Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fifty Shades of Dramatic Readings

In case you didn't know, the inimitable and beloved George Takei (Sulu from Start Trek TOS) did a dramatic reading of Fifty Shades since so many of us requested him to do so through Facebook and his blog.

Here it is:

It's awesome because so many people imagine his voice when Ana says "Oh my," and let's face it: you do what you have to with this ridiculous book.

And how adorable is George's husband Brad when he's all, "Do you need the antacids?" I laughed out loud, for sure.

Then this morning, I was teasing my friend who gets really embarrassed about sex for some reason over a funny video of Misha Collins reenacting that scene from When Harry Met Sally (with an assist from Jensen Ackles, because why not?) and I found a video of Richard Speight Jr who plays Gabriel/Loki on Supernatural doing a dramatic reading of Fifty Shades.

It's great because Matt Cohen acts out the scenes (when Richard tells him to "Roll the shit out of [his] hips," I go from being mildly attracted to him to full on wanting to have his babies...seriously, Richard, CALL ME), but what really gets me with both readings is you realize just how horrid the books are when you hear them aloud.

And the thing is, when Gilbert Gottfried read it, it was funny because it was his voice and it was creepy when it was his voice, but Richard up there...I appreciated the low growl and all (nothing in my body clenched, however...hmmm...), but there is just nothing sexy about these books. They are tawdry and stupid, but sexy? No.

So, enjoy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chapter By Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Eight

Okay, we are 32% done, and we're still on the same damn day as we've been on for about twenty percent now. Let's see if we get another day by the end of this chapter.

If you remember from last time, Ana and Christian went to a charity ball and had sex in Christian's childhood bedroom after he bid a hundred thou for a dance with her. Sounds like he got his money's worth. Then, they went back to Christian's delux apartment in the sky and found that his ex-sub Leila had slashed Ana's tires and poured paint over her car. It's not like she liked the car or cared for it, though, Besides, like Taylor isn't going to be driving her everywhere from now on.

Ana married to Christian would totally be the embodiment of the joke, "Why do women need shoes? It's not like their feet can get dirty between the kitchen and the bedroom."

Anyway, now Christian is going to help Taylor, the ex-Black Ops Navy Seal Merchant Marine cum Bodyguard search the house even though Ana is worried. Because it's not like he'd have taken a strip out of her hide if she had pulled a stunt like this, but it's Christian, so he can do whatever the hell he wants. Because he's an asshole.

Sawyer, Taylor's counterpart (Christian only hires blonde women and men who have a "Y" in their last name, but only if that last name ends in "R"), tells Taylor that Christian is going into the apartment, and Taylor reacts like he's really concerned and frightened for Christian. Ana is worried because of this, but again, since it's Christian, it's not like there's anything she can do. The power dynamic in this relationship is completely one-sided.

Ana says she feels impotent. Oh, if only. If only.

Finally, Christian opens the front door and Sawyer pulls his gun on him. This could be a hilarious scene, but like everything else in the book, the author is completely unable to remove the spotlight from Ana and Christian for even a moment to play out what could be really humorous, but instead we get Ana still completely freaked out, "drinking [Christian] in" and just being worried about him and herself, and not caring that there's a group of bodyguards around who get paid to take bullets for her.

You can tell how much I don't like this book when my biggest beef so far is that Ana's dress apparently zips up the back. I haven't encountered an evening gown for ages that zips up the back. Back zippers are so cumbersome and show up too much. Side zippers are so much better. It makes me wonder if the author had a specific dress in mind, or if she even thought about this.

Anyway. Sorry, I know it seems nitpicky, but I've dressed up a few times recently, and even my cheapo sexy secretary dress zips up the side.

(Yes, I have one. I wear it with really high heels.) (No, you can't see a picture) (I know, your day is just ruined now.)

Nevar Forget

Ana wants Christian to call the police, but he says she needs psychiatric help, not police intervention. Goodness, it's not like she's unhinged with a gun or anything. It's not like it's something the police should be aware of.

Ana goes to bed and stares at the ceiling, musing that so much has happened today. It's taken us...five?...chapters to get through this. Five? I think so. Do you think a lot has happened in one day, Ana? Do you think?

Ana dozes off finally, and then wakes up disoriented, sure that a black-clad figure is standing at the end of her bed. She turns on the light and finds no one. Christian isn't around either, so she wanders through the apartment and finds him yelling at Elena on the phone in his study. He's telling Mrs. Robinson to leave Ana alone.

Honestly, Ana should handle this. If it comes from her, it will be so much better than coming from this lady's ex-sub. I don't see how Elena could ever really take Christian seriously since she used to Domme him, and he was an adolescent when she started raping him, so that just leaves a lot of incredulity in her mind where he's concerned. Ana, on the other hand, is sort of a threat to her, and I think she'd do better hearing it from her. Plus, it might make Ana a more interesting character. When she was yelling at Mrs. Robinson in the previous chapter, it was actually interesting.

Christian looks up finally to see Ana standing in his doorway, wearing one of his t-shirts. I'm reminded of a comedian who said that when a woman puts on her boyfriend's shirt, she looks hot, but the same is not usually true for a man putting on a woman's clothes.

Depends on the guy, I guess.

Anyway, instead of suggesting a clothing swap, Christian tells Ana she should be in satin and silk. They don't breathe as well as T-shirts do, though, so hopefully she won't go there.

Christian tells Ana that if anything ever happend to her because of him...we don't know what because he doesn't finish the sentence. Ana promises that nothing is ever going to happen to her.

They go into the bedroom and find the balcony open.

Okay, Christian lives at the top of a penthouse building. How on earth did Leila manage to climb up there? I mean, anything more than about three stories would require some pretty heavy-duty equipment, right? I mean, this story pretty much left the realm of believability a year ago, but I sort of feel like this whole Tom Cruise Mission Impossible bullshit should be left out of it just to give us a little bit of reality to cling to.

Anyway, now everyone starts galvanizing into action, sure that Leila is still in the house somewhere. I think Leila missed an opportunity to SWF these two. If she really knows the house well enough to hide from Taylor while he's searching for her, then she could have gone for months watching these two.

Ana thinks Christian should just try talking to Leila, but he won't do that. He thinks she's too unstable for that. He wants to run off with Ana instead. Before they leave, Ana gives Taylor a hug and tells him to be careful. Wanna bet that one or both of them will be in trouble from Christian in the near future?

Ana finally gets a look at her Audi A3 in the parking garage and wonders how Leila knew it was her car. Christian says that he buys one for all of his subs since it's the safest in its class. Ana snarks that he told her it was a graduation gift. He reminds her that she was never his submissive "Despite what [he] hoped."

Ana wants to know if he's terribly disappointed at her not being his current sub. He finally answers her and he's like, "What do I have to do to convince you that I don't want that anymore?" is a thought: stop treating her like she's your walking, talking doll for you to play with and dress up and fuck whenever you feel like it and start treating her like she's an actual human being.

Oh, no, Ana just wants him to tell her about himself and tell her that he loves her. She doesn't voice this because communication isn't something she does. I think this really bothers me a lot--Christian is actually pretty good about communication. He talks to her, he tells her what she wants to know. Ana just stays in her head.

Of course, whenever she does voice an opinion, he yells at her, so maybe there's a reason for that.

Ana brings up Dr. Flynn and wants to know if Christian really believes she'll leave him if she ever found out the truth about what he talks to Dr. Flynn about. Christian's sure of it. Ana thinks he doesn't have faith in her, so he brings up that she did in fact leave after the last time he showed her that part of himself to her. I just...she left him because he beat her and he wanted to continue to beat her. No matter how much they keep talking about the safe word, that was how the first book ended. It wasn't because Ana didn't use a safe word, it was because he wanted to beat her continuously to make himself feel better, whenever he needed to make himself feel better. I don't know, maybe I'm naive, but I think that once you get past that, there's not a lot he could do or say at this point that's much worse than that. We shall see, however.

Ana tells Christian that his dad told her about how he didn't talk for two years, and Christian seems upset about this. He wants to know what else "Daddy" said about him. Ana brings up what Mia said about his "brawling," and Christian is sort of exasperated, but he's not all angry that she knows about him. This is...a good sign, actually. I mean, I figured he'd be all angry at this point, but he's not.

They get to a hotel, and Ana's positive that the receptionist is trying to figure out what a perfect god like Christian is doing with an ordinary girl like her. I just want to say again that I can't imagine a guy so good looking that a woman would really be that flustered around him.

Wait, I just thought of one...
They go to the hotel suite and Christian pours them both a drink, then reminds us all that it's till the sam fucking day by saying, "It's been quite a day, huh?"

Yeah. Most couples don't go through this much on their wedding day.

Christian comments that Ana isn't whining or crying or running away, and he finds it to be amazing. I think it shows just exactly how mentally unstable she is that she's not headed towards a meltdown right now. I mean, I'm just reading about it and all I want is for this day to end and to maybe sleep through the next one or two days and then just sort of have tea and crepes for breakfast, brunch, elevenses, lunch, supper, dinner and midnight snack before going back to bed again.

They go and have sex, and I don't fault them for that. It's comfort sex, I'm sure. I hope they're going to fall asleep after that, but of course we have to talk more.

Ana muses that Christian is so much more "open" with her than before, and she doesn't want to lose sight of his "Simple, honest journey" or some such shit. IT'S BEEN THREE WEEKS, OKAY?

Finally, they fall asleep.

Oh thank whichever deity or non-deity you believe in. Good GOD that was a long day.

Christian tries to get Ana out of bed once she's awake, and this is a nice change from how he's usually trying to get her into bed. He swats her on the ass, and she decides that it's his idea of affection.

Um...ain't nothing wrong with a good ass-slap first thing in the morning, babe. There really is this sort of all-or-nothing thinking in this book, which is odd since it's called Fifty Shades of Grey. You'd think there'd be more gray areas to work with. Just saying!

Ana chalks her soreness to the sex and the dancing and the high heels. After a day like hers, I'd have called it muscle fatigue. Because, lest you forget, it was a long fucking day.

Christian tells Ana that she needs to eat because she'll need her strength. Ana's hopes it's because they're going to be locked in the bedroom all day, but Christian says they're going out. Ana tries to tease and asks if it's safe. Christian is of course all clowny faces and smiles when he tells her that it's no laughing matter.

Get a sense of humor, asshat.

The doctor arrives to give Ana more contraception, and Ana grumbles internally that she can never have a nice, normal morning.

Hey, that's her fault.

The doctor decides to give Ana a contraceptive shot. I don't know...since Ana doesn't want to get pregnant any time soon, wouldn't an IUD or an implant be better? One of my friends gets the shot, though, and she likes it. You go in every three months and they inject you. Anyway, I'm sure that this information isn't just in here for no good reason, so I'm sure it'll be important in the future! (Yeah, right), so yay! We know what kind of contraception Ana is on!

Christian notes that Ana's in a bad mood, so she finally confesses that the doctor scared her into thinking there was a chance of pregnancy. This is stupid; it was really stupid of the doctor. Yes, there's always a chance when you have sex that you could get pregnant, but they used condoms, and Ana was on the pill and had her period, so everything really should be okay. Ana tells Christian that she was more worried about his reaction than anything else, really, and he says that he doesn't know what to do about her bad mood. He would normally beat it out of her.

How would beating someone put them in a better mood? I don't see how that would work.

Ana tells him that him holding her helps.

They shower together, and after Christian washes Ana off, he asks her to do the same to him. She notices how tense and frightened he is as she touches him, and she starts crying because it's sort of upsetting for her. She keeps imagining him as a hurt little kid, which I guess would be sad if it's someone you love, and Christian tries to reassure her.

This is a scene where you see what this book could have been in the hands of a better author. It could have really been quite a good book.

Ana tells Christian that he's a lovable person (yeah, right) and that she does love him, and so do his family and even Leila and Elena. She then says that she knows he loves her back.

"Yes," he whispers. "I do."

Hey, there's a chapter break here! That's really good. We're now at 37%. Huzzah!

Ooh, one last picture of Richard Armitage and Neal McDonough. I hope I didn't just melt your computer.
(Yes, he's pasty and blond, but he's pretty cute.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chapter By Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Seven

Hey, everyone. I know I haven't been around a lot. Some of you took me off of your "feed" or whatever. Some of you are probably seeing me again and like, "Meh. I lost interest."

Yeah, whatevs. I'm seeing this to the bitter end! And bitter it is.

Anyway, huge crapload of excuses are back here, but mostly, I just finished my semester of college, got on vacation, and didn't feel like writing. I mean, do I have to?

Yes, I probably have to.

But you aren't here to listen to me talk about being in college as a thirty-something, as the title of my blog would imply. No, you are here for Fifty Shades of Idiocy. Let us slog on.

When last we were with Christian and Ana, lo those many months ago, they were at a charity ball following a huge, complicated day full of ex submissives, hair cuts, ex dommes, fighting, sex, make-up sex, and blatant foreshadowing about said ex submissive.

Yes, that all happened in one day.

Now they are at the ball, and Ana just bid all of her car money for a weekend at Christian's place in Aspen. That sound you hear is John Denver rolling in his grave.

"I dream of my home Starwood in, don't go there!"


Now Ana is freaking out because naturally, Christian is going to be pissed. How dare she give her own money to charity! That little bitch! Christian says, "I don't know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you."

Yes, this is a man who has charity at his heart. This guy is a keeper.

Ana's like, "Spank me, yo."

Freakin doormat.

This is what I imagine Ana looks like.

She starts fondling him under the table. I need to find that list I made of what they should be doing instead of having sex, because I have a feeling I'm going to need it soon. Why? Because "Everything south of my navel contracts. This is becoming unbearable."

Oh, Ana. Truer words were never spoken. Only, I need to make one small correction. It's been unbearable since the beginning.

Mia cockblocks the couple (oh, thank GOD that girl is good for something!), and she pulls Ana over to be the person to auction off men for a charity dance. Christian's all, "We won't be dancing, though." Ew.

Now we get to remember that Ana is making Christian into something that no one has ever seen before, because she leans down and kisses him, making just absolutely everyone at the table gape at her and him. They've never seen him with a date before, see, so this is just ca-razy!

Oh, wait, the girls are being auctioned off. Ten bucks says that Ana will fetch a higher price than any other woman there, and not just because Christian is bidding for her. Because she'll be the one all the men want. Just wait.

Okay, in the last chapter (or maybe the one before that), Christian bought Ana some Cartier diamond earrings. Those things had to have been tens of thousands of dollars, but Ana had no qualm about accepting them. Accepting money for her car, however, was a note of contention. And now she's feeling guilty that Christian will be spending money on her to dance with her. It's for charity, but that doesn't matter to her.

Seriously, I know I keep saying that it doesn't make sense, but everytime I think I've gotten comfortable with the levels of nonsense going on, the author just pulls me down another rabbit hole. This doesn't make sense!

We find out from Mia that Christian used to get into fights when he was younger. This somehow astounds Ana. I keep saying she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but jeez louise here, people. Oh, duh, I wonder what Christian used to do for fun when he was a kid? The same thing he does for fun now, of course! Beat the crap out of people! Good God, y'all.

Oh, I see. Since he likes Tudor choral music, he can't be a brawler.

I just want to point out that Anthony Hopkins beat a man to death (after biting him) while listening to J. S. Bach and then skinned another man's face off so he could disguise himself, while listening to the same Goldberg Variation.

And he enjoyed himself while doing so.

Christian is now watching Ana like a hawk. Again, thank goodness we know the difference between that and a handsaw by this point.

Now Mia discloses that around the time Mrs. Robinson took Christian in to be her sub, he stopped getting into so many fights. Oh dear. So the author understands these things are connected too.

This is what I find so troubling: The author knows Christian is a terrible person. She just doesn't care. I'd think this was all some social experiment to see if women really forgive handsome men for doing anything to them, but it's been too long since the books released, and she hasn't confessed yet. I think she's serious about this. That's the scariest part. She really thinks Christian is all that.

The "And a bag of Doritos" is silent.

It's Ana's turn to be bid on, and Christian offers ten thousand bucks. Some other guy counters with fifteen. Oh please. Of course he's some friend of Christian's, helping Christian out.

This is the thing here: this is a charity auction, so it's really awesome that Christian and whoever want to up the bidding amount and really get a lot of money for the charity, these guys are making it about themselves. You can actually donate as much as you like anonymously to these causes. You don't have to put on some huge show so that everyone in the world can see you humping your girlfriend's leg. These are the people who propose on that huge TV at sporting events. They're the ones that make out in public. They're the ones that ignore everyone around them in favor of each other because no one in the world is nearly as interesting or important as they are. They are class A assholes, and they think that they're awesome.

Christian "buys" Ana for a cool hundred grand.

Ana's all, "Who was that masked man?" only the author doesn't take the time to write that out, much to the detriment of the book. I mean, come on! You're at a masked ball! It's the one time you can say something like that! Anyway, Christian's fine introducing the guy to Ana, but first he's going to have sex with her. As you do at a ball.

Christian takes Ana into his childhood bedroom to do what every teenaged boy has ever dreamed: Have sex with a girl. Except, he's nearing thirty and he admits he's never had a girl in his room. Ana reacts like this is a good thing. I mean, I was an overweight, awkward kid with glasses and bucked teeth, but I still managed to get a boy in my room. I mean, I was a senior in high school, but I managed it!

Anyway, we are a-go for masked sex during a charity ball at Christian's parents' house with people milling around all over the place, so that means they're having sex in a way that would not be normal for a normal couple. Maybe doubly so because he brings up how she bid on his charity package which was just such a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad thing for her to do. Or at least it is in whatever alternate reality these people exist in.

So, what could they be doing instead of having sex? The thing is, they're at a charity auction. It's not like they should be eating dinner or in the middle of a movie, they're actually in a place where they should be doing something good for...uh...*reareads* kids who are addicted to drugs. Right-o, that's what they're there for. See, it's been so freaking long since she started all of this that I've forgotten what's going on! This is not how you write a book!

So, anyway, since this is a charity that *foreshadowing* is near and dear to the Grey household, particularly the Eltern Grauen, I propose that they do something to actually benefit those that are impacted by drug abuse. This could be as simple as helping to sponsor a meeting place for the local chapter of Narcotics Anonymous. Or, you know, this is a really crazy idea, but they could get the heck back down to the party, talk to people, encourage them to give, and keep their minds on what's going on around them.

As they get dressed, Ana notices a small black and white photo on the bulletin board. It's of a woman who looks familiar to Ana (dun-dun-dunnnnn), but Ana can't place her. Who is it? Oh, no one of consequence.

Come on. I mean, really. Who is it? Duh, Christian's birth mother, maybe? Jeez.

They dance together (this is still the same day, remember?), and finally, Ana gets to meet themasked man. It's Christian's psychiatrist. He's British. Well, thank goodness we have that descriptor. I mean, the author can't give anyone a personality, but she can give him an accent.

They talk nonsense, and when Christian gets her back, she's all, "Oh, he told me everything." This panicks Christian because that's a normal reaction. Ana tells him she's just kidding, and he visibly relaxes. Oh yes. I hope I can meet a man like this some day. That would be so very nice. Oh my.

Ana remembers that she left her purse at her table, and she goes back to get it....

.....and runs into Mrs. Robinson.

Yes, this is still the same day!

Mrs. Robinson says that Christian is in love with Ana and Ana's all, "Bwuah? Really?" I'd go for "Same Shit, Different Day" here, but it's the same fucking day! The same day! 25% of this book is all spent on one stupid, never ending day! It's the day that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people started living it not knowing what it was, and now they'll be living it forever just because...

Mrs. Robinson gives Ana the "You hurt him, I'll kill you" speech. Ana finds this deliciously ironic. No, not because he hurts her, but because Mrs. Robinson molested him when he was a teenager. Mrs. Robinson brings up last Saturday (yes, it's only been a week since they broke up and got back together), and Ana feels bad.

Do we have to go over this again, too?

Ana's like, "If I ever leave him again, you come and talk to me. I'll give you a piece of me then."

Both women are staring off here. Ana leaves and Christian sees her. He finds the irony in the situation, but Ana still doesn't. Christian offers to talk to the lady, but Ana's all, "No way, Jose...remember him?"

Ana goes into the bathroom, but when she comes out, Christian is on the phone, obviously with Mrs. Robinson. Ana doesn't get all possessive (that's Christian's job...), but she is a little upset. They decide to stay and watch some fireworks.

Since this is still the same day, Christian's dad asks Ana to dance with him. Ana uses the time to interrogate the poor man and we learn that Christian didn't speak for about two years after he was adopted. Grey Senior acts like Ana's going to marry Christian, and let's face it; it's a foregone conclusion. I mean, that's how this thing is going to end, right? Married, happy, 2.5 children?

Oh my gosh, it's still the same day and the same chapter. Now Christian and Ana are strolling around the grounds until they feel at home. Here's to you.

The fireworks finally start, and when they are ove, Ana's all, "Suddenly, I feel very tired."

You and me both, chica. You and me both.

Mia tries to detain them, but they're both too tired. Good gracious. IT'S STILL THE SAME FREAKING DAY, PEOPLE! Making it worse, Christian says that tomorrow is going to be a big day.

I'm starting to fear for my sanity. No wonder Christian's insane. Doesn't he ever just relax and read a book in front of the fire place? Maybe he should get a cat. If I stay out too late, Mr. Chekhov is always on hand to scold me like I don't already have a dad.

Christian says that it will be a big day because Dr. Greene is coming by to give Ana more contraception because he hates condoms. Ana's all, "It's my body." Christian's like, "It's mine too."

Oh, ugh. Welcome to the 21st century, y'idjits.

Have I mentioned that we're still on the same chapter?

Mrs. Robinson left Ana a letter inviting her to lunch for a chat about Christian. Christian's like, "I'll deal with her later."

Back at the Grau Haus, Christian notes that it's been a long day. You're telling me, buddy.

They can't go into Christian's apartment. Someone (Leila) slashed Ana's tires and threw paint all over her car. Christian, Taylor, and two other guys go to investigate if anyone is in the house.

Thank God, it's over. This chapter is, anyway. We're 32% done now, guys! Whew.

Okay, I'm making a committment to update once a week with this. Hopefully we'll be done soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh, hey, how ya doin'?

I can't find my Kindle, so no new Fifty Shades until I figure out where it is. I'm really upset that I can't find it...I have books I actually like on that thing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chapter by Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter 6

When last we left Christian and Ana, he had just helped her mark out the territories of what she an and can't touch on him. Forgive me if this seems sort of nitpicky, but couldn't he just say, "Don't touch my chest or back, okay?" Now they're ready to have sex. I only make alternate suggestions for sex when they're doing it when they should be doing something else like talking, so I'll let this pass. Christian tells Ana she's "so. Beautiful. Yes. She. Is." Oh that is so not annoying!

Christian starts enumerating the many, many men that are supposedly after Ana. Her boss, Jack Hyde is on the list. So is Jose. This is just so dumb. Guys who do this stuff are the ones that end up hitting you for "flirting" when instead you actually told a guy to buzz off. In real life, this conversation, unless it's done in a "Wow, I'm so lucky!" light sort of way, is a huge red flag that you need to leave and not look back.

To punctuate this, Christian says, "Trust me. They want you. They want what's mine."

Soooo not creepy. (see picture above.)

So, they have sex all afternoon and then Ana takes a shower and thinks about all of the information she's had to absorb in the last few hours. This is where I think the author makes a huge mistake and has too many things happening at once. This much crap happening in one day usually makes a person go fetal in their fuzziest pajamas, but Ana's all having sex with her boyfriend because he's so hot and rich and she loves him so much because he's so hot and rich.

Someone posted in the last comments that she wondered if Ana would still like Christian if he wasn't so rich. I really think it's more that if he wasn't so hot, but now she's talking about his bottom line like it's something she's really proud of. I guess it would be nice to date someone wealthy, and I think it would be hard to separate it out from who he is and keep it from ever being what he is. The bottom line, I think, is whether or not you like someone for their money, or if you would like them even if they were dirt poor. I do think Ana would like Christian if he were dirt poor.

Ana thinks about the sweet things Christian said to her. Like how other guys want to have sex with her. You know. Oh, and he's crazy about her. Then she wonders what will happen the next time she crosses an arbitrary line. I think the author gets this half right. When you're in an abusive relationship, you do wonder about that, but it's more of a heart-pounding fear, not a bemusement. Ana should be mostly terrified of Christian. But she's not.

Ana puts on fancy lingerie for the party she's about to attend with Christian (See? So MUCH is going on in one day! Why can't this be more than one day?), and Christian walks in with the benewah balls again. He wants Ana to wear them for the night.

Okay, you're only supposed to use the balls for a few minutes at a time. They're only supposed to help strengthen your kegels. You wouldn't pump weights for hours at a time, would you? And you certainly wouldn't start out doing it for hours at a time, you'd start small. This is one of the parts of the story that I think is just dangerous. Yes, you can actually hurt yourself if you do this. Actually, you probably wouldn't be able to. They'd just slip out until you built up the muscle. But anyway! This is a poorly researched book, and I'm going to say when it is.

After he puts the balls in Ana, he gives her a Cartier box with diamond earrings in it. Ana pushes the box away and says, "I'm sorry, Christian, but I simply cannot accept such an enormous gift from a man I am not related to."

Just kidding, she thinks they're great.

She hates Christian for putting $24,000.00 into her bank account, but she's fine with diamond earrings? Yes, that makes perfect sense. I'm so glad the author is clearing this up for us.

*I should have a picture of "Does Not Compute" here, but Blogger seems to be borked when it comes to showing pictures. I'll upload it later if I can*

Ana admires herself in the mirror and we learn what the author feels is passable as makeup--just some mascara, a little eyeliner, blush, and pale lipstick (no fire engine red for virginal Ana!). But it doesn't really matter since it's a masked ball and no one will see her makeup anyway.

I went to a masked ball back in June. I loved it, but the mask drove me crazy. My best friend took me (it was the Labyrinth of Jareth ball in LA), and we were halfway there when she realized she spent a lot of time making sure her makeup matched her dress and looked really awesome and fairy-like when we were just going to spend the night in masks. I only bring this up because Ana seems to be doing the same thing, and I'll tell her what I told my friend: As long as you feel good and confident about yourself!

Ana goes and finds Christian, who apparently looks "stunning" in a black dinner jacket and bow tie. I mean, I know I snark on how "hot" Christian supposedly is, but jeez, girl. He ain't James Bond. (BTW, Tom Ford is who tailors Daniel Craig's suits and tuxes for the movies. God bless him!)

I do think men look great in suits and tuxedos. Honestly, ZZ Top knew what they were talking about when they said, "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man." It's true. So, I believe Ana when she says she thinks Christian looks really hot. It's just that she says it all the freaking time, it's stopped holding any meaning.

There's going to be a security detail for the evening arranged by Taylor, and Ana compliments Taylor on how versatile he is. I wonder how long it will be until Christian starts feeling jealous of his security guard because Ana can't compliment a guy without Christian getting weird.

Christian takes Ana on a tour of his apartment, and we find out he has a library with Beast-style floor-to-ceiling books. It also has a pool table (Oh, Dear God. If you can hear me, please don't let them have sex on the pool table. Please? I'm begging you...) and Elliott apparently calls it "the balls room."

*double face palm*

Christian suggests they play pool some time, and Ana's all for it because Jose taught her how and she's a real shark at it now.

Like the author will ever let her be better than Christian at something.

And we learn that Ana is going to meet Dr. Flynn tonight.

Hey, EL James? There's this thing called "chapters." I know it's a crazy concept, but you can actually split your book up using them. You can have a chapter devoted to just Ana meeting Dr. Flynn on some night when a million other things aren't happening. You can have Ana and Christian take a tour of the house on a night when they aren't getting ready for a masked ball. You can split your book up into days and weeks and months and years. Other authors have done it before you, and they have been really successful with stuff like character development and plot. You know. Things you keep missing out on while trying to cram as much crap into this book to keep us from realizing that there is no real plot or character development.

This book is the equivalent of the guy date and do all sorts of stuff with him, but never actually spend time with. You guys go out all the time, movies, Disneyland, shows, places, things, stuff! But you never actually do anything together that bonds you. And then one day, one of you gets a cold or something, and the other one comes over to take care of the sick one, and you realize that you don't really have anything in common. It's all just been county fairs and roller coasters and the illusion of togetherness when it's all been distraction. I've said it before and I'll say it again: There's no "there" there. (The words of Gertrude Stein, of course.)

So, anyway, moving forward because we can't find reverse.

They head out to the party and we get excruciating detail about Ana's balls and what they're doing to her insides. To distract herself, she asks where Christian got the lipstick. Remember that? All that time ago? My goodness...this book is so full of details and yet actually full of nothing substantial. Apparently, he got the lipstick from Taylor. I would love it if Taylor were a cross-dresser, but I doubt the author has the cajones to pull that off.

They arrive at the party and there's a line of "expensive" cars in the driveway. Since the author seems to think that Audis are the height of what multi-billionaire playboys want in their garage, I'm assuming that there are Subarus, Volvos, Saabs, and maybe the occasional Porsche hanging around. OMG, maybe someone even has a Fiat. Because, you know, a Rolls Royce is just showing off or whatever.

They get their picture taken for the Seattle Times, and Ana's amazed that the photographer recognizes Christian with his mask on. Because a half-mask just makes you look like a completely different person. It's not like you have facial features and hair or anything.

Mia accosts Christian and Ana and introduces them to her friends. Of course, there's a complete and utter bitch there who just hates Ana for dating Christian.

Okay, the author goes on to describe a garden party, which is great, and then we get to the table where the family is all going to be sitting, and we meet Grace's parents. Grace is Christian's mother, in case you forgot. They could be totally awesome, eccentric people, but the only awesome people in the book are Christian and Ana, so of course they love Ana, but they overwhelm her with being nosy and sweet and inclusive towards her. Those jerks.

The night goes on, and finally Ana decides she has to remove the balls. Christian wants to follow her to the powder room and "help" her, but Mia cockblocks him. I really can't stand Mia, but it's moments like this that make her even more insufferable. I know, I hate it when Christian and Ana have their non-kinky-that's-supposed-to-be-kinky sex, but eh. I just can't stand Mia and people like her. And the fact that I'm supposed to love her just makes her worse.

Ana is of course worried that Christian is mad about not being with her during the big "reveal", but he doesn't seem to be. I keep waiting for her to make a big deal about it anyway.

There's a charity auction and Christian's place in Aspen is on the list as a weekend getaway. Ana bids her $24,000.00 for it, and of course Christian is going to be completely pissed off at her because he wants her to have the money, he just doesn't want her to spend it.

But thankfully, that's the end of the chapter.

Was it good for you, baby, or did you get cockblocked? Tune in next time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hey, how's that whole "college" thing going?

I'm taking microbiology this semester. It's two five-hour classes a week, and it's pretty hard, but I'm enjoying myself. I love my lab partner, and the hot marine MP looking to get his nursing degree is totally talking to us and making the other women jealous.

I'm not the oldest person in the class. I'm not even close. More than half the class is older than me. A lot of them already work for medical facilities. All of us want something else, something more.

I've applied to volunteer at a zoo, and I want to apply to volunteer with a rescue of some sort. I really need to start getting involved in my field. It's what I need.

I can't say how much I love school. It's fun. The labs make me geek out. We're using agar plates! We have bacterium that we inoculate slants with! It's so much fun! It's a lot of work, too, but it's fun work.

I keep trying to envision my life in ten years, me doing what I want, maybe working on a Master's or PhD. Maybe I finally will get married, or maybe I'll just go for that villa in Spain and take that spate of European lovers that I keep daydreaming about. Maybe I'll have ten cats by that point and be totally alone. Who knows? The future's wide open!

I do know that I'll be doing what I love. Maybe I'll finally move to the South and be closer to my family and my friend Kim (who I will be marrying as soon as the laws allow us to ;-P). It's going to be great. I can't wait 'til it happens, but I don't want to cut the journey short, either. I just hope I finish college before this blog has to change its name to College at Forty.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chapter By Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter 5

When last we left Christian and Ana, Christian had taken Ana to the salon owned and operated by his former mistress, whom Ana likes to call Mrs. Robinson owing to the large age difference and the fact that Christian was a teenaged boy when she started training him to be her sub.

Sort of makes the whole "You totally hugged Jose and kissed him on the cheek" thing seem nominal and stupid, no?

Oh, but this is Christian, not Ana, so it's okay. You see, Jose and Ana never actually slept together, so they have WAY more of a connection than Christian and Mrs. Robinson have, so it's totally normal for Christian to spend time with his ex-lover while it's wrong for Ana to do anything platonic with Jose. That's the way life works.

So, Ana gets into another conversation with her "sub-conscious" (I'm going to pretend that it's an imaginary friend that she calls Sub  Conscious) about how it's so upsetting that Christian has a good relationship with the pedo woman who had sex with him when he was a teenager, but really after Jacob and Renesmee, this seems pretty tame to me, so I guess I just don't care right now.

Mrs. Robinson finally realizes that Ana's unhappy, so she tells Christian about it. I sometimes just want to know what the author was actually going for with Christian. I mean, I really can't tell. Is he supposed to be smart-yet-naive? But all I get from him is the "me, me, me"-centeredness of a narcissist. I would think that even a guy who has never dated before would know better than to trot the new girlfriend in front of the old lover. Christian's naivete does not come across as innocent misconception, but rather as blatant unfeeling towards Ana. I just get the feeling that it's supposed to look like something else, that the author is attempting to paint Christian in a different light, but I can't figure out what that light is supposed to be. All I see is him being a jerk, especially in light of the Jose/Ana thing.

So, Christian finally figures out that Ana's not real happy and asks her what's wrong. She wants to go. Now.

They walk for a bit, and Ana aks him terse, tense questions about how he's taken other girls there, and they've all met Mrs. Robinson, though none of them knew who she was in relation to Christian. She turns and faces him, and he seems to be frightened.

This is the first NORMAL thing that Christian has done so far. He should be frightened. This is so messed up, and Ana calls him on it. He sees now that it is messed up.

People bustle past us, lost in their Saturday morning chores, no doubt contemplating their own personal dramas. I wonder if they include stalker ex-submissives, stunning ex-Dommes and a man who has no concept of privacy under US law.

Aw, poor Ana! Gosh, it's so horrible that your life is so much more complicated than anyone else's! You poor, poor dear. I mean, it's not like you can actually just walk away from this guy, change your identity, flee to a foreign country where he can't find you or anything. You're just totally and completely stuck here.

Good gracious. Yes, wallowing in self pity is a valid choice to make when something bad happens, and it's always a really horrible, terrible thing because it's happening to you and not someone else. I get that. Trust me. But Ana has choices. This isn't a mom trying to decide whether she should stop packing lunches for herself so she can buy Christmas presents for her kids with the money she saves, or a guy whose wife left him and filed false charges of child abuse against him so she can gain sole custody of their kids. No one has made choices for Ana that she has to roll with here. I'm sorry she's got problems, but they're her problems. These are not global-scale issues. They are not injustices. They are not commentary on the very real issues that people face every day. They're superficial, and I just can't care because she can walk away.

Ana and Christian are totally Dee and Murray from Clueless. Except, you know, we like Dee and Murray. And they were teenagers, which made their daily dose of drama bearable.

Ana's virginity status totally went from "technical" to "non-existant."

While Ana is feeling sorry for herself, Christian gets a phone call where he says all kinds of cryptic stuff like, "She's here. She's watching us." And "Two or four, twenty-four seven...I haven't broached that yet." and then he looks at Ana and we're supposed to wonder what this means. Oh, the comments for this author when this was a fanfiction. "Wut duz Xtian meen wehn he sed htat!!111!" someone would say in their review. The author would smile to herself. "I guess you're going to have to wait until I update!" she'd think smugly.

Okay, Leila is obviously watching them, and Christian is apparently thinking of adding some sort of security detail to Ana, because that just wouldn't completely piss her off or ruin her life or anything. What does he think Leila's going to do to Ana exactly? She's had plenty of opportunity to hurt her or kidnap her at this point.

Of course, that just makes too much sense. Instead, they have a scene on the sidewalk. Christian wants Ana to go to his house for safekeeping (he could always have her stuffed like he did his last few victims...), but Ana isn't having it. So he picks her up and carries her over his shoulder, because that wouldn't be weird or upsetting.

See, this is all about Christian. He wants Ana safe because she's his. He wants her at his house because that's where he keeps his stuff. She is his stuff, therefore she belongs at his house. Her feelings don't count because she doesn't count. He counts, so his feelings are the only ones that matter.

Christian, in a nutshell

Ana gets a good mental list going of stuff she's mad about, but of course she never brings it up to him and instead demands he tell her about Leila. You see, while she was compiling her list, she figured out that something bad must have happened with Leila to make Christian even more unreasonable and megalomaniacal than he was before, and she's figured out that it's Leila.

She got a concealed weapons permit, apparently. Which makes no sense.Not only has there not been time for the requisite background check, but no law enforcement agency in America would sign off on a suicidal person getting a CWP. That's why you have to apply for it. It's not the same as buying a gun, which you also have to get a permit for. This is a permit that allows you to conceal a weapon on your person and carry it into stores, malls, parks, and certain public transportation. Leila wouldn't even be able to buy the gun in the first place, let alone get a CWP. I don't know who EL James thinks she is, but a researcher, she is not.

Also, if Leila is really operating under a psychotic break, then why would she bother to do things legally? Why not just find some back-alley grifter? Of course, I have a hard time believing she could talk a black market gun runner into selling her a gun if she's so unstable, but she'd have a better chance. That just makes no sense.

This whole part right here? It's because the author has to move things along. She has to create a plot, so this is how she does it. It's Deus Ex Machina on stupid pills. Maybe even crazy pills. Or crazy stupid pills. If Leila had just obtained an illegal firearm, Christian wouldn't be able to freak out. But the books are based on him freaking out (like Edward! she screams. Only Edward from Growing Up Cullen, not Edward from Twilight.), so we have to freak out. Therefore, Leila gets a gun. It's so sloppy and lazy, but then so are the people who read this shit (including myself), so it passes.

No wonder the aliens want to become our overlords. Compared to Christian Grey, they'll be a cakewalk.

So, they go to Ana's house and she packs some stuff. She tells him that Ethan (Kate's brother, remember him? He's not really important) will be moving in on Thursday, so she'll need to be back by then. Christian is really pissed at this, of course, but it's totally not the same thing as his relationship with Mrs. Robinson.

Ana asks if all Christian's subs have been brunettes and if they look like her. He says yes.

Just think about that for a moment.

Mrs. Robinson was blonde, and Christian says that she put him off of blondes.

The first book with all the blonde interns is suddenly starting to get a whole lot creepier.

So, Christian surrounds himself with women he's not attracted to? What does that say about him?

Back at Casa Gris, Ana makes herself at home in the Sub Room and finds lots of expensive clothes in the closet. She gets upset and sad and calls her mom and it turns out her mom is having issues too. Ana seems surprised by this.

Okay, maybe the narcissism in this relationship goes both ways.

Actually, Ana cares about Christian. She doesn't care about anyone else. Christian cares about Christian, and he cares for others as far as they are important to him. So, he's the real narcissist. Ana's just self-centered and oblivious.

Christian walks into the closet (heh) and finds Ana sitting amongst the designer duds. He wants to know what the problem is. Ana wants to know why he's after her instead of a person who will actualy be submissive. It turns out that Ana gives him hope. She translates this to be cryptic in some way. I don't see how it is. If she doesn't love him for his money and actually expects stuff from him and it gives him hope, then that is not cryptic to me at all. So now I want to know what the author's plans are for Ana's characterization, because she seems like a big old drama queen to me. If Christian wanted to have pie for dessert, she'd analyze what that means in agonizing detail. "It's so weird that he wants pie!" she'd say to herself. "Why pie of all things? OMG, what does it mean?"

Christian's so deep, man.

Franco, Ana's hairstylist enters the scene. He's "small, dark, and gay." Ana loves him.

There is, of course, no reason to introduce Franco at all. He gets a paragraph and a few speeches. That's it, and he's done. We don't need to know anything about him, really, but we do. I have a suspicion that EL James is a character hoarder. She wants people in her books who aren't completely horrible, so she has this huge supporting cast. But then, she doesn't know what to do with them, so they just sort of exist off-stage, out there somewhere.

Christian, after the haircut, of course tries to get Ana in bed. She's having none of it, so she lists all of her grievances over lunch. One of her biggest grievances is that she can't touch him, but Mrs. Robinson can. She actually holds out her hand to touch him, and he backs away and says, "Hard limit." It's one of the few "real" scenes we really get so I'm going to savor it for a minute. Christian doesn't want to be touched, and it's a condundrum for Ana because he loves to touch her, so how can he not want it for himself? He would feel deprived and devastated if he couldn't touch her. I mean, if this were a better book, this scene could be heartbreaking.

This ends and they have an argument about how he knows so much about her. The best part is that the author confirms what I've been saying. "He stares at me blankly, and there it is, his problem in a nutshell--empathy, or lack thereof." and "This is it, the crux of his Fifty Shades, surely. He can't put himself in my shoes."

Let us all say it together: Narcissist!

Ana starts making an omelet and wonders if all men have no empathy and are baffled by women like Christian. Okay, she gets that he has no empathy, but then she turns it into him being "baffled" by her. No, this won't do. He knows what he does is wrong, and he knows it upsets other people. But because he's a narcissist, he can't understand how it makes them really feel on the inside. He doesn't get how voilating it is, how upsetting it would be for your name and social security number to be in a file in your boyfriend's study along with lists of known contacts and highschool yearbook photos. It's creepy and strange and one step away from starting a frozen toe collection in the basement. It's not normal. It's the opposite of normal. It's just crazy.

Christian comes to watch Ana dance and cook and tries to get close to her, but she pushes him away. "How long are you going to keep this up?" he asks. See, to him, this is a game. It's something she's doing in order to get whatever it is that she wants. The thought that she's actually pissed off about something real does not enter into his equations, because he has justified all of his actions, and to him there is no argument. He's right, she's wrong. End of story. Now he just has a waiting game to see how long she can be angry at him while she deprives herself of all the hot sexxorz he could be giving her. Because that's a huge motivation, you know.

Protip: most women can do it better on our own. We don't need you guys. Sometimes we want you guys. But we don't need you.

Thankfully, Taylor comes around and interrupts them. They eat lunch and Christian turns into Mr. Bad Mood, which is almost indistinguishable from his usual self. Ana notes that he's like several people in one body and wonders if that's schizophrenia.

No, Ana, it's not. Schizophrenia is usually accompanied by delusions and hallucinations, both auditory and visual. Christian is a narcissist. I don't know how many times I have to point this out to you. It's one thing to mess around with concealed weapons permits, it's another to bring this sort of thinking into the book. People with psychological and neurological disorders already have enough trouble, we don't need people like you getting involved and making these ascertations, EL James. Jeez. Next she'll be saying that poor Leila is bipolar or something equally stupid.

Well, at least Christian walks in on Ana reading over the MPD wikipedia page, so I hope she's happy. They joke about her research a little, and then he hands her a "harlot red" tube of lipstick.

Well, that's great, James. Let's relegate all colors to specific types now, shall we? Harlots get red, I guess good girls get light blue since you dress Ana in that color all the time. You know, maybe The Handmaid's Tale was really onto something with their classifications. Of course, then you'd have to say "unwomen" instead of "harlots," so that's getting a little complicated.

So, Ana's slut-shaming a tube of lipstick. Both she and Christian agree it's not her color, and it's sort of like it's no-one's color. No one respectable. He wants to use it to roadmap his body so she knows where she can touch. He suggests he could get a tattoo, but Ana can't imagine him "marring" his beautiful body in such a way.

Oh ugh, now we're lifestyle-shaming.

Great work here, James! Maybe you can say a few despariging things about the GLBTQ crowd and work in a slight against migrant workers, and we'll be all set for understanding your views of the world. Yes, tattoos are just teh ebul! OMG! I bet only schizophrenics get them. Gay schizophrenic migrant workers who wear fire engine-red lipstick and really high heels.

Oh, wait, you don't seem to have a problem with really high heels. Hmm...Maybe EL James is the one who doesn't know who she truly is. (I think she's Mitt Romney.)

Ana uses the red lipstick to draw a sort of boundary on Christian. Like the boundary you'd get if you drew a vest or a wife-beater (ha!) on someone with fire engine-red lipstick.

The chapter ends, thankfully, before they have sex.

And we're done for the night. More to come.