Friday, September 28, 2007

Amorous Woman by Donna George Storey

I've been tagged by the marvelously talented Donna George Storey.

However, since I just recently did one of these memes and it was hard to come up with 8 things the first time, instead of doing the meme again, I figured I'd talk about Donna a bit.

Donna is a very accomplished writer of both literary fiction and erotica. (Why do we feel the need to separate those categories?) I love her writing, because it's vivid and descriptive and also elegant and polished. And yet, it's not the least bit high-falutin' or pretentious. And, believe me, that's a line I'm a bit of a hardass about. She's just so smooth and smart and sexy with her language. Even better, her plots and characters are always wildly engaging. Donna's a veteran of several celebrated anthologies, but she has just recently released her own debut novel!

Amorous Woman by Donna George Storey.

'The day I left Japan, I stared at my reflection in the mirror in the airport ladies' room and made the following vows: I would never tell another lie, especially to myself. I would never let desire overwhelm common sense. I would never sleep with a man who was married to someone else, mime fellatio with a complete stranger on a stage, or take money for sex again. In fact, to cover all bases, I would never have sex again with anyone, man or woman, for the rest of my life.' The erotic secrets of one woman's sexual awakening and her subsequent passions in Japan as an 'Amorous Woman'

This book is a sizzler, alright! Donna's fluid style brings Japan to life, along with all the sensual and sexual delights that her amorous woman encounter.

The book is published by a UK publisher, but if you check Amazon, you can often find a copy for sale for under $10. Sometimes, that distributor is sold out and the price spikes, but do yourself a favor and keep it on your list and do check back, because they'll restock, and this book is worth the wait. Also, be sure to check Donna's website for availability updates.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Invastion of the body snatchers in primetime?

Remember when Francie on Alias got killed and was replaced with a lookalike faux-Francie? Poor Merrin Dungey. It's happened again. Except this time, not even her ex-husband, Taye Diggs, notices that it's not even a lookalike! This is how the Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice started, by already replacing one of the main actresses.

And to top it off, it's contagious! On the show following it, the beautifully named Dirty Sexy Money, they replaced one of the actresses MID-SHOW! Yeah, that's right. Billy Balwin's wife was played by one actress in one scene, and then by ANOTHER later in the show. Other than that obvious gaffe, though, I'm gonna give this show a thumbs up. It's frantic and though the freaky is a little diluted due to network standards, it's alright! Who doesn't love Donald Sutherland? (And it's kinda funny that he's in the thick of this strange night of tv where actresses go missing and get replaced with near-replicas, isn't it?) And though I grew to despise Peter Krause on Six Feet Under, I did love him on Sports Night. It's fun and campy so far, obviously drawing on everything people love about Ugly Betty.

As for the show Private Practice, well. There's no Meredith! And no Izzie! And it has Tim Daly. But, after Daly smirked his way through the awful dialogue of "You so moved out here because I kissed you," I was pining for Christofuh to show up and slap him upside the head with his own human-eye-tis award again. So I'll probably won't be watching that piece of crap again.

In even happier personal news, I used to watch Grey's Anatomy because it was virtually required water cooler chat in my office. But, thanks to downsizing, there are only three other people left in my office, and we're all The Office and 30 Rock lovers! (Yes, there ARE dozens and dozens of us!) So I don't have to tolerate Grey's anymore either! Seriously!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bruno, you better be witty!

So, the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars is underway. I'm underwhelmed. I still miss Joey Fatone. I know the show has always been D-list, but they really are stretching it this season, aren't they? Unless by "stars" they're talking about Maks's biceps and Edyta's tits. Because those really are the biggest draws this season. That and Cheryl Burke's class.

How can you not adore Cheryl? Just when you think television is overloaded with floozies and himbos, out of this trashy-flashy romp comes such a lovely woman. While some of the other dancers throw fits if their partners aren't up to snuff (Karina), Cheryl keeps her cool and class and encourages, teaches, and cheers on her partner. Granted, she was paired with Drew and Emmitt before, but last year it was mostly her appeal that kept her dud of a partner in it through the final four. And this year? This year she's got it rough with Wayne Newton.

Wayne, who's had so much plastic surgery he now looks like Rachel Ray.


But Mr. Las Vegas is being a good, gracious sport about it all, and, predictably, so is Cheryl.

The other highlight from the men? Unintentionally funny Albert Reed, the model. Yeah, when he made the first Zoolander reference I thought, okay, he's got a sense of humor about it. Then he made another Zoolander reference. Then a third. And then I realized that although he's saying the movie is a poor stereotype, he and his model friends are obviously waaaayyy too invested in the movie. Kind of like how Ralph Cifaretto was constantly obsessed with Gladiator. Irony, Albert. But the coup de grace? When Albert then couldn't even pull off the fucking Blue Steel that he'd suggested they put in the routine! I laughed so hard I nearly cried! The fucking kid is infatuated with Zoolander. (which, by the way, is a really under-appreciated movie) The kid is a model, and he wants to disprove the stereotype of dumb models. And yet he can't even successfully pull off a mock of Blue Steel! What the hell, dude! Even THIS guy can pull off a Blue Steel!

As for the women competing? I don't know. I only watched when Maks danced, because he's really, really, ridiculously good looking. Also? Maks has it all over Albert. Why? Maks is an ambi-turner.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bored Morons

I'm not quite sure yet what shows I'll be watching this fall and blathering about on here. But I did find this cool new site, Bored Morons. They'll have all sorts of recaps and discussion forums for a plethora of hot TV shows for your daytime surfing pleasure. Enjoy!

Lady Killers

Kosmo is no longer an AFC. He has mastered the art of opening sets, stacking, tossing out negs, and DHVing. But it doesn't stop there. He's also attuned to noticing IOIs, a frequent recipient of kinos, and has successfully bounced. Even more, in one day, he took another AFC and gave him the tools and guided him in a field test until that guy number closed. And I couldn't be happier for him.

If you don't know what all that lingo up there means, you haven't been watching The Pick-Up Artist.

I know, okay. I know. I know it sounds like another crass idea from reality TV land. But, honestly, it wasn't. Why am I bothering to tell you about it now that the finale has aired? Because it's on VH-1 and you know they'll be playing it more often and reliably than Phil Hellmuth plays a pair of kings.

It's not crass. It's not objectifying women. It's barely about the women. It's about these socially awkward guys who were completely unable to approach girls/women. They couldn't even look through the window of the hot clubs to begin objectifying them. It's about a guy in Austin, Texas -- Mystery (who's not exactly a Matthew McConaughey himself, okay?) who's broken down the psychological components and small physical cues that can create a successful first social interaction and then has simultaneously intellectualized the process and geek-speak coded the essentials into a veritable Pick-Up primer for wanna-be "gamers."

As Kosmo says, teary-eyed, after he's crowned the Master Pick-Up Artist, "I'm not a pimp and I'm not a player. I'm a Pick-Up Artist, and there's a world of difference."

Bottom line translation: Mystery has given these guys enough confidence to talk to women. And he's done that by breaking down the process and giving them a useful list of tools to open and close conversations. And, well, the tools work. If you're a female, you may have a knee-jerk bad reaction to some of the parlor tricks. For instance, the essential art of tossing out "negs." What's a neg? It's digging into old-school Skinner psychology with the negative reinforcement. Basically, it's an insult to the woman. Seriously. Also seriously? Mostly, it works, when it's done properly. Though it sounds like tacky psychology and makes women seem as emotionally sadistic-grotesque as we fear we may be, it really isn't a "science" and much more an "art" of how to apply these shocks to the pigeons.

Even better, though the women-interactions are brief encounters in a bar, it's actually affirming to see how some of them react to these "negs." When done properly, it's really not an insult. A "neg" isn't nearly as nefarious or manipulative as it sounds. It amounts to lighthearted teasing of the girl. You know, like back when banter was considered sexy? Yeah, it's that.

Sometimes the guys go a wee bit over the line with the negs though. And it can be both painful to watch, as when a guy coolly tells a girl she talks too much, and she then immediately leans forward and strokes her hair (that's displaying an IOI, or indicator of interest) because we see that he's tapped into a chick with low self-esteem who's going to groove on a jackass. However, when another guy goes past flirtatious and hits condescending when he asks a stripper if she's pleased with herself for what she does, it's pretty satisfying to watch a woman, a woman whose paycheck depends on her sucking up to assholes, mind you, get up and politely tell him to have a nice evening, and dust his ass!

And no, it wasn't our dear Kosmo who went over the line with the negs at any time. Which is why we root for him. He's not demeaning and he's not a player and he's just so happy to actually have a woman, like, speak to him. And he ends up taking all this psuedo-psycho-science and working it out and smoothing it out and turning it into his art.

But as one show that's dleightfully, surprising un-crass ends, another one that's dependably gross returns. Instead of women as human beings who can be approached and spoken to, we have the new season of "The Bachelor," which routinely casts the craziest, cooziest specimens to represent our gender. They are pigeons, indeed. But they're pigeons with peacock feathers.

In other words, they're garden varitey fame-whores who look spectacular on the outside.

Hey, ABC, how 'bout you like, do something good and instead of casting 25 shallow models, cast 25 ugly chicks. We wouldn't need Mystery to teach us how to land the guy, because the guy would be stuck having to get to know us. And no fucking twists where you bring in a batch of models when one of the ugos is close to capturing the hottie's heart. We don't need another "social experiment" to prove to us that people are attracted to attractive people.

I'm not saying I'm above the shallow judgment, either. The proof is that I'm even writing about this new season of "The Bachelor" right now. I hardly watch the show and think it's a train wreck and that it is demeaning to women. But I was clicking channels last night and landed on it for a second and then couldn't tear my eyes away. I couldn't tear my eyes away because this season, the bachelor, he's fucking hot. Oh, I've checked out other seasons. You'd think the Italian prince would've been right in my sweet spot. But, uh, no. His personality was just too off-putting. But this guy? You have got to be fucking kidding me!

His name is Brad, this year's bachelor.

Photos don't do Brad justice. On film? Hot! Also? Charming. Extremely easy-going and utterly charming. Also? A Texan. You know, the genteel kind, not the arrogant kind. Kind of like Matthew McConaughey. Only taller. And less gay. The kicker? He owns bars. Bars! Just when I thought he couldn't get any better, he gamely inspects a woman's feet when she tells him she has webbed toes. And then, later, talking about it, he didn't insult her, but he laughed about the incident so hard he cried. Laughed 'til he cried! Did I mention he owns bars?

Even better? He's got a twin brother. Can you stand it? Two of these:

I don't know if the brother laughs until he cries, but he owns bars!

And though this creature who laughs until he cries and owns liquor establishments was clearly, clearly created to be my mate, they send him webbed-foot women and girls who try to impress him by putting their ankles behind their heads or by singing off-key or by stuffing silicone tits in their dresses. But hey, they all may be catty and dumb, but they're also all gorgeous! So he's a lucky man.

Which is exactly why it's all so crass and vapid, and why, in the end, even though he's too young for me to even consider sinking my teeth into, I'd rather listen to Kosmo spin me a tale about some kid who flipped him off; him eager to impress and grateful for my time, while Mr. Perfect can have his cadre of flat-abbed, bleached blonde fame-whores. Something tells me the majority of these women would respond favorably to some serious negs. But something else tells me that handsome Brad wouldn't toss the serious negs out there in the first place. He wouldn't have to. They already give him plenty of kinos and visible IOIs. And yet, there's not a damn thing artful about it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jordan & Chuck

Two of my favorite people in one interview! The wonderful Jordan Rosenfeld, whose short story "Shut-ins" just took honorable mention in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, has a non-fiction writing instruction book, Make a Scene, which will be debuting shortly.

She has interviewed Chuck Palahniuk for Writer's Digest.

Chuck's new novel, Rant, is now available, and it's, naturally, awesome.

Jordan asks some insightful questions and Chuck answers in his candid and entertaining, yet completely unarrogant fashion. It's a great interview, for both readers and writers. Read the interview here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Best of TV? Really?

The Sopranos and Piven win. YAY! Jimmy G and Entourage get screwed. Boo. Tony Bennett has a golden statue. (<-- of course I'm talking about his extremely young, blonde wife which got prominently displayed last night.) But he also won an Emmy. Ahem.

Here's what I found noteworthy about the Emmy awards. The young chicks decided to go tasteful this year and for the most part kept their cleavage inside their couture. The old broads, however, decided to showcase their dented, rented D cups. Jolie Fisher and Patricia Heaton looked particularly tacky.

Word of advice, women. If your ladies look like they should be on the damaged isle next to a crunched can of peas, there ain't enough mystic tan and makeup to make those bumps and indents seem attractive. If you want fake tits, have at it. But when the fake tits get bunched and botched, it's time to have some of that overpriced Calvin Klein sequined material covering them. You're old. You've got big fake tits. Congrats, you broads of b-rate comedy! You've just discovered the ego-equivalent to a 55 year old suburban male with a small pecker who drives his Corvette in November. Or to an 80 year old crooner being married to a young trophy blonde.

Pat Monahan -- Last of Seven

If you like the music of Train, then you definitely need to check out the solo release by their lead singer, Pat Monahan. The CD is titled Last of Seven and it goes on sale tomorrow. I love Pat's voice and can't wait to hear the whole album.

Last of Seven at Amazon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

GJM for .49

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz has a story available on Amazon shorts for just 49 cents. You really can't beat that, and you can't beat Gwen's story. The story is "Los Prisioneros Pequenos".

Tell Them I Hate Them

Oh, HBO. How far the mighty are falling. With only Larry David and his still funny Curb Your Enthusiasm to prop up your entire fall schedule, what will you do?

Do you even watch these fucking shows before you put them on the air anymore? First there was John From Cincinnati to nearly drown your reputation as a producer of excellent drama. Running parallel to that was the once mildly entertaining Big Love, which this summer wanted so desperately to be the next Sopranos that they forced gunplay and gambling into the equation. Nevermind that Bill Paxton doesn't really have the appeal to pull off being the grand patriarch-sex-machine to three smitten wives. And those three wives of his have enough cuteness that it almost reaches critical mass. When left to their soapy domestic squabbles, Barb, Nicki, and Margie are plenty enjoyable and the show hums along. But this season wasn't so much about Bill juggling and walking the righteous path as it was about him being a wannabe Tony Soprano. Believing he was righteous as he conned and stole and manipulated, proclaiming himself the good guy as he sank into seedy deals and kidnapping. But it didn't fill the Sopranos gap, it just made me pine for Tony and Christofah all that much more.

Now, while Showtime heats up with a new season of Weeds and gives us a still-lovable David Duchovny going off the rails in Californication (<--they stole that title from RHCP), HBO sadly trots out their new sex-filled drama Tell Me You Love Me.

I know, I know. It sounds immediately promising, doesn't it? Sex-filled. Graphic sex, they promise us. What's not to like? Echoes of Elaine's infamous "He took IT out" ring through our heads as a wife pathetically jerks her husband off -- as therapy homework -- with his cock actually visible to us viewers! Another guy pathetically jerking off alone. (no visible cock) Visible Ball shots while the only two semi-attractive people bloodlessly screw. Graphic can be good, people. But graphic doesn't equal good, and this show proves it. I've definitely seen more passion in straight up porn than in the sex on this show. It's all just pathetic sex.

And, as someone who's put a lot of time and effort into trying to make material filled with freaky-fun sex, this all upsets me. No wonder we're so puritanical as a society about sex. If these are the graphic depictions of sex we have parading around as entertainment, we should be ashamed of sex.

The show as a drama? Remember thirtysomething? Remember how everyone hated thirtysomething? Yeah, this is MUCH worse. Supposedly, these are realistic depictions of marriage. This is exactly why I'm staunchly single. I hate all these characters. I particularly despise the two blondes that I can barely tell apart. I have a blonde hangup anyhow. I don't like them as a general rule. And this show proves the adage that they all look alike. Milquetoast, myopic motherfuckers with too much money and too little moxie.

I can't even post a picture to show you how much they resemble each other. Okay. Yes I can.

Kinda gross, isn't it? And here's what separates their characters: One is not having any sex, and the other is having lots of sex but doesn't have a baby. That's all we know and need to know about them. They are women defined by their womanly problems, with similar haircuts and similarly pointy-faced mates.

I've already said too much about these losers. A new season of Dexter starts at the end of September on Showtime. You know, that's the show about the serial killer who kills serial killers. Fitting. Because between the firepower of Dexter, Duchovny, and Weeds, I have a feeling that Showtime is poised to slaughter HBO.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Smokin' Aces

I finally got a chance to see Smokin' Aces this past weekend. I figured I'd like the movie, because it's got Ray Liotta and Andy Garcia and Jeremy Piven and plenty of guns. So, really, what's not to like? Well, I was disturbed when I saw the DVD case, because someone was in it that I didn't expect. Someone I flippin' HATE. BUT! It was all redeemed. In fact, the movie made me applaud and laugh out loud early on. This Joe Carnahan, he knows what audiences want to see! If you don't like any spoilers, don't watch this clip. However, if you want to see what makes this movie aces, check this out. And remember, this scene happens early on in the movie!

Oh, it still makes me laugh!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cannes they do it?

Another season of Entourage has come to a close. Unlike the reception of Medellin at Cannes, I applaud them.

This season had some problems, and those problems were what plagued the Cannes cut of Medellin: there was just too much. Now, I love excess, and I loved having Drama, Turtle, Vince, Billy and Ari around all summer. Oh yeah, and E even had a couple moments where he didn't annoy the piss out of me. Taken on the whole, the arc of Medellin this season was excellent. But it was also blatantly clear that HBO had ordered up extra episodes to run alongside the dearly departed Sopranos this spring and then they whipped their workhorse boys of summer all summer long. And there were filler episodes. Most of those episodes had some serious hilarity from Ari and Lloyd, which made them not only watchable, but pretty enjoyable. Ari rescuing Lloyd from the lascivious writer was a particular favorite of mine.

But in these filler episodes where the Medellin action ground to a halt, the guys wandered about without much purpose -- much like Hollywood -- and the show loses some of its charm at those times. That's when it tries to compensate by being the male SATC, which is what made plenty of people kneejerk against the show in the first place. Because though Vince is a cutie, there's just not much tension in watching him get laid. Eric had a failed business/romance with Ana Farris, and if we all didn't hate Eric so much, his relationship foibles would be more interesting. I mean, look at him in that picture of up there! So tightassed you could shove a lump of coal up his ass and he'd shit a diamond later that day! So, since Vince holds no mystery and the thought of Eric having sex makes us nauseated, they basically have to rely on Drama and Turtle to carry the day when it comes to outlandish sexcapades.

And, luckily for them, once again Drama came through!

Nobody suffers indignity quite the way Johnny Drama does. Better, no one revels in the indignity and finds a way to pump his ego with it the way Drama does. So his adventures in Cannes were the perfect ending to his capers this summer.

As for the rest of the boys and Medellin, it turns out Eric was right about the movie being too long and needing re-cut. I kind of figured that was how it would roll, considering that's the way they've cast Eric -- as the supposed brains behind Vince's success. I buy it and all, but I still just really dislike the fucker. No matter how much the runt stands up to Billy Walsh -- and no matter how outrageously insane or wrong Billy is -- I still root for Billy. He's an arrogant prick, Walsh is. But Eric still just peeves me.

They've gotten a lot of mileage out of Harvey Weinstein this year. Either the real Harvey has an excellent sense of humor, or he gives extra latitude because Eric Weinstein is a producer on the show and I assume he's related to him? Probably his son? Anyone know for sure? If so, that only makes it all funnier! And, in the end, Harvey did end up in the driver's seat, didn't he?

I loved how this season ended. Once again, Vince comes off looking like a professional, classy artist instead of a spoiled, money-hungry actor. It may not be realistic, but it's nice to watch someone with so much integrity. And it's even better to watch him get routinely punished for it! After getting adjusted to the outrageous success these guys pull out every season with every project, the show has formed a new depth by now making them struggle so hard for their indulgences. Medellin has a lot in common with some other plagued movies. Apocalypse Now comes to mind. But so does Waterworld.

So what'll it be? Ultimate box office and Oscars for Medellin? I don't know. (but I'd be willing to be an awful lot of money on it.) I do know this: I sure wouldn't be upset if Entourage strutted off with the Emmy for best comedy this year.