Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Answer Other People's Letters #30093010


Today’s Victim: Dear Abby [9/26/10]
DOG LEFT HOME ALONE CAUSES CONCERN FOR WORRIED OWNERS

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a precious 2-year-old Boston terrier, "Bailey," who is our life. We consider him our child and are heartbroken any time we must leave him alone. I am wondering if there is any way I could train Bailey to use a fire blanket in case of a fire if we're not there. Bailey loves to burrow into blankets, so it's not too much of a stretch. I couldn't bear the thought of our little one not being able to help himself if he was locked in during a fire. Any suggestions? -- BAILEY'S MOMMY IN TOM'S RIVER, N.J.
Dear Scary Lady,
WTF? Seriously. WTF? Okay, okay, in the interest of full disclosure: I have two cats and call myself their mommy. Meh, a lot of animal folks do. Whatev. I used to have a cat that would comb my hair with her claws but I wasn't gonna train her to cut and style. Be realistic. Teaching the dog to use a fire blanket? Humans are still trying to master fire blankets. ADULT HUMANS. And you want to teach a two year old dog? I guess this is a toy breed and the fire extinguisher's too heavy. Does a box of baking soda fit in his mouth? Just wondering.

Real Abby's advice was to get a dog sitter. I mean, if this woman really considers the dog her child and leaves him home alone, we could theorectically call Dog-Child Protective Services, amirite?

Following letter edited for redundant bullshit:
DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old woman with one child. I looked into international adoptions and foster care adoptions. I have always wanted to expand my family, but adoption is expensive and foster care wasn't the right fit. My younger sister, "Caitlin," married her abusive high school boyfriend and immediately became pregnant. She's now pregnant with a second child and this time she has no intention of reconciling.

I would desperately love to adopt this baby. When I approached Caitlin about it she said allowing me to adopt her child would make her feel "too guilty." How do I convey to her my great desire to adopt her child without making her feel like less than a parent? I wouldn't feel so strongly if I thought she actually wanted this baby, but she acts like this pregnancy is a burden. -- MATERNAL IN TULSA
Dear Creepy Baby Thief,
Stop being creepy. Stop it now. It's very "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle". Eww.
First off, you have one child and never state whether or not you can still conceive. You know what, never mind. I don't want you to multiply anymore. Next, I question that you've looked into international adoptions. Enough with the Angelina Jolie guano, people, kids in this country need loving parents, too. Third, the notion that adoption is expensive is even more apalling: like your new young relative is the K-Mart option or some shit. Obvious implications are obvious. Finally, I don't see how not reconciling with the baby-papa has anything to do with your sister keeping or not keeping her own child. Your idiot sister obviously feels some obligation--like a motherly duty, almost... maternal if you would--to this child. There is really no nice way to say "Gimma your babee!" You've put your cards on the table, now back off nice and slow.

As for not wanting the baby or being burdened by the pregnancy, honey, that's nearly every mother I know. It doesn't mean a damn thing in the long run. Be honest: you're not being altruistic to your niece or nephew. You "feel strongly" because you want to steal her baby to feed your own raging mommy cravings and for no other reason. Get some therapy.

DEAR ABBY: My supervisor "Valerie" is smart and beautiful. However she is a few pounds overweight. The problem is she thinks she can still squeeze into a size 8. You can tell she's interested in looking professional and stylish by the clothes she picks out, but she still looks terrible. She is obviously in denial about her appearance, and her co-workers and underlings talk about her behind her back. Because Valerie is my supervisor, I do not feel comfortable telling her how unprofessional she really looks. I am surprised that none of her friends has told her (tactfully), or that her supervisor hasn't told her how unprofessional it is that we all can see the outline of her underwear. The shame of it is that it's hard to take Valerie seriously in her professional capacity when all one can think about is her clothes don't fit. How does one approach such a subject with someone who isn't really a friend? -- GROSSED OUT AT WORK
Dear Fashion Popo,
This grosses you out? Rly? Here's an idea: knock off the Gossipy Gloria shit and concentrate on doing your goddamn job.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Music Review: Versant – “heartbeats ep”

So I wasn’t the only one who cried when Carah Faye Charnow and the Shiny Toy Guns parted ways, right? Okay, so maybe cry is a bit strong. “We Are Pilots” was brilliant and I don’t think it was until she was gone that I had that much more appreciation for her voice. While I like the new STG covers of “Major Tom” and “Burning For You”—“Season of Poison” quite less than that—I can’t help think of what could’ve been with her magic voice. But now to what is...

Post-Guns, she is now part of Versant with guitarist/keyboardist Daniel Johansson, drummer Richard Ankers, and bassist Nicholas Oja. From I understand, they are based in Sweden and we know really cool shit comes from Sweden. Versant's first release is this four track EP, "heartbeats ep". Prior to the release, a couple of the tracks--"Push Away" and "Out Of Touch"--had been floating around as demo versions for quite some time. Both tracks were just what myself and others expected to find with the next STG album. Of course, I loved them and had to have them in higher quality. Yes, yes, I'm aware I keep bringing up STG in this post but if you loved the crap out of "We Are Pilots" like I did, you are gonna freakin' flip for this EP. All four tracks are great and it's less than $4 at Amazon. So move yer ass.

Five perfect acorns.

And just for the hell of it, here’s some ABBA goodness they did. Fast-forward to 0:55 to get to teh music.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Music Review: Zayra – “Baby Likes To Bang”

Zayra, a.k.a. Zayra Alvarez, you may or may not know as a contestant on “Rock Star: Supernova”. It was a 2006 reality music competition in which a bunch of dinosaurs of varying talent and fringe association with your father’s favorite rock bands decided to form a supergroup douchetastically using a pre-existing band’s name. Singers compete for this unique opportunity to front the band, release a flopped album, and never be heard from again.

Zayra was best known on the show for being the fricken hot Puertoriqueña who weirdly spun around on stage in electric blue catsuits and the like while she mercilessly butchered beloved 80’s classics like “Call Me” and “867-5309/Jenny”. Because I take shit too seriously, I absolutely hated her on the show and crossed my fingers that she would just go home. For anybody who watched the show, you knew she didn’t have a chance in hell. Yet, that is the brilliance of Zayra: she got on a show she clearly did not belong on and got shitloads of publicity. Hell, I knew people who merely watched to look at the woman’s outfits!

After the show ended, I’d kinda “check in” with past contestants and see what they were up to and whether or not they released any new music because I’m a curious slob like that. I looked up Zayra, too, and--besides the re-release of her Spanish album, Ruleta--she was in a new band called Pretty Baby, later renamed Cobralush. I heard some samples from them and lemmee tell you, that was good stuff. Cobralush’s music was in the vein of the electronic dance sounds of “Le Disco” by the Shiny Toy Guns, who Cobralush even performed with.

I don’t know what happened with Cobralush but Zayra then appeared as a solo artist. When I checked out her website, I was hella excited for her new music. (Nothing against Ruleta, but it’s not my thing.) “Baby Likes To Bang” was preceded by her single “V.I.P.” that was packaged with three remixes. The remixes are decent but I found they wore out their welcome pretty fast. My preference is actually for the Dave Audé Radio Mix that clocks in under four minutes and, you guessed it, it ain’t on there or here.

On to what is there trackwise on "Baby Likes To Bang":

#1 “Baby Likes To Bang” – The eponymous track set up to be the next single complete with video and remixes. Can’t wait. I managed to hear this one and “Super Sexy Miniskirt” in full length last month--search "Zayra" and "Rainmaker" and go to "Press Assets"--I immediately fell in love with them. This one has a really cool beat to it.

#2 “V.I.P.” – In the interest of full disclosure, I did not buy this song or the remixes that came on “Baby Likes To Bang”. I already bought “V.I.P.” as a single and couldn’t bring myself to double dip. Sorry, Z. Still completes the album if you didn’t manage to snap it up the first time around. It peaked on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play Songs at #5. Makes fun of celebrity club kids with a dance beat and some very clever lyrics, too: “We got no dreams, we got it all. Our future’s set, don’t need a break. Don’t want my picture in a frame, I gotta have the front page… Love to inhale, not swallow. We’ll never know rock bottom.”

#3 “Super Sexy Miniskirt” – When I first heard this I thought “oh no, a slow one” but it works, it really freakin’ works. Kinda one of those tracks you’d chill to. I hope this becomes a single but it might not be fast-paced enough. Great song.

#4 “Feel Good” – This is really the only song I consider a 100% new since I heard just about everything else already. Not a stand-out track, but not a throw-away one either. Something about the background music reminds me of a really hip, lost Super Mario Brothers level. You could totally mix in mushroom and star sound effects and it wouldn’t be out of place at all. That’s not a bad thing.

#5 “Liquid D” and #6 “Violent Man” – I originally heard these as Cobralush songs and immediately liked them. I love that they’ve been given new life on “Baby Likes To Bang”. They’re both slightly different from the Cobralush versions but neither is better or worse. Frankly, I’m just happy the two best Cobralush songs got released.

Here’s the point where I’m supposed to move on to the remixes which make up the other half of the album. There are five “V.I.P.” remixes, with two—possibly three—of them being ones previously released on the single. The Dave Audé Club Mix and Mike Rizzo Funk Generation Club Mix for sure, still not sure about the DJ Paulo & Alain Jackinsky one. None of the remixes are neat little radio-sized ones either. Several remixes clock in past seven and with one almost at ten minutes. That's just a bit too much for me and the samples did nothing to encourage me. There’s also a “Super Sexy Miniskirt” remix but I really needed to hear the full-length track on that one as the samply bits on iTunes and Amazon didn’t sell it. I can always change my mind and go buy it later I suppose.

I think this release would have been better served using radio sized remixes of the three remixer tracks that already appeared (someway or another) on "V.I.P." and giving the other remixes room to shine. Or better yet, giving us a couple more tracks to chew on. (But then I'm just being greedy.) Otherwise, this is a solid release. For anyone who doesn't already own "V.I.P" and the remixes, this is a steal at--as of this blogging--$8 over at Amazon.com.

Five acorns.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Answer Other People's Letters #2091510


Today’s Victim: Miss Manners [9/12/10]
Rules for a proper tea party
Dear Miss Manners: Tea gatherings are becoming more popular, and I would like to plan a tea party. I have only attended one and would like to learn how to host a very nice experience.
Ha. HA HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA.

No, really. Tea party? Didn’t we fight the British to get away from this shit? Fuck you, snob. Why don’t you just have Jeeves and Consuela organize it for you since they already clean your house and watch your kids? Or you could always buy a few jugs of Arizona and put on some Ke$ha. HA HA. Tea party. My effin’ word.

Don’t be the bitter one
Dear Miss Manners: A young man I occasionally dated e-mailed me for my home address to send me his wedding announcement for his upcoming marriage. How do I graciously respond that I am not interested in receiving one, given the fact that I am still a little put out by the fact that he is marrying someone else?
Gentle-Ass Reader:
Did you really just "occassionally" date him or is you lying? I mean, why else would you be "put out" that he's marrying someone else. Who gives a shit, right? If it never moved past "occassionally" then neither of you was interested enough to pursue it. Is this just sour grapes? Wanted to get married before he did mayhaps? OOPS. Well, what can you do?

Anyway, he thought enough of you to want to invite you the big day. Why do you need to "graciously" decline? This is the information age, you could always claim you never got the e-mail. Or you could conveniently forget to reply. Tee hee. Or if you're fine giving him the address--shows how often you dated if he didn't know it already--you can always manage to not make it. Don't be a bitch trying to be politely bitchy. I hate it when chicks do that shit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marina & the Diamonds | Shampain



I ♥ MARINA. Really. You already know I do. Her music's awesome enough. Her general outlook on life seems to be ALLLLRIGHT. I mean, that girl's got her head on straight. And her vids just get more and more brilliant.

Finally we have the vid for her fourth single, the wonderful Shampain. I feel like I've gone back to the 80's, where I felt safe and warm and "divorced" was something other people's parents did. Is it the font at the beginning? The simple, subversive message of it all? The trash-girl ode to Thriller? Pity there's no leg warmers or windbreakers in sight. A++, thumbs up, and pots of acorns abound for Marina.

I notice on YouTube for Marina's vids that Lady Gaga always comes up in the comments. WHY? Hey, I enjoys me some Gaga, don't get me wrong, but I don't see how one relates to the other. Gaga's outlandish in a flashy, trashy celeb way and Marina's outlandish in a quirky, real-person way. So they're both kinda odd in their unique ways but that's about it.

Gaga's kinda like a fun, slutty space alien. Everytime I see her in interviews, she always seems like she's high. Not that it has to be drugs, hell, she could be high on life or whatever, but she never looks all there. Plus, she's over-publicized like hell. Marina actually seems like an accessible and relevant human being. And Marina's cute. There's nothing "cute" about Gaga. Except when she was in that Kermit outfit, okay. But the Kermits were also, like, dead so that's kinda less cute. Also, I'd like to think Marina would respect Seinfeld's box and would save that finger for special occassions. Just... sayin'.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Review: Robyn – “Body Talk Pt. 2”

Okay, I’m not a huge follower of Robyn or anything. I just discovered her for myself last year and I likes me some Cobrastyle. However, I honestly didn’t care for “Body Talk Pt. 1” in the least other than for Fembot. The entire thing just bored me. The second in the Body Talk series is a different story and shows my bias for club-friendly Robyn beats.

1. In My Eyes – This kinda has this 80’s synth sound like I’m out driving with Don Johnson and we’re inside a neon tunnel. I dig it.

2. Include Me Out – “Just don’t include me out.” Meh, I don’t get it either. The song’s nice tho. It’s gotta a cool, steady beat. Kinda more something I’d expect Selena Gomez to sing for a made-for-television Disney movie, but Robyn still pulls it off.

3. Hang With Me – This song’s only crime is sounding too much like Handle Me. Namely where she all “haaaang with me.” I was all “Wut, she redid one of her old songs?” I like it but I wish the “haaaaang with me” part was different. This one is the first and apparently only single off of Body Talk Pt. 2. Not the right choice in my opinion. Might check out the remixes sometime. Maybe I’ll like those better.

4. Love Kills – I think this one’s one of my favorites. Think it probably would’ve worked better at a bit shorter. Hey, remixers, how ‘bout mashing this one with the Queen cover of the same name by Little Boots? Huh, huh?

5. We Dance To The Beat – Steady, electro-background fodder. Reminds me of a mellower Crystal Method. Not bad.

6. Criminal Intent – This is the bomb. Robyn sounds so cuuuute. Somebody alert the authorities, she’s got criminal intent. Adorable criminal intent.

7. You Should Know Better (featuring Snoop Dogg) – Oh, Snoop. First Katy Perry’s album and now you’re invading Sweden, too. Why must you plague me so? For what it’s worth, Snoop meshes much better with Robyn's track than he does on Perry’s.

8. Indestructible (Acoustic Version) – Absolutely lovely! Completely different from the entire album, just sounds sweet and beautiful. I guess the non-acoustic, regulareese one will be on "Body Talk Pt. 3"?

9. Bad Gal (with Savage Skulls & Douster) – This is actually available as an iTunes bonus track. Fuck that. iTunes. Bleh. Go get it here while you can. Or here along with the Crookers remix. It’s also available on Savage Skulls & Douster’s EP Get Rich or High Tryin. Nothing special, really. No loss if you don’t have it. It’s about one minute of Robyn versing and three minutes of “uh-oh”. Uh-huh.

I was gonna give this less than five but that felt like adorable criminal intent. A solid five for you, Robyn.

Book Review: Innocent Secretary…Accidentally Pregnant

Ah, another day, another trashy book.

SEXY SICILIAN BOSS - HANDLE WITH CARE! Plain Emma Stephenson might not look like a tycoon's glamorous assistant, but for Luca D'Amato - a playboy who likes to play - breaking through her no-nonsense attitude is his favourite new game. Sensible Emma thought all they'd be sharing was an office - not a bed! But she's learning fast what being Luca's personal assistant really means! Now he's standing there offering her a promotion, and she's trying to find the words to tell him....she's pregnant!

Sounds like sexual harassment to me. That title, too, oh, boy. That title reminds me of that Bruce Willis line in The Last Boy Scout: "It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick in my wife." And holy crap, check that cover. She's like a twelve year-old hiding a watermelon under her dress. The window view's incredible, too. Apparently his office resides on a boat!

After a not-so-promising job interview, our heroine Emma Stephenson ends up meeting her prospective boss: good looking, Italian-something-or-other, mama-mia billionairo Luca D'Amato. Of course, Luca's magic boomstick wastes no time honing in on Emma. She disses his night in Paris to go home and watch tv. My first thoughts were that this was totally awesome. Although she's immediately attracted to Luca, she also has the pluck that comes from growing up in the den of hot womanizers that were her father and older brothers. She knows Luca's type of guy and is having none of his poo-poo.

Emma ends up walking in on Senior PA Evelyn's "WAAH, I JUST WANT A BAY-BEE" session. As they bond awkwardly over the latter's barren womb, Evelyn admits she just wants Luca to stop boning the help.

Emma: "Maybe you should look for a male PA."
Evelyn: "They'd fall in love with him, too."

Fuck a duck, Luca's Johnny Depp. Hell, that might’ve been a better book. Anyway, poor Evelyn just wants to do her job and get a bun baking in the old oven. Newly impressed with Emma, Evelyn decides to give her the job after all.

Okay, so Emma finds she's just too darn attracted to the wrong damn guy. Fair enough. That shit happens. Luca is also very drawn to Emma.

"...and they shared a glass of water. Funny that he noticed a little thing like that--funny that to Luca it mattered that she didn't go and get another glass."

UHHH-HUH. Well, you know, dude, she could've just been lazy. Or not even thinking about it. Just putting that out there. Despite his feelings, Luca made a vow to eighty-six all relationships and decides he better keep his hands off Emma because once he gets involved, he'll need her to GTFO of his life. Still, he's dying take her to Italy for hot pizza lovin.

I'm still trying to figure out at what moment this book proceeds to sink into quicksand and never come back to us.

Maybe the first thing is that it kinda twiddles its thumbs getting off the ground. We spend a good third of the story acquainted with both Emma and Luca's misgivings about getting involved. Second, instead of either one making any real concession to get over that hurdle, Luca just storms in and lays one on Emma and that’s that. Because he's Luca and he can. Then Emma finds her dead mother had actually left the family before her fatal accident. Emma all but immediately tells Luca they’ll go to Italy and he can have her virginity.

BWUH?

While Emma has admittedly wavering confidence from the start of the book, I just don't even see that happening. Emma established that she likes him a lot but can’t compromise her goals because she knows his type. She's seen it a dozen times in her own family AND with Luca's ho-parade. Evelyn told Emma to her face how Luca plays. If Luca had given any hint having something different with Emma, maybe I could see her tricking herself into it.

"I know the rules, Luca. And I'm prepared to play by them."

Except she doesn't. She wants to do it with no condom. She pushes and prods into his personal and family business. She concludes sex is "making love". She counters his inevitable verbal lashings with too many whiney "I hate you"s. Then, after all of that hurt and no apology on his part, they do it again and Luca ditches her again! "No! You said you loved me!" she sobs, flailing her arms at him like a harpy. Yes, really. What the hell happened to the strong woman in the beginning of the book? The one who appeared to have at least two brain cells to rub together? After all of that, I just could not imagine how Emma was any exception among the other clingy women that populated Luca's life. The author states in the preface that when she created Luca, she knew she would have to create a "special" heroine for him. Yes, that's one word for it.

Luca for all of his faults was written better and I wish author Carol Marinelli just made the book completely from his point of view. Not only would we have been spared the bird's nest that is Emma's thoughts, we might've known what the hell he was thinking taking advantage of Emma—a woman he admits he actually likes as a human being—in her ridiculously over-fragile emotional state. Then, for not wanting Emma to get attached to him, he does several personal kindnesses a young, besotted virgin would surely misread. When Emma presumes too much concern, he tells her to drop the act since he's paying her for sex. He then proceeds to bully her out of her job. You're a real professional, bro.

But he's only hurting her because he loves her! BAAAAAAW. She does eventually leave him and doesn't even tell him about the baby. Luca not only already knows but ACTUALLY ADMIRES HER for not playing "her last card". EW. At the end, Luca finds out he's some other guy's kid and it seems to magically negate his fears of the past. God forbid he actually conquer those things without such a neat escape hatch.

And witherto the romance? I really couldn't find any at this point. Luca brings Emma breakfast in bed before he dicks out, does that count? I mean this is a Harlequin Mills & Boon book but it’s more devoted to the freakin' family drama fucking the two leads over than having them plausibly fall in love through mutual understanding. Or some shit.

One and a half acorns. I consider the extra half generous. I'm not even gonna bother with posting the actual acorns. You're just getting a picture of my face after reading this book. For a good laugh, read this five-star review from a plant over at Amazon. "She's different from the other women he's dated, she's a challenge,..." So's a chick with autism. Or an idiot. Or someone with OCD. Or a circus bear. C'est romantique!

Friday, September 10, 2010

CSI: Miami - Horatio Caine's Sunglasses Moments



How odd that I basically hate this show but the same cornball moments I loathed it for are the only parts that make it relevant to me. I used to be big on CSI for the first few seasons. Then you just get tired of people dying. Why do people gotta die so much on tv? That's not what I watch tv for, so I can see some fool's dead body on a slab. And when they do die, why can't be it be on The Bacheor?

So I gave CSI: Miami a shot when it first premiered and it blew that shot in my opinion. I even gave it repeat viewers after my initial "WTF is this crap" moment. The cast was inferior and the jokes cornier. I was in utter disbelief when I heard the Miami one was the most popular CSI. HUH? David Caruso is a hack. He's the Nicholas Cage of television. Did he ever show his ass on NYPD Blue like Dennis Franz? Dennis Franz's ass is burned into my brain. I will die and as the montage of my life passes before my eyes, I will see Dennis Franz's ass.

Hey, anyone remember that Tales From the Crypt episode where Whoopi Goldberg cuts off that guy's head because his red hair was so damn valuable? For years I remembered that as being David Caruso. It was actually James Remar a.k.a. Ajax from The Warriors. Too bad it wasn't Caruso. That would've rocked hard.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Answer Other People's Letters #1090910

Today's Victim: Heloise [9/5/10]
Dear Heloise: Keeping up with the housework is a challenge. I have three kids, both my husband and I work, and the house is a mess. So I came up with a plan for everyone to help. I wrote down each room on a piece of paper and placed slips in a jar. We took turns pulling out slips, and we cleaned whichever room we picked. If the kids don't do their chores, then they don't get their allowance. I still do the laundry and the cooking, but it is nice to have helped with everything else.
First off, what do you and your husband do for a living? I ask because I'd love to get a job where I can afford to live in such a huge-ass house that five people have to resort to picking from a jar in order to clean it. Since you still do laundry and the cooking, I can't help but think that your kids may be kinda young and you're just exploiting child labor. As much as eight year-olds need to be taught values of cleanliness, let's keep them cleaning their own rooms, picking up after themselves, and doing weekly vacuuming. You really don't want grubby hands cleaning where you prepare food or where you put your toothbrush.

Dear Heloise: When a bag of straws was opened, the straws would scatter everywhere when we tried to take one out. So my husband took a potato-chip can, rinsed it out and dried it, and cut a hole in the plastic lid. He added the straws. A quick shake yields one straw at a time. When we have straws left over from fast-food restaurants, I add them to the can.
You're old, aren't you? I mean, aside from going "HULK WANT STRAW!!" to the straw bag, for what other reason would the straws go everywhere unless you were an arthitic biddy? Unless you're a chronic masterbater but those don't typically write to Heloise. Anyway, don't be so cheap. Go buy a nice jar for the straws or something. I tend to reuse and recycle a lot of shit but I'd hardly use a chip can people were cramming their hands in for something that's destined for my mouth.

Dear Heloise: My teenage son has a cell phone. I always have my family check their pockets before they put their clothes in the dirty laundry for anything left in their pockets. Unfortunately, I didn't check his pockets first and washed his cell phone. To teach him some responsibility, I said he'd have to use his own money to replace it, which he did. Two weeks later, I washed my cell phone. Needless to say, I returned his money with a red face
Congratulations on completely negating your own lesson. You were trying to teach your son to be responsible for his own actions so he had to pay to replace his phone that was ruined by his own negligence. When the same thing happened to you, it meant it was up to you to replace the phone you ruined by your own negligence. What about that situation means you had to give him a refund as if admitting a mistake? This was another lesson for your son, showing him even authority figures such as parents make honest oversights and are subject to the same rules. And you fucked it up for him. It's not your job to check his pockets, it was his and he failed and ruined his property as a result. Doing the same thing yourself doesn't entitle him to shit.

Dear Heloise: We get several magazines a month, and I sometimes cannot remember which ones I have read. I usually pass them on to my mother after I read them. So I now put the initial "R" on the upper right-hand corner. It stands for "read," and I know that I can pass along the magazine.
You're old, too, aren't you? Assuming your mom doesn't cohabitate with you and this isn't a matter of taking them downstairs to her room, just toss in already read magazines into a box, bag, or basket by the front door. Then take it to her on your way out to see her. Not that it really matters if you deface a magazine but I like to get useless crap out of my way. Having a bunch of read magazines with barely discernable R's in the corner doesn't seem as effective as getting them out of the way.

JUST FOR KIDS

Dear Heloise: I came up with this idea: I use markers, crayons, and other craft materials to decorate tissue boxes so they can match whichever room they are going into. After the tissue runs out, I use them to store things like hair accessories or cotton balls.
Wow, you must be really poor to only be able to afford plain-ass tissue boxes that actually need to be decorated. Even the generic ones I see at the store have some pattern on it already. And keep your cotton balls in the baggie. There's nothing worse than trying to clean off your nail polish or wipe off your make-up with a pair of dirty balls. Learn this now or learn it later the hard way.

Names were eliminated for the purposes of this post. I'm mean enough already.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: The Spanish Secret Love Child

New boss-love-child scandal! When plain-Jane Alex McGuire indulged in an innocent flirtation with a staggeringly perfect stranger, she never expected their paths to cross again. Meek and dowdy Alex was the ideal distraction for Gabriel Cruz in his heady playboy days- But, since running the Cruz family business has beckoned, frivolous distractions are a thing of the past- So on Alex-s first day of her new job she not only finds her perfect stranger is her boss-but she must tell him that their short affair left a lasting impression!

Maybe I'm just old fashioned but "an innocent flirtation" is hardly what I call knocking boots with a "perfect stranger". This book's author is Cathy Williams and I've never read an ending by her that I've liked. That being said, a handful of her books have still made my favorites so I gave this one a shot.

Williams seems to be geniunely trying to do something a tad different from other Harlequins. She uses unconventional heroines. She had the heroine marry the hero and forget about it. She had a heroine paying an unannounced visit to the hero and not for the expected "pregnancy surprise" reason. So I appreciate what she's doing.

I had so much hope for this book and not by the title. The title, like the cover, is a mess. Get a load of it. Not an official Harlequin one, but they all use the same Mills & Boon artwork. Never mind that the chick in the book is described like Jane Wiedlin. WTF? One of the few times we get a heroine without Titian curls or a "silky curtain" of blonde hair and they still muck it up. Also, that guy looks skeezy.

Our heroine is Alex McGuire, a tall, Irish, boyish, horse-like (heh, don't ask) spitfire of a woman with a dark pixie haircut. Our hero is Spaniard Gabriel Lucio Cruz, described as a "billionaire whizz-kid" by the press. Don't let this fool you, he's not self-made and he's thirty. Gabriel owns the London firm Alex works in although who knows what business he's in. It doesn't matter.

Years ago Gabriel had posed as a local and had a little fun with Alex. When she got serious, he disappeared and left her with a one-way train ticket to dumpsville and a bun in the oven. Oops. Therefore, the "secret love-child" being a secret in the first place IS ALL GABRIEL'S FAULT. Gabriel completely lied to Alex and she couldn't FIND him to tell him about the baby. Thankfully, we are pretty much spared but the barest accounts of this history.

Alex is brought up to Gabriel's office to translate for Gabriel's English-impaired spoiled fianceé Cristobel. Alex goes into immediate denial and can't believe the rich bitch Gabriel was her dirt-poor loverboy Lucio. Gabriel also recognizes her. He calls her back to his office later and cruelly gets the truth of who he is out in the open. When he shoots himself in the foot and says that Alex will be regularly catering to Cristobel, Alex tells him to stuff himself and her job. Yay for cajones.

Alex doesn't tell him right up front he has a kid. Though part in selfishness, Gabriel DID completely lie to her among a host of other reasons. Gabriel quickly condescends to feel guilty for Alex's speedy resignation and seeks her out. She declines the offer to return to her job and suddenly decides to introduce Gabriel to their son Luke instead.

Gabriel offers Alex a marriage of convenience and she said HELLS NAH. That was awesome but unfortunately Gabriel just plain doesn't mean it when he accepts no as her answer and has zero respect for Alex's decision. He never seems to grasp how appalling it was for him to suddenly dump Cristobel, coldly offer marriage to Alex, or even how traumatized Alex may feel to find out the great love of her life was "a piece of innocent fiction."

In fact, Gabriel manages to constantly feel inconvenienced, bothered, and ruffled that his magnanimous generousity, a.k.a. Gabriel trying to buy himself his own way, is rebuffed. Instead of bringing him crashing down, Alex weakens to him instead and her behavior comes off more like an idiotic ruse. For all of his rudeness and arrogance, sexy Gabriel still gets Alex hot all over. EW. At one point, instead of finding another place to sleep or calling the hero out on his crap, Alex climbs into bed with Gabriel who of course sleeps nude. Then she shrugs, tosses her prior values and characterization out of the window, and goes "Well, why not?" No really, it actually says "Well, why not?" in the book. And I rolled my eyes and pretty much gave up.

The book hastily degenerates back into standard fare, like Williams's editor shook her and reminded her it needed to be a piece of crap. Alex accepts a second offer for a marriage of convenience for really shitty reasons. She then manages to act secure enough to trust Gabriel and then flips her shit when she sees a picture of him and Cristobel. This didn't make sense seeing how Gabriel never portrays himself as anyone to be trusted. He hadn't declared any love and they had barely made any sort of progress besides the kind below the waist. Alex, I am disappoint.

Additionally, Gabriel never answers for his behavior and probably grovels for about a single page. This doesn't cut it. He was given everything in life. His parents are happily married and stable. He's had no great traumas or troubles. Yet, he was turned off of marrying for love since his employees had failed marriages because his company, like, worked them too hard or something. WTF? I don't even have the words for that. When Luke was conceived, Gabriel jerked around an innocent eighteen-year-old Alex for his amusement. And for all of his talk of how he dodged a bullet by breaking up with Cristobel, you wonder how Gabriel would be so blind to all of her ridiculously numerous faults in the first place. Maybe if he were in love or lust or even under pressure to be with Cristobel in particular, but none are those are the case. He really had a lot to make up for and he never does.

Four acorns for the first five chapters, one for the rest. Averaged for two and a half. ½

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book Review: The Sabbides Secret Baby

Oh, secret babies. These Harlequins are so much fun. It's hard to pull off the "secret baby" storyline without it coming off utterly ridiculous and this one starts out above the curve though it ends up undermining itself. Here's the official synopsis with my comments:

Discarded for breaking his rules… Naïve Phoebe Brown fell for Mediterranean--

In other words, who gives a fuck what country this guy's from? He's Italian or Greek or Spanish or Sicilian. It doesn't matter. The Harlequin readership knows they all look alike: cue in the dark hair, dark skin, giant honking famblee, inexplicable height, and massive hard-on for loose socialites and archaic traditions.

--magnate Jed Sabbides--

JED? LOL WUT?

--after he wined, dined and bedded her with a fervour that made her feel cherished.

Because everyone knows sexing = lub

But when Phoebe happily announced she was pregnant Jed was appalled.

How dare she!? How could this have happened!? HOW? ...OHHHH.

Didn’t she understand – she was only a pleasing distraction? Sadly Phoebe lost the man she loved--

Loved for God knows what reason. The sexings, I guess. He was just THAT. GODDAMN. GOOD.

--and her baby… Claimed for having his child! So it is with disbelief that, years later, Jed discovers Phoebe has a little boy…who looks just like him!

HMMM. Could it be his? Can he has son nao?

This probably the fourth or fifth I've read by author Jacqueline Baird. She sets up the couple and their past in the first two chapters and devotes the rest to rekindling their relationship, which I liked. Some other Harlequins seem to be fond of meandering in time and inserting several confusing, boring flashbacks no one really gives a fuck about. Baird is succint in this regard and we spend the majority of the story in the present. Good on her.

Thirty-year-old Jed Sabbides is a hot, foreign rich guy like most of these dudes are. Brother made his money first as an online poker millionaire. Hey, it's possible. He uses his poker winnas to set up a successful investment firm, later taking over his father's company Sabbides Corporation. Overkill much? Having a dude get rich by his mad poka skillz alone would've been tiz-ight and hella more interesting. But Baird decided to make him the Harlequin Standard Greek Tycoon™ after all. Boo, he was already rich by default through daddy. Oh yeah, and he doesn't believe in marriage. HAHAHA.

Phoebe is the requisite Harlequin blonde heroine: an innocent, slender, blue-eyed, creamy-skinned, 5'8" virgin nine years Jed's junior. She wants to finish her college degree and travel the world: first stop, the tiny peninsula nation of Jed's pants. He manipulates her into giving up the goods and after a year on tour--if you get my drift--she's in love with him. In fact, she's fantasizing about marriage despite that he TOLD HER FROM THE START he would not marry her. They don't even so much as live together. *headdesk*

She tactlessly tells him she's pregnant and hell breaks loose. They part ways a short time later under the assumption that Phoebe miscarried. Wires are crossed of course and she thinks he never cared about her or the baby. Jed... well Jed doesn't really HAVE an excuse. He does nothing to overtly suggest that he ever loved her or to disprove that she was just a warmer for his meatstick after all.

They meet again some five years later. Despite having a new woman in his life--family friend and almost-fiancée Sophia--Jed becomes obsessed with Phoebe again. That's right, he was on the verge of proposing even though he doesn't believe in marriage. Make up yo' damn mind, foo'. He is floored to discover Phoebe is a single mother and her nearly five-year-old son Ben looks JUST LIKE JED. Yes, it is his kid. You can guess what happened.

Jed is naturally pissed and hilarity ensues. Well, not really. After a good start, it gets kinda dull. Jed proceeds to manipulate his way back into Phoebe's life. Somewhere around Chapter Eight or Nine he ends up bagging her again. Without contraception, he's too happy to note. UGH. Way for her not to learn her lesson. And she teaches sex ed classes at a school. ARGH.

At one point Phoebe confronts almost-fiancée Sophia: "In a way Phoebe almost felt sorry for Sophia. She had come closer than any other female to marrying the most eligible bachelor in Greece." Good lord, the conceit! Over the selfish, manipulative asshat that Phoebe believed for years had treated her like a disposable whore and wanted her to abort her baby. Considering Sophia was never jerked around this way, Phoebe should stick to feeling sorrier for herself.

Jed eventually admits his love for Phoebe in the last damn chapter. In fact, he loved her from the moment he saw her. HUH? ORLY? Then why did he SIT ON HIS ASS FOR FIVE YEARS and never use his considerable resources to win Phoebe back? Then Jed sweetens the pot: "I never even looked at another woman for over two years since you left." That admission is soooo special and flatters Phoebe because Jed is a "highly-sexed man." Him going without cooter for a lil' while is, like, a big step. Never mind he started porking Sophia and whoever when his highly-sexedness returned. He's a proud Greek male after all, all Greekness all the Greeking time. Meanwhile, Phoebe's had nothing but Hitachi and Kenny G. Jed likes the way Phoebe rolls. It gives "him immense pride and satisfaction to know he was the only man who had ever made love to her." HYUCK.

And of course, in the end the whole famblee gets together for a big Greekity, Greek wedding. Jed's father, who was supposedly at his death bed, gets his mack on with Phoebe's Aunt Jemma who now lives in Greece, thus keepin' it in the family y'all. Ben magically speaks fluent Greek like a Greekian should. Phoebe pooped out twins, giving Asshole "the heir, the spare, and the bonus." Yeah, real nice. And thus their kids shall grow up to hate them both.

With less reliance on the tired Harlequin tropes, a more contrite, devoted hero, and a heroine who isn't so ready to fling her panties off and her brain with them, this probably would've been a more enjoyable read. The ending was tied up so neatly with a bow I almost choked on ribbon. I did, for the record, like the first few chapters.

Three acorns out of five.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Mess That is MySpace

myspace sucks Pictures, Images and Photos

MySpace used to be fun. Anyone else remember that? The joy when you first created your account. You chose a nickname. You put a picture of whatever you felt like putting. You controlled exactly what information you felt like giving. You added music however you wanted to, like through Project Playlist. And you went to band pages and could actually download the songs if they allowed you to. You jerked around with the page colors, the scroll bar, using and abusing CSS and even hotlinking in the process. Who cared?

I wasn't one those that was there from the start. I recall sometime around 2004 when my younger co-workers at the time were going on about MySpace. I wanted to view someone's pics but needed an account so I got one and fiddled with it here and there. That was that. I don't remember exactly when it took a turn for the worse. It may have been what appeared to be an upsurge of human trash trying to laid and/or stoned. For all I know, they could've always have been there along with the spammers.

People were always so damn suspicious. "Who's dat! Who's dat friending me?" And all I could think of was "Jeez, you think you're waaaaay more important than you actually are, you know that?" There was big stinkin' worry about being stalked. Hey, you know what? You put information out there, you get stalked. Especially since some of the said whiners were the type to bombard their profiles with personal photographs (some of illicit activities) and would put down their school, address, full name, phone number, etc. I never got that. Wouldn't your real flesh-in-blood friends already have that info? Why would you need to put it on the internet? Most laughable were those folks that'd put everything on private as if they were actually successfully hiding anything. It kinda seemed to defy the entire point of MySpace, which felt like a public forum to interact with others. Perhaps early on it had that Facebook feel of exclusivity, but it certainly never felt that way to me. Maybe I'm in the minority.

The change with the music is what I noticed first. Not being able to download mp3s anymore was a bummer. I remember sitting in the office on campus and wanting music in the background as I worked. Hopping around profiles of bands I friended, I'd play their entire music list and then move on to someone else. Myspace even put in an option of making a playlist although my memory of that feature is a little more vague. Then, one day, the music stopped. Huh? Turned out it stopped for an AD. What the hell's the point of a music playlist when it STOPS for advertising? A playlist is designed to play the fuck through. If you need to put in ads, why didn't something just pop up on the MySpace screen I was at or why didn't an audio ad interrupt the music and then move its ass right along?

That blue bar at the bottom got a real WTF from me. I'm not even sure I know what that is. I hated that thing on Facebook and was so glad when it was no longer a pest. Seems MySpace never got that memo. I was typing in a blog entry and the bar began obscuring the bottom lines of my text. Wow, they didn't even make it smart enough to move out of the way.

Then MySpace started whoring out a free e-mail service, which they continue to do so to this very day. Just who the heck wouldn't have a free e-mail account already? Hotmail/MSN, Excite, Yahoo, Gmail... I've had 'em all. Even specialty mails... dead-and-gone dbzmail and Xenafan mail. Hello Kitty e-mail. Seems like every fandom had a free e-mail account, especially ten years ago. Domain's have their own e-mail too so there's also that. Why the hell would anyone need or want myspace e-mail? Ew. It's right up there with MySpace wanting people to download some chatting IM thing. I was sick of IMing and sick of IM software *cough*AIM*cough* putting shitloads of spyware on my comp.

In trying to become the trashier cousin of Facebook in some of its features, MySpace has managed to passably attempt to be streamlined but still not succeeding. In my Friends Requests, I'd be able to open each person up in a new tab so I could look at their profile before I accepted. Now this isn't possible. WHY? YouTube did this shit, too. Now when I went to look at multiple links from the same YouTube page, I have to open up the user channel in a new tab (and that's if the vids I want to see even exist on the same channel) or go back and search the vid again. Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. We live in a world of tabbed browsing. Don't fight it, guize.

I also got the grossest Match.com advertisement haunting me. "Hey B E C K, these GROSS UGLY-ASS GHETTO-TASTIC 'MEN' [and I use that word loosely] YOU'D NEVER GO FOR IN A MILLION YEARS are looking for a woman like you." EWWWW. I nearly threw up. If the ad hadn't eventually changed to something else, I would've logged out and not come back. I wanted to change my gender on the profile to not reflect female and you can't do that. I remember not having it listed for a while when I first started using MySpace. That's a stupid option to take away. I HATE HATE HATE gender specific advertising.

One thing I always felt MySpace had over Facebook was the profile customizations, especially where color is concerned. Let's face it, blue and white is a big fat bore. However, MySpace appears uninterested in playing to this strength. I'm still using the old profile layout. I've tried twice to change to the new one and can't bring myself to do it. It's just UGLY AS ASS. Not to mention it has the poorest ad placement ever. Yech.

A musical tone just played while I was logged in and I have no idea what just happened. That pretty much summarizes things. I've written too damn much anyway. Who cares? You didn't.