Monthly Archives: July 2012

Fifty Shades of I Don’t Want to Live on this Planet Anymore

Yes this is another 50 Shades post. I just love writing about it, ok? I have a weakness for mocking really really bad things. It helps me deal with some issues.

This post required a lot of fun, and often disturbing, research for me.

Firstly, I want to talk about an article I found in Shortlist magazine the other day – The premise of it is to explain to the magazine’s male readers that women liking 50 Shades does not mean that they like or expect BDSM sex now. Apparently this has become a bit of a concern for men. The article explains that treating sex like a business deal is not something women crave, nor is being stalked – both things that could easily be read from 50 Shades – but that men should be reading from this that they like being paid attention to (In, you know, legal and sane quantities). On the other hand, the writer offers that what men can really learn from 50 Shades is that women like men with helicopters. And fair enough, I’m pretty sure most men wouldn’t say no to dropping their knickers for a go in a helicopter.

Anna North on buzzfeed.com agrees that womens’ interest in 50 Shades is in the attention Christian Grey showers upon her, just knowing what it is she wants and needs. Of course, this includes in the bedroom too. Some women have complained that men nowadays aren’t assertive enough, doing things like asking permission to touch them and constantly asking if they’re alright, and wanting to talk everything out, instead of ‘just fucking them‘. That’s right – women are complaining about men asking permission now. I don’t really want to use the word ‘consent’ here, but surely this presses some issues? I can understand that someone asking ‘Is this ok? Is this ok?’ constantly can get annoying, but surely there’s a middle ground between being over-cautious and throwing all cation to the wind? Supposedly it’s ‘unmanly’ to talk things through, and a man should know what to do instead of asking, but let me let you in on a little secret here ladies, Christian Grey is fictional. Of course he knows Ana’s every need and desire without having to ask, he’s written by a woman. Technically he is being told what to do, by his author.

The ones I feel sorry for are their husbands.

Next on the agenda is the economical side of the 50 Shades franchise. Let’s skip right past the $1 million E L is earning weekly and look at other businesses that are cashing in – such as the sellers of ties (Coz Christian wears a tie), tea (Coz Ana drinks a lot of tea), rope (yes, rope), Dating Sites that focus on relations between older men and younger women, Hotels that are featured in 50 Shades (some of which offer ’50 Shades’ packages), and of course, bondage gear and sex aides. The Tallis Scholars’s song ‘Spem in alium’ has gained placement in the music charts recently, as it’s featured in the 50 Shades soundtrack (yes, soundtrack).

And they’re not the only professionals wasting their time on this book. You know that equipment used to determine the profiles of criminals? Yeah, those image-generators have been used to create a profile of Christian Grey  from descriptions of the how readers imagine the character looks. Here he is:

Hot.

But did all the time and resources put into this pay off? Did they create Christian Grey – the perfect man??

No

And of course people are now using this profile as a basis in trying to find an actor for the upcoming movie (yes, upcoming. Movie.) to play him. Any volunteers?

If all this wasn’t frightening enough as it was, experts are predicting a baby boom as a result of the book’s recent popularity. Yes, children are being brought into the world out of all this.

I will finish this on a high note though, with some sane people on this planet: these three lovely ladies expressing their opinions on 50 Shades, and a nice little feature on E L James’s inability to use the English language, and her Just-Thesaurus-It attitude to writing. These made me feel much better.

I would like to give a special thanks to 50shadesofsuck.tumblr.com, where I got a lot of good stuff on the ridiculous-ness of 50 Shades, and also for the running commentary the blogger has done on the books – funny stuff. I literally read the whole website. No regrets.

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Shortlist’s Guide to Food (and Other Things)

Because Shortlist is pretty cool magazine I’m gonna share some awesome articles from their website:

HOW TO MAKE A PIZZA MADE OF BACON

 

 

HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT PAPER PLANE

 

There’s also recipes for making BBQ ribs, baconlasagnalamb kebabschicken kievs, pancakes (and how to toss them), Bloody Marys, and how to tie an ascot.

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Fifty Shades of Shit

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If you don’t know what 50 Shades of Grey is because you’ve been living under a rock or just got out of prison (although I’m pretty sure they’d have that book in prison) then let me be the one to tell you that you don’t want to know. But who am I to tell you what you do or do not want?

Unfortunately, for those who enjoy literature and the English language, 50 Shades of Grey is about a girl who goes for an interview or something with a man that is very rich for reasons nobody really cares about and they have lots of sex. Of course, she was a virgin and had no friends or personality prior to meeting him, and none of that really changes besides having sex seven times a day, but apparently the fact that she enjoys his wild, violent, BDSM sex, and generally being submissive to him in every way convinces him she’s the best thing since anal beads and they end up getting married in the third book (Yes, there’s three of them). If there’s more to the book than that, then you’ve read too much of it. Also, the grammar is awful.

Reasons to why these ‘Mummy Porn/Mom Porn’ books are gaining immense popularity among middle-aged housewives to the extent that it has beaten Harry Potter in the fastest selling paperback of all time and sold over 30 million copies world wide remains to many a mystery.

I just want to point out that I was told in school by English teachers that ‘Shades of Grey’ was the most common, cliche and generally unimaginative title that every new or just bad writer uses for stories, on the basis that it can be used for pretty much any subject matter possible. I’ve been informed that ’50 Shades’ refers to the name the protagonist calls the guy she’s banging, but regardless I would say this was the first warning sign I received from this book.

The second was, as with many people, the sex. Not necessarily the content because, hey, to each their own. Am I bitter that a women wrote an entire book about handcuffs and bum-play and has sold and earned more in the last month than I probably will in my entire lifetime? Do I judge the people who praise these books? Definitely. But the first thing that struck me when I picked up this book scoffed at the title and skipped straight to the sex scenes  was how badly they’re written. I honestly can’t understand how anyone could find this book erotic, not because of the sexual acts, but the inane and immature way in which they’re written. I immediately said my my girlfriend, ‘This is written just like fanfiction! What is this?’

And guess what kids, I was right. It is fanfiction! 50 Shades of Grey was originally a piece of Twilight fanfiction, with the names and places changed – So originally it was Edward and Bella having rough, kinky sex. And that’s what people are reading. That’s what people are paying money for, and that’s what this women ‘E L James’ is earning millions from.

Yeah. This smug bitch.

And I don’t like to rant about it, but I read fanfiction. And fanfiction is shit. For the most part, about 80% of the time, it’s teenage girls, or middle-aged women – basically anyone not getting laid and getting thier frustration out on the internet by writing about attractive fictional (sometimes not fictional)  characters getting it on. Yes there’s some fanfiction, maybe 25%* (* Note: these statistics aren’t scientific) of it, that isn’t sexual, but for the most part sex is pretty much part of the scenery. Fanfiction exists as it’s own genre of literature, and one it’s generic conventions, and audience expectations, is a good deal of sexual activity. Sometimes there’ll be stories literally consisting of so-and-so and so-and-so get together under certain circumstances and fuck. Others will be full stories, with entire plots and back stories with the occasional explicit sex scene every chapter or so. It’s what people like writing about, and like reading about, so why not? Speaking as someone who doesn’t read fanfiction for the sex (And no I don’t also ‘just read Jugs for the articles’) it becomes second nature to shift through the endless sex – which is always perfect and relentless and with mindblowing orgasms – to get to the plot because some fanfiction is genuinely good, regardless of whether you enjoy reading about sex or not.  Some of them have amazing stories and are written by people clearly just looking to explore their creative talents and looking for some feedback. Some of these people do deserve to get published. E L James is not one of these writers (or at least not one that followed any of her feedback). Skip the sex, and there’s nothing there but bad grammar, boring characters, pointless plotlines and some creepy borderline-stalker behavior. Basically just like Twilight then.

barelypolitical has this great 50 Shades parody ’50 Shades of Mom Porn’ which more or less sums up my feelings on E L James’s* writing :

*(I refuse to call her ‘James’ as I feel it would dirty Henry James’s name somehow…)

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Fifty Shades of Creepy: The 50 Shades Audiobook.

I wish.

Here‘s the actual audio-book, which sounds like it’s read by a ditsy 14 year old girl, or someone from the Disney Channel (it probably isn’t someone from the disney channel). Is this because Ana is supposed to be young and innocent (not to mention a fucking idiot)? If possible, she makes the book sound even more idiotic than how the nonsensical inner monologue and bad grammar sounded in my head. And, to be perfectly honest, I find it a little creepy listening to a teenager talking about orgasms and buttplugs, but maybe that’s just me.

Here are some more 50 Shades Parodies. The 50 Shades of Mom Porn one is my favourite.

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University Checklist

The Independent has posted a list  of 50 Things To Do Before You Leave University.

Having just left University, this is the time when I can look at lists like these and find out if I lived my University experience to the potential The Independent deems acceptable.

Notice that ‘getting a degree’ isn’t actually in this list.

Fellow Uni leavers – Take the quiz too, and find out your scores:

1-20 – You’ve Wasted Your Life.

20-40 – Could Have Done Better.

40-50 – You’ve Unlocked: Personal Growth!

My results of The Independent’s checklist:

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Steve’s Introduction To: Exercising for The Lazy.

Putting it mildly: I don’t like exercise. Almost all things I like involve being fairly stationary, or at least seated. I had asthma as a child, which on the one hand: possible death, on the other hand: awesome excuses for getting out of physical activity. So I guess you could say that I’ve grown accustomed to not moving around a whole lot. That paired with my amour for food, doesn’t hold a lot of promise for my future health according to quote-unquote ‘doctors’. So I’ve been attending fitness classes with my lovely fiancée. I mean really I’m only there for moral support, obviously. But never-the-less, I’ve found myself looking at books and articles in the ten billion copies of various quote-unquote ‘lifestyle’ and ‘health’ magazines and exercise books around my fiancée’s family’s house to look at the things they suggest you do in your spare time to keep fit. There’s hundreds of miracle ‘I lost 20 stone in 2 months’ stories with the ‘secrets of my success’ suggestions, as well full-on your-life-is-now-in-my-hands lifestyle guides by fitness instructors and Pilates enthusiasts and Doctors-that-aren’t-really-Doctors wanting to look through your poo, and all them have stupidly pleasant smiles on their faces as if exercising can be made easy and glamorous with purely the thought of your life infinitely improving once you’ve lost weight due to their programmes. Image

So if you’re like me, and really can’t be bothered with jumping and stretching around the moment you wake up in the morning, or in fact at any point during the day, but realise it’s probably time you just try being bothered a bit of a go, here’s my little introduction to the World Of Exercise, with attempts to make it sound like any old lazy lump could do it. Coz if I can, you can.

Ways In Which One Can Exercise:

With Weights

Don’t have weights? Yeah, neither do I. It seems that exercise costs tons of money just to get the bloody equipment, and who can be bothered with that? It’s like they’re just creating excuses for you not to exercise. But according to my various resources the sports shops are a lie, and you can just use things from your cupboards that have a bit of weight to them as substitutes. Perhaps a pair of Pepsi bottles, a couple of pounds of ham, cans of whipped cream… Maybe start off at first with something light like tubes of pringles, then later you can move on to something more advanced, like tubs of ice cream. Just leave snacking until after your finished.

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I’m not going to go through all the moves because basically, they involve moving your arms. You can handle that right? Don’t get too energetic, this isn’t baton twirling, just use short simple motions like: lifting side to side, pulling back in a ‘skiing’ motion, lifting up to your sides, lifting up to your front… you could probably just follow a semaphore guide and get the same results. Maybe spell out H E L P M E to your neighbours.

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Squats

Squats have been scientifically designed to make people look as silly as possible. The important difference I’ve learnt from the Pilates book is not to focus on the knees, but to lead with the butt. That’s right, stick your butt out. Do it – now. That’s right, like you’re about sit on the loo. Don’t forget to stick your arms in front of you for balance! Now, take a look in the mirror. Yeeeeah. Now repeat twelve times, like you mean it. Make sure the curtains are shut.

With a Chair

That’s right, fatties! You can exercise sitting down.

Exercise 1) This involves sitting on chair. Okay, got that bit? Now stand up. I know it’s hard, but no pain no gain. Standing up? Good. Now sit down. Repeat.

Exercise 2) Now that you’ve probably worn yourself out with all the standing and sitting you better take a bit of a rest. You can do some of the same Pepsi-bottle exercises from before with your arms whilst sitting down. Apparently it works the same. You probably don’t have to bother doing them standing up come to think of it. Hopefully you haven’t drunk the bottles yet, better have some more on standby just in case.

Exercise 3) Standing up again now, but fear not Lazy One, this time you can lean on the back of the chair for support. There are two basic moves here: 1) Lift a leg to the side as far up as it will go, whilst keeping it straight, and then down again. Repeat a few times, then again with the other leg. 2) The same, but lifting them backwards. These are supposed to tone your thighs or something, and if just lifting your leg a bit can lose you weight, imagine what walking to and from the fridge can do!

Walking

I read an article about a girl who went on a brisk stroll for 15 minutes out of her lunch hour every day for 6 months, and lost half a ton or something ridiculous, so you could start by doing that. Don’t worry, you’ll still have the other 45 minutes left to eat. Other tips suggested are getting up every time you want a glass of water instead of having a bottle beside you, so I guess you could do the same with food. Hide crisps around the house (like a treasure hunt!). Instead to ordering in, walk to the pizza shop and pick it up, and have the food go cold by the time you’re home. Then you won’t want to eat it (probably)! Calories saved!

Lying Down

That’s right, if you thought that sitting down whilst exercising was a pretty sweet situation, check out this – you can exercise Lying. Down. On the floor. You could probably even manage some of these in bed or on the sofa, although I doubt Rosemary Conley or the Pilates Lady would find that acceptable. And remember, like Santa Claus, they’re always watching you.

Exercise 1) Lie on your back – straight like an arrow, not flopped out like a dead body or you when you’ve just woken up – and bend your knees, feet flat on the floor. Then, lift your hips up. And back down again. And keep thrusting like that until someone’s uncomfortable.

Exercise 2) This is a favourite of mine. Lie like before, but on your belly. Spread your arms out in front, like Superman. Now imagine you’re actually Superman, and not just some tit lolloping around on your living room floor. Come on, spread your arms out, lift them off the floor, like you’re flying! Now, your feet too! Hold the pose, soak yourself up in the fantasy of being a superhero soaring across the sky, yada yada etc etc, for at least 10 seconds or however long it takes until the illusion dies. There, now you’ve toned your stomach or something.

So that’s your first workout over with. How’d you feel? Still looking like this?

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Me neither.

More exercise-related antics to come.

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Cupcakes, Tumblr, and Cupcake Tumblrs: An Introduction to Tumblr.

Tumblr is a very odd thing.

xkcd.com/1025

xkcd.com/1025

If you’re unfamiliar with Tumblr, let Auntie Steve give you a little intro.

In a nutshell, Tumblr is a blog site much like any other blog site, but with the handy little novelty of being able to view all the posts of the blogs you’re following in a neat little dashboard. Other blogs and social networking sites of course have dashs, but unlike Facebook the posts actually appear in chronological order and unlike Livejournal the dashboard is essentially the key premise and focus in the structure of the site. Because of this, Tumblr’s users probably realised that long text posts that are usually key to other blogging sites appear ugly and disruptive on one’s dashboard, and so picture-based sites were born, each offering their followers an array of pretty images to fill up their dash.

The other key feature of Tumblr – and, as I can express from experience, the addictive feature of the site – is the ‘reblogging’ tool, allowing you to repost someone else post with the click of a button. The rebloggers thus get pretty pictures on their blog, the original posters get their images circulated, creating publicity for their blog, and so on and so on. These features have made Tumblr increasingly popular for creating ‘hipster’ blogs, with the ability to dedicate blogs purely to the aesthetically pleasing, from people to pieces of furniture. Tumblr has also gained popularity among nerds, fangirls and LGBTQA+ people too, but I’ll get on to them at a later point.

The most popular picture-based blogs appear to those dedicated to either cute animals or food – these of course being the human race’s two favourite things to consistently look at (Naked people are probably pretty high up there too, but let’s keep this clean, ay?).

Today I’m going to be looking at the phenomenon that is Cupcake Blogs.

fuckyeahcupcakes.tumblr.com

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Cakes are nice to look at, true. Who doesn’t like to stop outside a cake shop and admire the display? But why shut down your computer, leave the house, and hunt down your local cake shop when you can sample baked goods in the comfort of your own dashboard? It’s like the calorie-free cake habit, you can have your cake and not have to eat it too! You can’t argue with those propects.

cupcakesnkittens.tumblr.com

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The premise of this blog is fairly simple. Pictures of cats. Pictures of cupcakes. Occasionally there will be pictures of cats with cupcakes. Or cupcakes with little iced cats on them, you get the idea. No longer will you have to choose between the two.

prettygirlswithcupcakes.tumblr.com

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Similar premise. Like pretty girls? Like cupcakes? Then this is the blog for you! Here’s a picture of a girl, a cat and a cupcake:

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I mean, what more could you want?

dudeswithbeardseatingcupcakes.tumblr.com

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This is a slightly more obscure prospect. Like guys with beards? Like cupcakes? Maybe it’s being ironic about the ‘hipster’ idea of posting aesthetically pleasing pictures. Maybe it’s commenting on the way in which society stereotypes masculine behaviour. Maybe it’s just some hairy dudes eating cakes.

cups-cakes-cupcakes.tumblr.com

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Cakes. Cupcakes. Cups. Cakes In cups. Cakes on cups. Cups on cakes. You get the idea. But imagine the possibilities… What’s next? Sand-Witches-And-Sandwiches.Tumblr.Com? Doors-Knobs-And-Doorknobs.Tumblr.Com?

nerdache-cakes.tumblr.com

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This blog crosses the boundaries between ‘hipster’ blogs and ‘geek’/’fangirl’ blogs with it’s nerd-inspired cupcake-porn. Of course you’d have to go back several dozen pages to find anything not associated with Marvel (Marvel-Cakes-And-MarvelCakes.Tumblr.Com? MarvelCakes-MarbleCakes-And-MarvelMarbleCakes.Tumblr.Com?) but some of the stuff here is undeniably cool.

And finally, I’m thinking of starting my own Cupcake Tumblr! Posing-With-Cupcakes.Tumblr.Com. I think there’ll be a pretty big market for this. It contains the human race’s two favourite things: cupcakes and posing.

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