Thursday, June 20, 2013

50 Shades Freed recap Chapter 18 or "It wasn't called Jack & Karen, but it should have been"

Here are some links! They were sent to me by people! I didn't keep track of who! I'm a maverick!

Monday, June 17, 2013

ABB WARNING: Eve Thomas and #OneVoice

Hello, dear readers. Something has been going on for a little bit here that I have been ignoring, but I feel that since there are so many domestic violence survivors and so many writers who read this blog, I need to share a cautionary tale. It's long so bear with me.

Back when I started doing my 50 Shades of Grey recaps, I was approached on Twitter by an author named Eve Thomas. She was intense and passionate about the subject of domestic violence, and I twitter-friended her, because we hit it off and that's just what I do.

Eve was working on a book of survivor stories she was calling Fifty Shades of Abuse, for a charity called One Voice. The twitter hashtag is #OneVoice. Because we moved in the same twitter circles, she asked me if I could contribute a chapter for her book. I told her that I wasn't a survivor, and she suggested I write something about the dangers of Fifty Shades of Grey. At the time, I was already contributing an essay to 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey, and to be frank, I didn't want my entire career to become, "Hi, I'm that author who hates 50 Shades!" So, I told her I would consider it, but I didn't know if I could fit it in to my schedule.

Suddenly, I had all these people DMing me to warn me not to get involved with Eve or her projects. They provided me links to where she had previously called reviewers who'd given her books one star reviews "bullies," and expressed support for Stop The GoodReads Bullies, a website that uses abusive tactics to silence book reviewers. I was disappointed, but I liked Eve personally from the interactions I'd had with her. I didn't end up contributing to the book- I couldn't have if I wanted to, due to a conflicting deadline- but when it came out, I congratulated Eve and tweeted the link. I believed, at that point, that she truly cared about abuse victims and the book would reflect this.

After a few negative reviews on GoodReads, Eve admitted that the stories in the book had not been edited- a fact that these reviewers called out. Her reasoning was to present the survivors' stories in their exact words, in their voice. Voices that, one review points out, are identical to Eve Thomas's own voice in many of the chapters. Eve's online supporters came out in force to argue with anyone who gave the book a bad review. Some of them conflated criticism of the book with complicity in domestic violence and child abuse. I was disappointed to see Eve thank and congratulate these people via Twitter, assuring them that their actions were helping survivors.

At this time, stuff gets kind of hazy, because it was a lot of weird and off-putting coming hard and fast from a lot of different sources. On her blog, Eve continued to interpret the bad reviews as "bullying" and an attempt by abuse apologists and woman haters to silence the victims of domestic violence. She drew a line in the stand against these "bullies" and allegedly called her local police to report them.

One of the "bullies" keeping tabs on all of this was a blogger I absolutely adore, Tez Miller. Tez is a reader, reviewer, and book blogger familiar to basically every genre fiction writer I've ever met. She blogged about her concerns related to the One Voice book and Eve Thomas's handling of the situation. You can read that blog entry here.

I've known Tez for a very, very long time, so you can imagine my surprise when this showed up in my Twitter DMs:

I have known Tez online since 2006. I figured there must be some mistake.

Eve sent me a link to this blog post, which has since been edited to remove Tez Miller's name.

If you read further through Eve's blog, you begin to get a sense that something  is... not quite right. She refers to the people who object to her behavior or question the legitimacy of her unregistered charity (and the GoodReads staff who closed her account for spamming) as trolls, bullies, international gang members, cyberterrorists, and child abusers:
"Amazon/Goodreads this time this will not go away.  You are permitting the destruction of #OneVoice, you are permitting the destruction of my career, but most of all you are permitting the abuse and bullying of innocent people and turning a blind eye to the sexual role play that goes on with minors present, the threats, violence and attacks all with minors present and you do nothing about it!"
 At this point, I'm going "Okay, I really fucking dodged a bullet by not submitting to her anthology." I was furious that she was trying to discredit people I trusted with such middle school tactics- and more furious that she thought I was dumb enough to fall for them- but she still had a ton of supporters, some of them people I had met through my 50 Shades of Grey blogging, and I didn't want to hurt those relationships, so I kept my mouth shut. I told Eve that I felt she was out of line and blocked her on Twitter. Out of sight, out of mind.

Yesterday, I was made aware of two things that made me say, "Ah, fuck it, I can't keep quiet about this anymore."

Thing #1: Eve Thomas is bullying and abusing people in domestic violence situations. In this link, complete with screencaps, Eve contacts a survivor of a past domestic violence situation and aggressively demands to know all the legal details of the case. She tells the survivor that she shouldn't be asking for donations to her legal fund because the "chains of the past" are "obviously holding you down." She is trying to set herself up not just as legal counsel here, but as a therapist, as well. Eve then contacts the police, without any prompting or request on the survivor's part. This is a hugely dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. Never contact any agency on behalf of someone in a DV situation unless they have expressly asked you to do so. Eve goes on to lecture this person about asking for money for help in her specific case. This coming from a woman running an unregistered charity?

Thing #2: Eve Thomas is stalking and bullying writers who contributed to the Fifty Shades of Abuse book. Remember those very nice people I met on line, who were involved in Eve's book and who I didn't want to break contact with? That's really not an issue anymore.

One writer, frustrated with Eve's behavior, asked to have her contribution removed from the book (these are copy/pasted from DM responses I received; I'm not going to correct them for typos or anything):
 I wanted it pulled because she is bullying DV survivors who have disagreed with her heavy handed tactics, she manipulates and guilts people into not pulling their chapters because "think of the charities!", she says "that's all I will say" and then keeps harping on things she tells people to stop "harassing" her and to not contact, but she continues to mention them while telling her side. Man this just keeps going..... She screencaps tweets out of context and posts them as "proof of conspiracy," and she RTs things people say to her just so that her followers will jump up in defense of her, affirming to her that she is right and the other people are just mean Nasty women who want to silence her. She wants to speak for all women while ignoring and disempowering those of us who disagree with her. Oh, and now her supporters are accusing me of lying even though I truthfully stated that she has yet to pull the book even though we have reclaimed our personal copyrights and revoked permissions on our submissions. What's flooring me is that she publicly posts these tweets, and when we call her on it, we are accused of abuse and lying, etc.. And her "team" as she calls them goes to bat for her even though there's proof that she is the one doing the bullying. Blargh!! And if the word "gaslighting" hasn't been emphasized enough yet, that might need to be in there. About a hundred times.
"Gas Lighting" is a form of mental abuse that involves the denial of valid memories and aggressive attempts to reframe reality in order to make the victim believe the abuse isn't happening. For example, her repeated insistance that people had contacted her and asked for help, when it was Eve Thomas who initiated contact and offered help.

Another author who wanted her submission removed tried to set aside her differences with Eve in order to get her chapter out of the book. It did not, and continues to not, go well (again, c/ping from Twitter DMs, no corrections):
I've just had an email from her, accusing me of emotional abuse (exactly what I suffered through my ex, as she knows) and Warning me that every message I've sent to her could be sent to the police as part of a harassment suit against me (despite them all being Sent in response to messages she sent me first). She has warned me never to mention the term "" in public ever again or action will Be taken against me. I'm just sat here like... WTF JUST HAPPENED?! Thankfully I've screen capped everything, but just... Ugh. she's still @ mentioning me, but threatening me with police if I mention her. She has also now admitted that she is "monitoring" my tweets, so I've had to go onto protected mode. I haven't felt this violated since I was with my abusive ex. :-(
When I asked why this writer wanted her chapter pulled, she said:
I'd been unhappy with the way Eve was portraying herself for a while, but had put our personal disagreement to one side. But when I saw how she acted with [redacted], when she contacted the police without her consent and potentially put her in danger, I realised I really didn't want be associated with Eve in any way. Her subsequent actions/comments made my mind up that I felt uneasy at being a part of a project I now believe is the brainchild of someone who really shouldn't be putting herself forward as some kind of "saviour" of abuse victims.
By this morning, things had gotten worse:
Just for added info; I've blocked all Eve's email accounts, so she appears to have set up a new one in order to continue contacting me. :-/  I feel tragic saying this, but she genuinely scares me. I told her I was ceasing contact and wouldn't resond to further emails... ...yet they just keep on coming. With more threats of "police action" if I don't "cease" my "behaviour." Honestly think she's bonkers. :-/ 

Eve Thomas has set up a charity that is unregulated and unregistered. She is selling the Fifty Shades of Abuse book on the platform that all proceeds will be distributed to "charities around the world," but has yet to offer any proof that the funds are going anywhere but to One Voice. She is misrepresenting and stalking survivors who contributed to that book when they've asked to have their submissions removed due to concerns over her clearly deteriorating credibility as a domestic violence awareness campaigner.

So, what can you do, if you've become involved with Eve Thomas or her supporters and now you want out?

If you have submitted any material to the Fifty Shades of Abuse book, request to have it pulled and returned. Eve Thomas says that "every penny" of profit from the book will go to charity. We have no proof that this is the case. Do not allow her to use "think of the charities" as a defense or a reason to pressure you into dropping your copyright claims if you did not sign a contract with her or had only a verbal agreement with her (this appears to be the case with a couple of authors). Here is an excellent link that explains how to take the first steps.

If Eve contacts you online about abuse you have experience or are currently experiencing, do not engage. Eve is very friendly and personable, and it's easy to get drawn in by her "sweetie" and "honey" lingo. I believe she absolutely does care about survivors of domestic violence, but her perception of help is deeply flawed. She also has a habit of retweeting interactions to her supporters, so if you have engaged her on twitter, you may receive harassment from her followers. Do not engage with them, either.

Do not give Eve Thomas any information about yourself, your DV situation, or any pending legal issues. She has displayed a willingness to insinuate herself into these matters and could cause real damage. No matter how she pressures, do not reveal personal information.

If Eve threatens you with legal action, save everything. Save tweets, DMs, emails. If she makes a new account to contact you (as she has done with others), keep track of that identity, too. It might come in handy later if she ever does manage to make a case against someone for "cyberterrorism" or "bullying," though I find it very difficult to believe that the "international investigation" she refers to her in blog is anything more than a delusion on Eve's part.

I hesitated to say anything about this whole mess. My interaction with Eve was nowhere near as bad as some people are experiencing. But I know there are writers, readers, and DV survivors at this blog who may have come into contact with Eve through me, either here or on Twitter. That makes me feel horribly responsible. I would not forward any of this information if I weren't truly concerned about the implications of this woman's actions. Contacting outside agencies on behalf of DV victims and survivors is DANGEROUS. Bullying, stalking, and harassing survivors is WRONG. And misusing police resources in order to report readers and reviewers as cyberterrorists because they didn't like your book? That's a level of self-importance and delusion that is FRIGHTENING.

I truly believe Eve Thomas thinks she is helping people. I also believe her when she says she feels abused, victimized, and bullied by these events. However, the fact remains that the only person doing anything abusive is Eve Thomas herself. I strongly urge anyone to gather as much information as possible before becoming involved with her charity, her publishing projects, or her, personally.

Live and learn, I guess.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

That Time I Made Jessica Jarman Watch A Royal Affair

You may recall that last week I forced my dear friend Bronwyn Green to watch what is probably the saddest, most dramatic, most cheekbones-havingest costume porn of all time, A Royal Affair. As she watched it, she IMed me so that we could share the experience.

My friend and fellow romance novelist Jessica Jarman had not yet seen the film. Bronwyn and I felt we had an obligation to bully her into watching it. So that's what we did. And then... this happened:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A bad case of the "I Don't Wanna!"s and how to make rainbow cupcakes that are amazing.

Friends. Friends.

I have a really bad case of the "I Don't Wanna!"s.

I think this has something to do with the fact that the last week of school for my children was really busy and hectic, and frankly, I'm a lazy person. I've been really enjoying sleeping and getting up and not cleaning my kitchen and writing all day long on projects I want to work on. But that means I've been loathe to meet my other obligations, as evidenced by the week of no recaps last week. While I realize that most of you are cool with stuff posting just whenever, I feel like I have a responsibility to myself to stay on track with the schedule I've set for myself.

OH! That reminds me: for all you Roadhouse watchers, the last episode we filmed? Was amazing. Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong with the video. All we have is the audio. I'm working on a way to make that work. So, right now we're on a brief hiatus while I figure out a new way to film the show, fix the stuff we filmed, and plan on this NEVER HAPPENING AGAIN. This happened to us before, we filmed the perfect show and the file just VANISHED. We just have to stop filming good shows, I guess.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Schedules and the "I Don't Wanna!"s. I've been writing like it's a compulsion. All I do, all day long, until my husband begs me to stop, is write. Yes, this is what I'm usually like, but somehow it's different over this past week. It's been less, "I am writing because it is my job and I enjoy it," more, "I am writing because IT CONSUMES ME UNTIL ALL THAT IS LEFT IS BONE AND ASH." And the weird thing is... I Don't Wanna. I don't want to write. I want to do other stuff. In eight days, I'm going on a retreat to an isolated cabin on the Keeweenaw peninsula, for the soul purpose of finishing The Girlfriend- or, at least, getting it very close to being finished- and trying to spot Mishipeshu. I know I've got a busy summer ahead of me when I get back, with revisions for Such Sweet Sorrow and proposals for the next two books in that series (Wondrous Strange), publishing the POD and e-book versions of The Boss and The Girlfriend, finishing and shopping out a proposal for another vampire series, and writing Raptors of The Great Plains. Maybe that's why I'm locked into the "I Don't Wanna!"s right now, as well as the compulsive writing.

There's no real point to telling you all of this, I just find it interesting/slightly worrying from a mental health standpoint. I'm going back and forth between wondering if this is a healthy thing going on, or the beginning of some mania.

But now, let me teach you how to make some amazing cupcakes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

That Time I Made Bronwyn Green Watch A Royal Affair

I'm not ashamed to say that when I find a movie or a TV show I love, I bully pretty much everyone I know into watching the same thing. Well, no. Scratch that. There are some things I know certain friends will never be into- I'm never going to marathon Adventure Time with my friend Cristin, for example, but D-Rock totally has me covered- so I make my recommendations/pleas/demands based on what I think people will like.

Hey, you know what my friend, erotic romance author Bronwyn Green, likes? SHIT THAT WILL MAKE HER CRY. So, when I watched A Royal Affair, a movie about Caroline Mathilda of Denmark and that time her boyfriend kind of took over the monarchy and stuff, I was like, "This is right up Bronwyn's alley.

I was originally going to write a short review and tell all of you guys to watch this movie if you haven't already, but what follows here is the transcript of our IMs as I forced Bronwyn to watch the movie and suffer as I suffered. I think it stands as a better testament of why you have to watch this thing.

It also gives you a pretty good example of why you never, ever, EVER, give me your IM name.

(I don't know why I'm including a spoiler warning here, because the movie is sort of loosely based on events that took place in actual European history over two-hundred years ago, but, you know. SPOILERS or whatever.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S01E12: "Prophecy Girl"

In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will never be quite successful at her attempts to cook quinoa. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow's magic is utterly useless (this one won't be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn't as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.

WARNING: Some people have mentioned they're watching along with me, and that's awesome, but I've seen the entire series already and I'll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So... you know, take that under consideration, if you're a person who can't enjoy something if you know future details about it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This is how you can tell I'm a terrible person...

I'm reading the outraged comments on the latest chapter of The Boss, and my face is like this:

You guys have made my week.

New BtVS recap is in the works, see you soon!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

50 Shades Freed recap Chapter Seventeen or "Grey's Anatomy"

Someone sent me this link: Scott Shepherd Hit My Friend and I'm sorry, I don't remember who sent it to me, but it's worth reading. It's a perfect example of how society punishes women for their abuse.

In this link, Laci Green describes the differences between a healthy relationship and a not healthy relationship. NSFW, language wise.

And Yahoo! has everything under control, kinksters (many folks sent me this link) BDSM practitioners aren't mentally ill: study. Basically, rest easy, you're not into kink

When we last left Ana, she had just gotten a call saying her father was in the hospital.
"Mr. Rodriguez, what's happened?" My voice is hoarse and thick with unshed tears. Ray. Sweet Ray. My dad.
I love it when the first lines of a chapter are super clumsy.

Ray has been in a car accident, and he's been transfered to a hospital in Portland:
Portland? What the hell is he doing in Portland?
Yeah, why didn't they take him to Seattle Grace?

 Seattle Grace is on Ana's proscribed list of hospitals. Because this.

Actually, it's better that they didn't take Ana's dad to Seattle Grace, because there are too many evil hot chicks there:
And of course, an evil gay man. Look at all of them, plotting to steal Ana's husband. Especially the blonde.

Ray has been airlifted to the Oregon Health and Sciences university hospital, and Mr. Rodriguez and José OMG I CAN ACTUALLY PUT THE ACCENT MARK IN BLOGGER'S COMPOSE MODE?! WHEN THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN?!

Ahem. José and his father will meet Ana in Portland. She calls her boss up and tells him what's going on, and tells Hannah to cancel all her appointments for the rest of the day and Monday. Which, of course, is going to affect her birth control shot again. I don't want to spoiler it for anyone, but Ana MAAAAAAY be pregnant.

Hannah says:
"I hope he's okay. Don't worry about anything here. We'll muddle through."
Keeping in mind that Ana has worked there all of three months, three weeks of which she was on her honeymoon, is she really that integral to daily operations? Or by "muddle through" does Hannah mean, "We'll somehow manage to make it through our days without your husband dropping by to cause a scene and interrupt us all?"
The concern etched on her pinched, pale face is almost my undoing.
Even in crisis, Ana can think of the most unflattering adjectives possible to describe another woman.

Ana orders Sawyer to take her to Portland. This is how it goes down:
"We're going to Portland- now."
"Okay, ma'am," he says, frowning, but opens the door.
Moving is good.
"Mrs. Grey," Sawyer asks as we race toward the parking lot. "Can I ask why we're making this unscheduled trip?"
"It's my dad. He's been in an accident."
"I see. Does Mr. Grey know?"
"I'll call him from the car."
Compare this to Ana's interaction with Prescott in the chapter before, and earlier in the book when she goes out for drinks with Kate. Prescott fought with Ana over seeing Leila and going out with Kate, and ultimately she was fired when Ana did what she wanted to do. Ana just told Sawyer she's making an unscheduled trip to another state, and he's like, "Yes, ma'am." There is no chance of him getting fired, because he's a white male. And you might be thinking, "But Jenny, this is an emergency, her father is in the hospital." To you, I say, "This is Christian Fucking Grey. Why wouldn't he fire someone for driving Ana out of state without his express permission, even in an emergency? He only wants to keep her safe."

Ana tries to call Christian, but she gets his assistant, instead. She leaves a message and then he calls her immediately back, so... what was the point of a page-long conversation with his assistant? Why did we have to read that? She doesn't have any ECIF (external conflict/internal feelings) about not being able to reach Christian, it has nothing to do with the plot, but we had to read it because E.L. is, at this point, bored of writing this story and she's adding unneeded shit to pad out her word count.

Ana talks to Christian and tells him her father has been in an accident and she's heading to Portland. Christian is going to fly there to meet her, but he can't come for about three hours:
Oh shit. Charlie Tango is back in commission and the last time Christian flew her...
"I have a meeting with some guys over from Taiwan. I can't blow them off. It's a deal we've been hammering out for months."
Why do I know nothing about this?
Do we really need an answer here? Ana, you didn't know your husband had a list of people your security team was supposed to forbid you from seeing. Why would he tell you jack or shit about his business?

PS. Christian could have just said, "I'll meet you in three hours," but he had to be sure to mention flying. For a moment there, Ana was almost worried about someone other than Christian, which is obviously unacceptable.
After hanging up, I hug my knees once more. I know nothing about Christian's business. What the hell is he doing with the Taiwanese?
Ana knows nothing about his business, but she somehow finds it odd or incongruous that he would be working with a company from Taiwan? Why do we even have this thought in here? Shouldn't she be more concerned about the fact that her father has been airlifted somewhere after a horrible accident?
He must fly safely. My stomach knots anew and nausea threatens. Ray and Christian. I don't hink my heart could take that. Leaning back, I start my mantra again: Please let him be okay. Please let him be okay.
We all know she's talking about Christian and not her dad now, right?

After a section break, they arrive at OHSU:
My mind flits back to my last visit to OHSU, when, on my second day, I fell off a stepladder at Clayton's, twisting my ankle. I recall Paul Clayton hovering over me and shudder at the memory.
Now, we remember that Paul asked Ana out and she wasn't in to him. Maybe it's because it's been a year since I read the first book, but was he really like, so creepy and bad that you wouldn't want him to help you if you twisted your ankle? And hey, Ana, maybe he was hovering over you because you were a brand new employee and he was worried you'd sue his family business. But either way, this paragraph is stuck in here to remind us that Ana has never, ever had naughty down there feelings for any man other than Christian, and men are able to form intense and creepy obsessions with Ana in a mere two days. This is important to remember, because in the OR waiting room, she runs into José:
"Ana!" Mr. Rodriguez gasps. His arm is in a cast, and his cheek is bruised on one side. He's in a wheelchair with one of his legs in a cast, too. I gingerly wrap my arms around him.
If you're having a hard time picturing this totally original, wheelchair bound character, allow me to provide some help:

It's not plagiarism if everybody ignores it!

José gives Ana a hug:
José gently strokes my hair. I wrap my arms around his neck and softly weep. We stand like this for ages, and I'm so grateful that my friend is here. We pull apart when Sawyer joins us in the waiting room.
Because he'll inform on you to your husband. At this point, Sawyer mumbles into his headset, "She touched another man, sir. Should we initiate protocol Othello?" No, just kidding, that doesn't happen. But let's be honest here, we all know it could.
José holds up his hands to halt my barrage of questions and sits down beside me. "We don't have any news. Ray, Dad, and I were on a fishing trip to Astoria. We were hit by some stupid fucking drunk- "
Mr. Rodriguez tries to interrupt, stammering an apology.
"Cálmate, Papa," José snaps. "I don't have a mark on me, just a couple of bruised ribs and a knock on the head. Dad... well, Dad broke his wrist and ankle. But the car hit the passenger side and Ray."

According to Google maps, it taks about two hours and forty-six minutes to drive from Seattle, where Ana works, to Portland, where her dad is in the hospital. Mr. Rodriguez told Ana on the phone that he was about to leave the hospital in Astoria at the beginning of the chapter. But he has already a) been seen by doctors b) been sent for xrays c) had those xrays read, and d) been casted and released from the ER. Then he drove to the hospital and got there before Ana did. That entire "You've got a broken leg" process takes a lot of time, so... why didn't José call Ana to tell her? If he was fine, why did he wait until his dad was discharged for anyone to let Ana know that her father was seriously injured? Either the timeline here doesn't make sense, or the Rodriguezs are jerks.
Oh no, no... Panic swamps my limbic system again. 
I get that Ana is supposed to be really, super smart, but how many times does the average person, in the middle of a serious emotional crisis, think, "My hippocampus is totally doing [x] right now?"

Ana is freezing, so José gives her his jacket and Sawyer gets her some tea:
Sawyer reenters, bearing a paper cup of hot water and a separate tea bag. He knows how I take my tea!
...made out of hot water and a tea bag? I don't...
We wait... and wait. Mr. Rodriguez with his eyes closed, praying I think, and José holding my hand and squeezing it every now and then. I slowly sip my tea. It's not Twinings, but some cheap nasty brand, and it tastes disgusting.
Like Twinings is the most posh and exclusive tea brand that there is? I'm dying. Twinings is like three dollars a box.
I remember the last time I waited for news. The last time I thought all was lost, when Charlie Tango went missing.
The tea was better then. It was rich people tea.
Closing my eyes, I offer up a silent prayer for the safe passage of my husband. I glance at my watch. 2:15 p.m. He should be here soon. My tea is cold... Ugh!
The order of storytelling importance in this chapter is:
  1. Tea
  2. Whether or not Christian gets in another helicopter crash
  3. Ray might die
Sorry, Ray. It's hard to compete with those one and two slots.
Christian strides in. His face darkens momentarily when he notices my hand in José's.
Really, Chedward? Really? You think she's trolling for a piece of ass in the hospital waiting room while her dad is fighting for his life? Way not trust your wife. What makes this even worse is, Ana doesn't even think, "Wow, I can't believe he really think I would cheat on him when my father is being operated on? What kind of person does he think I am?" She thinks:
Then I'm wrapped in his arms, his nose in my hair, and I'm inhaling his scent, his warmth, his love. A small part of me feels calmer, stronger, and more resilient because he's here. Oh, the difference his presence makes to my peace of mind.
So, there's that.

José introduces Christian to Mr. Rodriguez:
"Mr. Rodriguez- we met at the wedding. I take it you were in the accident, too?"
No, Christian, the wheelchair and casts are his Halloween costume, he thought he'd wear them to the hospital to see how convincing they were.

Once Christian has been filled in on the details of the accident, it's time to continue with his unchecked insecurity over Ana's friendship with José:
"Have you eaten?" he asks.
I shake my head.
"Are you hungry?"
I shake my head.
"But you're cold?" he asks, eyeing José's jacket.
I nod. He shifts in his chair, but wisely says nothing.
That's right. He's subtly letting Ana know how upset he is to have found her associating with José without his permission. So, I'm guessing we know at least one name on that "proscribed list."

A doctor comes in to update Ana on her father's condition:
"You're his next of kin?" the doctor asks. His bright blue eyes almost match his scrubs, and under any other circumstances I would have found him attractive.
 So what you're saying is... they did go to Seattle Grace?
"I'm his daughter, Ana."
"Miss Steele-"
"Mrs. Grey," Christian interrupts him.
"My apologies," the doctor stammers, and for a moment I want to kick Christian.
Welcome to the club, Ana. Not the Sub Club, just the club of people who want to cause bodily harm to Christian Grey. Seriously, sit down, little boy. This is not about you.
"He's suffered severe internal injuries," Dr. Crowe says, "principally to his diaphragm, but we've managed to repair them, and we were able to save his spleen. Unfortunately, he suffered a cardiac arrest during the operation because of blood loss. We managed to get his heart going again, but this remains a concern. [...]"
No shit? His heart stopping is a concern? I never would have guessed. Also, excuse me, but if he was in that much danger of bleeding out, why did they attempt to save his spleen? If it were damaged and bleeding and he was that bad off, a surgeon would just take it out. In fact, until recently, a surgeon wasn't going to try and save your punctured spleen at all.

Here's another thing I don't understand- and if there are any trauma doctors or surgeons who read this blog, or medical school students or what have you, feel free to correct me on this stuff, I'm not a doctor- but if they were taken to the hospital in Astoria first, wouldn't they have treated the massive internal bleeding themselves to stabilize him, then sent him via helicopter to OHSU? It seems like peritoneal lavage would have been performed when Charlie  Ray first came into the ER, and with a ruptured or punctured spleen they would have had to act fast. Dr. Crowe goes on to tell Ana that her father has a closed head injury, something that could have necessitated a transfer to a larger hospital, but it just seems sketch to me that they'd put someone with abdominal bleeding that bad in a helicopter and fly them to another hospital.
"And what's the prognosis?" Christian asks coolly.
"Mr. Grey, it's difficult to say at the moment. It's possible he could make a complete recovery, but that's in God's hands now."
I would be so mad if a doctor ever said that to me. Not just because I hate the default "of course everyone believes in God," but because it sounds like they're saying, "Well... basically... done here. Don't have a lot of interest in... you know. Saving your loved one. Let's just see what happens."

Ana gets permission to go see Ray, and Christian offers Sawyer's driving services to José and Mr. Rodriguez. Before they leave, José and Ana have a tender goodbye:
"Stay strong, Ana," José whispers in my ear. "He's a fit and healthy man. The odds are in his favor."
Let's try to remember which young adult franchise we're plagiarizing and when, okay, dear?

I hug him hard. Then, releasing him, I shrug off his jacket and hand it back to him.
"Keep it, if you're still cold."
"No, I'm okay. Thanks." Glancing nervously up at Christian, I see that he's regarding us impassively. Christian takes my hand.
Then he lifts his leg and pees on her, just in case all the other men in the hospital don't realize that she belongs to him.
And with that they leave. Christian and I are alone. He caresses my cheek. "You're pale. Come here." He sits down on the chair and pulls me onto his lap, folding me into his arms again, and I go willingly. I snuggle up against him, feeling oppressed by my stepfather's misfortune, but grateful that my husband is here to comfort me. He gently strokes my hair and holds my hand.
"How was Charlie Tango?" I ask.
He grins. "Oh, she was yar," he says, quiet pride in his voice. It makes me smile properly for the the first time in several hours, andI glance at him, puzzled.
"It's a line from The Philadelphia Story. Grace's favorite film."
"I don't know it."
"I think I have it on Blu-Ray at home. We can watch it and make out."
Her dad is in a coma.

What's the point of introducing a quirky new phrase for a character two thirds of the way through the third and final (oh god, I pray it is the final) book? Just to fill space? So he can impress Ana with his knowledge of old movies? Why did this scene feel like a good fit here? Was any of this information needed by the reader at all?

No? It's just a self-indulgent crapfest, you say? All right, then, carry on.

Christian tells Ana about the Taiwanese shipyard he's just purchased. It's cheaper to build ship hulls in Taiwan. But what about the shipyard and the workers he already has in the states?
"We'll redeploy. We should be able to keep redundancies to a minimum." He kisses my hair.
Oh baby, talk some more of that sexy talk about shipping American jobs overseas. It gets me all hot and squirmy to think of you two fucking idiots rolling around in a bed covered in money and your love juices while some blue collar shipyard worker gets told he's a redundancy and ends up moving his family of four out of their foreclosed house and into a two bedroom apartment.

But enough with Christian's business, let's go into the ICU to see Ray. He's in a bad way. I won't quote the whole description, but he's on a ventilator, he's got a cast on one leg, and his chest is covered in a big bandage. This is all very disturbing to Ana, but not so disturbing that she can't notice a few key details about the situation:
"A petite young nurse stands to one side, checking his monitors.
"Can I touch him?" I ask her, tentatively reaching for his hand.
"Yes." She smiles kindly Her badge says KELLIE RN, and she must be in her twenties. She's blonde with dark, dark eyes.
Ana. Your father is in a coma. Do you really need to point out to us that his nurse is not a natural blonde?

Okay, okay. I'm caught. I'm criticizing something that is actually a crucial plot detail, because you see, just a few lines later, this happens:
"All Mr. Steele's vitals are good," Nurse Kellie says quietly.
"Thank you," Christian murmurs. I glance up in time to see her gape. She's finally gotten a good look at my husband. I don't care. She can gape at Christian all she likes as long as she makes my father well again.
See, we know that Kellie is no threat to Ana right now because she's not a natural blonde. If E.L. hadn't included the description of Kellie's blonde hair and dark eyes, we would never have known that her blonde beauty was artifice, and we, the vapid, shallow readership of this crap,  would have been more concerned with the possibility of yet another evil!blonde ruining Ana's perfect fairy tale happiness. You know, instead of worrying about the dude in the bed in the coma.
"Can he hear me?" I ask.
"He's in a deep sleep. But who knows?"
Nurses do. Nurses know that coma patients can hear what's going on around them. I worked in an ICU/NCU, and I heard nurses every day telling people to talk to their loved ones, because they could hear them, or turning on the television so the people in the coma had noise to listen to. And this isn't some big mystery or anything; people who have been in comas often report that they were aware of what was happening around them.
"Can I sit for a while?"
"Sure thing." She smiles at me, her cheeks pink from a telltale blush. Incongruously, I find myself thinking blonde is not her true color.
No, Ana, that's not incongruous. You often think jealous, bitter, and uncharitable thoughts about other women and their appearances. Who do you think you're fooling here?

Christian goes out to make a phone call, while Ana stays with Ray and talks to him:
Very quietly, so as not to disturb anyone, I tell him about our weekend in Aspen and about last weekend when we were soaring and sailing aboard The Grace. I tell him about our new house, our plans, about how we hope to make it ecologically sustainable. I promise to take him to Aspen so he can go fishing with Christian and assure him that Mr. Rodriguez and José will both be welcome, too.
Worst. Coma. Ever. Can you imagine being unable to wake up, move your body, speak, but you have to listen to Anastasia Rose Steele talk to you? I would suggest they make a Twilight Zone episode about it, but I'm sure E.L. would just see Twilight in the title and plagiarize that, too. Plus, Ana is lying to this poor man; there's no way in hell José is ever going to Aspen with them.

After a while, Christian suggests they check into a hotel so Ana can rest and stay close to the hospital. Gosh, I wonder where they'll go?
The suite at the Heathman looks just as I remember it. How often have I thought about that first night and morning I spent with Christian Grey? I stand in the entrance to the suite, paralyzed. Jeez, it all started here.
Yeah, three long, long months ago, when your dreamy romance boyfriend kidnapped you from a night out with your friends and brought your unconscious body here and put you in his bed. He is truly Prince Charming.
"Do you want a shower? A bath? What do you need, Ana?" Christian gazes at me, and I know he's rudderless- my lost boy dealing with events beyond his control. He's been withdrawn and contemplative all afternoon. This is real life in the raw, and he's kept himself from that for so long, he's exposed and helpless now. My sweet, sheltered Fifty Shades.
I'm glad Ana is concentrating on the most important part of this whole ordeal with her father being on deaths' door: how Christian is handling it and whether or not he's able to fulfill his yearning for absolute control. Because I totally care about that psychopath's internal struggle right now.
"Oh, Ana," Christian murmurs. "I've not seen you like this. You're normally so brave and strong."
No she isn't.

They go to take a bath together, and Ana asks Christian if he got in the bathtub with Leila when he bathed her after her breakdown. He says he didn't, and then Ana asks how long he's going to support Leila.
"Until she's on her feet. I don't know." He shrugs. "Why?"
"Are there others?"
"Exes who you support."
"There was one, yes. No longer though."
"She was studying to be a doctor. She's qualified now and has someone else."

"Leila says you have two of her paintings," I whisper.
"I used to. I didn't really care for them. They had technical merit, but they were too colorful for me. I think Elliot has them As we know, he has no taste."
I giggle, and he wraps his other arm around me, sloshing water over the side of the bath.
"That's better," he whispers and kisses my temple.
"He's marrying my best friend."
"Then I'd better shut my mouth," he says.
Christian is being a good partner by distracting Ana with her favorite subject: dissing other women. Ana should be feeling a lot better about herself and her dad's situation now.

After a section break there is a pointless scene in which Christian gripes about Paul at Clayton's having a crush on Ana, because that is just unacceptable that any man laid eyes on her before Christian Grey came along, then there is another section break. In another pointless section, Ana and Christian talk about how young Ana looks and how she's going to be a year older the next day, and then Christian tries to get her to eat again, but she just wants to go back to the hospital.

Remember how I said before that these recaps would get shorter because not much was happening in the book? It is super evident in this chapter. The weird thing is, there's almost too much plot happening at any one time in the storyline, but there still is nothing happening now. Which means that when the plot actually does happen, it will be wrapped up with unrealistic speed. So if you've been really concerned and worried that the book might get unexpectedly good and there will be nothing to be angry over or to mock, don't worry. That definitely does not happen.

Christian and Ana go back to the ICU so Ana can say goodnight to her father. José is there, visiting, but he's just about to leave:
José eyes Christian quickly, then pulls me into a brief hug. "Mañana."
"I'M MEXICAN!" José screams, pulling a sombrero and serape out of no where before playing a jaunty tune with his Tejano band.
"He's still nuts about you," Christian says quietly.
"No he's not. And even if he is... " I shrug because right now I just don't care.
"And even if he is... it doesn't matter, because you've put your tiny golden shackle on me, and I'll be your prisoner forever."

Isn't it amazing how we're all reading this book where we're rooting for the heroine to end up with the guy who was basically going to date rape her in the first book of the series? Because compared to the guy she's actually with, he seems like the best option? What the fuck, world?
"Well done," I murmur.
He frowns.
"For not frothing at the mouth."
We're giving him praise for not causing a scene at her possibly dying father's beside over his petty insecurities. DREEEEEAAAAAM MAN.

Not a lot happens in this hospital visit, except Christian has had his mother and a Dr. Sluder, an "expert in her field," come to evaluate Ray's condition. Dr. Sluder assures Ana that her father will be okay. We don't learn what Dr. Sluder's field is. For all we know, it's farming mushrooms or building yurts or something.

After a section break, we're back at the Heathman, and Ana and Christian are going to bed.
We're not going to make love? And I'm relieved. In fact, he's had a totally hands-off approach with me all day. I wonder if I should be alarmed by this turn of events, but since my inner goddess has left the building and taken my libido with her, I'll think about it in the morning.
Sign #2,598,390 that this is not a healthy relationship: you should never have to wonder if the person you're with is mad at you for not having sex with them during a tragedy.
"Promise me you'll eat something tomorrow. I can just about tolerate you wearing another man's jacket without frothing at the mouth, but, Ana... you must eat. Please."
Ah, sign #2,598,391, right on schedule.
"Thank you for being here," I mumble and sleepily kiss his chest.
"Where else would I be? I want to be wherever you are, Ana. Being here makes me think of how far we've come. And the night I first slept with you. What a night that was. I watched you for hours. You were just... yar," he breathes.
Why is this coming up again? Is this a thing they're going to be saying now? Like "Laters, baby?" Because I may have reached my threshold of tolerance for these morons saying stupid shit.
"Sleep," he murmurs, and it's a command. I close my eyes and drift.
Every time I end a chapter with characters going to sleep or begin a chapter with them waking, I think about these books and I feel so, so ashamed.

That's it for this thrilling chapter, that was not in any way at all a means to stretch a third book out of what was originally a two-story series to bilk readers for more money.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Roadhouse season 2 episode 5: "The Gang Exploits A Miracle."

This week on Roadhouse, we share our beliefs (or lack thereof) and our frustration with religion in the United States.

A note about last week's show: D-Rock was really touched by all your comments and support about the loss of her job. She'll update you all on that next week, but in the mean time, your messages were amazing.