Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Monday, June 25, 2012

Laters, baby.

Ohhhh, Fifty Shades of Grey... ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** The story of college graduate, Anastasia (Ana) Steele and her adventurous? Erotic? Controlling? Roller coaster ride of a relationship with the oh so handsome, billionaire, Christian Grey. When Ana's reporter roommate (Kate) comes down with the flu on the day that she is supposed interview Mr. Grey, she begs Ana to go in her place. She begrudgingly agrees and an intense relationship with the billionaire ensues. You see, Christian is a Dominant. Meaning, he needs to dominate and be in control of women (with their consent, of course. That includes a contract.). He likes sexytimes but he likes it rough (to put it mildly). The first book deals with whether or not Ana is willing to agree to be in this type of relationship with him. The second book is more or less about them navigating their new relationship, with some crazy ex-girlfriends mixed in. The third book is about them taking their very new relationship to the next level and dealing with the consequences of that. In between all that there is A LOT of sexytimes. A whole, whole lot of sexytimes.

For those of you that don't know, This 3 book series started out as Twilight fanfiction. It was originally one long story, entitled Master of The Universe, written by "Snowqueen's Icedragon" (E.L. James) and published on fanfiction sites around the internet. The characters in the series were named after the characters in Twilight (IE: Bella, Edward, etc.). You know... because it was fanfiction. As people started to take notice of the story, some were complaining commenting on the explicit nature and James ended up removing it from all the various sites and started her own, FiftyShades.Com. She ended up reworking/renaming the story and removing it from her website prior to publication. And thus, we were cursed blessed with this insanely addictive story. 

I apologize in advance for what I assume will end up being a rambling post about this series. It has left me fascinated, furious and laughing all at the same time. I guess that means that I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it. You see, I don't like fanfiction so I was immediately put off by the story from the start BUT I felt I owed it to my pop culture heart to see what the fuss was all about. "What fuss?" you ask?? The fuss being that women everywhere are becoming absolutely obsessed with this book. The fuss being that this series is on track to surpass HARRY POTTER as the fastest selling paperback of all time. OF ALL TIME. In addition to that, hardware stores are seeing a huge increase in sales from people buying COTTON ROPE. Not to mention the fact that the sex toy industry is seeing quite a boom from it as well. I am fascinated by these statistics. I'm fascinated that people who don't normally enjoy reading are loving these books. I'm fascinated that it's affecting women of all ages and I am fascinated that they are going to *try* to make a movie out of it (how they are going to manage to do that is anyone's guess. Good luck getting a decent rating out of it). 

Before I get into my real thoughts on the story itself, please bare in mind that this is only my opinion. Also bare in mind that I am a gigantic fan of the Twilight series (admittedly, I have read the series 10 times. That's not an exaggeration. Make fun, if you will. I am OK with it). I know those books practically by heart and can quote from them without hesitation. With all of that being said, I think the writing in the Fifty Shades series is absolutely dreadful. When I started reading this story, I decided to read another book along with it, (Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs). I figured I would take that one to work with me and Fifty Shades would be my "read at home" book. This may have enhanced the bad writing for me. Going from a very well written nonfiction book to an erotic novel, my mind had to keep shifting gears. I had to readjust every time I picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and remind myself how different the writing style was. After awhile though, I got used to it and knew what to expect. I knew that she was going to continuously repeat the same phrases over and over again ("Oh my! Holy shit! My Fifty. Fifty, fifty, fifty. My inner goddess is doing backflips!"). I also knew that after awhile, the only dialogue worth reading was the dialogue between Christian and Ana. While every once in awhile theirs would seem absurd, her interactions with her roommate, mother and friend, Jose' were horrendous. Reading her back and forth with those other characters was cringeworthy. How do you write decent banter between the two main characters but completely drop the ball when it comes to the secondary ones? The English snob in me nitpicks at things like that. As well as continuity errors, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. How can I not? This is a published book. This woman is making heap loads of money off of it. Why are these mistakes not corrected??? It baffles me.

Now, putting all that aside, there was obviously something within the story that compelled me to keep reading it. I could've very well stopped after the first one. I hated that Christian was so mean and controlling. Why would any girl want to begin a relationship with someone like that? Just because he's hot? Just because a boy is finally paying attention to her? But really, why was this dude so hostile and grumpy all the time? About halfway through book one, I was on the fence about starting the second one. By the end, I was more than willing to read it because of Christian's character. I wanted to know why he was the way he was, even if I had to endure bad writing to get the answers.

My favorite parts of the series are when Ana sticks up for herself. It happens for the first time at the end of book one and honestly, I was ecstatic with how that one ended. She finally tells Christian "no". That was more realistic to me than anything else that had happened prior because it made Christian more human and it made him question what type of person he is. I think my favorite moment out of the whole series is in Fifty Shades Darker, when Christian thinks Ana is going to leave him and completely shuts down and stops talking. This guy is so messed up that he basically reverts back to being a child when he couldn't talk, because he can't handle her rejection. No worries, friends, she doesn't end up leaving him but the idea of it happening gets him to open up to her. Finally.

Ok, yes, I would say about 75% of these books are filled with sexytimes. Detailed pages upon pages of sexytimes. That's all fine and good. Whatever. How two people could have that much sexytimes is beyond me. Maybe I'm old. Maybe I'm a prude but holy moly, people. It was excessive. My point being, that although it is an erotic novel (and erotic it is), this is not what propelled me to read the series. Those aren't the moments that I took away from it (because let's be honest here, after a few times they all end up blending together any way). The moments I took away from it were the heartfelt moments where Christian begins to trust Ana with the secrets from his past and the moments when they discuss his possessiveness and controlling issues. Because somehow, some way, underneath all that bad writing, crazy dialogue, and scenes stolen from Twilight, there is indeed a fascinating character there. Sure, Christian is a controlling megalomaniac but the reasons behind why he is the way he is make his character believable.

Going into reading this series, I thought of it more as a comedy. Because of the aforementioned detest for fanfiction, that was my coping mechanism to get through it. I think it helped. Especially when there were scenes completely taken from Twilight with just a word here or there changed to make it seem different. THIS IS APPALLING TO ME! But instead of getting worked up about it (ok, I'll admit it, I got real mad on a couple occasions), it made me laugh. The fact that this author has the audacity to actually steal snipits of another well known author's story and make money from it is just flabbergasting. Twilight fans are aware of this already, but there is a version of the first book, Midnight Sun, online as told from Edward's perspective. At the end of Fifty Shades Freed is a very short version of Christian and Ana's first meeting, as told from Christian's point of view. Again, it seems like stealing to me but I did enjoy reading from his perspective. Listen, this entire phenomenon is absolutely fascinating/baffling to me. If I had the time, I could probably make an entire list worth of Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse/Breaking Dawn VS. Fifty Shades of Grey/Fifty Shades Darker/Fifty Shades Freed comparisons. Don't worry, I won't but believe me, it would be a long list.

I know, I know, I sound like all I'm doing is berating the series but overall I really did enjoy it. It was entertaining. It kept me intrigued, I just had to look past a lot (A LOT) of stuff. Would I recommend it? Hmm... It's not the greatest story ever told (hahaha) but like I said, there is something about Christian Grey that makes you want to know more about him. If you enjoy books with pages upon pages of sexytimes, then this is the book for you. If you are looking for a more adult version of Twilight, then this book is for you (just don't take it too seriously while you are reading it). The fact that this book series has taken over the literary world by storm is so utterly mind-boggling to me. I would love to know the real reason why women love it so much. Any book that gets people to read is a good thing, I suppose. I just wish that the content had been conceived a little more organically than stemming off of someone else's already very successful ideas.

Much like Christian's character, this series has left me fifty different shades of confused. I went from loathing it, to loving it, to being appalled by it, to tolerating it. If you dig deep enough there is a decent story there. You just have to be willing to get your shovel out and start hauling some dirt. 

Now, I will leave you with some entertaining Fifty Shades of Grey links and reviews:

Mitch Albom article from today's Free Press.  (I know how many Mitch Albom fans there are out there! Hahaha)

This is 3 Grandmas reacting to the books:
Jimmy Fallon's Fifty Shades of Grey Karaoke:
Selena Gomez's Fifty Shades of Blue from Funny or Die:

Friday, June 15, 2012

TV Dads.

With Father's Day coming up this weekend, it got me thinking not only about my own super awesome Dad, but about my favorite TV Dads as well. We all know that Cliff Huxtable, Mr. Brady, Michael Taylor and Joey Harris (uhh, you know... the Dads from My Two Dads?) etc. are everyone's top choices when it comes to Fictional Fathers, so I'm going to go the non-traditional route when I give you my favorites.

These aren't really in any specific order. Enjoy!

Jack Bristow (played by Victor Garber)- Alias: Spy Daddy is my favorite of the Fictional Fathers. HE'S JACK BRISTOW. The man who would go to any and all lengths (sometimes legal, sometimes illegal) to keep his daughter (Sydney Bristow) safe. They definitely had their ups and downs. She didn't see much of him after her Mom "died" and she thought he sold airplane parts for most of her life but if she was in trouble or needed him, he was there. One of my favorite things about Alias was watching the relationship between these two go from from super shaky to rock solid. By the end of the series, their love for each other was obvious and so heartwarming. I mean, if teaching your kid at a young age how to become immune to being brainwashed isn't worthy of "Father of the Year" status, then I don't know what is. But what makes their relationship even more believable is the fact that Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber truly love each other in real life. He officiated her wedding for goodness sake! how neat is that? 

Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) - Modern FamilyFrom the very first episode of this show, when Phil was explaining why he was a "hip Dad", I knew I was going to love his character. He's silly and ridiculous but he's smart too. He's not one of those one sided characters where being the "dumb Dad" is his thing. He has heartfelt moments with all of his kids and with his wife as well. He's constantly looking for acceptance from his father-in-law (played by Ed O'Neil) and always up for doing crazy things with his son, Luke.

Luke: How many moms does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Phil: How many?
Luke: None because she's got you to do that sucker.

Phil: I've always said that if my son thinks of me as one of his idiot friends, I've succeeded as a dad.

 Keith Mars (played by Enrico Colantoni)- Veronica Mars: Keith Mars was a single dad to Veronica (Kristen Bell). He ran Mars Investigations and worked as a Private Detective. He was witty and fun and always willing to help Veronica out if she needed it. I loved their relationship on the show. He was a friend when she needed him to be and the overbearing father when he should be. They were very in sync with one another and watching them figure things out together and have those endearing father/daughter moments always made me smile. I don't only miss this show for the creative storylines and wonderful characters, I miss it because I loved watching their banter. It was a sweet sidenote to a really great show.

 Rick Castle (played by Nathan Fillion)- Castle: Between helping Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) solve crimes and writing best selling novels, Castle is a family man. He lives with his Mom, Martha (played by Susan Sullivan) and his teenage daughter, Alexis (played by the super cute Molly Quinn). Whenever he's having a hard time trying to figure out how to fit the puzzle pieces together for a certain crime, Alexis always helps him (unknowingly) solve it. Almost every episode. And while you would think that would make for a predictable, boring show, it actually makes it better. The fact that he's not just a handsome, super rich, conceited dude but is a really great father as well, helps balance him out and I look forward to their moments on the show every time I watch.

Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head)- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Oh hush, I know that Giles isn't really a Dad in the traditional sense but he was always more of a Father to Buffy than her real Dad was. He was her Watcher and did everything he could to make sure she was as safe as could be. He tolerated (and probably loved) her friends and was able to throw the sarcasm around just as much as they did. He rarely had a life of his own but most of the time he was OK with that. He was her guardian in the truest sense of the word and I loved it. Just like with all the others I've already talked about, one of the reasons I loved watching BTVS is because of the relationship between these two... and maybe because I had a little bit of a crush on him (oh, and he sings as well).

So, those are my favorites. Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there, fictional or otherwise!

Happy Father's Day to my fantastic husband, Jeffrey, who should win a big award for dealing with our crazy Charley every day, all day. We love you S'much!!! 

And a BIG Happy Father's Day to my #1 Dad, the best cheeseburger maker on the planet! The Dad who is always there for each of us kids with great music, great advice and always willing to spend hours at my house whenever I have some sort of weird household problem. He's fantastic and wonderful and I love him lots! Happy Father's Day, Tom Proctor!!

Who are your favorite TV Dads??

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Friday.

It's been awhile since I've done an "Everything and Nothing You Ever Needed to Know About Me" blog and it's Friday, so I figured it would be kind of fun to do another one. Fun for me because this is currently keeping my eyes open in the middle of the day and fun for you because you get to see that I am kind of a weirdo.

- I have to wear slippers or flip flops in my house all the time. The dogs always get water everywhere when they drink from their water dish and I hate (HATE) that feeling of my feet being wet. Ack.

- I do not think Channing Tatum is handsome. I know that I am in the minority with this one but I think he looks like a gorilla. He does nothing for me.

- I am addicted to Avocados. I think I could eat them with everything, all the time. I really, really, really love them.

- I have yet to try anything from Sonic. Yeah, I know that restaurant has been in Westland for a long time now and I was one of those people that always wished we had a Sonic nearby before it moved here but I just always forget that it's over there.

- I keep a pad of paper and pen in my bag/purse at all times, so I can write down good ideas and things to discuss and/or blog about.

- I'm the youngest person in my department at work.

- I have never seen Avatar  (much to the irritation of my Dad) and have no desire to do so.

- Whenever I think something (or someone) is boring, I always hear Dudley Dursley's "He's boorring" in my head, from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone:

- Whenever I think something is gross, I immediately think of Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30:

- Whenever I pin something on Pinterest and the little "Success!" box pops up, I read it as the voice of Kristen Wiig's Target Lady.

- I want to buy all of the Lord of The Rings Lego sets. Not for Charley. For me. I stare at them longingly whenever we go to the store. I could have a room full of Harry Potter and LOTR Legos on display at all times. HOW MUCH FUN WOULD THAT BE!?

- I recently had to switch over to Burt's Bees peppermint chapstick (GASP!). I know. I can't find singles of my Spearmint Chapstick at any of the stores I normally go to. I have one spearmint one left. That's it.

- I'm sick of Train and maroon 5. I feel like those are the only two bands ever played on the radio anymore.

- I don't like blueberries, raspberries or pineapple. (This fact drives Dawn crazy! It makes no sense to her.) I also hate orange juice but can eat an orange.

- I really, really, really love the Howie Day album, Stop All The World Now. It's 9 years old now and that's crazy to me. I always forget how much I love it.

- My Mom is 3 years Breast Cancer free this week. She's the strongest woman I know and I am so proud of her.

- I got my first flat tire this morning. The AAA guy thought I was a dumb girl, I could tell.

- I bought some Mangos for the first time ever while grocery shopping last night. I have no idea how to cut them.

- Dawn and I became soulmates through our mutual love of Twilight.

- I am contemplating re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 3rd time.

- Carrie and I used to sell Beanie Babies and Pokemon merchandise at a kiosk in the middle of Westland Mall. We used to make each other laugh all the live long day, while swinging our keys.

- My sister-in-law, Rhonda was my boss at my first job, The Pretzel Peddler. We've known each other for almost 20 years. (A fact that I JUST now realized and am kind of blown away by).

- I have no plans this weekend. I'm really happy about that.

A few miscellaneous tidbits:

- I really loved The Avengers. Joss Whedon did a wonderful job. I can't wait to see it again.

- The new Kris Allen album is so good. I could listen to it all day long. I LOVE IT.

- The newest Sookie book ( Deadlocked)  is much better than the last one. There is one book left in the series and I honestly don't care who she ends up with. It should be interesting.

- Season 5 of True Blood starts on Sunday. YES.

- The Hunger Games comes out on BluRay/DVD in August.

- I'm currently reading the Fifty Shades of Grey series. You can expect a blog about it soon.

- AMC is going to be showing a Walking Dead season 3 preview, the weekend of July 7th and 8th. They will be showing the first 2 seasons in their entirety, with each episode being introduced by Chris Hardwick (who will be on the set of season 3). They will also be showing interviews with the cast and behind the scenes footage throughout the weekend. There will be a special "Talking Dead" episode at 9pm on the 8th. I think that's pretty cool.  

- Charley tried to talk Jeff and I into purchasing this for him:

Yeah, no way in the world that's happening. This commercial makes me want to vomit.