Thursday, April 30, 2009

There's not much for me to say today. I just need to get back into the habit of blogging. Because, let's be honest, it's easy to forget I'm here, especially after a year with no new releases. Don't forget about me, intarweb peeps! Especially when you're going to spend your money! Because I love money and I want some more!

And with good reason. Mr. Jen and I are going back to college. No, not sexy, co-ed dorms, raging parties, lots of fun college. Grown-up, dear God we're almost thirty and completely uneducated, this is going to be way more embarrassing if we wait until we're so old the newspaper reports that we're going back to college college. Mr. Jen is majoring in art. Me, Mrs. Jen, I am going into Automotive Technology.

In fact, I'm at college right now. I'm not currently in classes, but Mr. Jen had to do his pre-testing, so I came along so that I could re-aquatint myself with the student commons, which is this really cool area that looks like outside, inside, and has banana plants like I'm in Jurassic Park or something. There are also computers everywhere, freely available for everyone to use, with internet access, which is pretty much why on my transcript the last semester I attended here reads "Intro to Logic: 0.0 Astronomy 0.0 American History 4.0"

Things have totally changed, though. Like, there is wireless internet access now. We didn't have that when I was here before. And there are all sorts of people who look way younger than me. Scratch that, who ARE way younger than me. I refuse to concede that I do not look eighteen anymore.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This will never leave my head, or my heart.

Once, I had Julian Lennon's "Much Too Late For Goodbye" stuck in my head for twenty-one years.

I think this commercial will occupy that vacated space.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sometimes Good Things Happen, Sometimes Not.

Once upon a time, there was an author. She had written her lowly little first novel, about vampires. It was generally well-received, but it was one of those, "If you like it, you love it, if you don't, you hate it so much you wish you could destroy the very printing machine that spat it forth and cleanse it with fire," types of books.

The writer of the book was a bit taken aback at some of the vitriol spouted by some reviewers, namely Laurie Gold, who had this to say about Blood Fires:

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.

This review was, in my opinion, just a titch harsh. Also, it made my mom cry. Maybe that bothered me more than anything. No, wait, it was the allegations of nihilism and sadism and something about 9/11, which is sure to call everyone to attention. Because 9/11 was bad, right? Like, how this book was bad? That's the only thing I'm getting here, because I don't understand why on earth it was mentioned.

Anyway. I made a little joke of it, while inside my head I was screaming at the top of my lungs like Regina in "Mean Girls" after she finds out that the Calteen bars are responsible for her weight gain. Then, I got over it. It was in the past, and not everyone had to like my books, right?

Besides, I had this REALLY awesome review from Publisher's Weekly:

Armintrout's bold debut, the first book in a violent vampire series, bares its fangs early, unafraid to spill blood and vital organs from its very first pages. ER resident Dr. Carrie Ames tells the story of how, after being attacked and left for dead, she eventually realizes she's been "turned." Fellow vampire Nathan Grant saves Carrie from her sire's jealous lover, only to give Carrie a life-or-death ultimatum: either pledge allegiance to the Movement, a group of humanitarian vampires dedicated to the eradication of their own race, or perish for their cause. Feisty, independent Carrie would like to make up her own mind, but an invisible "blood tie" to Cyrus Kerrick, her evil sire, leaves her in his thrall—she can't help lusting after his body and power. A deadly game of wits develops between Carrie and Cyrus, whose desire for companionship masks his plot for world domination. Carrie, Cyrus and Nathan are all well drawn, as is the love triangle that develops among them. The book's level of gory detail—the narrator is, after all, a newly minted emergency room doctor—may put off all but the most stalwart of readers, but if you've got the stomach for it, this fast, furious novel is a squirm-inducing treat. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

They were even going to put "...this fast, furious novel is a squirm-inducing treat" right on the cover of my next book, and probably the ones after that! How could this possibly go wrong?

I mean, only if the same person who called my book "post-9/11 fiction for nihilists" was the same person who wrote that line. But that would be quite a strange coincidence.


Laurie Gold is EXACTLY the same person who wrote the positive PW review that is splashed all over my books, all over Amazon, any place that my publishers could put it.

But wait, there's more!

There was a post about it on!

Let's do a hypothetical scenario here, shall we? Let's say that you made... something. How about... a cake. You made this cake, and you took it to a bake sale. The next day, you find out that someone at the bake sale thought your cake was the worst cake ever. Not only was it the worst cake ever, it was post-9/11 cake for nihilists. But it's all good, because Bake Sale Weekly came out, and they seemed to think your cake was pretty darn good. So good, in fact, that you could probably use their opinion of your cake as a way to advertise future cakes that you make, and people might buy your cake based solely on the good reputation of Bake Sale Weekly. Bake Sale Weekly wouldn't LIE to their readers, would they? Of course they wouldn't. But then, you find out that the person who thought your cake was something out of a sadist's dream was the same person who thought it was good in Bake Sale Weekly. Gosh, aren't you glad you're not the dumb sucker who plastered those positive words all over your cake? Wouldn't that be humiliating?

And really, the fact that all of this was exposed back in February, and I'm just learning about it now, that's really the icing on that big fat humiliation cake. It's rather like being thirteen years old and getting your period at the popular girl's birthday party and no one tells you that you're walking around with a big stain on your jeans. You find out later, when you get home.

I have no idea what lesson one should take away from all of this. Maybe it's that you can't trust Publisher's Weekly for reviews. Maybe there's some vote trading going on between the Russian and French judges. Maybe I should read more.

I don't know what I'm going to take away from all of this. But right now, I feel like the girl with the sucky cake who got her period at the bake sale. Or something.

EDIT: This entire fiasco was not Laurie Gold's fault. Her original review was not positive, but it was changed by her editors at Publishers Weekly to be a positive review. I do not fault Laurie on this one.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spare me your pathetic excuses, Free Credit Report guy!

First of all, new blog look... I'm not quite feeling it.

But that's not why I came here today. I came here to talk about this jerk, this epic douche, this FREE CREDIT REPORT guy.

Okay, so by now, everyone knows, as reported, the guy does not, in fact, sing his own songs. He's some French-Canadian dude who lip-synchs about bad credit for the commercials. I'm not surprised at this deception, considering the company doesn't actually offer "free" credit reports.

But that's not what bugs the hell out of me.

By the way, if you have no clue what I'm talking about, I have gone selflessly out of my way to bring you up to speed on Free Credit Report Guy. All you have to do is click play.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Let's examine the reasons I hate this guy.

In the first commercial, he claims that a hacker stole his identity. Now, I ask you: who would want to steal this guy's identity? He's like, thirty-years-old and in a folk-rock band that sings about credit reports in their spare time. Also, he apparently didn't have a job. Listen to that song again. He was on a job hunt and couldn't get any other jobs because he had bad credit. That means some hacker stole his unemployed, garage band identity, and screwed up his life. Yeah, I'm so sure you would be in a job that doesn't require a nametag if only that evil hacker didn't steal your identity. That's your problem, not the fact that you obviously didn't bother to get a haircut before the interview. Now get back to busing tables, hippie!

In the next one, we learn that he has married his smokin' hot wife, who does laundry in their cramped basement apartment beneath her parents' house while he has band practice all over the place. What are they singing about? Oh, the usual. Like how his wife has messed up credit, so they can't get a house.


His WIFE has bad credit, so they can't get a house? Are you kidding me? Isn't this the guy who couldn't get a job other than working in a seafood restaurant because his credit was so bad? If her credit is just soooo abysmal, why not leave her off the loan application? What was that? Because you don't make enough at your Long John Silver's job to qualify for a mortgage? Yeah, that's what I thought. Take some responsibility for yourself, jackass. You're a thirty-year-old dude in a folk-rock band. It's not like living in a basement wasn't in your future, anyway.

Our third installment opens with our "hero" behind the wheel of a shitty used car, lamenting his ability to get a "cool convertible" or an "SUV." For someone who finds cars so damned important, his wishes were awfully vague when showing up at the dealership. That aside, he proceeds to say tell the viewer that his credit was "whack." What, no excuses this time? No blaming? He owns up to being too lazy to check his credit report... but what about being too lazy to pay off your debts? Yeah, that's what I thought. How's your McJob working out for you? Did they ever find that mysterious "hacker" who screwed it all up for you?

His wife is conspicuously absent from the remainder of the adverts. She probably got sick of listening to him sing about how much he regretted marrying her and lamenting his choice of love over material gain and divorced him. I don't blame her. I'm just surprised that he's not blaming his money problems on him.

The plot of the next commercial strives to capture the tumultuous time last year when gas cost approximately three-hundred dollars a gallon. Free Credit Report Guy buys a bike, because gas is too expensive. With his spotty credit history, I'm willing to bet his vehicle was repossessed. But whatever, let's listen to his story like we actually care. He goes to the bicycle shop, where his credit score thwarts him again, and he ends up with a bicycle that is decidedly uncool.

Again, back up.

He financed a bicycle? One that you could easily find for twenty-five bucks at a garage sale?

I think I have spotted the real reason behind his failure to keep a clean credit slate. Why the hell would you have to finance a bicycle? Where are all his tips from the restaurant going? Aside from his alimony payment, that is. Which can't be that much. A girl like his ex isn't going to stay single for long.

Apparently, his job at Margaritaville isn't working out so great, because he ends up working a catering job in the fifth spot. Here, he claims that someone opened a credit card in his name. Now, either he's the most unlucky motherfucker on the planet when it comes to identity theft, or he's just lying to cover his ass. I choose door number two. I also can't quite figure out if he's implying that the celebrity whose party he is waitstaffing at is the person who stole his identity. Sounds like wishful thinking to me. In fact, at this point, I think he might be suffering a major psychotic break. Maybe he's still in the basement apartment, just pretending to work for a catering company. The plot thickens.

At the start of our final adventure (to date) with Free Credit Report Guy, he has cracked under the pressure of having bad credit, and opted to run away to the RenFaire. Oh, there's a sound financial choice, right there. Do you have any idea how much those costumes probably cost? Have you ever been to a RenFaire? The food is ridiculously expensive? This guy has finally lost it. Also, I think he might have gotten that chick pregnant.

In conclusion, check your credit, kids. Otherwise, you'll end up in the SCA.

No, wait, that wasn't what I started out trying to prove.

Ah, fuck it. It's still a fair conclusion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nothing Important, Really.

At Barnes and Nobel there was a book called "Depression for Dummies." Wouldn't being called a dummy make you more depressed?

Doing dishes while listening to The Smiths makes you way more depressed than regular doing the dishes.