dead, I don't need or want jewelry and don't give enough fucks to ever wear any, I have anxiety attacks in large crowds and under no circumstances is it a good idea for me to go out to dinner that day, and if it's true you are what you eat I'm basically made out of candy to begin with.

My favorite thing from this Valentine's Day was my friend Erin's exchange with her girlfriend as she was rushing out the door on her way to work:

Girlfriend: Oh yeah, I forgot, happy Valentine's Day.
Erin: (stares blankly for a few seconds) Shut up.

The bottom line is, if you're not showing your affection and appreciation for someone every day without being prompted, you're doing it wrong, and Valentine's Day is not going to fix that.

Anyway, none of that is even the point. The post is called "How I Celebrated Valentine's Day", not "Why Valentine's Day is a Soul Sucking Waste of Time and Money Designed to Make Your Life Seem Way Worse Than it Really Is". And I celebrated Valentine's Day by doing the most awesome thing possible: I went to the 10th anniversary of Michelle L'Amour's Big Sexy Show at the Part West. Alone, because even if you do the most awesome thing possible you can't escape the fact of life that Valentine's Day is meant to remind you that you've failed.

The show was amazeballs because there is basically no chance for it not to be - it's called MICHELLE L'AMOUR'S BIG SEXY SHOW for crying out loud. And to be fair, while I did arrive and leave alone, I didn't spend the show alone, as I happened to sit next to the boyfriend of a girl I have class with who was also by himself because said girlfriend was a stage hand in the show. FYI, whenever someone asks you how you got interested in being a burlesque dancer, "Spite" is never going to be the answer they were expecting.  Anyway, Cameron Esposito hosted, and if you've never seen her perform, I suggest you do so immediately. Michelle did the cutest number with pink balloons in which all of her clothes floated away. The Chicago Starlets did a super cool number with most of the girls dressed as french artists who were strategically holding up pieces of paper that covered the important parts of the other two girls (plus Michelle) who were otherwise not dressed at all. There was a magician and a belly dancer.

And then there was Mr. Gorgeous.

Michelle had told us that Mr. Gorgeous was going to be in the show a few weeks earlier. "He does this act...I can't describe it. He's about 6'4" and he has this're just going to have to see it." I honestly can't do a better job at describing it than that. He is a giant, and sort of clumsy, but in a completely deliberate way that is actually not clumsy at all, and is awkward in the most awesome possible way and he is THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN AND I CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN WHY. Just go watch this and be amazed. And then when you're done, watch this one in which he is the Jolly Green Giant and OH MY GOD THE PEAS. He is a genius.

Anyway, the Big Sexy Show was big. And sexy. And great. And Valentine's Day still sucks.

Name That Stripper

So, one of the things that is going on in my life right now, which has recently been FILLED with things that have lead to my genuinely not having time to read and/or blog, is that I have made it into the advanced burlesque or "show" class and am preparing for my debut performance as a solo burlesque dancer at the end of June (something I am starting to think of as a marketable job skill given the advice I've received from all my UK peeps on the availability of actual jobs). There's a lot more that goes into this class than just showing up and shaking your ass around. For example there's developing a critical eye for performance (an ongoing homework assignment that basically involves watching ALL of the things), learning how to choreograph something that is not just standing there taking off your clothes whilst otherwise being exceptionally boring (something I am starting to notice a remarkable amount of now that I've developed a critical eye for performance by watching ALL the things), and, perhaps most importantly, deciding who you plan to be as a burlesque dancer (what your style is going to be, who is your character, how do you interact with the audience, etc.)

Part of that last thing is literal: our very first assignment in class was to start thinking about what our name was going to be. This is actually way harder than it seems because there's a lot more to think about than is immediately apparent. Your stage name should be all of the following things:
  • Reflective of the character you want to be. The very first thing the audience knows about you is your name, and it will determine what they expect to see.
  • Not easily misconstrued. Michelle told us a story in class that I am not allowed to repeat here, but suffice it to say, don't pick a word that can be pronounced in several ways, especially if one of those ways is unflattering.
  • Per Michelle, not something tired and overdone that practically every other burlesque dancer or stripper has done to death, i.e. anything using kitty or another variation of "cat", anything that starts with "Miss" (Miss Anthrope, Miss Demeanor - these are both actual names people are using. Seriously.), anything with "Von" or "Vaughn" in it, anything using the word cherry.
  • Not already being used by someone else, or too similar to something being used by someone else. Either they will get VERY angry with you or you will constantly be mistaken for a porn star.
In the case of our particular class, there is a further criteria in that Michelle has to not hate it. The name I had fallen in love with YEARS ago, Poppy Coxx, has two major problems. One is that, in between googling it when I thought of it and googling it again just to double check, someone else decided to start going by Poppy Cox and is touring around the country doing a show about "bicycle porn". The other is that in hesitating about how to alter it in a way that Michelle wouldn't instantly veto (Poppy Cok? Poppy Coq?), I waited too long and now another girl in my class has chosen a name that starts with Poppy, and it would be kind of ridiculous to have two performers named Poppy. Since finding that part out about a week ago, I have been brainstorming names with StereoNinja and BrownsFan, and we've collectively come up with, well, basically nothing. Every good idea we've had (Boobie Fett!) is already taken. "The problem," I said to BrownsFan, "is that lots of other people are clever."

And then I remembered something important. I HAVE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE READING MY BLOG EVERY DAY AND THEY ARE ALSO CLEVER! So, with that in mind, I'm putting it to you guys: what should my stage name be? The best thing we've come up with so far is Bloomy Madd. It's ok, and you should definitely let me know if you like it, but I think you guys can beat that. What say you?

(StereoNinja adds that we'll give a free t-shirt to the person to comes up with the best name, however, that will probably seem like much more of an incentive when we actually design some t-shirts.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

No, Seriously, I Have A Real Excuse

OK, so I'm being a terrible blogger - I have a book review to finish by the end of this month and I haven't made a video since my birthday - but I do actually have a reason for once.

That reason is that my timetable for the life-rearranging I have been hinting at for months has been pushed up significantly, and I am scrambling to update my CV and also assemble paperwork and fill out applications for graduate programs with looming deadlines and write statements of varying lengths about how much I heart learning and why I specifically want to learn these particular things, and I can't devote my full attention to that and also make up new swears for you guys and expect to actually succeed at my ultimate goal, which I am happy to report, I can now state fairly openly (in as far as I don't think any of the people I haven't spoken to yet read this regularly, and if they do, hi, and sorry you're finding out this way), is to move to the UK.

That was an incredibly long sentence and is not indicative of the quality of sentences I am using in my position statements on any of these applications, I assure you.

Point being, my absence is legit for once, and that I haven't stopped writing; I'm just writing something else at the moment, and it is important. And also that I will return to normal very, very soon since I have to finish the book review by the end of February so I can give the stupid book back to its owner.

In the meantime, in an attempt to make this up to you, I took the liberty of googling "weird knitting projects" for you guys. The image search results are here. I am particularly impressed with the knitted turd about 9 rows down and this fucking insane corpse:

You're welcome.