- What happened in Norway is terrible.
- Seriously, American politicians?
+ Friends with Benefits wasn't bad. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have pretty good chemistry on screen. The repeated use of a flash mob? Eh. The editing was a little choppy, too. But it was mildly entertaining and a good way to avoid being outside in 110F weather.
- Straw Dogs remake? Why? The trailer alone is full of offensive, sexist, ugly tropes. Country > city. And yet the country is full of losers leading disappointed/disappointing lives. Education = effete. Critical wife = bitchy, deserves to be punished. Being fired for being an asshole always should be responded to with violence. And attacking your former employer at night with high powered rifles is the most reasonable response. I think a lot of True Blood fans (women) are going to go see this movie for Alexander Skarsgard, and they are going to be unhappy with the character he plays, who is a redneck rapist. (I say this because the PR seems to frame his character ambiguously, and when asked about the character, he said it isn't fundamentally a bad man, just disappointed with how his life has turned out. Because, y'know, being disappointed with your life makes rape acceptable?) Yeah, not a movie I'm going to be paying to see, thanks.
Cult classic: A work of fiction that is extremely popular with a select audience but may or may not be successful at the time of the work's original publication;a film or other media production that has acquired a highly devoted and small but specific fanbase, usually outside the mainstream and without significant commercial success.
Today in my inbox, I found an Amazon ad for "Cult Classics on Kindle". Curious to see what books Amazon defines as cult classics, I opened it and found blurbs for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Android Karenina, and Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, among others.
In what way are any of the literature masterpieces and monster mashups cult classics? They've generally been commercial successes and are extremely well-known (and often derided), which would seem to preclude cult classic status. Unless the "classic" label is derived from the original work's classic designation?
Yes, yes, I get that Amazon was going for the alliterative effect with the K sound. But cult classics? I don't think so.
I paid my quarterly water bill and an alley paving fee last month. Separate checks, separate envelopes, separate account numbers, separate invoices. And on Thursday, I got a delinquent notice for the alley paving bill. WTF? The check cleared! So I checked my account online. My water bill shows the payment I made PLUS a credit in the amount of the alley paving payment. Obviously, despite noting the account on the check and sending it separately AND including the invoice, the finance clerk applied the payments wrong.
So I called to get them to apply the alley paving payment properly, since I do not appreciate getting a delinquent notice. Their answer: provide proof of payment and request that the payment be transferred.
Okay, they HAVE proof of payment on their books. This is their error. Why do I have to get copies of my canceled check and take it to the finance office in person to get it fixed?
If I hadn't labeled everything carefully and intentionally sent the payments in separately, this wouldn't be so irritating. But I was very careful, mostly because I've dealt with the finance office for years in a professional capacity and have never been impressed by their performance.
There are times when I wonder if the city hires incompetent people intentionally.
Actually, all the snow gave me a valid excuse for doing nothing but reading and watching DVDs all weekend, in between bouts of (futile, Sisyphean) shoveling.
I read a historical romance by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon (a/k/a KateR of the SBD), which was pretty good. I may even get organized enough to tell you more specifically what was so good. I mean,
Anyway, I also attempted to read a contemporary anthology. DNF. Have reached the point where I have to wonder about the perception of the reviewer who praised this book. Taste is variable, which I'm cool with. But how on earth did s/he *not* notice the typesetting problems? The grammar? The outright WRONG words used?
- feeling "self conscience" instead of "self-conscious" (twice!)
- missing direct address commas fairly regularly...but making up for them by inserting random commas elsewhere
- referring to a "gallop" poll, rather than Gallup poll
- use of possessive pronoun "your" and "their" when the sentence actually needed the subject and verb contraction "you're" or "they're"
And so on.
Also, in terms of word choice and usage: there is no such thing as a "vice grip", although a "vise grip" is a handy thing to have in a workshop. And "whelp" may be a noun meaning young canine or a verb meaning to give birth; it is not a sound. Perhaps yelp or whine would have been more appropriate. One last thing: how does one snarl up one's lip? Is that short hand for saying he turned up his lip in a snarl?
The typesetting...well, the wonky pagination could be a function of the Kindle. But I've never seen typesetting this bad on the Kindle before. It leaves the FL problem of last week in the dust. No paragraph breaks in dialogue, single words on a line for no apparent reason, etc.
I've begun a mental list of ebook publishers that seem to have little or no editing. This is not the first book I've bought from this publisher with poor editing, so it's being added to the list.
I might've been more tolerant of the poor presentation if I'd been engaged by any of the characters. But no.
Also for SBD, since it's Valentine's Day between now and the next potential SBD: what is up with the Lyric Opera having Bizet's Carmen as its show on Valentine's Day? Yes, it's a passionate love story of sorts, but, hello, Don José kills Carmen in the end. What message does that send? That it's okay to kill a woman when she dumps you? I have a love/hate relationship with this opera that dates back to the first time I saw a film adaptation of it, Carlos Saura's Carmen as part of his flamenco trilogy (see also Boda de sangre and El amor brujo). ( My favorite lines of the film are mentioned here.) Carmen is a not-entirely admirable character, but she owns herself and her sexuality, which I appreciate, so killing her in the end because she has chosen another bothers me. A lot.
Not a big deal. Having words like "flounce" appear as "f lounce" wouldn't be too bad, would it? After all, how often would it happen in the book, a half dozen times? It feels like I see it on every page! (That's my imagination I'm sure.)
You know, it's irritating as hell. And distracting me from the novel, which is pretty good but for that one minor thing that is turning into the buzzing of a fly.
Tried the program on my iPhone first. Then my Kindle. Then Kindle for PC. Just in case, you know, because sometimes the formating is just wonky on one device but not the others. But no. The problem exists across all three.
Whatever glitch in the conversion program exists? Kindle needs to fix it, because separating the F and L is no mere "trif le".
The two typos in this single sentence of the blurb jumped out at me.
Typos in the book blurb indicate a lack of attention to detail, editing, and a basic failure to run SpellCheck. SpellCheck would only have caught one of them, since the other typo resulted in another word that doesn't make sense in that context. Still., they do not inspire confidence in the production that may have gone into the book in question or in any of the other books available on your site.
As a consumer, I'm wary of shelling out $7 for a book that may be littered with typos. It may be very tightly edited...but I can only go by the blurb, which was not.
First impressions and all.
And now I need a dress? How dressy is this event?
And also, due to RWA (#RWA09) (and because I've now been nagged by TB, BFF and C), I've signed up for Twitter. Not really sure what to do with it, really. I heard it likened to a cocktail party, which is unfortunate, because I hate cocktail parties (except for the booze) and the small talk. Guess I'll figure it out.
Must also figure out which authors/books I'm going to purchase for the literacy event. K.A. Mitchell and Ann Aguirre definitely. Others I'd like, but am not sure I want to stand in what I'm sure will be hella lines. (La Nora signing my worn first print run/edition of Naked in Death, frex.)
Dear MTA --
You suck humongous donkey balls. The 6:17 train left the station on time this morning; it usually reaches Union Station by 7:12. Today, it was 10:08 before we hit DC. The communication was pathetic, and what little information was communicated to passengers was outright WRONG. First it was this, then it was that, then it would only take another 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 45 more. Whatever.
All this despite copious promises to improve communication and the fact that stimulous money is (in theory) being devoted to upgrading the system. Ridership is up 35%. It's a shame your performance seems to be down correspondingly.
Editorial staffs everywhere: WTF?!?
Maybe editorial staffs have disappeared in this recession, which might explain some of the sloppy writing.
Here are three typos or editing gaffes that I caught while reading last weekend. There were more, but these are the ones that I remember without consulting the books in question.
- amatuer is not a word; probably the author meant "amateur"
- when putting out a BOLO, the subject is not of "Indian decent" but of "Indian descent" -- that "s" makes a difference not only in meaning but in pronunciation
- "no" is not the same as "know", and when a character lacks knowledge, "I don't no" is not the correct way to phrase the idea
- to =/= too =/= two
I make spelling and grammar errors as I blog. And, unfortunately, in work papers, too. Everyone does it. We're all human.
Here's the thing, though, NY publishers and small epublishers: when I'm buying a book and I read sentences that lack punctuation and seem to not even have a passing acquaintance with the idea of S-V-O? When homophones are repeatedly misused and common spelling errors that even SpellCheck should catch are littered through out the book? I feel like returning the damn book and asking for a refund, or perhaps converting the document to .doc, fixing the obvious errors (not necessarily the dubious stylistic choices, though) and redlining it, then sending it back to the epublisher.
You've been sending me materials for the past several years asking for donations. I haven't donated. I'm sorry. While one member of my extended family does have diabetes, my charitable contributions are already earmarked at this time. I might be more inclined to rethink that if you could GET MY NAME RIGHT on your solicitation materials. I'm not sure how I ended up on your mailing list -- it cannot have been by a shared mailing list, because I've never seen that variation of spelling of my name before (and I've seen quite a variety). Also, addressing me as Mr. GNC does not aid in your request.
Which comes to step 2 of your marketing fail: you keep sending me address labels for Mr. GNC...but the labels are decorated with flowers, hats, purses, shoes, and china tea cups. Men may enjoy tea and flowers, but those hats, purses and shoes are definitely ladies' items. Please get the genders of the titles/salutations matched up to the decorations on your "free" labels.
Liz Kelly of the Washington Post handles their Celebritology column. Pretty open to popular culture, wouldn't you think?
Here's an excerpt from yesterday's Celebritology chat:
Seattle: Wash.: Liz, Are you a fan of True Blood? I was unsure in the beginning, but I've come around to completely love it... though if they really want it to be a "mystery" romance show there's a lot more they could be doing to make the fang-banger killer storyline more thrilling. And while Bill and Sookie are great, but I think Layfayette is my favorite by far. Kind of sad there are only two episodes left!
Um, and to keep this Celeb-life related, I hear Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin are dating for real -- got any dish on that?
Liz Kelly: I am totally sold on "True Blood." Love it, though it's totally soft vampire pr0n. I guess the Alan Ball touch does something to class it up a little.
And I'm convinced the killer is the Iraqi vet guy. And I mean vet as in veteran, not Andy doctor.
Okay. Yes, there is way, way more sex in "True Blood" than in the Sookie Stackhouse books. [Hello, have neither of these chatters read the books upon which the show is based?] But the idea that Alan Ball is "classing up" the series blows my mind, since what he's really doing (IMO) is sexing it up at the expense of the characters and plot -- frankly, I find the characters in the tv show a lot less sympathetic than they are presented in the novels. How is the uber-sexualization of the plot "classing it up"?
What does that mean anyway, classing up?
Yesterday I read a category novel that caused the most visceral reaction to a book that I've had in a while. Profound disgust, which I'm sure was not what the author was going for. Yet I finished reading it, rather like a rubbernecker who can't look away from an accident scene. I've been trying to decide which bothered me most about the purported hero and heroine:
- That they were both cheating skanks who fucked a total stranger in an airplane bathroom, one just a month before her wedding? And, dude, seriously, an airplane bathroom? I know the mile high club turns some people on, but that's a public toilet. Didn't you grow out of public bathroom sex after college?
- The huge honking hypocrisy of the heroine? "Fidelity was very important to her. On the other hand, they weren't married yet...She hadn't taken any vows. Kevin never had to know." Yeah, sure fidelity was important to her; and fidelity can apparently be defined in her mind as including sex with someone other than her fiance, as long as her fiance doesn't know about it.
- That the heroine was a spineless wimp who let her mother run her life, especially with respect to the wedding? Was the fact that planning a wedding is stressful supposed to make the heroine more sympathetic? Mostly it just made her more pathetic, that she was unable to stand up for what she wanted (or didn't) with respect to her wedding and future marriage.
- The the heroine never bothered to talk to her fiance about what she wanted sexually, then decided that since she wasn't getting what she wanted from him that it was okay to screw someone else before the wedding, as long as she didn't ever tell him about it? "He wouldn't understand. His mind doesn't go there." Right. You don't know unless you bring the subject up, and if you can't bring the subject up, you probably shouldn't be marrying him.
- That the hero, while not engaged, is dating someone exclusively, and also thinks it's okay to fuck another woman before getting engaged? And is then surprised when a business partner (his girlfriend's brother) expresses reservations about doing business with him if he's going to be cheating on his sister.
- The dumping at the altar -- because she obviously had no other POSSIBLE opportunity to change her mind, and had to hurt and humiliate the groom on the wedding day? I agree that it's better to not get married than to get married just to save face, but there are better ways to call off the wedding than by announcing after the Wedding March has begun playing.
- The substitution of one groom for another -- after all, you've got the cake and the dress, let's just swap men out? Setting aside, of course, the fact that in most states, licenses are issued with respect to specific parties, so one groom actually can't be legally substituted for another.
By the time I finished, I thought the "hero" and "heroine" both deserved a virulent case of clap and the opposite of an HEA.
I am seriously tempted to ask for my money back for this book.
No. Hell no. Blackwater is not a government agency of any type, off the books or on. It is a privately owned FOR PROFIT business. Yes, it gets a great deal of money from the government to do things that ought not be put out to bid (or even given no-bid contracts). Being paid by the government to do a job does not make a company the government. It is a limited liability company only, I believe, meaning that it has no authority from any document like the Constitution, in terms of its raison d'etre or its governance, mission or vision. Instead it is governed by Articles of Organization, a bare bones document usually, normally filed with the charter office of the state in which the entity was formed/organized. More specific governance information can be found in the Operating Agreement, which is usually NOT a public document.
To read that sentence in the text of a mystery novel disturbs me mightily, as it implies to me that the narrator does not understand the difference between a government of/by/for the people and a company that is out to make money. [A company can be patriotic and still profitable, but the two are not interchangeable, IMO.] Maybe that was the author's intent, I don't know. But it yanked me right out of the story, and has me wondering about the author's politics and those of the narrator, which I'm pretty sure is not what the author wanted from me as a reader. Was this a thoughtful hint about her politics and world view? Or was it just careless writing? As much as I enjoy her voice, I've found the writing in her earlier books (and this one, too, although to a lesser extent) to be a little loose and sloppy, which makes me not as tolerant about this single, toss away line as I might be otherwise.
Afterthought: Of course, maybe the author was extremely careful with the usage of the word "agency" and I'm just reading into it. Maybe the author was not refering to generic "government agencies", but instead to a specific legal relationship between Blackwater and the government under the law of agency. So I'll shut up now and get off my soap box, leaving with just this reminder: this tangent that I've gone off on is probably not the response that the author was seeking from readers. Just sayin'.
I picked up a Brenda Jackson category this weekend; I'm in an epic slump in terms of new reading, and it looked vaguely interesting. Plus, I've heard a lot of good things about Jackson's stuff.
General observations: huge font and margins; did not stand on its own well (part of a series); serious continuity problem -- the heroine makes dinner reservations for the two of them at the restaurant in the hotel...but after dinner they have to get into their car and drive back to the hotel. WTH? Unless they were staying in some gigantic hotel complex, a car shouldn't have been necessary.
But the thing that really snagged my attention was the heroine's musings about her sex drive. She'd been single for 8 months and needed to get some, but didn't want to buy a vibrator or other sex toy because that would imply that she was desperate for a man.
Let me repeat: buying a sex toy means that a woman is desperate for a man in the mentality of this character. And also of this author?
There's so much judgment wrapped up in that sentence that I don't know where to start.
First, buying or using a sex toy means a woman is desperate for a man? Whoa, all the lesbians in the world would disagree. As would all of the women who have bought toys with their (male) sex partners.
Second, the implication that self pleasuring is desperate in general? Pisses me off. Because it is also, by implication, wrong. This irritates me to no end. Because that says (to me) that guys can wank and their sex drive is okay; women shouldn't wank and their sex drives should be limited. The Biochemist sent me a link to a review of a book on sexuality a while back that implied that women don't wank. *snort* Uh, okay, you keep thinking that, reviewer. Wish I could find that link.
Third, the idea ties the heroine's sexual impulses to other another being. Yes, sex is great and we should all have more of it. But the inference here is that she feels like she should only get off if a man is involved.
Actually, I guess all of my outrage boils down to this: in a genre that is supposedly written by women, for women, that is "empowering", the dated idea that a woman's sexuality has to be entirely tied to a man, that self-pleasure is desperate makes my head spin.
There were significant train delays yesterday morning, which I fortunately missed, culminating the multiple cancellations. Another rush hour cancellation of two trains yesterday afternoon, as a result of a heat problem on another set of train lines. (A sun kink occured on the Camden line; locomotives being delivered for the Penn line were on the Camden line and thus were not able to be delivered timely.)
This morning, the Hanover Street bridge was closed**. But when I called MTA at 6:30am to see if there was a problem with the regular route, the dispatcher said that all buses were running as scheduled. WTH? Obviously not, since none of the four buses that I can usually catch ever arrived.
I want to use public transportation. And the state wants me and other residents to use it. But if it is utterly unreliable, then why would anyone use it regularly?
**The bridge was closed because a tanker spilled 800+ gallons of gasoline on the ramp to 95N. The smell woke me up at 3:30am. I have a headache. Today would be a good mental health day.
Oh the irony -- today's Post has this headline article about the increase in public transportation ridership and the need for improved public transportation infrastructure.
In other news, I am a parallel parking goddess, declared so by a neighbor who watched me wedge my car into a spot with less than two feet of space to spare between the cars in front and behind. Without touching either car. *buffs nails*
Do I look unthreatening and kindly to strangers? I don't know. But I gave four different sets of Boston fans directions to the ball park this weekend, after being approached on the street. It's a good thing the Sox left town last night, otherwise the repeated trouncings would've tempted me to misdirect people.
I am a sheep. Baaaa. I am going to succumb to the crack that is J.R. Ward's BDB, I know it, despite feeling ~meh~ about the last two books.
Some books I lend out and never expect to see again -- there is a reason I own multiple copies of The Curse of Chalion, aside from the pretty, pretty cover of the trade sized edition and my firm belief that the castle on the mmp version is the alcazar in Segovia. And my copy of The Bill of Wrongs is safe in the possession of The Biochemist, who is a big, big fan of Molly Ivins. I'm cool with that.
But, dammit, I want my copy of Grimspace back so I can reread and review. And my copy of The Dead of Night, because I want the Eve Dallas short story for my library. And if I don't get How to Undress A Cop back soon, I will be stopping by and making a library raid -- you know who you are.
Okay, finally got a chance to listen to Whisper War. I like it. Of course, I was predisposed to, otherwise I wouldn't have ordered a copy. Am highly entertained by the photos of the band members included in the package, as they are rather like baseball cards. Is Fueled by Ramen trying to create another version of the Pokemon/Cabbage Patch/Garbage Pail phenomenon? (Yep, really dating myself there.) The band members themselves? Are just so young and cute, little boys really. Despite the tattoos some of them sport, they look...fresh and untouched and innocent to me. I can imagine a lot of 14-16 yo girls squeeing over the cards.
If you guys don’t really believe that there’s a Reader v Author disconnect here in Blogland, well I just see this as further proof. Because unless you’re fawning over authors, deep down, a lot of them just aren’t that interested in hearing your opinion as a reader.
She's referring to Tess Gerritsen's post "Authors Who Bite Back", which seems to imply that it's okay to cyber-stalk a reviewer who don't give writers five star reviews as long as you don't get caught, and the posts that follow, including her adieu to the cruel world of blogging.
Being a cynic, the part about Deborah Anne MacGillivray's foolishness being only that she got caught is disappointing and offensive but not hugely suprising to me. What really gets my back up is more or less blaming Dear Author for her blogging exit. She put the words out there on her blog, for better or worse. The fact that readers and other bloggers found it offensive and said so? Not the fault of Jane or DA. Welcome to the Internet, where everyone can read what you have to say, and many will respond.
My patience with this sort of circle-the-wagons, readers-are-morons-who-should-pay-to-
I've got a couple of Gerritsen's books in the TBR mountain. The fact that I found her original post on the whole Deborah A. MacGillivray/Amazon abuse situation offensive isn't going to make me discard them. But it does remind me that we inhabit different places in the reading/publishing world. And in her part of that world, readers should not say anything mean or critical of an author's work...unless they want to be stalked online and perhaps in person. In my part of that world, as long as I don't make an ad hominem attack, I'm free to share my opinion of that work.
I borrowed Lora Leigh's Killer Secrets from the library. I've been rather squicked by Ms. Leigh's Breed books, but so many people enjoy her work that I thought perhaps one of her non-Breed books was worth a try. Maybe it wouldn't creep me out so much. Sadly, I didn't have a chance to figure that out. Why? Because the very first word in the book is a typo...unless somehow the verb "tlipping" is some sort of Super Secret Commando Code (used instead of "slipping" when said commando is skulking and sneaking). If that is the case, then I apologize for my disgruntlement.
Was it a typesetting error that no one missed? I don't know.
The first pages of a book are the hook for readers. If a publisher can't be arsed to make sure that those critical pages are at least free of glaring typos, then I can't be arsed to read it.
Off to find something else to read,