Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Backpacker's Guide to Medications, Meditations & Men

April 12, 2016

A few weeks ago, a friend in publishing (that's right - I have connections) told me I would love a wonderful new author she's been working with. Being the die-hard cynic that I am, I told her where to shove her opinion, and set off to make my own judgments about the book - It's Only the Himalayas: And Other Tales of Miscalculation from an Overconfident Backpacker.

My thought after the first few pages went something along the lines of "Well fuck. Now I have to tell Tori she was right". Sue Bedford - a waitress from Toronto - doesn't know what she's doing with her life. A feeling I immediately connected with. While I like to complain about my aimless existence to anyone who will listen (and many of those who won't), Sue made a plan. Accompanied by her gal pal Sara (and a few other less-committed friends, including Kendra - who naturally seems like the coolest member of the gang), she sets off to find herself overseas. On the way to self discovery, she has what can only be described as an amazing-and-life-changing-probably-because-she-contracted-at-least-one-disease experience. And I'm mad jealous about it.

One of my favorite things about Sue's writing is her lack of sugar coating. So many travel writers drone on and on about the magical wonders of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I like to hear about cherry blossoms and clown fish as much as the next gal, but let’s be frank. You’re probably admiring those cherry blossoms while taking a shit in the wilderness, and you’re probably looking at those clown fish while vomiting over the side of a boat. But we never get to hear about the gory details! Luckily for us, the voice of truth has written a book, and it's great. Between the bed bugs, tent floods, sloppy hookups and mouthfuls of AIDS, Susan Bedford captured my full attention from start to finish – much to the dismay of my waiting Netflix list.

While every single one of her misadventures were impressive/horrifying/hilarious, I connected with a few on a personal level. Because I'm a selfish white girl, I'm going to review the chapters of the book that really stood out to me - for better or for worse.

Wilderness Women - Africa

Susan’s travels throughout the African wilderness were reminiscent of my own – 80% driving, 10% night time noises and 10% actual animal sightings. While my African trip was paid for by my 50 year old WASPY parents (meaning daily cocktails and bug free beds), Susan’s tales of wilderness woe made me want to huddle up in my duvet and never leave – apparently backpacking in  Africa isn’t for the faint of heart. Almost everything Susan described made my skin crawl and wonder – how the hell did those Swedish Barbies fare so well? I can rough it with the best of 'em, but the minute you put me in a bedbug infested tent, I’m gonna be on the next elephant outta dodge Namibia. I couldn’t help but feel bad for Charlie – a MONTH stuck with 5 young girls (who synced up no doubt), having to cater to their every brainless question and needy request. Hard pass.

Noodles & Nausea in Nepal
I reached the chapter on Sue’s adventures in Nepal around lunch time. For those of you about to start this book, I highly recommend not eating chicken noodle soup – like I was – when reading this chapter. Just don’t. Nothing will seem less appetizing to you than a steaming bowl of noodles after finishing this chapter. Seriously though – stick with a sandwich. Although her journey sounds incredible, it doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest – which again is a testament to Sue’s lack of sugary sweet coating. It would have been very easy to focus on the sweeping landscape and fresh mountain air, but instead she gives us a more truthful recount of her trek – shitting on stilts and almost committing accidental patricide. Nepal sounds as challenging as it is beautiful. The most backpacking I've ever done was a weekend trek, during which I distinctly remember being simultaneously too hot and too cold...and that's in the relatively even temperatures of the Rocky Mountains. Color me impressed.

Adultery in Asia
If Susan’s description of Africa made me want to never leave my bed, her poetic portrayal of Vietnam and the Philippines made me want to pack up my life and become a pirate. I mean, I already have the booty...HA! Breathtaking views, shipwrecks, and studs? Yes please. Man 'o man  - the Philippines and Thailand sound fun. Sue’s recount of her sexcapades around Asia strongly reminded me of what I wrote in my journal while living in residence during my first year of University…or would have written if I ever sobered up. Sloppy threesomes, dangerous substance combinations, little sleep and frequent flirting – ah the simple life. Sue’s stories about the Full Moon Festival match those I’ve been told by even the most tame of my friends who’ve attend. Ie - sounds like a blast and I want to go. I was giggling out loud reading about the various (and often stereotypical) men the girls met over the course of their travels. Call me slutty, but I feel like this trip wouldn't have been nearly as fun as a taken woman. 

I give mad props to Sue for openly writing about every detail of her trip. Not only the less glamorous side of travel, but also the binge drinking and sexual encounters. They're A) entertaining as hell and B) demonstrate ownership of her actions and body. To those of you who might look down your nose at a girl who hooks up overseas (you'll know who you are by that big stick lodged up your rear end), this book may not be for you. Try Little House on the Prairie.

My personal takeaways from It’s Only the Himalayas they would be these:

  • Dreadlocks universally cool
  • Banging in an airplane bathroom IS actually possible
  • Indian men are hung
  • I’m sheltered

I give It’s Only the Himalayas a solid 5 mushroom milkshakes out of 5 vaginal blow darts.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Inconvenient Truth...About Being A Woman

Aug 21, 2015

So there's an article UK Daily Mail published, that has me seeing red (you'll understand the pun when you read the article). Read the article here before proceeding through my rant:

Are you raging? Because I am. And it's not PMS, because I haven't had my rag for over 6 years (which I chose to do so I can bang my boyfriend when I want to. Not because it was a step in climbing the corporate ladder).

And that's how Sue, "C"s it

According to the author (Jill Foster - aka Traitorous Bitch), women are more productive and successful when they don't have their periods. How absolutely fucking absurd. 

63% of scientists agree that 78% of stats are complete bullshit.
Let's start with TB's little factoid that British women take 17 MILLION sick days a year due to their periods. Really bitch? Really? According to Index Mundi, there were 16 789 083 females in the UK between the ages of 15 and 54 (prime bleeding age range) in 2014. That means every single female in the UK last year took a sick day because of their period. LIES. I don't know a single woman who has ever called in sick because they were on their rag, and unless Canadian broads are that much tougher than chicks in the UK, I call bullshit on this stat. Keep in mind, this statistic is also super credible, seeing as TB doesn't note where she pulled this number from. Then again, it can be difficult to reference your own ASS in proper APA style.

Ovaries are a burden. It's science because Jill Foster said so.
TB is apparently a fountain of scientific knowledge. She patiently explains to her neanderthal audience the biology behind a woman's "time of the month" and how the Pill works (side note, I love that we capitalize the P when referring to the Pill - not unlike the capitalization of the G in God). Jill takes the time to let us know how some poor women experience "...bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, and even fainting". I can't deny that some poor suckers do have shitty period side effects, and I feel for them - I really do. But not all women have these symptoms, and most bitches who do suffer once a month are used to it, so they know to take an Advil, eat some chocolate, and suck it the hell up for the week.

Bitches of a feather
I want to clarify that I don't only blame TB for this article. I want to find Alanna Allen, Morgan Spicer, and Laura Zito and punch them directly in their drugged up ovaries. They are supporting the stigma placed by men on women in the workforce, that those with a uterus are lesser employees. Alanna Allen says, 

"I started taking the Pill in my early 20s, but found it irritating having to remember to take it at the same time every day." Women are such silly, flighty, forgetful creatures. Sure are puurty though.
"I'd still get a bleed, backaches and cramps which isn't convenient when you're a hairdresser..." Putting down your scissors to take a piss must be a real hassle too. Time for a catheter.

This outlandish cunt gal even goes so far as to say she doesn't give a shit about potential medical implications of skipping her period, because of how convenient it is to not bleed. FOR REAL BITCH? One of my best friends is a very successful young woman, who manages to run a not-for-profit, have a successful relationship, a thriving social life, and work an 80 hour week despite those pesky ovaries of hers. It's because she works her gorgeous ass off, not because she stopped having her rag.

These bitches are at the top of my shit list right now. It's simply fucking ignorant to imply that having your period will hold you back from a successful career, and it shits on every step women have taken to push past the glass ceiling. Women are strong as hell, and luckily one oblivious journalist won't change that. 

It's incredibly sad to me that Beyonce has done more for women than this journalist has.

Strong enough to bear the children, then get back ta business.

*Index Mundi:United Kingdom Age Structure; http://www.indexmundi.com/united_kingdom/age_structure.html

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

From the innovative mind of John Green - another cancer story!

July 28, 2015

I’ve had something stuck in my eye for a week now. This is my excuse for watching The Fault is in Our Stars on a Saturday night. Watching a movie you actively know will make you cry always seemed right up there on the list of shitty ideas with swallowing razor blades or having kids, but I now know that Hollywood must keep pumping out these tear inducing pieces of shit for the masses with bits of dirt stuck under an eyelid. But I digress. I settled in for a good cry with a bowl of popcorn and a mug of tea like the old lady I am.

The Fault is in Our Stars has all the ingredients of a sob-fest. And by that, I mean there’s not just one, but multiple dying kids with cancer. "Kids with cancer?" I thought, "This son of a bitch in my eye doesn't have a chance". I was wrong. Not only did I not shed a single tear, but I became so bored during the movie I actually drifted off - likely pushing that fucking piece of dirt further back in my head.

The title is a play on a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar – “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”. With this in mind, I thought Shakespeare would pop up SOMEWHERE during the tedious 2 hours. He did not. In hindsight it’s probably a good thing. Poor Bill would be clawing at his coffin to think how his words are being recycled now. Can we take a hot minute to recognize that Bill is basically saying that we're the masters of our own fate? And that this is also not a theme in the movie? Sure, by leaving out the "not" it's implied that cancer is directing cancer kids' fate, but if you're going to title your book/movie after a Shakespeare quote, make it a god damn focus. As Bill says, "Oh these deliberate fools".

A sanctimonious synopsis
Here’s my quick synopsis of this movie. Kids have cancer. Audience is reminded that cancer may make you lose your hair, but not your hormones. Kids exploit their disease to get a free trip (to the sex & drug capital of the world…clever kids) & meet literary hero. Hero shits on kids (thereby becoming MY hero). Kids fall “in love”. One kid dies. Kendra wishes she had.

"Let me be boiled to death with melancholy" (If Mr. Green won't put Shakespeare to proper use, I will)
Cancer sucks. So why do authors & producers keep reminding their audiences of that fact? Let's let those affected deal with it in peace. Can you imagine trying to temporarily forget your own troubles by going to a movie, and all there is to see is movies about the very thing you're trying to escape? Ugh. That'd be like me going to see a movie about a broke-ass bitch. Hard pass.

Anywho, there's these kids that have cancer, and they're dealing with it like champs. They're socializing, joking around, and dabbling in all kinds word play and philosophy and shit - you know, like all teenagers do. No, sorry, I'm thinking of drugs. All teenagers dabble in drugs. So the two cancer kids get a trip to Amsterdam to see cancer girl’s favorite author – neat. If I could meet my favorite author, he'd be the most literate zombie around, but I’d be pumped too. For some reason cancer girl is surprised that he’s an asshole. Uh sweet pea, he’s a writer. Of course he’s a moody drunk. And his happy hour was just interrupted by two kids who expect the world to bend around them because they’re dying (yes – I’m THAT bitch. You can stop reading now if you’d like. It’s only going to get worse from here).  Willem Dafoe’s real life can’t be much different than that of his character. Mid morning, drink in hand, bangable assistant, it’s a life we've all wistfully dreamt of.

So after the author ruins the kid’s day, his hot assistant offers to take them sight seeing. Where do dying kids want to go in Europe? To the house of a dead girl of course! I fo sho thought that cancer girl was going to croak when she was climbing around Anne Frank’s house, but unfortunately she prevailed. Then she kisses cancer boy, and everyone claps. Pretty sure the last time I sucked face with a teenage boy in public, all I got was glares and fake gagging.

"Now is the winter of our discontent"
The casting was good. I’ll give it that. But that’s about all I’ll give it. How the fuck this movie got 81% on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond me, but clearly I’m not the intended audience of The Fault is in Our Stars. I am not young, nor am I an adult, and clearly I’m not sympathetic enough to appreciate the issues kids with cancer go through. Here I am, thinking that cancer was about surviving, whereas I apparently should’ve known it was about losing your V-card before dying. Fuck me, right?

One unlit cigarette out of five tumors.

PS: As a bonus, here's the best Shakespeare quote I know:
Thou mis-shapen dick! (Henry VI)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Crazy Bitch + Controlling Boys = One Hellova Page Turner

My boyfriend had been telling me for months to read Gone Girl. I was in a Dean Koontz induced haze all summer, but when I saw the movie was coming out I knew I had to get it read before going to see the adaptation. I only ended up getting about 5 chapters in before I saw the movie, but in the words of Janice Litman Goralnik,

A-maze-ing. Amazing. The book was well written, the  movie was well cast, it was just all around awesome. It's very rare that the movie lives up to the book (Saramago's Enemy was fucking appalling for example), but this one certainly did.

Despite the off-the-charts levels of crazy, Amy Elliott Dunne could be my spirit animal. She is the most bad ass bitch to be since Regina George. She is beautiful, insane, razor sharp, insane, cunning, rich, and did I mention insane? It's not hard to imagine Amy as being the girl who becomes your best friend over wine and pedis in college, only to later find out she's been fucking your boyfriend. In your bed. Wearing your lingerie. And doing it better than you. Her scheme is brilliant and if not for her vanity, would've been flawless.
I liked the back story of the Amy novels as well. Amazing Amy had an Amelia Bedelia air about her, but without the puntable idiot vibe. The differences between Amazing Amy and Amy Dunne provides a stark comparison and manages to highlight Amy Dunne's insanity even further.

Gillian Flynn did a fantastic job with Nick Dunne. As the reader, I flip flopped between admiration, hatred and sympathy and back again more times than I can count. He does his damndest to get ahead of Amy, but with no avail because Amy is a tricky tricky bitch (like all bitches should be).

One of my favorites characters in Gone Girl has to be Desi Collings. The novel version of Desi provided extra hints of OCD and exaggerated control issues. The Amy-inspired bedroom and flower room were touches of genius that should have been included in the movie in my not-so-professional opinion. NPH did a great job of the overly adoring ex bf role (although NPH could do a dramatic reading of a phone book and it'd still be beyond). Desi Collings is a great reminder to all single ladies - mamas boys are ALWAYS a bad idea.

The back and forth diary entry method is typically my least favorite form of writing. This could have something to do with trying my damndest to keep diary when I was a kid and failing miserably (16 "my mom's a bitch" entries can only go so far). This is the exception. Gillian Flynn did an amazing job at developing the background and characters through the entries. Flip flopping between sympathy to hatred for both Amy and Nick created a roller coaster ride of emotion comparable to a pregnant woman.

Novel vs Movie
Fuck. Pay attention. I've already stated what I thought about the movie adaption. Christ.

Overall Impression
Amazing. Wonderful. Stupendous. Brilliant. Fantastic. Sensational. Tremendous. Wonderous. Supercalafragelisticexpealedocous. All of the above.

5 out of 5 tubes of stolen sperm.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Not Even Worth A Snappy Title

September 18, 2014

Once again I plundered the links on www.readanybook.com. This time, I made a poor life decision. I selected a novel by the name of Secrets of My Hollywood Life. Atrocious. Dreadful. Abysmal. Horrendous. I could go on and on, and my list of synonyms would be more interesting than this book was.

I'll give you the short version. Honestly, it's probably not even worth your time to read this synopsis, but if you REALLY have nothing better to do, than read on. And I'm sorry your life sucks.

Secrets of My Hollywood Life centers around the age old fable of a girl who has fame and fortune wanting to live a normal teenage life. Naturally, there's the villain (competing tween actress), heartthrobs (famous and civilian), and evil parents (controlling gold diggers). Kaitlin Burke is on a hit TV soap opera, but wants nothing more than to experience High School like a normal teenage girl. Clearly no one told her about sweaty gym classes, droning teachers, rotting goo in your new locker, or shitty school parking lots. In a disguise that would only fool fictional peers, Kaitlin attends school and gets found out by her arch rival - Sky. Surprised? No I wasn't either.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Miley Cyrus wrote this book. It's essentially the authored version of Hannah Montana. Equally as awful, equally as unrelatable, and equally as impressive (as in that it's not).

In addition to the vomit-inducing nicknames for Kaitlin Burke (Kate-kate, Katie-kins, Katie-kat) the reader must endure, the literary genius behind Secrets of My Hollywood Life - Jen Calonita - dedicates this book to her two sons. Her SONS. Poor guys. All I can hope is that her sons are flamboyantly gay and fascinated by celebrity culture.

Zero out of any rating system you want.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sisters, Strangulation and Shoes

Summer is here again. Which means I have more time to read and criticize (mostly the latter). I went to one of my favorite websites the other day - www.readanybook.com to take a look at the popular reads section. I like to keep an eye on what the kids are reading nowadays. Unfortunately the list seems to be shorter than it was when I was a kid (and with that, I've become my mother grandmother), but I digress. I selected a novel called The Lying Game. Next to the other novels listed (Man's Search for Meaning, Vampire Academy, and Before I Fall), lying sounded the least dull and whiny and the most likely to have shenanigans ensue. With this flawless reasoning, I dove in.

We are first presented to the heroine, Sutton Mercer, passed out in a bathtub in a frat house. Ahhh a girl after my own heart. I fondly recall the mornings of smeared mascara and missing purses while stumbling to put my pumps back on and muttering about needing better friends. Classic. In the midst of regaining her composure, Sutton is interrupted by another girl stumbling in to the bathroom to rub the shame off herself with lavender lotion. Now this is where the plot gets tricky and a bit less relate able - Sutton can not be seen or heard, and therefore she assumes she must be invisible..wait the girl looks like her...wait her memories are blurry (it's called a hangover sweetheart)...wait she's DEAD! As Ron Burgundy says:

We learn that Sutton has no choice but to follow her twin - Emma - around, and can oversee her life like a creepier, more manicured version of Casper. What we don't learn though, is how Sutton can hear Emma's thoughts. It just sort of happens and the reader must then infer on their own how this worked out (I must admit...I reread the first scene in which this happened 3 times before resigning to the fact that the author wasn't going to tell us the reasoning behind this). Which made me think - can all ghosts hear our thoughts or is it just some twinsy connection? Oh god... has ghost grandma heard my thoughts when I'm watching a Colin Farrell movie? Oh god porn...all the porn.

There is a strong "boy who cried wolf" theme in The Lying Game - except it's more of a "bratty rich bitch who cried LOVE ME". Although she seemingly can't remember, Sutton was clearly the absolute worst when she was alive. Think Regina George, but without the fabulousness.

The words raging bitch come to mind, which is a stark contrast to Emma's genuine and seemingly gentle spirit. She does seem to adapt to Sutton's life and snarky remarks pretty quickly though.

We don't learn why the book is called The Lying Game until the last half of the novel. Kind of annoying. A lot annoying. Just straight up annoying really. But once I learned what the lying game was, I loved it. It's cruel, it's awful, and it's thoroughly entertaining. No spoilers here, but it's every High School girl's combined dream and nightmare (depending on what side you're on). Sutton and her game make Chris Hargensen's antics look like fucking amateur hour.

What gets me, is how simple it could have been for Emma to prove she's not Sutton - DNA test? Anybody? Anyone? No? No? Oh okay. When she's at the police station, clearly Queen S has quite the record and I'm sure has been fingerprinted, so why not ask the cops to spend 2 minutes to fingerprint her to prove she's not the same person? Oh right because of the big mansion and her new daddy's wallet. I'd keep my pie hole shut too. Cha ching!

As far as teen mysteries go, The Lying Game does have me guessing. But be prepared though- not everything gets solved at the end - again, annoying. But still. An easy quick read, and an interesting combination of Mean Girls, and The Lovely Bones. Four bloodied Prada purses out of five.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Who Wants to Bang the Big, Bad Wolf?

March 28, 2014

I've ventured back to the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and took a stab at Scarlet. It was even better than Cinder was.  Much more violence and intrigue, which always captures my attention. I find that violence always makes books and movies better. Hmm...that's something I should probably talk to a therapist about.

What is it about the name Scarlet that makes me smirk? Maybe it's because the name reminds me of the whiney blonde on Nashville. Or maybe it's because I once bought my friend a lap dance from a stripper with c-section scars named Scarlet. Regardless, when reading the second book in The Lunar Chronicles I couldn't help but sneer while scrolling through the pages. This isn't to say I didn't fully enjoy the novel. It puts a whole new light on the classic Red Riding Hood, but adds a gun and a gritty past.
I fucking dare you.

Sequel Schmequel
I enjoyed Scarlet even more so than I did Cinder. I fully appreciated the Taken tone, but instead of a old (albeit sexy) Irish man, we get a teenaged ginger. With a much more detailed past, unpredictable family members, and a thing for the bad boys, Scarlet is a woman after my own heart. I find many revamped fairy tales use the same characters, but neglect to allude to the moral that inspired the story to begin with. Meyer does a great job at referencing the purpose of the story (don't talk to strangers, and the lesser known moral - be nice to your grandparents) while not taking away from the post-apocalyptic feel. The blend of past and future could not have been easy to come up with.

Integrating Cinder in to the storyline was an interesting, and adept, choice. She's not quite as bad ass as a gun toting farm girl, but her adventures blended seamlessly with those of Scarlet. Cinder left the reader with many questions, all of which were answered in Scarlet.

Girl Power Glory
The reluctant feminist in me fully appreciates that the two women in this series are leading ladies at their finest. Their sidekicks are men and machine whom they shamelessly use them for their own gain. Even Levana uses her man minions (manions?) for her personal vendetta by going so far as to genetically manipulate them. GREAT idea. The image of a wolf-man isn't exactly appealing but I suppose the goal is more fear based than sex appeal. Personally I think putting Wolf in a camo print banana hammock and body paint would spice things up, but I can still appreciate his more subtle, animalistic appeal. I hope he at least waxes the important bits.

Scarlet falls for the bad boy. Classic. Sure he withheld pertinent information regarding the kidnapping, sure he was an ex-gang member and current street fighter, and sure he refused her advances throughout 90% of the book, but these qualities are to women what big tits and short skirts are to men. All the makings of female Viagra.

Favorite Moments
-When Scarlet knees Ran in the dick. That's pretty much my only defensive strategy.
-Everything Thorne says. He's so wonderfully ostentatious. Annoying as fuck in person I'm sure, but amusing nevertheless.
-"Wolf, are you asking me to be...your alpha female?" BAHAHAHA I love this. Next time someone asks me out, this will be what I'll unabashedly say. I'm sure I'll lose the date, but it'll be worth it.

My biggest take away from Scarlet is how much fun mind control would be. How much easier would life be if you had that power! As a parent, a boss, a girlfriend, the possibilities are endless.

I give Scarlet 5 bloodied axes out of 5 dismembered wolves.