Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Cutest kitten in the whole wide world.

This is my boy, Winston:

Resistance is futile

He helps with the cooking:

He cleans up after himself:

He makes a really good Trivial Pursuit partner:

Because he loves to read:

But he has no qualms about cheating whatsoever:

Even if it means unplugging your video game just before you hit save:

Because he knows how indispensable he is as a head rest:

Multimedia message

Also, he bites:


(Also also, he's famous.)

The end.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Meet Maddie!



This is Maddie. I grew up with Maddie and then she lived with my mom for a long while. Last year my mom moved cross country and now resides just down the freeway from me. She brought Maddie.

maddie outdoors

Maddie is the sweetest dog I have ever known. She is a 10-year-old yellow lab and loves people more than anything. She is lacking any fatal flaws. Maddie lives with my mom, but a few days a month she gets to party with me while my mom is traveling. Maddie comes everywhere with me because I cry if I have to leave her behind. (She cries too.)

Guarding the picnic table

She even comes to work with me where she helps seal envelopes and answer phones. (Not really. She just sleeps and worries about me leaving her behind.)

maddie at the office

Maddie is very smart. She always knows what is going on, what people are talking about, and whether or not she is a) getting left behind, or b) getting fed. She tries to trick people into feeding her extra meals and she is very good at begging with her sweet brown eyes.

Having an adventure

She starts playing the 6-Inch-Follow when she knows you are getting ready for the day. As soon as I put a bra on, she doesn't leave by side. Somehow she thinks that by closing the distance between us she will be more likely to come along for the ride.

Maddie always wants to be close to you.

When Maddie is happy she rubs her head against you and mrrrs. It's very, very cute.

Maddie is shockingly well-behaved. She never needs to be on a leash because she understands that the adults are in charge. She always waits for the go ahead.

But when she does get something she likes it is gone instantly. Maddie is a little piggie.

I understand why people say dog is man's best friend. Maddie is certainly mine. Life is just better with her (literally and figuratively) in the passenger seat.

Monday, 28 September 2009

You don't want this treat from Barack Obama?

heather This week we're talking about my favorite thing in the world: my pets! Well, I'm talking about my pets; everyone else is talking about their own pets. And I'm not actually talking, really. Mostly I'm just going to show you a video.

It doesn't matter where you lean politically, this is one heck of a dog trick. (Not my dog.)

(Dude! How does it know?!)

And this is my video response. (My dogs.)

Does Scout love Obama? George Bush? Stalin? Hitler? Jesus? No! Scout loves treats! And she would take them straight from the hand of Satan.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Evil Summer II: Part 4

Jennie (Click here for Part One. Click here for Part Two. Click here for Part Three. Aaaand here for the original.)

I stood at the corner, my hand in the air, waving down a cab (like I just didn't care) and acting like I wasn't leaving a trail of blood and eye goo on the ground behind me as I paced. I wasn't exactly sure where to find the rest of my childhood gang, but if I didn't hurry, I wasn't going to have time to catch up on my TiVo'ed shows. Grey's Anatomy wasn't going to just watch itself, you know.

An old, dilapidated Gypsy Cab Company cab finally screeched to a halt in front of me and the back driver's side door automatically popped open. It seemed a bit out of the ordinary but after the evening I'd had so far, I honestly didn't care. I scraped the edge of my heel on the curb, trying to dislodge what I thought was a piece of cornea from the tip.

"Where to, Miss?" asked the driver.

"Um...that's just it," I said. "I'm not exactly sure. Do you know where the old, abandoned warehouse is down on Route 13?" Christ, I thought, I sound like a character from Scooby Doo.

"Sure do, Miss. Hold on tight."

I did not, in fact, hold on tight and was thrown backwards with the force in which he took off, swerving through traffic and zooming up and down alleys.

"Slow down, man!" I screamed, grasping the 'oh shit' handle above me.

"No, Miss. There's no time. He's already there. With your friends."

Eff, I thought. Double you tee eff, in fact. The cab stopped suddenly and I was thrown forward to make out with the glass partition a bit, even though we'd only just met. I sat back and rubbed my face, wondering how badly my makeup had been smudged at this point. Probably pretty badly, considering I'd run from and then murdered my driver/Randy/Patrick and could only assume that I had gotten sweaty and a bit covered in blood and retina in the process. If only I'd thought to bring my Pretty Princess Peppermint Patty Makeup Touchup Kit. If I was going to die tonight, I wanted to at least look my best.

"Uh, Miss, you should probably get in there," said the driver, racing out of the cab to open my door. Very gentlemanly of him, really, under the circumstances. I wondered if he'd consider becoming my new driver. You know, if I survived the night.

I got out of the cab, straightened my pantsuit, and walked toward what could only be described as an old, abandoned warehouse, conveniently sitting next to a sign for Route 13.

"Must be the place," I muttered. I opened the door, wincing at the loud squeak it made, and walked inside to find my old friends sitting around a long table. Their bright, smiling faces were all turned toward the man standing at the head of the table. He was wearing a nametag. It said "Patrick."

"Um..." I said. "What's going on here?" All the bright, smiling faces turned toward me.

"You're here!" shouted Chris. "Finally! We were just about to get started!"

"Started with what?" I asked. "What is this? A tea party?"

"Why yes, it is!" said Patrick of the nametag. "Please sit."

"Yeah, I'm going to need an explanation first," I said. " feet do hurt, so I'll sit for it."

"Excellent," said Patrick, not Randy/My Driver. "I've gathered you all here to apologize for my rudeness all those years ago. You see, I wasn't trying to kill any of you. I just needed your help getting back to my real body, which you see before you. So...thanks."

"Patrick," I said. "That makes no sense whatsoever."

"Of course it doesn't make sense," he said. "This is reality."

Everyone was staring at me now, sipping their tea and munching on crumpets. Well, hell, I thought, I love crumpets. I snatched one off the plate in front of me and took a bite. Delicious.

"Here," said Patrick, pouring me a cup of tea. "Have some."

I took a large, unladylike gulp and felt my head go fuzzy.

"What is this?" I asked, my mouth having trouble forming the words. "Did you put Roofies in this? Did you give me Forget-Me-Now tea?"

"Oh, right," said Patrick. "I also forgot to mention that I'm what you might call a...GHOST VAMPIRE. I MIGHT have invited you all here to turn you into ghost vampires, too. We're endangered, you know."

I passed out before I could tell him how ridiculous he sounded. When I came to, I had a sudden craving for a big, raw, bloody steak and my body felt a bit lighter and more see-through than it used to. Great, I thought. No one is going to buy candy-flavored fragrances from a ghost or a vampire, let alone a friggin' ghost vampire.

"Hooray, you're all awake!" cried Patrick. "Let's dance! Ghost vampires love to dance!"

I started to protest but found that as soon as I heard the music, I wanted to do a little dance. Make a little love. You know. Get down tonight. I was powerless against the mad beats. It was kind of nice, actually, to dance along with my old friends and not, for once, be worrying about what new sort of sweet treat I'd be trying to convince Susie Homemaker to rub all over her body the next day. I was done with all that. I didn't need it anymore. Ghost vampires could make their own luck, I assumed. Just like Billy Zane.

The music stopped. I kicked off my heels and sat down to catch my breath, wondering what my new life was going to bring me next.

"Hey, everyone!" shouted Patrick. "Who wants to go to a Werewolf Bar Mitzvah?"

Sounds spooky, really. Scary, even. I wouldn't miss it for all the Kit-Kat cologne in the world.

THE END (or is it?)

(yes, it is)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Evil Summer II, part 3

(Click here to read Part 1.)(Click here to read Part 2.)(Click here to read the original Evil Summer.)

Of all the days to wear my new Louboutins, this was by far the worst. Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver was catching up fast as I tried sprinting down the street in six-inch heels, desperately searching my Blackberry Storm for the phone numbers of the old gang. But it was no use; at that moment, with Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver breathing down my neck, I knew that it was either me or the shoes.

I turned the corner and ducked down an alleyway, kicked off my kicks and kept on running. But God, I loved those shoes, and before I made it three steps I spun around and ran back to the place I had left them. I stooped over to pick up my pumps, but suddenly he was there, looming. For the first time I saw the knife in his hand, and terror shot through my side as the memories of that Evil Summer from long ago flooded over me like a tsunami full of doom.

I should have just killed Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver when I'd had the chance. The thought bounced between my ears, and knew I wouldn't make that mistake twice; before I had time to think I was reacting, and instinctively hurled my shoes at my would-be assassin. The first bounced harmlessly off of his shoulder but the second hit its mark. In that instant all I saw was red, and not just because of the signature soles of my shoes. To my horror I realized that the six-inch spike of my heel had driven straight through Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver's left eyeball and into his brain. He was dead instantly, felled in an ever growing puddle of his own blood and guts.

I stood in shock as I watched a black, thick liquid ooze out of his mouth, remembering with horror that scene from all those years ago. But instead of forming an ominous message at my feet, it rose into the air and streaked off at lightning speed and disappeared. Slowly I came to my senses and walked over to where the shoe that wasn't lodged in Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver's face lay. I picked it up and walked back to the body, and gingerly pulled the other shoe from Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver's eye socket. The sucking noise it made as I extracted the lodged heel was nauseating, but there was no way I was going to leave a brand new pair of $800 heels stuck in the face of a guy who just tried to kill me.

Suddenly, and without warning, I shrieked, startled by the opening bars of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" as sung by the cast of Glee emanating from my Blackberry. It was Courtney, finally. "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?" I screamed into the phone.

"Well," she said, her voice raspy with what I presumed to be sleep, "you'll never believe where I am."

"I don't have time for that!" I barked. "Fucking Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver just tried to fucking kill me!" I yelled.

Courtney didn't say anything at first, but I could hear her heavy breathing on the line. "It's the funniest thing," she said finally, "but I'm at the old abandoned warehouse down by Route 13. And I'm here with Chris and Josh and Justine and Melanie. Also, Roger is here."

I was stunned. Did Randy (or Patrick!)/My Driver go after them too? "Don't move," I told her, "I'll be right there." And quickly I wiped the guts from my shoe, put them back on, and ran to the corner to hail a cab.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Evil Summer II, part 2

Abs(Click here to read Part 1.)(Click here to read the original Evil Summer.)

My town car was waiting outside the studio. For the first time, I debated whether to sit up front with my driver. The back seat suddenly seemed looming and filled with... doom.

I started my driver as I got in and he pulled his cap down and his jacket collar up.

"Home tonight?" He asked, the same way he asks every night.

I hesitated. I had three proverbial doors in front of me: go home, go to the bar, or face this problem head on.

"No, actually, take me to the Fourth Street stop."

I fumbled for my Blackberry and texted Courtney. No response. Again. Where was she? I was feeling nervous. Had Randy already arrived? Where was Patrick in all of this? He's the one we'd hadn't heard from in the longest. The questions of that night and this night muddled together and I anxiously rubbed my thumb over the Reese's-scented phone cover.

My driver pulled over and I prepared to exit the car.

"Goodnight!" he said, the same way he says every night.

I opened the car door and lifted my right foot out. I was going to get on the subway and ride all night if that's what I needed to do. He wouldn't find me. He couldn't find me. My former ideas of dealing with this on my own, using my God-given skills, were fleeting. I was going underground.

As my left foot followed my right to the pavement, I felt cold metal on my neck.

"Where do you think you're going?"

It wasn't the voice of my driver. It was Randy.

And he was too slow. I pulled up and away. He slid across the seat to chase me out and as he exited the car and started chasing me, I spun around and sprayed him with the Kit-Kat cologne. It wasn't pepper spray; it was better. I had used it on many an adoring fan who got a little too close.

I speed dialed Courtney again and screamed into her voicemail and then, against my better judgment started calling the rest of the gang.

The spray wasn't working on Randy/My Driver and he was advancing.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Evil Summer II, part 1

heather (Click here to read the original Evil Summer.)


I tried to pretend the note was just another fan letter -- I'd been getting at least two a week since I started selling my candy-scented perfumes on the Home Shopping Channel -- but as soon as I saw it in my dressing room, I knew I was in trouble. This wasn't something that could be spritzed away with a bottle of Kit-Kat cologne; this was Randy (or Patrick!) back to haunt me from our Evil Summer, all those years ago.

I don't know, maybe I'd been asking for it. A person can't achieve fame on late night cable without some repercussions.

Sure, I'd let my friendships with Chris, Courtney, Bret, Josh, Justin and Randy diminish over the years, but that was part of growing up. Maybe this was their sick way of getting back at me for ignoring them. Or maybe Randy really had transformed into Patrick all over again.

The scar on my side began to tingle just thinking about it.

"Great show tonight!" one of the camera guys said, leaning against the door of my dressing room. "I'll bet that Toblerone fragrance is going to be a big hit with the international viewers!"


"How do you know which candies smell the best, anyway?" he asked. He was obviously imagining me rubbing chocolate all over my naked body, which wasn't far from the truth.

"I just sniff them," I replied.

"Oh, I imagined it was more ... scientific. Hey, do you want to get a drink?"

"I can't tonight," I said. "Sorry, but I have something I need to take care of."

He said, "Well maybe some other time."

I shut the door behind him as he skulked off.

The first thing I needed to do was get in touch with Chris or Courtney or Brett or Josh. Well, maybe not Bret; he was in jail for assault. (Again.) And probably not Chris either. I hadn't really spoken with him since the last time we hooked up. Why had he gotten so clingy? I suppose it had been the Butterfinger-scent of my success.

I called Courtney. No answer. Maybe she was still asleep. She'd probably just TiVo'ed my show.

I logged onto Facebook, but signed out quickly when I saw a post from Josh saying, "All I know is I'm not ready for another kid, and I sure as hell don't want her to mother a baby from me!"

Who were these people that I'd grown up with? Was I the only one who'd managed to make something of myself?

It had been 20 years since the Evil Summer, but I still remembered it as clearly as the moment when I'd first rubbed a Heath bar on my forehead and discovered my life path: the homoerotic wrestling between the boys on the cot, Randy's scratchy voice, the sting of the knife piercing my side.

I still wasn't sure exactly what had happened that night. Had Randy's body been taken over by an Evil spirit? Had he turned into a demon? A vampire? A zombie? Had the devil really started handing out free hot chocolate?

What I did know was that Randy (or Patrick!) was coming for me, and I had to be ready. I slipped the letter inside my bag as I prepared to leave the studio.


The words echoed in my head, and I couldn't help but think I should have just killed Randy (or Patrick!) when I'd had the chance.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Evil Summer

Many of you remember The Evil Summer, the horror novel Jennie! wrote when she was 12, and then posted on her blog when she was a grown-up. But for those of you who don't, we are re-posting it in its entirety today, because, friends, the sequel starts tomorrow. (All footnotes provided by grown-up Jennie!, who would like you to know that she left all spelling and grammar errors in tact on purpose, though it caused her much pain.)

The Evil Summer: Part ONE

I couldn't wait! My family was going up to the Keegans for their anual summer party. Chris and I had been talking about it since last years most boring party of all. Since then Chris got me talking about putting people into trances, and levetation, and all that ghost stuff. We have been waiting for this party so we could have more people.

"Courtney, come on!"

Oh, wonderful, its my mom. I guess I should go if I want to get to the Keegans soon. I got in the van and we started driving. I know in the car I must have been driving my parents nuts by asking them how long it would be until we got there. Finally we got there and I ran out of the car and into the house.

"It's about time!"

"Jeez you scared me, stupid!" I yelled. It was Chris.

"Did you bring the books?," she asked. "I got some from Christina."

"Yeah, I brought em," I said. I told her about some of the stuff we could do. We headed up to her room.

"First let's do the funeral one where we pretend to bury someone." she told me.

I thought about being buried for a minute. I had a great idea.

"Well, lets let Randy do it first!" I said.

"Let Randy do what, first?" said a voice.

Chris got up and kicked at something behind the door. Then a head looked around the side.

It was Chris's cousin Randy.

"What do you want to do to me?" he said.

"Oh, just bury you, bring up a spirit and ask you questions." I answered. "Nothin much."

Randy looked at me and said, "What are you talking about. You are nuts, Courtney!"

"Oh yeah, look who's talking, Mr. Pyro." I said.

It just so happens that Randy liked, no loved playing with fire.

"I just saw Justin come into the house," Chris said. "If you guys will shut up, we can go try it. We have enough people."

We ran down the stairs and into the kitchen to meet him. We told him about what we were going to do. We decided to try it in the basement, because it's dark. We all ran down there. Unfortunatly Chris's brother, Josh, and Josh's friend Bret, were down there.

After Chris and Josh fighting and beating each other up for awile, Randy and I convinced Chris to let them stay.

"Alright, fine. Lets get started," said Chris, not happy at all.

Will Chris and Courtney successfully entrance Randy? Will Randy succumb to the dark forces taking over his body? Will 12-year-old Jennie ever grasp quotation punctuation? Tune in next time for . . . THE EVIL SUMMER.

The Evil Summer: Part TWO

Chris got out a cot and a bunch of big pillows and heavy blankets.

"OK, Randy!" I said. "Lay down."

"No way, first tell me what's gonna happen." he said.

"Well, you lie on the cot and we cover you up with pillows and blankets. Then we pretend you died and say why we'll miss you. Then your* sopposed* to feel like your* underground. Then a spirit is supposed to come out and we'll ask you questions!" I said.

Randy started laughing and Chris hit him and told him to shut up.

"You have to be serious!" she said.

"OK, I'll try to, but it's kinda stupid." he said.

Chris pushed Randy down onto the cot**. Then she threw a blanket on top of him.

"OK, now everyone sit in a circle" she said.

Chris sat on Randy's left, next to his head. I sat across from her on Randy's right. Bret sat next to Chris and Josh sat next to me. Justin sat at Randy's feet. Chris started talking.

"OK, Randy, take a deep breath. Now let it out slowly. Feel the life leaving your body. Good, now take another breath and let it out. This time feel your heartbeat slowing down." she continued. "I'll miss Randy because he was funny and fun to beat up."

Then Randy said something in a deep voice.

"What did he say?" I asked.

Chris said, "I don't know!" as we both leaned over Randy's face.

"Auughhhh!!" he screamed. Chris and I screamed.

"Randy, you jerk!" I yelled.

"I told you to be serious!" Chris said.

"Great now we have to start all over" Josh said.

Chris covered Randy back up after kicking him in the head two times. Then she started over with the breathing. Next she told everyone to say why they would miss him.

"I don't know what to say. I only see him once a year. I'll miss him because he was funny and acted crazy all the time," I said.

Josh went next. "I'll miss him because he was one of my funniest friends."

"I didn't know him good, but he was great at throwing water balloons at Courtney and Chris!" said Justin.

Bret said, "I'll miss him because he was one of my best friends. He was really cool and loved playing with fire."

Then Chris told us it was time to bury him. We all grabbed 2 pillows each. As we threw them on top of Randy, Chris said, "Your falling deep into the ground, falling farther. Down underground." She said that a few more times and we sat around and watched. Then Chris stopped and told us she was gonna start asking questions.

"What's your name?" Chris asked.

Then a voice answered. It was deep and scratchy. Right then I knew we were in trouble.

"Patrick Oleson" said the voice.

"Partick, how old are you" asked Chris.

"I am 14 years old." Patrick answered.

"Let me ask a question!" Josh said, "Have you ever killed anyone?"

"JOSH!" We all yelled at once.


"Yes, I have," said Patrick. Chris and I looked at each other.

"Oh, my god!" we both whispered. Chris asked, "Are you evil?"

Is Randy/Patrick evil? Do you have any idea who all of these people are? Will Jennie ever figure out the difference between "your" and "you're?***" TUNE IN NEXT TIME FOR . . . The Evil Summer.

*it physically hurts me to not fix all the grammar and spelling errors
***Oh oh oh, and by the way, Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E means 'you are.' Y-O-U-R means 'your!'

The Evil Summer: Part THREE

"Oh my god!" we both whisperd. Chris asked, "Are you evil?"

"I'm not, but the evil is inside me, waiting until I'm angry, to come out and attack, or kill." he said.

"Wh-aa-at, what's wrong," it was Randy's voice now. "You guys look like you saw a ghost!"

"You mean, you don't remember!" I said. "You sounded so weird. You said your name was Patrick and that you killed someone."

Then Randy started laughing and said, "I can't believe you guys believed me. I was just foolin around!" He was still laughing.

"God, Randy, I can't believe you. You're such a jerk." I yelled.

As I ran up the stairs I heard Chris run up behind me and heard Randy yell, "Courtney, Chris, jeez, can't you guys take a joke."

Chris and I ran outside. Our parents were already building a fire. I looked at my watch, it was 6:30. We were downstairs for 3 hours.

"Let's get something to eat," I said. "I swear, I'm never talking to Randy again!"

Chris said, "Why are you so mad. He did it to all of us and I'm not mad."

"Its just that, he was actually acting decent. Then he pulled that stupid trick!"


Oh wonderful, it was Randy.

"Ignore him," I whispered.

"Courtney, why are you so mad at me?" He asked.

"She likes you!" Chris said.

"Shut up, Chris!" I cried and hit her. Then she hit me back.*

"Oh you do, do you?" Randy teased.

"Oh yeah. When hell freezes over and the devil gives out free hot chocolate!" I said.

I walked into the garage, where the food was. I got some chips and a Pepsi and walked over to the porch and sat down on the steps. Suddenly, Chris ran up to me.

"Where are . . . our parents!" she asked.

"Where do you think, over by the fire." I replied.

She grabbed my arm and I got up. She dragged me through the yard to the fire. No one was there. The fire was dying down and glasses of Ammereto** and beer were sitting next to the lawn chairs. No signs of anyone. Chris and I ran back to the house. We searched every room, even the basement. We found Randy and Justin in Chris's room.

"What are you doing up here?" Chris asked.

"Trying to find you guys." said Randy. "Where were you?"

"Looking for our parents." Chris said.

"We've looked everywhere. Everyones cars are here."

"Are you still mad at me, Court?" Randy asked.

"I guess not. I still can't believe you faked it like that.***" I said.

"Are you sure I was faking?" It was Patrick's voice.

Randy pulled out a knife. Chris, Justin and I backed out of the room. We were standing on the stairs.

"C'mon, Randy stop fooling around!" I said.

"I'm not fooling around!" he yelled.

Then he threw the knife at us. Chris and Justin ducked. I felt a line of fire on my side. I looked down and saw my shirt soaked with blood.


Will Courtney survive? Did all that teenage angst make you want to poke your eyes out? Did Jennie read anything other than horror books when she was 12****? Find out next time on . . . The Evil Summer!

*these kids are so VIOLENT
***that's what he said
****not really

The Evil Summer: Part FOUR

I fell down. Chris and Justin helped me up. They took me to the bathroom. I used a wet towel to clean up the blood. It was just a small cut and didn't hurt to much. I put a bandage on it. I stood up. I could still walk. We ran down to the basement. Josh, Bret, Mandy, and Melanie* were down there. We grabbed them and told them what happened. Then we heard the basement door slam and lock.

"Oh, my God. Someone locked us in!" cried Chris. "How do we get out now?"

I ran up the stairs. It had to be Randy, or Patrick, or whoever he was.

"Randy?" I yelled. "Randy please, let us out!"

"I'm not Randy, who's Randy," it was Patrick's voice. I don't think anyone thought Randy was kidding now. Actually it isn't Randy.

"Patrick, please let us out?" Chris yelled.

"I can't, you'll try to stop me." he said.

"Stop you from what?" I asked.

"From killing you, of course!" he said. I ran back down the stairs.

"How are we gonna get out?" asked Bret.

"We could climb out the window." Chris told us. "But there** kinda small."

"Well you and I could fit through." I said to Chris. "But how do we reach them?"

"We could push the shelves up to the window." Chris said.

Justin and I agreed, because Justin and Bret could hold it while Chris and I climbed out the window. It took us an hour to take everything off the shelves and move them under the window. We used a screwdriver to break the glass.

Chris went first. She started climbing. It only took her about 2 minutes to get up there. Then Justin handed her two wodden bats. My turn. I put my foot on the bottom shelf. The whole thing felt like it fell over. I think it took me about 2 minutes to get otu the window. I looked at my watch and Chris gave me a bat. Good, only 8 o'clock***. It should be light for at least another hour. Chris and I started walking toward the garage. Nobody was in the garage so we went into the house and unlocked the basement door. We told everyone to go upstairs.

"Where should we go?" Justin asked.

"Um, lock yourself in the bathroom." I said.

"I don't think so!" It was Patrick. "Randy is gone now."

He had a gun pointed at us^. Where he got it, I don't know. He told us to go down to the basement. Chris went first then Mandy, Justin, Josh, Melanie, Bret, me and Patrick, holding the gun against my back. I noticed Chris had her hands behind her. I knew she was up to something. I just hoped Patrick didn't know that. We were almost down the stairs. As I stepped onto the floor Justin grabbed my arm and yanked me away from Patrick. Before he could shoot, Chris smacked his arm with her bat. He dropped the gun and I picked it up. He soon recovered and paid no attention to the gun in my hands. I guess he figured I wouldn't use it, and he was right, I didn't want to hurt Randy. He glanced at Chris and Justin who had triumphant looks on their faces until he tackled me and the gun flew out of my hands and across the room. I saw Justin run and pick it up, aiming it at us, but we were rolling around. I put my hands around Randy's neck and slammed his head against the washing machine. He easily threw me across the room. I hit the wall so hard I thought I would pass out. Then I felt 2 hands slide around my neck. Randy was trying to choke me! I pried his hands off my neck and I tried strangling him. He tried pushing me away but before he could I tightened my grip. He hit me hard on the head and kneed me in the stomach. I don't know how but I held on. I could hear Justin and Chris shouting and Mandy, Melanie, and Josh were crying and screaming. I think Chris was talking to someone on the phone, but I couldn't understand her. Everybody and everything was hazy. All I could concentrate on was Randy, and it wasn't hard since he was hitting me with more strength than one human could have. Finally he stopped struggling and a black, thick liquid oozed out of his mouth. He started shaking and making gagging noises as a black liquid formed an odd shape on the floor, from Randy's mouth. Then Randy dropped his head to the floor and stopped moving. The shape on the floor changed and formed the words I'LL BE BACK. Then it dissolved into the air. For a few minutes everyone was dead silent, all of us looking and Randy and the place where the words had been. Then everyone was talking at once.

"Is he dead?"

"I want my mom!"

"Call 911!"

"Help, help, somebody get help!"

[ok, so believe it or not, there is still more of this crap . . . but I'm tired of typing so it'll have to wait.]

*I'll be honest, even I don't remember who all these people are
**Confession: I had a problem with there/they're/their until like 9th grade
^this made me LOL^^
^^I should really stop Mystery-Science-Theatering my own story

The Evil Summer: Final installment (OR IS IT?)

I couldn't move or talk. All I could remember were the words on the floor. It said it would be back. When? 10 years, 10 days, 10 minutes? I didn't know what was real anymore. The next thing I knew I was over by Randy, looking down on him.

"Did I kill him?" I managed to choke out.

"I don't know!" said Chris.

I dropped to my knees and put my ear on his chest. I couldn't hear anything. I sat up and said "I can't hear a heartbeat."

"Well, try gain. He can't be dead!" shouted Chris.

I put my ear back to his chest. After a few seconds I whispered, "He's gone. I killed him."

"No, he's not!" Chris yelled. "Move!"

She pushed me away and put her ear to his chest*. She stayed there almost 5 minutes.

"Hey, I - I hear something!" she said.

"Let me see!" I told her.

She moved away and I listened. She was right. I could hear something, too. I sat up, to happy to speak. I just shook my head yes, realizing that he wasn't dead, I hadn't killed him.

"He's not dead. I told you!" Chris yelled as Randy continued to wake up. By now he was fully concious.**

"What's going on. I told you that stupid game wouldn't work!" he said. We all stared at him.

"You mean, you don't remember?" I asked.

"Remember what?"

We told him what had happened. Just as we finished we heard a door slam. We ran upstairs. It was our parents.

"Where the heck*** were you guys?" Chris asked.

"We were next door. Didn't Bret and Josh tell you?" Chris's mom said.

We looked at Bret and Josh. "Sorry." they said.

"Nothing happened did it?" my mom asked.

"Oh, nothing unusual." I replied.

Later, the next day Randy came to me, looking guilty and asked, "I didn't hurt anyone did I."

"Well, you cut me in the side when you threw a knife at us. Then you threatened us with a gun." I said. "Does your head and neck still hurt? I kind of slammed your head on the washer." Now it was my turn to look guilty.

"A little, but I'm glad you did what you did."

"Oh glad to do it. Anytime you need to be strangled and beat up, call me!" I joked.

It's almost 8 months later and I've about forgotten the whole thing. Or at least stopped thinking about it all the time. Until I found a note on my bed one day. It said:


(or is it?)

OK. So that's over. I see several plotholes here. One, I think everyone's parents may notice the bloody towels all over the upstairs bathroom. Two, there is probably a bloody knife lying there, too. Three, um, where did the gun go? And four, was I really planning to write a sequel? I'm so happy that does not exist. Also? I still have no idea who half the people in this story are.

*It's called CPR, you 12-year-old morons. Look into it.
**I still can't spell this word
***see? I didn't always have such a goddamn dirty mouth

Friday, 18 September 2009

Phone It In Friday: Chores!

Alright, party people! We've learned that Heather cares about FarmVille more than life, Abigail never showers, Kat is an introvert, and Jennie hates the grocery store. Tell us, what are your chores?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

file under: hate-filled diatribes

Jennie My least favorite household chore is ALL OF THEM because they take me away from things I'd rather be doing, like watching TV or going to the movies or reading books or wasting time on the internets or reading books or eating pizza or READING BOOKS. I wish reading books was considered a chore because it would make me so responsible. Suddenly, I did NOT just "waste" all of a Saturday because I sat on the sofa in my pajamas finishing my book. SUDDENLY, I am the most responsible human being ever because I READ BOOKS ALL DAY.

This one time (at band camp), Heidi walked into the apartment. She had been out doing responsible errands or something and I was sitting exactly where I had been when she left. She was all, "aren't you going to do anything today?" and I was all, "um, I am, I'M READING," because reading is more fun than doing chores.

This is not to say that I won't do chores. I will do them and I will do them so good! This is not just because I most likely have a mild case of OCD but because my father and I used to get in screaming matches over cleaning because he's even more OCD than I am and now I know that THERE'S A RIGHT WAY TO DO EVERYTHING, DAMMIT! Anyway, yeah, so I can scrub a toilet with the best of them but that doesn't mean I want to.

By far, my least favorite thing to do is go to the grocery. I will put it off for as long as I can. I hate pretty much everything about it, except for the fact that it yields lots of yummy food stuff. I hate steering the cart around, I hate the parking lot, I hate the stupid Boy Scouts trying to sell me popcorn when I have a cart full of food ALREADY, I hate the checkout process, I hate carrying everything in from my car when I get home, but most of all, I hate the people. I know hate is a strong word, but have you ever been stuck behind someone in the small orders line who can't count to 15? I will count your items, ma'am, and if you have more than 15, I will tell! Did you hear me? I WILL TELL ON YOU.

Worse than that, though, is the self checkout line. I didn't realize how many idiots there were in the world until Kroger started putting self checkout machines in all of their stores. I think you should have to pass a test before you're allowed to use those machines. Once, Heidi and I watched a lady with a full-to-the-brim cart try and use the self checkout line. She quickly ran out of room on the bagging contraption because DUH the self checkout lines are for small orders, you a-hole! I hated her. You could tell she was embarrassed and I almost felt bad for her but she did it to herself. I'm sort of surprised that her face didn't melt off because everyone was sending her hatey glares with their eyes.

Let's see, who else do I hate at the grocery? Oh. Of course. YOUR CHILDREN. I'm sorry to those of you who have no choice but to bring your kids to the grocery. I know that must be painful. But that doesn't stop me from hating your children. Because they are IN MY WAY all of the time. And now? They have these giant carts that have those red Fisher Price cars stuck to the front so the kids can sit in there. I hate these for a couple of reasons. First of all, the carts are GINORMOUS and take up the entire aisle, so if you want to go down that particular aisle, you have to wait for the parent to NOT ONLY finish picking out what kind of fruit cups they want BUT ALSO they have to yell at their kids for twelve years to get back in the damn cart. Sometimes when the kids stick their little arms out of the cart-car, I want to stomp on them. Second of all, I'm just jealous that they didn't have those carts when I was a kid. No, I had to make due with riding in the front basket until I got too big and then you know what I had to do? WALK. Sometimes my mom would let me stand and hold onto the front of the cart but mostly? I had to WALK. And everyone knows walking is the hardest chore of all.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

However, I suspect the real chore is being friends with me.

I'm pretty competent at this whole Being A Responsible Adult thing. I mean, I've pretty much done it since I was ten years old, so cooking? Easy! Laundry? Easy! Doing the dishes? Easy. Household chores come easy to me, but other people? Not so much. These days the chore I struggle most with is trying to be a interesting and witty human being in front of other human beings, and believe it or not, this past weekend I failed miserably.

I know I'm supposed to be funny and snarky about all of this but I'll beg for your indulgence today because I really don't have it in me. Because as big of a chore trying to be nice under normal circumstances is, trying to be nice after you've been told that no one wants you around is fairly impossible. So for now I'm choosing to make myself scarce.

Be back next week.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

How many categories does Monica have for towels?

Abs One of my many-numbered non-issues is that I make a chore out of nearly everything. Getting out of bed? Chore. Putting clothes on? Chore. Eating? Chore. Chore. Chore. As you can imagine, this makes like pretty annoying. Good thing I have my complaining outlet.

The thing, there is some stuff that doesn't even make sense.

Like Taking a Shower. I hate it so much, you guys. First of all, you have to take your clothes off. Which = freezing cold. As someone who is already wearing pants and long sleeves as to protect myself from both outside air and air conditioning, I do not like taking my clothes off (sorry, boys). Even the promise of a warm shower isn't helpful, because, and this is the kicker, when you get out of the shower you are back in the cold and now WET. PLUS, you can't put any clothes on because you're soaking wet. So you have rub yourself with a towel, which, ick. I think I'm probably doing it wrong because this seems like a totally ineffective way of getting dry and still involves being naked. So, while I try this, I usually end up back in bed, huddled under the covers with my towel, waiting out the cold, wet, horrible post-shower sensation.

Taking a shower is the worst chore ever. Hells no do I do it every day. I can't handle that on top of everything else. You know, getting out of bed. Eating. Life, in general.


Introducing: Big Damn Heroes

A new blog on entertainment brought to you by The Collective's Abigail and Heather Anne in collaboration with commenter Ashley! Click over now... you know you want to.

Monday, 14 September 2009

I'll sponser you to shutup about SPEW.

heather You know that scientific law (thermodynamics, maybe?) that says all things move from chaos toward order? Yeah, that law does not apply to me. It's not that I don't understand the purpose or benefits of being organized, it's just that I feel like there are better uses of my time.

And, I mean, I've always felt this way.

When I was in second grade, I walked into school one morning to find my desk lying on its side in the middle of my classroom. All the other kids -- I'm going to call them "kids" not "friends" because I didn't have any friends besides my sister until I was 12 -- were hovered around my papers and books, prodding at them with their feet like it was a crime scene.

After my Lisa Frank unicorn Trapper Keeper had been properly trampled, my teacher showed up and gave me a verbal lashing. I explained that my desk was like this when I got to school, and she said she knew, see, because she was the one who upturned it.

Yes, the fully grown woman charged with my education had, in a fit of rage, flipped my desk over -- because it was too sloppy.

"Why didn't you clean out your desk yesterday afternoon when I gave the whole class time to do it?" she demanded.

Calmly, I told her that I had been memorizing my multiplication tables, which seemed more important than sorting my crayons by color or whatever. She scoffed at me and said I would miss recess every day until I organized my desk, and I told her I didn't think that was exactly fair on account of the point of school was to learn and I had taken it upon myself to do so while my classmates still struggled their way through adding double digits.

She said fine, I could have my recess back if I would stand in front of the class and say my multiplication tables through 12s. And I did. Because I hadn't been lying. Learning seemed more important than neatly stacked papers.

And that is how I feel about cleaning, even now. I get it, I really do. But there's always something bigger I'd rather be doing.

To illustrate, I kept a log of my activities when I was supposed to be cleaning house on Saturday. All true facts:

9:00 a.m. Will start cleaning as soon as I watch SpongeBob and have my Cheerios.

9:30 a.m. Begin unloading dishwasher.

9:35 a.m. Inexplicably have too many vases to fit into vase cabinet. (Inexplicably have vase cabinet.) Maybe I should move the tupperware to the vase cabinet and the vases to the tupperware cabinet.

9:41 Whoa, bad idea.

9:45 Move everything back to original cabinet, store new vase under sink with cleaning supplies.

9:48 Consulting Google: "How much Cascade can my beagle eat before it kills her?"

9:49 Oh, we're good.

9:50 Start laundry.

9:51 a.m. P!nk's new song about evil clowns and fun houses creeping me out, but keeps repeating on Sirius XM 20 on 20. Will just put on Torchwood: Children of Earth Soundtrack to make myself feel more heroic about life in general.

9:55 Where the eff is my iPod?

10:05 Didn't find iPod, but did find missing part of Jennie's birthday present in desk. Oh, and gross -- sippy cup with apple juice under bed. Am going to blame Amy's nephew, not my own.

10:12 Found iPod. Now, where is iPod Dock?

10:15 OK, play all, except Ballad of Ianto Jones. Too sad.

10:16 Oh! Need to email sister Torchwood theory. And will just check FarmVille while online. Hmm... wheat is 90% ready. Will read GoogleReader while it finishes growing. Don't want to miss harvest. Terrible waste of coins if I lose my wheat crop.Also, must update GoodReads.

11:05 Cat is asleep on warm(ish) laundry. Too cute to move. We need light bulbs. Will just run out to Target to get some. Need lunch anyway.

2:30 Excellent deals at Barnes and Noble. Excellent lunch at Jamaican place. V. Excited about latest Detective Comics, which picked up at comic shop while out getting ... whoops, forgot light bulbs.

2:45 I have the biggest crush on Batwoman! Love the new Detective Comics! Love it!

2:46 Cat still asleep on laundry. Will maybe follow her lead and take a nap.

4:15 Excellent nap!

4:16 Need a snack.

4:30 Laundry

5:00 Daydreaming about book I finished last night, wondering what happened after the end, writing imaginary scenarios in head.

5:15 FarmVille crop harvesting time! Update FarmVille cost accounting spreadsheet. Must send to Abigail so we can team up and dominate world of farming.

5:30 Ashley thinks I should reorganize GoodReads shelves. Probs will only take a few minutes.

7:45 Also tagged all Flickr photos!

7:46 Tired of cleaning. Need a snuggle and a book.


And that, my friends, is how the cleaning gets done at my house. Because on Sunday morning when I got up, the house fairies had finished all the chores. And by house fairies, obviously, I mean Amy had folded and put away all my laundry.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Books are good. I like them.

Jennie Everyone's talking about Goodreads this week, and with good reason, because it's awesome. However. What you may not know is that I write the WORST reviews on Goodreads. Actually, I'm sort of the worst at Goodreads PERIOD because I only remember to update it like once every couple of months, and by that time I've forgotten all the books I've read OR I remember the books but I don't remember anything about them, only whether or not I liked them. Very rarely do I actually write anything of substance in my reviews. It's usually more like this:

Life of Pi: I resisted reading this book because everyone told me I should read it, and I HATE being told what to do. Um, it turns out I should have read it a long time ago because it was SO. GOOD.

Ines of My Soul: I love historical fiction SO MUCH and I don't know why. I knew absolutely nothing about Ines Suarez or the conquest of Chile but this book was awesome. Except sometimes the battle sequences kind of ran together. How many times can you really read that some dude got lanced in the neck or whatever? Anyway, this woman was a total badass and, at one point, decapitated some dudes. I felt a little guilty rooting for the Spaniards on account of they were totally stealing Chile but whatever, no one is perfect.

The Time-Traveler's Wife: I need to reread this. I heard they changed the ending for the movie and so I've decided not to see the movie unless it's on like TBS or something on a Sunday and I can't find the remote in which case I will watch it in between hangover naps. The end.

The Road: I read this book on vacation, which was good, otherwise I might have had to kill myself because of how depressing it was.

And then I write crap reviews for really, really good books, because I'm not smart enough to write real reviews:

The Kite Runner: This book made feel feelings a lot.

City of Thieves: I want to make out with this book.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Perfect.

Sometimes my reviews are indicative of the current state of my love life:

Beside the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: This book was all about love and made me want to stab myself in the eye. (Review dated before Joe, obviously)

Or, you know, I just get vulgar (STANDARD):

The Devil Wears Prada: I would rather use the pages from this book as toilet paper than ever have to try and read it again.

Sideways: I did not like this book. Like, at all. Maybe because I don't have a penis, I don't know.

Tender is the Night: This book made me all wistful. Also . . . Dick Diver, hee.

Sometimes I just get straight to the point, which is totally unlike me:

Fahrenheit 451: This might be my favorite book. EVER.

A Man Without Country: I miss you, Kurt.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: I learned that I wish I lived in a goddamn chocolate factory, that's what.


Those are almost all of my reviews because most of the time I'm too lazy to write anything. I guess you could go see how many stars I gave the books I've read but that'd be pretty boring. Do what you want, though. It's your life, I'm not going to tell you what to do. Unless you're doing something the wrong way and then I have to tell you what to do. Sorry, it's in my DNA.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Book reviews!

Confession: I love when we do book reviews. Why? Because I'm busy (lazy). So just like last time, these are the books I read in May, June, July, and August (aught-nine), and subsequently reviewed at Collective favorite, Goodreads.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman, and boy howdy did I ever go on and on about this one. In Klosterman I found a new drinking buddy, someone I could laugh with and argue with and generally overthink everything from the apocalyptic cultural implications of Speidi to the sublimity that is the sound of blades on a perfect sheet of ice. I gave this 5 stars and yelled at everyone I know for not telling me to read him sooner.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, another book I was inspired to read due to cable television. I happened to catch the movie starring Eric Stoltz and Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Dana Scully a.k.a. my long-term girl crush, and absolutely could not think of anything else until I picked up the novel and read it for myself. And bow howdy was I glad I did. Wharton certainly has a way with words, and she uses a whole lot of different ones, too. I gave this 5 stars and wondered why I had avoided her for so many years.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, which I think anyone I went to school with would be really surprised to learn that I had actually never read before. I just love the story (or at least what I thought was the story), that idea of growing up not as a passage of time but as a series of choices one makes, that even into adulthood your childlike whimsy is always there if you know where to look for it. But that's not what this book was about at all. Or, at least mostly. My review, in its entirety: Man, kids are little bitches. 3 stars.

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O'Connor, which I hated. I said this on Goodreads and I'll say it again here, y'all are gonna have to tell me how the short stories are and how they relate to Lost, because I really do not see myself reading Flannery O'Connor again anytime soon. 1 star.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was hilarious. Duh. I kept reading the funny parts out loud to my boyfriend, who, in turn, would tell me to shut up already so he could watch the telly. Because there were a whole lot of funny parts (twss). 4 stars.

Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh continues my steady trek through the Waugh repertoire. Alex recommended Brideshead last year and it completely blew my face off, and since then, just like Vizzini recommended I went back to the beginning. And found myself completely surprised by what an accomplished satirist Waugh was. If you have any interest in early modern British history, this book is for you. 3 stars.

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace convinced me I had no business following the masses into their Infinite Summer. I am not smart enough for David Foster Wallace, but I did find this book amusing, even if I couldn't understand out why. 3 stars.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, which, judging from the number of comments I got everyone in the entire freaking world had already read except for me. And it was just as terrifying as everyone in the entire freaking world said. I gave it 3 stars and wished there were fewer commas in the book.

Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski is entirely about books and booze, and definitively proved that Bukowski > Kerouac > Brautigan. 4 stars.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon is one that I'd had my eye on for years, but completely avoided for reasons that make me sound like a bad person so I'll not discuss them further. I found it an enjoyable-enough read and gave it 3 stars.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is as awesome as you'd expect (it is Vonnegut, after all). But the ending? EVEN AWESOMER. 4 stars.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was incredible. Just amazing. And depressing as hell. 5 stars.

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman is best explained by the author himself: It's also fun to get drunk and cry during "Open Arms," and maybe even call your ex-girlfriend and apologize for things that actually happened in an altogether different relationship with an altogether different person. Just trust me on this one. Steve Perry is a fucking genius. 4 stars.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is another book I had to read because I caught the movie on cable television. I came across that old Scorsese flick and was completely overwhelmed by the NEED to read this. I'm serious, I couldn't think of anything else for days. I gave it 4 stars because I'm a sucker for an unhappy(ish) ending.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was really fucking long. And heavy. And hurt my wrists every time I tried to read it for an extended period of time. I babbled about Chuck Klosterman and gave it 2 stars.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is one that I read ages ago, and picked up in preparation for the next book. It was incredibly intricate and moving, but I only gave it 3 stars because I am easily confused. (My fault, not Woolf's.)

The Hours by Michael Cunningham totally resonated, like in a scary HOLY SHIT MY LIFE IS A LIE kind of way. 4 stars.

and finally

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman, which I enjoyed far more than any book I've read in a really long time. It was witty, and fun, and a little sad, and a lot nerdy, and pretty much everything I aspire to be on a daily basis. I completely devoured this book in one sitting, and gave it 5 stars (duh).

Believe it or not, that's it. (I KNOW.) I need to get me some other hobbies or something.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Friends to know and ways to grow

Abs I should be kicked out of The Collective. Last time we did this, I posted Peefer's Goodreads review of a book that I hadn't even read. Since then, you guys, I have read all seven Harry Potters (in less than a month) and finished no other books. Totally a kick-outable offense. But, how about some books I haven't finished?

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger (author of Devil Wears Prada and another stupid book)
I made it exactly one chapter into this book before dying of a) boredom and b) embarrassment on behalf of the author. How can you write people like this? Awful. It's my own fault. I'd read both of Weisberger's other books and while I appreciated the novelty of Prada, I suffered through the other one that was about a party planner slash editor? Or something? And there was this Plot B about romance novels? Bad news. And yet, I saw this book and I was like, yes, good choice. A quote from the first chapter:
Emmy looked to Leigh for help but Leigh nodded in agreement. "I can't believe I'm saying this, [ed. note: I can't believe I'm reading this again] but I have to agree with Adriana. You're a serial monogamist and as a result have only ever been with three people in any significant capacity. I think what Adi's saying"--she was able to sneak in a single use of the hated nickname here because Adriana was distracted on multiple fronts by food, drink, and sex conversation--"is that you should be single for a little while. And being single means dating different people, figuring out who and what work best for you, and, most of all, having a little fun."
A three-way dare followed this in which Emmy decided to get slutty, Andriana decided to try monogamy, and I can't remember what Leigh's pact was. I just looked it up and she hadn't decided yet. So they made the pact and she had two weeks to figure out her thing. Thus ended the first chapter. It's just so lame, you guys. That's the premise of the book.

Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge
This textbook is lying in my bed currently not being read. It needs to get read though as it is required reading for my organizational behavior course for school. UGH. Did I tell you all I went back to school? I did. I'm getting my MBA so I can make all my dreams come true. To get it I have to read a lot which I'm not very good at on account of I can't even come up with a list of books I've finished in months. The book is about psychology of management which as a topic is very interesting. Just not as interesting as say, Ranch Rush.

It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong (Dooce)
The only reason why I haven't finished this book is because I feel guilty whenever I'm reading it. Guilty that I should be reading certain organizational behavior books instead of books by the internet. I'm enjoying this, though. You can tell it's blog-to-book in some parts, but since I've never gone back to read all her archives, it's still new material to me. I like it and recommend. Some day I might finish it! (In December, maybe, when I have no more stupid school reading.)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Book Review: Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

heather Before we get started with book review week, I feel like I should let you know that The Collective (individually) reviews books all the time over on GoodReads. (Lots of our BFFs are there too. We love our BFFs. Hi, BFFs!)

So, book reviews.

Many, many years ago, I worked as an actual minister at an actual Baptist church in the actual Appalachia region where people actually believe that on the eighth day God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that Man could protect himself from the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals.

While I was working at this actual Baptist church, I dated a lot of actual Baptist boys. A lot of actual Baptist boys. For reasons I wouldn't understand until much later in life -- thanks to some experimental kissing and plenty of therapy -- it never worked out with these fellas, even though they all had golden souls.

After I'd broken up with maybe the fifth music/youth/discipleship/evangelism minister, a friend of mine gave me a Christian romance novel called Redeeming Love. She thought if I read it I might begin to accept God's special plan for Christian boys and Christian girls.

I read it. I still didn't accept the plan. And now I am going to review it because I found it in the garage last week and these days the plan is a dot to me.

Redeeming Love is based on the Old Testament book of Hosea, in which God tells the prophet Hosea to marry a harlot so that Israel will have a tabloid story to represent how they are always whoring around on Him. Hosea's hooker was named Gomer and, as hookers are wont to do, she kept running off and hooking with all his friends, and he kept going after her all, "Gomer, if you're going to have sex with anyone, it's going to be me, because Jesus loves you." (Actually, Jesus wasn't born yet, so that last part isn't exactly historically accurate, but that's sort of the sentiment.)

Anyway, so, Redeeming Love is Hosea, only it is set in California during the gold rush and Gomer is named "Sarah/Angel" and Hosea is named "Michael." Sarah/Angel works in a brothel and one day when Michael, the noble, God-fearing farmer walks past, God says, "Marry that prostitute!" And he does. Because she is hot.

Sarah runs away from him about a hundred times, the way Gomer ran away from Hosea. There's a lot of really heavy-handed symbolism and internal dialogue about the difference between animalistic shagging and making love by candlelight. In the end, Sarah/Angel reveals that her name actually is "Sarah" and not "Angel" and she and Michael have sex in the barn while God looks on, smiling.

The best part about Redeeming Love are the GoodReads reviews, because Christians have feelings about women taking off their clothes.

First, the lovers:

Recommended for:
Anyone who wants to read a story about love that's founded in God's love, and not just in lust

Christian readers looking for something better than the average Godly book

Anyone who loves a good love story and also knows the story in the Bible of Hosea

believers and married folk

Readers looking for frontier inspirational romance or a retelling of the Book of Hosea

anyone who wants a clean love story
There were times during my reading that I was so emotional I had to look away to cry, and then revert my attention back to the story.

wow, a very powerful story! I listened to this one on my iPod. I tried so hard not to cry (especially toward the end) but I finally had to pull over and wipe my eyes when it ended.

What a great romance! It had everything in it...everything. Action, adventure, rape, incest, rape of children, prostitution, adultery and love. What a ride!

everyone must read it at least twice in their lives.

OMGSH!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS DEFINATELY MY FAV BOOK OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! it's about a girl who is sold into prostitution(i think thats how you spell it) at a young age a continues in this lifestyle; until a farmer named micheal is called(by God) to marry her. its a story that mirrors the book of nahum in the bible. but it's sooo good!!!! omgsh!!! i loved it!!!the message in it is soooo powerful! definately a must read for every teenage girl.
(No, seriously. That is a real review.)

And the haters:

Recommended for:
No one!
OK, then!

First of all, this book was PG 13--which I didn't know when I purchased it. I couldn't relate with the characters. Next, and I probably should have mentioned this first--she takes her clothes off way too much. I understand why they got married, but why were they intimate? There was no relationship. She was a prostitue, then got married and was still in that frame of mine. I think the only redeeming quality is that it did not describe the sex ilicitly, except to mention that it happened. Thank you. Then, she had sex with her brother in law, while she was still married. Yuck! o.k, enough said--I would not recommend this book.

This book taught me something about getting book recommendations from people. Just because everyone reads and enjoys a certain book does not mean that it is worth reading. It just means that if those people spend their time reading books like this then they probably should never have learned to read in the first place.

I wanted to smack the main character for being a selfish idiot.

Oh ick. What kind of freaky book club am I in?

So, to sum it up: Redeeming Love has been rewritten. It is called Twilight.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Pardon my French, but you're an asshole!


Today's post is brought to you by Joe, of Joe's Apartment. He's here to tell you all about my asshole cat, Phoebe.

(Hi, come pet me!)

It’s been well-documented by Jennie that her cat, Phoebe, is an asshole, and while she can tell you all about it, I would like to share with you my experiences with Phoebe. She can be cute and affectionate sometimes and actually act like she likes you, but what she’s really doing is lulling you into a false sense of security. If you pet her in a way that is displeasing to her, she will bite you. If you stop petting her for whatever reason, she will bite you. She likes to curl up next to you as close as she can get, so that you can’t even move without disturbing her, and then when you try to move…you guessed it, she bites you. I’m sure there are other things that you can do to make her bite you (like, say, nothing), but those are the ones that come to mind.

The Cat Who Shall Not Be Named
(I will eat your soul.)

The biting, though, I understand. Nobody likes it when their personal space is invaded, and I’m sure that if I was a small animal and someone petted me in a way that I didn’t like, I would probably try to bite them, too, and not just pretend it didn’t happen and drink the communion wine like I was told. No, I forgive her for the biting. It’s the other things that she does that make her an asshole. And I don’t mean running down the stairs past you in an effort to kill you, though that is certainly an asshole move. No, these are things that, unfortunately, involve bodily functions.

(Pay attention to me or I'll poop on this poster!)

You see, Phoebe likes to make poops in her litter box and then not cover them up. At all. With anything. Not even a little bit of kitty litter. I suppose it’s thoughtful of her to go in the box and not on the floor or the bed, but still. It’s always oh so pleasant to walk into Jennie’s bedroom and to be greeted by the aroma of freshly-laid and uncovered twosies. Is it not in a cat’s very nature to cover their mess? Is this not an instinctual thing? A quick Google search (I searched “cats cover poop,” and it was very entertaining) reveals that, yes, it’s indeed in their nature to cover their poop. Phoebe, then, goes out of her way to leave her poop uncovered. If that’s not an asshole thing to do, then I don’t know what is.

(Merry Effing Christmas.)

Her other favorite thing to do is to puke on things that don’t belong to her (read: everything). Sometimes she’ll walk into the room, look at you for a minute, puke on the floor, and then leave so that you can deal with her handiwork. This is somewhat considerate of her, since, if you see it right away, you can clean it up before it gets to be an ungodly mess and you have to burn everything in the room. Other times, though, she does it when no one is around. Then she wraps it up and puts it under the Christmas tree for you to find when you least expect it. Okay, only the last part is true – she’s way too much of an asshole to wrap her Christmas presents. The discovery of the vomit is the most fun part of when she does this, and that really is akin to Christmas morning, if Christmas was the most disgusting thing ever. Sometimes she waits with it for you to come home and discover it – I remember Jennie telling me about a time that Phoebe puked on her roommate’s bed and then sat there right next to it until her roommate came into the room. Other times, though, she leaves the scene of the crime, and those are the times that are truly awful. Imagine sitting down, putting your hand on the seat next to you, only to find that you have inadvertently put your hand on dried cat vomit. And at first you don’t realize that you’ve done it, but you know that something feels just a little off. And then you think about what could be off about it and then you OH FUCK ME I just put my hand on dried cat vomit. Yes, that is a true story.

Phoebe, you are an ASSHOLE.

(Oh, clean clothes! I have lots of hair, let me show you it!)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Collective FAIL.

It's already been mentioned once this week, but I think it bears repeating: I am an asshole.


Because I couldn't find anyone to guest post for me today. But I'd just like to point out that Abigail is an asshole too, because last night she hung out with a couple of super hotties. So at least I'm in good company.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

i hope you're very happy together

Abs Today's post is brought to you by Amanda Mae, my friend and author of A Good Man Is Hard To Find (the blog, not the book).

There’s a mess of assholes out there in the world, waiting for you to happen upon them. Abigail asked me to write, and when I asked what the topic was, she merely said “assholes.” Now, that is something I feel keenly when I encounter them, much like the open wound laden with salt and a twist of lemon. A razorblade cut splashed with vinegar, so goes the daily experiences of my life, where an asshole waits behind every corner to traumatize and annoy me. And you, just you wait.

Assholes who take their babies and little ones to movies.

I’m not a prude, but the asshole in front of me at Public Enemies who took his 4 and 6-year-old kids to see the film deserves to die. He clearly was supposed to be watching the kids for the day and decided that he wanted to go see a movie that HE wanted to see. His little girl sweetly asked before the film began if they could “go to the liberry” after, and it broke my fucking heart. I wanted to lean over and creepily breathe into his ear that he and his asshole behavior was going to ruin his child’s life. Instead I seethed silently with rage throughout every bloody gunfight as she covered her face and cried. Instead of taking her out of the theatre, he just leaned over and told her to stop it.

Assholes who have shitty weddings.

My god, my hatred for these people knows no bounds. From the very start, the tacky invitation arrives with it’s pleasant spray of roses and mother of pearl embossed lettering and formulaic wording. I take special delight in tearing these open, snarling at everyone within earshot. Then I poo-poo the registry choices, and eagerly peruse their online listings, asking what kind of asshole registers for a huge plasma screen television and brand new iPhones. Then I get to go to this shitty wedding where I don’t know most people, but see fifty people that I hate, another twenty I don’t care about, I scathingly comment on the music choices to whoever my lucky companion is, as I guffaw loudly at the ugly bridesmaid dresses. Ugh the ceremony is too looooong, ugh, I hate this song. Then comes the reception, where I am sulkily fed some terrible food and watch the bride continually assert how this is HER DAY, and then I leave early because I’m bored and tired out from being mean. And I laugh because I didn’t get a present, and promise mentally to do it sometime in the future, and never do. And I wonder why I never get to go to any weddings.

Assholes who have lots of opinions.

Yeah, I get it, it’s my fault for opening my mouth and expecting you just to listen. And I’m so guilty of this, I often equate someone talking to me with them wanting me to respond and come up with some solutions. Anyone who wants to chime in before I’m even done talking infuriates and annoys. Everyone knows someone like this, someone who can’t even share all their opinions, there’s just too many. When they’re not trying to jam in their own lame life experiences for you to NOT RELATE TO, they’re busy word vomiting all over you.

Assholes who hate vegetarians and loudly chomp meat in front of them or corner them and ask them aggressive and mean questions about why they don’t want any STEAK, what kind of pussy doesn’t like meat?

See above.

Assholes who break your heart.

And then there’s the kind of assholes who break you so hard you don’t think you’ll ever get unbroken. The kind who call you on the phone and talk for four hours every night, as you slip slowly into an understanding. The kind who make you so scared to ever get married or have kids, because maybe you’ll mess that up too because clearly you can’t make relationships work, no matter what you do or how much you cave and give in and love and try. The kind who change almost overnight and act like you’re crazy for ever having fallen in love with them in the first place when you were CLEARLY just friends. (Because guy and girls who are JUST friends write each other long thoughtful emails every day, and giggle on the phone for hours and adhere to the “your wins are my wins” vow of life and think about each other every minute of every day.) These assholes are all too willing to take what you’ve got, and you’ve got to get better at not letting them. Maybe it takes you a decade, but maybe you figure it out. And then it’s You: 1, Assholes: 210488329, but at least you’re getting closer to evening the score.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Guest Post: Kat! is an asshole

heather It's guest post week here at the Collective, and the topic is one of our all-time favorites: assholes. Please welcome my sister/tater, Jenn. (Hi, Jenn!)

Unless you're related to me, or are behaving like a moron in the parking lot, I don't really care if you're an asshole. I understand that you probably are an asshole and that it makes you feel important and probably pretentious and what ever else, fine, fine, go ahead and get on with it then. I just don't really care. That's your thing, and I'll leave you to it.

The only assholery I generally care about (aside from family and asshole drivers) is Kat's. And the only assholery of Kat's that I care about is her ability to do everything. Because part of that superhero power is the ability to cook. Really, really cook. And not only that, but she deigns to share her knowledge and, well, not power exactly, but...yeah, ok, let's go with knowledge...over at in kat's kitchen. (aren't the lowercase letters adorable?), which in turn means I can cook and garner praise for myself, which I guess makes me kind of an asshole too. I love the praise.

In fact, I love it so much that I have learned to make this recipe my bitch. I cooked it recently during a family beach vacation to all sorts of praise and adoration.

(Also, if I weren't an asshole and could remember to take pictures, you'd see photos of Roasted Potato Wedges with Herbed Butter, Chicken a la Brasa, Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables and Chocolate Chip Cookies. All recipes you can find at Kat's asshole kitchen blog, where she even has asshole videos about how's she's such an asshole that she can peel an onion with one swift movement of her asshole hand.)

Actually, looking at these photos makes me realize that Super Cooking Power doen't so so much make Kat an asshole, as much as it makes her someone who should move next door to me. Do you guys think Accio works on people?