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I’ve come to write on you again.

Man, it has been a really long time since my last update. I don’t know how this will go or how consistent I will be about it, or even if anyone will read it, but since I am up and thinking about it, I figured it is worth a shot.

So . . . to update my last update . . . the job situation got worked out. It was this whole mental scenario where the company I was working for was shutting down but our book of business was potentially going to be sold to another company which meant I would be transitioned over into a new gig at the new place IF the sale went through. Holy God, was that stressful. Every day I was left to wonder “Will this actually happen? Will I have a job tomorrow or will I be unemployed?” And honestly, it felt like it was changing every day. Plus, I had to interview for my own job again after about five years of doing it which was okay because the interviews went well, but nerve-wracking because I found myself worrying about whether or not people liked me.  But the sale happened and I transferred over and so far, it has actually been pretty good. I make more money and I actually have a support team to help me as opposed to being the only one left in my department because they’ve laid off everyone else. So yay me and yay new job like a year and a half later!

In terms of traveling, Boy and I went to Paris a year ago today (I told you I was behind!). I had never been to Europe before, so it was kind of daunting the first couple days, but then we got in the groove and things were good. I saw many beautiful things and Boy and I got to have the honeymoon we always dreamed we would have but couldn’t afford/didn’t have time for when we actually got married four years ago. While in Paris, we also had the big discussion that many married couples have – is it time for kids? We were renting an apartment in this district of Paris right by a school and every day, we would end up trotting through this entire group of adorable Parisian children wearing peacoats and eating croissants and it was like uterine catnip, I have got to say. So we decided we were ready and some months later, this happened . . .

Yep! That’s my baby! We have a couple of names picked out, but so far, we have been calling him “Ripley” after the Alien movies because we are classy like that.
(And if you are wondering if I wore my Alien ultrasound shirt to my ultrasound? Yes. Yes, I did.)

To answer the most basic questions for you:
1) I am due in January.
2) It is a boy.

The pregnancy so far has had its ups and downs. The first trimester was hard on me as I was pretty sick and felt kind of socially isolated because I couldn’t leave the house much for fear of vomiting/falling asleep in a public place. Also, while most people were thrilled for us and incredibly supportive of our new addition, some were kind of  . . . not . . . which sucked a little bit. However, this second trimester, I have been feeling a lot stronger and healthier and just generally better, so I’ve been able to enjoy myself and feel more like a normal person again. A normal person who has a smaller person inside them who kicks them and insists on 5AM pee breaks, but a normal person nonetheless.

Anyway, I have more things to say about the pregnancy stuff later, but as of right now, I have to toddle back to bed for a bit so Ripley and I can be well-rested to meet his new cousin Nora today. Yes, my lovely in-laws and adorable niece Abby have a new addition to their family who arrived about a month ago, so the cousins will be about five months apart which I think is pretty cool since my closest cousin in age is 10 years younger than me.

So, yes, hope this blog post finds my readers well – however many of you there are after almost a year and a half’s absence – and I will hopefully check in again soon.


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It doesn’t seem very long ago that I wrote my last post, but when I checked the date on it, I saw it had been over a month. A lot has happened in that time.

1) There was a major shakeup at my job. I am still in the process of dealing with it, but at this point, suffice it to say that I think things are about to change, hopefully in a good way, rather than bad. I have experienced so much upheaval workwise the past couple of years, I just want to be in a place in my life where I have a job to go to that I enjoy but that I can leave behind at the end of the day. My life is more than work and I want to be able to focus on that more than the stuff that happens during my 9-5 day.

2) I went to New York and met three of my blogging friends. I spent an entire day shopping and eating with my good friend Nie Nie from Chateau de Lau and I had a lovely brunch with my friend Jenny from Geek in Heels and my friend Ms. Zhu from The Zhukeepers. I “met” all of them when I was still technically single and it was funny, four years later, to meet them in actual physical person. We are all married now and two of the ladies have children which was kind of mind-blowing to see (Mr. Sam – you are selling me more on the idea of having a little boy!), but more than that, it was so fantastic to actually be able to actually talk to these ladies who had been a huge support to me from afar for so long.

3) Almost as soon as I got back from New York, we moved. It had been a long time coming, as we had put in an application on our new place at the end of February. Leaving our old place was weird because so much had happened there. We moved in just after we got engaged and it was our first martial home, so I had that attachment to it, but . . . it had problems. Our neighbours were loons, it was rapidly getting too small for us and the rent . . . the rent was ridiculously high for what we were getting for it. It just wasn’t working for us any more, so I started looking and found a place that was not only bigger, but significantly cheaper. The idea that we could have more space to sprawl out and pay $300 less a month was too good to pass up so we took it and even though it’s only been a month, we’re both really loving the new space. Boy has his own art studio, I have plenty of space for my books and DVDs and we’re right in the heart of a cute little neighbourhood that we love. Perfect!

4) The day we moved was also the day Boy celebrated his 28th birthday (damn whippersnapper!) Since we had to move (which we were lucky enough to be able to do thanks to the help of many of our awesome friends), he got a little bit shafted during the day, but our awesome friends Bella and Baax trucked out from the East End late on a Sunday night to help us down a glass to celebrate. They also convinced the two of us to sing karaoke, so after they belted out “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?” by Celine Dion and “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J respectively, Boy and I both grabbed the mic for a song each. Our choices? “The Philosopher’s Drinking Song” by Monty Python and “Number One” by Goldfrapp. I will leave you to picture who sang what. 😉

5) Also, celebrating a birthday this month was my niece little Miss Abigail who turned one! We attended her birthday last weekend and she was adorable as always. Sometimes, I can’t believe how much she’s grown over a year! I can still remember seeing her the first day she came home from the hospital! If at all possible, I love her even more now than I did then.

It’s strange. I think about my life last year compared to how it is now and so many things are different. There are so many people in my life now that I either didn’t know or wasn’t as close to, and it’s kind of amazing to see my world expand like that after a long period of contraction and loss. Not only is this fruitful period of my life really great, but I think I am finally letting myself relax and enjoy it. I can get really pessimistic sometimes to the point where I feel overwhelmed by the sad stuff, but lately, I’ve been doing my best to just chill out and embrace the change and I’ve really been having a good time.

So that’s where things stand right now. Life is in transition for me, but it’s the positive kind and that’s awesome.

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When I was a teenager, I used to be friends with this guy. We were reasonably close and I felt pretty safe with him. Oftentimes we’d hang out at his place alone together. We’d stretch out together on the couch in his rec room and talk about our days while he absent-mindedly twirled my long hair around one of his fingers.

One night, we were hanging out when we got into a bit of an argument about something. I don’t even remember what it was, but it made him really angry. In fact, he got so worked up that I didn’t feel particularly comfortable being in his presence, so I decided that it was time to go home. When I turned to leave, he reached over and grabbed a chunk of my hair, pulled me backwards by it, pushed me down on the ground and climbed on top of me. He started saying something to me, but I didn’t hear his words over the loud “GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT” echoing around in my brain. With some effort, I managed to push him off, bolted straight for the door and ran all the way home.

The next day when I was home by myself (my parents had gone to work), he called me. I had a feeling it was him, so I screened the call through the answering machine. At first, he started to apologize, but then he began defending himself saying he “was just kidding around” and “what was (my) problem if (I couldn’t) take a joke?” All I could think was that the force with which he had grabbed me by the hair and the expression on his face as he pushed the weight of his body down on mine had been anything but funny. I deleted the message and I never spoke to him again.

I also never told anyone. I was so young and I felt too embarassed and ashamed about what had happened so I kept it to myself and focused on other things. I changed my hair, I threw myself into school and my job and stayed away from boys. After a few months of this, one of my girl friends teased me about being anti-social. She said I needed to get out and date, so I agreed to be fixed up. The guy was fine. He brought me flowers and took me to dinner. Then, midway through the date, he reached behind me to slip his arm over my shoulder and I jerked violently away from him. We did not go out again.

When I got home from the date that night, I sat on the cold tiled floor of my bathroom and wondered if I would ever feel normal again. Truth be told, it did take a while, but over time, I came to trust people again . . . and one of those people later became my husband.

It’s weird to say I was “lucky”. The experience certainly didn’t make me feel “lucky” at the time, but I did manage to get away from the person who wished to do me harm before anything more serious happened which, unfortunately, is “luckier” than the experiences of other women who feel the full wrath of their attackers when they are violently sexually assaulted.

A little while ago, a Toronto Police Officer spoke at York University about sexual assault. Unfortunately, York has a bit of a reputation as being an unsafe place to be at night. There are certain areas of the campus that are consider “rape traps.” In fact, back in 2009, a student was even sexually assaulted in the school’s library. While speaking to students on January 24th at a campus safety information session, the officer told students that women could avoid being raped so long as they didn’t dress like sluts.

This comment was insulting, not only because of its sex-shaming “blame the victim” nature, but because it also implies that nonconsensual sex is sometimes justifiable or permissable. It is insulting to women and it is insulting to men because it also somewhat tacitly implies that men are sexual predators who can barely keep their libidos in check.

In response to this incident, a friend of ours, along with a group of other strong, like-minded women, decided to take action and created Slutwalk. The idea behind the event was to not only reappropriate the word “Slut” by making it something empowering instead of shameful, but to also re-enforce the idea that crimes of a sexual nature need to be taken seriously and not brushed under the rug with hateful words and attitudes. No one is asking to be assaulted, period. I know that when I had my brush with sexual violence, I certainly wasn’t inviting it, not with my words, my actions or my wardrobe (a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and Converse sneakers, if you were wondering).

So yesterday, we hit the streets – Boy with a headset as one of the Slutwalk marshals, and me with my camera to document the event. It was an impressive sight as about 3,000 people walked from Queens Park to Police Headquarters where they listened to not only people who spoke firsthand about sexual assault but those who educated others about it. And education is a big part of what needs to happen. The Toronto Police need to re-educate those on the force* and the public needs to be educated about not only sexual health, but about the issue of consent in a sexual situation.

The event was filled with many people. Sexual assault survivors were represented, as were their many allies. Women, men, children and even dogs banded together and the atmosphere was great. It was one of trust and healing and support and it felt good to be surrounded by so many people who believed in the message.

Here are some of the pictures I took .

Early volunteers meeting.

Red volunteer arm band.

Our friends Jack & Sally. Jack was a walk marshal like Boy.

Proud to be sexually free.

One of the many survivors of sexual assault speaking to a member of the press.

The group at large as it formed.

Arriving when there were maybe 20 people and seeing that number swell was really great.

Sex positive dog!

Sex positive sex workers.

Our friend, Sonya Barnett, who helped organize the event. The orange sign she is carrying was made by her 8 year old son.

A smattering of protest signs.

The crowd on the move.

Some of the awesome little kids in attendance.

Gay or straight, people really seemed to rally behind the cause.

Heading over onto College Street.

Somebody really doesn't like our new mayor.

Boy working the crowd.

Don't make me a target.

One of the volunteers leading a chant: "However I dress, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no."

How much do I love this three-legged dog? He was so charming.

I was also really impressed by the number of young guys who came out. They really got behind what could have been written off as a women's cause.

This is one of my favourite shots of the day. Dudes can be sluts too!

Huge group at College Park.

A shot from the other direction. At this point, I had climbed up and was bracing myself against a tree to get shots.

People as far as the eye can see.

Deb Singh from the Rape Crisis Centre. She said only about 6 per cent of sexual crime gets reported.

Michael Kaufman from The White Ribbon Campaign. He talked about how men look to other men to learn how to act and how sexual conduct should be discussed more openly.

Alyssa T., a student from York University. Apparently, their student safety manual includes nothing about rape or assault.

Heather Jarvis, one of Slutwalk's organizers and a survivor of sexual assault.

Another good poster.

A bunch of girls from the Toronto Roller Derby came out to the event. Never got a good shot of them in motion but they were cool.

My friend Terrence (another marshal!) talking to one of the cops working the event.

My friend River, standing strong and supporting the cause.

There are satellite rallies popping up all over the globe, so if you support the cause, keep an eye out for events in your city. And if you live in Toronto and missed the walk but want to contribute somehow, Slutwalk’s website is still open for donations. The initial proceeds will help cover the costs of yesterday’s event and additional funds will be donated to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre.

*To be totally fair, there are many on the force who are helpful and were respectful of the message that was being put out at yesterday’s rally. In fact, one officer even stopped my friend Jack and shook his hand for the good work he was doing for the event.

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Except if those heads belong to two blonde twins with a serious case of the stupids. Because after reading Sweet Valley Confidential, I have come to the conclusion that there is no fate worse than the Wakefields. They are the worst twins ever!

Well except for maybe these twins, because, ew.

Anyway to prepare you for this, I ask you to think back to high school, or perhaps say, junior high. You remember how you had that one friend you thought was supercool and who could pretty much do no wrong in your eyes? But then, you got older and you realized they were kind of a gigantic dickbag loser? That is what reading this book is like. You start out with happy memories and then watch them get slowly destroyed by poor continuity and even crappier writing.

When I was much younger, I thought that the Wakefields were the $h!t. I related heavily to Elizabeth because I fancied myself a thoughtful literary type, but there was part of me that wished I could be a little more like Jessica and possess more of her sultry, boy-nabbing qualities. In fact, when I was very young and used to steal my babysitter’s Sweet Valley High books, I remember thinking that it would be awesome to be a cheerleader. I have no idea why I thought this considering:
a) I am not a joiner,
b) I find all sports except hockey incredibly boring,
c) I am so uncoordinated I was once stabbed by a tree,
but there you have it. The seven-year-old heart wants what it wants.

But enough complaining, it’s time to get to the meat of the thing and start my recap. Needless to say, if you want to read the book and haven’t got the chance yet, this is your warning because HERE BE SPOILERS!

The book starts off with Elizabeth, who is now living in New York like the serious-minded good girl she is. No more being a bubble-headed California girl! She’s a real writer now! She is returning to her apartment after a dinner out with her boss when the phone rings. Because this is New York and therefore a scary, crime ridden place according to literature, it takes them too long to get into the apartment to answer the phone because of all of her door locks, so Elizabeth’s answering machine picks up instead.

It is Jessica, whose voice is whining codependantly at them through the speaker. Elizabeth ignores it. Elizabeth’s boss is baffled by the fact that the voice on the machine sounds exactly like Elizabeth and is somehow not her. You know, for someone who is supposed to be the mastermind behind the crappy theatre magazine she works for, he seems a little bit dumb, like, if you worked at it, you could manage to convince him that Elizabeth was a sorcerer.

Anyway, Elizabeth doesn’t want to talk about HER INFINITE SADNESS, so she gives her boss a glass of wine and considers sleeping with him to stop his annoying questions. She spends a moment drooling over his apparently doable body, but then decides better of it because she cries after her orgasms now. Aren’t you happy that Francine Pascal mentioned your childhood literary pal Elizabeth having orgasms? How thoughtful of her! I mean think of how much more enjoyable Little Women would have been if Louisa May Alcott had been saavy enough to mention Jo March’s favourite sexual position! Totally pertinant to the story and not creepy at all, right?

Oh, and also as a minor note, Elizabeth also doesn’t sleep with him because he’s her boss and, you know, professionalism and all that.

So, having decided that there are no sexytimes to be had, Elizabeth unceremoniously dismisses her boss from her apartment. She briefly thinks of calling her best friend Bruce Patman (I think I speak for all of us when I say WTF?!), but decides not to so she can truly Garbo it up and feel sorry for herself. I don’t know what it is you guys, but I think something superbad happened between Elizabeth and Jessica! Cue the sad music! This is mucho serious!

The next thing you know, we’re treated to a flashback of the twins in high school. They are driving to school and stop to pick up Elizabeth’s friend Enid Rollins who Jessica thinks is the lamest of the lame. They also discuss uberdreamy Todd Wilkins a.k.a. The Todd who Jessica thinks is going to invite her to “the big dance,” as though they don’t have dances ever damn day of the week in Sweet Valley.

Anyway, two funny things about this sequence:

1) It’s supposed to take place 10 years ago which is awesome because, going by the timeline of the books, the twins started high school in 1983 which means that they were either incredibly stupid, which I would totally believe, or time in Sweet Valley moves at a practically glacial pace, which is also possible considering how much crap the twins got up to. I mean with all the spa-based face stealing and werewolf boyfriend having and white supremacist battling they were doing, I would imagine they would have pretty packed schedules!

2) If this storyline is true to what happened in the original books, this means that this is the dance from the first Sweet Valley High book Double Love. Many things happen in that book, but two of the most noteworthy are The Todd mistaking Jessica for Liz and subsequently thinking Liz is a slut and deciding Jessica is more worthy of dating him and Jessica getting so mad at the fact that The Todd has no interest in her she fabricates a story that he tried to force himself on her so that Liz doesn’t like him anymore. But apparently, neither the slut shaming or the supposed sexual assault are a big deal to anyone and everything ties up in a nice happy bow at the end of the book. Sweet Valley: perpetuating horrible sexual standards since 1983!

Moving back into present day, Jessica is kvetching to The Todd about how Elizabeth is ignoring her. The word “Facebook” is used several times to indicate that Francine Pascal is hip and with it. This is not your Meemaw’s Sweet Valley y’all! . . . you know, in case you didn’t get that from the orgasm talk. They don’t get into everything that happened to cause the rift between the two sisters, but they tell us enough so that we know that Elizabeth and  The Todd, Sweet Valley’s Original OTP!, were engaged and about eight months ago, he left her for Jessica and now they are getting married instead. Oooh burn!

To throw old Sweet Valley lovers a bone, Jessica and  The Todd head over to a party at Lila Fowler’s house. I have discussed my love for haughty Miss Lila before, so I won’t get into it again, but Lila is criminally underused in this book. If anyone should be calling the twins on their crap, it’s her, but instead she just stays in the background, wearing tiny shorts. Remember when your Viscount husband tragically died and then you hooked $h!t up with Bruce Patman in the forest, Lila? That was awesome! You are better than this! Now Lila’s only defining characteristic – aside from the tiny shorts – is that she is married to Ken Matthews. To jog your memory, Ken was the Aryan posterchild who played football in high school . . . and as a grown up, he plays in the NFL. That is what you call smooth character development, people! Actually just to stay on Ken for a minute as this is an interesting tidbit: in the high school, he dated Olivia Davidson who was crushed to death by a fridge during a horrible earthquake at the series’ end. However, when the twins came back from their first University break in SVU, Olivia was at a party they attended. So Ken has actually dated a zombie, which is pretty progressive if you think about it.

But back to the party. In attendance are:
– Elizabeth’s old soccer playing high school boyfriend Jeffrey French. He is now a dentist and has a boring nameless wife.
– Sweet Valley Gossip Monger Caroline Pearce. She apparently had cancer (SAD!) and now runs a gossip website that gets upwards of 500 hits a day!
– Elizabeth’s old Debbie Downer friend Enid Rollins. She is now a gyno doc and has become a crazy right wing conservative . . . but apparently, she’s not too conservative to knock boots with . . .
– A.J. Morgan. AJ Morgan was apparently some hot ginger kid Jessica was into. He works as a shoe salesman at the mall.
And to round out the group, we have:
-Former fatty cheerleading captain Robin Wilson. She is apparently a caterer now and Jessica is impressed she hasn’t gorged herself to death on all the free food.

It seems kind of weird to me that a bunch of these people were Elizabeth’s friends and are now at Lila and Ken’s party, but I guess that all of them are pals now. Or they all belong to some secret underground Stonecutter’s cult and this is a meeting or something. At least that would be interesting, which is more than what I can say for the book thus far. Let’s pretend, shall we?

Who condescends with every glace?
Who wears some nifty jumpsuit pants?
We do! We do!
Who has a sister looking mom?
Who spikes the punch at jungle prom?
We do! We do!

Sorry, but I really needed to listen to that song. So yes, we’re at Lila and Ken’s palatial estate for num-nums or whatever and everyone is kind of standing around bored, until Caroline Pearce makes the tragic mistake of asking about Elizabeth which sends Jessica into a rage. Jessica is so pissed in fact that she yells “You’re sick!” at Caroline who is currently regrowing her hair after chemo which . . . yeah . . . awkward. Jessica storms out of the party, The Todd in tow, but not before yelling at Lila for having the nerve to invite Caroline to her own house for her own party. *sigh*

Switching coasts back to New York, Elizabeth is heading out to interview some playwright guy for the crappy theatre magazine she works for. The playwright’s name is Will Connolly and addition to being a prick (language!), he is a dead ringer for The Todd! *gasp* Seeing this of course, sends Elizabeth into flashback land . . .

Where she and The Todd are in college and supposed to go to a party. However, Elizabeth’s superior physical makeup (stunning aquamarine eyes and size six figure!) wasn’t enough to keep her from catching the plague, so she is not well enough to go. Instead she suggests that The Todd go with Jessica . . .

In a weird bit of happenstance – perhaps they’re in the Matrix?- Jessica and The Todd are remembering the same party . . .
Where people mistake Jessica for Elizabeth and Jessica and The Todd decide that it’s fun and don’t bother correcting them because they are both kind of into it . . . and in a creepy turn, they sort of forget that they were pretending and then head back to The Todd’s apartment to bone. Just . . . so many . . . wrong things about that.

Back in present day NYC, Elizabeth runs into Will a.k.a. Prick Todd at a bar and they start drinking together. They are served by random Irish stereotype bartender Liam who Elizabeth notes, is so hot her favourite cheaty twin sister Jessica would be all over him. This of course leads to a discussion about family and relationships and drama, things that Prick Todd and Elizabeth have in common. They bond over this and then Prick Todd invites her back to his apartment where they fool around a bit. Go Elizabeth! You get your mack on!

Elizabeth heads home after some decent heavy petting and gets a call from her mom. Apparently, her grandmother is celebrating her 80th birthday and they want Elizabeth to return to Sweet Valley for her birthday party. Elizabeth says no way, but then thinks that perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if she had Prick Todd come with her as her date. She calls him up and tries to lure him into her trap asks him to come with her but with his play only a couple of weeks from launching, he tells her that he can’t afford to get away. He does however joke that Elizabeth should bring hot Irish sterotype Liam with her to use as boy bait for stupid flaky Jessica. So the fool, I’m afraid she gets thinking . . .

A dangerous pasttime I know. But that crazy blonde bitch is her sister and her fidelity’s only so so . . . So the wheels in her head they get turning as Liz thinks of that loony old tart, see, with quite cunning use of that dumb Irish dude, little Lizzy can split them apart!

But before it gets too good, we’re back in flashbackland again. This time we’ve moved up from Jessica and The Todd boning on his futon to a mere 8 months ago where Jessica is married to a dude named Regan. You remember the name Regan, don’t you Jess? He was president when you first started high school! Anyway, Regan is Jess’ husband (second one by my count!) and he’s much older and basically pays for her to shop and jetset around the world. However, Jess is unhappy. Apparently, he doesn’t like to party enough and he gets jealous when she flashes her boobs at other guys. I know, right? What a monster. So, six months into being married for a second time before she hits 30, Jessica decides that she wants to end the relationship. Instead of talking to him about it like an adult, she lets him believe that he’s taking her shopping for the millionth time and then ditches him to run off to the airport where she catches a plane back to Sweet Valley. My eyes are rolling so hard in my head right now, I am afraid they’ll get stuck at an odd angle.

Oh and a couple of sidenotes before we head back into present day:
1) Steven Wakefield is now a successful lawyer and is married to Cara Walker. According to Jessica, Steven cheats on Cara regularly and Cara copes by turning into one of those girls who eat their feelings.
2) Winston Egbert developed some software or something that he made a bunch of money on and now everyone says he’s a jerk. You know, considering what a prick everyone else in Sweet Valley is, I have to wonder what the hell Winston did to make everyone hate him. I mean is he running a child prostitution ring or hosting dogfights? Because from what I’ve seen so far, I think Winston’s golden.

Back to present day for a double shot of the twins!
In NYC, Elizabeth goes back to the bar where Liam works and pumps him for personal information. When she finds out that he in fact has family in California, she manipulates him into coming to the party for “Grandmommy” (yuck).
In Sweet Valley, we learn that Jessica works for an environmentally conscious cosmetics company. We also learn that her boss has the hots for her, but Jessica has too much integrity . . .

Sorry, I had to stop for a minute there since my eyes were watering from the hysterical laughter . . . Jessica has too much integrity to sleep with him and instead heads home to The Todd. This gets her to thinking about the past and when she came back to Sweet Valley after escaping her tyrannical husband.

In flashbackland, Jessica is living with Elizabeth and The Todd. Elizabeth thinks that Jessica and The Todd are getting on eachothers nerves, but anyone with eyes can see that they are really just sporting wood/ladywood for eachother. To get out of the house and away from The Todd so they don’t accidentally have sex again, Jessica goes for a walk on the beach and comes upon her brother who is locked in a loving embrace with . . . not Lila as many first supposed, but Aaron Dallas!

Steven Wakefield’s totally gay, everybody! I think this deserves a super sassy dance break because it is the first interesting thing that’s happened all book!

It’s Mercutio from The Edge! He seems to be having a much better time in this video than he ever did being mauled by THE EVIL BEAR.

There are many back and forth flashbacks to Steven’s new gayness but for the sake of not jumping around so much, let me just keep it all in one tidy section.

Steven was out and about running Wakefieldian errands one day when he ran into Aaron. They had been friendly in high school but never really close, so Steven gets caught up with Aaron quickly. Apparently after high school, Aaron went off to a real University (Stanford) and studied architecture. After that, he lived in San Francisco for a while (I think this is Francine Pascal’s version of a pink flag) before coming back to Sweet Valley. I am not  really sure why, after living in a place as exciting and progressive as San Francisco, one would want to come back to Sweet Valley. It’s like a crazy sinkhole for hopes and dreams! But yeah, he’s back and they arrange to get together. The night that they are supposed to meet, Steven doesn’t tell Cara where he’s going and he gets really excited at every dude who walks in the door thinking it’s Aaron. They hang out in the bar for a bit before Aaron tells Steven that they are heading back to his (Aaron’s) place. Holy $h!t, you guys! Steven Wakefield is keeping it on the downlow! Fifteen minutes in a Chili’s with Aaron Dallas and he’s totally up for gay sex! And those jalapeno poppers weren’t even laced with anything so he can claim ignorance later! And now I am wondering if he is a top or bottom! Aah! My head is so filled with questions! Why, Francine Pascal? Why are you putting these things in my head?

So Jessica knows and Steven is freaking out because everyone else still thinks he’s straight and he’s not ready to tell them that he isn’t yet . . . and you know guys, I’m not really one for advocating spousal deception, but knowing a lot of people who have come out, it can be heart-breakingly difficult. Coming out, even when the people around you support you, is hard. Because there are a lot of people who won’t support you and those assholes can be loud and mean and sometimes they carry rocks as one of my awesome friends learned the hard way. Hell, putting aside other people, even just admitting it to yourself can be a major emotional struggle. According to this book, Steven not only just discovered he liked dudes in his late twenties, but he just discovered it like a month ago and now he’s forced into the awkward situation of having to incidentally come out to a family member. It’s scary.

Steven begs Jessica not to tell anyone yet because he kind of needs to process this himself and figure out how to deal with his own personal situation and Jessica agrees. Well, let me amend that. Jessica agrees for about five seconds, then drives over to Steven’s house and interrupts one of Cara’s marathon pie baking sessions to out Steven to her. Jessica does this as she thinks it is her duty to get involved and believes that Steven will thank her for it later. Because it’s better to be dragged out of the closet than to come out of your own accord. Man, Jessica, sometimes (by which I mean all the time) you are one cold, conceited bitch.

Back to our present non-outing time, Liz has lunch with Prick Todd and tells him she took his advice and is now bringing yummy yummy mantreat Liam with her to her grandmother’s birthday. Will is like “Yeah, I was joking about that, you lunatic. That is a supreme bad idea and you will live to regret it.” You know, Prick Todd, you actually speak some decent sanity! I’m changing your name to Nonprick Todd! Unfortunately, the sanity is not really working for Liz who is annoyed that someone is finally calling her on her bull$h!t and, instead of directing her anger at her stupid no-good sister and stupid no-good The Todd, she turns on Nonprick Todd and yells “Fuck you!” right in his face. According to Elizabeth, she is 27-years-old and that is the first time she has ever said those words. Seriously, Liz? You’ve never even song along to this song?

(Yes, this is the real song with the real swear word in it so if you’re at work, sport some headphones. The clean version drives me crazy.)

After she swears at Nonprick Todd like a Tourette’s Sufferer and runs back to her apartment, she decides the most awesome thing to do is to call up her bestie Bruce and discuss the grandmother birthday party happenings. As it is, he has already been invited to the party by Mrs. Wakefield to act as Liz’s pseudodate, so he’s feeling a little put out that Liz is now bringing her own party guest. And why is Bruce feeling so put out, you might ask? Because he secretly loves her!

Flashing back to some years ago, Bruce’s parents got in a horrible accident and were both rushed to the hospital where they both later died. However, while poor Bruce was waiting to discover their fates in the hospital, Elizabeth came to be with him. In fact, she came every day and held his hand when no one else would. It was one of the few things that got him through that horrible time and it made him realize that he truly loved her. Oh my God, you guys, is Bruce Patman my favourite character in this book? Because I think he is.

At some point, before the truth is revealed to Liz, Bruce finds out that Jessica and Todd have been carrying on behind her back. Bruce wants to tell her, but is incredibly conflicted because he feels like he would just be telling her for his own personal gain and that would be kind of malicious. These doubts are removed from his mind when, over burgers at local restaurant, Elizabeth tells him that she and The Todd are close to setting a wedding date. Not wanting her to marry a man who is secretly horrible to her, Bruce bucks up the courage to tell her the truth when Ken Matthews runs into the diner they are sitting in (because there was an APB out on them?) to announce what is the most surreal and thankless thing that happens in the entire book.

Winston Egbert is dead.

. . .

I cannot even tell you how annoyed by this I am. Winston gets one scene in this entire book where he is actually present and do you want to know what that scene is? He almost unknowingly spilled the beans about Jessica and The Todd cheating (he shared the apartment with The Todd and thought he and Elizabeth were having sex in it) and then The Todd moved out and totally dumped him as a friend because he was scared Winston would rat him out! So from there on out, none of his friends talked to him and he was completely abandoned! And then, all anyone did was talk about what a dickbag they thought he was! Until one day, when he got sad and drunk and fell off his balcony and died! All Winston ever wanted to do was to make people laugh and have friends and wear glasses and then, for the sake of drama, Francine Pascal unceremoniously offed him! What the suck, dude?!

While Elizabeth and Bruce are off at the diner hearing about poor dead Winston, Steven has been home and I guess been confronted by Cara about the whole gay thing and the fact that Jessica told her. So, as he is super angry at Jessica – and kind of rightly so since it was not her secret to tell – he barges over to Elizabeth and The Todd’s where Jessica is staying and yells in her face about it. Steven calls Jessica a selfish bitch (AMEN!) and because she can’t deal with being confronted with her $h!tty behaviour (doesn’t that sound familiar, LIZ?!), she starts to cry. The Todd, being a sucker for a damsel in distress, goes to comfort her and the comfort turns to kissing and Elizabeth walks in on them . . . except she isn’t really looking at them and doesn’t see what they’re doing so, instead, she assumes someone told them about Winston and they are comforting each other. Bruce, however, totally sees them and thinks they’re jerks.

Later at Winston’s funeral, Jessica gets all sappy and sad about his passing and Elizabeth actually thinks that Jessica is sorry for how crappily she treated Winston, but it is totally a ploy to get Elizabeth to agree that forgiveness is important. If it’s not a self-serving bitch, then it’s not Jessica Wakefield.

Sometime after the funeral, Jessica’s rich old husband Regan shows up at Elizabeth and The Todd’s place in Sweet Valley. I am not really sure to what real end since he doesn’t seem to have divorce papers or even be all that invested in getting Jessica back. But Regan does totally see Jessica and The Todd jonesing for each other which he manages to point out to Elizabeth before scooting away in his sports car.

Elizabeth finally totally notices the fact that they’re kind of inches away from doing it again and she confronts them. They are so lame that they neither try to deny it or apologize for it. C’mon The Todd! At least, play her a meaningful song or something! In fact, I have the perfect one!

“I know you won’t believe it’s true, I only went with her ’cause she looks like you!”

And that is the last flashback! THANK FREAKING GOD!

In now permanent present time, Elizabeth has arrived at Grandmommy’s birthday with man-bait Liam. There is some reference to how this is just like a movie (Picture Perfect?) except that Liam doesn’t sound as charming as Jay Mohr. Much to Elizabeth’s irritation, Jessica doesn’t seem interested in Liam but Liam seems hella-interested in Jessica and keeps fawning all over her. This makes The Todd pretty angry and before you know it, all the Wakefield siblings are fighting and Alice is yelling at Ned to “bring out the fucking cake!” I kind of like that Alice has finally reached her limit with her stupid scheming children to the point that she starts yelling about fucking cake in the middle of her octagenarian mother’s birthday. That’s kind of boss.

Elizabeth leaves Sweet Valley and heads back to New York where she still has to interview Nonprick Todd. I’m going to switch it back to Will now because I am tired of typing the word Todd more than I have to. She is a little stressed out about how it’s going to go due to the “Fuck you!” face-shouting incident, but he somehow apologies to her and they manage to get through the interview relatively painlessly. Then, when the interview is over, out of both horniness and a desire to keep him from asking questions about her family, Elizabeth has sex with Will. And she doesn’t even cry once! Hooray? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s kind of creepy that Elizabeth is constantly using sex to shut dudes up. Is her vagina some sort of crazy cone of silence? Does sex with her cause select muteness? I don’t get it.

So after sex with her interview subject (at least it’s slightly more professional than sex with her boss?), Liz returns home to her apartment to find Jessica waiting for her. Jessica has apparently left The Todd! *sigh* For Christ Sakes, you stupid moron! You are pushing 30 now! Running away should no longer be your go-to relationship move. Because, seriously? Relationships can be hard. Sure, there are awesome, kick ass, fun times, but there are other times that are not so fun where people lose their jobs or your sex drives are at odds or one of you gets sick or whatever. And part of loving someone – I mean truly loving someone – is realizing that no matter what you are enduring at the moment, you’re enduring it with your partner because you are a team and they have your back. That’s what love is. Getting through life together. And you know what? At the end of the day, sometimes getting through the crappy parts together means more. Getting through all the great stuff together is nothing, because anyone can stand by you through the great stuff. It takes someone who loves you to hold your hand and help you make it through the hellish parts. Grownups don’t run!

And yes, readers, I do realize that I just lectured a fictional character but it annoyed me so much I had to. Make of my mental state what you will.

Back to the twins. Jessica starts crying over The Todd and Elizabeth sees that she loves him and with like five teardrops, their 8 month feud is at an end. Can you believe it? Jessica’s tears must be made of diamonds or something because I have never gotten out of anything that easily.

Jessica heads back home to be with The Todd and Elizabeth stays in New York to finish her article and see Will’s play. The play does pretty well and Liz is happy for Will but she realizes when she sees him with his ex-girlfriend that she is not in love with him and that they are better off as friends. Is this a mature decision from Miss Elizabeth Wakefield? Did someone switch the book I am reading? Because I don’t believe it.

I also don’t believe it when Elizabeth heads back to Sweet Valley to be Jessica’s Maid of Honour in her Wedding to Elizabeth’s long time boyfriend. When Wakefields mend fences, they do it with iron posts, bitch! But before she goes and deals with wedding stuff, Elizabeth pops by to see Bruce Patman who has big news. First, he tells her he sold his house in Sweet Valley (for $10,000 less that they buyers were willing to pay because he doesn’t care about money anymore. Is this really Bruce Patman?!) and second, he’s moving to New York because he loves her and wants to be where she is. Bruce Patman is my favourite character in this whole book you guys! What is up with the universe?!

Now I could go into the description that follows of them having sex, but I am going to forego that creepiness and instead post another song because that is how I role today. But know this – Elizabeth Wakefield has taut nipples!

Let the soothing sounds of Mr. Big wash that mental image out of your head.
I know bands don’t have slogan, but if they did, theirs should have been “Mr. Big = Huge hair. Rhythmic clapping. Denim.”

So both Wakefield sisters end up with people who have personalities that match their opposing twin. Snarky and brash Jessica marries sensitive and thoughtful The Todd and sensitive and thoughtful Elizabeth is lovers with snarky and brash Bruce! I am sure there is some sort of weird Freudian theory that this is an example of, but the book’s happy ending is Jessica and Todd’s wedding, so I don’t want to get too far into that.

Mini character recaps for anyone who is interested:
Bill Chase – The surfer dude who dated Dee Dee Gordon back in the day married a female basketball player.
Mr. Collins (Roger, if you’re nasty) – The twins’ old English teacher is in a long term relationship but never got remarried. His son is at UCLA.
Lila Fowler – Divorced Ken and attended Jessica’s wedding with Jeffrey French who seems to have lost the wife he was saddled with a couple of hundred pages ago.
Ken Matthews – Divorced Lila and was injured in the NFL but now works as a commentator.
DeeDee Gordon – Bill’s ex is a working artist.
Charlie Markus – Married Annie Whitman, the slutty cheerleader that Jessica and her friends almost pushed to commit suicide. He is a writer.
Annie Whitman – Married Charlie and has a baby now (see what all your slutty, slutty sex has led to, Annie?)
Betsey Martin – Still the crazy drunken sister of beautiful dead Tricia Martin, Steven’s first girlfriend.
A.J. Morgan – Broke up with Enid but still selling Reeboks.
Enid Rollins – Broke up with A.J. Morgan, planning to run for city council.
Roger Barrett Patman – Bruce’s illegitimate cousin. Works as a music producer and is married to a rock star.
Caroline Pearce – Still recovering from cancer. Still a gossip.
Nicky Shephard – Former Sweet Valley bad boy. Now in AA.
Cara Walker – Divorced from Steven. A math student baking her way to a Masters degree.
Robin Wilson – Still a caterer. Still surprisingly thin according to Jessica.
Bruce Patman – Once a snide rich kid, now reformed by the love of Elizabeth.
Aaron Dallas – Steven Walkfield’s boyfriend.
Alice Wakefield – Still the twins’ mom and survivor of breast cancer because Francine Pascal needed to give her another character trait in the epilogue.
Ned Wakefield – Still the twins’ dad and a successful lawyer.
Todd Wilkins – Married to Jessica and clueless about what a harpy she is.
Elizabeth Wakefield – Twin sister of Jessica, now happily sexing it up with her lover Bruce.
Jessica Wakefield – Married to Todd, twin sister of Elizabeth and learner of no pertinant lessons whatsoever.

As for poor Winston, if you were hoping he might get a last second reprieve from his drunken balcony death like Olivia got a last minute reprieve from that stupid refrigerator, it looks like you are shit out of luck as he remains dead.

Poor, poor Winston.

So that is the entire book. Now don’t get me wrong, it was pretty awful, but I also fully acknowledge that if she writes another one, I will still be all over that garbage because there’s nothing quite like a good train wreck. Oh Sweet Valley, you are totally, yet fascinatingly, awful.

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I am not, nor have I ever been, a girly girl. The closest I ever came was a weird era in the late ’80s where I insisted on wearing skirts and dresses all the time while climbing trees. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea as it resulted in many ripped outfits or my ass hanging out half the time, but I guess as a five-year-old, I wasn’t that concerned about wardrobe destruction or panty-flashing.

Anyway, one of the few offerings I made to the altar of estrogen growing up was being a pretty avid fan of the Sweet Valley series. I’ve mentioned this before, but I followed those Wakefield twins through thick and thin. Grade School (Sweet Valley Kids), Middle School (Sweet Valley Twins), High School (Sweet Valley High) and Post-Secondary (Sweet Valley University), we went through many years together. Common sense and continuity be damned! The Wakefield girls were my girls . . . And man, were they ever mean girls sometimes! I’ve only realized this more as an adult, but what sanctimonious little pricks they were to some of their friends. I mean Lila was generally thought of as “the group bitch”, but she was the respectable kind of bitch. In that way, she was kind of like Sweet Valley‘s own James Spader. She didn’t hide the fact that she was an asshole under a bunch of bumbling and cutesy gestures ANDREW MCCARTHY– she owned it and you knew what you were getting with her.

Anyway, my lovely and much more girly sister-in-law reminded me of the series again this morning when she posted a link on my Facebook wall to an interview with Francine Pascal (the all-knowing creator god of the Sweet Valley Universe) who was talking about this . . .

*And the angelic choir sang the praises of the Wakefield clan*

I wasn’t that excited about it because this book is practically Sweet Valley folk lore at this point. There has been talk time and time again that there was going to be a book following the Wakefields & their plucky pals post-grad, but the reports were always riddled with errors and the release date of the book was never firm, so I was sceptical the thing would ever see the light of day.

Until, apparently, now because, unbeknowst to me, the book was released yesterday and my nearby bookstore has 43 copies of it! Hells ya!

So needless to say, I will be heading over to the bookstore at lunch because Sweet Valley, she is my lady crack**. I am so addicted to the ridiculous, manufactured drama of it that I need . . . nay, have to read what happens to those blonde bitches next! Woot! So excited! Trashy book, here I come!

(A reading and a detailed recap will be coming shortly.)

*And something that I didn’t mention in my Andrew McCarthy Sucks! post but that I should have was that, when Andie and Blaine (blech!) finally get back together and kiss and whatever, they’re in like an alley or a parking lot or whatever with none of his stupid jerk friends around so he’s still ashamed of her! Pretty easy to deliver big speeches about how much integrity you have when you don’t actually have to have any balls to back it up, eh Blaine? At least Danny Zuko who, don’t get me wrong, I also have problems with danced with Sandy in front of everyone at the carnival thingy! Bah! HATE!
**You know, I just realized that by calling a post “Lady Crack,” I am probably opening my blog up to a bunch of really unsavoury blog search terms but my brain is so clouded with happy ridiculous thoughts that I don’t care. Sorry, perverts!

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Bitch Guilt

I’m embedding The Dandy Warhols’ “We Used To Be Friends” into this post because it relates to the topic and is one of my favourite Dandy Warhol songs.

I got into a conversation with a couple of my girlfriends today and it really got me thinking . . .

So I have this Dude Friend who I’ve been friends with since my early 20s. He is a nice guy. Sort of.

Our history is a bit weird. Way back when we first started being friends, I developed a crush on him. He did not seem into me and so we were purely platonic. We’d hang out, have fun and then go our separate ways. There were approximately three times we could have hooked up, but at the end of the day, nothing romantic ever happened. I have never been able to maintain friendships with anyone I’ve had a romantic relationship with, and I wasn’t in a very relationship-y place at the time, so I considered this a good thing. I mean why mess up our awesome friendship over sex?

So six months after I get married to the ever fantastic Boy, I run into DF at a bar. He has been drinking for some time and is happy to see me. However, when it is time for me to go, he hugs me very low around the waist and then starts bringing up what I will for the sake of brevity refer to as “Possible Romantic Exploit #2”. I feel a bit uncomfortable, but I don’t want to make a scene, so I smile and leave. The next day, I go to talk to him about it, but before I can tackle to subject, he starts talking about how drunk he was and how last night was so crazy etc. So I drop it.

For a while after that, we have a variety of encounters in group situations where he doesn’t really talk to me all that much. Things are awkward, but okay – sometimes we do stupid things in front of other people and we feel silly for it. It is not the end of the world.

Then, a few months pass and it’s Boy’s birthday. About 15 minutes after I post something on Facebook wishing my spouse a happy birthday, I get an update that this dude has sent me a message. When I check Facebook, there is no message there, but in my e-mail account, I find an e-mail containing a message from him that is mildly derogatory towards me. It’s not the most awful thing anyone has ever said to me by far, but it just seems a bit weird and not really within the spirit of our friendship. I don’t really know what to do, so I forward the e-mail update back to him to let him know that, even if he thought better of it later and deleted it, I still got his message. I also make a little joke about the message, like “haha, very funny!” to show that it doesn’t really bother me and that it’s not a big deal.

A little while after that, I hear we’re headed to the same concert. We cross paths and I mention that it’ll be fun to hang out if he’s at the same show. He responds enthusiastically and I think that maybe we’ll be able to talk or something and get on the same page. Except when I see him, all I get from him is a freeze out. He’ll talk to me if I talk to him, but otherwise, nothing.

So here’s the thing: this dude hasn’t been acting like much of a friend for a while now and I have yet to really, properly call him on it. You want to know why? Bitch Guilt. As much as there’s history and feelings and mutual friends and all sorts of other pedantic bull$h!t, the thing that secretly worries me the most is him thinking I’m a bitch and then telling other people what a bitch I am.

I know. I am like the worst feminist ever, but I can’t help it. It bothers me. It bothers me that people could think less of me and, even worse than that, it bothers me that it bothers me that people could think less of me. Like, why do I care what other people think of me? And if they think bad things after hearing that, it would be on the basis of what? Some dude I didn’t sleep with feeling spurned because we’re “just friends”? And I mean, are we really even friends at this point? Do friends mess with friends that are in relationships? Do friends slag other friends? Do friends freeze friends out? Do friends make friends cry because of how miserable and alienated they feel after hanging out? No they don’t . . . or at least they shouldn’t because that is MESSED UP.

And Bitch Guilt is messed up. That stupid word, “bitch,” holds so much power sometimes. If men stand up for themselves, they get to be called things like “brave” and “assertive” but if you’re a woman doing the same thing, the word “bitch” is rolling off people’s tongues before you can even catch your breath. So, to keep from being called a “bitch,” we women do all sorts of things. We pretend that things don’t bother us. We make stupid jokes. We swallow down derogatory words from others. All because we don’t want to seem like we’re “emotional.” Like we’re “humourless.” Like we’re “BITCHy.” And the kicker of it is, the people who are going to say those things about us, who want to say those things about us, are going to say them anyway. Because that’s what they do. Because nothing is ever their fault. Because they’re surrounded by “bitches”.

I have no idea what is going to happen in our relationship. I know he can be a decent guy, so maybe we’ll work things out eventually and become friends again . . . or maybe we’re just destined to emplode in some sort of messy show of histrionics and hormones. At this point, I don’t know and with every day that passes, I’m inching closer and closer to thinking it would just be better to excise him from my life all together. Out of all of this, the only thing I do know is that, just like no one can make you feel inferior without your permission, I’ve got to teach myself that no one can make you feel like a bitch without your permission and get the hell over this Bitch Guilt.

Has anyone else out there in the interwebs experienced “Bitch Guilt”? What was the situation and how did you deal with it?

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I haven’t done one of these in a while, but after watching a very special movie last week, I was inspired to return to movie recapping.

So without further ado, may I present to you: The Edge (1997) a.k.a. Jack Donaghy and Hannibal Lecter fight a bear!

I love the blurred texture of this poster, as though they're going at some supersonic action movie speed. Amazing.

I know, I know. It’s not a conventional choice. My other picks were really actiony or campy and perhaps lent themselves to an easier skewering, but the thing about this movie is, while it is actually not poorly written (by David Mamet) and it is reasonably interesting to watch, there are parts of it that make me question its logic so hard, I thought it might be an interesting thing to dissect.

So back to The Edge. Anthony Hopkins plays a silver-haired billionaire named Charles Morse, but for the purposes of this recap, we’re calling him Hannibal. Hannibal is married to Elle Macpherson who, playing against type, is a model. Her character’s called Mickey, I guess to conjure up an image of youthful spunkiness, but since we don’t really see her do much of anything, it doesn’t really matter. The main thing we learn about their relationship is that Hannibal is old and Elle Mickeypherson is young and hot. That is it. I was always kind of hoping that we’d get a little more insight into how they got together or even worked together as a couple, but it never happens. They have no relationship chemistry at all and instead, Elle Mickeypherson treats him like her favourite grandpa . . . which is why Alec Baldwin is kind of a problem.

Alec Baldwin plays a character named Bob Green, but we’re calling him Jack. Now, please keep in mind that this movie was filmed long, long ago in the 1990s, back when “Being A Baldwin” still meant something. Granted, this movie was shot in the later ’90s, so by this point Baldwin’s appearance was kind of halfway between his young skinnypants Beetlejuice self and his latter day elder statesman of Thursday night television self (suck on that, Chevy Chase!), but he was still rocking the slicked hair and the steely gaze, so he’s a formidable opponent to Hannibal’s old codger.

1990s Alec Baldwin - Not as dumb as Stephen, not as dumpy as Daniel.

You see, “Jack” is a famous fashion photographer who is traveling with Mickeypherson, Hannibal and a bunch of stock artsy characters up to Alaska to shoot Mickeypherson against an Alaskan backdrop for some reason. What the photo shoot is for is never really made clear, but it is a grandiose show of Culture Misappropriation with Mickeypherson dressing up like a sexy Indian and posing on a dock in front of a lake. While they are shooting, Jack gets frustrated with the quality of his pictures and so he talks to the Wizened Old Scarface Innkeeper who shows him a picture of a real Indian who lives nearby. Jack is suddenly inspired by this and wants to make a jaunt out to whatever remote part of the Alaskan forest the Indian dude lives in to take pictures of him instead of Mickeypherson. Again, this brings up the question of what magazine this shoot is actually for? I think if FHM or Stuff magazine sent you on an expensive trip out into the wilderness to take pictures of a bikini babe and then you came back with pictures of a hard living old Indian dude, you’d have some explaining to do.

Pampered rich white ladies pretending to be ethnic is SO in right now.

In any case, Jack somehow convinces Hannibal to come along with him and a small crew to find the real Indian dude. All the while, Hannibal has been reading an Outdoor Adventuring book given to him by his assistant, so I suppose, feeling the need for some adventure, he joins Jack and his assistant (played by Harold Perrineau a.k.a. Mercutio) on a rinky-dink plane to go find Jack’s weathered old muse. Jack makes a point of assuring everyone that they will be right back which is how you know they are totally screwed. Have you ever watched a movie where a character saying “I’ll be right back” hasn’t led to their certain doom? Me neither.

Anyway, when they get to the guy’s rustic little cabin, there is a note pinned to the door saying he’s “Gone Fishin’” (or “Huntin’” as it were), so the team re-boards their plane and takes to the skies once more.

However, while they are in the air and chatting away, Jack makes a poorly timed joke about how he thinks Hannibal’s wife is cute. As Hannibal was already feeling a bit spiky/suspicious about Jack’s relationship with Mickeypherson, this leads him to respond with “So, how do you plan to kill me?” And pretty much immediately, the plane is downed by a flock of birds.

Stupid The Edge pilot! Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberg would NEVER have let this happen!

Again, I have questions:

1)      Are birds not visible to pilots unless they are being sucked up into their Cessna engines?
2)      Would that line of dialogue actually be said by a real human being who wasn’t:
a) a huge drama queen? Or b) in an action movie? Because it doesn’t even seem real.
3)      Have none of these people ever heard of the word “divorce”? Because chances are, you’d still get money and things could be a lot less murdery. Just an idea!

So, temped by fate, the plane has crashed and is rapidly sinking into the Alaskan lake. Jack swims to safety while Hannibal uses his trusty hunting knife to cut Mercutio free of his seatbelt and rescue him. The pilot sadly receives no such help as he was done in by the duck that came crashing through his windshield. Poor, poor expendable pilot.

Once Jack, Hannibal and Mercutio make it to shore, they all take a moment to freak out about what just happened. I have to say, they recover from the trauma of just surviving a plane crash pretty well as they all seem to be pretty together within about 5 minutes. If it were me, I would be chanting “Holy $h!t” and rocking in the fetal position for the next two years. But, I guess you’ve got to focus on the task at hand, which for these guys is not freezing their asses off in the Alaskan wilderness since they are all wet and only wearing light polar fleece jackets for warmth. Jack has matches but they don’t work, so he instead opts to start a fire with one of their conveniently saved-from-the-plane rescue flares. So, one problem solved!

The next day, Hannibal take a paperclip off a bundle of papers he’d been keeping in his pocket, magnetizes it on his silk shirt and makes a makeshift compass with it in a tree stump. The men resolve to start walking back in the direction they came from when they encounter . . . *dun dun dun* a giant Kodiak bear! You see Wizened Old Scarface Innkeeper had previously warned them about bears, but none of them could have imagined his warning was actually an important piece of exposition.

I know, right?!

It is at this stage of the review that I would like to point out that THE EVIL BEAR was played by famous bear actor Bart the Bear who basically played “The Bear” in every movie that needed a bear from 1977 until his death in 2000 from cancer. Watching this movie in particular reminded me of how typecast poor Bart was. I mean who wants to constantly play “The Bear” in everything? I’ll bet he was just yearning to play a goldfish or Jean Val Jean or something. He could have become a famous Academy Award winner! . . . and then followed up his big screen tour de force with a movie in which he wore a fat suit. *sigh* Bears can dream, can’t they?

In any case, getting back on track after that detour into animal acting, THE EVIL BEAR, having locked onto their scent then starts chasing them through the forest. To get away, the men push over a tree and create a single log bridge across a rushing stream to supposedly make a quicker getaway, but truth be told, they seem to kind of be taking their time considering there is a two tonne man destroyer on their tail. For some reason, Mercutio hasn’t caught onto the fact that he is merely a Red Shirt in this whole wilderness adventure so he crosses the bridge with Jack and Hannibal is left trailing behind them. I guess this is done for dramatic effect, but when it comes to celebrity hierarchy, everyone knows that Anthony Hopkins trumps a dude from LOST any day of the week.

Instead of crotch scooching across the log like a sane person, Hannibal decides to tightrope walk across the log bridge, only to have THE EVIL BEAR jump up and down on the end of the log, making him drop the bag of flares and nearly drown in the rushing water below. Smooth moves, Hannibal! Thankfully, just in the nick of time, Jack grabs his hand and pulls him to shore, saving him from a watery grave. Isn’t that swell of him? You should let him sleep with your wife, Hannibal . . . if he hasn’t already (SPOILER ALERT!)

Scary bears, are watching you, watching your every move!

Once they are free of THE EVIL BEAR – because in this version of reality, bears don’t like water – Mercutio, like any normal person, starts spiraling into a state of panic again. It’s not exactly a Bill Paxton in Aliens kind of spazfest, but he’s pretty scared, so Hannibal decided to distract him with busy work and gives him a knife and a stick to make a spear. Unfortunately, instead of making a spear, Mercutio promptly stabs himself in the leg and starts bleeding all over the place. Hannibal uses some cloth to make a bandage/tourniquet like the elderly boy scout he is and then hands some of the blood soaked strips to Jack, telling him to bury or burn them so as not to attract the attention of THE EVIL BEAR. However, Jack instead takes this instruction to mean “hang the soiled bandages on the branches of trees downwind of our fire so that THE EVIL BEAR can smell Mercutio’s flamebroiled goodness” like a goddang twat. You know, Alec Baldwin, it’s a good thing you were pretty because you sure are dumb. So, since this movie barely lets five minutes elapse between dramatic foreshadowing statement and sudden doom, no sooner has Hannibal discovered the bandages in the trees does poor Mercutio get his ass mauled to death by THE EVIL BEAR. Alas, poor Mercutio, we hardly knew yea!

Oh Harold Perrineau, will you ever not die?

With Mercutio dispatched, that just leaves Hannibal and Jack, our two intrepid adventurers left to go. The pair decide to stay on the move and make a trap to capture a squirrel for some good eatin’. They rig up a variation of the old “baited box on a string” trap and are deliriously happy when they catch a cute piece of fluffy-tailed prey. Sadly, their jubilation is cut short when they realize THE EVIL BEAR has caught their scent again and is stalking them through the woods once more. That was really fast. I would have thought good ol’ Mercutio would have provided him with at least two days worth of eats, but maybe THE EVIL BEAR was more in the mood for some supple Baldwin beef . . . just like Hannibal’s wife (SPOILER ALERT AGAIN! Damn, I’m really bad at this today!)

In a feeble attempt to ward off the bear, Hannibal and Jack take sticks from the fire and “randomly” throw them around their camp spot to form a perfectly symmetrical circle barrier that THE EVIL BEAR cannot hope to penetrate (unlike Hannibal’s wife who . . . yes, I’m sorry, I’ll stop now). Hannibal decides the only way that they are going to survive this journey is to dispatch THE EVIL BEAR because at least that way, they can get on with their journey back to civilization uninterrupted by pesky bear attacks. Hannibal bates THE EVIL BEAR with his own blood and the two join forces to lure it into a battle to the death. At one point, THE EVIL BEAR slashes Jack across the chest, but apparently, it’s the gentlest bear mauling ever, because he survives, as does Hannibal who manages to get THE EVIL BEAR to impale himself through the heart on a giant spike. You know, it was at this moment, I actually kind of felt bad for THE EVIL BEAR. I mean maybe he just wanted to talk to Anthony Hopkins about his work in Amistad or something. He could have had purer motivations than we realized!

Stabbed through the heart! And you're to blame! Baby, you give bears a bad name!

Anyway, as THE EVIL BEAR is now THE DEAD BEAR, the two men eat his meat and manage to skin the corpse to create some weather appropriate winter wear . . . because I think it’s winter? I don’t know. The only things I do know are:

1)      It’s started to snow,
2)      Hannibal’s little utility knife was strong enough to skin an entire bear,
3)      They must have had a sewing kit or something tucked away or there was a chapter in Hannibal’s Outdoor Adventure Book about making outfits out of bear carcass because coats and such they make look pretty expertly done.

Tragically, they’re not out of the woods, figuratively and literally yet because they have yet to be rescued. Really, at this point, with THE EVIL BEAR gone, we’re just killing time, but it does lead to one of the more ridiculous parts of the recap, so I’m continuing.

The men, dressed in their bear garb, come upon a cabin where they find some supplies. Hannibal reaches into his pocket to grab something and he pulls out the wad of paper that was originally clipped together by the paperclip they used for a compass earlier. It is the warranty for the birthday pocket watch Mickeypherson gave him, and attached to it is a slip of paper detailing what she wanted engraved on his watch . . . as well as what she wanted engraved on the watch she bought for her lover . . . Jack!

I wonder sometimes if Alec and William Baldwin (of "Fair Game" fame) ever compared notes about what it was like to be in movies with models. "Elle wouldn't shut up about being tall and from Australia! It was SO annoying!"

This is where I have some major logic issues with the movie. I know Mickeypherson is a model and perhaps not all that bright but:
1)      If you’re conducting an illicit affair with someone you work with, why didn’t you take more care to not hide the evidence in your husband’s birthday gift?
2)      If you’re buying presents for both your lover and husband, could you maybe have made TWO shopping trips?
3)      If you insist on being a moron and buying all sex partner gifts at the same store, do you really have to include names on all the engravings? I mean, if you’re discovered, wouldn’t you maybe want to maintain some shred of plausible deniability? The engraving she put on Jack’s watch read “Dear (Jack), Thanks for all the nights. Love (Mickeypherson)” which is just as good as saying “Dear (Jack), Thanks for boning me when my husband wasn’t around! Love, your ridiculously stupid secret lover (Mickeypherson).”

I don’t mean this as a tutorial for how to cheat on your spouse, but for crying out loud, get a bit of a brain, woman! Not to mention, it’s kind of bad form to buy both men similar gifts – makes a tacky thing even tackier!

So as Hannibal’s great fear that his hot wife is hooking up with someone else is realized, stupid Jack decides that he really IS going to try to kill Hannibal after all. Really, movie? They get through a plane crash and a bear attack and now he’s going to try and take him out by shooting him? He could have just let the bear get him or he could have just let him drown in that tree bridge crossing incident from earlier. Little to no effort on Jack’s part. What is the point of showing them bonding and making “Best Friends Forever” necklaces out of bear claws if you’re just going to turn one of them into a megadouche? That sucks!

1990s Alec Baldwin is plotting your doom!

Thankfully the sucking doesn’t last too much longer since, when Jack Donaghy goes to shoot Hannibal Lecter, he falls into a massive pit full of spikes and his leg gets impaled on a very large wooden stake. In spite of Jack’s being a backstabbing asshole, Hannibal manages to get him out of the pit and into a boat which he rows to safety. This doesn’t stop Jack from dying just as they are about to get rescued but it shows us that in spite of his old codgery-ness, Hannibal is actually an okay guy.

Once the bush plane lands back in civilization, Hannibal hands Mickeypherson back the sex watch he stole from Jack’s body as a subtle way of telling her he knows about the affair. Hannibal also tells all of the reporters gathered for a press conference that both of the men that accompanied him on the trip (the pilot gets no love!) died but that they really “saved (his) life.” Ummm, did I miss the part where Mercutio was useful in any way? Or the part where Jack Donaghy didn’t try to kill you, Hannibal? Because while I know it’s meant as some serious depth of character statement, it almost makes you seem kind of dumb that you’re glossing over the fact both of those chumps almost got your billionaire ass killed.

This is Anthony Hopkins' "I might have won an Academy Award, but I can't work miracles on killer bear movies!" face.

So that was The Edge. I hope you learned as much about bear attacks, illicit love affairs and survival in the wilderness as I did! Join me next time for the “I Watched It So You Didn’t Have To” Series when we examine the ins and outs of working as a bouncer . . .

Other entries in the “I Watched It So You Didn’t Have To” series:
Predator 2
Conan The Barbarian

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