Friday, December 21, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is A Paralyzing Dose of Amnesiac Drugs.

You know, sometimes, it's fun to watch VH1 Classic. Occasionally, they play that creepy Tom Petty video where he's the Mad Hatter that scared the crap out of me on Friday Night Videos as a child.

But today it was no fun. Because I saw this:

Okay, my first question is: Stevie Nicks, what did I ever do to make you so angry? Why are you staring me down, like I'm the one what done you wrong?

My television's horizontal hold actually went out in the middle of this video, like the TV was either nobly sparing me from seeing it or, alternately, just couldn't take anymore and decided to pass out for a while.

Secondly: Why was there a time on earth when this kind of video was okay? I take no responsibility for the 80's. See, I was merely a babe in swaddling clothes when Regan took office, so I had no control over the craziness that was the 1980's. 90's, sure, I'll take the rap for some of that. "Rico Suave"? Yeah, I bought that single. But not Snow's "Informer". Never "Informer".

So, people who had a choice to live and purchase music and be the force your generation in the 1980's, what the hell were you guys thinking? Who kept encouraging Stevie Nicks to make these kinds of videos? And wear those kinds of skirts?

Also, who is responsible for Van Halen at this time? I need to speak with them immediately.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Have Discovered Industrial Grade Panty Remover!

Okay, I can't take credit for it. Especially since I didn't buy this album until, you know, a year after it was popular. But holy damn, have you heard Robin Thicke's "Lost Without U"? The substitution of "U" for "you" guarantees that he's bringing the funk. But this might seriously be the sexiest song I've ever heard. I had to concentrate real hard to not swoon and drive off the road while I was listening to it in the car, and that was before I even knew what the guy looks like (a grade A certified fox, that's what he looks like). LISTEN HERE. And then find yourself a cool drink. Or a man.

Speaking of men, today I'm going to share with you a very special list. A list that will go down in history as being the most pervy thing ever, except those ten pictures of people getting it on that Brynn Paulin put on her blog earlier this week. Today, I bring to you, the list of the top fourteen guys over fifty that I would totally get on. Yeah, I know it was supposed to be fifteen, but turns out Michael Stipe is actually 47. Who knew?

14. David Hasselhoff
Pro: Think of the blog entry that would make for, my friends.
Con: Crying into my pillow every night, ashamed to face what I had done.

13. Billy Connelly
Pro: Would most likely be the funniest sex ever.
Con: May be smothered in his trademark facial hair.

12. Simon Cowell
Pro: Looks pretty good for being older than my mom.
Con: Is the devil.

11. Roger Daltrey
Pro: Lead singer of The Who, world's greatest rock band ever.
Con: One full inch shorter than me.

10. Martin Shaw
Pro: Was in that awesome "The Professionals" show from the UK.
Con: Vegan, into Yoga and being healthy, also spiritual. If I wanted to fuck Sting, I'd just fuck Sting, okay?

9. Bob Geldof
Pro: Cares about the children in Africa; knighted.
Con: Looks alarmingly like Bob Geldof; wrote annoyingly catchy, socially conscious "Do They Know It's Christmastime" song.

8. Geoffrey Rush
Pro: Captain Barbossa!
Con: Probably wouldn't pretend to be Barbossa to my Elizabeth Swann. BARBOSSABETH FOREVER! THIS SHIP WILL NEVER SINK!

7. Iggy Pop
Pro: Friend who slept with him swears he's hung like a farm animal.
Con: Might walk away from night of passion with severe lacerations from his many sharp and protruding bones.

6. Anthony Bourdain
Pro: Poet warrior and world traveler; hates Rachel Ray.
Con: Can shut up about the Ramones for two freaking minutes.

5. David Bowie
Pro: Is David Bowie.
Con: Possibly a vampire.

4. Robert Plant
Pro: New album with Allison Kraus rocks.
Con: Facially resembles Cowardly Lion; loves Hobbits and has admitted to actually hugging trees.

3. Kôji Yakusho
Pro: Looks annoyed. All the time.
Con: Doesn't have those awesome "Memoirs of a Geisha" scars for real.

2. Terrence Mann
Pro: Deep voice? Check. Sad, soulful eyes? Check. Inspector Javert once? Check and double check.
Con: Original Broadway Cast member of "Cats."

1. Anthony Stewart Head
Pro: Earring signals midlife crisis.
Con: No cons. There is only love here.

That's it. You can use this handy list for just about anything. Especially Christmas and Birthday shopping. For me. And remember, nylon ropes cut off circulation, so only wrap my presents in organic fibers that have some give.

But not too much, because then they'll get away.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

16-Year-Old Jamie Lynn Spears Reportedly Pregnant; Mr. And Mrs. Spears Officially World's Worst Parents

Hey, congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Spears. Your oldest spawn can't be bothered to show up for a simple court date in an effort to regain custody of her own kids because she's too busy crashing and burning on MTV and getting banned from the parking garage at the Four Seasons, and your sixteen-year-old Nickelodeon star has taken time out of her busy Zoey 101 shooting schedule to get knocked up by her "long term" boyfriend, which, in teenage speak means "That cute guy who kinda looks like Zac Effron that I've been MySpace messaging for the past two weeks." Good on you guys for raising such responsible daughters and pimping them out to the celebrity culture.

Did that come across as harsh? I'm sorry, I haven't had my morning latte enema yet.

Today is a good day. According to my weather widget, it is a balmy 36 degrees, so I officially left the winter coat at home. I'm strutting around with my brand spanking new Sweeney Todd t-shirt (how fun is it to walk into Hot Topic and buy a t-shirt for a Sondheim show? I propose they start carrying Sunday In The Park With George merchandise. I'd totally buy a Seurat air freshener) and red long underwear underneath, and I'm rockin' some Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab in "De Sade". Feelin' funky fresh and supafly this morning. Awww, yeah.

And now, the story of the mystery chair:

As some of you know (and some don't), the house I live in is the house I grew up in. After my mother and I moved out of it, onto our separate lives, the house stood empty. After six years, I purchased said home from my mother and my family and I moved in and promptly started taking down the ugly wallpaper and sponge painted borders that had tormented me through childhood (the faux-stone plastic paneling in the living room was particularly hideous).

Part of this remodel involved the basement, as I previously mentioned. And in this basement lies the Mystery Chair.

I don't remember ever seeing the Mystery Chair in our home as I was growing up. My mother has no clear recollection of it, either. But, when we went into the house after it had stood empty for six years, we found the Mystery Chair sitting, alone and forlorn, in the basement.

The Mystery Chair is an arm chair that looks as though it originated in that "different colors of rough, waffle-woven, homespun yarn in pastel colors as upholstery is a glamorous idea for any living room furniture" phase of the nineties. The shape is squat and modern, the colors don't match anything. It is too big to remove in one piece; it is wider than the only door to the basement.

I have three theories about this chair, and how it got into the basement without us knowing or having a hand in it:

  1. Someone broke into the vacant house, pulled up a section of floor, carefully lowered the chair down to the basement, then replaced the floorboards and relaid the carpet in such a way that their deed would not be noticed upon casual inspection of the floor, but would make a great impact when said hideous chair was found.
  2. The chair has always been there. Wrapped up in our own lives and every day drama, the chair stayed, neglected, unnoticed, until such a time as all of our crap was moved out and we were forced to confront the reality of the chair. Furthermore, the chair was placed in the basement prior to the construction of the house, which was built around the chair.
  3. Some point in our basement behaves in the same manner as the area around the event horizon of a black hole, and all the particles of the chair popped into our physical space when they disappeared from another location. For example, the chair may have been in our neighbor's house before its particles winked out of our known dimension and rematerialized in an area with a greater attractive force, ie, our basement. This black hole theory would also explain the disappearance of my REM Monster Tour t-shirt with Michael Stipe looking romantically angsty and defeated on it that went suddenly missing in high school.

Any way you slice it, I don't want to get rid of this chair. Is it ugly? Yes. Does its sudden appearance baffle me? Most certainly so. But it is the most comfortable chair ever to lovingly cradle my flat, white butt. Which opens up a world of paranoia all of its own:

  • Is the chair's comfort a plot to ensnare me, helpless, before the television to watch episode after episode of E! True Hollywood Story? Is it actually a sophisticated hologram beamed into my family room by the television networks to guarantee that I will be watching?
  • Is the chair actually a demonic entity, lulling me into a false sense of security before one day successfully draining my soul and feasting up on it as I writhe in agony, tormented by visions of my misdeeds?
  • Could the chair have been placed here by aliens as a calming amnesiac device to remove all memory of the horrible experiments they subject me to nightly?

All I know is, I don't want to get rid of this chair. It is a part of me, as I am a part of creation, all of the earth and sky.

And also, there is a guy sitting at the counter who has the most beautiful dreadlocks I've ever seen. Oh, various Gods and Goddesses of not getting arrested, please, please let me keep my hands to myself and refrain from all inappropriate touching. Amen.

Speaking of prayers, I need y'all to say some for my beautiful friend Christina, who is having surgery today. Send her prayers, energies, mental hugs, whatever you can so that she can have a good outcome and recovery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gwen Stefani, You Are Not Japanese.

You know, Gwen Stefani is everything that everyone in the world wants to be. A hot blonde girl from California. And what does she spend all of her time doing? Trying to convince me she's Japanese. It just proves we're never truly happy with our lots in life.

In odder news, the Sweeney Todd soundtrack is out right now. And I have it. Thanks, iTunes, I owe you. 14.99. Which will be removed from my account immediately.

Short entry today-- hey, I'm very busy and important-- but here:

It's an old clip, but even Anderson Cooper, hottest man in the Universe, can't stand K-Fed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm Terrified Of Beyonce.

Well, I am up and alive this morning, regardless of the fact that Mr. Jen took the kidling to school this morning. So, here I am, broadcasting live from my newly remodeled and nearly completely painted family room in the basement.

And, I'm watching VH1. Why? Because I'm hip. I'm a "young person." I know things about youth culture and what "getting jiggy wit it" means. But I'm terrified of Beyonce.

Practically every time you see Beyonce, she's dancing. And not in a soothing, ballet kind of way. When Beyonce dances, you rarely see people dancing close to her. That is probably because her movements are so jerky and violent that the standard safety procedures for bystanders to a grand mal seizure are applicable.

Seriously, can she not dance without throwing her arms out, cranking her hips from side to side, and generally look like an osteopath's dream client? And she always looks real angry, like "Yeah, I'm dancing, but I don't want to, so don't get to close." Dancing is supposed to be happy, but it just seems to piss her off.

Beyonce is even scary when she's just standing in one place singing or posing for the camera or doing an interview. BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHEN SHE'S GOING TO START DANCING. No alarms go off, there is no warning. Watch some of her videos. She stands there singing and then BAM! There goes the arm out to her side. She's shooting angry looks at the camera and flailing around in what appears to be a version of The Robot with a critical malfunction.

Beyonce scares me.

Quick aside, I'd probably totally nail Alicia Keyes if I had the chance. Go watch THIS VIDEOand you'll know what I'm talking about. And if you say you don't, you're a liar. I'm the straightest person I know, and I would still hit that like a stack of pancakes.

I think this will be a big week here at this very blog. Look for posts this week about The Mystery Chair in my basement, the top fifteen men over fifty I'd totally do, and another VS. battle, because Bronwyn Green thinks I should make that a weekly thing. I think this week it will be that douche from Creed vs. the Rancor from Jabba's palace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So, Where'd The Line About Splitting Muff Go?

Thanks to Brynn Paulin's husband, bless his awesome, awesome soul, I found myself last night squashed into a packed theatre beside Cheryl Sterling, Bronwyn Green and Brynn, watching Sweeney Todd two weeks before it hits the big screen.

I must, at this point, explain that this will not be a fair and objective review. This review will be handled by rabid Sondheim and Sweeney fan Jennifer "Green Bitch And Critical Bird" Armintrout, and not by a normal, sane human being who saw a movie.

[insert fire truck noises and running around the room in an endless loop]. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. After all the horror I experienced reading about the production of the movie-- rumors that ranged everywhere from "they're cutting the ballad" to "that dude from Oingo Boingo that Tim Burton likes so much is completely redoing the orchestrations"-- I could not be more relieved at the end product.

First of all, yes. They did cut the ballad. Or, more accurately, they cut the lyrics. The music is still very much there, interspersed throughout the movie. Some other cuts they made, that, if I had known of them before going to the movie would have enraged me, were most of the beggar woman's "Alms" refrains, "Kiss Me," and a huge chunk of the Wigmaker Sequence, which basically boiled down to Sweeney telling Anthony to go pretend to be a wigmaker, which he does. A few lines and lyrics were changed here and there, and strangely the harmony and melody to the choruses of "A Little Priest" is changed up, but it all WORKS. It makes no sense at all, but the leads are clearly non-singers, the cuts made should be considered heresy, and the blood is orangey and fake. BUT IT WORKS.

Please, if you're avoiding seeing this because you love the play, please, go and see it anyway. It truly was a worthy adaptation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

That does not sound like a good deal.

I was leaving Lowe's today (Lowe's is a home improvement store here in the Midwest, don't know how widespread they are) and there was a sign by the door with a smiling guy who looked a lot like the host of Survivor, and it said something like, "blah blah blah number of products, personally installed," as in, "If you buy this door, we'll stick it on your house for you."

But I didn't read, "blah blah blah number of products personally installed." I read, "blah blah blah number of products anally installed."

And the guy looked REALLY enthusiastic.

As I was purchasing four cans of paint and a curtain rod, I decided to give that offer a pass.

Funniest misreads. Tell them to me, people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hofftacular Spectacular Continues... JEN vs. THE HOFF!

Today, my friends, is an epic day. Today, I engage The Hoff in figurative combat. Today, is Jen vs. The Hoff. Today, we see how I, a mere mortal, stack up against that shining beacon with wings of tenderness, David Hasselhoff.

Let's start at the beginning. A very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A B C. When you prepare for imaginary battle with El Hoff, you begin with

The Basics
Jennifer Armintrout. Fits perfectly in place of the words "Jesus Christ, Superstar" in the song "Jesus Christ, Superstar." Has eighteen letters.
David Hasselhoff. Fits in place of the words "Jesus Christ, Superstar" if you stretch the first syllable of "David" out a bit. Has fifteen letters.

Jen: JLA Also stands for Justice League Of America.
Hoff: DMH Stands for Hoffski.

Jen: Flabby I don't like fruit.
Hoff: Terrifically sculpted/cuts a dashing figure in lifeguarding trunks But slightly hairy.

Jen: Has used "verisimilitude" in a sentence, successfully. No one knew what it meant.
Hoff: Coined the phrase "Hofftastic". No one knows what it means, either.

Personal Style
Author Photos
Jen: Brooding, in graveyard Also, taken by Jill Welch, coolest photographer on the planet.
Hoff: Grinch-who-stole-Christmas-style-sneer-over-sunglasses pose Not taken by Jill Welch.

Worst Outfit
Jen: Little House On The Prairie style dress. Wore it in Kindergarten. Never got over it.
Hoff: Piano key scarf and light up jacket. Wore it in Germany to sing above the Berlin Wall. Germans went crazy crazier.

Fly Ride
Jen: Your mom A green Dodge Neon, actually.
Hoff: KITT Effeminate talking car.
ADVANTAGE: Your Mom Hoff.

Page Counts
Jen: Usually around 400. Above or below, depending.
Hoff: 270. Not counting bibliography, discography, television resume and other assorted end materials.

Fight Scenes
Jen: Vampires getting killed in creative ways. In book four, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Golems in a giant throw down.
Hoff: Transvestites chase him out of a New Zealand bar. I'm not joking, it's in his book.

Australia Thinks:
Jen: I'm okay. My book did pretty well there.
Hoff: is indispensable Prime Minister John Howard allegedly said "You've got to stay for the economy, the spirit and the soul of Australia."
ADVANTAGE: Hoff. Also, Australia. Everyone wins!

Internet Presence
Jen: Hasn't checked her MySpace in weeks. Has also forgotten her Facebook password.
Hoff: King Of The Interet. See videos below.

World Records Held
Jen: Unofficial record. For most times accidentally poking one's self in the eye.
Hoff: Official Guinness World Record. For most watched television show ever (Baywatch).

Well, there you have it. The Hoff is cooler than me to the tune of 7 to 3. Jill Welch made an impressive showing in her absence.

I'm off to nurse my wounds-- and by that I mean "miraculously heal them with the power of Hoffski"-- and get some work done whilst waiting for the Crow's Nest to open so I can get me some breakfast.

Keep it real, y'all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We Now Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Hofftacular Spectacular...

I realize that I failed in my mission to bring you All Hoff, All Week, but circumstances beyond my control (*cough* Amtrak *cough*) destroyed my dreams of a Wednesday Hoff post.

Enter now my nightmare.

Mr. Jen's mother, hereby referred to as MIL, had taken the train to Texas for a wedding. Amtrak's screwy schedule, however, planned to leave her stranded in Chicago for several hours before her connecting train. Mr. Jen would then have been forced to pick her up from the local station at 11pm. "Well," thought Mr. Jen, with his usual stroke of genius, "Why not make a family day of it? We'll take Jen Jr. out of school and head to Chitown. If we get there early enough, we'll be able to take in the aquarium before picking mom up at Union Station. Her train comes in at 2:15, so we'll be well out of the city before rush hour!"

Great idea, in theory. The reality of this plan was something altogether more horrific.

Driving to our destination went off relatively hitch-less. Except for the part that went something like this:

Mr. Jen: How many Great Lakes are there?
Jen: Five.
Mr. Jen: I thought there were only four.
Jen: No, there are five. HOMES, remember? Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Mr. Jen: Where the heck is Huron?
Jen: I have no idea.
Mr. Jen: Look in the glove box. There's bound to be a Michigan map in there somewhere, right?
Jen: Okay... [Screaming. Lots of screaming]
Mr. Jen: What?!
Jen: WHY IS THIS IN HERE?! [holds up hand to reveal finger, impaled through the tip by the biggest GD fishhook she's ever seen in her life]

Other than the bizarre non-fishing related fishing hook accident, everything went pretty well. The aquarium was fun. I saw a Komodo Dragon. Until this year, I'd never actually seen one. Then, I see two in one year. Whatever. And I could watch the sharks all day.

At the aquarium, we get a call. "The train is delayed. It'll be in at 3:45." Great, more time at the aquarium!

We leave the aquarium, full of awe at nature's creature and also hungry for sushi. I gaze wistfully at the art institute-- this is the third time in a year that I have been in the city without visiting Un Dimanche Apres-Midi a Ille de La Grande Jatte-- but my mission was clear. By now, MIL was chugging into the station. It is also, unfortunately, almost four o'clock and Union Station is teeming with people. We struggle to find a parking spot and haul rear for the Amtrak terminal. Once there, we found that the train was delayed again. Until 5:45.

Have you ever been to Chicago? Have you ever been to Union Station? You know that scene in that movie with the staircase and the shooting and the baby carriage? Yeah, that kind of exciting stuff doesn't happen. It's boring. Especially for a child. Especially for my child.

We ended up at a diner. We made that last until 5:45. We went back to Union Station . The train was delayed. You see the theme.

Long story short, the train came at 9. Seven hours later.

By then, full scale blizzard. We bunked down in Portage, Indiana, at the Days Inn that time forgot, where I prayed all night that we wouldn't be killed by The Hills Have Eyes-esque mutants, and made it home the next day.

That is why there was no Hoff yesterday, or today. Tomorrow, Hofftacular Spectacular will resume, with much gusto.

Now, off to sleep, and never visit Chicago again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HHTV: The Hasselhoff Channel. All Hoff, All The Time

I come to you today with two Hofftastic videos from the man himself. The first, a commercial for some internet company, in which Hoff declares himself King of The Internet. Bow, worthless plebes, your new master demands supplication! Bow! BOW!

Have you ever wondered what Hoffski would look like dressed up as The Crocodile Hunter? A snow boarding eskimo? An Alaskan cruise line advert? Well, today is your lucky day, my friend, because the following video has all that and more, set to the soothing sounds of the man himself singing "Hooked On A Feeling" and dancing with Masai tribesmen. What's that you ask? Is this heaven? Have you finally drunk yourself into sweet oblivion, never to return to the cruel world of mortals. No. Put down that bottle my friend, because by clicking play, you're about to enter a Nirvana you've never before dreamed of obtaining. Inner peace is about to be yours. Ooga Chaka!

Sometimes, when I'm bare chested in a long coat, wandering down a deserted beach with no rescue in sight, I remind myself that somewhere, David Hasselhoff might be doing exactly the same thing. And then the world does not seem quite so empty and wild. Let Das Hoff take you away... on the wings of tenderness. And seagulls.

Tune in tomorrow for an in-depth review of El Hoff's autobiography, and don't miss the rest of the Hofftacular Spectacular, all this week, right here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hofftacular Spectacular!

Hear ye, Hear ye! Today, December 4, 2006, shall remain in history a holy day! A day of mystery and wonder, a day all shall look on in remembrance and awe! Today begins the five day Feast of The Hoff, the Hofftacular Spectacular.

It all began Thursday last when, whilst visiting an ailing friend's bedside, I became possessed of a powerful urge to own David Hasselhoff's staggering work of literary brilliance, "Don't Hassel The Hoff." I did then beseech my puking friend thusly: "Get up, bitch, we're going to Barnes and Noble!"

With much protesting and great dramatics, my ill companion did roust herself and managed to cloth herself in some sweat pants that we might make the journey to yon B&N.

Oh, but my heart did race all throughout that thirty minute drive! My palms did sweat and I might have dropped an f-bomb or two at cars keeping a snail's pace in traffic. Finally, finally, we reached our destination. I raced inside, my emetic companion lurching feverishly behind me.

"I need the David Hasselhoff book!" I sang out in anticipatory chorus as I approached the gleaming beacon of the information counter. "I need it real bad!"

The booksmith looked at me with something akin to admiration tinged with fear. "I'm afraid we're sold out. But we do have the Chuck Norris autobiography, 'The Secret Of Inner Strength,' if that helps."

"No!" I cried, the Hoff-hungry demon in my breast crying out for satiation, "I already have that one! I need the Hoff! How can you be sold out?"

"There are other silly people in the world, Jennifer," a woman in the employ of the great B&N commented, and I reluctantly conceded that point.

Such an admission did not soothe my raging Hoff fever. Meanwhile, a fever of a different sort afflicted my companion. "Jen," she begged, her eyes bright with sickness, her brow beaded with sweat from the exertion of not emptying her stomach onto my dashboard, "Take me home or I'll kill you."

"No!" I cried, gripping her shoulders and giving her a hearty shake. "I will not give up so close to the end of our quest!"

But she would not be swayed, and all the long journey back to her apartment I did employ my cell phone to contact other area bookstores, in vain. The Hoff's popularity thwarted me at every turn, when each store on my speed dial informed me that all of their copies had flown from the shelves.

Finally, I reached the bottom of my alphabetical list. A Waldenbooks, in Portage, Michigan, had the cherished tome. "Donna!" I exclaimed in glee, "Save a copy for me!"

After leaving off my feverish friend, I once again took up my cell phone, to contact another of my most dearest and trusted allies. "Jill," I shouted, my wonder and rapture emanating over the cellular waves as surely as raindrops disturbing gentle spring puddles, "Do you want to go on a wonderful adventure?"

I raced to her side, finding her as excited and ready for our quest as ever. Once again I made the interminable trek across town, wailing and gnashing my teeth at every delay. But soon enough we reached our destination. The Hoff was within my reach.

Every step I took across the parking lot brought me closer to my Mecca. My heart beat its self fearfully against my ribs. Closer and closer I came. Every second seemed infused with the holy importance of my task.

Donna, the smiling, helpful book peddler, seemingly unaware of my heightened state of agitation, rang my most radiant of purchases and slid the venerable tome into a plastic bag; the Hoff's tan glowed through the white of the bag.

"Wow, you've really been looking for this, huh?" she observed, finally noticing my mania. "Who's this for?"

Confusion! As if I would hand such a treasure over as a mere gift. This book was a thing to be cherished, perhaps willed to future generations after my passing, but it would not leave my hands! "It's for me," I stuttered, barely able to comprehend this world, where such a treasure would be callously given away.

"Oh." Donna appeared perturbed at this, but it mattered not. I possessed the book of my desires! I had Don't Hassel The Hoff!

My fingers itched to caress the pages. My mind worked like a hamster in an improperly weighted wheel as I drove to my destination. When I arrived, I pulled the book of Hoff from its plastic prison. Freed at last, the shocking blue and orange of the cover blazed with a godly light. The culmination of my efforts was upon me! A tear crept from my eye as I lifted the cover for the first time.

And my eyes landed on the word "Hofftastic." And I realized that anything I really, really think I desperately need on a day when I've had only one hour of sleep the previous night is probably something silly that I could do without.

However, dear reader, you're about to benefit from my insanity. Right here, all week long, it's a Hofftacular Spectacular. A week-long celebration of the Hoff, from Monday to Friday. Every day, a new and Hofftastic post will bring you one step closer to a deeper understanding of El Hoff (for our Spanish speaking friends) or Hoffski (in Russian).

The week will include a review of the Hoff's masterpiece of literature, Hoff quizzes, Hoff quotes and of course, plenty of Hoff eye candy. And, as if that weren't enough, at the end of the week, tune in for "Jen vs. The Hoff," which I can assure you will be a bloodbath.

Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell them, one and all, to come, come see the amazing, the astounding HOFFTACULAR SPECTACULAR!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Actual, Honest To Goodness Book News...

I got the red team go on book four, so that's taken care of. The even better news is that Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls' Night will feature a sneak peek of my next series, Lightworld/Darkworld. More on that series to come later.

The really awesome thing is that this is the first time I've had a sneak peek of anything in the back of one of my books. It's pretty exciting.

That's about all I've got for today. Keep it real, yo.

PS. There is a doctor on Dr. Phil (not Dr. Phil) whose skin is so perfect and glowing that he looks like a vinyl doll. Also, I love when Dr. Phil gets so mad that he shakes, and today is a show about obesity in children, so I am in LUCK.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Frankly, Mr. Jen, I Don't Give A Damn...

Because Tez Miller called my husband Mr. Jen, I will now call my husband Mr. Jen. It's like Mr. Turkey, only made of human meat instead of turkey meat.

Things have been crizazy at the Jen and Mr. Jen house. On Monday night we had two completely unrelated deaths in the family (one on his side, one on mine), at almost exactly the same time. It would have been more easily explained if they were riding together in a car or a plane or a hovercraft, but they both just happened to die on the same night, at nearly the same time. I think this is conclusive proof that DEATH is getting closer and closer, alerting me to my mortality with his creepy sense of humor.

Whenever I am faced with just such a weird occurrence that reminds me how very enormous the universe is and how very small and insignificant I am, I watch Gone With The Wind.

Gone With The Wind is really the cure for anything that ails me. Bad day? Gone With The Wind. Slammed my hand in the car door? Gone With The Wind. Syphilis? Penicillin and Gone With The Wind. G ta the O ta the Ne With The Wind.

I don't know exactly why this movie is such a comfort to me in times of philosophical distress. Maybe it's the transformation of Scarlet from vain, shallow, manipulative wilting flower to vain, shallow, manipulative tough as nails bitch that cheers me. Maybe it's the highly unrealistic depiction of the Old South as a world of gleaming white houses and weirdly happy slaves. Maybe it's Clark Gable's fake teeth. I have no clue.

Anyway, in the interest of being, you know, interesting, here is some trivia, culled from various spots on the internet, that may or my not be true. In fact, let's make this interesting. I will plant three fake items of trivia in this list, and whoever makes the first correct guess as to which ones are fake will receive something from me. You know. In the mail. It probably won't be exciting or even that cool, but you'll feel like you've won something, and that's pretty much all that counts, right?
Oh, and don't go cheating and google this stuff. This is like the SATs here. The internetz is seriouz bidness.

Totally True (except for 3 things) Gone With The Wind Trivia

  1. In Margret Mitchell's first draft of "Gone With The Wind," the character we know today as Scarlet was named Pansy.
  2. The interior sets for the film where constructed without ceilings. They were added with matte paintings.
  3. Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to be nominated for and win an Oscar, did not attend the Atlanta premiere of the film due to high racial tensions.
  4. Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie, is still alive.
  5. Scarlet's twin beaus from the first scene of the film were brothers, but not actually twins.
  6. Vincent Price auditioned for the role of Ashley.
  7. Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler, because he thought the movie would be a huge flop.
  8. If its box office receipts were adjusted for inflation, Gone With The Wind would be the fourth highest grossing movie of all time.
  9. Because of the size of the dresses and the aspect ratio of the film, some scenes of Melanie and Scarlet were shot from the waist up to disguise the fact they weren't wearing the hoop skirts that would have put them too far apart to be in the same shot.
  10. Gone With The Wind is a banned film in Thailand.
  11. Margret Mitchell was paid $50,000 for the rights to her novel, and received an additional $50,000 when the production company dissolved.
  12. The derogatory "N-word" was removed from the script when its use offended the African-American actors working on the film.
  13. Vivian Leigh was billed fourth in the film's credits, until she won the Best Actress Oscar.
  14. The wretching sounds Scarlet makes after digging up the turnip in the famous "With God as my witness..." scene were dubbed by Olivia de Havilland, as Vivian Leigh couldn't fake a vomiting noise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Night In The Life...

1:15 AM Damn. Still can't sleep. ::Pokes husband:: Are you asleep? Husband says, "YES!"
1:35 AM Maybe I should try to meditate.
1:37 AM Did I put the smoke detector back up after I took it down to change the batteries?
1:40 AM ::rummaging through coat closet:: What did I do with that damn smoke detector?
1:41 AM I don't care. It's not like we're going to have a fire tonight, and I really need to get some sleep.
2:35 AM Wait... was I just asleep? That's awesome!
3:12 AM Whazzz... whahuh? Why am I awake again?
4:40 AM Is it time to get up already? I feel as awake and alive as a new born babe, ready to face the world with-- wait, I've got two more hours to sleep.
5:11 AM This is getting ridiculous.
6:25 AM ::alarm goes off; snooze function engaged::
6:35 AM ::alarm goes off; snooze function engaged::
6:45 AM ::alarm goes off; snooze function engaged::
6:55 AM How the hell did I oversleep? I've been up all night long!

And now, for your enjoyment, some leaked audio from the upcoming Sweeney Todd movie. Listen to it, before it gets pulled by the YouTube police. And don't say I never gave you anything.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where Is All Of This Coming From?

SPAM email. For so long I have been without it.

I used to have an AOL account. I got tons of SPAM there. By tons, I mean almost three hundred a day. That's not an exaggeration. If I missed checking my email by one day, my inbox would have reached its limit.

So, I changed my personal email to a hotmail address. For almost two years I have been blissfully SPAM free.

Then, out of the blue, it began arriving. It started with the obvious ones: "Twin Asian girls get nasty" and "Wanna see pics of my wife?" I kicked them to my junk folder. Then, they started getting a little more creative. To escape the wrath of the junk folder, they started misspelling key words the filter would now be looking for. "Hrorny Teens Fiznuking!" and "Secksy MILF takes it all!". BAM. To the Junk Folder.

Now, they're getting deviously creative. "Your phone has been busy all day. What's going on?" I see that subject line and I don't even look at the address. I go, "Oh, that must be one of my many close and important friends. I wonder what is wrong with my phone." I open it and there it is, a link to 100% Free Girl On Girl Action.

I can't figure out how this happened. Conventional wisdom would say that if I've been visiting a lot of porn sites and entering my email to join them, that would bring on an onslaught of SPAM. But-- and this will shock many, I'm sure-- I don't look at porn on the internet. I don't go to porn websites, I don't google for porn (Food porn doesn't count. Who doesn't love a full color photo of a glistening rack of baby pork ribs, fresh from the barbecue? Stop looking at me that way. I am not ashamed). So, where is all the porn coming from?

Who are these people--,, etc-- who are so desperate for me to see pornographic material that they would try and trick me into looking at it? Do they feel they are doing me some kind of service? Do I, through my various emails and blog posts, come across as so thirsty for titillation of any kind that I will die like a desert traveler, my t-shirt tied to my head for protection from the sun, holes worn in my jeans from the constant abrasion of the pitiless sand, my lips blistered from sunburn and windburn and sheer dehydration, if I do not see girls go wild?

Of course, I know it's nothing I did. SPAM, like Scabies, pops up suddenly and is hard to get rid of. You don't know how you got it, but you're pretty sure it was that airline blanket that you knew you shouldn't use, but it was just so cold and your air vent seemed to be stuck in the open position. Someday, the glut of SPAM will be cured, but until then, why, Lord, why was I stricken with such an affliction.

I'm sure everyone else gets SPAM, too. Share with me, if you will, your favorite porno mail subject line.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Two-fer

BECAUSE I AM ENRAGED. Okay, for people who don't live in the United States, you might be unaware of the fact that next Thursday is Thanksgiving here. It is a holiday that celebrates when the puritans got here from England and went, "Oh, crap, we should have brought more food," and their American Indian neighbors came over and went, "Well, here, have some of this delicious food," and the pilgrims were like, "Thanks. Have some of this delicious small pox!"

History lesson aside, Thanksgiving is important mostly because there is a big giant parade spectacle in New York City. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I kid you not, this parade is such a big deal over here that when I was a child I thought Thanksgiving was actually called Macy's Day. So, yeah, giant parade. And while everyone waits for the parade in front of the big Macy's flagship department store near Times Square, viewers at home get to watch musical numbers from current Broadway musicals and also The Rockettes. And this year? Sarah Brightman is going to be singing on a float. And at the end, Santa Claus gets there and is like, "It's the holidays, Chumps!"

AND I'M GOING TO MISS IT. Why? Because my husband wants to have dinner with his family at noon. Which means we have to leave in the middle of the parade to get there! I'm going to miss it!

And I've missed it for the last few years to be at Thanksgiving dinners. I don't even like turkey. Or smallpox. I just want to see the parade!

Sigh. If I had some of that spiffy new DVD-R or Tivo technology, this wouldn't be an issue. But I don't, because I'm cheap and afraid of change, especially when it involves machines with artificial intelligence.

I mean, if Tivo can learn that I like Family Guy, it can learn all of my weaknesses and strike where I am more vulnerable. You can go ahead and get murdered by your Tivo. I'm playing it safe right now and right here. I'm living for the moment.

Cue Da Yoopers.... Now.

Today, in my neck (finger? palm?) of the woods, AKA the great mitten state, it is the first day of firearm deer season.

Perhaps I worded that incorrectly. The deer don't have guns, nor are they made of guns, as I might have implied. But it's the first day you can hunt deer with a firearm.

I did it again, implying the deer have guns.

Anyway, I'm not hunting. Why? Because I have a February deadline. That's right. My JOB is getting in the way of what I want to do in my FREE TIME. The next person who says I don't have a job can explain to my editor why all my emails are suddenly coming from a tree stand in the woods.

I was pretty bummed about the no hunting development. For the past two years, I've been trying to get my butt out there to kill a living creature, but to no avail. However, when I look out at today's weather, I rejoice that I am not sitting in a blind somewhere freezing my carharts off.

It is snowing. Well, kind of. It's also raining. So really, it's snaining. Or rowing, I'm not sure. And it is miserable.

So, instead of climbing a ladder and tying myself to a tree in the hopes of spotting that elusive thirty point buck, I'm spending my morning at Fourth Coast, downing skim milk double lattes with sugar free caramel syrup and being, in general, warm and dry.

Alright, dear readers, what comforts dost thou turn to when the gales of November come wailing?

Cool, I just mixed faux Shakespeare with Gordon Lightfoot. My two favorite bards!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Something That Ticks Me Right Off...

I hate when I can't find the right music to write a certain project to. I'm knee deep in "Lightworld/Darkworld" and I'm trying to find the correct balance between new age, Enya-type music and industrial metal. The closest I've gotten is the soundtrack from "300," which is great, but it's distracting to keep thinking of Gerry Butler and his rock hard, chiseled abs. Mmm...abs.

Anyway, it's frustrating. Nightwish is getting some moderate representation on my LW/DW playlist, and I'm crossing my fingers that Sarah Brightman's 2008 album, which is supposed to be classical done to goth metal, comes out before I have to have all the books turned in. But holy moly, what do I do in the meantime?

Anyone have some good recommendations for music that says, "This is steeped in various mythologies, but mostly Celtic lore, and also there is lots of blood shed"?

Now, for your viewing pleasure, "Greased Lightnin'" done claymation style, and also there is a humping robot. NSFW, NSFChildren.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An Actual Post About Writing... sort of.

With the Blood Ties series almost officially over for me, I am gearing up for a new project. I've been so excited to work on something brand new, something fresh, something....

I've already written before.

Back when I was shopping the first Blood Ties book around, I wrote a different book. I started writing it while I was a board member for a different RWA chapter and we were on a retreat that turned into DRA-MA. To ignore where I was and how much I just wanted to go home, I started working on a completely different story, set in a completely different universe. It was about a half-faery assassin who lived underground, in the sewers of a future earth that had become an alternate world for faerytale and nightmare creatures. I wrote the whole book in probably three months. Now, I'm rewriting it as part of a trilogy that will be released in 2009.

The problem? It's not new to me. I already know how the story ends, so I don't have the fun of discovery that usually fuels me to keep writing.

A lot of people ask how I battle writer's block. "Jen," the ask, seeking the wisdom of a sage, "how do you battle writer's block?" The answer is: I just don't know.

It's not that I don't get blocked. Every writer gets to a point when they have nothing to say in their manuscript. My personal way to solve this is to just push past it. Even if what I'm writing is uninspired crap (as it often is), I can always fix it later.

Here's the thing: if you're sitting down at the computer every day, looking at the last two lines you wrote six days ago and you have no idea how to proceed, you're going to get burned out faster than if you just force yourself to keep going. You might have to just write [blah blah blah this is what happens in the rest of this scene] and go back to it later, but you have to keep your forward momentum.

It seems to me that there is a lot of fear involved in writing. Fear of writer's block, fear of burn out, fear of not being perfect on your first try, fear of rejection, it's all stupid. How come I have never once heard about someone having a fear of not finishing their manuscript, or a fear of getting a huge contract and being crushed under a pile of money?

Now, I'm going to go back to myself as an example. My editor and agent agree that the next step in my career involves a book I've already written, but that needs a major overhaul from the ground up. I could have said, "No, I'm afraid I'll get burned out," but instead, I'm forcing myself through a story I've already told. I'm I afraid I'll get burned out? Meh. It's a possibility. But will burnout on one project mean that I will never write again? No. Plus, after this book is done, I'll have the sequel to write, so I have something to look forward to.

And that might be the key to getting over the fear of writer's block and burnout. If you have something to look forward to, that's going to help vault you over the hurdles you come up against.

Now, as for other writing problems, like people thinking you don't have a real job because you work at home or people thinking you have tons of money to give them for no good reason (you know, people like your kids and spouse), that I can't help you with. But as someone with no attention span and very little persistence, I can say with certainty that if I can get over writer's block and burnout, pretty much anyone, including several species of monkey and lemur can, as well.

THE MORE YOU KNOW! ::rainbow:::

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things You Probably Shouldn't Ask....

My local RWA chapter, GRRRWA, had a fantastic guest speaker this weekend. A policeman. Not to sound like a five year old who just saw a fire truck parked at the neighbors house, but seriously, he was a real policeman with a gun and a taser and a badge and everything. No horse or motorcycle, but all the rest of the stuff.

Now, if you're like me, you can sympathize with the urge to, when meeting someone in a profession you have very little knowledge of, ask as many questions as you possibly can, even if you sound incredibly stupid. I do this with the following people:

  • Pilots
  • Doctors
  • Football players
  • Members of our Armed Forces
  • Senators, state or otherwise
  • Meteorologists
  • Policemen
  • People who like to golf.

And I can't stop the questions from flowing out my word hole. I asked him who cleans up murdered people. How much sweet, stinky weed you can get caught with before it becomes a felony. How they wrestle people down and handcuff them. What cops would think if Batman and Spiderman were real. I just barely restrained myself from asking if he'd ever been shot and if he would taser me so I could see what it was like.

Needless to say, I learned a lot. The most disappointing answer was that if Spiderman and Batman were real, they really wouldn't be doing the police any favors, because the police couldn't just pick up a guy wrapped up in a web and charge him with a crime they didn't see. Which makes sense, I guess, but damn. I can't believe I've lived my whole life as a lie.

Anyway, I was thinking. This is a golden opportunity to answer some burning questions I know people must have about being a writer. So, I'm going to attempt to do that right now:

Top Ten Answers To Questions Frequently Asked Of Writers:

  1. Not as much as you'd think, and certainly not enough to support my lifestyle, which is fabulous.
  2. You have to use stilts, because it's up really high.
  3. Tomorrow.
  4. Yes, that does look infected.
  5. No, it would be foolish to remove the restraining bolt, as it is likely that your droid will just run away.
  6. Probably not more than six, just to be safe.
  7. A turkey sandwich, but then only with help.
  8. Family Feud reruns.
  9. Goal setting is EXTREMELY important.
  10. I say, tell the warden. Everyone loves a snitch.

I hope that helps clear up some of the mystery about what I do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"Why didn't we think of this before?"

I kid you not, that is, if not a direct quote, a close approximation of what one of the vampires in 30 Days Of Night says while they're hunting and killing the residents of a small Alaskan town.

This movie deserves some kind of award for most awesome vampires. I'm going to give it to them right now. "The Jennifer Armintrout Award For Excellence In The Field Of Spraying Blood And Vampires Being Thrown Into Giant Wood Chippers" is hereby presented to 30 Days Of Night. They also receive the lesser known, but just as prestigious, "Jennifer Armintrout Award For Best Film In Which An Enraged Mountain Man Resembling Hagrid Drives A Giant Saw Machine Through A Crowd Of Vampires".

This was one of those movies where they would show some machine or vehicle and you'd be like, "Oh, I just know that is going to come into play later, and I cannot WAIT!" Like the huge wood chipper thing. I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering when, in a spray of blood and much flailing and screaming, a vampire was gonna get tossed into it. I was not disappointed.

I'm not even ruining key plot points here for you, because the thing is, the first fifteen minutes are like a road map to what is going to happen later. "Giant wood chipper? You know someone is getting thrown into that! Chainsaw you can drive? Oh man, that is going to be excellent."

The only way this movie could have been better is if the vampires from it somehow got into the movie Across The Universe and they ate all of those stupid hippies. They'd be like, protesting the Vietnam War and giving a passing nod to the civil rights movement, holding hands and singing "All You Need Is Love" and BAM! Vampires. Eating them. Spraying their patchouli scented blood all over the psychedelic ground.

And during the previews, I almost wet my pants. Not because I sneezed too hard. Oh no. Because there is another Aliens Vs. Predator movie coming out this Christmas. Sorry, Johnny Depp, but the Yajuta top demon barbers every time. I know how my movie money is going to be spent this Christmas. Wisely.

That would be another good movie, if the vampires from 30 Days Of Night fought the Predators.

So, with all the tons of movies coming out in the next few months, what is everyone excited to see? My next must-see is "Enchanted", the one where a Disney Princess gets sucked into real life.

Because, regardless of my enthusiasm for spraying blood and flying vampire chunks, I'm nothing if not a princess at heart.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Memory Lane... You Beeyotch.

This morning, for reasons I won't go into right now, I had to go back to my old high school for like, two seconds. And God bless her, the office lady remembered who I was. I was like, "What? That was like ten years ago," and she said, "You look the same."

Figuring I was on a roll, I went to, and am now blogging from, the coffee house where I spent a lot of my time trying to get picked up by college guys when I was a teenager. Granted, I'm no longer trying to get picked up by college guys, but not a lot has changed here. Everyone still basically looks miserable and/or too smart for their own good, the music is like, weird and obscure and sounds like something rejected from the reality bites soundtrack, and the air is so smokey I'm actually considering bumming a cigarette from someone just to get a filter between me and the roiling cancer on the air.

Actually, that's a lie. I have my own cigarettes. I don't smoke, but I do carrying around some expensive cigarettes as a status symbol. I like to go into pro-smoking establishments and sit down and take out my Dunhills or what have you and pretend to smoke one or two, leaving the pack out for all to see, as if to say, "Look how important I am. I smoke fifteen dollar cigarettes." It's just one of a number of little mind games I like to play with the world at large.

Anyway, in honor of my trip down memory lane, I'm going to post the top ten little known facts about coffee shops.

Top Ten Little Known Facts About Coffee Shops
1. Everyone knows that coffee shops are a good place to score weed, but what they probably don't know is that it's also a good place to score absinthe.

2. Coffee house etiquette demands that for every hour you spend loitering at the counter, you must wash a part of the barista's car.

3. Ha ha, just kidding. Baristas don't have cars. They ride bikes, because they're hippies and they care about the earth and stuff.

4. Nearly all of the flyers on a coffee shop bulletin board contain nonsensical subliminal messages like, "Ear your cheese!" and "Snort that vagabond, Haley's Comet!"

5. 98% of the United State's supplies of corduroy and sweater coats can be found in coffee shops.

6. A recent survey revealed that most college kids spend more time at coffee shops than libraries, because it's easier to pick up high school girls in a coffee shop than a library.

7. Also, you can smoke there.

8. The amount of nicotine in the air at an average American coffee house is enough to fuel a nicotine powered generator for thirty-six hours.

9. The least popular flavor of flavored creamer is chitlins with green pepper. The second least popular is "Gingerbread."

10. All coffee house art is produced by a company in Yarlborough, CT, and is supplied to independent "artists" around the country to sell to unsuspecting coffee houses.

This stuff is all true. Look it up. But before you do that, tell me, what is the one place from your childhood you'd most like to return to?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Do You Want Flies With That?

Alternate title: "I'd Like A Number Four With Large Flies."

On Fridays, my husband is responsible for ferrying the child back and forth to school. In between school and home, he usually picks us up some lunch at the only fast food restaurant I will eat at. I will not name it because I am still loyal to them, but it rhymes with schmickschmonalds.

Well, today, as I'm enjoying my golden, delicious fries for which schmickschmonalds is so famous, I find...

wait for it...

a crispy fried wing. Not from a chicken. From a common house fly.

Very few things will gross me out to the point that I'm no longer able to eat. Once, when I was eating a piece of cherry pie my grandmother had made, I found a whole housefly baked into it. My grandma just wicked him away with her pinky finger and said "Eh, he didn't eat much," and I finished eating. Because I was raised by people who honestly believed the presence of bugs in your food was a funny, unexpected bonus. I think that's because they grew up in the depression or whatever and they probably were used to eating bugs.

However, having worked at a schmickschmonalds, I know what happens when a bug falls into the deep fryer. KA-BLAMO! They explode, spewing their soon to be crunchy, golden guts all over the place. ALL OVER MY FRIES.

I just couldn't finish. A whole fly, I can do. Fly parts... yeck.

What is the worst thing you've ever found in your food, either at a fast food place or a regular restaurant?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of/preparation for Halloween, last night I went to beautiful Fremont, MI, to speak to the locals about the dangers of vampires. Now, as I was already two-thirds of the way into my annual seven day Halloween candy binge, I left a few details out. So, for your Halloween reading pleasure, here are Jennifer Armintrout's Top Ten Least Known Facts About Vampires:

1. Nearly all vampires will respond to some variation of "Hey, Dracula."

2. Peanut butter, in lieu of wooden stakes, will work just fine to kill vampires, as most vampires have severe nut allergies.

3. Some people think that a house without curtains or visible outdoor lighting indicates that Amish live inside. Not so. Vampires dislike drapes and patio lights as much as the next evil creature.

4. Also, most Amish are also vampires.

5. The leading cause of all crippling stomach pain diagnosed in the United States in 2006 was "Vampire Related Anxiety."

6. Broadway musicals about vampires rarely succeed, due to lack of support from the vampire community. This is because vampires prefer ice shows.

7. Vampires are known the world over for turning into mist and seeping across the country side. Every time you drive your car through some fog, you're probably killing harmless baby vampires.

8. Vampires named Dave are usually stand up guys.

9. If you pay a vampire to rake your lawn, keep an eye on him. He'll probably cheat you.

10. Sending a vampire flowers can be a troublesome endeavor, as a recent "Dutch Fever" epidemic has left most vampires unable to tolerate the sight of tulips.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Movie Recs

Apparently, as an author of creepy books, I have some sort of occult knowledge of good scary movies. "Jenny," people say accusingly, "You're an author of creepy books. You must know something about scary movies that we don't."

Well, that is patently false. I only know as much as the next person about a good horror movie. If it scares me, it's good. But, to paraphrase the theme from Different Strokes, what might be scary for you might not be scary for some. So, keeping that in mind, here are my favorite "scary" movies, perfect for this time o' the year:

The Ring Some people find this movie a little so-so. I absolutely freak out when I watch it. I almost pee my pants when the phone rings for about two days after I see this. I guess to some people, like, young people, the fact that it's already really outdated (what the hell is a video tape? Is that some kind of stone-aged entertainment device, like they dug it up at Pompeii or something?) makes it less scary. Well, I've got news for you, teenagers! In the olden days, we had to watch movies on VHS because we didn't have Xbox and we had to make our own fun! Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, The Ring. Yeah, it's a scary movie.

House Of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects You have to watch these two together, because watching just one by its self is unfulfilling. You have to watch them back-to-back to get the whole, awesome story. You know that trash house in your town? The one with the empty hanging flower baskets and broken down cars on the lawn and they keep their Christmas lights up and on all year round and maybe they don't come outside much and when they do they look kind of unfriendly? Yeah, if you watch these movies, you'll be even more afraid of those freaks.

Cube These people wake up and find they've been trapped in a labyrinthine prison of deviously booby-trapped cubes and the only way to escape alive is by solving a complex mathematical equation. WHAT?! WHO THE HELL DOES THAT KIND OF THING? HAVE THEY NO SOULS?! Seriously, that is TERRIFYING. Whoever thought that up is a twisted person who should probably not be trusted to babysit for children. Man. People thing Saw is a scary movie, but Jigsaw could take a page out of whoever made the cube's book. Sawing off your own leg is not scary. Math... math is scary.

From Dusk Til Dawn This is one of those movies where you're like, "Wait, what is this? Is this a comedy? Is this a crime drama? Is this a retro-pop-culture-pastiche?" and then the vampires come. And they are awesome, evil vampires. Just like I like 'em. Awww yeah.

Now, since I have very little else to share today, I'm going to leave you with this, my new favorite commercial:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Wish I Was In Charge At The IRS.

If I was, they would not have frigging Swan Lake as their hold music. And it's never just the whole thing playing all the way through or anything like that. It's just the part where the prince sees the swans all dancing around on the lake. It's Tchaikovsky, and it's terrible.

It's like a special kind of hell, actually. "Congratulations, you not only get to pay taxes, you also get to listen to wildly repetitive and mindlessly overblown orchestrations!

Next quarter, I'm going to tape a little note to my tax payment that says, "Please use this money to get new hold music, KTHNXBYE."

So, imagine your own special kind of hell for me. What is the worst thing you could imagine listening to over hold music?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Rambling Entry, But With A Prize At The End!

Okay, so last week I found out I had a weird inflammation in my chest due to also having pneumonia. That was terrible. But the medicine they put me on is worse than having pneumonia and a chest infection. It kind of sucked.

So, I got behind in my work. And my housework, especially. And now, my house is looking a hot mess and I have a party I'm hosting on Saturday. I guess the theme of the party has shifted from "Halloween" to "Party Like You Live In A Condemned Building."

However, being sick has had one pay off. Lots of time to take the Wii internet browser for a spin and use the internet on my totally awesome giant plasma screen. And what did I browse for, besides Dresden Files fan fiction in which Harry and Bob get it on, you ask? I looked for movie news. Namely, Sweeney Todd news.

If you have never heard of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the magnum opus of one Sir Stephen Sondheim (he was knighted in absentia by me, ruler of my own country of Jenopia), then I weep a frenzy of weeps for you, dear reader. It's simply the best musical ever. EVER.

The very basic plot is that Benjamin Barker, a barber transported to prison in Australia for a crime he didn't commit, returns to find that-- through the machinations of the evil judge who sentenced him-- his wife has poisoned herself and his daughter has been raised as the Judge's own child. He sets about getting revenge, which ultimately entails killing unwitting customers who come in for a shave and then letting his neighbor cook them into pies.

And they're making it into a movie.

Starring Johnny Depp.

And Helena Bonham Carter.

And Alan Rickman.

And Anthony Stewart Head.

If that wasn't enough, it's directed by TIM BURTON.


The amount of cool in this one movie alone will probably be enough that-- and I don't want to alarm anyone here, but I just thought you should be warned-- the universe is going to implode under the sheer, gravitational force of that much awesome.

Two trailers have been released, and I'm going to give them over to you to brighten your day, the way slit throats and cannibalism always brightens mine.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Comedy Recommendations...

Okay, so, on Thursdays, after I drop me, jr. at school, I go to my friend Scott M's house (you might recognize Scott M from the dedication in book three) and we listen to funny stuff. Currently, at this very second, we're listening to Patton Oswald. Hi-larious stuff, my friends.

If, like me, you enjoy a good, dirty laugh with filthy words but smart content, Patton Oswald is for you.

Also, if you're like me, and you enjoy a good, dirty laugh with filthy words and borderline retarded drug humor, Dave Attell is for you.

So, knowing that I love Dave Attell and Patton Oswald, who else will I like? Got any awesome recs of comics for to make me chuckle?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Puzzle Madness...

Hi, my name is Jenny, and I have puzzle madness.
(hi, Jenny)

Seriously, though, I've been puzzle sober for like, a while now, with one tiny relapse a few months ago. I didn't finish that puzzle, though. I put it away before the madness could take hold.

Right now, I'm way over deadline on revisions for book four. I maybe have mentioned that. It is demanding so much of my time that my house looks like one you'd see on one of those shows where the cops come in and rescue a hundred and twelve cats because the filth just might kill them if they stayed a moment longer. I'm surviving, basically, on a diet of candy and Diet Coke, though my family is fairing better with bologna sandwiches and canned soups. But what am I doing in my precious and scarce moments of free time during the day?

Working on a thousand piece puzzle.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another Thing Colleen Said...

"Blog every day! Or don't blog at all!"

And I thought, "Well, that's good advice."

Only, what if, like today, I don't have much to say?

I suppose I can just throw a little something up here, so when archaeologists find this blog in the future, they'll say, "Here was someone who was a consistent blogger. We can tell from the carbon dating of these entries that she started off a bit shaky, but she really did pull it together eventually."

Speaking of pulling it together eventually, I'm still hard at work on book four in the Blood Ties series. Which is fun and great and all of that, but revisions are HARD. All through the last quarter of the book, someone is crying on every page. Now, don't take that and go "Ooh, the last quarter of the book is sad! I bet Harry Potter dies in it," because that's not the case. People are crying for no particular reason sometimes. I think I was having some serious hormonal problems when I was writing that. It literally reads like every character in the book is six months pregnant: "I asked Nathan to pass the chips. He broke down, his back shaking with silent sobs as he handed the bowl to me." Obviously, not that ridiculous, but it seems that way as I'm proof reading it. My editor actually wrote "NO MORE CRYING!!!!" on one page. I'm surprised she didn't hang herself after reading this, because I'm getting close.

It always amazes me how much I don't remember about a book that I've written just a few months ago. I'm reading through this and finding things and going, "Wow, that is awesome! I can't believe I wrote that!" Or, alternately, "Wow, that is gross! I can't believe I wrote that."

Yes, you heard it here first, folks: Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls' Night has some of the grossest descriptions I've ever written. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but toward the end of the book I almost made MYSELF sick when I read what I'd written.

Stephen King, watch out. I'm right on your ass in the gross out department over here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Colleen Gleason Said To Mention Alan Rickman A Lot....

Went to a wonderful GRRRWA meeting this weekend, where Colleen Gleason talked about self promotion and I realized that I'm such a horrible blogger. Apparently, I'm supposed to be doing this every day. Oh, and talking about Alan Rickman a lot, because people just seem to like the guy and they like it when you blog about him.

I can't blame them. Alan Rickman is a pretty neat guy. And you know, I can't figure out why, exactly. I mean, okay, being in movies must be responsible for a lot of that. Because I'm pretty sure if he was a librarian or a janitor or he ran a dry cleaning business, he wouldn't be quite as captivating. Well, no, scratch the librarian part. Librarians are sexy.

Maybe the lure of Alan Rickman lies in the weird way he talks. He has an accent, but it's not really clear what kind of an accent it is. Think about it... have you ever heard someone talk with exactly the kind of inflection and pronunciation he does? Yeah, he's British, but I've never stumbled across anyone who actually talks like him. Even when I was in England. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing him of having a fake British accent like some people (*cough* Madonna! *cough*), but his is just truly bizarre. It's like when Christopher Walken says he doesn't talk funny, he just talks the way he does because he grew up in Queens and you're like, "Um, no one I know from Queens sounds like you."

Anyway, back to Alan Rickman: I don't know what the heck it is about the guy, but people, women especially, just love him. I mean, seriously, Colleen had a picture of him in her presentation slide show and the whole room just went balls nuts. And really, it was just a picture of a middle aged guy with a squinty look that I guess is supposed to be smoldering. I don't know.

I wish I had that kind of startling presence. Like someone could just show a picture of me and everyone would go "OMG OMG OMG I LURVE HER!!!!!11!!1!1 ELEVENTY-ONE!"

So, in conclusion: I will try to be a better blogger, I will try to be a better email pen pal to certain authors who have vis bulla enhanced super powers, and I will try to be more smoldering and squinty like Alan Rickman.

Also, if anyone understands the awesome power Rickman, can tell me what it is?

Monday, August 6, 2007

WAIT! STOP! Book Signing Date Error!

To anyone planning on going to the Barnes and Noble Grand Rapids signing today at 2, DON'T! The date listed on the website is incorrect! It is NOT on August 6th, rather, it is on August 11. If you know anyone planning to go today, please inform them of the error!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ah, the things you miss when you miss RWA...

My first-- and only-- RWA Nationals conference was the one I attended in 1994, at the tender age of thirteen years old. I went with my grandmother, Peggy Hanchar, who thought it would be a great chance for me to see New York and catch a few Broadway shows (my main aspiration at the time being a career in the theatre). I have fond memories of Nationals 2004. I saw the Statue of Liberty, toured NBC Studios (in the hopes that upon running into my bespectacled and braces encumbered thirteen-year-old self, Conan O'Brien would be instantly smitten and we would spend long romantic evenings bonding over our unfortunate gingerness), and met Rosie O'Donnell at the stage door after a performance of 'Grease.' I hated the thought of leaving and as I sat, dejected, on the plane that tore me away from the city that had stolen my heart (upon adult consideration of real estate prices in the city proper, I have since reclaimed said vital organ), my grandmother beside me breathed a sigh of relief and exclaimed, "I'm glad that's over!"

At the time, I couldn't understand why she didn't feel the sense of utter devastation I felt at being whisked away from the magical wonderland that was New York. Now, I understand. She was at that annual drama bomb that is the RWA national conference. I might have caught the matinée of Phantom, but I had missed out on the real melodramatics.

Every year, like Christmas, fall out from conference rains down on hapless and confused RWA members, stoked in recent times by bloggers and email loops. What once, back in 1987, would have been hotly repeated gossip in the ladies room of the conference hotel and discarded with the free promotional pens and bookmarks now lives on in pictures taken on cell phones and posted in online journals.

This year, I am speaking, of course, about the Shomi authors who *gasp* wore short skirts and thigh highs to the Literacy event and, to a lesser extent, the swan hat worn by a popular paranormal romance author.

With the exception of a few blog posts or comments saying, in effect, people can wear whatever they want to promote their books and as long as no ones' tits were hanging out, leave them alone, the reaction to these three individuals has been astoundingly negative. The worst attacks have been against the Shomi authors. The convenient anonymity of the internet has given some incredibly catty individuals free reign to vent their jealousy and personal insecurities on these women. Ridiculous accusations have been thick on the ground: These authors are unprofessional, they only got their book contracts because of their looks and male editor, they have single (double?) handedly tarnished the venerable name of RWA by showing their trampy, trampy faces at the conference at all, etc.

Some are easier to dismiss than others. Yes, the editor of the Shomi imprint is male, and yes, he has, on occasion, been seen surrounded by simpering females at various conferences (and at one notable RWA function was witnessed by yours truly playing pool with a group of middle aged attendees, one of whom openly ogled his backside whilst stroking a pool cue suggestively. It is a nightmarish scene that I cannot ever erase from my memory), but before I was published by Mira, I submitted material to this editor and never once in the submissions process did he request a picture of the author in order to make his decision. If these women are published by Shomi, it's because they wrote a story that appealed to this editor, not because of any favors they gained through their sex appeal and the flaunting thereof.
To say otherwise exposes the accusers as what they truly are: vicious bitches who have broken their leashes, out to attack and destroy anyone who holds what they covet, from professional achievements to youthful, well-toned bodies. And anyone who pretends that these nasty comments stem from anything other than blatant body insecurity brought to a head by the fact that these two women wore sexy clothes, looked good in them and garnered attention over their looks is living in a fantasy.

It's harder to crack the complaints of those who feel that these women (bird hat author included now) have somehow harmed the image of the genre. I have a very strong feeling that these are the same individuals who are fighting the inclusion of Erotica in the RWA definition of romantic fiction. The writers who claw their eyes out wanting to be taken seriously, who vehemently defend romance even when no one is attacking it. To these writers I say: mind what's going on in your own backyard and don't worry about the barbecue next door.

We are genre fiction writers. We make up stories about people who fall in love and have adventures. We entertain people, usually on their lunch break or right before they fall asleep or when they're on the toilet. We are not curing cancer. We are not fighting terrorism. Our work is only important to ourselves, and to our readers for the short time they spend with it. Why the near industry-wide push to ignore that fact and pretend that what we do is of the utmost importance to the world?

What's worse is that these individuals who cry to the heavens about the validity of their literary accomplishments don't just voice their opinions and leave it at that. They want the rest of us in the industry to not only uphold their ideals, but share their views wholeheartedly. And one slip will destroy the genre as a whole.

If you want to believe that your book about a fiery, red-headed daughter of a penniless lord (who has a temper to match those luxuriant tresses) being claimed body, heart, and soul by a sexily battle-scarred knight with anachronistically impeccable hygiene is high art, be my guest. But don't expect me to, and don't expect anyone else to treat their work with the reverence you do yours.

I have to pose this question honestly: Did the Shomi Harajuku girls or swan hat lady actually hurt anyone's livelihood? Will we see a significant drop in book sales over the next year because someone wore thigh highs and pleated skirts rather than business suits to the Literacy signing? I'm willing to bet not. And if they hadn't dressed this way, would a romance novel have won the Nobel Prize for Literature? Again, willing to bet not.

The average romance reader does not buy a book based on what the author wore to what signing. The average (good) librarian doesn't buy a book because they feel the genre is important. The reader buys a book because it seems like a good story. Ditto, the librarian, who buys what her readers want to see on the shelf. If I walked into a book signing wearing sack cloth and ashes, I'll probably not sell too many books that day. But is it going to affect the actions of a person who has never seen me? No. Because they have no idea.

Unless, of course, someone takes a picture of me and posts it to a blog. The actions of these bloggers who widely disseminate the images, then complain that the sartorial faux pas is going to destroy romance make absolutely no sense. If you honestly believe this, why spread the evidence around? No one will know if you don't give them the opportunity to find out. Yes, the Dallas newspaper carried the photo. That is one news paper out of the thousands in the country. And most people wouldn't know it was in the paper if they hadn't found out in the numerous blog posts about it.

The most incredible, mind boggling part of this whole controversy has been the way people have used their personally held beliefs as a license to say horrible, insulting things about these people in a very public forum. This is a business. I want some of the people bashing these authors to think very carefully about what they're doing. Your comments will get around. They might not effect your career. They might only cause a few uncomfortable moments at future
conferences when you run into these individuals and they know the hurtful things you said about them. But there might be an editor out there or an agent who you will want to work with in the future, and they might remember, also.

You are not hurting these authors with your criticism (professionally, at least. I'm sure the experience of being made fun of on numerous blogs for the past few days has been personally hurtful), you're actually giving them plenty of publicity that they can take, laughing, to the bank. But you might be hurting yourself. And you're also making yourselves look like total assholes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Even Livelier Blogging From RT 2007

Okay, I have to say, and I mean this not in the way rock stars say it on stage at a concert or something like that, but Texas fans are the best fans. You guys were wonderful and made me feel so special and loved. This was probably my favorite book signing ever.

Now, allow me to be a completely freaky fan for a second. So far, on this wonderful, strange journey that is RT, I've collected tons of amazing autographs from authors who just should not ever talk to me because I'm way, way not worthy. I've picked up signed books from Rachel Caine, Vicki Petterson (who wrote that she'll be in touch! Squee!), Keri Arthur (who gave me candy that makes me want to move to Australia), PC Cast, Gerry Bartlett, Lori G. Armstrong, Virginia OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I MET HER Henley, Raven Hart, Mary Janice Davidson, Jim Butcher and OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I MET HER AND ACTED LIKE A TOTAL GOOB Charlaine Harris.

I'll have pictures from the conference to post on the website after I return home that proves at least some of these wild claims.

I have to say, I tried to be cool. I tried. But I've been meeting and talking with so many people that are just amazing in my genre and in others, and I feel like Cinderella. You know, if Cinderella was chubby and constantly begging for candy from strangers.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Live Blogging Doth Continue From RT 2007

Having seen the awesome power of drunken writers and fans in large groups, I have to say this: People who go to this conference should be costumers for the movies. I've seen so many amazing costumes here, things I wouldn't have even thought of for the themes. Granted, my imagination isn't the broadest when it comes to things like "What would I wear to a medieval faery ball?" but just when I think I'm way, way too dressed up and should go back to the room and change, someone proves me very, very wrong. The Faery Ball costumes were amazing, the food was amazing, the program was a little hard to hear/see/experience with the over the excited voices, tinkling bells, and the veritable sea of wings, but it was an enjoyable evening over all.

This morning I have the daunting task of speaking on a panel with some of the best Urban Fantasy writers in the genre, and I am, naturally, very afraid that when it comes to my turn at the mic, I'll say something that equates to "I like toast." Because it has happened before, and I've found that personal history is likely to repeat. Over and over again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Live Blogging From RT 2007

I'm not going to lie. I'm very, very drunk. I had to take out a second mortgage to get that way, but I'm super drunk.

Just came in from the Ellora's Cave "Moulin Rouge" party and I have blisters on my feet and I've got about a pound of makeup on (because I was following the crowd-- I took the "Old French Whore" theme and ran with it. Je Suis Whore!), but I have to give it to the Cave. They throw a wicked hot party.

And nothing says "COMPLETELY HETEROSEXUAL" like beefy male cover models flawlessly executing an intricately choreographed dance routine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Live Blogging (sort of) From RT 2007...

So, we made it to RT, after a morning of tribulation. That's right, I'm in lovely, wet, horrible Houston, TX. No offense to readers who might live here, but how the heck does anything but moss and possibly elemental beings made out of steaming hot water live here? Maybe some prehistoric lizards.

I've done the obligatory "Dead Whore Check" of our room and I have deemed it Dead Whore free. Thanks, Robert Rodriguez, for making me paranoid out of my gord about prostitute corpses stuffed in hotel nooks and crannies.

More to come from RT 2007-- now corpse free!-- later.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

It Must Feel Colder In Hell Today...

...because I cleaned my office. It's a miracle.

I tend to find that while I'm writing a book, my office is a nightmare of filth. I just finished writing book four and suddenly I was no longer blind to the seriously unsanitary conditions and precariously stacked empty diet coke cans teetering unsafely in the stagnant breeze.

Because I do not want to get Tetnus and also because I had nothing better to do, I cleaned up my office. It's a banner day that comes about once a year, I think, so I'm going to celebrate with this post, which I will call:

Jenny's Office: By The Numbers
(Distances are approximate. Void where prohibited.)

400 books of various genres and subjects
200 feet to Jenny's doctor's office from her office.
50 Disney trading pins
16 ugly unicorn statues, suncatchers, pictures and general bric-a-brac
14 decks of tarot cards
11 folios of sheet music
8 Bertrice Small novels
7 Earth, Wind and Fire albums
5 Musical instruments (trombone, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, Yamaha keyboard, bodhran)
4 quartz crystals
3 Little Apple Dolls
2 pictures of Herman Melville
1 crystal ball

Other assorted clutter includes various wigs and hats, a framed steak knife and a cross stitched sampler of my favorite phrase "Nevermind, I'll do it myself" translated into Scots Gaelic.

How does this enviroment, when free from dirty dishes, empty cheetos bags and discarded black jelly beans, help me focus my scattered creative energy and funnel my ideas into one, cohesive fictional vision?

I have no idea.

In fact, I'm sure that if I was mauled by bears at a camp out and dragged off into the night, the family member assigned to sorting through my things and putting my affairs to order will probably give up half way through the job, shaking their head and saying, "It's a good thing she died, because she was clearly insane."

There was a point to this. Probably some Virgina Wolf-esque, room-of-one's-own type thing.

My office is clean! Wheee!

Friday, March 16, 2007

How Can A Genius Like Me Be So Bad At Technology?

I'm also bad at keeping up a blog. But that's because I'm on a deadline, dangit.

I'm bad at technology. I cannot install Flash player on my computer for some reason. Oh, it says it is installed. It lies. Like a rug.

I also can't navigate the murkey depths of, either. I tried to make a comment on a review there (for my own book, which was probably not the best decision I've ever made, but I try to live with no regrets) and I ended up continually deleting the post, over and over again. I'd get nearly done and I'd hit the wrong thing and the delete the entire post.

I don't understand it. How on earth can I function as an otherwise normal human, yet completely screw up something as simple as navigating a website?

In other news, I vow to be better at this whole "blog updating" thing. I don't understand how people manage it, really.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who came out to my signings last week. I know some of you drove a long, long way. Don't tax your engines, okay? I'm not that cool.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

World of Warcraft is exactly the sort of thing a motivated self-starter like myself needs to ruin her career. ^_^

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Well, the good news is that book two is out. The bad news is that I must not avoid google for three to six months. Why? Because I read negative reviews and end up yelling curse words at the computer screen.

I think of all the books that I've read and wanted to post scathing reviews of, and then I'm glad I didn't. Because somewhere there would be an author screaming obscenities at me.

The winter weather has finally arrived in Michigan. So much so that I can't see my garage from my house. And it's not a big distance, believe me. There is simply so much snow blowing out there that it's impossible.

Also, I have really bad eyes.

There wasn't a lot of point to this post, so... I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Wow, check out this GLOWING effing mention I got from

"Blood Fires: The Turning, Jennifer Armintrout (2006) - This debut by a fairly young author (she's 26) of the first in a violent vampire fiction series isn't a major disappointment, and it isn't boring. It's downright awful. My conclusion is that this is post-9/11 fiction for nihilists. Though the author created a couple of interesting characters and a difficult and intriguing tentative relationship for them, any interest I had was destroyed by one intimate scene that is the stuff of a true sadist's dream. I've no problem with gore in general; indeed, an oddly favorite moment in one of Anne Rice's vampire books features a couple of vampires literally breaking people's bones and devouring their bodies, yet a similar moment in this book nearly brought up my lunch. This was, for me, the worst book of the year. "

Okay, wow. It's somehow doubly harsh when someone calls your book "post-9/11 fiction for nihilists," "downright awful," "a true sadists dream" and "the worst book of the year," but can't even hate it enough to get the title right.