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Category Archives: characters

So much stranger, so much darker, so much madder, so much better.

Well, it’s finally happened.

I kind of always knew it would, eventually, once I set my mind to it. It was just a matter of finding the time, which I did over the Christmas/New Year holiday. I saw this time stretching in front of me and thought, whatever shall I do with it? And I looked at my Netflix subscription and thought, well, YOU certainly have been going underutilized lately, haven’t you?

And I fell headlong into a binge I have yet to come back from. (And to be honest, I don’t quite know what I’ll do with myself once I’m finished, so I’d rather not think about that right now, thanks.)

Yes, it’s finally happened, people of the blog.

I am obsessed – BEYOND obsessed – with Doctor Who.

I even hear the theme music and I get all boppy. I've got it bad bad bad.

I even hear the theme music and I get all boppy. I’ve got it bad bad bad.

Now, I know in even writing this, I’m going to be getting comments from people who are all “I’ve been watching this since it STARTED and I’ve seen every EPISODE and I know THE WHOLE STORY and you know NOTHING, Jon Snow” (sorry, sorry, mixing up fandoms, there, I think that’s a excommunicable offense) so let me quantify this situation.

A while back, I watched the first two episodes of the reboot (with Christopher Eccleston) with some friends and liked them more than I thought I would. I meant to go back and continue with that, but my life often gets in the way of my life.

I’d never gotten into Doctor Who because it seemed weird and I didn’t think I’d GET it and it just seemed like one of those odd things that would confuse me if I tried to get involved so I thought it best if I stayed away. Like sports. Or playing an instrument. I AM OFTEN NOT GOOD AT THINGS THAT NORMAL PEOPLE EXCEL AT! It is a sad fact of life.

But then it became clear that almost every single intelligent person I knew was very, VERY into this show, and I needed to be watching it. Which almost made me NOT want to watch it – when everyone loves something, I immediately think, “Well, I hate fads” because I’m kind of a dick (I mean, you all seem to love that terrible Family Guy show, but the one time I turned it on to see what was up, they were making fun of domestic violence and I was so disgusted I never turned it on again, so what the hell, you guys?) but that backfired when everyone started ranting about how much they loved Serial and I avoided it for a while but then thought “What the hell” and downloaded it for a car trip and became SO OBSESSED with it and now look things up online about it ALL THE TIME because who DOESN’T want to know what Adnan and Hae really looked like, right?

OBSESSED OBSESSED!!! And I usually HATE being talked at! COULD NOT STOP LISTENING!

OBSESSED OBSESSED!!! And I usually HATE being talked at! COULD NOT STOP LISTENING!

And OMG, who DO we think killed her? I’m leaning one way, but I won’t tell you which in case you either haven’t listened yet (and if not, GET TO IT, SLAPPY!) or aren’t all the way done and don’t want me spoiling you. Also, my theory has more holes in it than Swiss cheese on the Titanic, you guys, and super-smart reporter friend at work and I were talking about it this weekend and his theory was SO SMART which is why he’s a reporter, I suppose, so now I am AT! A! LOSS! THERE ARE SO MANY WEIRD MOVING PARTS ON THIS CASE. Season two of Serial, please happen now, I want to fall headlong into another case immediately!

That was a very long digression.

ANYWAY. So I thought, “I will start watching this, what’s the worst that can happen” and now it’s been two weeks and I CAN NOT STOP.

NOW! Before I go ANY FURTHER! I have just started what I believe to be David Tennant’s last season so you are NOT ALLOWED to tell me anything that happens after this. I am trying very hard to stay spoiler-free. Unfortunately I’ve been a LITTLE spoiled, but that was before I started watching this and didn’t know I would ever care. So don’t comment all “In Episode Blah-Blah THE COMPANION IS REALLY A CYBERMAN IN DISGUISE” because I will be SO MAD at you!

Oh, BTW, I also finished "Arrested Development." I'm going to pretend the final season didn't happen. I wasn't impressed. Sorry, world.

Oh, BTW, I also finished “Arrested Development.” I’m going to pretend the final season didn’t happen. I wasn’t impressed. Sorry, world.

There’s really too much that I love about this show to go on about it in detail and you’re going to be split into two contingents, here, the ones that already KNOW it’s fantastic and the ones that don’t CARE and therefore have already tuned OUT, but I’m still going to ramble a bit. It’s my blog, I think I’m allowed.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT DOCTOR WHO!

  • It’s intelligent and goofy all at once. It makes me laugh AND it makes me think. Sometimes there are mysteries and sometimes it’s just funny and sometimes (most of the time) it’s a little bit of both.
  • The science isn’t TOO sciency. Andreas picked on me when I said I was watching this because the science wasn’t realistic but I don’t know much about all the science, anyway, so if they were being all realistic about it, I wouldn’t know what was going on. It’s just dumbed-down (and, yes, Andreas, probably wrong) enough that it’s cool with me, yo. (Andreas has other issues with the show, he just told me. I’ll let him tell you in the comments. You know what’s great about him? Well, other than everything? Even if we totally disagree, we still respect and love one another. That’s why he’s my Andreas, you guys. And I miss him and his whole family in the land of the Finns like CRAZINESS every DAY.)
  • There is totally romance and emotional things and I am ALWAYS WEEPING. There was one episode where I had to take a SINCERE BREAK from watching the show because I was EMOTIONALLY DEVASTATED. That’s a good show. I love a good cry. So, so much. Like, break out the Kleenex, here I am, and I’m in seventh heaven. (OMG! Speaking of which, the dad from Seventh Heaven was a child molester? Who saw THAT one coming, right? DISTRESSING!)
  • The Doctor makes me INSANELY HAPPY. He is joyous and childlike but also serious with the weight of the world on his shoulders and he has all the best lines and I love love LOVE watching him. I really enjoyed Eccleston but OH, am I head-over-heels for Tennant and his happy Converse All-Stars and bouncy hair. (I knew I’d like him – I’ve seen him in a couple of other things, the best of which being Hamlet with Patrick Stewart, which was BRILLIANT. I am being very all-capsy today. Why the hell did they waste him so much in that awful Gracepoint? So disheartening.) Tennant is beyond amazing here. I am already pre-mourning his loss. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fall in love with another actor in this role like I’ve fallen in love with him here.

    Loooooove. The most charismatic human being alive, sincerely.

    Loooooove. The most charismatic human being alive, sincerely.

  • I was informed I was going to hate Rose, but I LOVED her. I want all Rose, all the time. Yes, yes, apparently there are Companions upcoming that I will love very much (Martha was fine, but underutilized, yeah? It kind of made me sad. Also, all her PINING. Ugh, I think probably I related to her too much, but she started to make me cringe) but right now I’m all “BRING ROSE BACK DAMMIT” and having some issues with her being gone.

    Good grief, Googling Rose was fraught with spoilery. Don't do that unless you know what's coming up, my little gingersnaps.

    Good grief, Googling Rose was fraught with spoilery. Don’t do that unless you know what’s coming up, my little gingersnaps.

  • There are so many shows I can see took a page from this. There are elements of Doctor Who in so many of my favorite shows – Quantum Leap, The X-Files, Buffy (and a lot of Whedon’s work, actually, now that I’m thinking about it), Supernatural, this weird time-travelly show called Voyagers I used to watch when I was little…and there was totally a scene in one episode where I was all “THAT IS SO THE AMBER SPYGLASS!” and it TOTALLY WAS, per a quote from one of the writers that I read. They also reference pop culture things all the time (I’m sure half of the time I miss it, but when they did a shout-out to J.K. Rowling I laughed my ass off) and it’s just the perfect sci-fi/horror/fantasy/thriller nerd show in the entire planet.
  • You constantly get to see British actors and you’re all “I know that person BUT FROM WHERE” and you look them up and you giggle. Of course I knew who Simon Pegg was, but Carey Mulligan looked so damn young I couldn’t place her. And I had no idea the weird brash British chick from the American version of The Office was famous because of Doctor Who. Kylie Minogue looks old. I remember her in scrunchies and slouch socks. Also, the kid that plays Spiderman and is dating Emma Stone was in one episode (he was young) and whenever anyone was at a loss for what to do I kept shouting at the screen “WHY AREN’T YOU SAVING EVERYONE, SPIDERMAN?” Only I pronounce it “Spidermen” like Phoebe did on Friends. Like it’s his last name. “Irving Spiderman.” “COME ON, SPIDERMAN, SAVE THE DOCTOR ALREADY! SHOOT WEBS OR SOMETHING!” I would shout, and giggle gleefully. This scared the cat.

    SAVE THEM, SPIDERMAN!!!

    SAVE THEM, SPIDERMAN!!!

  • “Blink” is the best episode I’ve seen so far. Closely followed by “Doomsday.” The first is a very good standalone if you are trying to get someone into the series. The second would make no sense to someone unless they were following the series closely. One of these two episodes is the aforementioned cry-myself-sick episode; you can decide which one on your own. Play along at home, kiddos. Fun times.

    Not recommended to watch this at midnight all alone like I did. YIKES. Totally kept hiding my face behind my hands.

    Not recommended to watch this at midnight all alone like I did. YIKES. Totally kept hiding my face behind my hands.

  • The baddies are awesome. Some are scary (WEEPING ANGELS! Those Host angel thingies from the Titanic Christmas special!) and some are kitschy and funny (if the best thing ever isn’t Cybermen and Daleks having a snark-off, I don’t know what is, I laughed until I almost peed) and some are VERY EVIL AND WICKED BUT ALSO FUN (OMG, The Master, right?) Some, however, are just the worst. Who thought it was a good idea to make the brilliant and multi-talented Mark Gatiss into a scorpion-thing? What was up with that woman who was playing a giant red spider-creature as if she was maybe a drag queen trying to project to the back row of a large theater? If they bring her back, I’m boycotting that episode. She was TERRIBLE. I have to imagine she was either some famous British actress everyone loves for no apparent reason, or one of the producer’s wives. I kept asking her to shush it up. Surprisingly, she didn’t seem to hear me.

    Ugh, PLEASE let this be the last time I see this thing.

    Ugh, PLEASE let this be the last time I see this thing.

I really need to end this.

TO SUM UP.

Big apologies, friends who were all “WHY THE HELL AREN’T YOU WATCHING DOCTOR WHO, AMY, YOU NUMBSKULL.” I am apparently attempting to remedy this by cramming it all in my head as fast as I can. Once this is done, the very kind Josh has informed me of the existence of Torchwood (oh, Captain Jack with your dimples, I can’t resist you) and other British shows I NEED to be watching, like, immediately. I think I know what I’ll be doing while Watertown is trapped in what seems to be some sort of eternal winter zone.

Oh, my. So pretty. So sexually and morally ambiguous.

Oh, my. So pretty. So sexually and morally ambiguous.

If you don’t spoil me in the comments, thank you. If you DO spoil me in the comments, I CURSE THEE AND THY OFFSPRING.

Also, I am willing to bet you before the month’s out I will be in possession of a tee-shirt that says “The Angels Have the Phone Box.” I have very little willpower and I need to sleep with that on my body.

Yep. It was really just a matter of time.

Allons-y. There are a lot of episodes left and they’re certainly not going to watch themselves.

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More Adventures of Our Fancy World-Traveling Bon Vivant (yes, with jaunty hat in tow)

You of course all remember the continuing adventures of our favorite bon vivant, right? What’s that? Some of you are new around these parts? Well, you’re going to want to catch up before you read this, otherwise you’re going to be coming in in the middle of our stories, and you won’t know who the characters are, or have the rich backstory we’ve worked so hard on around here. First, our bon vivant went to London, saved all the tea and his BFF-ship with Kate Winslet, and foiled that dastardly L. Ron Hubbard; then our bon vivant went BACK IN TIME to hang out with J.S. Bach and Kate Winslet, and save music as we know it, and ran afoul of his NEMESIS, Jeff Goldblum DUN DUN DUNNNN; and most recently, our bon vivant went to Japan, where he rescued all tea from becoming obsolete with the help of Rachel Weisz and his most amazing dogs, Ella and Louis.

Are you all caught up? Good. As you can see, Ken (the bon vivant in question) has many adventures. MANY adventures. These adventures, were they not documented by The Person Who Writes These, might fall by the wayside. Which would be a crying shame, really. These things are GOOD. They are WORLD-RENOWNED. However, The Person Who Writes These has been busy. She has been SO BUSY. So she doesn’t always get to document them in a timely fashion as nature intends.

But the other day, our bon vivant made an offhand comment on a blog that The Person Who Writes These likes very much – THIS VERY BLOG RIGHT HERE – and it made her head-wheels turn so she decided, yep. It’s time. Time for another tale of high bon-vivantery. Wait. That makes it sound like someone’s smoking weed in this story. NO ONE IS SMOKING WEED IN THIS STORY. Oh, wait, yeah, later someone might be smoking weed in this story. I take that back.

So…without further ado (with me, there’s always ado. You know that. I bring ado wherever I do. I am awash with ado) I bring you…

The latest tale of bon vivantery…complete with jaunty hats…

THE INVASION OF THE BON VIVANT SNATCHERS (aka DOPPELGANGER AHOY!)

One day, our bon vivant went on the internet. Listen, bon vivants go on the internet, much as anyone might. It is a good way to keep up with far-flung friends. Bon vivants have MANY far-flung friends. They make them as they bon vivant, you see.

“Huh,” said Ken. “This is strange.”

Where he had had many, many bon vivanty friends on Facebook only a week or so ago, he noticed the number had dropped. Substantially dropped. There were many notifications; he clicked on the little red number curiously.

“What the hell is wrong with you? UNFRIENDED,” said one.

“I can’t believe you would say that to me. We’ve known each other for YEARS,” said another.

“Last night was great! CALL ME!” said a third. (This one was worrisome, let’s be honest. FLATTERING, but worrisome. Because he didn’t THINK he’d had any sort of “last night” with this person.)

One of the messages was from his good friend Helen. Helen lived in Taos, New Mexico. The bon vivant likes Taos very much. He also likes Helen very much, and they had many cups of tea together back when he was a much younger bon vivant.

“This is a very destructive path you’re on, Ken. I don’t think we can be friends anymore if you’re going to act like this,” her message said.

He sent her a message. “Helen! What are you talking about? What happened?” Since Helen was online, she responded.

“You know what you did, Ken,” she said.

Oh, no! People don’t say “you know what you did” to Ken! That’s what KEN says to HIS NEMESIS JEFF GOLDBLUM! Well, THIS couldn’t be more worrisome if it tried!

“I’m sorry, Helen, but I don’t know. Did something happen?”

“I don’t think I can talk about this,” she said. “It’s too fresh in my mind. Too raw. Maybe someday we can rebuild our friendship, but you really need to work on you first.”

Then she logged off, and would not respond to Ken, no matter what he wrote.

He looked at his faithful dogs, Ella and Louis, with a worried look.

“This is not good news, Ella and Louis,” Ken said. “Something’s going on in Taos. I think I’ll have to go there to see what’s happening. What do you think? Want to go to the States with me? I think I will need your help. You’ve been such help in the past.”

Louis was very excited and ran in circles. Ella blinked once, sagely, to show her approval.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Can a person just BRING dogs from GERMANY into the UNITED STATES? Because SOME people (who are writing this) thought until VERY RECENTLY that was NOT ALLOWED and there was some sort of insane quarantine period and the dogs had to sit in doggy-jail for like ever until the quarantine period was up. But NO! It is a TRUE FACT that isn’t the case at all and if you tell a bon vivant you think that they will chuckle at you (but most politely, of course, I mean, the bon vivant is nothing if not the most kind person ever) and say, “Um. That’s an urban legend, you know that, right?”

No, I’m pretty sure they don’t get to ride like this. But this photo makes me laugh like a moron.

So Ella and Louis are TOTALLY allowed to come along for the U.S. bon vivantery. Don’t even think they’re not. Which is good, because listen, this story was going to be a lot less interesting without happy red dogs. I mean…um…not that this is a STORY, this is TRUE TALES OF BON VIVANTERY AS TOLD TO THE PERSON WHO WRITES THESE BY THE BON VIVANT HIMSELF.

So off to the States the bon vivant went! With Ella and Louis! And with many worries, because WHAT WAS GOING ON? Oh, also, well of course he brought many hats. Why would you expect otherwise? I mean, he is the bon vivant, of course. You don’t just TRAVEL across the WORLD without HATS.

SO.
MANY.
HATS.

When Ken landed in Taos, he realized something was going on. Everyone was looking at him. But not in the way they usually looked at him. Listen, Ken is used to being recognized. He’s the bon vivant. He goes places and people say, “Oh, it’s you! Ken! The Bon Vivant! I recognize you! And your hat!” and although that’s always a little humbling, he’d gotten used to it by now. I mean, you have to. As a bon vivant. If you ever become a bon vivant, you’ll understand. But people weren’t looking at him in a bon vivanty way. They were looking at him in an ANGRY way. Ella looked at him, worried. Louis tried to eat an empty Mountain Dew bottle.

“I think I need some tea,” Ken mused. “This is all very worrisome.” He pulled his jaunty hat down a little further over one eye very rakishly and walked toward a tea shop he remembered from his youth. “I will try to find Helen after I have my tea. Maybe she can shed some light on this situation.”

“KEN!” he heard from behind him. He turned and a women grabbed him and kissed him. KISSED HIM ON THE MOUTH! Oh, well this was unexpected. He managed to extricate himself from her clutches. She smelled boozy. And was wearing way too much lipstick. Ella did not approve.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” Ken said kindly.

“Oh, YOU,” she said, and slapped his chest as brazen hussies do. “You’re such a KIDDER. Like you could FORGET. WINK WINK.”

“I don’t…” Ken started, but then a very large and VERY shady man came up and put his arm around the lady with too much makeup, who pretended immediately she didn’t know who Ken was.

“You hittin’ on my lady, buddy?” the large man said. He was very scowly. Louis hid behind his sister.

“Oh. No. No, sir, I assure you I am not,” Ken said. “I was just going to get some tea. I have no designs on your lady. Please excuse me.”

“NO DESIGNS?” the lady said, who had no idea what that meant. “He TOTALLY has designs, babe. He designed ALL OVER ME last weekend!”

The large man lunged at Ken. Ken does not like to fight. Bon vivants aren’t FIGHTY. They are ADVENTUREY and they are FILLED WITH A LUST FOR LIFE and they like to THINK THEIR WAY OUT OF SITUATIONS. Luckily, at that very moment, Louis flopped down on the sidewalk to scratch a VERY stubborn itch and the man tripped over him, giving our bon vivant an out so he could make a timely escape. (Listen, I don’t want you to think that our bon vivant couldn’t have won that fight. I’m quite sure he could have. I have no doubt that our bon vivant, faced with any obstacle, would find a way to overcome it. He’s kind of magical like that.)

“What is going ON, Ella and Louis? I don’t know that woman! Why is everyone looking at me like I am their nemesis? This is very much like the time I was not welcome in London because of L. Ron Hubbard. What could be going on?” Ken said as he darted down a back alley. Ella looked pensive. “Good boy, Louis. You know just when to stop and scratch an itch.”

Just then! A door opened in the alley and a very beautiful woman came out! Ken stopped short.

“Well, Ken! Is that you? Ken, the World Traveling Bon Vivant? I’d recognize you and your hat and your dogs anywhere. What are you doing in Taos?” she said, and laughed.

It was Grammy award-winning jazz singer Diana Krall!

“Hello, Diana Krall!” said Ken. “I’m a big fan! What a pleasure to see you!”

“Where the hell is that hat-wearing son of a…” they heard from behind them. Diana looked at Ken curiously.

“Sounds like you need to make a quick exit,” she said. “Come on, my dressing room’s in here.”

The alley was the back entrance to the Taos Center for the Arts! Diana whisked Ken and Ella and Louis neat as you please in the back door and closed it quietly behind them. They heard the man run by, then nothing.

“Well, Diana, it seems I owe you,” Ken said. Louis licked her hand exuberantly. Louis does everything exuberantly, you see.

“I can’t imagine why anyone’s chasing you,” she said, “but come on, I was just making some tea. We can chat.”

Ken was very pleased with this turn of events, as you might imagine.

As Ken and Diana Krall enjoyed a very nice cup of oolong (Ken was pleased to see that Diana made her tea the CORRECT way, WITHOUT teabags) he explained the situation, from the beginning to the end. She handed him a Kleenex. “You’re absolutely covered in lipstick. It’s very unseemly for a bon vivant,” she said, and laughed winningly. Ella seemed to agree in a very wise dog-like way.

Diana was in town for a concert, which was happening in a couple of days. She was just checking out the dressing room in a very lucky turn of events, because otherwise, there might have been fisticuffs for our bon vivant.

“So what do you think is going on, Ken?” she said. “This is all very mysterious.”

“I’m not sure,” Ken replied. “I want to go talk to Helen, but on my way, I was accosted by that unsavory woman and her consort. She seems to think I had relations with her. I am quite sure I did not.”

Diana nodded. “I wouldn’t think so. That was a very ill-advised lipstick color. I would assume a bon vivant would choose his companions more wisely. So, let’s go see your friend Helen, and find out what she knows. Ooh, this is VERY EXCITING. I’ve always wanted to have a bon vivanty adventure. My husband Elvis Costello ran into Kate Winslet just the other day at a royal event, and she told him about some of the capers you two have pulled! This is a dream come true for me. I’m so glad I was in the right place at the right time!”

Ken smiled. He was very pleased to have such an intrepid companion for this adventure. Ella and Louis were already quite keen on her, and she had a very melodious speaking voice. Plus, such excellent taste in tea!

Diana had a limousine waiting outside for her, so she and Ken and the dogs darted into it and directed it over to Helen’s house. Ella and Louis were big fans of the limousine and sniffed every single surface twice. Ken was less impressed. I mean, you’re a bon vivant, you’ve seen one limo, you’ve seen ’em all, I guess.

Helen answered her door, saw it was Ken, and tried to close the door in his face. “Please, Helen, I’ve come all this way, can’t we talk?” Ken said. Helen glowered at him from around the door, then nodded curtly and waved him in. He and Diana and the dogs went into her house. She was quite impressed to see Diana Krall, but even MORE impressed to see Ella and Louis.

“I wondered where these two were when I saw you last week!” she said, getting many pets and many licks from the happy red dogs.

“Wait, what? Saw me last week?” Ken said. “Helen, I haven’t seen you in years! I haven’t been back in New Mexico for over a decade!”

“Very funny, Ken,” she said. “Just last week, I was walking out of the library and you were hanging around outside with some very shady people. I saw you and went over to say hi, and you GROPED ME IN PUBLIC. It was very unlike you and not at all bon vivanty. When I asked you to stop you said I wasn’t cool, man and then you and your friends laughed.”

“Oh, Helen,” said Ken, giving Diana a very worried look, “I hope you know I would never do that. This person looked like me?”

Helen nodded. “Yes. He even had a very jaunty hat! And mutton-chops!”

Ken managed to convince Helen that it had not been him last week by showing her many photos of him doing bon vivanty things in Germany like having tea with Angela Merkel while discussing his thoughts on the debt crisis…

and playing much fancy music in the park with his partner-in-idling, Jarrod.

“I’m so glad it wasn’t you, Ken,” Helen said. “It made me very sad, to think you’d become some sort of weird street-groper.”

“I solemnly promise I will never become some sort of street-groper, Helen,” Ken said.

“Wait, what about Twitter?” Helen said. “You’ve been saying all these things on Twitter!”

“What? I have? No I haven’t. Well, yes, I HAVE, but…wait, what kinds of things?” Ken said.

Helen showed him her Twitter timeline. “See?”

There was his profile picture! And his Twitter account! But the things that were being said WERE NOT THINGS HE’D SAID! Like “Just saw a girl with a monster rack, yo” and “Where can I get some action up here in this joint?” and “Hang in there, kitten.” Ken would NEVER say “hang in there, kitten.” KEN HATES PLATITUDES.

“Wait!” Diana Krall said. “This is not your Twitter account! Your Twitter account is @lahikmajoe. This Twitter account is @lahikmijoe. IT IS A TRICK!”

Well, now this was just getting WEIRD.

Helen explained that a lot of people in Taos were very mad at Ken because he’d been groping people in public, cussing loudly on the streets, yelling out loud things like “baby got back!” at passers-by, and hanging with an unsavory crowd. “People don’t even like to go into the public library anymore,” she said. “You…well, the not-real you…and your friends…I guess HIS friends…are always out there.”

Diana and Ken exchanged a look. They knew that they’d have to go to the public library to track down this doppelgänger. This not-Ken. This bon-vivant wanna-be. WHO WAS DOING IT WRONG.

Diana and Ken and Ella and Louis said goodbye to Helen and went back to the limousine. “How can we go to the library where these seedy types hang out?” Ken said. “They’ll recognize me, especially if I look just like this dastardly foe!”

Diana laughed. “Oh, Ken. I have the forces of the entire staff of the Taos Center for the Arts on my side! There are MANY costumes there. We’ll just go in disguise, and no one will recognize us!”

“Will I have to shave my beard?” Ken asked skeptically.

“No. No, you will not,” Diana said.

“Well, then this is an excellent plan,” Ken replied.

Ken was impressed with this high level of bon vivantery.

BUT WAIT!

“What about Ella and Louis? If this person is pretending to be me, he’ll have done his homework. He’ll know about my dogs,” Ken said. Ella and Louis looked worried. Well, Louis did. Ella looked like a LADY. She always looks like a lady.

“Don’t worry. I have a plan for Ella and Louis, too,” Diana said.

They got back to the Center for the Arts and Diana threw herself into the preparations for their adventure. She dressed herself and Ken up as the kind of shady people who might be hanging out outside of a library. Ken got those terrible low-riding pants that the kids are all wearing nowadays and one of those douchey Ed Hardy t-shirts. Diana wore a tube top and very tight pants. They both got makeup so they were in TOTAL DISGUISE. Much mockery was made of one another. If this was a movie, a music montage would happen here, I’ll have you know. Ken thought the disguises needed some shady hats, so he found some in his bag. Ken has hats that cover all eventualities, don’t even think he doesn’t.

Ella and Louis got dog-safe water-soluble fur-dye. Ella became a pointer with very dashing brown spots over her eyes…

and Louis became a Weimaraner. Louis liked his new getup very much and pranced around looking at himself in mirrors. Ella gave Ken a long-suffering look and sat calmly. She was aware, you see, that the disguise was NECESSARY, but didn’t think it was very DIGNIFIED.

“To the library we go!” Diana said. She looked like a totally different person. “No one will recognize us for who we are now!”

They went off to the library to confront the false-Ken. No one looked twice at our bon vivant! The disguise was just that good! (Well, the classier people in Taos looked at him with disgust. An Ed Hardy shirt will do that to you every time.)

When they arrived at the library, there were unsavory types sitting on the stairs and laughing troll-like laughs. Some of them were smoking MARIJUANA CIGARETTES! (The Person Who Writes These TOLD you someone would be smoking weed in this story.) They looked at Ken and Diana and the dogs, but not for long. They blended right in!

“There he is, Ken!” Diana hissed.

Ken looked to his left. And there he saw…

HIS DOPPELGANGER!

He looked just like him! The same hair! The same beard! The same type of clothing! The same rucksack! And…what’s this? A VERY JAUNTY HAT! “Wait,” thought Ken. “I recognize that hat.”

“WELL HELLO!” said the False Bon Vivant, who had seen the new arrivals. “Welcome to the Library of Decadence and Bon Vivantery! My name is Ken!”

Ken wanted to out him then and there but Diana stopped him. “Yo, Ken. I’m Gina and this is my main squeeze Hank.”

“I don’t think people say ‘main squeeze’ anymore,” Ken whispered. “Also, ‘Hank’? Really? Huh.”

“I PANICKED!” she said.

“Nice to meet you! Would you like some illegal drug substances or perhaps gambling? Also, probably later we will have hookers or maybe gin. As Ken, the very famous bon vivant, I support all of these things!” the False Bon Vivant said.

Well, that’s inappropriate. Ken couldn’t stand for this a moment longer. “TRUE BON VIVANTS DO NOT CARE FOR THOSE THINGS AT ALL!” he roared, and pulled off his shady hat to reveal his true countenance. “TRUE BON VIVANTS ARE ALL ABOUT BON VIVANTING FOR THE SAKE OF BON VIVANTERY AND ALSO DRINKING TEA AND GALLIVANTING! SOMETIMES ALSO IDLING! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, SIR, SULLYING MY GOOD BON VIVANTY NAME!”

The people on the steps got very quiet. The False Bon Vivant looked at Ken with anger in his eyes. “NO,” he said. “I’M Ken. You can’t be here. YOU CAN’T BE HERE. This guy’s pretending to be ME, everyone! GET HIM!”

There was much hubbub. The shady people lunged at Ken and Diana and the dogs. The False Bon Vivant disappeared into the crowd. “Don’t let him get away, Ken!” Diana said. Ken was trying to get away and could see the False Bon Vivant and ALMOST HAD HIM when he heard Diana cussing. “Let me go, you bastard!” she said. Well! If there’s one thing a bon vivant hates – a TRUE bon vivant – it’s when someone shady grabs their lady-friend. Ken immediately turned around and went back for Diana. He heard the False Bon Vivant scream, once, and Louis bark. He got Diana away from the ne’er-do-wells using various bon-vivanty techniques learned in many bon-vivanty locations that I can’t really go into here because they’re for bon vivant use only, and called to Ella and Louis, and off they ran in the general direction of the False Bon Vivant – but he was gone.

“What do we do now?” Diana said. She was none the worse for wear for her manhandling, but her tube top was all askew. Tube tops are very impractical when faced with a group of unsavory characters.

HIGHLY ill-advised.

“Let’s go back to the Center for the Arts and regroup,” Ken said. “There’s tea there. I think we could both use some tea.”

Diana most wholeheartedly agreed.

They went back to the Center for the Arts and put on NORMAL clothes (and threw the Ed Hardy shirt and the tube top in the garbage, where they belonged) and washed the dye from the dogs together and had much fun with water and soapsuds and two wiggly red dogs who made many wet footprints all over the dressing room. To keep their spirits up, they sang a rousing duet of “Mustard and a Piece of Bread,” which of COURSE Diana Krall knew. Everyone knows this song. Don’t be absurd. It was very nice for Ken to sing with Diana Krall and Ella and Louis liked it very much as well. After much tea and much singing and many shenanigans they went to sleep, because tomorrow they had to figure out what to do about this False Bon Vivant. This kind of chicanery cannot stand.

The next morning, Ken was awoken by the sound of Louis gnawing on something and Ella sighing heavily. “Louis, what do you have there, old boy?” he said. Louis looked up at him and gave him a doggy grin. He had a piece of cloth hanging out of his mouth. “Bring that here, Louis. Good boy.” Louis brought it over. It was a piece of pants-fabric. Very bon-vivanty pants-fabric. But it wasn’t KEN’S pants-fabric.

“Louis, did you try to stop that false bon vivant? Did you tear off a piece of his pants?” Louis wagged his tail so hard he almost fell over.

“What’s going on, Ken?” Diana said. She had very sleepy eyes. Not a lot of sleep happened the night before for the two bon vivants. She handed him a cup of tea. “What do you have, Louis?”

“I think I have an idea,” Ken said. “That’s a piece of that False Bon Vivant’s pants. We can use the dogs to track him. Ready for our next adventure?”

Diana was ready. Diana was proving a very capable bon vivanting companion!

Louis and Ella passed the piece of Bon Vivant pants back and forth as they tramped through the streets of Taos. Louis got distracted by many good smells along the way. Ella did not. Ella is very single-minded when she is concentrating on a task.

“Where are you bringing us, Ella and Louis?” Ken said. They stopped in front of one of the old pueblos in Taos and looked at Ken expectantly. “In here? Is he in here?”

“Well, let’s go in and see!” Diana said, and they snuck into the old pueblo.

The dogs assiduously led the way while Ken and Diana followed. There was a light burning behind one of the walls. When Ken and Diana went around the corner, they were dumbstruck.

“These are all…photos of me!” Ken said. “And printouts of my blog posts! And pictures of my Tweets! And pictures of the dogs! And pictures of my friends! And many drawings of jaunty hats! What is going ON here?”

“How could one man DO all this?” Diana wondered, as she looked around with wide eyes. “This is INSANE!”

Louis sneezed and knocked over a stack of papers. Ken picked them up because bon vivants hate messes. “Wait. These are…these are printouts of my crazy-eyed blogging friend’s blog! There’s one phrase highlighted and circled and highlighted and circled over and over and over and OVER. It’s…”

“IT IS DING DONG JOE!” they heard from behind them, and when they turned, the False Bon Vivant was there! With a crazy look in his eyes! “SHE HAS MADE THE WHOLE WORLD LAUGH AT ME! But you. YOU! The whole world LOVES you, Ken, with your HATS and your BON VIVANTERY and your HAPPY RED DOGS! So I knew what I had to do. Ding Dong Joe had to become Lahikmajoe! It really wasn’t so hard. WE ARE BOTH JOES! AND NOW I AM THE BON VIVANT!”

“You’re not the bon vivant,” Diana said. “You can’t just DRESS like a bon vivant and BE a bon vivant. It’s more than clothes or facial hair, Ding Dong Joe.”

“DON’T YOU CALL ME THAT!” Ding Dong Joe screamed. “My name is KEN now!”

“Um…’Ken,'” OUR bon vivant said, “just be calm. I’m sure if you let people get to know the real you, they would love you, too. We can call Lucy’s Football and ask her to stop calling you a pervert on her website. She will, if you want. I’m sure she will. She only pretends to be crazy online. She’s really very nice.”

“NO! It’s too LATE!” Ding Dong Joe began to pace around the room frantically.

“Ken, I think he’s lost it. Also, Ding Dong Joe is real? Huh. That’s a twist I didn’t anticipate,” said Diana.

“He couldn’t have done this alone,” Ken said. “He had to have had help. But, who?”

Ding Dong Joe kept pulling his jaunty hat on and off his head as he paced. On and off; on and off. “I know that hat,” Ken said. “Why do I feel like I know that hat? It’s the most real part of his costume. For some reason, it reminds me of…penguins? Wait. WAIT.”

“Well, hello, old friend.” The oily, unctuous voice coming from the dark hallway chilled Ken to the bone. “So, you’ve stumbled upon my little protegé, have you? How astute of you. How utterly SCRUMPTIOUS.”

“Dammit. DAMMIT. Goldblum. WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE GOLDBLUM?!?!” Ken said. It was the hat Jeff Golblum had stolen from him in Japan, of course. What other hat could it have been?

Jeff Goldblum came out from behind the wall, as high-strung as ever. He put his arm around Ding Dong Joe’s shoulder. “Oh, Joe. What happened, my good friend?”

“HE FOUND ME, JEFF!” shrieked Ding Dong Joe. “You PROMISED I could be the Bon Vivant! YOU PROMISED!”

“I know. I know. We’ll figure this out, buddy. We will. I promise.”

“What was your plan, Goldblum? To have Ding Dong Joe pretend to be me? To what end?” Ken said. He waved Diana toward the exit. She shook her head resolutely. She is stubborn, that Diana Krall. But she doesn’t know how nefarious Jeff Goldblum is, now does she?

“Once everyone hated you, KEN, it would be only one quick step to make them love and respect me. Nature abhors a void! I would take your place as the most beloved international icon. You don’t deserve it, Ken. You’re just a MAN. I’m a CINEMATIC IDOL. I was in JURASSIC PARK and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. Your fame should be MINE. WHY CAN’T IT BE MINE?”

“What about me?” Ding Dong Joe asked, a shocked look in his eyes. “You said I could be the bon vivant!”

“Yes, what about poor Ding Dong Joe? Why don’t you tell him he was just a pawn in your ongoing war with me?” Ken said.

“That’s not true, is it, Jeff? You said we could be BFFs! You said we were a TEAM!” Ding Dong Joe whined.

Jeff laughed. It was a terrible, soulless thing to hear. “Oh, Joe. Sad, foolish Ding Dong Joe. I’m sorry. I have one BFF; that BFF’s name is…JEFF GOLDBLUM.”

And with that, Jeff Goldblum screamed an utterly maniacal scream and ran from the pueblo.

Ding Dong Joe collapsed in a puddle of weepery on the floor. Louis looked askance at Ken. Ken nodded. Louis went over and nuzzled Ding Dong Joe. Listen, this wasn’t all Ding Dong Joe’s fault. He’s just a pervy little dude who wants to be liked, is all. Isn’t that what we all want? Well, other than the pervy part. We don’t all want that. At least, I hope we don’t.

“What should we do with him, Ken?” Diana asked.

“Nothing,” Ken said. “He’s learned his lesson. He knows what he did was wrong. He was led astray by Jeff Goldblum. He isn’t the first to have been; he unfortunately won’t be the last. That Goldblum. He’s insidious. Let’s go, Diana Krall. You have a concert to get ready for!”

“It’s amazing, Ken, how far he went to try to be you. You’re in high demand,” Diana said, as they walked back to the Center for the Arts. “And how badly he failed, too. It’s sad, really.”

Ken chuckled. “Well, what people don’t understand is that being a bon vivant carries with it a heavy responsibility. You can’t just bon vivant all the time. You also have to live up to the bon vivants who have come before, and you are a model for those who cannot bon vivant themselves. It’s not all traveling and eating exotic cheeses.”

Diana nodded. “And that is why you are the one and only World-Traveling Bon Vivant, Ken. Because you understand that. I believe maybe a person isn’t just a bon vivant; they are CALLED to be a bon vivant.”

“Diana, you can bon vivant with me anytime. That was very wise,” Ken said.

Diana blushed. It’s not every day the bon vivant calls you wise.

Diana got Ken a front-row seat for her concert. It was an amazing show, and Ken was so glad he got to see her perform. She even got the Center to allow Ella and Louis to watch with him! If you are the headlining act, you can do such things, I would assume. Elvis Costello joined her on stage for the encore, and she hushed the cheering crowd.

“I had the honor of spending time with someone very special for the last couple of days. He’s gotten a bad rap here in your lovely town for the last few weeks, and it was unwarranted. He is still the bon vivant you all know and love. I’d like to invite him up on stage with us to sing one very special song. Ken, the World-Traveling Bon Vivant, would you join me and Elvis?”

Well, of course Ken would. How could he turn that down? And did he have his ukulele with him? Of course he did, don’t be foolish.

So that is how Ken, our most favorite world-traveling bon vivant, got to sing “Mustard and a Piece of Bread” with Diana Krall and Elvis Costello in Taos, New Mexico while everyone forgave him for the events of the past few weeks and Ella and Louis watched. Well, Ella watched. Louis was sound asleep, dreaming, no doubt, of something utterly joyful and guileless.

In the parking lot, in a very long stretch limo, gritting his teeth as he heard the cheers and the music drifting out of the side doors, Jeff Goldblum talked to the only person he trusted in all the world. Jeff Goldblum.

“He always wins, Jeff Goldblum.”

“I know. Jeff Goldblum. I know. It hardly seems fair.”

“It is MOST unfair. We never can seem to beat him. He has these amazing FRIENDS! And he’s so SMART! And those DOGS! THOSE HAPPY RED DOGS!!!”

“I know, Jeff Goldblum. Listen, don’t frown too much. Your face is your living, you know. You can’t afford frown lines.”

“I know. Thank you, Jeff Goldblum.”

“We just have to try harder, Jeff Goldblum. There has to be a chink in his armor. There has to be a hole. A way in. A way to win.”

“Heh. You said ‘hole,’ Jeff Goldblum.”

“This is hardly a time for sophomoric humor, Jeff Goldblum. Really. I expected more of you.”

“I’m sorry, Jeff Goldblum. It’s been a tough day.”

“I know. I’m sorry I jumped down your throat.”

“We just have to BELIEVE, Jeff Goldblum. One day. ONE DAY, we will beat him. We will. We will be victorious.”

And with a “Driver! Onward!” Jeff Goldblum drove off cackling into the New Mexico night.

THE END!

(Only, of course, not really the end. These things never really end. Not as long as there’s breath in the bon vivant and there’s power in the laptop of The Person Who is Writing These. Stay tuned, my little blueberry muffins. Stay tuned.)

(Psst: thank you thank you, my real-life bon vivant, who totally lets me mine your life for bon vivantery and turn it into blog fodder and never ever gets huffy when I bug you for details or photos or random crap. How empty would all of our lives be without you? I don’t even want to think about that. THANK YOU.)


Further Adventures of the Fanciest World-Traveling Bon Vivant (of course he still has his hat)

I know. It’s been a very long time since we checked in with our favorite world-traveling bon vivant, he of the jaunty headgear. I assure you it is not because he hasn’t been having adventures. No, no. Of course he has still been having adventures! More adventures than you can shake a stick at. I mean, if you’re shaking a stick at adventures. Why would you be doing that? That seems like a strange thing to be doing. Adventures are kind of ephemeral and I would think would be difficult to be stick-shakey at, but what do I know? I can’t be overseeing all the things you’ve waving wood at. Heh. Wood.

WOOD. Totally a euphemism.

No, it is not for a lack of adventures that we haven’t heard from our favorite bon vivant lately. See, The Person Who Writes These adventures needs a whole chunk of time to write and research…um…I mean TRANSCRIBE them from the ACTUAL TRUE STORIES AS THEY HAPPEN, and The Person Who Writes These has not had that chunk of necessary time in quite some time to do so. She’s quite busy, overall. Not with bon-vivantery or anything. She doesn’t bon vivant. But she does other things. Time-sucking things. Also sometimes she needs to sleep and her brain’s not working at maximum capacity currently . So please forgive her. She does her best.

But The Person Who Writes These started feeling VERY GUILTY recently because there are SO MANY bon vivanty stories to be shared, and they’re not going to write themselves, you know? And people need to know these things. They make the world a better place, these stories of bon vivantery. I’m quite sure of that, as is The Person Who Writes These.

So…without further ado…I bring you…The Further Adventures of the Fanciest World-Traveling Bon Vivant (yes, of course he still has his hat.) And, yes. I realize how long this is. I’d apologize, but bon vivantery cannot be tamed. It utterly cannot. So grab a cool beverage. And maybe also some cookies. It’s worth it. I promise.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

If you all remember (I know, I KNOW, it’s been like MONTHS, go back and read the last posts, this’ll wait for you to get up to speed), when we last spent time with Ken, our favorite bon vivant, he traveled through time with his BFF, Kate Winslet, to help Bach save the Brandenburg concertos from the evil clutches of his nemesis, Jeff Goldblum. It was an epic tale, full of all kinds of skullduggery and chicanery. You know. As you’d expect from Ken. You’d expect nothing less. And you shouldn’t. Never settle! That’s rule number one when dealing with a bon vivant.

Many adventures happened in the meantime, of course. Listen, Ken’s always having adventures. It’s not like he just STOPS because The Person Who is Writing This is BUSY. No, no. Many adventures were had. It was actually a struggle: what adventures would you like most to hear about? The treasure map and the hidden kingdom? The time Lindsay Lohan almost started World War III? The fourteen lost keys and the doorway to doom? All exciting stories, to be sure, filled with all MANNER of excitement and bouncy red dogs and of course, tea-drinking. So much tea-drinking, you can’t even imagine. Like, think of the tea-drinking you can imagine? Then MULTIPLY IT TIMES A BILLION. Then add on MORE. That much tea-drinking, you guys.

SO much more than you can even imagine. SO much more.

But then I thought, yes, yes, those are all GOOD stories, but not as good as the story I’m going to tell you now. This one is the BEST of all those stories. It’s got foreign CLIMES and FANCY MOVIE STARS and a YOUNG SIDEKICK and of course HAPPY RED DOGS. And a skateboard! I mean, come on. How could I not choose this one?

One day, not long after the Brandenburg Imbroglio, Ken was bon vivanting in Japan. He always liked when he got to go to Japan. Most bon vivants do. It’s a country ripe for bon vivantery, with many delicious foods (Ken would like you all to know that the Japanese word for squid is “taco” so if you are bon vivanting in Japan and you order “taco” you’re not getting a crunchy Mexican treat, you’re getting squid. See? These are the things a person knows, when he is a bon vivant. And now YOU know them TOO) and adventures to be had. Also? Bidets. It is a country of bidets. And listen, there is very little a bon vivant like Ken likes more than a good bidet. Even one with the instructions written in Japanese, so you never know if you’re flushing or bidet-ing. Ken decided to go to Tokyo. They had many beautiful attractions there, and he loved to see the gardens. (You’re probably wondering, were Ella, Louis, and Mrs. Ken with him on this trip? Well! I am happy to tell you. Ella and Louis were most definitely with him on this trip. Mrs. Ken was not, as she had been called away on a very important journey of her own; this time, she was working with tribal elders to establish a fair and balanced system of government in a small village in Zimbabwe. As one does, when one is ALSO a very fancy bon vivanteur. Ken had wanted to go with her, but she said once she was done, she would meet him – and the dogs – in Japan, and they would do some joint bon vivantery there. Bon vivantery is fun, but bon vivantery with the one you love is even BETTER.)

The happiest of happy red dogs!

While walking through the Koishikawa Korakuen gardens and admiring the waterfall and the lines of Japanese children walking by, all wearing bright yellow helmets for safety (and, he was quite sure, WHIMSY) purposes, Ken heard crying.

Well! This doesn’t sit well with bon vivants. Bon vivants are very helpful. All the time. They don’t like people to be sad or in pain or distressed. So of course Ken had to go investigate this weeping situation. It’s all you can expect from a bon vivant. And his hat. And his happy red dogs.

Ken rounded the corner of the waterfall. Louis bounded ahead, as Louis is wont to do. Ella stayed back. She likes to assess a situation more before jumping in with all paws. Ella still remembers the time Louis was kidnapped by the Arabian sheik and had to be rescued with a hovercraft because he ran ahead without looking what was going on first because he was just SO DAMN EXCITED and she wants no part of that, no no, not Ella.

Shady. SHADY.

Louis was licking the face of a very pretty dark-haired woman who was sitting by the rocks on the far side of the waterfall. Ella looked at Ken with a long-suffering look. Ken knew that look well. It was her “don’t blame ME for my brother’s foolishness” look.

“I’m sorry,” Ken said, “Louis has a mind of his own, sometimes. Are you alright? I don’t mean to pry, but I couldn’t help but hear you crying. Is there anything I can do to help?”

The woman looked up. Well! Imagine that! It was Academy-Award winning actress Rachel Weisz!

“Oh!” Rachel said. “Ken? Ken, the World-Traveling Bon Vivant? Is that you?”

Ken was a bit amazed, but not THAT amazed. People recognized him all the time. Just not always Academy-Award winning actresses who once had a guest-spot on The Simpsons.

“Yes,” he said, slightly abashed. “It is me, Rachel Weisz. How nice that you recognized me! I’m sorry, I don’t know that we’ve met before, although I’m a big fan of your work.”

“My good friend Kate Winslet talks about you all the time,” Rachel said. Ken nodded sagely. He WAS BFFs with Kate Winslet, of course he was. “She’s always talking about your joint adventures! I’ve always wanted to meet you! I recognized you immediately by your jaunty hat. And also your dapper beard. How embarrassing to meet under these circumstances. I can assure you I am not often crying next to picturesque Japanese waterfalls.”

Ken sat next to Rachel. Ella settled next to him, daintily. Louis bounded around the three of them, as happy as a red dog can be. New friends! thought Louis. There is nothing better than new friends! Or, that’s what it seemed he thought. He’s a dog, and there’s only so much about this story The Person Who is Writing This can know. You know?

“Any friend of my BFF Kate Winslet is a friend of mine,” Ken said. “What’s wrong, Rachel?”

“Oh, Ken,” Rachel sighed. “I’m not sure even you can help, but I’m willing to give anything a shot. My husband has disappeared!”

Ken knew Rachel was married to Daniel Craig, who was the current James Bond.

Rachel told Ken the story. A week ago, Daniel had called Rachel on his way home from work. He’d never arrived. Rachel had left more and more panicked messages on his cell phone, because she knew he had a commercial shoot early the next morning so should be home by then, and just as she was about to call the police, she got a call.

“He or she was using that voice software? Where the voice is disguised? So I didn’t recognize the voice, of course. But the caller said if I ever wanted to see my husband alive again, I needed to bring £500,000 here to this waterfall, and await further instructions.” Rachel showed him a satchel filled with hundred-pound notes. “But the caller was supposed to contact me hours ago. I don’t know what happened. Daniel could be anywhere. He could be…dead! He’s not really James Bond, you know. He’s just a man. The man that I love. Ken, is there anything you can do to help?”

Ken thought. And thought. And thought some more. His head felt fuzzy. Ella nosed his hand and when he looked at her, pointed with her head back toward where they’d come. He knew exactly what she meant.

“Rachel, let’s go get something that will help us think,” Ken said as he stood, and held out his hand, like the very chivalrous gentleman that he was, to help her to her feet.

“Oh, Ken, I don’t do drugs,” she said, very seriously.

Ken laughed. “No, no! Not drugs. Something much better for thinking than drugs, and much less likely to make you chew a friend’s face off, like those evil bath salts do. Tea!”

Rachel, Ken, Ella and Louis (Louis had found a very choice stick near the waterfall, which he kept smacking Ella in the face with as he pranced along with it; Ella took it with good grace, as she does, but not without some very deep doggy sighs) walked to a very beautiful teahouse he had noted on his way into the garden. He’d heard good things about this teahouse from his tea-contacts throughout the world and was very much looking forward to trying some of their special green tea.

“Hello!” the waitress said as they sat. “What type of bubble tea can I interest you in today?”

Ken smiled. “Oh, no thank you. I’d actually heard such good things about your Gyokuro that I was hoping to try that. Rachel, how about you, any preferences?”

The waitress gave him a strange look. “Oh, sir, my most abject apologies, but all we have here is bubble tea. We stopped serving anything else very recently.”

“What?” Ken said. “But you are one of the most well-renowned teahouses in Tokyo! How could this happen?”

“No one wants anything but bubble tea anymore,” the waitress said with a shrug. “We had to change with the times.”

“Well, there much be somewhere else we can go,” Ken said. “Can you recommend anywhere?”

The waitress gave him the look again. “No, sir, I’m sorry, but there are no more places in Tokyo that serve anything but bubble tea. That’s all you can get here now. We were the last holdout, actually. When we realized we weren’t making any money on our tea, we stopped selling it.”

Ken was flabbergasted. There was nowhere in Tokyo to get a good, traditionally-brewed pot of tea? All he could get was a plastic cup of the overly-sweetened bubble tea, which bore about as much likeness to a cup of tea as…well…a flip-flip bears to a fine Ferragamo loafer? (Bon vivants know things about fine Ferragamo loafers. No, seriously. Trust me. They do. Of course they do.)

Why had no one told him about this? Before he could say many things that he might regret to the very nice, very confused-at-his-anger waitress, Rachel led him out of the establishment with a very kind smile so no one was angry. Well, except Ken. Ken was quite angry. And Ken very SELDOM gets angry. However! THIS WAS AN AFFRONT TO TEA. This was NOT to be taken lightly. No no. Not this.

Luckily, he still had some tea in his flask, so he and Rachel and the happy red dogs had an impromptu tea party (no, not that kind, the real kind, WITH TEA, not the political kind, come on now) on a park bench. Once the tea settled his stomach and he had some time to think, he turned to Rachel.

“After some thought, I think our best course of action would be to…” he said, and a boy on a skateboard smashed into their bench.

“Oh! I am so sorry!” the boy said. “I was reading the paper and I wasn’t paying attention! This is all my fault! Please forgive me!” No one was hurt, and Ken and Rachel of course forgave him. Ella was a little miffed. Louis licked the boy’s knees, just because he could.

“What was in the paper that was so interesting, young man?” Rachel said. The boy smiled at her. Listen, Rachel was very captivating.

“Penguin 337 was kidnapped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park!” the boy said. “Do you remember Penguin 337? He escaped from the Tokyo Sea Life Park, and then they found out he or she was living happily in the Tokyo Bay, then the zookeepers caught him or her again not long after? Well, just last night, a man dressed all in black was seen kidnapping him from the park, then stuffing him in a backpack on the banks of the bay, hopping on a motorcycle, and running away! No one has seen him since! We all love Penguin 337 so much here, and this is such sad news!” The boy looked very bereft.

Freeeee!

Ken looked at the paper. There were a lot of photos of Penguin 337, and one grainy photo of a tall, somewhat stooped man with a backpack on the banks of the Tokyo Bay. Not much to go on.

“Hey, aren’t you Ken? The World-Traveling Bon Vivant?” the boy said. “We read about you in History class! You saved all the tea in London! Look at your hat! It IS you, isn’t it?”

It was a very fine hat. They always are.

Ken blushed. “Yes, that’s me.”

“If anyone can save Penguin 337, it’s you! Can you help, sir? You can, can’t you?”

Ken thought. This was a lot to process. Missing husbands! Missing penguins! Plus – he had to do it all with only the tea he could brew himself in his hotel room, because THERE WAS NO REAL TEA TO BE HAD IN ALL OF TOKYO!

“It’ll be ok, Ken,” Rachel said. “The tea thing, I mean.”

“I said that out loud, didn’t I?” Ken said. “I’m sorry. It’s got me very upset.”

Ken thought of Mrs. Ken, who did so love penguins. Also, a certain unruly-haired blogger in New York, who would be bereft, UTTERLY BEREFT, if anything happened to Penguin 337, who she loved so much because he was reported to have escaped due to “a sense of adventure,” according to the zookeepers, and that unruly-haired blogger did so love creatures with a sense of adventure because she felt akin to them.

“Yes,” Ken said, “of course I will help. Both you, Rachel, and you, young man. We will solve both of these heinous crimes.”

The young boy cheered and Rachel choked back a sob. Ken worried that he had maybe bitten off more than he could chew, but he was a bon vivant. He’d been in difficult situations before. He’s always come out on top. Yes, that’s a euphemism. A bon-vivanty euphemism.

Rachel’s cell phone rang. “Hello?” she answered. Her face went white. “Yes,” she whispered. “Yes. I’m so sorry. Yes. Of course. Whatever you say. Please. Please don’t hurt him. Please.”

“Was that them? What did they say?” Ken asked. Rachel’s hands were shaking.

“The caller said they showed up at the garden, but they saw me there with you and had told me not to bring anyone. They’re so angry at me!  Oh, no, Ken, what if they hurt Daniel?”

“What did they say to do next, Rachel?” Ken said. Louis put his muzzle on her knee and Ella leaned against her other leg. Happy red dogs are very comforting, you see.

“To meet them tonight behind the Cocoon Tower; to come alone, and bring the money. They said if I do that, they’ll return Daniel to me. Do you think they’re telling the truth, Ken?” Rachel looked very worried.

Ken thought hard. It was easier, since he’d recently had some tea. SOME REAL TEA THAT IS. “No way to tell. Well, since we have until tonight, I’m going to go over and check out the Tokyo Bay, to see if there are any clues. Do you want to come?”

“Oh, yes. It will help keep my mind off things,” Rachel said.

“Me, too!” the boy said. Ken was surprised. He’d forgotten the young boy with the skateboard was still there!

“Oh, it might be dangerous,” Ken said. “I’m worried you might be putting yourself in harm’s way.”

The boy puffed out his chest. Ken smiled inwardly. He was a very small boy, and it was a very brave little gesture. “I am tough,” the boy said. “I can be a lot of help! I can show you around the city!”

Ken nodded. “Ok, but if it gets dangerous, you have to promise to go home,” he said. The boy nodded. “What’s your name?”

“Taiki,” the boy said. They all shook hands and there were happy introductions all around, and both dogs approved heartily of the new addition to their team and gave him many licks and sniffs.

The group walked to the bay. There were no police tape or barricades set up as there wasn’t really a crime scene. Ken walked around looking at the bay, and the ground. The dogs sniffed everything and were very excited about being near the water. Louis found a duck and barked merrily for a long time. Ella kept her mind on the task at hand.

Rachel and Taiki didn’t find anything and eventually stood together, watching Louis and smiling. You really can’t watch Louis without smiling, even when you’re worried. It’s nigh-on impossible.

Ken noticed something pale in the weeds, by some footprints in the mud on the bank. He walked over and crouched to see what it was. A business card. Strange, to be over here in the weeds. There was a short, oily feather stuck to it. A penguin feather! A clue!

“What’s that, Ken?” Rachel asked. She and Taiki came over.

“It’s a business card for Gyoko BT LLC. I think it’s a clue. Do you know what this company is, Taiki?”

Taiki laughed and sang a little song. “Gyoko! Gyoko! Bubble tea for you and me! Gyoko! Gyoko! Bubbles in your tea will give you glee!”

“What’s that?” Ken asked. He immediately had started frowning when he heard the dreaded “bubble tea” words leave his new friend’s lips.

“Gyoko is the main company that makes all the bubble tea in Tokyo. They have commercials with all kinds of celebrities in them, and they always sing that song. Also, they have a little dancing penguin mascot. Everyone here loves Gyoko!” Taiki said.

Ken suddenly had a moment. You probably have never had one of these moments. That’s because you’re not a bon vivant. They’re kind of hard to explain. They’re like a moment of clarity, when all the puzzle pieces move into place and it all comes clear. Sometimes people in the movies have them (usually with a music montage in the background) but they’re just playacting. These moments of clarity really are the property of a select few people; and Ken, being a bon vivant, was one of those people.

The missing penguin. The kidnapping of Daniel Craig. The lack of real tea in Tokyo. The £500,000. The business card.

“Rachel,” Ken said slowly. “You said that Daniel had a commercial shoot the day after he was kidnapped. What was the commercial for?”

Rachel thought for a moment. “Oh, it was a foreign commercial. I remember! It was actually for – isn’t this funny that I would have forgotten? – tea! It was a Japanese commercial for tea! Real tea, not bubble tea. I remember, because they sent us a bunch of their loose-leaf tea to try. Some very excellent green tea.”

The sun was starting to set over the bay, which was a very pretty sight on the water. Louis was snapping at early-evening bugs that were flying around the water. Ella was assiduously cleaning the mud from between her toes. She’s a neat one, that dog.

“We need to get to the Cocoon Tower,” Ken said. “It’s starting to get late.”

“You seem to have a hunch, Ken,” Rachel said. “Do you know who’s done this? Do you know what’s happened?”

“I have an idea,” Ken said. “But there’s a piece missing. The key player. I’m not sure who’s the mastermind. But, with a little luck, I think we might be able to flush him out at the Tower.”

The band of crimesolvers made their way to the Cocoon Tower. Once they were there, they split up. Rachel sat on a bench at the back of the building, as she’d been ordered. Ken hid behind some trees with the dogs, who he cajoled to be quiet with some treats. Taiki was around the corner, ready for action.

A man walked up to Rachel after about an hour. He was tall and thin, wearing a voluminous jacket. Ken knew better than to trust a man in a voluminous jacket. He’d learned that lesson with L. Ron Hubbard. Ken had set up a monitoring system using their cell phones so he could hear Rachel and the man talking.

“Is my husband safe?” Rachel said. “Please, can I see him?”

“Where’s the money?” the man said. “I need that money!”

Rachel handed him the satchel. He looked inside and nodded.

“I’m going to need your husband for a few more days. Then he’ll be given back to you, good as new. Or as always. Or whatever. He’s James Bond! Ha ha! He’ll be fine!”

Ken furrowed his brow. He knew that voice. Louis was busy with his treat, but Ella was sniffing the air, and her upper lip was beginning to snarl a little. She recognized it, too! Why did he know that voice? It was quiet, but…it sounded like…

The man started to walk away. “Wait!” Rachel said, her voice starting to sound panicky. “Please! I gave you the money! Where’s my husband? How do I know he’s ok?”

“He’ll be FINE, sheesh,” the man said. He shook her off and started to walk away quickly. Suddenly, Taiki darted from around the corner on his skateboard. He tried to cut the man off. Ken and the dogs ran out from the trees, but the man, realizing he was outnumbered, broke away and ran.

Rachel, Ken, Taiki, Louis and Ella chased the man in the dark. He was wearing all black so it was hard to keep an eye on him. “He just went in the Cocoon Tower!” Taiki said, and they saw a door just about to close. Louis ran and blocked the door with his body, and stood there until they could catch up to him.

“Good boy, Louis!” Ken said. Ella gave her brother a grudging lick. Louis barked joyously and wagged his tail so hard he almost fell over.

The Cocoon Tower was tall and maze-like. They ran around, looking for signs where the tall man might have gone. Ken knew that voice. That voice gave him a chill. It upset Ella. Who…whose voice was that?

Suddenly, from the end of a hallway, they heard a type of barking yelp. Louis answered it with some barking of his own. Louis always barked like that when he heard animals at the zoo. Animals at the zoo!

“It’s the penguin!” Taiki said. “Penguin 337!”

They all ran to the end of the hall. There was a big set of double doors marked “STUDIO.”

“What kind of building is this, Taiki?” Rachel whispered.

“It’s an educational building,” Taiki responded. “This must be some sort of recording studio?”

The doors were closed, but not latched all the way. Ken opened one of the doors as quietly as he could and shushed everyone as they walked in.

“Now, say the lines,” they heard,”and say them RIGHT this time. The sooner you get this done, the better. You can go home as soon as you’re done. What don’t you understand about this? You’re supposed to be SMART, Mr. BOND.”

It was the man who’d taken the money from Rachel!

They peeked around the corner of some sound baffling. Daniel Craig was sitting there in a bright circle of stage lighting, surrounded by cameras. He was wearing one of his James Bond suits. His arms were free, but his legs were tied. By his side was Penguin 337. They were sitting at a cafe-style table. Both of them had a large bubble tea in front of them. Daniel glared at someone that none of them could see.

Daniel began saying some lines in a very clipped, bitter tone.

“When I want a refreshing drink, I reach for a Gyoko Bubble Tea. Traditional tea is for losers! James Bond drinks nothing but Gyoko Bubble Tea. It makes me strong and brave. Just ask my best friend…”

And then Ken realized why he recognized the voice, as someone he knew all-too-well walked onto the stage. Someone EVIL. Someone FILLED WITH CHICANERY.

“…JEFF GOLDBLUM.”

Jeff Goldblum sat at the third chair at the table. They could see he had something in one of the pockets. It seemed to be a gun, and he was pointing it at Daniel Craig. He was carrying a bubble tea. “Yes! Thank you, Bond! I am your best friend, and you’re right! There’s nothing better than a Gyoko Bubble Tea!”

Then he looked at Daniel. Daniel glared back at him. He pointed the suitcoat-covered-gun at Daniel. Daniel grudgingly reached out and took one of Penguin 337’s stubby wings in his hand. Jeff Goldblum took another. Together, they sang the Gyoko theme song; Jeff Goldblum with much verve and panache; Daniel Craig with a tight jaw and very angry eyes.

“Gyoko! Gyoko! Bubble tea for you and me! Gyoko! Gyoko! Bubbles in your tea will give you glee!”

Penguin 337 squawked and shook his little body. Jeff yelled “CUT!” and laughed maniacally. “Not that there’s anyone TO cut, as I’m doing this on my own, but YOU know that, right, Craig ol’ buddy ol’ pal!” Jeff Goldblum got up and turned off the cameras, talking to himself and laughing. “It was expensive to get this studio time and these lights – £500,000, hey, thanks for paying for that for me, old buddy old pal old BFF – but Gyoko said if I could get this all pulled together, they’d buy it, so it’ll all be worth it! Just wait until they SEE this! Now, I’m going to watch these back, see how they look, and if they’re no good, we’ll do it again, and again, and AGAIN, until it’s JUST RIGHT! And once everyone sees this, my career will TAKE OFF! I mean, you’re a HOT TICKET, Craig! And if everyone thinks I’m your BFF, well, they’ll want me in EVERYTHING! And EVERYONE loves ol’ Penguin 337 – I mean, everyone loves Gyoko’s cartoon penguin mascot, but think how much they’ll like THE REAL THING! This is GREAT!” Jeff began to skip around the table like a child excitedly.

Rachel was shaking. Taiki looked up at Ken, confused. Ken watched Jeff Goldblum, furious. Damn Jeff Goldblum, that evil nemesis. Damn him!

“You’re crazy, Goldblum,” Daniel said. “Just let me go. This commercial won’t help your career. It’s just a Japanese commercial. No one sees these but Japanese people. That’s why so many celebrities do them.”

Jeff Goldblum laughed, a hollow, soulless sound. “Well, it won’t be MY fault if someone leaks it on YouTube, will it? And by SOMEONE, I mean ME! HA HA HA!” Jeff began to watch the playback on the first camera. While he was distracted, Ken saw his opening. He gestured to Ella. Ella quietly padded over to Daniel and began daintily gnawing at the ropes around his ankles. Daniel wasn’t even fazed. He’d learned how to act cool under pressure in all of his movies.

“Louis would be faster,” Ken whispered to Rachel, “but he’s a little louder. Also, if he saw the penguin, he’d start barking. He has very little control over himself when zoo animals are concerned. He really just wanted to be their friend, but they don’t know that.”

All of a sudden, Penguin 337 saw Ella and squawked. Jeff looked up and saw Ella. “What’s THIS?” he said, and ran out from behind the camera, pulling his gun out of his pocket. Ken couldn’t allow his dog to be in danger. He ran out from his hiding place.

“STOP RIGHT THERE, GOLDBLUM!” he boomed. Jeff Goldblum stopped, frozen. He saw Ken and began to laugh.

“Well! Ken! I was HOPING I’d see you, but didn’t know it would be so SOON! How ARE you, my old friend?” He pointed his gun at Ken. Daniel, Penguin 337, and Ella froze at the table in the lights. Rachel, Taiki and Louis stayed hidden in the dark corner. Ken wasn’t pleased with this development. He didn’t care much for gunplay.

“What kind of dastardly plan have you hatched this time, you schemer?” Ken said, hoping to draw Jeff Goldblum’s attention away from the others in the room. That’s what bon vivants do. They are very self-sacrificing.

“Oh ho ho! Well! First, I will make a very high-profile commercial with James Bond and a penguin! What does everyone love? James Bond and penguins! Everyone will love me for being in this commercial! I will get many job offers! People will stop mocking me on the interwebs!”

“I don’t know that people mock you that much on the internet,” Ken said. “Well, other than me.”  Jeff Goldblum shushed him.

“THEN, once they love me, they’ll start to hate YOU, you see! It’s the perfect plan!” Jeff Goldblum began to wheel around in circles and cackle.

“Why would they hate me?” Ken asked.

“Well! We all know what keeps you calm, Ken. It’s tea. And what’s getting harder and harder to find, due to my plan? TEA! See, I’ve been talking up bubble tea for the past YEAR. Every time people would drink tea, there I’d be, pushing bubble tea on them. Buying them free bubble tea. Making it IRRESISTIBLE to them. Until NO one wanted regular tea. NO ONE. And now, due to my stopping of Daniel Craig’s commercial, which was sure to help tea get popular here in Japan again, and my very fancy commercial for bubble tea with James Bond and a penguin? REAL TEA IS OVER AND DONE, KEN! DONEZO! And everyone knows that Japan is where trends get started! Tea’s impossible to find here – it’s only a matter of time before it’s impossible to find ANYWHERE! And once you can’t find tea anywhere, you’ll get CRANKY! And people will look at you suspiciously, because you won’t be drinking their beloved whimsical bubble tea, but some sort of mysterious beverage out of a FLASK! And they will start to look at you with DISDAIN and MISTRUST! And they will need a HERO, Ken! A HERO! And who will be there, ready to step in as needed? ME ME ME! JEFF GOLDBLUM!!!”

Jeff Goldblum’s spinning in circles had led him closer and closer to the cafe table where Daniel Craig was. In one quick move, Daniel Craig stood, shaking off the shredded ropes, and lifted the cafe table. Bubble tea cups flew left and right. He swept Jeff Goldblum off his feet with the heavy table, which was possible because Daniel Craig is really quite a buff gentleman, and Louis bounded in and *whoof!* jumped on Jeff Goldblum’s stomach. When Jeff Goldblum was out of breath, Ella daintily took the gun from his hand and carried it to Ken and deposited it gently in his hand. Louis sat on Jeff Goldblum’s stomach, panting merrily. Jeff Goldblum coughed in a weak sigh.

Ken knelt by Jeff Goldblum. “Jeff Goldblum! When will you learn! Evil never conquers! Also, NOTHING will stop tea. NOTHING!”

Rachel ran out from where she’d been hiding and threw her arms around her husband, who was so happy to see her there that he almost had a couple of very manly tears, but not quite. Because Daniel Craig doesn’t CRY, come on. Taiki petted Ella and watched Penguin 337 in joy. Jeff Goldblum attempted to get up, but Louis growled at him. He flopped back down, sighing.

“Damn you, Ken. Damn you,” Jeff Goldblum hissed.

“Thank you, sir,” Daniel Craig said, coming forward to shake Ken’s hand. Ken stood. “You’re truly a wonder. You kept Rachel safe and saved me and Penguin 337. I’ll never forget this.”

“And the world,” Rachel whispered. “The world would be drinking nothing but bubble tea if it weren’t for Ken. He saved the WORLD.”

Ken laughed. “You’re both too kind,” he said.

Suddenly, there was a loud clatter! Dogs barking! Penguins squawking! Wheels rolling!

Louis had gotten distracted by Penguin 337, as is Louis’s downfall. When his attention was turned toward the jolly little penguin who loved adventure, Jeff Goldblum had heaved himself up. Louis, flung from Jeff Goldblum’s chest, had been launched at Penguin 337! Penguin 337 had waddled off in fright! Louis had been very excited! Ella had been EXTREMELY DISGUSTED but would have said “Yeah, could have seen THIS coming!” if she’d been asked!

Jeff Goldblum, seeing Taiki’s unattended skateboard, had boarded it (ha! no pun intended, good one, Person Who is Writing This!) and quickly wheeled himself toward the door. As he wheeled past Ken, he WHISKED his jaunty hat from his head and PLOPPED it onto his own head, cackling. Ken (now, sadly hatless), Taiki, Daniel, Louis, Ella, and Penguin 337, all in a disarray, started toward him, but he was moving quickly!

“I’ll get you, Ken,” Jeff Goldblum said. “It’s only a matter of time. If someone was writing epic stories about MY bon vivantery, I’D be beloved. I KNOW WHAT TO DO NOW. It’s not FAIR. It’s not RIGHT. I’m JUST as bon vivanty as you are. I WEAR HATS JUST AS WELL. LOOK! Look how good I look in your hat! I WILL GET YOU, KEN. If I have to go to the ends of the earth to do it.” He shook his fist and skated from the room. Ken and Daniel ran after him, but it was too late. He knew the building well and had a skateboard, and (strangely) was quite good at it. Probably picked it up on a movie set here or there. People like Goldblum often pick up skills they can use for nefarious purposes.

Ken looked seriously at Daniel, Taiki and Rachel. “You all ok?” They nodded.

“Well, he might have gotten away, but we’re all safe. That’s what matters.”

Taiki walked up to Ken. “What will we do with Penguin 337?” he asked. “I know we should give him back to the zoo, but he’s so happy on his own. I don’t want to.”

Ken nodded seriously. “I think Penguin 337 has made his choice. He wants to be free. The zoo shouldn’t have captured him. And he doesn’t seem any worse for wear. I think we’ll put him back in the bay. My unruly-haired blogger friend in New York would never forgive me otherwise.”

So the intrepid gang brought Penguin 337, safely ensconced in the now-empty money satchel, back to the bay, where he waddled to the water. Before he left, he solemnly touched his beak to Louis’s nose, then Ella’s. That’s how animals make BFFs. Louis didn’t even bark at the penguin. Penguin 337 was really magical like that. He swam away into the moonlight and Ella and Louis watched him go, a bit sadly, until Louis started licking an itchy spot and fell over into the mud and Ella walked away disgustedly.

Taiki shook all of their hands very seriously, which made them all smile. “Thank you all. You are true heroes. You have saved a Japanese icon. I will never forget you.” He threw his arms around Ken, then grinned, shoved something in Ken’s hand, and ran away towards home. Ken couldn’t help but smile. Taiki was pretty infectiously joyous. And what had he given him? It was a traditional Japanese hat! So Ken was hatless no longer! It was a little bigger than he was used to, but one of the hallmarks of a bon vivant is adapting to new circumstances with STYLE and VERVE. Also panache.

Daniel shook Ken’s hand and Rachel gave him a hug. “Thank you,” Rachel said. “If I ever am crying next to a Japanese waterfall, I hope you always happen by with your two amazing dogs.”

“You’re quite a fellow, Ken,” Daniel said. “If I ever need saving, I’ll know who to call.”

“Quite a statement, coming from you, Mr. Craig. Thank you so much,” Ken said. “And it was my pleasure, Rachel. You are welcome to come and bon vivant with me anytime.”

Rachel smiled and blew Ken a kiss. She had very much enjoyed bon vivanting with Ken and was pleased to be invited to do so again.

Ken’s phone rang. It was Mrs. Ken! “I have to get this,” he said. “Keep in touch, Rachel and Daniel. Be safe.”

They waved and walked off, their arms around each other.

“Hello,” Ken said to Mrs. Ken. “Are you on your way to Japan? Oh, good. Yes, everything’s great here. Just fine. No news. Same old, same old. You know. Just…when you come, can you bring something with you? Tea. Bring lots and lots of tea. If we’re going to be here any length of time, we’re going to need it. At least until things get back to normal around here. Don’t worry. I’ll explain when you get here.”

Louis barked merrily as Penguin 337 splashed in the bay. Ella put her paws on her muzzle. Oh, her silly, silly brother.

THE END. (For NOW.)

(As always, thank you, Ken, for letting me make you a SUPERHERO OF TEA and BON-VIVANTERY! And for being the best sport and giving me Japan stories. You’re the best.)


All this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings

If you’re not a Twitter (or even a Facebook) person, you don’t get your news all in-a-flashy like we do, so you might not have found out right away. But Tuesday night, I was sitting around writing something up for another blog (you’ll see, it’ll be out next week) and flipping back and forth to my social networks. That’s what I do when I’m writing. Here, I’ll give you a glimpse behind the curtain. You like that sort of thing, right? You want to see the Great and Powerful Oz?

This is totally me, only less manly. And wizardy. And curtainy.

Here you go. I sit down to write, I open up the following tabs: Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, WordPress. Then I write for a while, and when I’m either stuck or bored or need a break or notice I have a notification in one of the tabs, I flip around and see what’s up. I know I could probably get work done a hell of a lot faster if I ignored (or refused to open) the other tabs (and when I’m in a hurry, I don’t open them at all, and wait to check them until I’m done – I’m not a complete moron about what drains my time) but I like that they’re there, and I like that I can see if people are trying to get in touch with me or if important things are going on or what-have-you.  

So I was writing and writing and flipping around and catching up on back episodes of Haven while I wrote (I have such a weird crush on Eric Balfour with his big old noggin it’s kind of insane) and flipped over to Facebook and saw a post that just said “Oh” and the link said Nora Ephron had passed away. 

And because I am a gigantic sap I totally started to cry. 

Listen, Nora Ephron was a pretty stellar woman. You all probably know her from When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail (the first of which she wrote, the latter two she both wrote and directed) and you might think “meh, romantic comedies, whatever, cheesity cheese cheese” but she was really kind of someone we can all look up to, and it’s a huge loss that she’s gone. 

She interned for John F. Kennedy. She was a low-level mail girl (imagine calling someone an ANYTHING girl now? the mind just boggles) at Newsweek back in the 60s. Why? Because they didn’t hire female writers and she wanted to work in publishing. Her just-for-fun satirical writing with some friends led to her first writing job, with the New York Post. It’s the writer’s version of being discovered at a soda fountain and going on to become a famous actress, I think. (Side note: the person who noticed her writing? The publisher of the Post? A woman. Nice job with the early integration, Post.) From there, Ephron became a well-known reporter, essayist, and humorist, writing for not only the Post, but Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and New York magazine, as well as collecting her essays into a number of books. 

That’s her with the notebook. And RFK. Neat, right?

So she conquered journalism. She was a hipster feminist, WAY before it was cool.

Also, she looked pretty kickass while doing it.

What next? Well, in her personal life, she married, she divorced, she married again (Carl Bernstein, maybe you heard of a little thing called Watergate? The journalists who broke Watergate? Woodward & Bernstein? This is that Bernstein, and Ephron knew who Deep Throat was THE WHOLE TIME, yo), Bernstein cheated on her with one of her friends, she wrote a scathing screenplay about it (Heartburn, in which she says the cheating husband is “capable of having sex with a Venetian blind,” hee!) and she married again, to a screenwriter, by all reports quite happily. 

70s feathered hair makes me smile. Here’s Ephron and Bernstein before the Venetian-blind-screwing.

So. Screenplays, huh? After she helped Woodward & Bernstein clean up their screenplay for All the President’s Men (her version wasn’t used), her writing caught Hollywood’s eye. Not long after, When Harry Met Sally happened. (Oh, she also wrote Silkwood. So whenever I say I want to Silkwood-shower my brain after I see something especially icky? Thank you, Nora Ephron.) 

Without Nora Ephron (for better or for worse, because YES, I KNOW, it’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN) we’d never get the line all women are kind of secretly hoping some guy will say a variant of to us at some point or other in our lives: 

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. 

Yes, yes, like I said. It’s irrational to expect this. But think about it. Don’t we all kind of want someone to love us not only despite, but for, our quirks? The things that we think, “huh, this is probably driving someone nuts” – someone noticing that? And loving it? That’s something, right? That’s your person. The person that loves you FOR those quirks. The person who notices all of our junk and thinks, eh, we all have junk. The person who wants the rest of their life to start right now, because they found you. Don’t you even say this isn’t a little bit awesome. Is it irrational? Yeah. But it’s also a little bit awesome and kind of true and I love it.

Or how about, “Is one of us supposed to be a dog in this scenario?” or “Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.” Or that they don’t make Sunday days-of-the-week panties, “because of God.” Or “Oh, but ‘baby fish mouth’ is sweeping the nation?” Or (sob) “I am not your consolation prize, Harry.” 

I know that it makes me a huge old girly-girl and I know that it’s creating these unobtainable expectations for romance, but I will always, always, ALWAYS want a When-Harry-Met-Sally romance on some level. Always and forever. I know it’s not coming, of course I do. The practical side of me is well-aware of that. But the side of me that still picks up wishing-pennies and refuses to step on cracks still holds out some hope. She’s optimistic, that one. 

Then Ephron decided, huh. I liked writing that. That went really well. Let’s try some directing, what do you say? 

The first one (This is My Life – heard of it? Nope, me either) wasn’t a home run. I love her a little more for that. If she hit it out of the park the first time, she wouldn’t be as relatable. Then: Sleepless in Seattle. 

Pair up Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan at the height of their squishy adorableness. Keep them separated for most of the movie. Throw in a ton of longing and heartbreak and the statistic (how much did THIS kill the women watching? I was in my early TWENTIES and was a little panic-stricken!) “It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband over the age of 40!” The Empire State Building. “That’s your problem! You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.” (I do. That is my problem. I ABSOLUTELY want to be in love in a movie.) Their faces when they see each other for the first time. “Magic.”  

Yep. Nice job, Nora Ephron. Add “meeting on the Empire State Building” to the “things all women secretly kinda want” list.  

Then You’ve Got Mail. Did everyone love this as much as I did? Or is it just me who was completely swept away in the whole New York City/bookstores and the love of literature/rivals/secret identities/falling in love without seeing each other’s faces thing? I’m ok with it if it’s just me.  

I’m going to quote the hell out of You’ve Got Mail. Listen, I tried to narrow it down. I just couldn’t. I love it so much. 

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void. 

I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn’t have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, “Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?” 

I love daisies…They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower? 

What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you. 

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. 

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does. 

The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings. 

I wanted to be your friend…I knew it wasn’t…possible. What can I say, sometimes a guy just wants the impossible. 

And, the line that can make me cry just thinking of it, the line that I didn’t have to look up online for the exact wording because sometimes it comes to mind with Meg Ryan’s face attached, her hopeful, relieved, teary face, and I just get all weepy all over again because it’s just perfect: 

I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly. 

If it makes me sappy and girly and silly, so be it. But I like the magic in this movie. I like that there are two people out there so, so perfect for each other, and they meet in the least likely of ways, and they, despite all odds, manage to make it work. I like that. So much. I like that it speaks to those of us who spend a lot of our time online – not the “ZOMG WE’RE GOING TO FALL IN LURVE” thing, but the making-a-connection thing through the computer, with someone you’ve never met, through their words and their thoughts and getting to know them through the minutae of their day, you know? I love that. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The two of them really were the cutest together in these movies back in the day, weren’t they? 

She continued to direct (her last movie was Julie and Julia, which wasn’t that long ago) and write books. She had two children. She had a large group of friends and supported up-and-coming young writers and comedians and directors; many of whom were women. She believed that (unlike a lot of men, both then and now) women in comedy WERE funny, ARE funny, and if they had to work twice as hard to show that? Well, nothing wrong with a little hard work. She openly talked about (shh!) “female issues” – sex, aging, romance, motherhood, divorce – and she made them FUNNY. And RELEVANT. She made them so MEN wanted to read about them or watch them. MEN! Interested in WOMEN’S issues, can you imagine the HORROR? She reportedly had a huge cackle; if you made Nora cackle, you knew you’d done something really special.  

I would have liked to make Nora cackle. I have a cackle. I’ve been told the same thing, actually; that if someone hears my laugh in an audience, from all the way backstage, they know the show’s going well. I’m proud we have that in common. We’re not the type to be silenced. We don’t whisper; we roar. 

I love this. This is 80 flavors of adorable.

She believed very strongly in the power of the written word. From Hilary Rosen’s piece about her in the Huffington Post: “What do you do when your friend Nora Ephron dies? You cry and then you write about it. Because that is what she said to do whenever you told her a story that moved her or amused her. ‘Write about it’ she’d say. It was like Beethoven telling you to play a symphony or Billie Jean King telling you to serve the ball or Springsteen telling you to rock. She was the best of the best and when she said, ‘write’ she was telling you to engage in the noblest pastime she knew.” 

How can you not love a woman who believed in the written word this much? “The noblest pastime she knew.” Chills. Just, chills. 

From Lisa Belkin’s piece, also from the Huffington Post: “’Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim,’ she said in a 1996 speech to the graduating class of Wellesley College.” My college graduation speaker told us to make sure to save for retirement, I think. I’d have liked a speech about being the heroine of my own life. I try to be. I think I’m succeeding. 

And finally, from Arianna Huffington’s piece from the Huffington Post. (See, Nora Ephron didn’t really need to write anymore, and didn’t have time to, really. But when Arianna Huffington approached her about a new blog she was starting, Ephron did some research and realized that blogs were the wave of the future in writing and making that immediate connection. She made the time, because she loved it so much. She was a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and good friends with Arianna Huffington.)

Ephron and Arianna Huffington.

“Nora excelled not only as a blogger but as a blogging evangelist, spreading word of the medium’s particular value and making many converts. She quickly grasped that ‘one of the reasons for blogging was to start the conversation and to create the community that comes together briefly to talk about things they might not be talking about if you hadn’t written your blog.’” 

Savvy woman, that Nora Ephron. 

She intimated she was ill in her last book, but very few people knew she was suffering from leukemia. She played that close to the vest. I can appreciate that. I’d do the same thing. Who needs the sympathy? Life’s too short for that. She passed away on Tuesday from complications related to the disease. 

We lost one of the good ones Tuesday. She paved the way for a lot of women in writing and in comedy. She showed what we can do, us women, if we work together; if we refuse to take no for an answer; if we work our asses off. She wrote beautifully and told it like it was and she loved deeply and she laughed, and she laughed, and she laughed. 

Thank you, Nora. You’ll be missed. In your honor: I think I’ll write.


“Truly, I am a marionette and he is a master puppeteer.”

Today we have to discuss something VERY SERIOUS. That affects ALL OF US. Are you ready? Are you ready for something very serious that affects all of us? 

What is it, Amy? What affects all of us? 

Bad porn, is what. 

Listen, I just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and people who purchased this and are reading this and are all het up about this, we need to have a discussion about why this is a VERY BIG MISTAKE ON YOUR PART. 

I’m not giving you the Amazon link to this because I DO NOT THINK YOU SHOULD BUY OR READ THIS.

Now, I am not a porn connoisseur. I couldn’t honestly care less about porn. I know it exists. As long as it’s not being waggled in children’s faces or the cause of crime against women or whatever, porn, you keep on keeping on. Everything has its place. Even porn. I’m a firm (heh, firm) believer that everyone has their kink, as as long as no one gets hurt, you do your thing. 

However, there’s PORN, then there’s Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Oh, don’t even get all technical with me and say it’s erotica, or even literotica. What it is, my little cauliflower florets, is one of the worst books I’ve ever read in my entire life. And I have read a LOT of books. A LOT a lot. 

First, can I just explain, please, why I read this book. It was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and I didn’t even read the article and I was like, huh, must be interesting or something, and I put it on reserve at the library. Then I heard it was getting banned all over and I thought, well, NOW we KNOW it must be interesting! If someone tells me I’m not ALLOWED to read something, then I REALLY want to read it. Then people started telling me what it was about, and I thought, huh. Well, who cares, I don’t mind erotica. I read all of those stupid Ann Rice Sleeping Beauty books. Those were pretty steamy. 

Oh, in case you live under a rock or maybe in the outback or something, Fifty Shades of Grey is about two people in a consensual BDSM relationship. Plus some other stuff. We’ll go more into that later. Also, do I have to tell you that a., there are going to be spoilers here, and b., WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SEX STUFF TODAY? So kids, go watch a Disney movie, or something, and people who want to remain unspoiled for the book (I think most anyone who wanted to read it have by now, though) you can go read my archives or something, I suppose. 

See? Nice. Go watch this, kiddos. Don’t keep reading, you’ll get a complex.

Moving on. I was not at all comfortable with the older women in my office who decided to have a conversation about it with me in the lunchroom before I’d even read it, though. I’m not friends with these people. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT SEX WITH YOU.

OIder lady 1: Amy, you like to read. Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Me: Nope.
Older lady 1: You should. It’s about…(whispers) SEX.
Me: I’ve heard. I have it on reserve at the library. I’ll read it someday.
Older lady 1: All KINDS of sex. KINKY sex.
Me: Mmm-hmm. (Frantically reading book, eating sandwich, trying to look busy so the conversation would stop)
Older lady 1: SO MUCH SEX. I was wondering, where’s the plot? Because there was SO MUCH KINKY SEX. People were TYING PEOPLE UP!
Me: Oh? Huh. (Reading! Eating! READING!)
Older lady 2, walking in: Hey, ladies! What are we talking about?
Older lady 1: Fifty Shades of Grey! It’s a book about ALL THE SEX!
Older lady 2: Oh! Wow! (sits, settles in for a long discussion)
Me: I…um…have to get a thing from the place. (leaves in a hurry) 

(SIDE NOTE: I don’t MIND discussing sex, just not with women old enough to be my mom that I don’t know very well and don’t like all that much. And not in the work lunchroom. That seems unsanitary. That’s where the FOOD is.) 

OK. So. Fifty Shades of Grey. Why’s it so bad, Amy? Is it the sex? No. The sex is fine. Is it the subject matter? Nope, like I said, whatever, there’s a place for porn (or erotica, or literotica, whatever) and great, good, you go, book, you go. 

Here’s the problem. 

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POORLY-WRITTEN THINGS I HAVE EVER READ. 

Here’s a quick rundown. Anastasia Steele, a very, very clumsy girl about to graduate college, is roped into interviewing Christian Grey, a very rich businessman. They dig each other. They get together. He’s into being a dominant! He wants her to be his submissive! He has ISSUES! In his own words, he is “fifty shades of fucked up!” Plus, his last name is GREY! HENCE THE TITLE YO! 

Will these two crazy kids make it work? Oh, will they? I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT! Oh, wait, yes. Yes, I can. I can wait. I can SO WAIT. I can wait FOREVER. 

I assure you this single photo is a billion times sexier than the entire series. And I didn’t even read books two and three.

So I got the book from the library. I was a little worried it would be sticky. You don’t know what people do with library books that are NORMAL, I don’t want to know what they do with PORN. 

I read about thirty pages and was in tears of laughter about how badly it was written. I scared the cat. I was talking to the damn book. OUT LOUD. 

First, I was only a little way in before I said, “Huh. What’s going on here? Ana seems a lot like Bella from Twilight, with the self-doubt and the clumsiness. Is clumsiness the new black? If so, I am on the CUTTING EDGE OF COOL since I fall down ALL THE DAMN TIME. Where’s my knight in shining armor, I wonder?”

Oh my NOOO! Look at poor clumsy helpless BELLA! (Man, did I hope this truck was going to hit her. It didn’t. I had sadface.)

Then someone on Twitter pointed out that the book started as Twilight fan fiction, and the Twi-hards were all, “Um…naughty! But titillating!” so the author just changed the names and published it. 

Listen, had I known that, I would NOT have read this book. I hate Twilight. HATE. With the fire of a thousand suns HATE. 

Also, it says something that even Stephenie Meyer was all, “Um…yeah. No. No, this isn’t…good for her, but…no.” 

So even though it was the worst book ever, based on one of my least-favorite series ever, I kept reading. Why? To be honest, I wanted to blog about it. It’s the main reason I do anything hilariously awful lately. 

Here are some (and there are many) issues I have with this book. 

Argh 

One of the only times that “argh” is permissible. Plus, it’s Joss, he can do whatever he wants.

At least twice that I counted, in the middle of some very “hot” sex (the sarcastic quotes are because there’s nothing hot about the sex Ana and Christian had, ever, except, I suppose, the temperature when they were having it in a bathtub) Ana made the noise “argh.” Now, I’m pretty sure if you make the noise “argh,” you are a., a pirate, b., tripped over an ottoman, c., foiled again, curses, d. doing the Mutant Enemy Joss Whedon credits and saying “grr, argh.” You’re not in the throes of passion. (She also made the noise “Aaaaah!” and “Aaaaagh.”) An easy fix? “Ana moaned.” See? See how much more sexy that is? NO ONE WOULD SAY ARGH DURING SEX. If I was having sex with a guy and he broke out the “argh” I would laugh so hard one of us would roll off the bed, I’m not even kidding. Oh, you want an example? HAPPY TO OBLIGE. Let’s take this. The Bloggess had her laptop stolen. So she wrote a post entitled Aaaaaaargh. THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE USE OF ARGH. Not during SEX. Not during something you’re ENJOYING. (Well, I guess unless you have a charley horse. Not that this has ever happened to me. OK FINE ONCE IN COLLEGE. And it was the WORST. Talk about something that took me by surprise. GOOD GRAVY.) I don’t take a bite of cereal in the morning and go “ARGH!” unless  the milk’s gone bad. Who does this? The answer is no one. No one does this.

Euphemism 

Oh, I’m pretty sure this was utilized in the writing of this book.

I’m not saying I needed a clinical textbook or anything, but the only body part that was referred to by its proper name (I’m of course referring to our swimsuit area body parts, don’t be ridiculous, of course she said “arms and legs” or whatever) were breasts. Everything else was all “throbbing member” and “the juncture of my thighs” and “the place where he was both velvety and hard, what a titillating combo” and “my warm and wet place.” ZEE OH EMM GEE. Here, look what you can do in print without the world exploding, ready? Penis. Vagina. Clitoris. WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Nothing, is what. I’m not saying porn would be hotter with “he then inserted his penis into my vagina” – that sounds a little too much like a sexual how-to pamphlet in hell – but it’s amazing to me that you can make it through an entire 514-page book riding on a boat made of euphemism. They’re just words. I mean, you had these people whipping and chaining and such, and you’re quailing at the use of “vagina?” Please. 

Britishisms 

Yep, this about sums it up.

Ana made a big deal about being country mouse and never having left the continental United States. Christian was well-traveled, but grew up and lived (as did Ana) in Seattle. However, for some reason, the two of them said things – constantly – like “have a tidy-up” and “well-remembered, you” and “well played.” Hmm. Why would Seattle denizens speak thus? OH. BECAUSE THE AUTHOR IS BRITISH. I really got the feeling the closest she’d ever been to MERKA was to watch a couple episodes of Dallas one time. If that. Maybe.

GIGANTIC THESAURUS WORDS 

No one thought: they pondered. No one was interested: they were titillated. No one was wordy: they were verbose. No one was moody: they were sullen. This woman never met a three-dollar word she didn’t just love, she rode until it was all up in a lather and then she, for good measure, beat it into the ground while cackling like a crazy. Oh, sorry, like a banshee. Or an utter lunatic. Or an institutionalized harpy. I KNOW BIG WORDS TOO. And I know there’s a time to use them. It’s not always in your bad porn. We still know it’s bad porn, lady. 

“inner goddess”/inner monologue 

Mine likes to wear pajamas and loaf. A lot of loafing.

Listen, Ana was annoying. The MOST annoying. The whole book, unfortunately, was from her point of view. We constantly had to listen to her inner monologue. And at least once on a page, you had to hear what her “inner goddess” was thinking. “My inner goddess was doing cartwheels.” “My inner goddess was hiding behind the couch.” “My inner goddess was doing a sultry samba.” WHO TALKS LIKE THIS. I don’t have an inner goddess. If I did, you’d get “Amy’s inner goddess is eating Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food out of the container on a couch covered in cat hair while watching Celebrity Rehab.” 

I think everyone was schizophrenic 

Yes, I realize Jack wasn’t a schizophrenic in this movie, but I love this picture so much. Let me have it. I just read a really awful book for you. Thanks.

I know. People are unpredictable and wild! That’s nice. It is. Thing is? People aren’t. Not really. Sure, people do things that are out of character. But these things usually point toward something being wrong with them. How many times has a friend of yours done something weird, and you’ve said to a mutual friend, “That’s unlike Frank/Francine. I hope everything’s ok with him/her.” Probably you have. I know I have. People are, for the most part, a predictable species. NOT IN THIS BOOK BUCKAROO. People say one thing and do another! People say they want to be beaten with a belt, then get mad at their boyfriend for actually going through with it! People say they don’t want a relationship and then two pages later say, “All I can think about is being in a relationship with you because I love you now!” I can’t take anything seriously when it’s this all over the board, I really can’t. 

Stilted writing of unnecessary scenes 

Pretty sure we’d find this in the author’s house. Only with glitter stickers on it. Of hearts and shit.

There were page-long descriptions of “I decided I might be hungry. But what might I be hungry for? Maybe an omelette. I don’t know. Was I in the mood for an omelette? My inner goddess wanted some fruit. I decided to make some pancakes. I didn’t know where the bowls were. I looked in the cabinets. I found the bowls. I put the bowls on the counter.” ZOMG IF I WANTED A BLOW-BY-BLOW I’D VIDEOTAPE ME MAKING DINNER. I don’t care. I don’t CARE! There’s an old rule of thumb – if it doesn’t further the story, you don’t need it. Apparently, E. L. James was too busy masturbating to thoughts of Edward Cullen to read any “how to write something that doesn’t suck” manuals. Sorry. Was that totally the grossest and all the TMI? Wait until I get to my next section. 

The sex isn’t at all sexy 

I’m fairly sure this isn’t the face I was supposed to be making when reading the sex scenes. Yet it was pretty much my reaction.

There’s a lot of sex. Don’t get me wrong. A LOT OF IT. Like, every few pages, someone’s getting a throbbing member thrust into a wet and warm place. But it’s not sexy. From the time Ana loses her virginity (the pain of which? “a slight pinch” – um, ok, good for you, darling, not how I remember it, but fine) to the most DISTURBING TAMPON SCENE YOU CAN EVEN IMAGINE (I’m not even going to go into it, but watch this totally amusing fake YouTube book trailer if you want a hint, a gross, gross hint) to the BDSM scenes, which I suppose would be sexy, if I didn’t hate both Ana and Christian so much I wanted him to accidentally choke her out, have to bury her in the backyard, and then get caught and locked up for life, you get all the non-sexy sex you could desire. With a lot of “my inner goddess swooned” interspersed. Oh, and she never has an orgasm. Instead, she “shatters into a million pieces and slowly puts herself back together.” EVERY DAMN TIME. That’s another word the author is afraid of. Orgasm. ORGASM IS A DIRTY WORD YOU GUYS. Nipple clamps and fisting are on the table (heh, on the table) but not orgasm. (I just checked, and yes, she does say it once and a while. I apologize. Not OFTEN, but apparently it’s not the naughty word that penis is. My fault. So sorry.) 

Also, there was a lot of “he pulled at my nipples until they elongated.” As in, more than once. In multiple sex scenes. Um. OUCH OUCH OUCH. THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY’RE FOR. They are not Silly Putty. You cannot transfer the comics onto them. THERE ARE NERVE ENDINGS IN THERE. 

I wanted to punch every single character in the neck three times a page 

Ana was a useless waste of space who went into the relationship expecting this guy to change even though he told her exactly what he was looking for (granted, he acted like a schizophrenic with the changing of his mind, so maybe that’s why she was fooled.) She also fell down a lot and ran into things and almost got hit by a bike. Christian was a control freak who was sexually abused as a teenager and most likely abused as a child (that was hinted at but not explained. YET.) Ana’s mom talked like a pre-teen. Ana’s friends were either controlling bitches or would-be rapists. And that’s pretty much everyone in the entire book. There’s no one to root for. NO ONE. 

No one talks like this, NO ONE 

…and here’s another reference book she used. Used WRONG.

People say things like “WHOO all this UST in the room!” and then I have to look up what “UST” is and it’s unresolved sexual tension. WHO THE HELL TALKS LIKE THIS NO ONE NO ONE. Or, how about Christian’s brother’s term of endearment and goodbye to his girlfriend, which Ana and Christian adopt as their own: “Laters, baby.” LATERS, BABY? Oh, no. Oh, my, no. Also, there’s a lot of “I bit my lip” and then Christian goes BATSHIT CRAZY all “Don’t DO that, you KNOW how that affects me, I WANT TO BE THE ONE BITING YOUR LIP.” What the actual hell? And the title? The title of this post? Direct quote from the book. THAT IS SOMETHING ANA SAYS TO HERSELF DURING SEX. You know, because when you’re in the middle of all the sex, you think of a sentence as clunky as that. Or, OR, when Ana and her overbearing roommate and BFF (why? who knows, Ana’s a douchenozzle) were talking about how Ana lost her flower to Christian: “Kate looks wistful. ‘Yeah, took almost a year to have my first orgasm through penetrative sex, and here you are…first time?’”If my BFF said “penetrative sex” to me, I think I would throw something at him, possibly the television remote, and then laugh until I had a choking fit. Who says “penetrative sex” in a casual conversation? That’s the kind of thing someone says in a safe-sex talk at the local Planned Parenthood, or something. Not two BFFs sitting around shooting the shit. I feel like this author was raised by wolves. Wolves with nothing to read but thesauruses. 

THERE ARE TWO MORE OF THESE 

Why. Why. WHY.

The book ended on a CLIFFHANGER ZOMG (let’s be honest, I didn’t give a shit) and there are TWO MORE OF THEM. Fifty Shades of Greyer and Fifty Shades of Suck My Soul Out Through my Nose if I Have To Read Any More of This Shit. NO THOSE AREN’T THE REAL TITLES. Am I going to read them? No. No I’m not. Life’s too short. I assume, with no prior knowledge, that most likely Ana and Christian end up happily ever after, with her accepting his lifestyle as her own, with some modifications, or something like that. It’s not like this woman can write or come up with anything original. OOH! Maybe someone has a magic sparkle baby like in Twilight! That’d make me want to read more!* (*no it wouldn’t) 

Now, listen. I’m not completely against this book, for two reasons. Two. And only two. And to show you that I can be UNBIASED, I will share them with you. 

The power of viral marketing 

This woman published these with a tiny e-pub house in Australia, and with the power of viral marketing and word-of-mouth, they’re topping the bestseller lists. That makes me want to vomit until I’m sore, but that’s not the point. The point is, whoever’s marketing her books is doing one hell of a job. Or just people talking did this, I don’t know. Whoever it is, or a combination of both? Kudos. These terribly written pieces of trash are the it thing. Undeservedly so, but they are. And that’s impressive. Now let’s use our powers for good and get some GOOD books on the bestseller list, what do you say? 

Getting women to talk about sex more openly 

I know I was all ew ew ew earlier about the ladies in my lunchroom (and I’m still ew ew ew, that hasn’t changed) but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women feeling like they can openly discuss sex. If this terrible book makes them feel like they can do that? Well, fine, then it has served one purpose, and now we can use it to prop up the short leg on the coffee table. Seriously, sex isn’t dirty. There’s a time and a place for it (and if you’re a stranger and you think we’re going to talk about it on Twitter, hit the road, I’M TALKING TO YOU DING DONG JOE) but sure, it’s not something women should be ashamed of talking about. Men talk about it all the time. Women should feel free to do so, as well. So, yeah. Just – there are better books, sexier books, that you can read. You know that, right? OK, good. Just checking. Go read those. Because I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to slip into a sexy frame of mind when the writing is so bad in a book it makes me laugh until I’m crying, you know? 

Goodreads really needs an option for .00001 stars, because giving this one star really didn’t give me the satisfaction I wanted. 

For additional awesome, please to visit this Tumblr, which has provided me with hours of entertainment.  

My inner goddess is hungry now and I think I need a sandwich or maybe some wasabi peas. Laters, baby.


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