In which I phone it in

I’m not a big Game of Thrones fan, and have really never even watched it seriously until this season– and I may not bother with the next book, either– but this is kind of a magical video and I want it where I can find it easily. And seeing as how I have nothing else to say tonight other than a generic reminder that I write books and maybe reading one or two of them would be something fun for you to do, here, have an excellent video:

In which I eat incorrectly

Pictured: not my poke bowl.

I went to the deli at my local supermarket for lunch today, and noticed that they have poke bowls as a food option now. Poke (pronounced po-keh, which I didn’t know until I started searching for images) is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl, only with a few other ingredients (in mine, cucumbers and tomatoes, for example) that typically aren’t found in most sushis.

I grabbed a tasty-looking poke bowl and some grapes and a Pepsi and headed to a table to eat my food. Now, this is important: I’ve gotten pretty good with chopsticks, to the point where I really don’t have to pay attention any longer when I’m eating with them, and I had a very busy afternoon ahead of me (I’m still taking half days every day due to the Ongoing Medical Disaster my family is experiencing) so I really wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating. I mixed everything up to what I thought was a satisfactory degree, removing the pile of ginger slices from the bowl as I went, tossed some soy sauce on top of it, and went to town. This is rice and tuna and salmon and some vegetables and a few stray pieces of fruit. It’s light and delicious. I don’t need to pay attention. I was looking at my phone and planning out the optimal order for the ten thousand things I had to do this afternoon. My brain was elsewhere.

And then, because I wasn’t paying attention, and because it was hidden under a Goddamn pile of lettuce and cucumbers rather than being somewhere where I could see it, I put an entire fucking ball of wasabi into my mouth without realizing what I was doing.

And. Well.

So, first of all: don’t eat an entire ball of wasabi.

Second: if you do eat an entire ball of wasabi, just suck it up and spit it out onto something and then quietly clean it up the mess you made, burning with shame the entire time.

Third: if you don’t spit it out, because spitting out mouthfuls of food in public is not something you do, don’t panic and fucking try and use the Pepsi you bought for a drink to cut the heat. It’s not going to fucking work.

Pepsi, as it turns out, when poured onto a mouthful of fucking wasabi, has a reaction not far from the reaction Diet Coke and Mentos do, only in this scenario, the Mentos are made of pain and suffering and fire.

I got it all down without vomiting or spitting a mountain of wasabi and aspirated cola all over the dining area. I don’t know how. And then, tears streaming down my face and my nose running and visibly fucking suffering, I went up to the poor fuckers at the checkout line nearby and told them to go have a word with the goddamn sushi chef and tell him that I was mostly blaming myself for this disaster but that he should never hide a pile of wasabi in a poke bowl again.

You put that shit on top, where motherfuckers can see it.

It wasn’t a good day.

I did finish the rest of the bowl, but only after making sure there wasn’t any more goddamned wasabi hidden anywhere.

In which I might have been wrong once four and a half years ago

You may be aware that four and a half Goddamn years ago I wrote a review of a stupid movie that I did not enjoy. That movie was called Snowpiercer. I’m not linking to the review, at least not in the text of this post; I’m sure it’ll show up at the bottom somewhere. That post has proven since then to be The Post That Will Not Die. There has been one– ONE day in the four and a half years since it was written that no one clicked on it. It is my second highest-traffic post of all time (it will cross 30,000 pageviews sometime this month) and it is the #1 Google result in the world for the phrase “Snowpiercer stupid.”

It’s been spiking again lately, going from 3-5 hits a day to 20-25 for the last couple of weeks, and whenever that happens I wonder why. This was a not-very-high-profile bad movie from six years ago, for Christ’s sake, and I don’t understand why people are still searching out bad reviews of it. Well, it turns out there’s news about a TV series, which … dandy. This is never going away.

And then I found this video in the comments on that post. And I have chosen to embrace its central thesis fully, and I officially take back everything I ever said about Snowpiercer, if and only if it turns out that it is true that it is a direct sequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Watch every second of this, please. Don’t watch Snowpiercer, but watch every second of this video about it:

In which I face Jod and walk backwards into Hell

It has come to my attention that there are actual human beings who think that the plural of “email” is “email.”

These people are sociopaths.

You can use “email” as a collective– “I get lots of email” or “I sent some email” if you like, but if it is used as a plural, ie, “He sent two emails”, and you don’t include that -s at the end, you are bad and wrong and you should go far away.

Or embrace the phrase “email messages,” and dodge the issue that way.

The end.

#REVIEW: CLOSER THAN YOU THINK, by Lee Maguire

A fascinating thing happened a few weeks ago, where within a couple of days I got emails from two different publishers offering me a free book in return for a review on this site. I’ve had individual authors send me ARCs a couple of times, but those were always in “Hey, who wants an ARC?” types of situations where I jumped in and happily claimed a book.

At any rate, they were hoping my review of Lee Maguire’s Closer Than You Think would hit the site on May 8th or 9th, and … uh … yeah, it’s the 11th, so I’m not doing a great job just yet in fulfilling my end of the bargain. Life has been doing an admirable job of getting in the way of my blogging lately, if you haven’t noticed.

Closer Than You Think is about Bryce Davison, a psychologist, who lives in central Pennsylvania with his basset hound, who he shares custody of with his estranged, not-quite-ex-yet wife. Lee Maguire, by the way, is a psychologist who lives in central Pennsylvania with his presumably not estranged wife and a basset hound. Davison’s life is more or less falling apart around him as the book opens; he’s trying to make things work with his wife but it’s not going well, he’s moved out and into his own place, and … oh, someone is stalking him. Someone who clearly is able to get into his apartment whenever they want, and is fond of doing things like drenching his pillow in floral perfume, leaving creepy notes about, hacking into his email, and stabbing his bathrobe to death, a scene that is actually quite a bit freakier than it sounds when I describe it that way.

I gotta be honest; I wasn’t a huge fan of the book. There’s a serviceable storyline in here, and Maguire knows how to pace a thriller– there are 91 chapters in this book’s 306 pages, which encourages binge-reading because finishing just one more chapter is always an easily achieved goal. But … well, look at the cover. See how the words “A BROKEN MINDS” at the bottom don’t look like they’re quite centered, and are kinda spaced funny, and maybe you’re not the type of person to notice and be bothered by that but I absolutely am? The whole book was kinda like that. Nothing terrible, just a lot of little stuff that kept cropping up and kicking me out of my reading. Occasional typos. Dialogue that is definitely consistent but is maybe rotated fifteen degrees or so from how people actually talk. A book that is set in 2019 (or, if it isn’t, never makes that clear) but whose main character takes a paragraph to log into his computer every single time he checks his email — something that happens a lot — and doesn’t really seem to understand how his phone works, and I’m not sure whether that’s supposed to be something about the character or if it reflects something about the author.

It’s not bad, mind you. There are things about the book I like. There’s real tension here, and a twisty-turniness(*) to the plot that I like, and I have to admit I didn’t see the way it ends coming, which I’m going to choose to interpret as a good thing. It’s kind of the Platonic ideal of the three-stars-out-of-five book; if you’re really into thrillers maybe bump that up a point.

(I sigh deeply, as I realize that this review isn’t super likely to get me sent any more free books. I like free books!)

Some links, for your websurfing pleasure:

(*) which autocorrect alters to “twisty-turviness,” which isn’t a word at all.