Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Club Review

I finished The Mane Attraction! It wasn't bad, actually. I'm a little embarrassed at how curious about the plot I was...but not embarrassed enough to hide it, you see. 

Considering who the main characters are--I'm not making a single main/mane pun here, so don't hold your breath--there is a pretty serious lack of Feelings Discussions. WHICH IS AWESOME. There is absolutely no weird lion/shifter sex, which I consider a huge bonus. There's the occasional mention of claws coming out, but I preferred to think it was more figurative, and that made me feel better and I could just kind of glide past it. 

Overall, I'd give this book a 4 on the Vomit Scale. (That's the new book club reviewing scale, which I just made up this second. It's on your standard scale of 10, with 10 being super vom-worthy cutesy shit. Like The Notebook. That'd get an 11 on the Vomit Scale, for the sake of comparison.) It would have been lower, except the ending crosses some lines. If you skim it, though, it's tolerable. 

I'm staring a new book next week, if you're curious! That one will be (as randomly selected from my mystery grab bag) Rules of Marriage by Wilma Counts. It was published in 2002. Wow. 

It's historical, guys. Get ready. 

Hey, bonus fun fact for the day: I just learned today, via tumblr (which I succumbed to) that 42% of college grads never read another book after college. Which is preposterous. GOOD THING I'M MAKING MY ALMA MATER PROUD HERE, HUH?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We can't really be friends...

...if you don't watch TLC. 

I'm not talking about Say Yes to the Dress and What Not to Wear and please please make it stop A Baby Story. No. I'm talking about Trainwreck TLC. The shows on TLC you can't turn away from but you wish you could because you can't unsee the things you see there. The shows that make your life seem pretty great.

Seriously, if you can't think of a totally random group of people, TLC will put them on TV. Guy in love with his car? Give him a show. Non-UK princes coming anonymously to the US looking for love? Yes. Amish kids looking to learn about life in New York City? That exists. Woman who eats nail polish? Tune in at 10. The Duggar family, with their dozens of offspring? We've all watched that, don't lie. Virgin Diaries was the single most uncomfortable thing I've ever seen in my life--and I've seen Shakespeare porn. I watched it 3 or 4 times. ** I was actually really upset that they only made one episode.

Basically what I'm saying is that I have no shame in watching and judging people who are willing to put themselves on TLC. They allowed a film crew to come and witness their makeout sessions and fights and hear their backstory and then put it on TV. 

This weekend was no exception. Three words: Extreme Cougar Wives. THAT HAPPENED. This show wasn't really about married women, but about three older women (in their 50s, 60s, and--yikes--70s, respectively) who date younger men. Men in their 20s. Most of them are younger than me. Two are in relationships--one got pretend hippie married!--and one dates anything with a penis who doesn't remember anything about the 1980s because he was in diapers.

It was worth watching for two reasons. One, the commentary with my good friend B (who should start blogging again), which you should all be jealous you didn't witness. (TLC, we're available. Let me know.) We have the same brain. Two, it's really great for your self esteem. I don't have to sneak out the bedroom window of my 21 year old boyfriend's parents' house. That's not a reality I'm facing. Feeling better about your life already, aren't you? Just don't think about that 900 year old woman having more sex than you. I bet you're having more quality sex with better people. Just don't focus on that part. B and I got stuck on that for a minute, but moved on quickly because that one guy isn't wearing a sweater, that's his hair. Pass, thanks. 

During my first year of college, my roommate and I would go through these fits of inadequacy, lamenting how long until Smith College realized our admission was a fluke. We'd come home and turn on MTV. That year, we watched a lot of Jessica Simpson's Newlyweds nightmare, Real World: Las Vegas, and Jackass. We'd watch those, then look at each other and think...nah, we got this. We're alright. Back to work! 

So tell me, guys...did you watch? Are you going to now? Can we still be friends? Also...TLC, hit me up. We have a lot of ideas. 

**That is to say, I watched Virgin Diaries 3 or 4 times. I only watched the Shakespeare porn once. But those images are forever burned into my brain, so once was plenty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Club Update...Again


I am, of course, speaking about The Mane Attraction, and not my own life.

Chapter 13, if you're curious. And no, it's not weird animal/werewolf/whatever sex. Because I am NOT reading that book, no matter the cause. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Club Update!

Last week we talked about the new book I'm reading, The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston. 

It's...going slowly. I mean, it's over 350 pages and also it's about a lion shifter. So I've been a little lost, but giving it a serious try! My initial impression was that I would be reading a Southern book about a werewolf lion. Four chapters in, here's what I've got. 

1. He's not the only pretend werewolf. It would seem that pretty much all the characters, except a sassy cop, are shifters. There are wolves and lions and dingoes and wild dogs and WHAT IS HAPPENING. And they keep talking about using their claws and shit and I can't figure out if they look like humans but with sort of canine/feline features? I mean, the cover of the book suggests that they're people, but it's just...weird, guys. 

2. The back of the book says they wake up in bed together. SPOILER ALERT: it's not because of sex. Twin works at a library, and her boss says that when you're dealing with this type of novel, it's a good book if there is sex by page 68. GUESS THIS ISN'T A GOOD BOOK. 

3. If you're going to tackle this book, try to stick out chapter one. I spent the first dozen or so pages wondering if I missed something. It felt like walking into five conversations at once--that feeling will pass! Push past it! 

4. Book starts off on Long Island, making you question why they all have these stereotypical Southern names and drop the g at the end of words and say "y'all" and call each other "darlin'". That will clear itself up soon. Promise. 

Moral so far? I'm sticking with it, for now. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And then we locked Santa out.

My favorite dive bar has dollar beers on Mondays. This is a place where you know the regulars that also go when you're there. It's kind of the meeting place for my guys, and has developed a reputation for being totally random. You never know which friends will show up, who will have a big announcement, or who has the most ridiculous work story. Somehow the conversations always take strange turns and the people watching is great and deciding who played what weird song on the jukebox is a fantastic game for the whole family. Mondays are the best. 


Twin and I went to that bar last night, to touch base with them about a pub crawl we're organizing. We were there on business. It was a slow night, our favorite bartender was there, things were looking up for a quick conversation. We sat down at the bar, got a drink, and hung out for a bit. Two guys were playing pool, a couple guys were at the bar, and that was it. A group of guys came in slowly, starting at the bar and moving to a table as their group grew. There was companionable chatter as the bartender joked around with everyone. Good music on the jukebox. A very nice night. 

And then. You knew I was heading to a disaster, right? That's how I roll. This...old homeless hippie Santa walked in. Twin and I made eyes at each other. He pulled his bag in, sat down at the stool one away from me, and ordered a beer. Ok.
Something like this.

Then he handed me a CD and asked if I could peel the sticker off. ...Sure? I did my best, handed it back, he thanked me and ordered a round for us. Ok.

Never engage a hippie. Mistake. I immediately texted a friend and said he should come join us for a drink! You're done with work soon, right? COMEHAVEADRINK. He fortunately recognized the underlying SOS in my text, since it was a Tuesday night, and said he'd come up when he left work. He's a freaking knight in shining armor. 

Santa occasionally asked me if I knew who the Grateful Dead were, if I had selected the music on the jukebox, if I liked music, if I talked to old people, asked my name 47 times, and asked us how to operate the jukebox. Twin gave him a tutorial. Santa asked what I did. I told him I'm a writer. He asked what I write. "Anything." He asked the bartender for paper and a pen SO I COULD PROVE IT. (I mean, seriously?) He complained about smart phones and my texting and fist bumped me for who knows what reason. I used the ladies room and upon my return, noticed that Sir Helpsalot had arrived and our things were moved to a table. Excellent. I sat down and we chatted for a minute, until Santa came and sat at the next table! He sometimes mumbled something and I mostly ignored him. Twin and Sir were having a safe, close conversation so I said I would be right back and fled from the table. Up at the bar, I talked with J, our bartender, about her wedding and met two guys who own a salsa company. They commented about me having a new friend. Please note that I had never met them before, but they were able to successfully read the situation. I said, yes, I believe I have so I will be hiding here for a while. J said he was staring. AWESOME. Got some salsa samples (SCORE), made some new friends. STILL BEING STARED AT. The salsa guys left, I went back to my table for a minute. A hot minute. Santa was wandering near the jukebox. Twin said he was asking if they had cars (No, creepy Santa, we're not taking you anywhere because that's how people end up on the news.) The group of guys had moved to the bar, and there was one open seat, with no seat next to it. Excuse me, I'm off to make more friends before Santa comes back. I used my new greeting, "Hi, I'm hiding here for a minute." The guys replied in kind, "You have a new friend." (It's the cool new greeting, everybody use it.) Somehow everyone in the bar picked up on the fact that I was not previously acquainted with Santa. By the way, everyone in the bar was about 10 guys, Santa, J, Twin, and me. Just so you can get a nice mental picture. J and the guys I sat with said he was staring and did not look happy. Awesome. Super. I'll have another drink please. 

Three or four times, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Santa was just standing next to me staring. The last time, he poked my hair. (This is an unforgivable in my book.) J told me to make sure my drink was in front of me. She told Santa that I was on a blind date with the guy next to me. The guys actually gave me a seat between them. I've never seen Twin sit so close to our knightly friend. 

Finally, Santa finished his beer and wandered out. Since the door he used isn't the one most people use, J told Sir Helpsalot to lock that door. We then commiserated over WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. Twin and I hung out for a while just to be sure he was gone, having long ago made the decision that unless someone (and by someone I mean half the bar) walked us to the car, we would stay until he was out of sight. We all did some outdated dance moves to 'NSync, I apologized for "being too nice" to the guy, and I finally let out a breath I'd been holding all night. Different guys peeked out the windows to be sure he was gone, and finally Twin and I left. And by left I mean, peeked our heads out the door and around the corner, then ran to the car. And locked the doors. (Overly cautious? You guys, he touched my hair. I think we're all lucky  I didn't call the police and report "a sketchy hair-touching bad Santa with too many rings on his fingers" and request that a car come by.) 

I will say, despite it being a truly weird situation, it was almost heart-warming to see the whole bar rally to keep us safe from this guy. Also to hear that Bad Santa has never been in there before. Mostly because we're hoping he won't be back. We even made some new friends! 

Plus I got some salsa samples. I'm actually going to call the night a win. 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Book Club? What?

This post required visual aids, so you're going to have to deal with my face again. Don't get used to it, though.

If you can find this book, let's talk/laugh about it/secretly enjoy it/not that one of course. 

Get ready. Also, please enjoy a bonus random excerpt from A Bride by Christmas by Joan Elliot Pickart. 


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

An age-old question...

Can men and women actually be just friends?

The number of times I’ve been asked this question, asked it myself, seen movies about it…it’s staggering, really. We can figure out how to get a self-portrait taken by a robot on freaking Mars, but this issue stumps us? Mars=less confusing than inter-gender relationships. Great. 

There’s no clear answer, of course, since relationships are like snowflakes. (They’re all individual and special and all that garbage. Also they’re cold and fleeting and fill people with a false sense of nostalgia, until suddenly there are too many and the weight of them is crushing and oppressive.)

Wait, what were we talking about?

Right. Men and women. There are those who champion the sexless friendship, saying oh but of course men and women can be friends without attraction and relationships getting in the way! Those people…are na├»ve. Sorry. (Sorry you’ve been lying to yourself, that is.) There are also people who say absolutely not, men and women always want to bang no matter what the situation so you’re not just friends, you’re either people who used to screw or people who haven’t screwed yet. Those people are creepy and not really friends with anyone of the opposite gender. They also probably need to get laid. (Just saying. The truth hurts.) What I’ve always believed is that it takes all kinds. Sure, I have friends that I’m attracted to. (No…not you.) I have friends who are attracted to me, or have been in the past. (I know who you are.) But then there are some friendships that are and will always be platonic. And I’m not fooling myself. I’m 100% confident.

There’s no right answer here. But some researchers from The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire wanted some kind of answer, at least. They took 88 pairs of opposite sex friends from the undergraduate population and asked them some questions about their relationship. They asked if there was attraction. They asked if these kids wanted to bang. But they realized, hey, this is the kind of information that ruins friendships! This could be an unmitigated disaster! (See: My Ex Boyfriend.) So they asked them separately of each other, and kept it all anonymous. They also had the pairs verbally state, in front of each other, that they wouldn’t talk about it later. BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY WON’T BE TEMPTED TO DO THAT. At least the researchers are off the hook if things get awkward, though. “HEY, you pinky swore that you wouldn’t talk about it! We heard you! No take backs!”

Anyway, the researchers found out some pretty interesting information. It’s not really shocking, groundbreaking stuff, but it’s interesting all the same. Turns out, lots of the guys were attracted to their female friend and thought it was reciprocal, and lots of the women thought their male friend was “just a friend”…and weren’t attracted to them. Turns out…guys are delusional and women are in denial. Good job, straight people.

Here’s the saving grace for these friendships: we are blissfully unaware of this huge difference, it would seem. So, for my hetero friends out there…yes, he’s attracted to you and no, she doesn’t feel the same way. Let the awkward friendships live on! Please don’t get too drunk and destroy the delicate balance you’ve found.