Monday, January 11, 2021

So Very NSFW, With Spoilers

When I went looking for romance novels online I happened on a winner!  

Nobody was more surprised than me. ( Now, this is light and crunchy brain snacks I'm talking about.)  "Lord of Scoundrels" was everything it's title and cover art promised and so very much more.  There was a lot of hot Victorian sex, there were harlots and pert behinds, plump breasts and ripping of bodices and exploring fingers finding dark curls, parting them to explore the wet, heated delights get the picture.  If you have to wait in line at the DMV, take a copy of this book with you.  It's a lot of fun! Really!

And so I went on looking for another, emboldened by this initial success, and by gosh, there was A.N. Roquelaure, aka Anne Rice!  Well well, thought I, she's tolerably readable, and so I came to open the pages of "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" which is a whole heapin' helping of WTF.  

See, I had searched online for 'Spicy Romance Titles'.  

This is not a spicy romance.  This is a whole shitpile of spanking, is what this is.  

I do not think that my intelligence has ever been so effectively assaulted by a book.  One thing I now know about Sleeping Beauty that I would have never guessed in my youth? Underneath that pretty dress is a cast iron ass.

 "Check this out," said Sleeping Beauty.  All the woodland creatures were astonished. "So that's why she clangs when she runs," they  thought.  Then they all went to therapy.

This woman gets spanked, whipped, whipped and spanked, slapped, spanked, whipped, strapped, spanked, spanked, spanked and whipped and spanked...after awhile, you get 'paddle fatigue'.  It's not just for rowing teams anymore. 

Sleeping Beauty wakes up.  Do not ask how, you do not want to know. She gets taken to a palace the size of Delaware.  And in that palace are 3000 princes and princesses and an empress, and they are just nuts about spanking people.   The usual BDSM stuff happens, but only as a kind of thin, modernist frame around all the goddamn spanking that goes on.  No matter what you're doing, from hanging on a St. Anthony's cross catching a snooze (as you do) to high-stepping around in boots equipped with horseshoes, you will get spanked.  Jammed onto the stone dong of a statue and left there for hours? Hung upside-down all night? Sodomized with a riding crop?  You'll be getting spanked, too.  Eating a sandwich?  Repairing a lawnmower? Here comes Mr. Paddle.  The shit never stops.  

The place has a whole hostage class of slave/nobles, healthy young attractive people who perform most household chores with their teeth, all waiting to get spanked. Or being spanked, or spanking someone else who is being spanked.  Why they put up with this shit is never explained.  They too have cast iron asses.  Everybody does.  You can just tear up any random passer-by with a leather paddle for an hour in this joint and not only will they not bleed, they'll just weep, quietly.  And then get spanked for weeping.

This is not about me being squicky about fetishes.  This is me being appalled by the sheer LSD idiocy of this book. 

And also appalled at myself for devouring it whole in one day.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Make 'em Laugh!

 So I'm going to lay it out for you.  I have Juvenile Onset Clinical Depression. Never going to go away.  They figure it's from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome that I was lucky enough to dodge in the womb, although I got a little on me.  My poor 15 year old mother must have looked like she was carrying a bag of bullfrogs when she walked across the room, with me in there trying to get out from under the Mad Dog-Everclear showerhead in there.

Now, every single day of my life is an exercise in fighting off that well-worn groove, because I was in my late-ish twenties before I got that diagnosis figured out, and the angel Prozac blessed me with relief.  Because you still carry those ingrained thinking patterns in your mind, you see, and while you might not be feeling like everything is made of shit, you're still habitually sniffing to make sure, if you see what I mean, and I know that you do.

The first thing in the morning when I wake up, the last thing I ever had seriously mess with my mellow and piss me off is right there.  Right there waiting on my pillow.  And my first response is to start in bitching. "Yeah, you thought you were sly but you found out different ya idiot," I'll mutter.  And if I let myself, that will go on all day.  And build.  I'll be folding laundry. "You think you can pass shit around on me and I won't say a word? Well you thought wrong, motherfucker!" and my yoga pants will cringe. "Because I told your shit, didn't I?  And you had the nerve to get all O-Fended, like you have a right," and all my towels just go unch ooch unch ooch under the couch and hide there trembling.  I'll be spitting fire. Walking around!  Telling people!

This is demented.  

I know it.  

My house has two hyoooge picture windows that face the sidewalk, and if I really let myself go, I'll be striding around my house doing chores, stopping to tell off the malefactors in my past with my hands on my hips and my head snaking around, stabbing my finger at them to make a particular point, turning on my heel dramatically and walking out of their imaginary life and some group of kids walking home from school is standing out on the sidewalk just staring at me, like I'm on the worlds largest television screen, and all their braincells are dying,' pft, pft, pft, pft...' because I'm the nice old lady in the neighborhood, and here I am acting like Gods motley fool gesturing and and tripping...

... and I'm The Only One In The Room.

So instead, the very instant that image begins to form in my head in the morning, the instant that I'm fully awake and the last time my daughter said some dumbass thing to me tries to make it self manifest, I cut that thought off short, say 'This goes at the foot of the Throne' and I do one of two things.  I count ten real things in my life that are positive, and I say them out loud.  It can be any ten real things in my life. 1. I have great hair. 2. We still have power. 3. I don't have to run the washing machine today.  And on that way.  It works!  It really does!  It gets me back Here NOW.  In TODAY.  And today isn't bad at all!

The other thing I do is start right in and seek out things that are positive, things to see and experience.  Early morning things.  A nice little breakfast.  Straightening things up.  Looking out at my view of the mountains.  Sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching some stand-up comedy on YouTube.

We have YouTube on our Visio, and you can find stand-up on there from way back in time.  It's a playground!  And you start your day laughing!  This is like being that one person who, when the Titanic was sinking, thought to put on every layer of clothes they had, steal a bottle of high-end bourbon on the fly from the First Class bar, sprint like a motherfucker to the nearest lifeboat and wedge themselves in tight.  FTW! I am going to survive this shit in style!  Row you bastards, row!

I have my favorite comedians past and present. Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, John Cleese (BOW DOWN) Dave Chappelle, Ron White, and Christopher Titus come immediately to mind.  

Now that last name needs to come to the fore.  I saw a full length special the other day that had me riveted to the screen.  It was called "Born With A Defect" and it was Christopher Titus.

Remember his T.V. show on Fox?  That show was amazing.  Christopher Titus did not just go crawl off under a rock after it was cancelled.  He went on the road and honed his craft.  And as a connoisseur of comedy, for my money he is the best one out there by a landslide.  A. Landslide.

Now if you're white and you can take some rough stuff, you probably love Ron White.  And Ron White, in his prime, is one of the greats. Comedy is music, and the whole thing underpinning it are the elements of tone, rhythm and timing.  Ron White is all over that shit.  He's the grand master.  He's the well-trained Pavrotti to Robin Williams' rogue prodigy Glen Gould.

Christopher Titus has Ron White beat by a country mile, folks. And, it must be said, Robin Williams too. 

I have never seen someone so absolutely the master of his craft.  He gets older, he gets better.  He gains depth.  He learns to use the stage. He learns to use his whole body.  He learns to bring the audience right up next to his face and them toss them back to deal with what he just said, and make them like it.  You  have just surrendered completely the instant he comes on the stage.  You are going to laugh at things so fucked up and so out of bounds and wrong that you'll wonder what you're all about really when it's all over, but during the performance you will be pounding the armrests and sliding onto the floor in hysterics! No choice!

Dave Chappelle goes there.  Ron White goes there.  Same thing. Same effect.  Same soul searching afterwards. (Did I really just laugh at a story about cumming down Mamie Eisenhowers' trachea?  What kind of animal am I?) 

Christopher Titus goes there and stays there, and it just gets more fucked up and funnier until you have tears running down your face and you're lying on your side on the floor laughing, and you're glad the blinds are down because you are making some sounds.

Now let's hop in the Wayback Machine and visit Milton Berle.  He could get a laugh with a pause and a change of expression.  Beautiful stuff. Phillis Diller could get a laugh by just standing a certain way.  Goldie Hawn would just roll her eyes and shrug, you laughed.  That's talent. You have the full attention of the audience.

Come back with me now, yes, I'm wearing an oven mitt, just take my hand and baaack to TODAY.  

I went to see John Cleese live. That man is as old as dirt.  He was urbane.  He spoke in dulcet tones, with an impeccable command of the art.  He spoke in metaphors and used multisyllabic terms, and strode gently about the stage like an elder statesman, and everyone in the audience was pissing themselves laughing.  He began his show with a fucking Powerpoint presentation.  Come on!  And it was hysterical!  Brass balls?  SOLID BRASS.  My Johnny boy is The Man and he should have been the father of my children, even though, and let's not forget this, John Cleese is entirely filled with self-centered disdain for all of humanity, a vessel made of hate gilded with rage and petulance.  I have no illusions about him, and I'd still suck his ancient dick for a nickle.

So take the erudition and icepick observations of Cleese.  Throw in some Patton Oswalt and all his education for that chip on the shoulder acid. Throw in Dave Chappelle, the whole dude.  Stir. Add the mania of Robin Williams, the ability to let the universe use him as it's jester on the fly, that improvisational madness.  Take Ron White, chop coarsely, as befits, and chunk him in there too. Grate George Carlin, and make sure to use the hardest part of that old cheese.  Pour all that into a greyhound of a man with a bad attitude from a fucked up family, who is up and fighting his demons every morning, in trim, a super-featherweight class boxer up there in the ring, duck and weave, man, with a lightning right and a left like a scimitar, straight up from the soles of his feet. (Forgive the boxing metaphors, but my father was a heavyweight semi-pro in his youth, for real, and I like the sport; sue me.)  

Go sit your ass down and watch "Born With A Defect."


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Maidens Tender Plea For Succor

 You know what I like to do?  I like to sit here after my husband goes to bed, turn on one of those 'instrumental music' channels, jazz and bossa nova, and just cuddle in.  Rain pattering on the windows, the wind sounding around the corners, and write about serial killers who eviscerate women and leave them hanging upside down over tubs, like Ed Gein did.

Remember when I said I was going to write a romance story?  (hint:  last post)  Well, it started in the wrecking yard, and ended up in a Youth Conservation Corps camp in Eastern Washington, our heroine hacking at the undergrowth with a machete by day and sneaking out of her bunkhouse at night to go get stoned, with a serial killer mixed up in there someplace.

Now I am not even kidding.  I have a love interest in mind, I have a counter-love interest, I have a sub-plot that involves coming of age, but of taffeta and pearls there is not one atom.  Or crinoline, Jon.  I had to look that shit up online.

I like kittens!  I like pretty things!  Yes, I have a collection of Tonka Toys, but I also have a collection of medieval music and opera, too.  I cry when I hear Luciano Pavrotti sing 'Nessa un Dorma'.  I do! I like babies! I own makeup! (I do not wear it, because life is just too damn short, unless I have to go to a wedding or something.)  And I have perfume, patchouli essential oil in fact, so I smell like a sweet psychedelic butterfly.  I garden, I love roses, and I put up my hair...but the romance thing is absolutely eluding me. And the more it eludes me, the more I want to hunt it down and strangle it and hang it over a washtub and...

I think what I'm going to have to do is get over myself and actually read some romance novels.  Dear sweet baby Jesus I am not looking forward to this at all, I really am not, I have those Jackie Collins novels burnt into my brain and those long discursions into the importance of getting just the right handbag and exchanging bitchy gossip and making shallow judgements based on shoes, and having pouting, moist lips aching for the kiss of GAAAAAAAH NO NO NO NO.

So.  You unromantic people, you.  Is there such a thing as a good, readable and most importantly ROMANTIC novel out there that isn't going to make me want to hide under the bathroom sink from self loathing?


Monday, January 4, 2021

Romance: What it is, and where to find it.

 I am not a romance reader.  At all.  Even though it turns out that one of my favorite books of all time was the pattern for all further romance novels - Jane Eyre - I didn't realize this until years later, because there was so much story and detail, and Jane herself was such a sensible, intelligent woman that the romance angle just flowed.  Reader, it flew by me. (That's some funny shit right there if you've ever read Jane Eyre.)

I like to go out of my comfort zone these days in my reading and writing.  I've even made forays into poetry, which turned out to be an amazing and wonderful thing, to my vast astonishment.  Not that I'm going to binge on the stuff, but my attitude has been reformed since the days of sixth grade, when we were all introduced to the stuff by way of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells" and "Annabelle Lee" and "The Raven." You know what I got out of that?

Tumpity, tumpity, tumpity tump, tumpity tumpity, tumpity tump.  Ta tump da dump, ta tump, da dump. Tumpity, tumpity, tumpity tump.


I mean, that's enough to sour anyone on the stuff.  I understand the teacher was trying to hook us with the magic of 'The Pit and the Pendulum' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' - hey, if Poe wrote cool stuff like that his poetry might not be so terrible, right?  And I'm no judge of the stuff, maybe it was good.  All I heard was kick-drum.

And I've tried writing poetry, and I don't know if it's good or bad and I certainly  am not going to inflict it on anyone because you don't just do that to people.  But it was out of my comfort zone, and it gave me a feel for the music of the language. So points for going out of your comfort zone!  It works!

I joined a writers group at one point here in Sumas, and found that it contained a group of people who never went beyond video games or anime, thought that 'Twilight' was high art, and wrote a lot of fur-fiction. You know, Shape-shifter stuff. People who could turn into bulls and horses and cats and lived in the deep wilderness in clans and had fights with other clans.  

Well, all right, I thought in those first few meetings.  This is appalling, but it's certainly  out of my comfort zone, so I tried to write a little fur fiction.  I wrote a story about a guy who could turn into a wolf.  You know, take it easy dipping my toe into the world of fur-fic.  It came out as something between 'Interview with the Vampire' and 'Trucker Serial Killer'.  It took place at a Burns Brothers (shout out to Oregon!) truck stop all-in-one, like the transcript of an oral history.

The writers group were...kind.  Apparently if you're a Shape Shifter, you live in a clan in the backwoods and have battles with other clans of Shape Shifters. You are not a Were-Wo0f.  You are a Shape Shifter.  You do not attack humans and glory in the experience.  You do not have a job.  Oh, I got a million things wrong.  I thought what I turned out was perfectly readable, if pedestrian.  It made sense to me that if you were able to change into a wolf, that you'd want to keep moving around, and have a job, and be a carnivore, and so 'murderous long haul trucker' came to mind.  

Now I am setting myself the difficult task of writing a Romance Novel.

I have never felt so intellectually challenged in my life.  When I was pregnant, in that last month, I read some Jackie Collins and Barbara Cartland out of sheer desperation and immobility.  I couldn't waddle any further than to the bookcase in the house, and all the former tenants had left behind was not cream of the crop stuff.  And I have to say that using Jane Eyre as a yardstick, Jackie Collins falls far, far from the mark.  Barbara Cartland utterly mystified me.  I found nothing whatsoever in her stories to hang my hat on.  It was like reading something that someone who understood English but came from a completely different culture would write, like, from Saturn.  They knew the language, but the societal forms where just alien as fuck.  Why do I have to read two pages worth of description of what everyone is wearing down to the type of fabric and the cut? Why is everyone a duke or a marquis or a sheikh? Why is everyone heaving and panting and yearning?  Jesus, go for a walk or something.  If you like the guy, fuckin' tell him already.  Send him a note.  LOOK AT HIM.  I mean I did not get it at all.

But I have this resolution, and I gave it a try last night.  I figured I'd use Jane Eyre as my guiding light.  Jane Eyre starts out in her childhood and explains to us how Jane got to be Jane, the boarding school, the mistreatment, the development of patience, intelligence and independence, the making of her spirit in the orphanage.  So I went to my childhood for inspiration, and I ended up in a wrecking yard going through cars looking for spare change while my dad hunted down parts to strip off the hulks.

This is not the way to start a romance novel.  Even I know that.

I mean, what even is romance?  I did not see it, except on television.  I did not have suitors, I was not particularly popular, no boys ever yearned after me (until after high school, when it stopped being an issue of getting a peer trophy to show off to the other boys - then they came a-running.  And I said no thank you, but I do seem to recall not having been good enough for you mere months ago, before graduation, and nothing's changed here.  Go along now and buy some porn.) 

So that is my question for you all.  What is ROMANCE?  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No More Grumpy-Pants!

 Do any of you follow America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country?  Have you notice how HAPPY everyone on staff is now that Chris Kimball is out of the picture?  I swear, I've seen every episode at least twice, and you can see ol' Kimball getting more and more bitchy and nitpicky the more his hairline recedes.  By the last few of his episodes people were literally backing away inadvertently as he approached them - even the Biker noticed.  Now he's apparently found a new love and has flown the coop, leaving behind a very, very relieved and cheerful staff.  I can imagine the hush-hush private party that must have been held after his last shoot.  He was what was wrong with that whole franchise.  Well that, and the most aggressive advertising campaign out there.  NEVER visit one of their websites.  The very least you'll come away with is computer herpes in the form of a deluge of cookies and trackers the instant it comes up.

This is actually what they look like.  Really.

Do you ever check your cookies?  It's in the settings.  They make it kind of hard to get to, but there's tutorials out there that you can split-screen.  You eventually find the actual list of of crap, bot by bot, that different sites have been slipping onto your computer.  Cooks Country dumps page after page of the damn things, and each one contains other ones and sub-ones and sub-sub ones and other computer yuck.  The only site worse in my experience is that one allegedly 'Free Porn' site.  Oh, it's free...if you like computer viruses and no hard drive space. Again, the instant that screen downloads the crawlers and trackers start loading. Page after page.  What we need to take away from this is CLEAR YOUR SEARCH HISTORY/COOKIES at least once a week.  That, and if you see Chris Kimball, hold up a book by your face and hope like hell he doesn't recognize you. Hide behind a building. He's a dick.

He said it, I didn't.

Another thing I don't like about the guy is that he's all impressed with himself for living on a FARM in VERMONT. (I used to get 'Cooks Country' magazine and he'd always write a sentimental, schmaltzy editorial piece on just how awesome he was for living in Vermont and it was just SAD.) You know the type of person I mean? They think they're really roughing it, in touch with the land, man, the real outdoors, tough, maple syrup, colorful fall leaves, mud season, LL Bean - wearing white people with cash. Certain residents of Maine are the same way.  Believe me, Kimball isn't out there sweating blood hoping that his next crop doesn't fail or delivering calfs in the snow.  

What is this odd mystique about Vermont?  It sounds like Washington with more maple trees.  I think people from Vermont and Maine need to get over themselves.  You live in a northerly state with shitty weather.   New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington are all northerly states with shitty weather too and we don't go around rhapsodizing about how wonderful and how 'real' and 'authentic' and 'back to the land' it is because shitty weather sucks and we aren't exactly unique weasels up North here.  

And then you have an entire fuckin' country just over the border that makes Vermont look like a pussy.  So shut up, Vermont snobs.  And you Maine snobs too.  Nobody is impressed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Well-Dressed Oyster

 There are things we approve of here at the Rancho.  We approve of:

Hanging out in the garage in the summer, drinking beer

Drag Queens

Drag Queens in the garage hanging out with us in the summer

Red meat

No active volcanos

All these things and more meet with our approval.  And upon them one might be tempted to affix a seal of approval, thusly:

I like that he's wearing a sweater and has human hands.  Maybe he's a Centaur-seal, is what I think.  Seal above, human below.  Imaging standing next to that on an elevator.   

But this is Rancho FirstNations, and we don't go around handing out tired memes like socks filled with raw liver, you know? (All the kids in the neighborhood look forward to that come Halloween.)  No, we prefer to hand out Swanky Oysters of Good Taste and Discernment:

The Swanky Oyster of Good Taste and Discernment sees you out there, and He approves.  

Mr. Swanky Oyster also heartily approves of Mr. Indigo Roth for his recent gift of an inflatable pickle, and the re-emergence of Z onto the scene!


I found out the most awesome thing!  L. Ron Hubbard, the DEAD (in case there's any lingering doubt out there) former leader of Scientology, was for a brief period of time the commander of a small Navy vessel.  During his short, yet incompetent career as a commander, he carried out his duties exactly as you'd expect - he mined 'a Japanese sub' off the coast of Oregon, and then he sailed South to attack Mexico.


Having detected a suspicious, elongated radar echo in the waters off the Oregon coast, he immediately jumped to the conclusion 'SUB!' and mined the everlasting fuck out of that sapsucker, called in the troops, called in air support, called in the Coast Guard, called in local fishermen, and generally pulled a lot of people away from more serious concerns to come look at what he'd doneded.  

Which was to kill a whale.

You can imagine everyone rolling their eyes and trudging back whence they came.  C'mon, dude.  Seriously?

After that astounding feat of fuckery, what next?  Go attack Mexico, of course.  So that's what he did.  Cap'n Hubbard in his little cruiser sailed straight down to Mexico and proceeded to blast the fuck out of the shoreline with his woefully limited battery.  What he hoped to accomplish by this is not known.  What is known is that he was drop kicked out of the Navy shortly afterward with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.  Of course, you're saying, Captain Queeg got away with that shit for years, no fair.  But you have to remember that Captain Queeg was Humphrey Bogart. He ran a tight ship.  Not even the strawberries were too small to escape his supervision.  And you know that Humphrey Bogart would never dump a bunch of sea mines on a whale.  It just wasn't in the man.

I have a brief, pathetic history with the C of SCN.  In my desperation to catch a man I agreed to join the 'church' that he belonged to.  Which was ol' 'Nuke the Whale' Hubbards ship of fools; and I'll say here that I never saw so many ignorant, incompetent misfits gathered under one roof in my life as I did during my short tenure as a member.  Luckily, I'd been through the cult thing with my mother years earlier and so I knew bullshit when I saw it.  

I lasted less than a year; and shortly after I left the church and my ex, my ex-husband was frog-marched out the front doors by several burly staff members for throwing one of his tantrums on staff time.  This really happened.  And it proves that there's nuts, and there's incompetent people searching in vain for direction, and then there's 'nutty is nutty but you don't get to turn red and kick over furniture and scream like an infant when you don't get your way and threaten to punch your superiors.'  So he got tossed out onto the sidewalk in the middle of town, and then stood there and raged and continued to have a tantrum until they called the police, which for a Scientologist is tantamount to drinking strychnine - they just don't DO that.  But in ex-hubby's case, they made an exception, and having been his wife, I understand it completely. 

So, even though it was not an episode of my life that I'm particularly proud of, here's to you, unknown burly Scientologists sick of my ex-husbands hissy fits:

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy After-Christmas!!!

 Here at Rancho FirstNations our asses are all partied OUT. I have a flaccid pickle, y'all.  Mr. UK Happy Pickle could not take the action and he just laid his pickled self out on my floor, it was so wild-ass here.    There was jumpin'!  There was shakin'!  There was funky merry makin'!  We thought globally and acted locally and our personal badassery melted all the snow, and lo, there was grass beneath and it was good in our eyes!  Normally you don't want grass in your eyes so we kept our distance.  It was still good.  Now here is my Boxing Day present to y'all:

Tio Choko is blowing up all over everywhere and dammit, he deserves it all.  This guy is amazing!  My bud Rocky Lawrence Green turned me on to the dude.  This man is a natural all the way, and he looks into the lens and honey, you'll GET there.  I love this guy and I'm happy to read that he's getting noticed.  You could ride that moustache like a bicycle, kids.  Believe.