[books] One day early

I can't wait until tomorrow, so I'm posting the September issue of BookPage today. Ooooo, this is a good one, too. There's a bit on In the Shadow of No Towers, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Cloud Atlas, new ones from T.C. Boyle and Jennifer Weiner, and, oh! oh! oh!, a children's book by Gregory Maguire. Hot damn, it's a good month for books.

[blog] New do

Candleblog has a new, posh look. Very nice. More slashdot, less naked-people-in-the-shape-of-letters.


[awful] I can't tell if this is a horrible joke or not...

Watch this video, if you dare. It's Def Leopard's Pour Some Sugar on Me, reinvented by the boy band Townsend. Inexplicably, the lead singer from Smashmouth and Teck (from Real World Hawaii) are rocking out to this song on a living room couch, whilst eating take-out Chinese food. What the fuck? And the video itself is just one long wretched string of music video cliches. Pretending to be the Beatles? Oh yeah, that's original. And during the close-ups/dance routines, it looks like the guys in the band are torn between holding back their laughter and bile. Makes me think of another fake boy band.

[books] Booker Prize 2004

The long list has been announced. Apparently Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is the odds-on favorite to win this year. I'm not too sure where the "odds" come from, though. Is there a smokey room full of bookies booking bets on the best book to win the Booker? I'd like to think so. BUT... I'm putting my money on Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, even though it's not out yet and I haven't read it. I just hear it's awesome.

[books] "another discouraging document of this age of wild talk"

Checkpoint by Nicholson Baker has sold fewer than 6,500 copies in two weeks. I knew it wasn't going to do well. No one wants to read about assassinating the president while the president is still in office. I think Bush is a schmuck but wait until he's out of office first.

Only a couple more months to go...


[books] I was regularly "hot sauced" with kimchee... and it was YUM!

So the hott talk right now is about Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline by Lisa Whelchel - the chick who played Blair on The Facts of Life. People are all in a tizzy because she advocates "hot saucing" sassy children. This means, putting hot sauce on their tongues. Okay, that's not even the worst part. Reading through the reviews, she also suggests spraying water in the face of a toddler mid-tantrum, pulling your child's hair when the won't hold your hand, withholding food, burning their favorite toys, walking through dog shit, drinking toilet water and lots of other psychological torture devices sure to raise a sociopath.

Fuck, it just seems like a lot of work. Now for me, hot saucing wouldn't have done shit. Look at this kid. That's what me and my sister looked like at his age. Bring on the kimchee, man, I loves the hottness. Listen, all you need to do is strike ultimate fear in the heart of your child and they'll behave. I was petrified of my mother (due to the occational smack and shoe/slipper thrown at me from across the room) and look at me now! I'm fine! Sure, a little crazy, but fine!


[books] The Return

I haven't talked about books for a while because I haven't been reading. I've been wasting my life watching crap movies and television series. Well, season two of The Shield was really good... And the fourth season was Sex and the City was considerably more enjoyable than the first three... And, hah, I have to say, Reign: The Conqueror is fucking outstanding so far... But, uh... oh yeah! Books! Ahem.

I've been reading some graphic novels recently that are excellent. Bone, the one volume edition of the series, is wonder-fucking-full. I'm about halfway through (like, page seven-hundred and something) and I can't imaging what's going to happen next. Where's the story going? What's going to happen? Will the Bones ever make it back to Boneville? ... You should note, though, that this book is meant to remain stationary. It's BIG and HEAVY and begs people to say to you, "Whoa! That's the biggest book I've ever seen! HA HA! Are you reading it or is it a weapon?!"

And I read Powers: Roleplay which was only nnyaah. I accidentally read volume two before volume one, and I was somewhat confused by all the Retro Girl references. I can't understand why people are adamant about this series. I know people who think Brian Michael Bendis is a "god" and "can do no wrong" but I haven't had my socks knocked off yet. I still like Sleeper better.

Anyway, on with the upcoming books!

Alexander McCall Smith, best known for his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books (which don't seem to get any more interesting as the series progresses) has TWO new ones due out this Fall. There's The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery, which is a brand spanking new series. From what I can gather, Isabel Dalhousie is a single, independent Scottish-American philosopher playing Murder She Wrote around Edinburgh. Apparently she's "plucky" and is surrounded by "delightfully quirky characters." Eh... Sounds a lot like Precious Ramotswe to me.

He's also got The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales from Africa. The title should explain it all. Hey, I have an idea for what his next book should be called... How about Another Boring Story from a Guy Who Writes the Same Boring Thing Over and Over Again, And Other Boring Stories. Right?

Augusten Burroughs can't seem to stop writing about himself. His new one is entitled Magical Thinking: True Stories. I sympathize with you man, and I love you're writing, but PLEASE write more fiction. I have a list of the top five funniest books I've ever read in my life and Sellevision is on it.

Speaking of something fun to read, Christopher Moore has a new one one the way: The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas TERROR. Okay, I made the "terror" all caps like that because it's more TERRIFYING. A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas TERROR. What's this book about, you ask? "Lena Marquez of Pagan Vegetarians for Peace arranges to have mean (and fat) ex-husband Dale dispatched with a shovel. But young Josh thinks that Dale was Santa, and the efforts of the angel Raziel to raise him from the dead bring a host of problems." Like I said: Fun. Fun-filled TERROR!

Yann Martel has The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios coming out. It sounds pretty darn good. It won't be coming out in HARDCOVER under December 1 in the US, but it's been in PAPERBACK in Canada since 1993. Go and get it at Amazon.ca.

That's it for the pre-pub alert. I'm still anticipating: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return and The Courage Consort.


[roast] Choire Sicha

This week Y.P.R. Hosts The Roast! Choire (pronounced Cory (one of the things that always pissed me off about him)) is no longer going to be writing bitchy posts about New York life for Gawker. He's now the "editorial director" or some shit like that. I took part in Neal Pollack's roast last year because, well, because Neal's so funny. I know nothing about this Choire (god, I hate the way his name is spelled), so I'm not roasting. Or, I can roast a bit here: Choire, I hate your fucking name. There. And this guy, he reviews chick lit books. If you've got a NYT account, read a sample here. That's something that bothers me about him, too.


[movies] Ninja Scroll

I watched Ninja Scroll last night and it was completely awesome. It has one of the most brutal fight scenes that I've ever seen on film- live action or animated. I mean, this was some serious ass-kicking taking place.

I stopped the movie about 10 minutes into it to change the English dubbing to Japanese with English subtitles. I don't know where they hire some of the American actors to do the voices-overs, but the old man sounded kooky (instead of wise), the main character sounded like an asshole (instead of reserved) and everyone else sounded stupid. I think the Japanese people that are originally hired to do the voices take more pride in the story and give the film much more integrity.

I'm still not too clear on the plot (there was some kind of treachery taking place between clans) and I didn't see/hear anything about an actual scroll. So that's kind of weird... But I will surely watch it again.

I was meant to watch the first disk of Reign: The Conquerer, "a 21st century sci-fi spin on the epic exploits of Alexander the Great, is a visual feast of cutting edge animation, with engaging characters, an intricate plotline and majestic battle sequences." Sounds good, right? The DVD arrived to me from Netflix broken. Like, snapped almost completely in half. They're sending me another one but I'm still so pissed off.


[sex] Funny (if you're a complete nerd)

Over at ILB, there's a thread to write a bad sex scene. I have to copy one non sequitur post in it's entirety because it's so funny:

bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?
BritneySpears14: Aight.
bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.
BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.
bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.
bloodninja: Me too baby.
BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.
bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
BritneySpears14: Hey...
bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 chicken of the Infinite.
BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.
bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty Fuck of the Beyondness.
BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.
bloodninja: Don't fuck with me bitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.
bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.
BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of shit.
bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.
bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.
bloodninja: Baby?
BritneySpears14: Ok, are you ready?
eminemBNJA: Aight, yeah I'm ready.
BritneySpears14: I like your music Em... Tee hee.
eminemBNJA: huh huh, yeah, I make it for the ladies.
BritneySpears14: Mmm, we like it a lot. Let me show you.
BritneySpears14: I take off your pants, slowly, and massage your muscular physique.
eminemBNJA: Oh I like that Baby. I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: What the fuck, I told you not to message me again.
eminemBNJA: Oh shit
BritneySpears14: I swear if you do it one more time I'm gonna report your ISP and say you were sending me kiddie porn you fuck up.
eminemBNJA: Oh shit
eminemBNJA: damn I gotta write down your names or something

[olympics] I hear Blaine Wilson is super-fine

I have no tv, so I haven't been watching the Olympic Games. I feel bad about that. The world's best athletes are competing in Greece and I'm watching dvd's of tv shows on my laptop. Oh well.

I recently borrowed Season 2 of The Shield from my neighbor. I tell you what, this series just gets better and better. WAY more entertaining than that Whores on Manhattan Island I've been watching.

[books] Where's my check?

Go out and buy McSweeny's new humor anthology: Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans. My sea monkey list is in it. I'm not mentioned in the table of contents (which sucks) but there are loads of lists in the back of the book and if everyone was mentioned, half of the book would be a table of contents. BUT... I will say that my list got the FRONT of one whole page AND most of the back of the page. And a mini bio is included in the back of the book. I will say that mine isn't the VERY first list, but it's on, like, the third page into the lists. All right. Now I need to get something real published because hyping up this sea monkey list is pretty sad.

Oh yah, and I haven't gotten my whopping $50.00 check in the mail for my "piece." What's up with that?


[work] Just another geeky day at work.

AMY: I don’t know. Are you sure these “last updated” dates are correct?

CO-WORKER: Um… Let me go look at something. [Leaves office, returns 5 minutes later.] I found out what the problem was. I wrote the script in SQL+…

AMY: Yeah…

CO-WORKER: …but I forgot I was running it with cron…

AMY: Cron…

CO-WORKER: …and I didn’t tell it the path to Oracle’s home directory.

AMY: …

CO-WORKER: So… It should be all set now.

AMY: Dude, I don’t even know what Cron is.

CO-WORKER: It’s a unix based program to-

AMY: Yah, that’s nice. Listen, I got some calls to make here, so…

CO-WORKER: Oh. All right. [Leaves]

AMY: [Curls up under her desk for a nap.]

[weird] Are you there, God? It's me, typing.

I occationally get some pretty strange search terms that return my blog. A long time ago when I mentioned what a crap movie In the Cut was, I got all kinds of searches like "meg ryan naked pictures" or "in the cut naked pictures meg ryan." In fact, I'm guaranteeing more of those searches simply by writing it out now. Also, I get the occational "amy stender," which freaks me out a little. Who's searching me? I know who you are! Okay? Leave me alone!

I have to say that the weirdest one I've ever seen is the following:

"is today my lucky day GOD If I Play the Lottery Today will Amy an I win enough to buy a house and never have to work and worry"

... Uh, I don't think GOD answers your MSN queries. But, yeah, if you win, I'm totally there. We can get a house, never work and worry again. Call me.


[cool] Beer and DVD’s

I’m living in an apartment next to my sister’s boyfriend’s friend. So Jason’s down all the time, parking in my driveway, to see Ryan. Last night I knocked on Ryan’s door and told Jason to get lost before I called the cops. The following was then said:

JASON [To RYAN]: Well, I guess I better head back up to the house.

AMY [Walking back to her apartment door]

JASON [To RYAN]: I need to get the beer into the fridge. See you later!

AMY [Stops, turns around]: You bought some beer?

JASON: Yeah.

AMY [Looks in JASON’s passenger side window; Sees 12-pack]: Give me two. [Turns to JASON] Give me two of those beers- right now.

JASON [Opens passenger side door; Starts to take out beer]: Well, I think you should come up the house if you want-

AMY: You’re not giving them to me fast enough! I said give me beer right now.

JASON [Hands AMY two beers]: Alright, alright. Here you go.

AMY: Thank you. Bye. [Goes inside.]

Before anyone thinks I’m (a) an alcoholic, (b) a bitch or (c) crazy, I’d just like to say I was inspired by all the Red vs. Blue I’ve been watching. I don’t know how many Halo-heads out there don’t know about this online series, but I only found out a couple weeks ago. I’ve since ordered and watched the Season 1 DVD and I’m planning on getting Season 2. If you’ve got Quicktime, watch this and you’ll understand what I was talking about.

[amy] The difference between Carrie and me

I’ve been watching Season 3 of Sex and the City. I know I swore it off because I’m not learning anything new (other than how to be a whore) and it’s not making me a better, more interesting person. If anything, it’s making me want to buy purses and clothes I can’t afford. Yesterday I went to visit the comic shop to pick up whatever new issues were in my box when Tom told me about the new Bone he had just got in. It’s the complete series: 1300 pages total, for $40.00. I didn’t really want to spend the money on it right then but I had been wanting to read Bone for a while… And this was the WHOLE series… Knowing what a cheapskate I am (I recently refused to buy a comicbook-storing cardboard box from him for $4.00 because I thought it was a ripoff), Tom whipped out a calculator and said, “Well, if you were going to buy all the trade paperbacks… And with the discount I give you... Buying this ONE book will save you $143.70.” I couldn’t deny it: It was a fantastic deal. Tom rang me out and put the book into a brown bag and I walked out of his store with as much flair as Carrie Bradshow leaving a Jimmy Choo boutique, twirling a pair of new shoes. Only, I was leaving the store with a heavy, non-descript brown paper bag that looked like it either contained lots of porn or two bricks. But I didn’t care! Now I have the whole story of Bone!


[books] Welcome to The Center for Cartoon Studies Rich People

So the cool-ass Center for Cartoon Studies isn't opening up until Fall 2005. And it's meant to be a two-year program and costs $14,000 per year. Now I pose the question: Is that, like, a total crock of shit or what? I'm hoping they'll offer one or two evening classes for local full-time workers to take but last night, in an inebriated state, I tried figuring out how much one class would cost if ten cost $14,000. $1,400 didn't sound right to me then, and it still doesn't now. I think that's too much. $140 would be better for me. Thanks.

[amy] Bouncing 'round the room

M: Are you going to the Fish Show this weekend?

A: What Fish Show?

M: Up the in the Northeast Kingdom.

A: Why would I want to go to a Fish Show?

M: It’s going to be their last performance.

A: OH, you mean Phish the band! Yah, no, I’m not going.

M: …

A: I thought you mean a fish show. Like, people showing off fish they catch.

M: No.


[amy] New knives for cooking (and self-defense, if need be)

I ordered a knife set from Amazon. I hope they arrive all right; I just couldn't resist the price. 75% off? Now that's what I'm talking about. I was a little sketched out by a couple of the customer reviews, though. A couple people said the knives are heavy but that's fine by me. It just means their more sturdy... I think. As for them not being sharp when they arrive? I'm sure it's not true and besides, it COMES with a friggin' sharpener. I just hope they don't go all rusty on me like one person said.


[cool, but sad too] Boyfriend Pillow

What will those kooky Japanese think of next? Is this pillow supposed to substitute a "real" boyfriend or comfort girls who have a boyfriend out of town? And... how freaked out would a guy be if he came over to your place and saw the one-armed upper torso of a stuffed man on your bed? Sad. So sad.


[amy] Ordering a Telephone Number

VERIZON: Hello, could I have your telephone number, please?

AMY: Uh, I don’t have one. I called because I’m trying to order one.

VERIZON: Okay, great. We can set you up with that. Do you want to a local plan, with measured low use service? This is only $13.15 per month with local calls costing an additional two cents per minute between 9 am and 9 pm. Off peak calls are only half a cent per minutes.

AMY: Uh… all right.

VERIZON: There’s also the measured standard use service, which is like the measured low use service but also includes eight dollars in local calling allowance for only five dollars and twenty cents more.

AMY: ... What?

VERIZON: And there’s also the local package, the local package extra, the regional package and the regional package extra which vary in direct-dialed local and regional toll calling, directory assistance and various calling features.

AMY: ... What? What are you talking about?

VERZION: Do you make long distance calls?

AMY: No, not really.

VERZION: Well pretend you do. Do you talk more than 30 minutes per month?

AMY: No, I don’t make long dista-

VERIZON: With the talk time plan, you get a bulk rate on 30, 300, 500 or 1000 minutes-

AMY: Aw fuck this shit. I don’t need a phone. [hangs up]


[books] Nov. 2004

What the- Guess what book is being re-released in November? The Da Vinci Code. Right when the paperback should be coming out so that poor people might be able to afford it and see what all the hype's about, they're re-selling it at a more expensive price than the hardcover. I don't care if there are "150 technicolor images" in this Illustrated Collector's Edition, I get those kinds of pictures in my head while reading anyway. Fffffuck! See? I'm having bright colors flashing inside my eyeballs right now! I can't TAKE anymore of this DA VINCI commercial bullshit!

On a happier (and less stroke-inducing) note, Michel Faber is coming out with a new one called Courage Consort. It's three novellas, all three of which clock in at 240 pages together. Not each. After The Crimson Petal and the White (which was over 800, I think), that's nice.

[amy] Back on a mission.

Well, the vacation's over but it was good. Gooooood. I did a lot of moving and my new place is functional. I'll have pictures... sometime. I know I promised them but I've been too busy staining unfinished furniture because it's cheaper to do it that way but is such a complete pain in the ass thing because the stain gets all caught up where the chair back meets the seat and- I clearly have issues, still. Okay, vacation's over and the pinch is starting to reform in the back of my neck... Shit.

I love the blah blah was a hit over at YPR. My thing was here.

Aaaaand, I'm out.