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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ern reads 50 Shades of Grey post 3

AJ Ashton
I'm starting to regret reading this book. I may stop. But I want to get to the sex part and see how horrible it is. 

Chapters 4-5

Grey warns Ana that he’s not the guy for her and that she should steer clear of him. Just like Edward Cullen. Since Grey didn’t want to kiss Ana, she sits on the floor of the parking garage and sobs after he leaves. Okay. I hate her. She blames herself, obviously, because she must have messed it up. Guys, if someone doesn’t want you after one date, it’s not always something you did wrong. Sometimes you’re just not what they are looking for right now, they know it’s a bad match, and they rejected you for something you’d never change anyway. It’s okay.

E.L. James quickly points out that this is the first time Perfect Ana has been rejected. Ana says she never puts herself out there because of “a lifetime of insecurity.” Her insecurities include being too skinny. THAT’S NOT SOMETHING TO BE INSECURE ABOUT THESE DAYS. She’s also “too pale” and “too scruffy.” Scruffy? What’s scruffy? I want to grab this girl, shake her, and shout MY list of insecurities at her. Those are real, dammit, and they aren’t all physical. It’s much worse to be insecure about your character or personality.

Ana finishes school the next day and thinks she might go out and get drunk for the first time! Ugh. If Ana is going to be the epitome of untouched innocence in every way, I’m going to need an explanation. There needs to be a reason she’s this way. Maybe she was sick for a long time as a child, was raised Mormon, was homeschooled for a long time, has social anxiety, had a controlling parent, or lived in a really small town. These are the things that could make this innocence thing not stupid. Grey sends her some expensive first edition old books with a quote that warns her away from him. Kate says the f-word, and Ana giggles. I’m surprised her precious ears didn’t burn off.

They go to a bar and Ana gets drunk. She drunk dials Grey (who tracks her cell phone on the internet). Jose makes a pass and keeps trying to kiss Ana, even though she clearly says no. Grey shows up just in time to be the hero. Ana vomits. Grey takes her back inside for water, while Grey’s brother, Elliot, romances Kate. Elliot actually seems alright so far. Grey dances with Ana. Ana thinks, “My mother said never to trust a man who can dance.” Umm, probably because it means they are gay. Ana passes out and wakes up in Grey’s hotel room. She doesn’t have that bad of a hangover. B-frickin-S. If you drink so much you pass out (not recommended), your hangover is hell and it lasts for two days. Perfect girls don’t get hangovers, I guess.

Grey talks to her, in a fatherly way. Ana calls him a courtly knight, and Grey answers that he’s more of a dark knight. Aw HELL no. Grey is not Batman. I resent the implication. He says, “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.” Ana doesn’t react to this at all, even in her inner monologue. Did she not hear this? If I heard this from a guy, I would run from his room screaming. What the heck? Ana tells Grey she wants him, despite his warnings. He says she has to actually sign consent forms before he touches her. Well…that’s good. And weird. Grey says that tonight, Ana will show her everything and then she will run for the hills. They get in an elevator together so that they can take his private helicopter (that he can fly) to dinner. In the elevator, he decides to forget the paperwork long enough to pin her arms and kiss her.

Another thing that’s bugging me is that Ana is always like: “How could the Christian Grey want inferior old me! How could I be worthy? It boggles the mind. Oh, my, this Greek god wants me.” If someone loves you, it’s best not to question why or idolize them because the world thinks that person is too good for you. You’re two people. You’re equals. No one is more valuable. Looks and money are temporary things. If someone loves you, you have something you need. Thinking you’re unworthy and feeling insecure is a way to ruin everything for no reason. 

More summer movies

By thomascrenshaw (Katy Perry at YouTube Live) 
Snow White and the Huntsman
Not nearly as lame as we thought it was going to be. In fact, it may be the best live-action version of this story that we’ve ever seen (Leeard enjoys Snow White: A Tale of Terror though). Kristen Stewart did a good job acting, believe it or not. She made a stirring speech that could have fallen flat, but it ended up being rousing. We liked the dark touches, special effects, and emphasis on Snow’s courage/integrity compared to the queen. Maybe good character is what made her more beautiful than Charlize Theron? Because just looks-wise…sorry Kristen. It was maybe a little too long.
Movie grade: B+

Magic Mike
This movie was poorly advertised. Everyone thought it was going to be a fun, sexy comedy for the ladies. Really, it was a serious movie about pride, falling into the wrong crowd, and losing your way. Sure, there were a few funny dancing scenes, but Magic Mike mostly worked as an after-school-special with a pretty good/believable romance. If you come, be prepared to watch a good movie with some substance and a stellar ending, not a mindless romp.
Movie grade: B+

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
The beginning was funny. The ending was manipulative, but sweet and welcome. The middle was a little boring. The movie was underwhelming, overall. Not terrible though, if you have to watch it.
Movie grade: C+

Katy Perry: Part of Me
Surprisingly fun. Katy was impressive as a performer and likeable as a person. She mostly showed only a few of her attributes: 1) she’s fun, 2) she’s smart, 3) she’s weird and happy all the time, 4) she works hard, and 5) she misses Russell Brand and still believes in love. So yeah, she didn’t show too many of her weaknesses or much of her actual life. You know she has some faults (other than being sad about getting divorced), but the movie didn’t show them. It described her history, which was interesting. Overall, it was kind of inspiring and entertaining.
Movie grade: B+

This movie was so disappointing. Some of the lines were unintentionally funny. All of the characters were shallow, stupid, and unlikeable. We were bored. Some of the violence and Salma Hayek got our attention. The violence was a little much. This movie would have been better with first choice Jennifer Lawrence instead of Blake Lively because J-Lawr could have brought some gravity and substance to the role. We had high expectations for this one.
Movie grade: C-

Hope Springs
This movie is about two old people trying to rekindle intimacy in their marriage, so it’s kind of a rom-com that you don’t normally get to see. If that sounds good to you, go see it. It’s cute. If the subject matter sounds like it would bore you or make you uncomfortable (there’s some old-people sex and bawdy humor), don’t go see it. This will come down to personal taste. A lot of the movie is really depressing, but you do care about the couple. Plus, the acting is stellar. Of course. If you’re old, female, and have been married a long time, you’ll probably love it. We liked it because you so rarely get a movie about couples at this stage in their relationship.
Movie grade: B

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ern reads 50 Shades of Grey post 2

Those cheapos at Kindle couldn’t even give me two full chapters to decide if I should read this garbage. I decided to go for it and buy the rest of the book, since my mom not only fed me, but offered me a book in exchange for doing her a favor (it involved using the internet for her. Older people are bad at that). Also, it was only 10 bucks. Another piece of fortunate news is that I can read this book while drinking because it requires little thought. When you’re drinking, this book gets better, no lie. Recommended. And look, I’m not going to completely vilify this on purpose. I GET that you guys know this isn’t Pride and PrejudiceI get that people reading this are reading it solely for entertainment, fun, and titillation. There’s no need for me to be a huge snob. I read junk all the time. I’ve read the entire Captain Underpants series. But you also have read good stuff too, at some point, you know? I’ll give it a chance. So far, Twilight's relationship is just as abusive. far. If the book legitimately turns me on or cures my boredom, I’ll like it. And I like making detailed book posts. Maybe I’ll do it for every #1 bestseller from now on. I’LL DO IT FOR J.K. ROWLING’S UPCOMING BOOK!

Chapter 2 continued
Ana and Grey are still at Clayton’s hardware store when Paul, the youngest brother of Ana’s boss, comes in and says hi to Ana. He goes to Princeton, is home on break, and has a crush on Ana. He asks her out every time he comes home and she always says no. It makes sense that Ana is insecure and doesn’t know Grey likes her, right? Literally every man in the book so far (Christian, Jose, and Paul) has wanted Ana. That’s one of the hallmarks of a Mary Sue (having all the male characters sexually desire the character). A Mary Sue is a stand-in for the author where the author gets to be as cool as she wants to be. It’s kind of a sad thing to do, as a writer, and it’s one of the hardest things to avoid, since we’re so ego-driven as humans.

Lots of writers have themselves in their books, in some form, but the best ones write their faults in or make themselves otherwise imperfect or complicated. Like, when Stephen King writes himself into The Dark Tower, he is still an alcoholic riddled with fear. E.L. James is perfect, and her big problem is that she doesn’t know it yet. Oh, and she’s a little clumsy. Ana always wears jeans and only has one skirt because it is beneath E.L. James to be feminine or care about her appearance. Girls who wear skirts try and femininity is inferior to tomboyishness and masculinity. There are moments where I like Ana, but you can’t truly like someone who is so unreal, void of faults or….shades of gray. Anyway, Paul puts his arm around Ana. Grey acts jealous and leaves. Ana admits to herself that she has a crush.

Chapter 3
This is the first chapter I hated. I counted six eye rolls. It was boring and repetitive. It was full of clumsiness, Kate making clear Ana was innocent, flushing, hand-holding, insecurity, Ana thinking Grey is hot, hearts racing, and Grey being a douche. Kate wants to photograph Grey, so Ana has to call him and set up an appointment. Grey is available the next morning at a swanky hotel. Jose comes along to do the photography. After the shoot, Grey asks Ana to go with him for coffee and she agrees, still frantically questioning in her mind why Grey likes her or if he even likes her. Kate pulls Ana aside and warns her that she thinks Grey is “dangerous,” especially to someone as innocent as Ana. Ana is rightly annoyed and goes on the date.

Ana gets tea and they begin to talk to each other like they did in the initial interview. Confrontational questions. Answers that avoid truth and substance. Grey likes that Ana is mysterious. We’re sure Ana feels the same way about him. More teasing. More flushing. Comments on the flushing. Grey makes sure Ana isn’t dating either Paul or Jose. Grey doesn’t ask Ana to call him by his first name, even though he calls her “Anastasia.” It’s a control thing, of course. Apparently, some women are turned on by controlling men. I think it’s more the idea of a controlling man because it feels safe. Once you actually live under a controlling man’s reign, you change your mind because you feel like he’s taking your humanity.

And look, it’s different if the controlling behavior is limited to one place, and you both agree it’s appropriate there. People have different strengths. If one person is good with money, that person in the couple should take care of all the bills. It’s the same in the bedroom. If there are roles that each member of the couple feels comfortable with, by all means, play them for as long as they work and as long as you are both enjoying it. It’s when controlling behavior permeates every aspect of the relationship and takes over the life of the submissive partner that things are scary and disrespectful. Obviously, Christian Grey is a guy who is controlling everywhere. She can’t call him by his first name. They aren’t even sleeping together yet! This is real life. This is human interaction.

They talk about their parents, and they don’t like it or reveal much. Ana had a good stepfather. At least there aren’t gonna be a bunch of daddy issues driving her future poor decisions… Ana says she wants to go to England, so of course a trip to England with Grey is in her future. Ana asks Grey if he has a girlfriend, and he says he doesn’t do the girlfriend thing. That would send me running, but Ana just wants a smooch. She’s only 21, so I’ll give her a break. She trips and almost dies or something, giving him an opportunity to catch her, and my eyes rolled so hard that I’m surprised they aren’t stuck that way. You guys…this man’s name is Christian. But I don’t think he’s a Christian. Hahahaha. Okay, I think I’m funny. Sidenote: This book is LONG. I’m only 9% through it. I didn’t know it was so long. Phew, I need more beer.

Pretty Little Liars - The Kahn Game

Since this was so late, we’re putting in extra effort. Enjoy a longer recap this time. We're not going to edit it for typos until tomorrow because we're tired. We're sure you'll live if you spot one. Loving the title of this episode because maybe it will feature weird, creepy cutie Noel Kahn. We open in the coffee shop where Aria and Spencer are stressing. Aria shows Spencer a picture of Maya’s wrist that was on her website. It has the mystery rave stamp. Spencer is over everything and doesn’t want to deal with it. Five days ago, she literally forgot to apply to college for early admission. Don’t sweat it, Spence. Ern forgot too and still got in. Spencer also got a B. A B! Spencer drove Toby out of town. Noooo. At least we have Noel Kahn and The New Bitch. Twenty-two-year-old college-graduate Cece comes over and says that she has a friend, Steven, from UPenn admissions who is going to a party tonight. Spencer wants Cece to take her so that she can give Steven her application. Love Spencer’s lost puppy look.

At the Marin house, the cops have a court order to compel Hanna to turn over her blood in five days. Hanna’s mom calls Veronica Hastings, attorney. Yeah, Ashley Marin, protect your baby! Love her. At school, Caleb goes to Hanna and gives her a new login for Maya’s website. At least Caleb and Hanna are on speaking terms. It’s so sad though. Hanna gets a text from A asking her to meet A at Apple Rose Grill at closing time, OR CALEB PAYS. If A kills Caleb, we will leap through the screen, find A, and bury her alive in a pit of snakes. Hanna shows the text to Spencer. Spencer doesn’t want Hanna to go, but of course Hanna is going to, right?

Aria approaches Ezra’s apartment, wearing a style we would like to call Aria Goth. It’s all hipster, sexy, overdone, and trendy, but the shirt has a bone ribcage on it. Ezra is fighting with another young man who turns out to be his brother, Wesley, urging Ezra to “take the offer.” Ezra: “The car I sold was actually my brother’s, but he gave me permission to sell it. Still, somehow, my mom can legally require me to buy it back for her. The man wants double the price, so I have to borrow money from my mom.” Aria: “Your mom offered me money to dump you, by the way.” This whole storyline is the best thing that could ever have happened to this couple, in our opinions. There needed to be some new conflict. We’re finding them a lot less nauseating lately, although we’ll never ship them or root for them. God, Ezra is so little and pale. Is he sick and dying? He probably just looks like that.

Outside school, Hanna tells Emily about the Maya website and gives her the login info. Ashley Marin comes out of the Hastings law office and sees Ted walking with a black woman. Sweet music plays. Yes, show, we ship Ashley and Ted too. Get it, girl. Second chance time. Aria and Spencer are in Spencer’s bedroom. Actual Aria quote: "I'm kind of lying here despondently right now, Spence." Not sitting, because “lying is more despondent.” Spencer is picking out an outfit for the party. Actual Spencer quote: “These are my most collegiate-looking blazers.” Spencer asks Aria for fashion help, showing us that she really is losing it. The results are not what we would like. A pencil skirt at a kegger? Some of the clothes this season…seriously, stop.

The cutest thing in the episode was when Spencer told Aria that she shaved her father’s sideburns off as a child because her grandma offered her $200 to rid her dad of such perversions that were unworthy of a Hasting. CeCe takes Spencer and Aria to the party. It’s in Noel Kahn’s cabin. CeCe’s friend, Eric, is Noel Kahn’s older brother. We wonder if he’s hot too… This could be promising. The man at the gate checks CeCe’s name on the list and gives all the girls The Mysterious Rave Stamp, dun dun dunn. Maya and Holden have been partying with Noel Kahn and college-aged kids, and PLL did not see fit to show us?!! No forgiveness. There better be flashbacks.

Meanwhile, Maya reads an overdramatic, romantic poem that’s presumably about Emily, and Emily watches her on the screen, cries, and strokes the computer. We’re beyond caring about Maya or Emily’s Maya pain. Back at the party, in the game room, we meet Eric Kahn, a 13-year-old girl trapped in a man’s body, since his “thing” is playing truth or dare. We’re pretty sure Noel has him beat on the sex-o-meter, even if they looked exactly the same. They don’t. Eric is hot, but Noel is hotter. Eric notes that CeCe brought “virgin sacrifices.” Aria and Spencer, virgins? Yeah, those ships have sailed. Eric redeems himself slightly by telling CeCe, “You’re mean when you’re cute.” Great line.

You have to play to stay in the game room. Spencer and Aria don’t really want to play truth or dare with a bunch of horny college boys (Aria has a horny grown man at home, after all, and Spencer is just smart), and the Liars turn down CeCe’s drink offer. Aww, what good examples for the tweenies watching ABC Family. CeCe and Eric sit down for a truth-only game of truth-or-dare. It’s pretty funny. We love CeCe. Eric: "Get caught in a lie, it's sayonara, sweetheart." Cece: "This ain't my first rodeo, chum." Eric: “It’s the Earth’s last night. Who in this room do you have sex with?” CeCe points out some random guy and says it’s because no one should die a virgin. Charitable.

At the Marin house, Ashley offers Hanna chicken parmesan, but Hanna is going to the grille to save Caleb. Ashley tells Hanna about the blood thing. Hanna leaves. Ashley calls Ted. Woo hoo. Getcha some, getcha some. Back at the party, Noel and Jenna have arrived. We had forgotten how luscious Noel is. He challenges Aria to truth-or-truth with him. Hanna is at the grille, and Caleb drives up, saying, “Get in the car. I sent the text. I’m A.” WHAAAAT? Okay, we know he’s only A for the purposes of that one text, but if he were this season’s A the whole time, how awesome would that be? How surprised would we be?

It’s a good thing Hanna came, or Caleb would have thought she was okay with him getting hurt. Anyway, Caleb figured out there is another A out there, and he figures that he can be with Hanna now that she doesn’t have to lie to him anymore. Hanna freaks out. She tells Caleb how dangerous A is. She tells him that A ran his mom off the road. This scene is everything we’ve dreamed. Hanna said, “Do you think I would have just let you walk out that door if I’d had a choice?” Caleb takes her head in his hands. She walks away. We’re okay with that…for now.

Back to the Noel/Aria truth-or-truth. Aria asks a bunch of questions about Maya; Noel asks a bunch of questions about Ezra, while Jenna occasionally chimes in and titters. When time is called, Spencer is like, “You’re next, Jenna. I want you.” THIS IS THE BITCH-OFF OF A LIFETIME. We lied before. THIS scene is everything we dreamed. Chills. It’s just so well-done by Spencer and Jenna. We don’t find out anything, but it is boss. God, even the way Spencer walked up to Jenna was bad ass. In other news, CeCe agrees with us that Aria is prettier than Jenna. Aria is upset after her game, so she calls Ezra, thinking she needs to get far away from Noel and the party. Wesley answers and offers her a ride. Uh oh.

Ashley and Ted are having a nice date until Wilden calls. Emily is still watching the Maya videos. Maya says, if you can believe it, “I think Emily has got a very old soul. I feel it when I kiss her. I can hear clocks all over the world running backwards. If reincarnation exists, then Emily was once Cleopatra. Actually, no, I think she proves reincarnation exists. You can definitely trace her back to the pyramids.” This is our pet peeve about people who believe in reincarnation. They always think they or their loved ones were someone famous. No, bitch, you were random slave #113 building the pyramid for Cleopatra. Paige walks in. It’s awkward.

Back to Caleb and Hanna. Oh, that scene isn’t done? This can get better? Nice. He promises that he’s going to help her take down this new A, and then he kisses her. Yep, better. The best. At the party, CeCe shows up in the game room again, with Eric. Did they bone? Maybe. Likely, knowing them (and we feel like we know them a little more after this episode). Spencer: “Where have you been? There’s no Steven, is there? Why did you really bring me? IT’S A CONSPIRACY.” ” CeCe: “Actually, yeah. I gave him your application.” We question whether she did. Back at the Marin home, Ashley and Ted are doing so well that they get honest and then kiss. Yessssss. Bonus: He cleans her kitchen. The perfect man! Also, Mrs. Hastings came through for Hanna.

Wesley picks Aria up. Wesley: “I’m actually a nice guy.” If Aria got in a love triangle with Ezra’s brother and slept with him, that would redeem her for us completely. Can that please happen? Aria: “Your family sucks. They tried to buy me off.” Wesley: “Oh yeah, you know that our mom once paid off a girl Ezra got pregnant in high school? She aborted it and never spoke to him again. You did know that, didn’t you?” Aria: “Nope. Drive faster, grandma.” In Emily’s room, the awkwardness has passed and she talks to Paige about her feelings. Paige tells Emily about her grandfather who had a tulip tattoo on his butt. We don’t get the story behind why. Does anyone else remember the time Paige tried to drown Emily?

Aria gets to Ezra’s and questions him. He confirms, they talk, they are cool. Spencer goes home and calls Toby, telling him that she misses his abs him. As do we, Spence. (The actress playing her is getting better.) Then Spencer checks her email. Her application to UPenn has been received. She tears up a little. CeCe is the best. And probably the worst, which is something for us to find out later. She reminds us of Regina George. The last scene is A taking possession of a “Unit A” from a cat lady who says the landlady won’t bother A as long as the rent is paid on time. Next week’s episode looks great, but this one was a hell of a lot of fun.

Episode grade: A 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ern reads 50 Shades of Grey

If you’ve read this blog for a long period of time, you’re probably asking “why?” Sure, sure, I hate Twilight, and this started out as Twilight fan fiction. Sure, I hate horrible writing, senseless/shallow romance, unhealthy/abusive relationships, and stupidity. Sure, I said I would never read this, and I'm kind of a feminist. BUT, one of my friends says I'm being unfair dissing the books. She says, "You can’t knock it until you try it," which is something I said to get this friend to read Harry Potter. My own words, used against me! While a college teacher of mine (who I actually learned a lot from) made the excellent point that you don’t have to drink a whole carton of sour milk to know it’s spoiled, if you want the book's fans to take your criticism seriously, you have to read it. Plus, Leeard wants me to read it/check it out for her, because she thinks I will be less weirded out by the kink. I usually have no problem with kink. Mostly though, I think it will be funny. Reading the book should probably only take about three hours to read anyway. You don’t have to have read the books to follow this post, but know that I’m going to spoil the first book to hell and back. Let's try the Kindle sample.

Chapter 1
We meet “Anastasia Steele,” a Bella Swan stand-in and college student. So far, the writing isn’t terrible (surprised I would say that?), but the prose isn’t what you would call interesting or artful either. That’s okay because it’s easy to read, it’s entertaining, and it serves its purpose. I've read a lot worse. As soon as we meet her, Ana laments that her blue eyes are “too big for her face.” Umm. There’s no such thing as eyes that are too big for a girl’s face. Big eyes are attractive. They make you look innocent, and dudes like that. Ana sounds cute, but, like Bella Swan, she isn’t allowed to know she’s cute. Whatever.

Ana has to go do an interview with billionaire businessman Christian Grey because her journalist roommate, Kate, is sick and needs a stand-in. Ana lives in Washington state. Yep. Still Washington. Ms. James couldn’t even change the location from Twilight. Ana arrives in Seattle to interview Christian, who hires blonde women to guard him at the office. Ana makes a big deal in her head about the blonde assistants. 

But I actually wasn’t hating the whole book yet, which surprised me. I was enjoying myself. But then, disaster: When Ana walks into Mr. Grey’s office, she trips over her own feet and falls to the ground. Ugh. Clumsy women?!! Really? Don’t we have enough of those in freaking chick flicks? As has pointed out, one annoying way to have a perfect female character who isn’t actually perfect is to make her fall down all the time. It’s stupid and lazy. It gives Christian a chance to touch her right away though, as he helps her up with “strong and gentle hands.”

The interview with Christian Grey starts. Naturally, he is young and hot. Ana acts all nervous and Christian teases her. Christian is arrogant and Ana gets rude. Gumption? Naw. She called him a control freak (oh ho, she has no idea). That’s no way to perform your roommate’s interview. You listen to the egomaniac, write it all down, and deliver it to the journalist so that she can write a piece about what an ass he is. Calling a rich, arrogant guy a control freak is a way to a) get thrown out of his office, or b) get him to see you as something he must conquer into submission. I wonder which one Christian picks. /sarcasm.

Christian says, “Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control things.” Ughh, he’s unbearable. Edward Cullen sucked, but this guy is even worse. During the interview, there’s a lot of nonsense like flushing, heated and steady gazes, and eyebrow raisings. The sparks are flying, even though Ana isn’t impressed with his character. I bet she sleeps with him. He says her name and her heartbeat accelerates. Ana thinks, “He is beautiful. No one should be this good looking.” The questions Kate prepared aren’t good and Ana doesn’t get to ask very many.

We find out that Christian is adopted and has a brother and sister. He has a weird reaction to the question, “Are you gay?” He inhales sharply. Perhaps because he thought it was a disrespectful question? Or one that is too personal? Either way, I think that part should have been omitted. Christian clearly and immediately wants Ana for her youth, rudeness, and cuteness. This goes over her head. Christian cancels his next meeting to finish up with Ana, and now he wants to know about her. He doesn’t get much information, so Ana retains her mystery. As she leaves, Christian touches her shoulders and teases/flirts a little more. Ana calls him by his first name after he uses hers, and then the elevator doors close for her to leave. Way to go, Ana. Now he has to dominate you.

At this point I’m wondering if I can bear this assclown for more chapters. Sidenote: Christian Grey’s eyes are…wait for it…gray.

Chapter 2
Ana rushes out of the building and has what sounds like a mini panic attack. No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why. She calls her reaction “irrational.” Get a brain. He paid attention to you, touched you, flirted with you, and tried to offer you an internship. Plus, he’s hot, rich, powerful, and confident. Even a girl who legitimately hated him and would never sleep with him would be a little affected. There’s no drug like power and control, and no charisma like that of those who have it.

Ana works at Clayton’s, a hardware store in the Portland area, where she stocks shelves. Snore. She should have taken that job. Portland…I wonder if Ana is a hipster. Kate listens to the tape and transcribes it. She picks up on Christians obvious crush on Ana. We have a non-idiot female in the house! Ana doesn’t believe her because she’s a simpleton in this area. Kate says, “Even you can’t be immune to his looks.” That establishes that Ana is picky with guys. Possibly virginal. Of course she’s that way. Ana thinks it’s because she’s read too many classic books with better men. Okay, I can sympathize with that. Kate pounds the point in further with, “You, fascinated by a man? That’s a first.” Ugh, unnecessary.

Friday night, Ana’s photographer friend, Jose, comes to see her. Photographer. Yep, I think we’re dealing with hipsters here. Plus, Ana says, “Organized group activities aren’t really my thing” in this chapter. Jose invites Ana and Kate to a gallery opening where I just know Christian Grey is going to be. If E.L. James is smart (and hey, she’s sold a lot of books, so maybe she is), she’ll build up lots of romantic tension before Ana and Christian sleep together. It won’t happen at least until the middle of the book. Even though Ana thinks she is undesirable, she knows that Jose wants to be more than friends. Like a lot of girls, she’s okay with leaving him in limbo, suffering, because she gets a good guy friend and free emotional support. Bitchy.

Christian Grey visits Ana at the hardware store on Saturday to buy cable ties, rope, and masking tape. That’s not creepy at all! /sarcasm. Man, if this were a horror book, it could be really good. I’d like to give these first two chapters to Stephen King and just have him finish the book. What is with some female writers and “long-fingered hands” on guys? E.L. James has mentioned the long fingers more than three times now. I never really look at a dude and go, “Cute, BUT WAIT, does he have the long fingers I so desire?” Long fingers. The epitome of sexiness. Psh. Christian says he is in Portland to visit a farming division where he is funding research. Has he seen Food Inc.? Stop messing with the food, people.

Christian Grey obviously needs these items for his kinky sex, something he makes clear when he says he can use these items while he’s naked. This goes completely over Ana’s head, and Christian loves this. WHY DO GUYS LIKE STUPID GIRLS WITH THE MINDS OF BABIES? I’ll admit, I love guys with an innocent streak as much as guys love innocent girls, but this is really pushing it. Ana is in college. Get the message, woman. Ana tells Christian that Kate needs original photographs of him for her article. He gives her a “lost look.” What? Christian gives Ana his card with his cell phone number.


Then my Kindle says, “END OF THIS SAMPLE KINDLE BOOK. ENJOYED THE SAMPLE? BUY NOW.” Hmm. Do I want to buy this? It’s like 12 bucks. Think of how much Taco Bell I could get with that. I’ll sleep on it. I’m mildly curious to see how awful this gets.

While we're on the subject of books, Tina Fey's Bossypants was hilarious, and I also liked How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti, even though it was a little self-important. I felt like it was honest. Read the introduction, and if you hate it, you will hate the whole book. Lots of sex and cursing too.

Supernatural episodes you can skip

So you want to catch up on Supernatural, but there are over 100 episodes and AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Well, since we’ve been catching up and have only one season left to go, we’re going to list the episodes you really don’t have to watch. We’ll review the show in its entirely when we finish season seven, but just about everyone who has watched a few episodes knows that it’s a very inconsistent show. Episodes can be great one week and terrible the next. We totally see why its fanbase is so passionate though. Here are some of the pointless suckers, in our opinions. Defend them in the comments if you disagree. We think you'll end up liking the show more if you don't have to watch these time wasters. 

Season one - You could actually skip most of it. Season one is very procedural, cheesy, and “monster of the week.” Not as much from this season crops up later. It’s good to watch a few and get a sense of the first season and cases the boys take on. Here are the worst offenders:
  • "Wendigo" - Skip it because it’s just like any monster in the woods movie you’ve ever seen. There’s nothing original. Just know that a Wendigo is “a malevolent cannibalistic spirit that could possess humans or a monster that humans could physically transform into.” They are mentioned later in the show.
  • "Bloody Mary" - Snore
  • "Hook Man" - Not good, but kind of fun. Watch it if you want to or have time, but you are okay skipping it.
  • "Bugs" - This is the episode that nearly broke our will to finish this season. The boys don’t do ANYTHING to help the supernatural situation, it’s not nearly as gross or scary as it should have been, and it’s kind of boring too. You leave the episode thinking, “What was the point of that then? Why did Dean and Sam even go there?”
  • "Route 666" - This episode features a racist truck that kills. A truck. A racist truck. Please tell us we’ve convinced you not to watch it.
  • "Hell House" - Meh. Skippable.
Season two -
  • "Everybody Loves a Clown" - The only important thing here is that Dean has angst and beats up the car with a tire iron. This is only important because they show it a lot in the recaps. You’ll want to know when it was.
  • "No Exit" - We hesitated to put this on the list because it features Jo running off to be a hunter, against her mother’s wishes. It’s kind of important to that character, even though we don’t see her a whole lot in the series, however it’s a tad dull. Jo works a case with Sam and Dean and nearly gets killed. We also find out that John Winchester got her father killed by screwing up on a hunt. Jo isn’t so into Sam and Dean after that, but she still wants to be a hunter.
  • "Croatoan" - The boys visit a town with a Croatoan virus that makes everyone evil/violent. It’s not as exciting as it sounds. Almost no one in the town lives. The virus is referenced later though.
  • "Playthings" - This one isn’t bad, but if you are crunched for time, skip it. Otherwise, go ahead.
  • "Houses of the Holy" - The only thing you need to know about this is that Dean doesn’t believe in angels or God, but Sam does.
  • "Roadkill" - This is an unoriginal ghost story and a yawner.
  • "Hollywood Babylon" - This episode has a great reference for Gilmore Girls fans, but it’s otherwise a cheesy reminder of season one.
Season three -
  • "Sin City" - A boring episode confirms that the Ceiling Demon was named Azazel. Dean bonds a little bit with a female demon and Sam kills her. Ruby helps Bobby repair the Colt.
  • "Red Sky at Morning" - The boys work with that female thief with the horrible British accent, Bella, and she still isn’t trustworthy. The baddie of the week is a ghost pirate ship. It’s awful.
  • "Ghostfacers" - The only good thing about this turd is that Dean gets the nickname “Chisel Chest.” We don't know why he didn't get it before; dude is ripped.
  • "Long Distance Call" - The last scene in the hotel room between the brothers might be worth your time, but the rest of the episode isn’t. Dean admits he’s scared and Sam promises to help get him out of his mess. It’s sweet. We love when they talk about their feelings at the end of episodes.
Season four
  • "Criss Angel is a Douchebag" - This one is watchable and has good moments, but Dean and Sam don’t really do anything, and it stalls the show’s best season. All you need to know from this is that Sam is hiding something from Dean/he’s up to something bad with Ruby, but we don’t get to know what it is yet.
  • "It’s a Terrible Life" - This is a good episode that we think is largely a waste of time, even though it’s kind of fun. Watch it if you can, don’t sweat it if you can’t. The important thing to know is that Dean meets Zechariah, one of Castiel’s superiors. Zechariah shows up to encourage Dean that he is on the right path and the brothers would have chosen hunting evil even if they had not been raised by their crazy dad.
Note: "The Monster at the End of This Book" is possibly the best episode of the series.

Season five -
  • "Fallen Idols" - Monster-of-the-week again. At this point, a procedural episode is unwelcome. We are trying to stop the apocalypse here! Paris Hilton just seems like a sideshow at this point. However, in season one, this would have been gold.
  • "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" - Man witch stupidity abounds.
  • "Swap Meat" - A man witch trades bodies with Sam. The man witch episodes aren’t good.
  • "99 Problems" - In which we meet The Whore of Babylon and Dean kills her. Then Dean goes back to Lisa, showing he still has feelings for her.
  • "The Devil You Know" - The important thing is that Crowley offers Bobby a shot at Death in exchange for his soul. A lot happens in this episode, but nothing important/permanent. The boys get nothing done, so the hour is wasted.
Season six - The quality goes downhill to season one/two quality in this season.
  • "Family Matters" - This is THE most boring episode of Supernatural, bar none. But watch the very end/fast-forward to the part where Crowley shows up and talks to the group. It’s either the last scene or almost the last scene. There’s mildly important plot info in that scene.
  • "All Dogs Go to Heaven" - This episode is dumb.
  • "Clap Your Hands If You Believe" - So is this one.
  • "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" - You should know not to watch this just from the name.
  • "Frontierland" - If you’ve seen Back to the Future Part III, there is no reason to watch this. Just know that the boys get a hold of Phoenix ash.
Season seven - Okay. A lot. 
  • "Defending Your Life"- Longtime fans might like this one because Jo returns as a ghost. But we feel like the real Jo wouldn't be like that. She would get it and move on. She was a sweet, smart girl who chose to go out like a hero, not a grudge-holder. This episode is just bad. 
  • "Shut Up, Doctor Phil:- Not good and also not necessary to watch in order to get the rest of the season. 
  • "Season 7, Time for a Wedding"- Again, longtime fans might like this, especially as it features the return of Becky the fangirl. The rest of us just know this episode was stupid. 
  • "Time After Time"- Only watch this one if you've also seen The Untouchables. If you have, you'll enjoy it. Sidenote: We really hope you've seen that movie. It's fantastic.
  • "The Slice Girls"- We hesitate to put this one because it features Aunt Jenna and perfect casting of her and Dean's daughter. Also, it's almost too weird. X-Files weird. It's like Supernatural meets Jerry Springer. You might not want to miss that. It is bad though.
  • "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie"- This was a decent idea with a boring execution. Sam and the clown stuff was funny though.
  • "Repo Man"- This episode is so similar to most other Supernatural episodes. There is just no reason to watch it. Supernatural is better when it's not a procedural and when there is more continuity because its procedural episodes just aren't that interesting. The characters they come across are usually bland, and we get boring results like these. 
  • "Party On, Garth"- An F if there ever was one. All you need to know is that Bobby is back as a ghost and the boys don't yet know it.
  • "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo"- Possibly the worst episode of the series. The boys DO swipe something the Leviathans dug up in their archaeology project. You'll see it in the following episode. 
Season eight- A great improvement over the last two seasons.
  • "Heartache"- Not terrible, but also not great or important.
  • "Bitten"- We liked this episode a lot, but the Winchester brothers are hardly in it. Watch it if you have time, but don't fret if you don't. But if you have the time, do watch it.
  • "Man's Best Friend with Benefits"- Ugh, no. No no no. The worst episode of the season so far. 
Do you have any to add?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Glee Project - Actability

Team Lily Mae! Dianna Agron is the guest mentor today. She is so, so beautiful in the most traditional way. We think Dianna seems real and like someone we’d want to hang out with. Mostly, she seems smart. Oh poor babies. They have to show an emotion while they sing. SO HARD. They gave Ali "excited". That means they want her to win. Huge advantage. Blake was the worst, so we can’t believe Dianna liked him. Michael won the homework though.

The video of the week was a movie trailer set to P!nk’s "Perfect", which we love. It’s a powerful song. The kids were given a really convoluted story to play out. But hey, at least they don’t have to dance. Lily showed emotion in the studio AND sounded good. Yay! But then she was over-freaking-doing it in the video shoot. She was a good actress, but she couldn’t get to the point, dammit.

Bring on Darth Blake! He’s a natural actor and he pulled off his douchebag role. The cutest thing about the scene was Zach giggling and loving the scenes. Seventeen minutes in, and Aylin isn’t really annoying us yet. That’s a first. In the end, the kids did a good job, but we’d never see a movie with that trailer. It made no sense/it was all over the place.

Bottom three time! Those who remain go onto the finale. Nikki shows a sweet side. Whoa. Zach cries a little. All five contestants will perform for Ryan this time, as a final gift, so that they all have an equal shot. Most of the song choices they got were good, but Ali’s song was an awful pick for her. Even Lea Michele couldn’t pull of that rockin’ Halestorm song. Ali was sure to sound too shrill. You need a specific voice for that song. Lea and Ali don’t have it.

Aylin also got an unfortunate song. "Fighter" has little melody, lots of riffs, and lots of attitude. It’s a hard song to sing, if you aren’t Christina Aguilera, and no one else is. There are more judges on the bench than usual. First up was Michael with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", the slow, thoughtful version. It was okay. Lily Mae was next. She sings "Son of a Preacher Man". Great song. She looked so adorable in her little outfit with the headband!!! And she sounded perfect.

Ali was next, sounding like a munchkin as usual. Helium-voiced though she is, it’s hard to hate her because her attitude is so good. Plus, there was that cute little wheelchair thump. Then we had Blake with "I’m Still Standing". Nice moves, Blake. You just topped Michael with that dancing. One writer was concerned that Blake had no wound. Um, is he human? He has a wound. Just because you can’t write on a deep enough level to capture a conflict that isn’t obvious… Jeez.

Aylin next. It was better than we would have thought. She rocked a few notes. They love Aylin’s Islamic heritage and want to write for her. Ryan Murphy wants to cut more than one kid. It’s so cute how Michael puts Ali in her chair! Michael and Lily were cut. So much rage, you guys. We freaking hate this show. We get that Lily was stubborn in the beginning, but she got better! Obviously, Ali is going to win because they’ve shown Aylin being too unlikeable. Blake is too normal to beat the Muslim and wheelchair girl. Show’s over. Go home.

Episode grade: F-
WE HATE YOU GLEE PROJECT. This show will never please us.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bunheads - Blank Up, It’s Time

That title (and the play title) is an example of what Amy SP does best. We will forever be wondering what the dirty word is that you could fit in the blank and have it make sense. That’s an awkward sentence. We should fix that. Naw. Too lazy. Anyway, this episode was entertaining and cute. We love having Fanny back because her return was well-done. It was good for her to leave for a while though. This episode was all about men and boys coming into the protagonists lives. Man, this weird little show needed some dudes. Fanny is back in town with an old friend in tow: Michael. Michael is a jazz pianist Fanny has known (and also known in the Biblical sense) since Hubbell was a ten-year-old. Michael easily handles Michelle and her weird humor, cooks Fanny breakfast, has a smooth and deep voice, and seems to get along with Fanny very well. He and Fanny kept it casual for decades, but, after nudging from Michelle, asks Michael to stay a while. Ooooh. We like him, and we like seeing Fanny happy and loved.

Sasha goes in the sun, in a bathing suit, and gets tan lines, which is against Fanny’s rules. In the hopes of quelling Sasha’s rebellious spirit, Fanny gives Sasha’s part in a big dance to Boo. Sasha then proceeds to go out for cheerleading and put blue streaks in her hair. She looks ridiculous. Fanny throws Sasha out of the studio. Boo gets a dance partner, Carl, who is shorter than her, kind of a dork, and clearly in love with her. Slowly, Carl wins Boo over. It’s so freaking cute. But then Ginny and Melanie are mean to him and Boo doesn’t stand up for him! They tell Carl that Boo doesn’t want him. How rude. Hopefully they can make it past that because Carl is much better for Boo than douche-y Charlie. Also, Carl is completely precious.

Fanny invites Michelle to see a play with her in Los Angeles. Michelle has a long conflict with a large woman who won’t move her legs so that Michelle could get to her seat. Pointless, plotwise, but very funny. Michelle meets Connor (DIGGER. Why is Digger Styles here? THIS IS THE DARKEST TIMELINE. If he hangs around, we will strangle ourselves.), the play’s director. After some banter, they date and then sleep together. Wow, that was quick. Do people really sleep together that quickly? Psh, we don’t. After sex, Michelle starts crying because only now is she able to grieve Hubbell. Okay, we can accept that. At least it made an amusing scene. Conner handles it well, but we still hate him because he is DIGGER and he is exactly like DIGGER and DIGGER IS THE WORST. 

Points off for the Killing Fields joke. That didn't work at all and bordered on bad taste.

Episode grade: B+

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking Bad - Fifty-One

Loved this episode! Hardly a slow moment. This is the best morality tale ever on TV. Happy 51st birthday, Walt! It has been one year in the Breaking Bad universe, and oh what a year. Walt felt the need to get a new car. Two, actually. One is for Flynn. Since Skyer is so quiet she’s nearly comatose, Walt feels like the midlife-crisis mobile would be better received this time. During most of the episode, Skyler is acting like some sort of depressed marriage slave, not talking and just doing whatever Walt wants her to do.

Walt suggests a birthday party for himself. It’s sickening how Walt just sits and pretends nothing is wrong, like everything in the marriage is copasetic, when Skyler is clearly not happy about being married to a drug lord. Walt plunks money down on the kitchen sink and tells Skyler that he’s back in the business, only he’s the boss now that Gus is dead.

Skyler invites Hank and Marie over for a birthday dinner. Walt makes a big speech about survival and family and his cancer days, and Skyler ruins it by getting into the pool, fully dressed, and submerging herself. Since she’s an adult, everyone freaked out. Hank and Marie offer to take the kids for a couple of days while Walt and Skyler work on their marriage. This is all according to Skyler’s plan. Skyler doesn’t want Flynn and the baby around Kingpin Walt and his criminal empire.

When Hank and Marie leave, Walt and Skyler get into one of the most vicious arguments of all time. He is scary. Scary controlling, scary smug, and scary threatening. Skyler, not to be outdone as a horrible human being, pulls her trump card: I’m just gonna wait until the cancer comes back and kills you. We’re sure she’s not sweating the cigarettes since her secondhand smoke might just help it along.

It’s not the thing you want to say to your husband, but what other choice does she have? He backed her into that corner, verbally. Walt doesn’t just have physical cancer. He has a moral cancer, all mixed up with his own vanity and clear overestimation of his intellectual gifts. No one denies Skyler has been annoying since this show’s pilot, but Walt’s failure of integrity and wake of destruction have compromised the marriage. Skyler is a prisoner in her own home, partly because of her own bad choices.

Walt is leaving Skyler with no options but to wait until the time runs out, a theme emphasized by the ticking watch at the end of the episode. Is that how this series is going to end? Is Walt just going to die of cancer? That would be both perfect and not enough. Man, that fight scene bummed us out so much, but it was also so, so good. Once again (and forever), the only person we care about on this show is Jesse Pinkman. And maybe baby Holly and Hank. Hank is totally going to die though. Hell, everyone is probably going to die..

In other news, Lydia’s warehouse is visited by Hank and the D.E.A. and the guy she was going to have deliver the methylamine is arrested. He gives her a dirty look as the cops haul him away, knowing that he has to be quiet and take the fall for her. Hank totally suspects Lydia. The man is brilliant. Hank is BACK. He’s not collecting those rocks and verbally abusing Marie anymore. He’s promoted, back to work, and in good spirits. Adversity is good for Hank.

Mike sends Jesse to pick up the methylamine from Lydia. After a tense first meeting, Lydia and Jesse spot a D.E.A. tracker attached to the methylamine barrel. Mike realizes that Lydia planted the tracker herself so that Mike would think the cops were watching her and leave her alone. Mike decides to kill her, but Jesse (obviously) protests. Walt is the tie-breaker: Lydia lives because they need methylamine.

Sidenote: Ern has that shirt with Jesse’s face on it that says “YO BITCH!” under the face. (And I will not take it off.)

Episode grade: A-

The biggest crowdpleaser of 2011 that the crowd never saw...

Warrior is now on Instant Netflix. We trust you all have that? Watch it. It's better than most things that came out last year, but due to lack of marketing, you probably haven't seen it. Bane from The Dark Knight Rises is in it (and you can actually see his handsome face! That was Leeard's main complaint about DKR, hahaha).