Friday, December 28, 2007
Nothing against Prime Minister Poutine, but a political memoir is not exactly suitable material for relaxing with a glass of wine, some candlelight and bubbles up to my ears. So I raided my sister's supply in order to find a good "tub book" and lo and behold, her shelf boasted only books with glittery, pastel covers featuring such winning titles as Annie, Get Your Groom, and Code Name: Bikini.
Don't let the titles throw you off, though. There's only one romance book, and that one story is recycled over and over, occasionally renaming characters (Chase becomes Thatcher), or changing hair colours (strawberry blonde becomes dirty blonde). I hate to ruin it for you, but here's the way it goes: a guy with great pecs meets a girl with large breasts and at first they kind of hate each other because they're so damn different (like, she's really rich, and he's really really rich), but then they find each other undeniably attractive (his jaw is chiseled, and did I mention she has great tits?), and then there's about 100 pages of sexual tension and will-they-or-won't-they (even-though-they-always-do) and usually there's some kind of mini-crisis that makes us fear that they won't get together (hint: they do), then even though he's a bad boy who's not the marrying kind, by the end of the book the ache in his loins inspires him to make a lifelong commitment and crave babies and domesticity and soft kisses.
So I know all of this going in, I'm totally prepared for how incredibly and predictably bad these books are, and still I manage to find myself cringing in the bathtub when in the current year of 2007, the premise of my tub book is thus:
Man meets woman...on a train....like, a boxcar....cause, they're like, riding the rails. Illegally. They're hobos. And the girl hobo really brings out the protector in the boy hobo. Because she has a baby with her, and conveniently the boy hobo is recently a widower and grieving his kids, and is looking for a replacement family, and he's inspired to give up drinking. But then the girl hobo collapses and needs to be saved, so thankfully, the boy hobo is actually a multi-millionaire so he literally brings in a helicopter to whisk them all away.
I mean, even for a romance novel that's pretty improbable. They were hobos! Hobos! But sexy hobos. A boy hobo in need of a good woman to save him, and a girl hobo in need of money to save her back. So it all ends up nicely.
And this isn't even the worst offender. In my mother's household, there is a book that is passed around that is referred to only as "the smutty book." The smutty book doesn't even bother with the laughably implausible plot lines. If there are occasionally a few transitional paragraphs between the coupling of her tight, wet, hot... self, and his hard, needy, throbbing...self and the second, even more quiverful coupling of said genitals, I find that my sisters are simply flipping pages straight to the good stuff, as it were. If there's a literary equivalent to the money shot, they're fast forwarding to the main event.
Let's not kid ourselves. "Romance" is a nice way of saying "soft core porn for girls". But it's not just the soft coreness that makes me roll my eyes. It's the formula, the predictability. In fact, it cannot even be classified as a romance by the publisher if it doesn't have a happy\rosy\optimistic outcome. The insistence that some minuscule "obstacle" keeps them superficially apart, although they always grudgingly find each other desirable because only really hot people fall in love. I have no idea what ugly people do, or heck, even what ordinary people do, because no one has ever written about them. Well, ordinary people contract illnesses, or hitchhike across the country, or across the galaxy, or they work in coal mines or they keep bees, but they don't fall madly in love. Romances are only about people who have bodies that can be described as "rock hard" or "pneumatic".
Romances never involve stretch marks or receding hair lines or Honda Civics or guys named Roy. It makes me think that it must be a bunch of stringy-haired, badly-complected, knobby-kneed wallflowers who write these novels, and live vicariously through them. But you'll never catch me saying that out loud. Oh no. When I dared to voice my unfavourable opinion of science fiction, those sex-starved kiddies who call themselves fans got on their bikes and threw eggs at my neighbour's house (woops!). But then I called their moms, who threatened to start charging them rent on their basement lairs if they didn't come home right away, so I guess I didn't quite learn that lesson.
Maybe, for the good of fiction, we should take all those romance authors who just need a good lay, and pair them up with all the science fiction authors who've never seen a woman naked, and just see what happens.
Or maybe we could just take away all their pens instead?
Or maybe I should just stop reading this crap, or at least have the decency to pretend that I don't. Or learn to keep my trap shut.
Hah. Fat chance.
Damn I crack myself up.
Or maybe you should just visit the Quickie Book Review to read about what books I do like (surprising, I know, that something occasionally passes muster).
Or maybe you have a soft core hobo fetish, which I imagine is an itch that's hard to scratch, and therefore I can only counsel you to read away. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
P.S. The sex scene on page 214 is pretty hot, once they take care of the lice. You're welcome.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Then you strap it to the car using nothing but odds and ends of free twine and some misplaced optimism, and hope for the best.
Then you stop every 3km and reattach until you get home (because yes, an 80 foot tree does go careening off the roof of your stupid slippery car every time you hit the gas, or the break, or sneeze), losing limbs (tree limbs, not human limbs....well, not ideally) and needles along the way.
Then you get home, curse the fact that you brought home a tree that's twice the size of your house, spend the next 7 hours sawing it down to the point where it no longer looks like something Paul Bunyan would have brought home, then make a quick trip to the ER to get some stitches and a tetanus shot because that slicing yourself with a rusty handsaw is a Christmas tradition, goddammit.
Then you get into the rum balls. And I mean, you fucking lay into the rum balls like there's no tomorrow. Because first of all, now that the tree is in the house, it's making strange noises like maybe, just maybe, there's a rabid squirrel (or two) in there, and also because now is the time where you have to decorate it using a mishmash of "sentimental" (also known as "tacky") ornaments that the family has been collecting since polyester and aquanet were considered to be in taste.
Then you try not to cringe as you dig out some gems such as: a styrofoam ball spray painted cold and "decorated" with toothpicks, several A&W RootBears, some threadbare Bugs Bunny balls, circa 1979, something shiny and distinctly phallic, and let's not forget this little gem, a piece of construction paper older than Hillary Duff, lovingly hand-crafted (using crayons and glitter, liberally, by the looks of it) by yours truly, when I was 18. Or so.
Then make a totally out of the blue phone call to make sure your insurance policy is up to date, and includes fire, and all that good stuff. Because that blinky, somewhat faulty, somewhat monstrously hot bulb is dangerously close to that brittle, dried out piece of kindling - er, ornament, I mean.
Then drink to console yourself. Eggnog is nasty, but brandy is dandy. If you drink enough, you'll forget that you're allergic to tree sap and cranberries make you gag and grandma still wants to know why you aren't pregnant yet. In fact, if you drink enough, your cheeks will turn rosy and your giggle will be enough to convince others that you're "in the spirit" when really you've just been "into the spirits." And if you drink even more, you'll find a naughty button around and instead of thinking oh, how inappropriate, you think, I'm drinking for free tonight!
Then find a karaoke bar where the people are unironically wearing santa hats and the bartender is unabashedly pouring hot toddies and let the good times roll. And by "good times roll", I of course mean get ogled by anything with a penis, and make eye contact with no one, not even the chicks, and get very prompt service at the bar.
Then continue to celebrate in a similar fashion for several nights in a row. Don't be afraid to occasionally overdose on cashews, pop the cork on half a case of champagne, very occasionally lick a candy cane in a suggestive manner, sing "alternative" lyrics to the Christmas carols you hate the most, indulge in a snowball fight (Mexican fighting rules apply), raise the heat and lose the clothes, and only extremely occasionally mind you, don some footie pajamas and curl up on the couch with someone to watch cheesy Tim Allen movies that secretly make you cry.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Kill the Goat News
December 19, 2007 2:30 am EST
Eastern Ontario - The tragic accident that left dozens of puff pastry treats empty and aching for their custard filling has devastated an entire staff room of ornery elementary school teachers looking to soothe their frayed nerves with a chocolatey sugar fix and raised awareness for the plight of the custardless among the shaken but indomitable community.
The site of the accident, an ordinary residential kitchen, still smelled delightfully of vanilla and was lightly dusted with flour, a somewhat whimsical setting for what would ultimately become a grizzly, nightmarish scene.
A woman who can only be identified as "Jay" under the Suffer the Fools Protection Act, had been baking furiously for about an hour before the accident, which occurred at approximately 1:15am. The empty pastry shells of what were to become eclairs could be seen cooling on wire racks behind police tape. Alone and unsupervised, Jay was apparently gently folding whipped cream into a vanilla-based mixture while listening to The Kinks when a large mixing bowl, described as blue and plastic, which contained said mixture suddenly and inexplicably went from sitting politely on the counter to upturned and on the floor.
About 12 cups of not-quite-custard splashed an area including but not limited to the lace curtains, an oven that had just recently been cleaned, the counter top, the sink, the floor, the cupboard doors, the crack between the counter and the oven that's a real bitch to clean, and of course, Jay herself. The ensuing sticky puddle was so enormous that an innocent bystander named Max Keeping quite literally had to doggy-paddle through it in order not to drown.
Another resident of the home was the first respondent to the scene and described it variously as "fucking hilarious" and "still pretty delicious". Other four-legged witnesses didn't even bother invoking the golden 10-second rule, and were happy to lap up the evidence of an epic spill.
According to pastry-police Sergeant A. LaMode, the culprit, also known as Madame LaDropski, was probably mixing at excessive speeds and had been tempting fate by cracking eggs two-handedly and had not even replaced the cap on a very expensive bottle of pure vanilla extract. "People need to know that baking recklessly is a serious offense with serious consequences, as we can see here tonight. This needless accident could have been avoided if only she'd been using proper stirring technique and had not been under the influence of that damned rock and roll music."
Jay, who was treated at the scene for shock and stickiness, gave no comment except for an under-the-breath refrain of "My argyle, my poor argyle."
Meanwhile, clean-up crews dispatched to the scene were delighted to see the floor being eagerly licked clean. Damage to the remaining kitchen was extensive however, and was estimated in the range of 3-4 buckets of hot soapy water and at least one raging backache in the morning. Witnesses were visibly shaken by the carnage - crumbs were scattered haphazardly about the scene, and dozens of tiny eclair-corpses were piled into the garbage bin.
One woman, described as hungry and pre-menstrual, tearfully lamented the loss. "I know you can't make eclairs without the cream filling, but it just tears me up inside knowing that perfectly good pastry and devilishly sweet chocolate ganache are going to waste because of one bad decision. It's just not fair! Who's going to explain this injustice to my poor, exploding ovaries? They just won't understand."
Indeed, this reporter finds it difficult to understand what kind of God would allow such a heart-rending and grievous act of iniquity.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
So when I arrive at a house where I am to be upstaged by not just the world's cutest puppy, but two of them, well....let's just say I've had to get my growl on just to compete.
Nice: This is Roxy. You may recognize Roxy from her moonlighting as a noble steed. She's also known as the only girl who looks good in a beard, a fierce cuddler, lover of toast.
She's also a proud Mama to a moose wearing a Leafs jersey. She shows her motherly love by clenching him in her jaw and shaking him vigorously. Her baby has lost both eyes and a tail, and most of his stuffing. But it's still nice compared to the way she defiles her non-babies. She also hangs out with a dalmatian and a sing-and-snore Ernie who have been humped into early retirement.
If you're not from the Ottawa Valley, then you probably don't get the joke, but 'Max Keeping' is the name of a respected and dignified local newscaster. He's a swell guy. If you aren't a Max Keeping fan, you can substitute Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters or Ron Burgundy or Tom Brokaw or any other honourable anchorman that you'd like. Personally, the novelty of yelling "Max Keeping, get your cold nose out of my cleavage!" has not yet rubbed off.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
2. Turns out, I don't like 54-40. I just thought I should.
3. I hate ordering wine at a "family" restaurant because for some perverse reason, they still go through the tasting ritual. I mean, if I just ordered a $30 bottle of wine from Chili's, I'm probably not too fussy. And if you're wearing suspenders filled with "flair", you're probably not a sommelier yourself. And the truth is, I find the whole thing so embarrassing that even if it did taste like gym socks, I'd probably just nod anyway.
4. I just bought a box of condoms that had a prize in it, the way cereal boxes do. But why are condoms trying to lure in customers this way? I mean, I thought that's what short skirts were for. Sex is not prize enough these days, you want sex AND a unicorn-shaped eraser? Jebus.
5. I learned to Wii on Friday. I'm considering getting addicted. I have wii-elbow from the tennis and wii-wrist from the bowling, and wii-crotch from the...well, it's just amazing the games they come up with for this thing, isn't it?
6. Excellent thing to do if you're ever bored: drizzle your dog with chocolate. I did this (accidentally) and hilarity ensued for hours - poor guy tried to lick behind his own shoulder blades for hours.
7. Talking virginity with your grandmother is funny. Listening to her refer to it as "the sex" over and over - priceless.
8. I love how every time I get into the bath lately, all the pine needles stuck to the bottom of my feet float around in the water until eventually getting stuck to other parts of my body, parts where no pine needles ever should be. I also love the delicious irony of soaking in the tub while reading The Dirt on Clean. I haughtily congratulate myself on living in a time when hot water magically comes out of the tap marked H, and feel superior that I use toilet paper instead of arsewisps. This is the book I shall buy in bulk and give as Christmas gifts. I like gifts that say "Hey, look at me, I'm intellectual AND hygenic AND have somewhat curious taste in Non-Fiction. Happy Birthday, Jesus!"
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
So yeah. I kind of get it. It's nice to be able to buy food, and have an oven to heat it in, and a fork to eat it with.
What I don't understand is why he would also steal a drawer full of my underwear. What is he doing with my panties? Wait - don't answer that. Turns out, I'd rather not know. Rather not even consider it. Rather not picture him walking around his lonely apartment with lace chafing in all the wrong places.
But I would like to know why he's also taken my mittens. When he leaves the house bundled in the leather coat I bought him and gets into the car that isn't his, does he feel guilty that his hands are warm and mine are not? Or does he watch the weather network (while wearing the red silk thong) and gloat over my frostbitten fingers?
Does he feel like a big man when he puts on my cupcake pjs, pours some champagne into my monogrammed flutes, tosses aside my suede throw pillows and sits down to watch Love Story?
Is he proud to have robbed me of Christmas - of my mistletoe bar ware, my gingerbread cookie jar, the papier-mache reindeer ornament that I hand-painted just last year?
He's got every photograph I've ever taken, every poem I've ever written, every memento I ever deemed worth keeping. They're just things, but they're my things, my lifetime of things, and he's holding them hostage. The only thing he's not taking is his medication, but maybe if I wrote my name on the bottle he'd want that too.
I grieve for the man that I married, lived with and loved as if he's dead. For me, he is. He doesn't exist anymore. He's been replaced by a thief who's stolen more than just my possessions. I picture the man I married buried somewhere underneath the things taken from me - beneath broken promises, broken vows, broken hearts. I might have been buried there too, suffocating under the collapsed burden of the fraudulent life we built together, had I not taken my leave when I did.
He can have the teacup that belonged to my dead Aunt Mary, and the picture frame that my sister made me when I graduated high school, and the video tape of my third grade recital. It'll take a lot more than that to break me. Those are just relics of a past life anyway. I don't need them anymore.
So pardon me if my smile is too bright for a woman who's just lost everything. My new life may be sparsely furnished, but it's mine, and nobody can take it away.