Friday, October 13, 2006

Romance novelists hate me!

And they do it hilariously. See, I wrote this short piece the other day on those ads the Greater Washington Initiative is putting in the metro. With attention from both the New York Times and the Washington Post, mostly about how romance novel readers are Mortally Offended, it seemed totally ripe for a little satire, yes?

So anyway, some bloggers picked it up, in particular the one I mention in the article, and most people seemed to think it was funny. Who doesn't like a good bodice ripping joke? Some even noted that while they may cringe at the cliche language I used to poke fun, they couldn't deny that, you know, there's a reason it became cliche.

Oh, but one novelist didn't find it so funny. Sandra Schwab, author of such classic works as The Lily Brand (complete with cover of headless man, his pectoral muscles creating deep shadows on his otherwise featureless body) and...well I'm not sure what else, that's all that's on Amazon (a steal at $1.09!), though her web site promises more soon, probably involving "waxen bust improvers." Hott.

No, Ms. Schwab did not find me funny, not one bit. In fact she was so appalled by the piece that she blogged a response to me, then, finding her words of wisdom too great to only share with a number of daily visitors even smaller than mine, copied it almost verbatim onto the much more high trafficked comments section of Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books (which is actually a pretty funny site). Then she totally started hyperventilating because her corset was too tight (and her panties in a bunch! it was awful!) and passed right the fuck out. I thought about just ignoring it, like all of her compatriots have, but she really looked like she needed CPR and me, being the selfless person I am, feel I have to dive in and save her from the silent death of her own silly arguments. Oh, and it's totally hilarious, read:
Dear Ms [G], didn't they teach you how to do proper research in law school? What a pity! You might have found out that the term "bodice rippers" refers to romance novels written in the 1970s; that the cover you posted is not a current one, but one from 1999; that Fabio retired from modelling several years ago; and that while Nora Roberts might have had auburn locks to toss in 1980, she is currently perfering a shorter and straighter hairstyle with no locks whatsoever. As I said: pity.
Oh Snap! She so got me you guys. I really hope she said "pity" in a British accent. I admit, she's right, I totally missed the class on "Researching Harlequin Hotties and Harlots" in law school. It conflicted with "Comparative Studies of Thermodynamics in Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica." Or maybe it was Torts, I can't remember. Wait, she added a the real kicker in the comment:
If this had been an assignment in my English lit class, I would have failed her...
This is where I say, "Thou doth protest too much," right? (Or do I get to say, "Eat my 4.0! Hi-ya!") I take it Ms. Schawb doesn't encounter a lot of satire in her job...writing about evildoers and heaving chests? Actually, I'm still trying to figure out what Fabio's retirement, Robert's short hair, or the not-new cover I used has anything to do with anything, except to show me Schwab has an awesomely enormous bank of useless knowledge.

The reason that Fabio's retirement has absolutely nothing to do with anything, is that I wasn't saying romance novel readers are stupid. I've read a few of the Harlequin series in my time (I used to volunteer in a library as a kid; they were everywhere), though I don't really make a habit out of it. I mean hey, I don't make a habit out of reading mathematical theorems either. (Don't judge me!)

The whole point that clipped Schwab's forehead as it flew over was that the ads are incredibly lame, and I really don't understand why anyone would take them seriously at all. And if someone's going to be offended, it should be all the people living in Washington, because the ad is not saying romance novel readers are stupid/illiterate, they're saying that Washingtonians are overly concerned with image, and that we'd all care so much about what you were reading on the metro that we'd have to adjust our own behavior because it's so important we make the right impression to strangers we'll encounter on a ten minute metro ride. No, the ad is not saying that romance novel readers are stupid, they're saying Washingtonians are morons because we'd immediately make a judgment of you because image is everything in this city.

If Ms. Schwab is so offended by ads that aren't even about her, or offended by me, who wasn't even coming down on her, then maybe she does have reading comprehension problems, but that has nothing to do with her liking romance novels. But please, do send us the press release when Castle of the Wolf drops next May; it's so going on my birthday wish list! I do love a good satire, after all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pot Meet Kettle Part 2

From CNN:

Republican Rep. Christopher Shays defended the House speaker's handling of a congressional page scandal, saying no one died like during the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident involving Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Can everyone say "Lewinsky"? How about "Iraq"? I thought so.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Would you like to see photos?

I took a bunch of pictures of the new place while I was there to sign the lease, but I can't post most of them because the owners still have all their personal belongings there. I can share these two with you. Here's the island in my new awesome kitchen:

New Kitchen!

Yup, those are marble(ish?) counters! And a dishwasher! And a big sink! Looking over the island is the open living/dining room, so it's like a big loft style, which is what I've always wanted. That open door at the beginning of the hallway back there will be my bedroom.

Here's the patio:

New Patio!

Isn't it nice? There's no dirt, but plenty of room for a box garden, and there's dirt out front where the owners say they've planted tomatoes, zucchini and lots of herbs, so I'll still have room to get my hands dirty.

I can't sleep.

It's actually been awhile since I've suffered from insomnia, which is surprising in itself. Usually it's a couple-a-nights a week thing for me, since, ever. But I think because I've been so busy and pulling myself in a lot of directions, I've been plenty tired at night.

Tonight, though, no such luck. I'm tired as hell, but it ain't taking. It's been a whopper of a couple of days, with the moving out thing mostly, plus there's drama at work with that douchebag who disappared on me back in the day, who somehow still has a job there, but is now content to just screw other people over instead of me. Of course, these people are my friends, and the fact he can get away with it at all just pisses me off. I also have a stalker. He's the busboy at a restaurant I used to work at in law school. He stalked me for awhile after I quit, following me around in clubs and calling me all the time, including the middle of the night, until I screamed into the phone one day that he needed to leave me the fuck alone or I was going to call the police. Good times. He actually did leave me alone for a good year after that, but suddenly reappeared a couple months ago. Luckily I've moved, so he has no idea where I am, and I actually don't think he's a threat to my safety, he's just one of the many thick-skulled men who can't take no for an answer. I ignored his six to ten calls a day at first, deleting his extensivly long messages. He even found some idiot girl, probably a current young waitress who laughs at his jokes, to call me and solicit his goodness and how I should try being friends with him again "because he's just such a great person!" After weeks of this, I finally decided to send a text message to him, because I certainly didn't want to talk to him, and told him to leave me alone, that we weren't friends, and I didn't want to ever be friends. Oh! But silly me! He insisted that we *were* in fact friends and that he cared about me very much! And on, and on, and on. I ignored most of the following messages, except now he was texting in addition to calling (way to go heather). I adopted a new plan. I carried my phone around with me even when I left my desk for a second, so that when he called I could pick up and hang up immediately, so he couldn't leave a message. That was my most successful plan. Least successful was trying to get his number blocked, because apparently they can't do that. So again, it went on, but he eventually stopped calling and resorted to text messages that were so long they had to come in two separate messages. And eventually they went down to one a day. Tonight I got a message that said, essentially, that ignoring him was only making him continue to talk to me, and that I should at least reply to ask him to leave me alone. Nevermind the text I sent last month that said, "LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE." So I adopted a different approach. I send another message, this one polite, saying "Why won't you respect my wishes to leave me alone? Do you have no respect for me?" Because most of his messages were about how much respect and love he had for me. I got another message from him about an hour ago (despite that I ended my message with "Don't reply to this") saying, okay, he'd leave me alone, and some other nonsense. I've obviously let this go on way too long, and I've decided if he contacts me one more time, I'm just changing my number, even though that would be a phenomenal pain in the ass. I've always wondered how you get a stalker. It turns out that it's "be nice to normal people who turn out to be crazy when you stop seeing them everyday." Who knew? What's weird is that even though he's the only crazy stalker I have, I could name at least three people in my life right now with whom I'm having a similar problem. That is, people who claim they care about and respect me, and yet show little evidence of that. Like they just do whatever makes them feel good, without any regard to what I actually want. It actually upsets me greatly. Who knows, maybe they just stopped listening because I talk in very long paragraphs.

Anyway, maybe it's right and karmic that I can't sleep, because I hear my roommate up and about still, and he's never up this late. Of course, the evidence is compounding to show that karma is a lie. So, who knows. Maybe I should go buy something online or something.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Minor Epiphanies, Major News.

This is one of those things that we all know, but don't really think about unless it starts happening a lot. I'm not a very trusting person, and find it a mistake of the highest order if I let myself get suckered by someone or something. Which is to say, it finally took me over the last year to realize that apologies shouldn't happen very often. Apologies should be reserved for accidents or a random thing you couldn't have predicted. If it's not that, then the event shouldn't have happened in the first place, and if you find yourself apologizing to people all the time, you're probably too self-absorbed in your own life to be very concerned with the feelings of others. Alternatively, if you find yourself being apologized to all the time, you're probably a huge sucker.

This seemed relevant today because I was on both sides of the coin in the span of an hour. I was apologized to for the twentieth time for something that never should have happened in the first place, reminding me what a fucking dope I am. Then I had to apologize to someone else because I basically screwed him and had to beg forgiveness.

And with that, the big news: I'm moving! The short story is that I couldn't handle the dog any more. I need to be able to live in a house where my friends can come over without being attacked, where my heart doesn't stop when the dryer buzzer goes off because it's followed by a stream of barks so loud you'd think a burglar was breaking in, and of course, be able to enjoy a weekend the dog is away instead of having sheer anxiety at the thought of him eventually returning.

I'd only intended to look at houses, to see if it was possible to move out (if I could afford it, if there were places available where I wanted to live, etc.). But yesterday I visited a house and when I walked in, I swear to god, I just thought: "This is the house I should be living in." It's gorgeous, reasonably priced, it has an awesome patio and front yard garden, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, with marble countertops. And even better, it's two bed TWO BATH. Woo! So, I don't have a roommate yet, but I don't think that will be hard to find in theory. And frankly, I'm trying to decide if I can swing the entire rent, because of course, I kind of hate people, and can't really see myself ever finding another roommate as good as Christopher.

So, I signed the lease yesterday, without getting a chance to talk to him. I could have waited, but I would have lost the place, and doing it over the phone seemed not quite right. He's also having an over the top shitty week, so I'm basically being a HUGE asshole right now. I told him this evening and, because he's Christopher, he was totally understanding and kind about it, saying that he understood why, and obviously it's big bomb, but we all do what we have to do. Of course, I know that he's understandably upset with me. I told him I'd help him do whatever he needed, search for houses or another roommate, whatever. I still feel just sick about it.

But I will say, I'm very, very excited about my new place. It's in the neighborhood and only a smidgen more than what I'm paying now, which is affordable. I move November 10! Who wants to help??

Um, Pot? Meet Kettle.

From CNN:
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said Tuesday, "This is the way North Korea typically negotiates, by threat and intimidation. It's worked for them before. It's not going to work this time."
I also heard Bolton on some news program yesterday bemoaning the fact that no one from North Korea will return his calls (him specifically). You dumb fuck. Why would anyone negotiate with someone who thinks the organization he represents is a total sham. Talk about trashing your own legitimacy.

What if you went to the dry cleaners and the person behind the counter was like, "Sure, I'll take your clothes and your money, but you know we don't actually do anything here, right? Dry cleaning is total joke." It's exactly the same.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What TV Has Learned Me This Week

Study engineering. Why? Because:

1. One day we will assemble a slave race of robots who will eventually rebel and plan a coordinated nuclear attack upon our earth-like home world, forcing us to flee in our giant spaceships but will wear us down as they jump to our location every 33 minutes, during which our only saving grace will be our ingenious and courageous step to rid ourselves of technology and talk through static-y radio waves and lo-fi analog frequencies. And someone has to repair that shit.


2. One day I'll live in a tiny town in Kansas while the rest of the free world is decimated in a coordinated nuclear attack from Philadelphia to San Diego (natch?) and the prisoners will find this a FINE time to flee and take the blondes hostage while the others perform a spontaneous but necessary tracheotomy with a Juice Box straw and the rest of the quaint town is forced into fallout shelters and coal mines and someone named Heather will have to show the White Men In Charge that no, they don't know everything because HELLO that fan belt is broken and we're all going to suffocate.


3. One day I'll have a lovely Sunday with a few hours of work, a few hours of play, a pretty good turkey burger that was much too large for my appetite, and a few hours of TiVo that I can finally enjoy because my roommates took the rabid dog out of my life for a couple of days...and turn on the news at 11:30pm to find that a nuclear bomb just went off. Fuck.

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