I think it's weird when people take the going on XX dates idea, but it's human nature to imitate something that's even been mildly successful. I think it's really weird when people call their site Dating TheirName plus the XX number of dates idea, like this guy at DatingBrian.com.
When I named this site back in 2002, it was supposed to be a twist on the Kevin Smith movie Chasing Amy, which I love.
But when people call their projects Dating TheirName plus X amount of sport dates, it sounds like they're just doing a twist on me.
It's creating some traffic here, but I'm over at AmyDeZellar.com now, a name (and project for that matter) that no one would steal.
Good luck to Brian, I'm sure he's a sweet kid, but as George Harrison said about Homer Simpson's barbershop quartet rooftop session: It's been done.
December 1, 2009
Happy December, all. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I just finished up the last of the turkey yesterday, now I'm kicking as much ass as possible on my paranormal romance.
As most of you know, I have never tried writing fiction before. It's very different than being a memoir writer (maybe it shouldn't be and it's just that I've never sat down to write a book from scratch before). I learned a lot from being published the first time, though. A LOT. I am avoiding all the mistakes I made with Dating Amy and planning to make brand new ones. Yay!
One thing I knew I had to do was get beta readers to look at my manuscript, because there are definite rules to writing paranormals and I don't necessarily know them. I put the word out that I needed readers and Seattle urban fantasy author Mark Henry found me some really brilliant ones. I can't tell you how much it helped. It will mean the difference between getting published and getting bupkis.
I was all puffed up about how well this site was doing even though I don't write about dating anymore, then one of my friends who works at Google told me my page something something is bad.
He also said that SEO is complete bullshit, which I already sort of knew. For the blissfully unaware, search engine optimization is when you write something like "I would like to be giving the best dating advice ever but first I want to talk about what I had for breakfast." This will supposedly attract people looking for the "best dating advice ever" and therefore increase traffic. Anyway, apparently it's rubbish, which is good news because it's humiliating to have to write so inelegantly.
That's the good news. The bad news is that I have to get new software or make every blog entry a separate page or Google will "punish" me(!) for providing a frustrating user experience. Because if you're looking for an entry about Mad Men and it takes you to this page, you'll have to scroll through a bunch of other posts to find out what I think of Pete Campbell (spoiler: I love him).
I just don't know if it's worth it to update the software on an 8-year-old web site, and the "separate page for each entry coded by hand" thing? Not gonna happen.
I've really been stressing about this and other social networking issues. I miss the old days when all a girl had to do to be a successful blogger was write a bunch of incredibly personal things so strangers could know every intensely private detail of her love life. Now the Internet is about news conglomerates like Huffington Post or Gawker and quippy one-liners from editorial staffs like @FakeAPStylebook on twitter or I Can Has Cheezburger. I think with all of that stuff there's a personal touch that's lost. What's missing is heart.
My pal did say one thing that cheered me. He said that their expert analysis over there at Google indicates that good content just tends to do well. And it doesn't even have to be next to the sexiest Lolita nude pictures on the web.
November 5, 2009
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a memoir of self-discovery across three countries in the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. The book starts off with her traumatic divorce and subsequent breakup with the man she initially left her husband for.
I just read that her ex-husband has a book coming out in 2010 chronicling their divorce and its aftermath, which he also dealt with through travel. I am told his book is not called My Wife Cheated on Me with a Really Good-looking Guy and Now There's Movie as I originally guessed. From Publishers Marketplace:
Michael Cooper's DISPLACED, a memoir of one man's journey to reconnect with his values and reconstruct his life in the wake of an unexpected and devastating divorce; Michael was Elizabeth Gilbert's first husband, the man she left behind as she embarked on the adventures that form the basis of "Eat, Pray, Love;" offering an intimate look at the end of his relationship with her, and his own search for purpose as he journeys through Kosovo, Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, and other developing countries, working with people displaced by natural disaster and armed conflict, to Brenda Copeland at Hyperion, for publication at Fall 2010
October 17, 2009
A lot of published writers and A LOT of unpublished writers really hate Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer because they can't write. The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown drives writers nuts because he does stuff like this in pretty much every paragraph: "Langdon had to admit it seemed far-fetched, and yet the pentacle seemed to endorse the idea on some level." (A pentacle's a symbol, it can't endorse something unless it's a talking pentacle) and this "Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils."
(A silhouette can't stare, it's an outline with no features and as such, one wouldn't be able to see its pale skin, white hair and dark red pupils--at fifteen feet, no less.)
Although Twilight author Meyer makes bizarre word choices (she repeatedly refers to Edward's skin as scintillating and Bella's red truck as bulbous) and her writing is often unclear, with mixed-up tenses ("I'll see you tomorrow," he sighed and I knew he wanted me to leave now. Should be "leave then," right?) most people are annoyed by the creepy Mormo-erotic subtext of Bella and Edward's stalkerish, sexless relationship. This is also the aspect of the book that everyone likes.
I don't really have strong feelings about either author, because after much analysis about what works in novels, I've realized it's the story that matters, and both authors are great storytellers. When Brown describes careening through Paris in a car, I don't feel like I'm in Paris, but I do feel like I'm on a harrowing automobile ride; when Bella rambles on for 20 pages about the fact that Edward has not shown up at school one day, it captures that feeling of how teenaged girls think--time does slow down when you're anxious about a guy.
Good Writing + Good Story = Published Book, Bestseller
Bad Writing + Good Story = Publishable Book, chance at mainstream success because most people can't spot bad writing
Good Writing + Bad Story = Publishable Book, modest success because most people can't spot good writing, but everyone knows when the story blows
Bad Writing + Bad Story = Waste of paper and/or time...
Stephen King and J.K. Rowling would fit in the first category, Brown and Meyer in the second. Some of the later works of Alice Hoffman would be in the third. And the fourth category speaks for itself. (Oh wait, can a category speak?)
My friend Amie took me to Salon of Shame last night. Salon of Shame, very appropriately abbreviated SOS, is a uniquely Seattle happening where people stand in front of a packed theater and read humiliating excerpts from their teenage journals. It's one of the most entertaining live shows I've been to--funnier than any poetry slam, certainly; way less uncomfortable than some forced stand-up routine. (Except maybe for the readers' teenaged selves, who would no doubt like totally die of embarrassment.)
Here's an example:
October 13, 2009
Apparently Carly Simon is suing Starbucks over poor sales of her 2008 CD. It's so interesting to me, because promotional plans fall through all the time in entertainment. Major publishers or record labels (or coffee conglomerates?) promise publicity and support that never materializes. It's part of the game. Welcome to the life of a mid-list author, Carly.
In unrelated news, these Victoria's Secret thongs are the most comfortable things I've ever had on my butt. They've got the look of super-cute, super-feminine undies with the feel of granny panties. Highly recommend.
October 12, 2009
I didn't have time to go to Seattle's amateur porn film festival Hump this weekend because I was finishing up the first draft of my paranormal romance. It looks like I missed a lot. I'll definitely go next year. My friend Laura wrote up a complete review for you all. Thanks, Laura!
Hump! 2009 review By Laura
We arrived late and sat near the back. But all the seats at Hump! are good seats. My boyfriend and two gal pals were virgins and had never Hump!ed before. I was the only experienced Hump!er. So, when Dan Savage read the riot act about cellphones and the fact that they would most definitely confiscated (no second chances!) if they were whipped out after the porn started flowing, I was already more than ready to rat out any neighbor of mine that didn't follow protocol. A guy raised his hand and said that the girl next to him was wondering if there was a masturbation rule. Savage answered the only question asked by the audience by saying that, no, there was not a masturbation rule and if any of us actually got turned on by what we were about to see then, he guessed, we could take care of business.
Waxie Moon and his dance partners warmed us up with an all-nude dance number in Dance Belts. Penises and boobs flipped and flopped all over the place. Some hardcore porn clips were thrown in at the end to send all the Hump! virgins who couldn't hack it running for the door. We saw in the dance studio mirror that even the cameraman was completely naked, which was a lovely attention to detail.
Citizen Came showed us that Bon Jovi makes a lovely sound track to a consummate masturbator's 24-hour orgasm tour of Portland. Dark, gritty, documentary style film making really made you feel like you were right there in the action. This was both effective and disturbing.
Two men, two women and a sectional. Full Swap had a very voyeuristic, I'm-watching-you-through-a-hole-in-the-wall feel thanks to red overtones and a 7-11 security camera filming style. But it was sweet and sexy in its own way when both couples would be getting it on and one couple would take a break, cover up with a blanket and watch the other couple having a lovely time.
The '50s is a wonderful era to twist and make into a porn film. Boys Beware had a classic male announcer voice telling us that gay men are sexual predators and young boys should be careful to avoid them. Don't worry, Hump! hasn't been infiltrated by the gay-haters. It's all part of the fantasy for the seducer or the seducee. All penises in this movie enjoyed the happy ending.
Attention black girls who like wielding strap-ons and white boys who like lesbian fiction; Read My Lips was the movie for you. The cut away to the squirt bottle 'cumming' on a book was almost not noticeable.
I'm Hard was... well, there were several penises in this movie. They were all hard. Cutout-style animation and lots of bling, that's what this film had going for it. That and giant, dancing, erect penises.
The Good Book got my vote for sexiest because those two were totally having a grand time. She's a cheeky nun who needs a spanking. He is just the priest to do it. Bravo!
Ahh, the power of editing. How To Please Your Man had Larry King watching and commenting on a woman giving a live demo of how to give a pleasing blow job.
My vote for funniest went to Beyond Gay. A suction cup dildo was the only anatomy that we saw in this film. They really made me believe that if a lesbian and a gay guy were going to give hand jobs to each other, this is what it would be... hilarious.
Incubus. It was artsy. It was a bit scary. There was a lot of tearing of clothes and the main character peed her pants. There should be an artsiest category. This movie would have been right at home there.
Not only are we expected to confront the social taboos about watching porn in a public place with a bunch of strangers but we have to confront our germophobia too!? That is just too much. Too much! In Dumpster Humpster, gay guys had sex in dumpsters and on sets that were supposed to look like they were in a dumpster. And a guy smooshed bread dough all over his private parts. I don't want to talk about it any more.
Sex Moves 102 was an instructional video on all those suave sex moves that no one ever tells you about, and some that are classic. One that I had never heard of was "The Clown." A girl and a guy are having sex. She's on top. At a time of her choosing, she honks a clown horn and hits the guy in the face with a pie. Sexy!
Continuing on with the weird, Violet Uprising showcased anatomically correct felt porn stars. My memory is a little fuzzy but I do remember that I said later that it reminded me of a NIN music video.
Virtually reality porn is here and it is going to steal your soul. In Maximum Overload, the computer-generated sexbot breaks out into the real world. What? It could totally happen!
You know how they say that there are all kinds of germs and grossness on every piece of fabric that the public is allowed to come in contact with? Well, they are right. In Trolley Tryst a straight couple has all-out sex on Seattle's very own South Lake Union Trolley--the aptly named S.L.U.T--and has the video footage of them getting caught to prove it. I must really be a germaphobe, because the first thing I thought when she was sitting there on the trolley seat in her short skirt getting eaten out was, "Gross, they are going to get goo all over the seats!!"
Guess Who's Cumming To Dinner teaches us that it is apparently safe to chop vegetables while getting a blow job and that the guys with the mohawks are getting all the action. (The priest of The Good Book also had a mohawk.)
If the couple in The Password looked like they were getting off by sticking needles into sensitive skin and using Swisher Sweets to burn holes in people's lower lips I would have said more power to 'em. But they just didn't really look like they were enjoying themselves, so it fell flat.
The Modern Housewife illustrates the many uses of Saran Wrap. Wrap up leftovers for your husband. Wrap up your neighbor's naughty girl bits and have a snack. The possibilities are endless.
I Went To A Party And Had A Dream. It wins for longest title! A guy falls asleep on a couch and a few couples have sex right next to him while we are fixated on the fact that these two scenes were obviously shot at different times and sloppily sliced together.
Our Ruinous Love got the most gasps. A woman's rectum is a place that only a few people (hopefully!) have explored so fully and so recklessly. More power to that couple for showing what really goes on in their bedroom, but I don't think anyone made use of the fact that Hump! doesn't have a masturbation rule during this one.
Fuck showcased some gigantic sausages. No, really. They were wearing sausages for penises. It was less like porn and more like the drama class kids dared the frat boys to make a movie.
Cyclust had a great title and wonderful music. Two real chicks lovin' on each other. It was sweet.
I have seen E.T.'s penis. It looked like... a giant psychedelic flower. Elliot seemed to enjoy it. ET2: Dark Territory was shocking as only the sexualization of an alien childhood icon can be.
October 10, 2009
I declined homemade porn last night because I'm in deprivation mode this week. It's like if I have to suffer through the punishing first draft of my novel, I'm damn well gonna deny myself everything else that's fun. It's all or nothing, or in this case nothing or nothing.
For instance I'm forcing myself to actually eat the food that I have in my freezer instead of buying food every day. Trader Joe's turkey meatballs were all I ate yesterday (big lie--I had chicken breast and potato for dinner), next up are chicken lime patties, chicken kabobs and about four bags of haricots verts, those petite green beans I keep buying and forgetting about. No cheesecake, or course.
I've been getting up between four and five o'clock (a.m.!) to write. 'Nuff said about that.
I passed on going to our wild alt-weekly The Stranger's amateur porn film festival last night. Honestly if I had known more about it, I would have gone. I just figured I'd catch it when it came out in theaters (so to speak), but apparently they destroy the only copy of the films after the weekend so that the people acting in the movies can remain anonymous, which is cool. I'll try to get one of my friends to write up a review for you guys.
Two more days of this Spartan, pornless existence and then the wild bacchanal of Sunday night TV and doing the dishes before I start working on the second draft of this beast.
October 9, 2009
Being a novelist is ironic. If there's another profession that requires more self-direction and self-motivation, I don't know of it. Yet fiction writers are, by definition, distracted daydreamers.
I should be finishing my novel this week. My dream is to be settled into my couch, drink in hand, watching Mad Men on Sunday night while a fully completed first draft resides in my documents folder.
The closer I get to finishing, the more obsessed I am with problems--first-world ones, of course:
1) The window in my kitchen/office has fog inside it. I can't see out perfectly, What if I miss something happening on the street?
2) I found my dream couch last weekend (vintage-looking, velvet the color of dark red roses, supremely comfortable) and it makes my pea-soup green walls look even worse. This problem spawns several sub-problems, those being a) My living room needs to be painted and I like the idea of red walls, but I was watching Interview with the Vampire yesterday (for research purposes) and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had a couch like mine paired with red walls and it looked too gothic. b) I could go back to standard white walls which would look nice with my incredible ocean/city view, but would that be too boring? And c) the landlord is not returning my text about painting my walls and whether or not he's going to pay for it. Why isn't he returning my text?
3) Why did Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize? What was it for, specifically? If he were a woman, I bet he wouldn't have won it. Why don't women ever win things based on what people hope we'll do?
4) Why aren't I losing weight faster? I don't eat ice cream.
Anyway, wish me luck and focus. Oh, crap, I need to finish an hour earlier than planned because Desperate Housewives is on before Mad Men.
Edited to add: I really am going to start writing soon, but I had to share this.
Like most normal people, I am completely obsessed with Mad Men.
I watch it, riveted, every Sunday night. Then I read the forum chatter about it on televisonwithoutpity.com on Monday morning. Then I watch it again On Demand to see if the online critiques and commentary add any new perspective and insight.
One of the overarching themes of the show is that while feminism is heating up and ready to boil over into the chaos of late '60s, men's roles were shifting in a confusing way, too.
I had to laugh as the article goes on to praise the totally made up character's personal honor and chivalry. Spoiler alert for those living under a rock for the past two years: Don Draper is leading a secret life. That he invented. That his wife, whom he cheats on repeatedly, doesn't even know about.
Oh, men of the naughties, no wonder you are confused about what women--hell, about what life--expects from you.
Hope isn't lost, though. To become the best man you can be, all you need is 11 writers and eight directors. And to look like Jon Hamm. In tomorrow's helpful tips for men: How to be as suave as George Clooney if you actually are George Clooney.
Tony Timpone, editor of Fangoria magazine, says Jennifer's Body proves precisely how hard it can be to sell audiences on hybrids of horror and comedy.
"Horror fans tend to want their horror straight, while comedy fans have plenty of straight comedies to choose from at the local multiplex and don't need the gore to go with the guffaws," Timpone says.
Audiences will accept a horror-comedy hybrid, but it better be good...
September 30, 2009
Here are thoughts on why horror-comedy doesn't do that well from Cole Hornaday at Box Office magazine. (I promise we'll get back to dating talk soon).
After some thought, I've come to the conclusion that it's not so much why the Horror-Comedy genre doesn't sell so much as why Horror doesn't sell in general. Think about it, when was the last time we saw a Horror flick blockbuster, I mean, since The Exorcist, or Jaws? And that being said, I often wonder into which genre Jaws fits anyway.
[Me: I think the Scream series, which I LOVE, did really well. Jaws was a disaster film, yes?]
In Danse Macabre, Stephen King talks about just how much crap the Horror film fan will tolerate and how seeking really good horror films is the age-old, agonizing process of seeking the diamond in the rough. If you don't keep you sense of humor, says Mr. King, you're done for. Horror fans will put up with a lot in pursuit of that which meets their needs. But horror fans are a tiny, tiny fraction of the audience out there.
[Me: Never read Danse Macabre, but I'm gonna.]
I think Horror has always been a tough genre to sell and it has a highly specialized audience, an audience that is probably more apt to rent even the best horror flicks rather than pay the ticket price. Think of the context; in the world of film and theatre it has been established that, as an audience, we laugh together but we cry alone. What do we do in the context of horror? We cleave. That is, those who attend horror films for their key selling point; to scare the crap out of you and your date, attend so one member of the dyad grope the other in a moment of terror. That's the commoner moviegoer's raison d'etre for attending horror. Hardcore horror fans, I think, are a different creature altogether (again, see King's Danse Macabre for more in-depth discussion). Therefore, I am assuming you are trying to sell to, pardon the pun, The Cleavers.
Case in point, I went to a screening of Drag Me to Hell (DMTH) several months back. I don't startle easy in films. But Raimi was in fine, fine form with this pic and he had me, and the modestly stocked audience, jumping. I started observing the couples around me. It was like an old school drive-in; everywhere I saw the gals clinging to the guys, and saw a look of pickled glee plastered on each one of those fellows' faces. If I hadn't been so engrossed in the film, I would have spent more energy studying their responses.
But Drag Me to Hell didn't do well at the box office, and for my money it had some of the best and most unpredictable scares ever. It also had some of the best laughs. I have a big laugh; I inherited it from my father (much to the chagrin of many in my immediate airspace). At times, I am heard laughing high and above others in the audience. Other times, I am the only one heard laughing at all. Which brings us back to DMTH. I love Sam Raimi's films. I love his weird moments of slapstick. I love those moments in the Evil Dead films and DMTH precisely because that humor comes out of left film, and frequently out of context when it comes to the Horror genre. But not in Raimi's films. If you know Raimi's horror, you expect it. If you only know him from the Spiderman flicks, you might be left a little flustered. For all the squeals of fear I overheard in that DMTH audience, you could have heard a pin drop when the physical humor came around. Those poor folks just didn't know what to do with it.
I seem to recall a similar response to those moments of humor in An American Werewolf in London. But, then, it was touted as being genre-breaking. Horror films were dying on the vine but here came a film with wit and humor and gave the genre a big shot in the arm. My favorite moments in the film are each and every one that included Griffin Dunne, and that initial transformation scene. The transformation scene would never have been funny but for one thing: the music underscoring David's agony. It became self-reflexive. It kept the absurdity of the moment buoyant the same way Dunne's decomposing corpse did as he tossed about sarcastic quips in the porno theatre.
But the slapstick in DMTH is something all it's own because it crashes against its own context. It's one thing to have gore and silliness-silliness and gore. I mean, pick damn-near any zombie flick. They're silly, zombies are silly, and for that reason I still think Sean of the Dead is a minor masterpiece. But Sean of the Dead simply capitalizes on humor inherent in the make-up of each and every zombie flick, and also because Pegg and Company had a wealth of material not to only satirize, but celebrate.
It's another thing to have hardcore chills followed by slapstick. I was saddened to see the audience about me who, moments before, so tickled me with fright-responses look totally befuddled by Three Stooges-style eye-pokes and head-bops. They simply didn't know how to respond.
So, in the context of comedy-horror, I think it's really about the audience's comfort zone and comfort zones come through acclimation. Or put another way; audiences haven't been trained in how to watch comedy-horror and they simply don't know how to behave. Take a look at the
Wikipedia entry for "Comedy-Horror."
I swear-- that has got to be one of the most hollow, unhelpful wiki's I have ever seen! How many films mentioned, four? Even the Wikipedia editors don't know what to do with the genre, how to break it down. Nobody knows how to talk about it therefore nobody knows how to sell it.
No small feat, I know, but maybe it's time to start training an audience.
I think it's great! It does make sense to me that SCREAM is straight-up horror, because that's how the first one was intended. The second one camps it up a bit, and the third one is just blatantly a parody of itself, which I also love.
I think people who make plain horror films and people who are fans of plain horror films, look at comedy horror with great disdain. I'm a fan of both - and I don't think one is any better than the other.
Two great tastes that go great together. And there's definitely an audience for horror comedy in fiction, and in paranormal romance, but I rarely see those books marketed toward the comedy angle. Some exceptions are Michele Bardsley and Maryjanice Davidson. There may be some resistance on the part of the book buyers to reach for comedy, merely because it's so difficult to cater to a wide range of humors. Lots of people who read my first zombie comedy didn't even know it was a satire.
I remain jittery and unconvinced, but Box Office magazine gave me an explanation I can really sink my teeth into. I'll share it tomorrow. And in the meantime, I saw the movie that started this whole discussion, Jennifer's Body... let's talk soon.
September 24, 2009
The reason I'm not updating lately is because I'm in what Fitzgerald would call "an attractive but sincere panic" to finish my paranormal romance book. I wish I were better at arranging my day, but I'm crap at it. The Internet is a huge time-wasting culprit, but pacing the book in my head while not writing any of it down is another.
I'm also devouring horror movies like an unholy demon--in the past few days I've seen Grace, an independent film about a blood-sucking baby, The Ring, which I broke down and bought because I could finance The Ring III with all I've spent on rentals, and Scream. Twice. Anyway, it's all in the name of research.
I was disturbed to see that Jennifer's Body bombed, because Diablo Cody is the hottest, most hyped screenwriter next to Tarantino and Megan Fox is the hottest, most hyped actress next to... anyone right now. I had been looking forward to seeing it, but then the reviews were terrible; I don't know why other people didn't go.
One thing that's apparently common knowledge to everyone but me is that horror comedy is the hardest genre to sell. Confusing, since I consider the Scream trilogy to fall into that camp, but apparently for box office purposes (where it's been #1 for 15 years) it's classified as straight-up horror.
I do have to say that when my friends and I went to see Raime's Drag Me to Hell (definitely comedy horror), we were some of the only people in the theater on Saturday night of its opening weekend.
The point of all this is that the novel (and hopefully series) that I'm currently sweating over is a romantic horror comedy, so I hope the curse of the living dead box office doesn't apply to books.
Why don't people like comedy with their horror? To me that's part of the fun.
September 16, 2009
I'm having a very weird day. Woke up with an excruciating backache this morning (not really, but I did feel stiff) and decided that I absolutely need a new chair to sit on while I write at my kitchen table. The chair I use now tilts back, so I strain against it even to sit up and type. I'm convinced that my early morning lower back pain is my body's rebellion against this.
After the chair decision, it didn't take long for me to decide that I need a home office. So I have already purchased a new chair that's adjustable on many levels, a file cabinet and folders. I've picked out a glass desk that just needs to be picked up.
I got home to see that my power went out, and then to hear that Seattle Light shut off the whole neighborhood on purpose.
I went to the nearest place that had power--an understandably crowded Starbucks--and froze to death because they had the air conditioning cranked to 11. But enough about me; what do you think about me talking about the Amish?
The recent news articles about Amish romances caused twitterers to take the next logical step and think up titles for Amish erotica. Here are my favorites:
And Then He Shunned Me @jayewells
Jakob sees an ankle @AssassinGrl
The Long Hot Silo @Gripemaster
Menno Nights @mark_henry
Yours truly proposed
Backseat Buggy Confessions;
Raised Barn, Fallen Virtue; and
Submitting to Her Lord and Pastor.
More Amish stuff tomorrow including a picture of me in a bonnet, believe it or not.
Courtney Love is suing the makers of Guitar Hero because she's unhappy with the depiction of her late husband Kurt Cobain. I was going to quote some of her tweets, but, well, there are a lot of them and she comes off as unhinged even for her.
I do agree with the widow Cobain for once, though. His image is... not right. At all. He looks like Eric from True Blood, which wouldn't be a bad thing if he were a 1,000-year-old Norwegian vampire being played by Alexander Skarsgard. Given his contribution and unfortunate early demise, it's just disturbing.
This morning I took a break from slaving over my paranormal romance novel to post some reader mail as promised. I had every intention of answering your most tortured dating questions and whipping up some great advice, but then I checked my email.
The only letters I have are from people inquiring about where to send money. (And speaking of slaving, there are letters from men who want to be my moneyslave, which as you know includes running errands for me or detailing my car. And I don't even have a car.)
It's kind of funny, but if you do a search on financial slavery, most of what comes up has to do with low-paying jobs or soulless yuppies. It's a whole 'nother kind of domination, I guess.
Anyway, I fired up ye old PayPal account, so if you want to donate to DatingAmy.com, feel free. And send me your dating dilemmas, or problems with your money mistress, too.
September 6, 2009
I have to say I'm feeling kind of left out this weekend. Pretty much everyone I know is at Bumbershoot or one of the various nerd conventions.
My holiday weekends are rarely filled with traditional festivities, though. Memorial Day weekend it was the Seattle Independent Film Festival--aftermath of the Bosnian war, a twee sorta-doc love story with Michael Cera, and salted caramel martinis at a party with Paul Giamatti for his film about storing your soul. All fueled by sushi and cocktails at Boom Noodle.
This weekend is Bumbershoot. It's one of the biggest music and art festivals in the country. I usually end up going courtesy of free tickets to a literary event, but this year it looks like that's not going to happen and I didn't have enough interested to actually, you know, but a ticket. Also, it's not so much that I go to Bumbershoot as Bumbershoot comes to me. It's the one time a year I can legitimately yell: "You kids get offa my lawn, and take your youth and irony with you."
This lack of socializing has meant huge progress with my paranormal romance book, but I desperately needed a break yesterday so I went for a walk. I happened to be passing a theater that was showing Cold Souls (the Giamatti movie I went to the premiere party for; I still hadn't seen it), so I bought a ticket.
I liked it. Giamatti was great, he always is. The Being John Malkovich/Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind vibe was the perfect touch to my non-traditional holiday. As was the fact that the theater was completely empty except for a lone crazy woman (other than me).
Today? More writing and then Mad Men if it's on. The life of a socialite sex kitten.
September 4, 2009
Last night I achieved a long-time goal of mine by trying absinthe. I liked it; it was not too black licorice-esque. I expected more milky green ritual with the spoon, or maybe a recreation of the Ewan McGregor musical number from Moulin Rouge, but anyway, I was able to check it off my list of things to do in this lifetime.
I find that setting the bar really low makes things easier to achieve, therefore giving me a sense of accomplishment for doing less. Like a wise investment or energy conservation.
During the hilarious, green-fairy fueled conversation (I was at a birthday party), I came up with a goal to replace the absinthe one. I, Amy, will eventually be riding the #358 bus. I am not joking. I know I can do it.
Oh, and it was never a goal, but I also had my first poutine--cheesy gravy over fries, it's favored by Canadians. "This smells like sex," our friend Candice said. She meant it as a compliment.
One of my (very beautiful) girl friends said this about yesterday's accepting drinks post:
Love the blog (of course!), but have a question: What if they ask you to dance? And why do they get mad if you say, "I'm not a very good dancer..really." (that is the truth!) And if they still buy you a drink even though you tell them you are married? What does that mean? And if they ask you if you are drunk, when you aren't? Or insist you are high, when you are not?
The point? Sometimes it really IS liberating to throw a drink in the face of a possible- but- highly- unlikely- serial killer just because they are an idiot.
September 1, 2009
I was coming up with this blog post about how men want what they can't have when this article about the etiquette of accepting free drinks caught my eye. (Total lie, I was actually trying to figure out if there's room for a middle-aged blogger to enroll in DePaul University's Twitter 101 course and then I was tweeting about it. Another lie; I was texting about it.)
Scenario 1. A guy brings you a drink. Only a complete dumbass accepts. Remember, Ted Bundy was a really charming guy, and Rohypnol is odorless and tasteless. Seriously, for those older single ladies who, quite frankly, act like twice the idiots as their younger counterparts, roofies are real, and once you start to "feel kinda funny," you have mere minutes...
While I'm sure that in my case "twice the idiot" is a conservative estimate at best, I'd be pretty creeped out if a guy walked over with a drink he bought me and I didn't even see him buy it. Of course. As a side note, everyone is always citing Ted Bundy as the shocking example of how looks can be deceiving. "Ted Bundy was handsome and he was a serial killer. Ted Bundy was charming and people trusted him but he turned out to be a serial killer. Have there not been ANY other good-looking serial killers in the past 30 years? Was he it?
Scenario 2. The bartender brings you a drink on the behalf of some guy. First, the bartender is crap, full of crap, or he thinks you're, well... easy. A good bartender always asks a lady if she'll accept a free drink before pouring it because it's proper training and the right thing to do. Also, he won't want to waste a good drink. Reconsider your watering hole of choice if otherwise, or take a good look at yourself.
I think I'm suddenly feeling insulted by every barkeep in town. (And I accidentally typed "insluted" so I guess that answers that!)
Scenario 3. A guy asks if he can buy you a drink. Are you interested in him? At all? Quick: Yes or no? If no, then no, you don't accept. Sorry ladies, but don't kid yourselves. A free drink comes with strings, even if that's just a quick, one-to-five-minute conversation because he's already right in front of you. If the guy's pushy, a free drink can come with at least a string and a can of worms, too. What's your time worth? I hope it's worth a hell of a lot more than a $10 cocktail, so you should buy your own. A class act does not accept a drink from a guy who does not interest her. That was college.
I guess I can see this, although I'm not sure how you know if you're interested in someone immediately. Repulsed, yeah. But completely disinterested in a five-minute conversation? Maybe not. You know Ted Bundy had a lot of women make snap judgments based on his handsome, clean-cut good looks and look how well that turned out for them.
Scenario 4. You accept one free drink from a guy, now what? Those are your worms to put back in the can, Flirty McFlirterson. Call me old-fashioned, but I just think this is a "do the right thing" situation, and you should know the answer (again, assuming you're not otherwise impaired). I've witnessed, and facilitated, thousands of these encounters. I've seen as many guys get a girl to go home with them because she didn't know how to say "No, thank you" as I've seen guys utterly humiliated. You can bow out, sneak out, be blunt, or double down, but now you've got to do something. What kind of person are you? Just remember, you accepted the drink, ergo, you've given him some vague hope of a toe in the door. So don't be a bitch.
She's losing me here. She's mocking women who are flirting? At a bar? And I completely disagree that there are strings attached to accepting a drink. How does she know these women are going home with men because they "don't know how to say 'No, thank you'"? (I bet a lot of the men I know wish women were that polite.) Also, if you're "utterly humiliated" because a woman isn't interested/doesn't want to go home with you because you buy her a drink? You must not get out much. I also disagree that the woman has "got to do something" after she's accepted a drink. Doing nothing sends just as clear a message.
August 31, 2009
If anyone's wondering what the Perez Hilton baby rumor is, here: A man is pregnant with his love child.
Not endorsing, just saving you some googling.
August 30, 2009
Saw some adorable single dads at the coffee shop yesterday. They could have been in a commercial for Adorable Single Dads: faded jeans, strong, tanned arms, totally attentive to their equally adorable tykes. At least I thought they were single dads; they didn't have weddings rings and were talking about having the kid(s) every other weekend.
Single men toting cute children automatically look like good guys with sterling character, whether that's the case or not.
They're like firemen in that way.
Oh, and I overheard one of them say that his friend is working with Tobey Maguire, and apparently the actor needs leather couches roped off so he doesn't accidentally sit on one since he's vegan. I liked the first Spiderman, but huh?
So I've gone from 30 visitors a day to 300 a day since updating this week. Thanks so much for the welcome back, guys. I'm flattered.
Next up: I answer reader mail. Booya.
August 28, 2009
These past couple of weeks I've been attracting a lot of attention from men. A lot. I mean like men stopping their cars to tell me that it should be illegal to be so beautiful. Men crossing rooms to say hello. The word hottie is being applied to me by people other than girlfriends trying to make me feel better.
Am I illegally pretty suddenly? No, I am not. I look every bit of my fortysomething years. I wear glasses, jeans and flip-flops every day.
I was trying to figure out what is going on and I immediately landed on: it must be the weight loss. All three pounds of it. Even I am not neurotic enough to think that for long.
Then I realized, it's obviously that I'm happy lately. Not even so much over-the-moon joyful as no longer soul-crushingly miserable. (To put things in perspective, I thought I was an insomniac; turns out I was just sad.)
I was thinking about how enticing and attractive it is to be happy. Talk about Love Potion #9. Here's the thing, though (and there's always a "thing" right?): You can't fake it 'til you make it because a real emotion can't be faked. At least I can't. Maybe others can think positive thoughts until they feel good or smile when they're sad and it will somehow trick their brain into thinking they're happy. I can't. I have to actually put myself in a good situation or at least dump a bad one.
I guess my advice is to really look at where you are. What can you change? What can you live with or without? There are benefits to crafting a life that makes you happy. Even bigger joys than having random strangers tell you you're hot. But if you are trying to date, that's at least a place to start.
P.S. Just in case you're reading here. Speaking of happy, I hope your birthday is.
August 27, 2009
As of about a month ago I am no longer a corporate copy cat. I no longer have a job.
I'm not unemployed, I'm just not employed anymore. I'm a full-time author, at least for awhile. I am a million times happier.
I'm writing the first book of a paranormal romance series (that's not about vampires). I am absolutely not convinced that the vampire genre is dead, though. I also do not think we should put a stake in it or put it to eternal rest. I do not think it sucks. My book is not about vampires because that market is saturated.
Speaking of draining blood, I went to the doctor the other day. I have time to do things like get physicals now that I'm not both a full-time author and a full-time copywriter.
I should have known it was a bad sign when the doctor asked me if I had a living will before she gave me a tetanus shot. The shot itself was like having my shoulder cuddled by a kitten. Holy crap on a Triscuit does my arm hurt like a mofo now, though.
Anyway, besides a lot of invasive questions and procedures, the doctor told me that I'm not eating enough. I've become kind of a chunkster these past few years and I'm trying to reverse that.
Anyway, she suggested that I start eating almonds as a snack, which is hilarious since that's pretty much how I got into this zaftig situation in the first place. I love almonds. I am obsessed with almonds. I eat all the almonds in sight until I have to literally leave half-eaten cans of them outside my neighbor's door.
The best, most addictive almonds I've ever had are salt and vinegar almonds. You will need methadone to get yourself off of these. My former coworker says they are the George Clooney of almonds, but my neighbor (and yes, I really do leave half-eaten cans outside her door) says they are more like Matthew McConaughey: "They seem silly at first, but they're actually pretty good."
First I had a website, then I had 50 dates, then I had a book. Buy it:
"...No-holds-barred style" -- Los Angeles Times
"Timeless. Hilarious. And mean. It's great!" -- E. Jean Carroll, ELLE Magazine
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