Friday, November 21, 2014

Well This Sucks.

While doing the grocery shopping at my nearest Sainsbury's earlier, I was browsing the soups when StereoNinja took me romantically by the arm and led me over to the produce. When I asked what he was doing he said "Getting you away from the spider." I turned around and there was a massive spider on the floor right where I had been standing: he'd been coming right for me.

So anyway, now I can never go shopping in that Sainsbury's ever again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stay At Home Mehs

I've been home for the entire day and holy mouse balls I miss my job. Basil, my beautiful MINI Cooper, is not feeling very well in second and third gear and is essentially undrivable at speeds less than 40 mph which makes it a no-go for driving to work at rush hour. The garage can't look at it until Monday and trying to rent an automatic transmission car here is like trying to buy a winter coat in Bermuda - nearly impossible to find and prohibitively expensive when you do. I did finally get my hands on one for tomorrow that will not cost me more money than I would earn over the time I'll have it, but that was not at all helpful to me as far as getting to work today. I don't even know how I did this for months. I mean, sure, I had school work to do and everything (not to mention a car so I could actually leave the island if I wanted to) but Jesus Ka-rihst is it boring to be in your house alone all day long with nothing going on except folding laundry and internet research on visas. The most exciting thing of the day was watching my neighbor power wash the walkway around the marina (this seemed to me the most exciting thing in everyone's day here on Rich-old-people-with-nothing-to-do Island: two other neighbors came over to his place to watch him. Seriously.) I can't wait to go back to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Guess where I was tonight! Actually, no, you'll never guess. I went to see Simon Singh, skeptic extraordinaire and author of many excellent books giving a talk about his latest book, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, which is about all of the advanced math(s) hidden in Simpsons episodes due to the fact that their writing team is made out of former mathematicians and computer scientists. AND THEN GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. HE SIGNED MY BOOK. I had to send StereoNinja up to get it signed because I was fangirling out, and spent the entire Q&A session grinning like an idiot, running my hands over it, and whispering to StereoNinja "Oh my god he touched it" like a fucking lunatic. Anyway, check it out if you like math(s) and comedy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Does This Sound Look Like?

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have synesthesia. Specifically, in some sounds I can hear shapes and/or light forms, and I also have a spacial sequence form of synesthesia in which I have always experienced months and dates as being fixed points in space. I know right, what the hell am I talking about?

For most of my life, I didn't know this wasn't how everyone experiences the world. Then one day I made on offhand comment when I was watching a baseball game with my family that Tony Gwynn "has the roundest voice I have ever heard" (BECAUSE HE DOES) and a room full of people turned around and looked at me as if I had spontaneously sprouted a second head and said head was that of a giraffe. Of course, I now know that I have an amazing superpower as well as an explanation for my eerily good recall of dates. However, my ability to explain what it's like is basically limited to reciting my theory that the reason people use drugs like acid is so they can feel the same way I feel all of the time. It's not explainable. I don't see the space calendar, I don't see any shapes floating around when Tony Gwynn starts talking, it just is fixed in space, it is round. See, totally clear now isn't it?

Anyway the whole point of telling you this is that this video is amazing, and the sand thing provides a better example of what I'm talking about than my shitty explanations could ever approach and that's not even the best part of the video. The water, you guys. The water and the coil. Dude.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Out Of Office Message

I'm on my way to Brighton today for the first Brighton Burlesque festival. In my absence, please enjoy this clip of Bendy Dick Cumberbatch doing impressions of other Hollywood actors in this interview for his movie The Imitation Game, which I will be reviewing when I get back from my trip.

Friday, November 14, 2014

So Close Yet So Far

Good news, you guys! My dissertation has been marked. Bad news: No one can tell me what my mark is. The professors at my university are participating in a marking boycott. They were actually marked before the boycott began but not finalized by the committee, which did not meet when they were supposed to because, again, marking boycott. When someone in my class asked if we could at least have a look at the preliminary marks, we were told that because dissertations are classed as exams he couldn't tell us.

It's not as big of a problem for me because I have never had any intention of doing something with my degree in terms of a career or more advanced study - mostly I was just planning to shout "GENDER STUDIES!" every time I make a horrible misogynist joke and obnoxiously correct people who confuse biology with gender. But a number of my classmates were meant to go on and study more things, and a lack of any grades to show the coordinators of the programs they want to study means they can't get accepted to said programs. It's a real pickle.

Anycrap, I'm still waiting to find out whether I can write on an academic level or if years of blogging have lead to my being unable to write a coherent sentence without swearing or sarcasm in it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Maybe you've realized this from my science fiction fanaticism, or possibly because I took my burlesque name from one of the moons of Saturn, but in case you don't know this, I have a MASSIVE space obsession. Like, huge. I habitually watch anything on the television that has to do with space, despite the fact that I complain every time because the shows are aimed at people with far less space knowledge than I have and are therefore usually boring for me. One time I talked StereoNinja into taking an online course with me about Astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life through the University of Edinburgh. And I have made him very aware, in numerous discussions, that if given the opportunity to go to Mars or any other space mission in which I knew ahead of time I was never coming back the Earth, I would not hesitate*.

Yesterday, we landed a probe on a comet.

I couldn't concentrate yesterday. I had been hanging on every GO/NOGO checkpoint starting the night before, and was running the live feed from ESA mission control in the background on my machine all day. I spent the day updating my coworkers on every progress report whether they gave a shit or not. I gave real thought to what I would say when we had confirmation that the lander had touched down. In the end, I didn't say anything, because when the control room erupted in cheers I was too choked up to speak. Someone figured it out by reading my screen over my shoulder. "They landed it?" he asked me, and all I could do was weakly nod my head and they he asked me "Wait, are you crying?" and I said "SHUT UP I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING." I can't believe this was just one news item of many yesterday. I'm not sure if people even realize this, but this mission is the biggest thing to happen in space exploration since we put PEOPLE ON THE MOON, and is arguably far more important: comets are the leading theory about how we got water on the Earth in the first place, meaning that without them, there wouldn't have been anyone TO land on the moon.

Today, there seems to be a lot of complaining in the news about the mission. It didn't go precisely perfectly. The lander bounced, twice, because its screws and harpoons failed to deploy and the cold gas thruster that was meant to push it against the surface wasn't responding to commands. They're not entirely sure where exactly it is, since one of those bounces went up about a kilometer in the air and was off the ground for two hours and they're not sure where exactly it ended up, but it seems to be on the edge of a canyon or maybe not entirely upright, and it's settled in a place that doesn't get much sunlight, so the batteries may not be able to recharge. So everything didn't work out exactly as they'd hoped, and the media appears to be questioning the overall success of the mission. I think they are missing the point entirely:


Space exploration doesn't always go as planned because studying space from actual space is hard. Two tragedies a week ago with a resupply and a test flight should be enough of a reminder of this, and if it's not, let's not forget that we blew up two space shuttles, killed some Apollo astronauts in a fire, and, obviously, Apollo 13. Space is hard. But we did it: Philae is on the comet, sending data and photos and doing science, and if it runs out of batteries on Sunday as is currently expected, so what? We already know more than we ever have before. The only appropriate reaction to be have having right now is sheer and total AMAZEMENT - with our brilliant scientific minds and our incredible universe.

*Yes, I know there is a planned no-return Mars mission in the works, but there are some serious issues with those plans that need to be worked out and I don't think they're going to even come close to making their target date.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What It's Like To Live With Me

StereoNinja: What movie is the one with the Ewoks? Is that Empire?

Me: No, it's Return of the Jedi.

StereoNinja: Oh that's right. (pause, writes something on his phone) And what do you call those other little guys, at the very beginning, with the hoods?

Me: Jawas.

StereoNinja: That's it! (goes back to writing)

long pause...


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Obligatory NaBloPoMo Post

Today my former roommate passive-aggressively blamed me for my cat's illness for which she will need surgery and went on to complain the the vet is deliberately running up costs (they're not) and he "can't afford this shit" (it's being paid for by my cat's health insurance). At work, I got out of a meeting over an hour early, which sounds good, but the reason was that the presenter fainted and slammed his head into the podium so hard it will be a miracle if he walks away without a concussion, which was scary as all fuck. And then it took me two hours to get home because I spent the entire first hour stuck in a traffic jam in the car park, whilst watching my fuel consumption in a panic because I was so close to being out of petrol I wasn't sure how long I could actually afford to sit there idling.

My point is, I've had a rough day, I'm in a crappy mood, and I don't feel like being funny at the moment.

Please enjoy this picture of a duck being an asshole to another duck in lieu of me entertaining you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Star Browns: A New Hope

I'm very nervous right now. The Cleveland Browns, perennial losers who fail so often it is just this side of statistically impossible, are currently in sole possession of first place in the AFC North. They're 6-3 so far, have won three in a row, have beaten two division rivals and only barely lost to the Ravens, and the quarterback, Cleveland native Brian Hoyer, is playing like...well, like an NFL quarterback. Which is not to say that is surprising for him, but it is surprising for any quarterback playing for the Browns.

This is a dangerous time for me. This not being my first rodeo, I have seen the Browns unexpectedly start strong many times before, only to have my hopes dashed halfway through the season when the entire offensive line gets injured, or the coach gets fired, or the team just generally shits the bed. And up until this point I have steadfastly refused to hope, even in the face of of win after win and the congratulatory words of my work colleagues (an extraordinary number of whom are NFL fans for reasons none of them have been able to sufficiently explain - no less than four people from my department were at the Jaguars/Cowboys game at Wembley yesterday (I was one of them)).

But yesterday, when the Steelers lost and the Browns found themselves in first place ALL BUY THEMSELVES, it happened. I started to hope. Not for glory, mind you - I'm not a fucking idiot. But for the playoffs. We could conceivably make the playoffs. I have conceived this. I hope.

Updates to follow in the coming weeks when my heart is inevitably crushed. Again.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Buying Apples in Essex Is Entirely Rational, So Shut Up.

You know your partner digs you when you announce that you need to go on a two hour drive for the purpose of buying apples, and his response is to book you into a bed and breakfast nearby.

For a country that is essentially one massive farm dotted here and there with cities, there seems to be dearth of decent farm shops, at least within a reasonable, non-crazy person distance of where I live. I recognize, of course, that growing up just south of Cleveland as I did, my access to Mapleside Apple Farm, where my family went at least once a year to buy Halloween pumpkins and a massive amount of baking apples for pies, and where I had at one time planned to get married, gives me a very biased opinion of what constitutes a "good" farm shop. Nevertheless, I feel like a farm shop where I ask "What apples do you have that would be good for baking?" and the woman sitting in the doorway of the dingy, decrepit barn that serves at the "shop" scowls at me and says "That one" while pointing at the only box of apples visible in the entire place could probably be topped. So I googled my face off, and the only thing I managed to find where they seemed to both know shit about apples and also grow more than one variety was a fruit farm whose address is listed on their website as being "near Frinton-on-Sea". I insisted on going.

"Near" Frinton-on-Sea is just over two hours away from here and halfway around the M25 (Hi, Americans. The M25 is an orbital highway that goes all the way around London, has only two rest stops, and is constantly rammed with traffic. Sometimes people don't know where to get off and go around and around it in circles until their family reports them missing to the police.), and as we left shortly after getting home from work without having eaten anything, we decided to stop for dinner in Colchester on the basis that it was a place we had both heard of. Turns out, Colchester is the oldest Roman city in Britain and was once the capital of Roman Britain. We had Italian.

The bed and breakfast StereoNinja booked us into for the night was not in Frinton-on-Sea, mainly because there is nothing IN Frinton-on-Sea. We stayed instead at the Chudleigh in Clacton-on-Sea, the most English bed and breakfast in all the world. When we called them to say we'd be in rather late, the woman's response was "Oh, yes, we just beginning to worry about you!" as though we were people they actually knew. The whole place smells like your grandparent's house in the best way possible and despite its recent renovation, the decor appears to have time traveled there from the 50's. It is amazing and has the world's fluffiest pillows. At breakfast the next day, when I ordered shredded wheat and toast, the woman serving breakfast spent a good ten minutes trying to convince me to order "something hot" because what I had ordered is apparently "not breakfast". StereoNinja had a plate of meat which seems to have been an acceptable choice. I'm going to be staying there every time I go to Clacton-on-Sea now, which will be a lot because it is the most perfectly stereotypical seaside town in all of the world, or as I described it to StereoNinja, "It's like Venice Beach without all the assholes and stupid crap."

The Park Fruit Farm is exactly what it claims to be: a fruit farm. And the farm shop I had such high hopes for is in a relatively small and nondescript barn, BUT that barn has a wide variety of apples, all of which have actual information about when they grow, when they're ready for use, how long they keep, what their apple heritage is, what uses they're good for and their flavor profiles WHICH IS EXACTLY HOW YOU SHOULD SELL APPLES. And! It smells exactly like Mapleside's farm shop, which is exactly what I wanted in a farm shop without realizing it. AND! They even had apples I KNEW, because they grow several varieties of apples that originate in America INCLUDING Johnagolds, which is one of the apples I used for pies back home. AND! fresh pressed applejuice, which StereoNinja managed to drink a quarter of the jug we bought before we even made it back to the car.

The whole trip was a resounding success really, and I'm already trying to figure out how to trick StereoNinja into going back there all the time. In the meantime, I'll just be over here making ALL of the pies.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

So Dreamy

"I don't want to buy a house with another couple," StereoNinja announced immediately upon waking up this morning.

"Well I don't want to have sex with Jeff Goldblum," I responded. Because in my disturbing dream I'd just woken up from, StereoNinja turned into Jeff Goldblum and I was going to have to have sex with him.

Some advice for you: Don't tell StereoNinja if you have a sex dream about someone you have no actual interest in having sex with, or he'll send you something like this.

Friday, November 07, 2014

You're Killing Me, John Lewis

The John Lewis Christmas commercial came out and now I can't stop crying. Stupid penguins.

Thursday, November 06, 2014


I hate reality television, I really do. Doesn't really matter what it is - D-list celebrities dancing like they just discovered they have legs, ridiculous cooking shows that try to find out who the best chef is by putting them in situations no chef in real life would actually come across, storage locker auctions where people argue about whether a Huffy bicycle from 1985 is a priceless heirloom or a piece of shit, anything with a Kardashian in it - I just absolutely do not care and can't grasp anyone's emotional investment in their preferred X-factor contestant or poorly educated duck hunter (is that what they do? Hunt ducks? I don't even know. Also it doesn't seem that hard to me considering if I leave my back door open too long ducks will walk right into my kitchen like they own the place. Then again, I didn't quit school in the 3rd grade).

Be that as it may, my absolute favorite show right now is a reality show. I have no idea if a version of Gogglebox has made it's way to America yet, or if in fact it started there first (like I said, I don't watch reality shows). In case you're unaware, Gogglebox is a show where they put cameras in people's living rooms and then film those people while they watch tv. Which sounds stupid in principle, but is actually brilliant. They watch everything from the news to Downton Abbey to police reality shows, and it is hilarious, particularly Steph and Dom, known as "the posh couple" who appear to have no filter whatsoever and have pretty much become the stars of the show. I love it and I watch it every week, even more religiously than I watch Doctor Who (by the way, DID YOU SEE THAT LAST EPISODE? I did not see that coming AT ALL), which is saying something considering the number of daleks I have in my house.

That is until this week. I mean, I was watching it, but I ended up missing the last almost ten minutes of the show, despite the fact that I was still right there in the room. Why, you'd like to know? Well, this week, the producers thought it would be just a *peachy keen* idea to have everyone watch a nature documentary...ABOUT FUCKING SPIDERS.


When I say "documentary about fucking spiders" I am not being derogatory either, like, "oh those fucking spiders again, always trying to eat my face". I mean fucking spiders literally: the show was about those creepy monsters getting their freak nasty on. People study this you see. For a job. They film spiders doing it and then they deliberately watch the most terrifying porn in all of history including the shit those Romans were into. I am personally and deeply offended by the idea of spiders having sex. That is MY thing, you guys. Walking horror shows should NOT be allowed to enjoy my hobbies. EVER. And of course now, not only am I on high spider alert for any of the living nightmares that may be inside my house at the moment, but I am also now faced with the knowledge that they may not only be lurking inside my house but porking in it too.

THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, SPIDERS. ONLY I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE SEX IN MY HOUSE (and StereoNinja. Because that's sort of an important aspect to the me doing it in my house scenario). You shouldn't even be here in the first place. You can live wherever you want; you carry the materials needed for home building inside your own butt. But you DEFINITELY need to not be boning in here. Is it boning if you have an exoskeleton? It doesn't matter, just STOP DOING IT.

Thanks, Gogglebox, my life is ruined now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Remember Remember Etc.

It's Guy Fawkes Night here in England, so fireworks are happening over the river and I am watching them from inside my warm house like the spoiled islander I have become. Last year the island had a massive bonfire with mulled wine and sausages, but this year there is nothing. I can only imagine this is because too many old people heard us having fun in the community area last year and complained. With our neighbor the Commodore moving off the island and onto his three story boat/floating penthouse, it's occurred to me that StereoNinja and I might have to become the new island instigators to keep the committee on its toes and the steady stream of stern letters coming (they are hilarious). I'm thinking of starting with a massive Christmas display in the garden: a huge tree, the tackiest light up reindeer I can find, colored lights that flash in sequence, set to the most manic speed available, maybe Santa's sleigh on the roof if I can figure out how to get it up there.  I can maybe even get the neighbors next door to join up with me - they're crazy enough to not only build a house for the stray cat that comes around, but also throw said cat a housewarming party.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Sorry, But You Knew This Post Was Coming

After that last post, you probably think I'm pretty miserable right now. But if you think that you'd be wrong: I am homesick; I am not, however, miserable. How could I be?


The one benefit to there being only a token nod to Halloween and no Thanksgiving at all is that Christmas stuff is EVERYWHERE. I've been in every kind of store from Nottcutts to Tesco to B&Q (rough American equivalents: Home Depot (the outside part), Meijer, Home Depot again (the inside part) and all of them have Christmas shit leaking out of every storifice (shut up, "storifice" is HILARIOUS). And the best part is, there is NO ONE AROUND to tell me I have to shut up about Christmas because "It's not Thanksgiving yet" or "For Christ's sake, Amber, can't we just enjoy Halloween right now" or "JESUS FUCK WILL YOU STOP SINGING FUCKING CHRISTMAS CAROLS IN MOTHERFUCKING JULY YOU ANNOYING ASSHOLE" (that last one may or may not still happen, but at least no one ever justifies it by invoking the fact that it's the 4th of July, so, you know, progress). And on the internet I found this and this and these and they are so amazing I CAN'T EVEN STAND IT. Oh yeah, AND, did you know that Seth MacFarlane put out a Christmas album this year? WELL HE DID, and his voice is like the softest, sexiest cashmere blanket and I want to have sex with it and then cuddle it forever.

Where was I? Oh yeah. CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Where All The Parties At?

Apologies for backdating this post and the next one. I'm dealing with a sick cat who is 4,000 miles away from me and a small financial snafu caused by living in a different country from where my credit history does. I'm not abandoning NaBloPoMo, I'm just finessing the numbers a little bit. Also, don't worry, everything's fine.

I was doing pretty well for a while, homesickness-wise. I was even almost maybe a little bit starting to think of the place where I am actually living as my home. I'm part of things now: I commute to work like a person who lives here, I have relationships with my neighbours where we do things together, and I occasionally tell StereoNinja about places nearby he's not aware of, such as the Italian store in the next town over where I buy the Italian sausage I spent months trying to get my hands on and where you can also buy a jar of olives the size of your head for £2.50 ($4.00 USD).

But there's something about this time of year, the time between the lead up to Halloween and Thanksgiving, that really drives home the point that I am not, in fact, anywhere near my home. This is largely because England doesn't do these things. I mean Halloween exists, kind of, in that you can buy a pumpkin and carve it, if you're into that, but you'll buy that pumpkin at Sainbury's and they'll all be nearly the same size and roughly the same shape. There are no pumpkin sellers set up in abandoned parking lots (there are no abandoned parking lots at all actually) or pumpkin patches out the back of the local farm shop, and there are no pumpkins of unusual size, shape, nubbiness or color. I showed StereoNinja some photos on the internet of giant pumpkins from pumpkin growing contests and he was amazed: he had no idea a pumpkin could get that big or that growing them competitively was a thing you could do. Similarly, while kids do dress up and go trick or treating, it's not all of them, it's not traditional, and it's not in any way organized. StereoNinja had no idea what I was talking about when I asked him what time trick or treating was because the city does not specify what time trick or treating is allowed. And the decorating is almost non existent. If I dressed my house up the way people in American would for Halloween, with lights and spider webs and skeletons hanging from the tree and gravestones in the front yard and a scarecrow and the butt of a witch, I would at the very least get a stern letter from the island committee that my decorating has "spilled out" and advising me to clear the detritus from my garden post haste. And while Halloween is half-assed, Thanksgiving is entirely non-existent, though in all fairness, the other Americans I know living here and I all force pumpkin pie and a roast dinner on people in late November, so while it's not actually a thing, we do all seem to stubbornly refuse to give in and admit defeat.

Anyway, the point is, I wasn't homesick and now I am again, and I'm going to go eat the entire box of American food I ordered online that arrived today and drink all 24 cans of root beer it came with RIGHT NOW.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

So This Is Going Well Already

I've been sitting here for the last fifteen minutes trying to think of something decent to write about for today while StereoNinja looks at beat up old Jaguar MK IIs on the internet and laughs at me. I've got nothing. And it's not because nothing has happened: since my post back in August I've been on a battleship, submarine and an aircraft carrier (all in one day), gone to Nashville (where I ate nothing but deep fried mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers while I had the chance), been to see Withnail and I in the theater (twice), and found out I am terrible at boating (in that I panic every single time we go through a lock or try to moor or am asked to steer for any reason and I spend the rest of the time endlessly scanning the boat for spiders). But the words just will not come today. So NaBloPoMo is off to a pretty shittastic start, but while I'm thinking about it, please enjoy this spectacular headline StereoNinja just came across on his quest for a car he almost certainly wouldn't actually drive to Penrith in.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Triumphant Return

Oh hello there internets. I apologize for abandoning you and assure you it was, in fact, temporary. As I mentioned in August, I didn't have much time to blog whilst writing my dissertation. I finished that, ten days before it was actually due no less, in order that I would not have to work on it/worry about it while I was back in America for my brother's wedding - having to wear a dress and and sandals gave me more than enough to worry about on that front. We got back a month ago, so by all rights, I should have resumed blogging, but there is no way for me to describe to you the amount of not wanting to be anywhere NEAR my laptop post-dissertation and so I stuck it in a corner, disappeared from Facebook and Twitter and failed to blog for the entirety of October despite not actually being too busy for any of those things all month long.

But now it's November! And November is NaBloPoMo, and I love the challenge of NaBloPoMo, so today and then for 29 more days in a row there will be something here to read. I don't promise there will be anything GOOD to read, but I will endeavor to do my best.

For those who are interested, the final title of my dissertation was The Mainstreaming of BDSM?: Examining mainstream acceptance of BDSM culture through Fifty Shades of Grey and Secretary and it will be a surprise to precisely NO ONE that what I concluded is E.L. James is a first class asshole who understands BDSM about as well as an eel understands tap dancing. Of course I explained it it much greater detail and in the "clear, precise academic language" I was specifically instructed to use, meaning I tried not to be be funny and liberally sprinkled it with words like "engendered"and "heteronormative", which StereoNinja thought was hilarious. As far as I know it hasn't been marked yet.

Ok, then. Let the NaBloPoMoing begin!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Not Dead (I Think)

With my dissertation coming due in less than a month now and me typically far behind my own personal (and to be fair, probably overly ambitious) schedule, it's going to be a while before I can get back to doing some quality posts. Which is unfortunate because I have some interesting and terrifying boat stories (they are not necessarily the same stories) due to the fact that StereoNinja has bought a boat. It is StereoNinja's boat and decidedly not mine, as evidenced by the fact that he won't let me buy the new Borg cube glowing refrigerator on thinkgeek for it despite both its awesomeness and the 12V adapter it comes with which is exactly what you need for a boat based refrigerator meaning it was obviously MEANT TO BE. But it will have to wait, as I am currently deeply immersed in trying to stay on the actual topic of my paper and not wander off on tangents about how shitty E.L. James is at all the things that are NOT kink related. But you guys. It will all be over SO SOON. I just have to get through the next month.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

There, I Fixed It: The 50 Shades Trailer

Look, my review of the Fifty Shades movie trailer was a bit lacking, I know that. It didn't have any of my usual vitriol or creative swearing and it did not, I think, express my feelings about the trailer or the existence of a movie at all as clearly as it should have. I just couldn't find the right words to illustrate my total non-excitement about this film.

But then I had an epiphany. While watching it for the dozenth time trying to think of something clever to say about it, I realized: I don't have to say anything! I can show you how I feel! By re-shooting the entire trailer (nearly) shot for shot. Directed by StereoNinja, my new improved trailer stars ME! as Christian Grey doing my best impression of of a wealthy, sullen asshat, and someone wholly more appropriate playing the role of the dull and vacuous Anastasia Steele than any actress they did or could have cast in the movie. If you look closely (and fast) you can even catch a glimpse of some Inner Goddess tokens from the party game some of us played together last year posing as pasties in the scenes where Christian is shirtless because I am a woman and have boobs.

If you haven't watched the original trailer yet, or haven't watched it in a few weeks and need a refresher, you're going to want to do that first. Or I guess you can two screen it and watch them both at the same time. However you want to do it, really -  I'm not omniscient. Either way, I hope you'll enjoy watching it as much as I, StereoNinja and the rest of the cast (presumably) enjoyed filming it for you.

So anyway, with no further preamble, here it is - the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, which I have fixed:

Monday, August 04, 2014

50 Shades En Fuego

THIS IS IT YOU GUYS. I am finally done reading these books and I swear to Christ if she writes a fourth one so help me I will burn the publishing house to the ground, pour gasoline on the ashes and BURN THEM AGAIN.

Because E.L. James is an artless, bungling, inept tool, she couldn't simply write one epilogue that concisely wraps up the book and provides the audience with closure (such as a month later, Christian dies in a fiery helicopter crash and Ana immolates herself because she can NEVER LOVE AGAIN and the rest of us can all live happily ever after). Instead she wrote three of them because even after she's finished writing a book she can't control her incurable explosive word dysentery.

The first epilogue is the kind of epilogue one expects at the end of a book, except that it is completely stupid and makes me want to punch a baby koala. It is just over two and a half years since the end of the book. Ana and Christian's mistake is two years old and Ana is pregnant with another fucking terrible idea baby. The first paragraph is Ana laying in the grass enjoying the afternoon sun. Since she's doing something for herself for once instead of catering to her abusive husband and presumably spoiled and obnoxious son, this happiness is obviously wrong: "I should feel guilty for feeling this joy..." OR you could just have a nice time for once without constantly looking for a reason to be upset about something you melodramatic assface.

For no reason at all except James hasn't written a boring sex scene in this chapter yet, Ana has a flashback to the last night she and Christian spent at his penthouse of sex before they moved to their new house. Since BDSM is ok now that he's been saved from wanting to do it and become a good person, this sex consists of a very light non-painful flogging, a blowjob (where she miraculously remembered not to rake her teeth across his dick), and then some good old vanilla penis in vagina missionary sex because that's the proper way for people in love to screw (also because Christian seems to think that if he fucks her too hard he'll poke his baby in the eye with his enormous cock). The next scene is inexplicably after some sex in the present since she's pregnant with their second child, unless it is supposed to be after the last sex at their old house which they moved out of two years ago, which now that I think about makes total sense since we've already established that James can neither tell time nor bother to review her own work. Anywang, it's after some sex at some point in the past, and while Christian is feeling the baby kick, Ana says "I think she likes sex already." YOUR FETUS DOES NOT LIKE SEX ANA. IT'S A FUCKING FETUS SERIOUSLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

After the flashback (in an epilogue. She wrote a flashback scene in an epilogue), Ana wakes up in the grass to find Christian and their son looking for her. They have a nauseating conversation about how Ana should quit working because she's a mom now and her job should be to not have any life at all outside of her children. You know, like his mom, A FUCKING PRACTICING PHYSICIAN. Speaking of his mom, Ana wants to name their daughter Ella after his birth mom, and this is NOT FUCKING COOL. I mean, she made him say he loved his mom, she made him go to her grave, what the fuck does she want from him GOD STOP ASKING ME FOR TOTALLY NORMAL THINGS ANA. She immediately backs down from this stance, begging his forgiveness and praying to fuck in her internal monologue that she hasn't made him angry. For suggesting a reasonable name for their child. THIS RELATIONSHIP IS SO ROMANTIC YOU GUYS WHY CAN'T YOU SEE HOW LIVING IN CONSTANT FEAR OF YOUR HUSBAND IS EVERY GIRL'S DREAM COME TRUE? And then their kid drops his fucking popsicle in the grass and it is a tragedy that goes on for two pages.

TIME FOR ANOTHER FLASHBACK (in an epilogue. Maybe next time just actually finish writing the fucking book). Ana is in labor with their son. She has been in labor for fifteen hours, which apparently in E.L. Jamesland is a fucking extraordinary amount of time to be in labor (with your first child even). But now the baby is in distress and the doctor says it would be best if she had an emergency C-section. Now, I've never had a baby, but from everyone I've ever talked to who was told their baby was in distress and emergency surgery would have to be performed on their wife, I've been made to understand it's really fucking scary. Christian's reaction to being told this exact same thing is to scream at her doctor "About fucking time!" I wrote in my notes "CUT MY WIFE OPEN ALREADY YOU LAZY CUNT". For her part, Ana stays true to her epicly stupid character and wonders in italics why Christian would be worried that she's about to get cut open and a baby ripped out of her uterus. I am not kidding you, she cannot fathom why this might be worrying.

Flashback over, but now we have to relive the scene we just fucking read again while she tells Christian about the flashback she was having. Christian is adamant - this time they will have a planned cesarean. Because that would be safer? Because it's best in their situation? Because they've discussed it and agreed that it's what they both want? Of course not, don't be ridiculous. It's because he is NOT going through that again. You should have major surgery again because last time you had a baby it gave me bad feelings and I don't want to have another big sad.

The epilogue ends with Christian assembling his kid's train set for his second birthday tomorrow and anxiously wondering if he'll like it, and then the only other part of the epilogue that is an actual thing that belongs in an epilogue is that she makes quick mention of the fact that Kate and Elliot have a two month old baby and apparently her dad is still alive since he's coming to the kid's birthday party.

The end.

PSYCHE. Just kidding, the fecal festival is only just beginning! The other two epilogues are in a special section entitled Shades of Christian and they are both written from Christian's perspective. Allegedly. But we'll get to that. The first one is called "Fifty's First Christmas". It is not his actual first Christmas, it's his first Christmas since the Greys adopted him, so supposedly written from the perspective of a four year old. However, I'm pretty sure based on its content that E.L. James hasn't so much as seen a photo of a four year old. The reason I think this is that no one who has ever been in the same room with a four year old would imagine his thought processes the way James imagines Christian's. Here is the internal monologue of a normal four year old: "What's that? I'm hungry! CANDYCANDYCANDYCANDY OOOO LOOK A TRUCK VROOM VROOM! I want cookies and a puppy! MOMMY LOOK I FOUND A STICK. A worm! Smush it! I need the potty WHERE IS MY TEDDY BEAR. Fart noises with my mouth HAHAHAHAHAHAHA" Not Christian however. Christian, who by the way doesn't speak at all because he's been so traumatized by his life so far, spends an extraordinary amount of time thinking about how to pronounce the word "ornament" after his mother tells him that's what the shiny balls are that they're putting on the tree. He sounds it out in his head. A child that does not speak and that has just been presented with a large array of small shiny objects sounds out the word "ornaments" inside his head trying to get it right. FIVE FUCKING TIMES. This is the thing a small child in a room full of things that are completely new to him is most concerned about.

James also endlessly covers material we already know. Four year old Christian doesn't like to be touched exactly the way grown up Christian doesn't like to be touched? WHO KNEW? He's excited to eat dinner because he's so used to being hungry? YOU DON'T SAY. He is fascinated by the piano and helicopters and he has nightmares about his birth mother when he goes to sleep? YOU GUYS I HAVE SO MUCH INSIGHT INTO HIS CHARACTER NOW THIS EPILOGUE IS SUCH A REVELATION.

And then there is this paragraph:

I have seen pictures of Santa. But Santa never brought me presents before. I was bad. Santa doesn't bring presents to boys who are bad. Now I am good. My new mommy says I am good, very good. New Mommy doesn't know. I must never tell New Mommy...but I am bad. I don't want New Mommy to know that.
So here we have a four year old who has interpreted his mother's neglect as something he did, and who has made a deliberate and structured decision to hide his deep psychological scars from his mother. Four year olds have neither the logical capacity nor the emotional sophistication to make decisions with this sort of depth and internal reflection. The kind of secret a four year old is likely to keep is that he broke something, and he will be fucking terrible at it because small children have absolutely no concept of nuance. So not only does this second epilogue add absolutely nothing to our understanding of Christian, but it is in no way fucking believable as the perspective of a four year old. There is no point to this chapter other than to paint an abusive entitled asshole as a sympathetic character, as though tragedy in your childhood excuses you from acting like a fucked up syphilitic monkey dick as an adult. Fact: NO IT DOESN'T.

Ok. So. The final epilogue. This piece is called "Meet Fifty Shades" and it is...I don't know a word to describe the magnitude of my loathing for this chapter. BUT FIRST OF ALL: Allow me to now clear up a few errors I made as far as the timeline of this relationship in these fucking books. Because this chapter recounts the very beginning of Ana and Christian's relationship by retelling their first meeting and the first time he stalks her at work from Christian's perspective AND IT IS AWFUL. But that is not my first point. My first point is that the very first thing on the very first page of this is the date on the day of the interview when Ana first meets Christian. This date was not explicit in the original book - I made some educated guesses based on events going on in Ana's life such as finals and graduation.

Christian and Ana met for the very first time on May 9, 2011. Now, in the last few official pages of this book, Ana sends an email to Christian (from the next fucking room, instead of texting like every single other 22 year old in 2011 would have done because James is an out of touch middle aged asshat who I would say is way past her prime except that would imply that she'd ever had a prime) to tell him it's TIME FOR SEX, and that e-mail is dated September 21, 2011. That is 19 weeks - roughly four and a half months. I did a little flipping back through the book and found another email from Ana to Christian from while they were living on the yacht during their honeymoon dated August 17. This is at least two weeks into their honeymoon, as she has already said they spent a week in London and a week in Paris, so the very latest they could have gotten married was August 3rd, a whopping three months from when they first met. In three months she KNEW there would NEVER BE ANYONE ELSE FOR HER. This ALSO means that all of the completely insane bullshit that went on in this book took place in the space of ONE FUCKING MONTH. You guys JACK BAUER does not have this action packed of a fucking life. I'm too tired of James' total inability to understand how time works to do any more of the math, but I suspect that if I had enough interest in working it all out, there would not be enough hours in one month to actually cover all of the things that supposedly happen in this one.

Ok, so setting aside the fact that James doesn't own a calendar or even a clock for that matter, this is still not the worst part of the entire experience. This chapter was fucking horrible THE FIRST TIME I read it, in no way shape or form was I prepared to have to read the entire goddamn thing AGAIN. So this time around, we start out in Christian's office pre-interview. He is staring out the window thinking about his existential boredom: "...the familiar ennui seeps into my consciousness." This is supposed to be an ACTUAL THOUGHT a person had about himself. He segueways this thought into James' characteristic blatant foreshadowing: he is SO BORED of everything, what he needs is some sort of distraction in his life. Where oh where will he ever find any such thing? Maybe if we keep reading we'll all find out together! He suddenly remembers he has an interview with some annoying college student, and is disproportionately angry about it (which he takes out on his assistant whose fault it is most definitely not because the entire point of being the boss is that you get to be a dick to everyone for no reason other than to amuse yourself). He hates interviews, and I genuinely love this bit, because do you want to know why he hates interviews? I assure you that you do. Christian loathes (his word) interviews because he hates having to answer, AND I QUOTE, "inane questions from inane, ill-informed, vacuous idiots." In that case I have some VERY distressing news, Mr. Grey.

As we already know, because we ALREADY READ THIS, Ana comes tripping through the door. Christian claims he is fascinated by her immediately, but I can't for the life of me understand why he thinks this since he alternates comments about how fascinated he is with comments about how he doesn't like ONE SINGLE FUCKING THING ABOUT THIS GIRL. She has no dress sense at all (her clothes look like they're from Walmart, or even (gasp of horror) Old Navy!). She is inhumanly clumsy. She brought a digital recorder to the interview like some sort of fucking cave man. She hasn't done one single shred of research on him before this interview (I know, right? I'm totally with you on that one, C-man.). She has "not one iota of originality". Her attitude is pissing him off. She doesn't even seem to know her own questions. I agree, entirely, with this part of Christian's assessment of Ana. What's harder for me to fathom is how ANY of those observations make her seem interesting. She's so dumb and doesn't even know the question she's about to ask him, but when she looks at a painting and makes the completely empty, meaningless and idiotic statement  "The ordinary raised to the extraordinary.", Christian's reaction is to decide she is obviously, like, wicked smart. This doesn't make any sense. In fact, the only thing that I can even imagine would have caused him to give her one instant of his attention is the fact that she's really pretty. Like, fucking stunningly beautiful. To me, and to anyone who has met other human beings, this makes complete sense: Hey look, a fucking gorgeous woman! I totally want to fuck the shit out of that! Right? That's a totally reasonable reaction to expect. But shitballs if Christian isn't entirely flummoxed by his visceral sexual reaction to an attractive person with nothing else to offer in the way of being interesting. He DOES NOT UNDERSTAND why he keeps thinking sexual thoughts about her. Every time I look at this hot piece of ass, I get a tingly feeling in my penis! WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO ME???? This is a 28 year old man whose main fucking hobby is having rough sex with women who all look nearly exactly like this one. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY MAKE HIM BE THINKING THOUGHTS LIKE THIS? Is James just fucking insane? I mean forget about having ever met an actual grown ass man in her entire life, hasn't she ever seen one single sitcom, movie, or advertisement for literally anything ever? MOST DUDES DIG SEX, JAMES, PARTICULARLY WITH PEOPLE THEY ARE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR CHRISTIAN TO BE *SURPRISED* BY HIS OWN MOTHERFUCKING BONER.

I'm not going to recount the entire plot for you again since this is not our collective first rodeo. However, I would like to say, to E.L. James directly: Hey, I know you are writing the exact same scene a second time, but maybe you could do it without using the EXACT VERBATIM THOUGHTS the other character in the scene had the first time around. Specifically, maybe you could have Christian NOT think the thought "Unable to keep the amusement out of my voice as I recall her less-than-elegant entrance into my office..." when in the first book you had Ana thinking "Obviously, he's referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office." because that's THE EXACT SAME THING YOU ALREADY WROTE WORD FOR FUCKING WORD. And this happens throughout the whole entire chapter. On the inside, Christian sounds like a naive, vapid, dipshit, space-cadet, shallow preteen girl. All James did was do a find and replace in Word and change "Ana" to "Christian" and then republish the exact same fucking scene. I mean, come on, you're not even trying anymore.

So anyway, here's the part that we haven't read before (although in fairness to our own intelligence and James' face-palmingly transparent writing style, we do already know about it). Ana leaves the interview, and Christian immediately gets on the phone and tells his private investigator he needs a background check. The next page contains the results of said background check. And as we already wearily know what to expect, it is not real on so many levels. The report contains her date of birth, address, phone number, social security number, GPA, SAT scores (2150 by the way. NOT FUCKING LIKELY as she isn't sure what is or isn't an element or that helicopters can fly at night or basic geography), place of employment, family background, and bank account details, including the balance of her account. Now maybe James doesn't know this because it would involve some fucking research, but in America, your bank account number is not something you just bandy about. There aren't really direct payments between personal accounts and you don't give anyone your account number so they can send you money that way. Similarly, banks do not just give out account numbers or balances to people at random, or in most circumstances, to anyone without a subpoena or a court order. I double checked this because  unlike James I prefer not to talk out of my ass. Direct from information provided by several private investigating firms, digging up people's bank balances without cause and under false pretenses is very fucking illegal. So Christian's guy that knows how to get any kind of information you could possibly ask about is quite probably a dangerous criminal, and really, probably someone Christian wouldn't actually want to have too much association with anyway since if he can get that kind of information about Ana and Jack Hyde and anyone else Christian wants to stalk, he can certainly discover all kinds of shit about Christian's life. There is also a section on Ana's religious affiliation (not found), sexual orientation (unknown) and relationship status (none indicated). This is stuff that would be hard to figure out without following someone around, or at least it was before Facebook, but since I think we can safely assume Ana is not on any sort of social media given that she doesn't have an email address or apparently even internet access at all before Christian buys her a laptop, I don't understand how he got any of that information either.

There is one thing in the report that explains a bit of why Ana didn't bother to get to know her abuser husband before she married him after three months: her mother's relationship history consists mostly of marrying men for a few months, divorcing them, and marrying the next one a few weeks later, so the idea of spending more than ten fucking minutes with someone before you marry them is pretty foreign to her.

So then Christian goes to the hardware store to stalk her, which he knows he is doing, but decides not to tell his psychiatrist because, you know, he might try to stop Christian from acting like a terrifying psychopath. He proves himself to be the horribly irresponsible Dom I've believed him to be all along with his internal thoughts about his shitty BDSM shopping list: "You'd be amazed what I can do with a few cable ties, Miss Steele." OO OO ME PICK ME! Is it permanent nerve damage? DING DING DING I WIN. He continues playing his insane "Haha I'm asking you for things to do with sex that you don't know have anything to do with sex" game in an attempt to get her to be interested in him, despite the fact that he KNOWS she's interested in him because she keeps blushing and can't look at him and he keeps mentioning it over and over again. He wonders if he should just ask her on a date like a fucking normal person but decides against it because then James wouldn't have been able to write three entire books based on an entirely implausible premise. He also continues to be impressed with things that are not impressive. For example, she knows how to tie a slipknot you guys! SHE WORKS IN A GODDAMN HARDWARE STORE. Are you so fucking stupid that you don't realize that someone whose job is to be able to coil rope should actually be able to coil rope, or is this just misogyny dressed up as a compliment? A GIRL CAN TIE KNOTS?? I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THEY HAD ENOUGH FINGERS FOR THAT. Then Ana's coworker walks in. Remember Paul, you guys? The perfectly nice all American boy next door who Ana rejected for not being a wealthy entitled cock "literary hero"? Yeah Christian proves that he is a REAL DOM by being immediately threatened by someone he can clearly see Ana is not interested in: "Who the hell is this prick? (How dare she know another person on the entire earth who owns a penis? I WILL CUT SOMEONE.)...Get your motherfucking paws off her. (LOL 'paws'? Note to self - don't buy Ana a male kitten, Christian will rip its head off and punt it.)...Yeah that's me, you prick. (You better fucking know who I am! Also the only insult I know is 'prick')". He finally leaves the store without ever mentioning to her that he hearts her SO BIG and sulks that he'll just have to wait....AGAIN... and see if she wants to meet him for a photoshoot. I CAN'T HAVE AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION I DIDN'T ACTUALLY ASK RIGHT THIS SECOND? LIFE IS SO FUCKING UNFAIR.

And then...that's it. It just ends like that, except for an italicized note directly from E.L. James her motherfucking self: "That's all...for now." I was all set to complain about yet another epic anticlimax when she slipped that "for now" in there and ruined it. What do you mean "for now"? Does that mean you're going to write another thing at some point? Because don't. Do not. EVER. Write another thing. Don't make a list, don't sign a birthday card, and for the love of god don't even think about sex with a pen in your hand ever again.

In summary, this book is exactly as bad as the other two books except that it's worse, and what we all need to do now is to KILL IT WITH FIRE. You bring the books and the matches; I'll bring the rage and the marshmallows. We should at least get some toasted marshmallows out of this fucking horseshit.


So StereoNinja and I started working on our Super Secret Project over the weekend. It's going really well so far and I can't wait for you to see it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fifty Shades Trailer Review

The Fifty Shades movie trailer came out on Thursday, and while I did record myself reviewing it, the only funny thing that came out of it was when I gave it "one thumb...up your butt". StereoNinja and I have come up with a better idea for a video than that, but it's going to take some real effort so it might be a while, however it will be worth it. Having said that, I do still want to do a review of the trailer.

First of all, let me start off by saying to the gentlemen of the audience, I am so so sorry you are going to have to sit through this on Valentine's Day next year. Although you'll probably get mega-laid afterwards so maybe it won't be so bad. On the other hand, you were probably getting laid for Valentine's Day anyway so it's still pretty bogus.

WORST PARTS (other than the fact that there even is a Fifty Shades movie at all): The entire first half of the trailer is all clips taken from the scene where they first meet. This seems like a lot to me, but then again it is the set up to the entire piece of shit story. But the part where she's telling him there's nothing to say about herself and then says "I mean, look at me" and the camera holds on her face for forever...oh my god I laughed SO HARD. NO SERIOUSLY, WATCH CLOSELY WHILE I TRY TO LOOK PATHETIC. Is it working yet? IS IT? BECAUSE I AM VERY PLAIN AND I CAN PROVE IT. Also at the end of the interview when she gets in the elevator, the music dramatically swells like something important is going to happen...and then it just resolves into a photoshoot of Christian.

The part of the movie that everyone is waiting for is the kinky sex parts, obvs. So it's a colossal letdown that those scenes are flashed at us so fast you can barely tell what's happening in them (it's not a lot) and the entire sequence takes up less than 4 seconds. The images are all very artistic and tame and it's hard to tell if it's because it's a trailer or if it's because that's all there is ever going to be.

BEST PARTS: I am sort of disappointed in myself over how much I am in LOVE with Beyonce's new version of "Crazy in Love" (I threw a medium sized hissy fit when I discovered I couldn't buy it on iTunes yet), but not as disappointed as I am in Beyonce for attaching herself to this shitty project. Also the cinematography doesn't suck, so that's a nice surprise. That's all I've got under "good things" though, which is to be expected - you can't build an enchanted castle out of a pile of stale turds.

So the actual movie next year...obviously I will have to sit through it and review it for you, but do you think we should try to have a group viewing in or near London or something? The meet up for the Fifty Shades party game was awesome, it would be great to do something like that again. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

50 Shades Illogical

I read and review Fifty Shades Freed so you don't have to.

I don't even know where to begin. Maybe with the question I kept thinking over and over during this last section: I'M SORRY, WHAT?????

E.L. James spends the last two numbered chapters of her book trying to wrap everything up in a neat little package. SPOILER ALERT: SHE FAILS. Instead what happens is she creates more questions than she answers, and the few things she does answer have explanations that make NO SENSE. I mean, AT ALL. Seriously, even working from within the horrifying stereotypes she's set out for her characters and "why they are like this" the ultimate, core "reasons" why various people are so fucked up do not follow any known pattern of logic that has been discovered by either philosophy or science. It's like she just vomits words onto a page, has a look, and decides she's satisfied with that effort because she can see some bits of corn in there and she remembers there was corn in the salad she had for lunch a week ago Tuesday.

Chapter 24 begins in Ana's hospital room during breakfast. Side note: despite both being pregnant and constantly mentioning how much she feels like she's starving, Ana is still basically being force fed by Christian right to the end. I guess this is supposed to illustrate Christian's adorable bizarre hang ups about food and eating left over from when his mom was a crack whore and forgot to feed him, but all I can see is a 21 year old girl in deep denial about her dangerous and all consuming eating disorder. Anycrap, they are discussing the baby and Ana casually mentions that, hey, you know, you keep talking about this little boy we're going to be having but do you realize it's possible we could be having a girl? Which, hey good job Ana! The science totally supports your opinion for once! Christian is massively alarmed by this statement. I'm not sure if this literally just did not occur to him, like maybe thinks he ought to be able to control his sperm and make it so only the male ones can swim through sheer force of will because I AM THE MASTER OF MY HOUSE or something, or if having a girl is somehow the end of the world in his mind for any number of misogynist reasons. Personally, I am also alarmed because while no child of his is likely to be allowed their own personhood or encouraged to develop autonomy or even so much as their own opinion regardless of gender, I can totally see this guy insisting a daughter be denied an education so she never learns anything scary or meets another actual person, and only being allowed outside with a surgical mask over her face Michael Jackson style because someone might look at her. They have a conversation about how she needs to tell her parents she's pregnant, and then immediately following that scene speaks to both her father and her mother and never mentions it.

Ana's been given permission to go home and does. After a shower scene that includes no sex much to Ana's disappointment despite her being in a massive amount of pain, she casually mentions that she doesn't understand why Elizabeth was helping Jack. "I do," says Christian. And this is where E.L. James completely looses whatever tenuous grasp she'd had on how cause and effect actually works. Because, you see, it turns out that up until Ana kicked him in the balls, Jack Hyde habitually raped ALL of his assistants. Not just raped them, but beat and raped them because "he likes it rough". BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. He also videotaped his assaults on all these women. But not to have some kind of fucked up souvenir rapist trophy to relive his experiences like a serial killer does. No no no, the videos are for blackmail. Elizabeth was helping Jack try to kill people because she was being blackmailed with a video of...her own rape? Whuuuuuuut. I cannot, CANNOT wrap my head around this explanation. At no point are we given the impression that the sex Jack was having with his assistants was in any way consensual. He didn't seduce them and now they are embarrassed about it, he AT BEST coerced them through having power over their careers, and more likely ATTACKED them the same way he attacked Ana. Those videos aren't blackmail, they are EVIDENCE. That not one of these women thought "Hey I can go to the police and tell them my rapist made a video of my rape" is completely ludicrous in and of itself, but that their reaction INSTEAD was "Oh shit! There's evidence of my rapist raping me that would totally put him in jail where he can't attack me again, I guess my only choice is to help him MURDER PEOPLE" MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO DONKEY FUCKING SENSE. No. Just, no.


Oh also in this scene, Christian decides to equate serial rape with a side of beatings with his own desire for consensual BDSM sex acts with happy and consenting women and concludes that he is pretty much the exact same amount of evil as Jack. ALSO NO. Also FUCK YOU.

Anyway, Ana reluctantly eats some soup, complains about not having sex, and takes a nap. When she wakes up, Christian has had a visit from his investigator dude and he is all shaken up because THIS EXPLAINS EVERYTHING. Except it doesn't. Doesn't explain anything; doesn't make any sense. Ok, so remember how Christian was born in Detroit and Jack Hyde is from Detroit? As I predicted, it turns out they have a past. In between the time that Christian's crack addicted mom died and the Greys adopted him, he was fostered for a couple of months by some nice family that likes helping children. Christian has no memory of this and is convinced it is because it was so traumatic that he blocked it out, despite remembering tons of stuff from when his mother was alive that actually was traumatic. Personally I think he doesn't remember it because it was something that happened for a very short period of time when he was 4 years old, the same way I have no specific memory of the first time I saw Cinderella. The nice family that was fostering him was also fostering some other kids at the same time. GUESS WHO ONE OF THEM WAS YOU GUYS. As proof, Christian shows Ana a photo. In it are the nice family and their foster kids, including a terrified little grey eyed boy, and another slightly older boy who is scowling at the camera with unbridled hatred. The scared one is Christian, the angry one is Jack Hyde. Because you can TOTALLY TELL from a photograph taken 25 years ago exactly what kind of people those kids will be today. But here's the thing: even if that was true, this photo does not fit with the follow up explanation. Because the reason Jack Hyde hates and wants to destroy Christian is because the Greys adopted him and not Jack. There's so much about that that doesn't make sense here. For one thing, the Greys were ALREADY in the process of adopting Christian. He was only in foster care because adopting a kid takes a lot of paperwork as the state of Michigan isn't in the business of just giving kids away to whoever. It's not like adopting a dog from the pound where a family just picks a dog and the dog in the next cage had just as much of a chance and if dogs were sentient it might totally resent the dog that got adopted. This adoption was ALREADY HAPPENING before they ended up in the same foster home. Also, this level of resentment is just not reasonable. Are we supposed to believe that a kid harbors so much resentment that someone got adopted "instead" of him that he spends the next 25 YEARS OF HIS LIFE trying to find that kid and kill him? WHO DOES THAT? Maybe that's not what happened, because Christian says Hyde didn't start stalking his family until a few weeks after Ana started working there. So he coincidentally employs the girlfriend of a former foster brother, realizes who Christian is AND THEN goes into a murderous rage over it 25 years after the fact? Neither of these scenarios make sense. And as for the photo, if the thing that triggered his hatred was Christian's adoption, and in the photo Christian is not yet adopted, what exactly is he so angry about? This explanation for Jack's behavior is about as clear as an elephant's turd and has roughly the same chance of passing the smell test.

After this revelation, Ana decides Christian needs to ask his parents about his time in foster care that he can't remember because for some reason she thinks this will completely change his life. So they call his parents and ask them to come over. They do, knowing what they are planning to talk about, but inexplicably bring Mia with them, who just as inexplicably calls everyone else to come over because Christian's parents coming over to help him through a major existential crisis is the perfect time to throw a fucking party at a house you don't live in. Champagne is in order because Ana is either Batman or Batman's dumb-enough-to-wander-into-a-dark-alley-looking-super-rich parents, and Ana has an angry internal monologue about how mean Christian is for not letting her get all crunk just because she's pregnant. No seriously. It's so mean of him to only let me have just a little champagne, I should get to endanger my baby if that's what I feel like pout pout. CHOKE ON MY METAPHORICAL NUTS, ANA. After everyone finally leaves and more "explanations" that don't make sense happen, Ana and Christian get ready for bed. Ana wants sex because that's the whole point of their entire relationship but Christian says no, he wants to tell her a bedtime story instead. He wants to tell her the story of: How the Evil Elena Seduced Me when I was 16 and it Ruined My Life. Because for NO REASON AT ALL this seems like a great time for that. Ready you guys? Once upon a time....END OF CHAPTER. ARE YOU SERIOUSLY STILL DOING THIS JAMES?

Chapter 25 begins with "I can barely breathe." (You're recovering from getting repeatedly kicked in the ribs, stop being surprised.) "Do I want to hear this?" Well, let's see. You've been saying you wanted to hear this since the first time he told you he was sub to an older woman TWO BOOKS ago, and have hounded him for the exact details he's about to finally tell you for months on a practically daily basis so, I don't know, PROBABLY? I, on the other hand, most decidedly DO NOT want to hear this because I already know it is going to be a steaming pile of stereotyped pathological bullshit nonsense psychobabble demonization just like everything else in these fucking books and I hate you with every scrap of hate I have available plus some hate others have loaned me temporarily so I could have the requisite amount of hate for it, which is a value that exceeds my own personal capacity to hate. Oh, by the way, Christian's eyes are "full of disquieting memories". He has pensieves for eyes I guess. She should have just stuck her face in his eyes months ago. The crap fest unfolds thusly: One day, teenage Christian was doing yard work at Mrs. Lincoln's house because reasons. "Out of nowhere" she brings him some lemonade (he says this happens "out of nowhere" immediately after saying he was doing backbreaking work shoveling rubble. If my best friend's son is doing convict level labor in my backyard, bringing him some lemonade is not "out of nowhere" it's "not being a dick"). Then she 1. slaps him across the face, 2. kisses him, 3. slaps him again, 4. walks off without comment or explanation. I have never been a 16 year old boy; I have no idea if slapping one across the face repeatedly is a good pick up line for seducing one. But it probably wouldn't be my opening volley. He goes on with the stuff about not liking being touched and he couldn't kiss the girls at school because they wanted to touch him, but Elena kissed him without otherwise touching him so it was ok. Ana assumes she "must have known" about the not wanting to be touched thing because Christian's mother had told her and concludes that she was using this knowledge to trick him into fucking her somehow. It makes no sense. Christian goes on. This sort of thing started happening more often. And here's where James completely jumps the shark, because Christian says this whole experience was really really helpful for his psychologically damaged teenage self and it fixed everything. Actual quote: "It was exactly what I needed." Another actual  quote: "And even when it was over, my world stayed in focus because of her." Wow. A woman who cared about you came into your life, found a way to reach you, helped you get through a lifetime of emotional trauma and allowed you to gain the piece of mind you had so desperately been longing for? THAT MUST HAVE BEEN FUCKING TERRIBLE FOR YOU. I am not kidding you guys. He credits this woman with fixing EVERYTHING wrong, which, somehow, was wrong and sick and bad and something he is now ashamed of. ANOTHER actual quote which follows the first two: "It was only recently that I saw our relationship for what it was." By this he means terrible and abusive. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT? It was so helpful Ana! It solved all of my problems! WHAT A BITCH, AMIRITE? James, please explain to me, in clear language that follows a logical progression, how a relationship that turned a raging, self-destructive teenage borderline alcoholic into a calm, controlled, self-sufficient, successful individual is the worst thing that ever happened to him. BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL YOU INCOMPREHENSIBLE TWAT WAFFLE. Oh wait, nevermind. Here it is! Because in the middle of this conversation this sentence happens: "If you grow up with a wholly negative self-image, thinking you're some kind of reject, an unlovable savage, you think you deserve to be beaten (emphasis mine)." Oh, I see. So a relationship that restored a troubled youth to a reasonable degree of sanity was bad specifically because said relationship was BDSM based. This oh so helpful relationship was in fact not helpful at all because BDSM makes you a sick freak who doesn't deserve to be loved. Got it. Just one thing though:


No, seriously. Coat a giraffe in coarse sand and then shove its entire head and neck up your stupid shitty vagina. Yes, I said vagina, because "down there" is not what you call that when you're a fucking adult. Vagina. VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA.

After I put out the smoldering book that I accidentally set fire to when flames shot out of my eyes, the shit show continued. Christian now finally believes that Ana loves him, reason being she put herself in incredible danger for the sake of his family. You watch too many movies, Christian. In real life you can believe someone loves you based on their every day loving gestures without them having to put their self in mortal danger on your behalf. Christian also mentions that while he's happy about the baby, he's not sure yet if he will want further children. Ana freaks out in her head: "No...Not an only child. Not like me." This is the first time in this entire saga that Ana has made any sort of comment about having been unhappy about being an only child. When did this become a problem? You are supposed to be clearing all this shit up, James, not creating new pointless plot twists you'll forget about in ten seconds and never resolve. When Christian went to see Elena after the "how could you be so stupid getting pregnant" episode, Elena made a pass at him. Weird since they haven't had a sexual relationship in seven years, but he turned her down because he loves his wife, surprising both of them apparently. "It's been over since I laid eyes on you," he tells Ana. "I finally realized it that night and so did she." So, you didn't realize it was over until JUST NOW? You married someone else without being sure your other relationship was over? Classy! Then my favorite nonsensical plot point comes up again, that Christian feels that only a terrible garbage person would love their own mother if said mother was a prostitute with a drug problem. Toddlers should be excellent judges of character and should not condescend to love their parents if those parents have flaws or weaknesses. I don't understand this at all. I understand having issues related to his mother having failed him and then dying, but I do not understand how this translates into HE is a monster if he loved her anyway. Ana magnanimously decides she can now let this "Elena is a threat to everything" imaginary bullshit go (bet she can't!) and the horrifying conversation finally ends and they go to sleep.

The next morning, Ana wakes up alone. She is starving for sex. She is sure she hasn't gone this long without sex since ever. She is wrong about this: it's been roughly a week since she had sex. After the time he hit her with the belt and they broke up thus dramatically ending the first book, she didn't have sex for, I don't know, a month? It's September now in the book. She's only known this person for about, what, six, seven months? You have a remarkably shitty memory Ana, you should maybe sign up to or something. She wonders how someone as into sex as Christian is can have so much self control. She has spent three entire books telling us about how her husband has iron-fisted control over absolutely every single thing on the earth, this should not be a Scooby-Doo mystery for her. Is it because of THAT WOMAN? She's not sure. "We haven't spoken of the Bitch Troll once since his confession." I'm no expert Ana, but I think that's probably because that happened EIGHT HOURS AGO and you've been asleep since IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAT CONVERSATION HAPPENED. After all this time, James can still surprise me with her astonishing inability to be internally consistent WITHIN THE SAME SENTENCE. She finds Christian in the kitchen and eats voluntarily for the first time in her entire life. Christian decides to take the day off work and they go over to see how work is progressing on their "green" but completely environmentally unfriendly house. On the way, she muses yet again on how laid back Christian has been since "the talk" (her quotes). For fear of repeating myself, Christian has only been awake for about two hours since that talk ended. James is writing these scenes as if months have gone by. She is the fucking worst at telling time. There is another example of this almost immediately. Construction is going well, and Christian's brother thinks they can be in the house by Christmas. Ana is excited; she can totally see her new baby boy looking up at the giant Christmas tree in wonder! I'm not sure why she can see this since she's five weeks pregnant and Christmas is three months from now. You are not going to have a baby at Christmas time, you are not even going to be halfway through your pregnancy. Please explain how you managed to get past the 2nd grade without being able to count to nine. After the house tour, they go outside for a picnic, during which Christian learns that it was Elena's ex-husband who posted Jack Hyde's bail, so immediately has his company destroyed, as you do. I don't know what this has to do with anything. There is no need for this plot point and she doesn't do anything to explain how this happened or why. How does he know Jack Hyde? Why is he only helping to kill Christian now when he caught him with Elena eight years ago and is long divorced from her? Why are we just now finding out that he used to beat the living shit out of her? Why does Christian own the majority shares of his company? What the fuck does Christian mean by "consolidate the shares into GEH"? (Investment expert hat on again: You can't just take shares you own of one company and decide they are now shares of a completely different company. That's not a thing. I can't even imagine what kind of business transaction James is trying to illustrate with this sentence.) I DON'T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS. Ana is scared? impressed? at Christian's impulse for vengeance and ability to take down another man's entire life with one phone call, so it's TIME FOR SEX, which happens on the lawn presumably in full view of the entire construction crew. It is boring, but leads to a conversation about something Christian had said the night before about missing BDSM sex. Suddenly she has no problem with it! Now that she's "saved" him from wanting it and stuffed him into prison of shame and guilt over it, it will totally be fun! Right? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

The last scene in the book proper is them going back into the sex room to do kinky sex things because since kinky sex is super bad for him they should totally start having it again. Or something. I don't know. I'm so used to her chapters ending in "dramatic" cliffhangers that when she actually finishes one like a normal human being I am totally confused. Also, I've been hammered over the head for THREE FUCKING BOOKS about how BDSM means you are both a broken damaged victim and a horrible rapist monster at the same time and it is something you must be rescued from and can ONLY be rescued from by the love of a selfless and determined woman. Why is this even happening? YOU JUST SAID THIS WAS BAD. The actual sex scene isn't in there, it's just suggestive talk up to the door of the room followed by another syrupy and moronic declaration of love for her abusive dipshit husband. AAAAAND SCENE.

THAT'S the ending? You've left so much unexplained. The eight million questions I have about this thing with Elena's ex-husband. Since when is Ana upset at being an only child? What's happening with Jack Hyde? Will Ana have to testify? Why won't you tell your parents you're pregnant? Why is BDSM suddenly ok now? How does Christian know everything and have more access to people's secret information than the fucking NSA? Is he Biff Tannen? What happened to all the shit about Ana not wanting to run a company and Christian insisting on buying it for her? Why can't you understand the passage of time? Why does anyone think Ana is smart or good at anything? Why does being a billionaire make abuse romantic? WHAT JUST HAPPENED YOU GUYS?

There's actually three more chapters, but they are all epilogues of sorts and I will address them all in another post. I will also, at StereoNinja's suggestion, be doing a video review of the new Fifty Shades movie trailer that's supposed to come out roughly now, so there's that to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Invasion Continues

I am hysterical right now.

I have mentioned before that this house has a spider problem. That problem is getting worse. StereoNinja sprays and sprays, and all that happens is they start showing up where he hasn't sprayed. Spray the corners? They move to the middle of the crown moulding. Spray the whole perimeter of the ceiling? They move down to the middle of the wall. Spray the walls? "Fine, we'll just crawl on the floor!" they laugh derisively.

It's a daily, multiple spider problem. I didn't write about it at the time because it was a happy post, but while I was cleaning the living room for my 4th of July party, I had to stop dusting just to the right of the television because just left of the television I could see four spiders clinging to the wall. Work ceased while StereoNinja eliminated those and the other ones he found that I hadn't seen on the adjacent wall and inside our wall sconce. I handled life fairly well after that, up until last week. One morning last week, I woke up at 6 a.m. for what seemed like no reason...until I lazily looked up toward the ceiling and discovered a spider hanging down over the bed, over ME, not three feet above my head. I slid out of the bed onto the floor and woke up StereoNinja. I must have used my OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE voice because he woke up already in instant rescue mode. But then he had to coax me back into bed, because what if they were lined up somewhere I couldn't see waiting for their turn to try to GET ON ME while I was sleeping? What if they'd formed a colony behind the headboard and were going to swarm as soon as I closed my eyes? I didn't sleep the rest of the night.

Since then I've had to deal with spiders daily. I won't walk around the house without socks. I carry a can of spider spray with me everywhere I go, with the cap off, holding it in front of me like some kind of fucking sword. StereoNinja comes home every day to a report detailing where all the spider carcasses that I sprayed that day are so he can remove them and check the area for friends of theirs that might have come to mourn or to get revenge. I take lightening fast showers because I'm terrified of being in such an enclosed space. Today the fast shower didn't work. I had JUST got out and started drying myself when a spider decided to just mosey right across the door frame on my bedroom floor, no doubt laughing maniacally. Once it had passed, I ran out and jumped on the bed, where I had left my spider spray (I won't be making the mistake of not taking it into the shower with me again) and turned around... and then I couldn't find it. I couldn't find it because it was one of those skinny beige spiders with legs the thickness of human hair that like to hang out in bathrooms. And the carpet in my bedroom is, of course, beige. It is also covered in clumps of my hair because my hair is too long right now and when I brush it, it gets everywhere. All hairlike things immediately became suspect, as did my actual hair since if it got in my hair I wouldn't notice that it was ON ME until it was too late. It could be anywhere, and I was naked on top of the bed, clear across the room from my sock drawer. I texted "I'm trapped" to StereoNinja. And he called me and talked me into throwing the duvet on the floor to create a bridge to the door so I could escape. This was a less than perfect plan however, since beyond the door I still wouldn't be wearing socks and I didn't know what else was out there. Also my toothbrush was inside my bathroom which I a) could not get back to unless I was sure the spider wasn't in there and b) was terrified of getting trapped in. StereoNinja said to grab my toothbrush and go in his bathroom but I was adamant that I couldn't: "What if it went in the bathroom? It's one of those ones that likes the bathroom." I stood on the bed another five minutes psyching myself up. Eventually, I threw down the duvet and jumped on it like a drowning man who found a life raft floating by. And then screamed loud enough to wake up the entire island. The spider HAD gone into the bathroom and was already hard at work building a web from my counter to the door, and I had located my island of "safety" RIGHT FUCKING NEXT TO THE DOOR. I sprayed it and it took forever to die, but at least I knew where it was. Unfortunately, my toothbrush was behind the web it was building and it could have been ON my toothbrush for all I know. But I did at least get to grab some socks so I could go to a different part of the house.

The problem with the spiders is that the alarm response is cumulative, and every time another one appears it reinforces the idea that nowhere is safe. I checked the WHOLE bathroom for spiders before I got in that shower, only to have one attack me the moment I got out. Obviously vigilance will not save me. So when I say I'm hysterical right now, what I mean is, the entire time I've been typing this I am perched on the edge of the couch (that way I'm not touching the floor but can easily jump off if a spider crawls onto the couch - this has happened twice in the last few weeks) and I stop every few words to check, in this order: the perimeter of the ceiling, the rest of the walls, the floor immediately in front of me, the floor between me and the door, and the back of the couch behind me (with another look at the wall behind the couch and the ceiling behind the couch for good measure). I will do this in every room I go into, every doorway I go through, every time I get into my car, until a sufficient amount of time has passed between spider sightings that I eventually calm down. If I've seen one spider on one day this takes a couple of hours. If I've seen many spiders on one day it take many hours. If see some two days in a row it can take the better part of a week to calm down. If I keep seeing them, in multiples, for so many days in a row that I can't remember the last day I haven't encountered one...I don't actually know. I imagine it could take weeks. Which is where I am at right now.

I tried an app that is supposed to help with arachnophobia called "Phobia Free". It was developed by a psychologist who specializes in the area and features a pink cartoon spider with a bow in her hair called Itsy that barely looks like a spider to help you. I made it through most of the first three levels. But then it makes you play some games. In the first one you have to flick flies into a spider's web (not Itsy, a more normalish spider but still very cartoonish in shape and color) so it doesn't starve. I tried and tried but kept over shooting or under shooting until I finally realized that the only way to land the fly in the web was for your finger to go over the spider. That was as far as I got. I KNOW YOUR GAME, SPIDER APP THINGY, YOU CAN'T FOOL ME.

I came on here to write this hoping I could make it funny and that it would calm me down, but it hasn't really worked, and also does not appear to be all that funny. Not the way my other spider stories have been. This is not a joke anymore, you guys, it is EFFECTING MY SENSE OF HUMOR.

UPDATE: OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE. Since posting this at lunchtime, I have encountered seven, that's SEVEN, more spiders. The first was a huge one hanging out on the blinds at my therapist's office while I was in therapy. OH THANKS A LOT SPIDER DICK IT'S SO MUCH EASIER TO TALK ABOUT MY PROBLEMS WHEN MY BIGGEST ONE SHOWS UP AT THERAPY TO TAUNT ME. So I sat through an hour of CBT while staring at a thing in the corner lest it move and going over and over my escape plan if it did. So you know, I'm sure I made a ton of progress today. THEN, I left therapy and got in my car to go home. It's hot in my car because I need more coolant for my air conditioning, so I rolled down the window. And then rolled it right back up again as a startled spider I'd failed to notice dropped down and tried to get in my window, so the whole way home I was all FUCK NOW I'M TRAPPED IN MY CAR. Once comically removing myself from it (when the heat became unbearable and my choices were face a spider or actually die) I went in the house and found another five spiders, one in the kitchen and four in the living room. I haven't been back to my bedroom since this morning. I'm currently stress eating to pass the 4-5 hours before StereoNinja gets home. Sorry, MrBalls, I'm eating your american Doritos (I did warn you they'd get eaten if you didn't come rescue them).

SECOND UPDATE: Trying to do laundry. Laundry seems safe - I had StereoNinja check the laundry for spiders this morning, what could possibly go wrong? A SPIDER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE LAUNDRY BASKET, THAT'S WHAT. C'MON MAN, THIS IS NOT EVEN STATISTICALLY POSSIBLE ANYMORE.

THIRD UPDATE 7/24: StereoNinja went through the entire house when he got home that night, spraying things and killing dozens more that were hiding in corners I hadn't looked in. They're STILL HERE. Right this moment he is outside hosing down the house and spraying things and killing spiders he can't reach with a broom. He says he's killed about 100 on the outside of the house. Pretty sure I'm going to die.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different

Last night I spent several hours watching some 70-year old men tell penis jokes. If this sounds like a weird thing to do, let me follow that up by saying said men are the surviving members of Monty Python, and that I did NOT get choked up when I realized I was singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" with the actually Pythons, and I definitely did not cry when they put "Graham Chapman 1941-1989" up on the screen behind them. They say this is the last time, and while celebrities "retire" all the time, this is entirely likely - John Cleese is 75 years old and it's starting to show.

Having said that, it was fucking brilliant. I don't want to say too much about it because it's going to be live on tv tomorrow night and I don't want to spoil it for everyone. Let me just say that if you were thinking "Hmm, maybe I'll watch that", fuck the "maybe" part, drop what you're doing and watch it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

50 Shades Absurd

After a long absence, the penultimate review of Fifty Shades Freed, read by me so you don't have to.

Here's what this book is doing to me: in the three chapters that I read for this review, a husband threatens to rape his wife but the only part I got upset about was that E.L. James has no fucking idea how banking works. I'm a monster.

When we last saw our heroine asshole, she was (dramatically at the end of a chapter) staring at a completely benign and innocuous but for its originator text message on a phone belonging to her husband that she "accidentally" turned on. Chapter 21 begins with her reacting with the kind of despair normally reserved for finding out your house burned to the ground with your whole family inside. She curls up in a fetal position and sobs while rocking back and forth. James actually writes "I rock to and fro" as if that's something people say. Her husband freaked out about a pregnancy neither of them wanted which was caused by her own awe-inspiring irresponsibility, and ran to a woman who was a very important and influential figure in his life for practically his entire life, and everything is ruined now forever. There is only one thing to do and that thing is to attempt to deliberately upset herself even further by going through ALL of Christian's text messages and emails. She is relieved to find nothing else from "the Bitch Troll" (actually capitalized! Like a fun title!) and apropos of nothing, none from Leila either. What she does find is an email terrible plot device from someone who can't write a fucking story from an investigator about the comings and goings of one Jack Hyde, attempted rapist and failed murderer extraordinaire. There is absolutely no point to this email being where it is. She reads it and immediately goes back to speculating on WHAT IT ALL MEANS and how horrible everything is now that her panicked husband did a shitty but completely understandable thing and goes to sleep in another room because LOLZ HE'LL WAKE UP AND BE SO SCARED I'M NOT RIGHT WHERE HE LEFT ME SRSLY I AM SO MATURE HAHAHAHAHAHA.

She's right though. When she emerges the next day, she finds that the entire staff has been combing the desert looking for her, though no one thought it would be a good idea to check the sex room. You know, the one with a bed in it that would be a totally likely place for someone who didn't appear on the security footage as leaving the house to likely be sleeping in. She ignores Christian's repeated attempts to have a mature and rational conversation about the pregnancy while she gets dressed for work. With extra sexy dressing activities because, you know, that's the kind of thing you take great pains to do when you're so angry at your husband you're thinking of leaving him. In the middle of this, she tells him about the text message she found and accuses him of "spinelessly" running off to fuck Elena, confirms his greatest fear by telling him she DOES choose the baby over him, and then goes mega pot/kettle on his ass by claiming that he, HE!, is the one behaving like a "petulant adolescent". Christian's attempt to solve this problem is by being all "You bring up an interesting point, let's fuck about it and see what happens" and Ana for once turns him down. No problem, says Christian, I'll just rape you then. Of course he didn't literally say "How 'bout I rape you instead?" The ACTUAL FOR REAL exchange, and it is clear from Ana's inner monologue that the reader is supposed to be SUPER FUCKING TURNED ON by it, is this:

"Don't even think about it, Grey."
"You're my wife."
"...if you touch me I will scream the place down."
"You'd scream?"
"Bloody murder."
"No one would hear you."

You guys. "You're my wife"? That hasn't been a legal excuse for rape in decades, and hasn't been a legitimate one since, um, EVER. But no matter, "No one would hear you." NO ONE WOULD HEAR YOU. Because when I want to rape my wife, Imma fucking rape the shit out of my wife, man! Ain't no stopping THIS rape train! LET'S DO THIS. I'm not saying I had even one shred of respect for E.L. James as either a writer or a woman before this, but I felt like maybe I should get some respect for her just so I could lose it again because she wrote, in a book, that people were meant to read, that rape. Is. Sexy. I hate everything.

Anyway, he nobly backs down and decides not to rape her after all. She goes to work and comes home and goes to bed before Christian and he's already gone when she wakes up the next day. She doesn't hear from him until she gets a terse email at work telling her he's flying to Portland for work. It's while she's over reacting to this that she takes a call she thinks is from Mia. But it's not Mia. It turns out to be Jack Hyde. Calling from Mia's phone. How odd! Gee, now that I think about it, Jack calling her from Mia's phone seems kind of ominous. Should we go to the next paragraph? Of course not! There is no next paragraph! It's merely the end of the chapter!


Anyway, Chapter 22. Jack has kidnapped Mia and if Ana doesn't bring him $5 million in the next two hours he's gonna kill Mia and maybe rape her first for good measure. And of course, she shouldn't call the cops or her security guards or anything because he'll totally know. Which is kind of a pointless instruction because these people NEVER call the police, so why would she start now? But whatever. The scary man wants the arbitrary value of $5 million, she's gonna give him $5 million. She leaves work and goes back to the house to get the checkbooks (plural) and conveniently discovers that Mr. Guns Are Bad still has an unlocked and fully loaded pistol just sitting there in the desk drawer. Mrs. Guns Are Great If You Know How To Use Them Safely does the safe thing and shoves it down the back of her pants, presumably with the safety off. I hope she shoots her own ass off. She then sneaks out of the house to go to the bank with security hot on her heels but as always one step behind.

Okay. So I used to work at the investment arm of a bank. And before that I worked in investments for years and had to deal with banks. And before THAT I've had a checking account since I was a teenager and have been to an actual bank. Let's just say I'm familiar with how going to the bank works. E.L. James clearly is not. Here's what happens. Ana gets to "the bank". I have no idea if this is a branch bank or the main bank building for this particular bank because she never says, but let's give her the benefit of the doubt that this is the main bank. She walks in and asks to withdraw $5 million. The manager, correctly, tells her that you generally need to give notice to withdraw that much money, but incorrectly follows up with, "Fortunately, however, we hold the cash reserve for the entire Pacific Northwest". No. No you absolutely do not. Because that isn't how fractional reserve banking works. Even if you are the main branch of this particular bank which for some reason keeps their entire cash reserve in one building, you do not hold the cash reserves for every commercial bank in the pacific northwest because you are not the central bank and that is not how banking works and it doesn't work that way because to do so would be colossally, unfathomably stupid. But James is just warming up. He next asks her for ID and she gives him her driver's license which still says "Anastasia Steele" on it. Her name on the account, of course, is "Anastasia Grey". But this also is not a problem because, hey here's my Amex card with my new name on it! And the bank manager is like, "Oh, cool that totally works. You said $5 million right?" THIS IS ALSO NOT HOW A BANK WORKS. If I walked into a bank with the wrong name on my ID and tried to withdraw even 500 dollars from my account they would not give it to me. You are asking them to hand over $5 million.And a piece of plastic that has a name stamped on it, but no picture of your fucking face is not a legitimate, legally acceptable form of "ID". IT'S JUST A CREDIT CARD. If the store you're shopping at is doing what they should be doing, they will be asking you for an actual ID when you try to buy something with that card, and if your name doesn't match they will not let you buy the thing. And that is a store. This is a bank. The bank is not going to hand you $5 million on the strength of your name being on a credit card, especially if you've already established that the name on the card is different from the one on your ID. But not this bank, this bank is all "Totes!" The bank manager tells her she'll have to write a check to cash and given all the other more egregious problems here, I should probably skip over the part where withdrawing $5 million from a checking account requires more paperwork than that and said paperwork would include a withdrawal slip or similar which would negate the need to write out a check, but I'm not going to because also, it is not normal to keep $5 million in a checking account in the first place. There are better and safer account types to keep that kind of money in while still remaining relatively liquid and therefore writing a check to cash in this situation is not a likely story. OH BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER. The bank manager has at least enough sense to call Christian and ask him what the fuck is going on. I'm going to let slide the "you can't authorize transactions of that magnitude over the phone" because the bank manager called him and not the other way around, but, eh, probably this wouldn't happen at a real bank either. It turns out I was right about not keeping $5 million in a checking account because Christian authorizes him to liquidate $5 million worth of assets to cover Ana's withdrawal request. No mention of what particular assets he wants to liquidate. I'm curious because different types of securities have different levels of liquidity. Without getting too shop talky, the time between placing an order to have your assets liquidated and the amount of time it takes to process that request, sell the securities, and hand you the cash can take as much as three days depending on what you want to sell. Even if it's a more liquid security than that, the lag time from order to cash in hand on $5 million worth of transactions is going to be longer than the approximately five minutes this transaction seemed to take. Sorry but THAT IS NOT HOW A BANK WORKS. AND HAVE I MENTIONED THAT ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON WHILE SHE HAD A LOADED GUN SHOVED DOWN THE BACK OF HER FUCKING PANTS? IN A GODDAMN BANK? Anyway, while all this shady bullshit at the First National Bank of Ludicrously Unlikely Transactions is going on, the bank manager hands the phone to Ana to talk to Christian who is understandably confused and wants to know what's going on. This would have been the perfect opportunity to mention that Jack Hyde has his sister and maybe he should use his magical problem solving skills to find her and helicopter her the hell out of there or something, but Jack said not to tell him, so instead she decides the best thing to do is upset him by telling him she needs the money because she's leaving him. Not "I'll tell you later" or "It's a surprise" or even "Just trust me on this ok?" No. The only answer she can think of to give him is "Fuck off, asshole, I'm taking your money and your baby and I hate your fucking guts." Afterwards Jack calls her back with instructions to take the money outside to his waiting van, get in it, and throw away her cell before she gets in. The bank has two courier guys carry the money out for her in several bags, saving me the trouble of complaining about how a girl that hasn't eaten in months and weighs about the same as a broomstick carried 110 pounds worth of cash all by herself and also the volume of that much cash totes fit in one sack, but I do suspect that this was for story telling purposes and not necessarily because James realized lack of strength would prevent the first thing and physics the second.

Ana dutifully throws a cell phone in the trash and gets in the van which is being driven by Elizabeth from work, because, apparently, Jack has some "dirt" on her. They drive to Jack's remote location and when they get there, Jack starts beating the crap out of her. He pushes her to the ground where she hits her head hard enough to pass out...but not before she can pull out her gun and shoot him in his kneecap! Hooray! And also not know it....Christian comes running up out of nowhere LIKE A MIRACULOUS PHANTOM to dramatically hold her while she loses consciousness! Wait, wasn't he in Portland? How did he get there in the, like, 15 minutes since he was just on the phone with her? It DOESN'T MATTER, you guys. ROMANCE.

I really thought the banking thing was going to be the low point of this writing. I was immediately wrong. Chapter 23 features literally THE WORST and most contrived plot device I have ever read in a published volume. Ana is in the hospital. She is in the hospital because she has a skull fracture, "a major contusion to the head", and I imagine probably a concussion because generally you do not hit your head heard enough to be (mostly) unconscious for DAYS and NOT have a concussion. But how does one advance a plot when the first person narrator is unconscious for two entire days? Well, you do that by having her just barely wake up for a few seconds at a time JUST IN TIME to hear bits of conversations people are bizarrely having in the room with her that all coincidentally happen to advance the plot. And of course if she's unconscious for two whole days, you do this EIGHT TIMES. IN A ROW. And NOT ONLY do you advance the plot through convenient windows of consciousness EIGHT TIMES IN A ROW, but you also close EVERY ONE of those vignettes with a vomit inducing overly dramatic return to unconsciousness :

1."...unconsciousness claims me once more, stealing me away from the pain."
2."The fog closes in."
3."I fight the fog...fight...But I spiral down once more into oblivion. No..."
4."The fog surrounds me once more and I'm dragged down...down. No!"
5."The world dips and blurs and I'm gone."
6."Oh...the darkness closes in. No-"
7."Sweet oblivion beckons."
8."I try. I try. I want to see him. But my body disobeys me, and I fall asleep once more."

I can't even process this. Just, why? WHY would you write this this way? You couldn't have just had people TELL HER ALL THESE THINGS WHEN SHE WOKE UP? And the seemingly random did you decided which words out of these mini shit parades should be in italics? When I do it, it's for emphasis. When you do it...I don't know, I just can't tell. By the way, in my head I do all these noes in Luke Skywalker's voice when he finds out Darth Vader is his father. It's the only way I can go on.

Anycunt, what we find out in this awful, AWFUL, expositional stunt is that Christian really does want the baby, Mia is recovering from being roofied but is otherwise fine, Elizabeth is telling the police everything, everyone thinks Ana is practically the goddamn Batman, and Christian's mom thinks he should say sorry to Ana when she wakes up for being a total piece of shit. The fact that this plot device was not necessary to advance the story is proved when Christian tells her even more things when she finally does wake up, like that Jack and Elizabeth have been arrested and how they figured out where she was (the cell phone she threw out was the bank manager's; she had cleverly hidden hers inside the bags of money so the people who she hadn't told she was in trouble could track it if they figured it out on their own which of course they did.) Since Christian has decided he wants the baby (that neither one of them wanted three days ago) all the stuff about Elena is forgiven without ever really being explained, and the rest of the chapter is just gross things James thinks are romantic, like Christian not letting her pee without him standing there and forcing food on her that directly contradicted her doctor's orders, you know, typical abusive dick moves, swoon swoon. The chapter ends with more typical Christian self-flagellation about how he'll be a terrible father because he's a total piece of shit (though in his defense, he's right) and a nauseating conversation about whether they should name their child "Junior" or "Blip". Personally I would name it "Get adopted by mature responsible people who are way more suitable to be parents than we are" but god forbid anything logical or healthy happen in this entire fucking trilogy.


So anyway, sorry I made you wait seven or eight months for that. There's really only one more left of the actual book, and then I understand there are something like three different epilogues to the story which will probably get covered as a bonus post. Those should come with much shorter breaks in between as I am now using "getting to blog" as an incentive to write my actual dissertation. On that front, I am not going to lie, I am finding it massively difficult to write about the BDSM/romance aspects of the books without making snide comments about how everything else about these people is also stupid. Because seriously, everything in these is so fucking stupid.