Oslowe vs. Twilight 2: The Renegade Edition

Before this, there was this

Book 2. Oh, Book 2. The writing definitely improved a bit, and gave the character of Jacob Black (a minor character saddled with some exposition in book 1) something to do, and Bella someone different to hang out with. There is this weird Team Jacob/Team Edward bullshit with some of the Twilight Fans. THEY BOTH SUCK, OK PEOPLE? As I’ve stated before and will again here: I am on Team Buffy, or Team Blade, whichever one kills these fucking characters faster.

Book 2 is almost interesting with the introduction of Werewolves (sorry, Courtney) who have this terrifyingly prison-rapey style draft sequence. After he has become one of The Pack, Jacob has trouble meeting Bella’s eyes and is all rageful and anxious and full of self-loathing, and then his four Bros come walking out of the forest, sans shirts. Mmmm, prison sex on the Rez. Very nice, Stephenie Meyers, classy, very nice.

Oh, and we meet the girl one of the Wolfboys is shacked up with, all scar-faced from “making him angry” because, you know, werewolves are hostile motherfuckers.

It is almost interesting- Meyers obviously understands what the monsters mean in classic literature/folklore. The werewolf as unrestrained id/rage/rape, the Vampire as- oh no wait, SHE MISSED THAT PART. Because her vampires just aren’t. They are the X-Men, each with a different power and a personality that matches it.

But on the werewolf front- she almost, kind of, gets it right. Promptly ruining the only character who seemed vaguely human (snerk), meaning that good-natured Jacob kid who becomes an entitled little beast- I think the semi-infamous Rape-Kiss sequence isn’t until Book 3, but he still turns into a dick the minute he becomes a werewolf. Also? Cocksure- much like Edward, Jacob is suddenly smirking at Bella all the time. Apparently, Men Feeling Superior to the Little Lady is how SM tries to relate attraction and romance.

WEEP FOR THIS POOR WOMAN AND HER SUPERIOR, ASSHOLE HUSBAND.

Also the meta-plot villains of the series, the Vosomething vampires are introduced- they are your standard old fashioned nasty vampires- at least they aren’t the modern euro-trash-ran-through-exploding-latex-factory-hissing vamps. Though I think they do hiss. They don’t really do anything other than hiss, but Edward and his family all kind of resent them for being all evil and shit.

Well, they do massacre a busload of tourists- but c’mon, it isn’t like I can dredge up sympathy for tourists. Besides, they are fucking vampires doing evil shit like killing people and drinking their blood is kind of what they do!

Oh, way before that there is some more lovey crap that culminates in Edward wanting to commit suicide and- it’s just awful. All of the stuff with the vampires in this book is truly bad- the writing might be slightly better on a technical level in this book, but the plotting/story is EVEN WORSE.

So Edward thinks Bella isn’t safe because of his love- see, he is a threat to her or something. So he convinces his entire family to uproot and split, leaving Bella alone. Mind you- they are AWARE that there is at least one non-“vegetarian” (i.e. overpopulated human ignoring, endangered species murdering) vampire that KNOWS about Bella, and even has her scent- and that THE CULLENS are the only reason this vampire isn’t going to try and kill Bella. But they leave anyway, because Edward is so very fucking Emo.

Alice is apparently a huge fan-favorite character. She is supposed to be quirky and weird and funky- we can tell because she has spikey hair. Folks, that is called Lazy Writer’s Crutch #379: “Establish character archetype immediately by describing their hair” LWC #557 is also in evidence: “describe a character’s walk as being like dancing, this will show that they are eccentric!”

Oh, and the leader of the Voturasomethings comes across as a character created by a high school outcast who liked the movie INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE (especially dreeeaaamy Antonio Banderas) but didn’t read the book. Seriously. I can’t remember the characters name but I want to say it was Arlo, which already sounds like a dinner-theater rip-off of Armand.

Poor Meyers MUST bring to our attention how Bella and Edward are star-crossed lovers. Like a certain pair of… oh Christ, you know what I’m saying. Here is the thing: a lot of teenagers probably eat this shit up with a spoon. It is too be expected and acceptable. I remember all too well the incredibly heightened emotions of teenaged “love”- lust/attraction etc. With Bella, it is kind of relatable (kind of sort of maybe a little). She is a teenager.

But Edward is one of those goddamn literary vampires that stopped emotionally aging when he became a vampire- look, fanwank all you want, but unless a writer specifically makes that the fucking POINT, it is RETARDED- so he is nearly 90-some years old AND HE IS STILL AN IMMATURE LITTLE FUCKING PRICK.

Teenagers can flip out over how romantic Baz Lurhman’s Romeo + Juliet is- adults who still do are suspect. People who have lived an entire lifetime (and then some) in their prime- that is just fucking pathetic.

Likewise, anyone who buys into Twilight/Meyers views of romance- seriously buys into, not just enjoys as escapist fantasy- is suspect. Fiction is often escapist- I have no problem with that, romance, horror, sci-fi, what have you. It is the very loud insistence of many of the Twihards defending the series by saying “this is what women WANT, this is REAL romance”- THAT scares me.

When Bella is drawn to Jacob- is essentially using his attention as a way to overcome her grief at being dumped by that donkeyfucker Edward- there is some semi-believable emotion. I’m not saying Meyers has any gift, but she CAN sometimes worm into a realistic or at least understandable teenaged mindset. Her discovery that “taking great risks” makes Edward pull a Jedi Ghost and give her warnings is laughable- but I could almost tolerate it… if Meyers hadn’t been so in love with the Edward/Bella coupling.

Let me put it this way- as I was discussing with Nova- if at the end of the series Bella had matured enough to realize that Edward is controlling/smothering/stalkery, and Jacob was a sweet kid who hormones turned into a raging/brutal/douchebag and she dumped them BOTH and went out with boring Mike, the nice but not too bright human kid- well that would have actually been a pretty interesting commentary on young love.

See, young love is SUPPOSED to be all fucked up and dramatic- it was for ALL of us that experienced it in pretty much any form. All those emotions and hormones and sexual urges and romantic ideals? We were such goddamn messes! But eventually, we (mostly, obviously not SM) grew the fuck up and moved past our idiocy. Had the books ended with, as it were, childhood’s end- that could (in the hands of a better writer) been pretty powerful and kind of awesome.

As it is, the series just gets more batshit at it continues. 2 down, 2 to go.

Shit my Bettie sez (A Totally True Tale of Terrifying Terror!)

Last night we had some friend who was passing through L.A. over for dinner, and the subject of teething babies came up- mainly because our baby is teething.

I related the (HORROR WARNING) totally true tale passed on to me by my Aunt C. Aunt C is a cold-blooded raconteur, a Nursely veteran of the maternity ward and a woman who was totally able to knock my shit out arm-wrasslin’ when I was 18 and all pumped up from shot-put and discus.

The TOTALLY SCARY story (you have been warned) was of a woman she knew who had many children, and when the last was teething- sick to death of teething babies- she used an emery board to sped along the process. (HORROR WARNING OUT).

Well, the story got the expected shudders and exclamations from the congregation.

“That is horrible!” sezs Boopsie.

“Yeah, I know.” sez me. “I think Eli Roth called my aunt’s friend and was all: ‘That is some sick shit!'”

“Yeah,” says Bettie. “Takeshi Miike called and said: Dude, show some respect, that is in bad taste!”

I laughed so hard I damn near choked. Because in that context, Roth= M80 firecracker. Miike= thermite grenade.

Brickmaster Sam

So we got Sam a Brickmaster subscription.

Brickmaster is a way to spend money club for Lego afficianados where for a low yearly subscription (actually not very expensive at all) you get a bi-monthly activity magazine and a small-sized Lego set. His first set arrived on Friday and he was OVER THE MOON.

He’s been thumbing through the latest Lego catalogue obsessively for months now- mostly lingering on either the Star Wars or Toy Story pages (he loves the franchises he loves, to be sure). But every so often we’d find him bug-eyed rapt, coveting the picture of the Brickmaster subscription. It took us a while to figure out that he was obsessing over one of the advertised sets- the Imperial Shuttle. Now this is a mini-scale set, meaning waaay too small for a mini-figure (the little Lego dudes? They are called Minifigs, yes), but he loved that photo of that set.

So he and I built the set Friday night- and I have to say, this was a pretty involved building for Sam, usually he lets me do all the work but he was an active participant which was exciting- though not as exciting as his playing with the shuttle, which is a pretty cool little model.

Well that got me to thinking that we have a LOT of Lego bricks that aren’t in use (show me a Lego collector who doesn’t, and I question their commitment to the hobby) so I figured I could look at some of the photos of past mini-scale sets and try and approximate them.

Well, Sam is enthralled with the work done. I’m proud of the X-Wing (kit-bashed after I decided we didn’t have the proper bricks for recreating the blueprints avail on line), less so of the Tie-Fighter. The Slave-1 is ok- but not to scale. We also made a little yellow ship partially based on the Jedi Fighters from the prequel that is Sam’s second favorite, after the X-Wing.

We like Legos in our family. I especially like building with Sam.

Oslowe vs. Twilight: The Quickening

Well thank Gawd that is over.

WHERE to begin? I did it, all 4 books. I met Twilight for a showdown in a dark alley, and it sparkled all over my face.

And now that it is over, I am left with a resounding sense of “wha? SERIOUSLY? Why?”

As in: the popularity. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Or maybe I DO and I am fighting the feeling- I know, I know. “Don’t fight the feeling! You can’t fight the moonlight!” No, of course I can’t. Why would I even try to fight the moonlight? That is like punching the air into submission before I breath it in to curse it.

“His face reminded me, oddly, of a person who’d just learned he’d been demoted”. -Book 4, whatever the fuck it was called.

Because Bella Swann has so much down-sizing experience in her 18 years…

My copies had these awesome homemade covers made by my friend Laurie, so I don’t know the actual names of the books. I only know I read BIG BOOKS OF MANLY THINGS, even making it through some Chuck Norris level shit according to Laurie’s title.

The Big Book of Manly Things Vol 1- Ok, so a strangely rabid (and LARGE and VOCAL) audience existed for this poorly written, overly written (seriously? 500 fucking pages?) story despite its having the Mary Sue narrator, and the incredibly overwrought love interest.

Just how amazing is Edward, just how beautiful and talented and smart and perfect? Yeah, he goes to fucking 11 on all that. Now, how do we know this? Because it is what Bella tells us. Lines about how perfect he is like: “I was once again amazed by the perfection of his features”.

Despite the idea that theirs is a forbidden love (by him), Edward and Bella don’t really have much conflict in their relationship- Maybe that is part of the reason it is such a beloved romance by the fans?

“I love you, you are so perfect.”
“You don’t want to be near me. I’m bad.”

Oh wait, that’s right: he’s the “bad boy” that she wants despite his warnings. Because that shit is SEXY.

Anyways, the “conflict” such as it is appears in the last hundred pages or so, when some brand new characters show up. Eeeeevil vampires interrupt the good vampires baseball game. Yes. Baseball game- THAT might be worth seeing the movie for.

And the Eeeevil vampires want to kill Bella- or at least one of them does and his mate will do whatever he wants (because he is a Man, and she is his subservient wife).

Eventually, the Good Vampires kill the Bad Vampire- off screen, since Bella is unconscious (yawn).

Oh, I guess Bella tries to sacrifice herself to save someone she loves, but she fails- this is a reoccurring theme in EVERY SINGLE FUCKING BOOK IN THIS GODDAMNED SERIES.

Yawn.

Yeah, The Cullens are like Good vamps because they don’t eat people.

Edward, we are told, is feline “like a cat” and his brother Emmett is basically a big brawny guy. Edward tells Bella that he likes to hunt mountain lions, and Emmett likes to take on Grizzly Bears. Oh boy. Now THAT is some “creative” writing!

Wait, so they have to feed on animals every few weeks in order to not Vamp Out and shit- this is why all the Cullens have mad sexy golden eyes instead of standard vampiric black or red- and this makes them the good guys?

Fucking Grizzly bears and mountain lions aren’t exactly as populous as humans, you cocksuckers! Call yourselves environmentally conscious? Fuck you, you goddamned earth-rapers! Mother nature is weeping!

Or maybe Harry Clearwater and Billy Black like to park the ole wheelchair across the boundary line from the Cullen property and have single tears course down their weathered American Indian faces whenever the Cullens go and lay waste to our Country’s valuable natural recourses!

NICE ONE, Meyers! You aren’t teaching preteen girls (and Twimoms, *shudder*) to love emotionally aloof men that smirk at them instead of smiling- you are teaching them to treat beautiful and majestic animals like Happy Meals! That is what COWS are for, for the love of all that is fucking fuck.

Oh, and we BARELY meet this Victoria character- who is supposed to be important for TWO MORE BOOKS, but never does ANYTHING interesting, and who Bella barely notices (but keeps retconnong how scary she is).

I will say this: I liked the relationship between Bella and her dad, unlike every other relationship in Book 1 it struck me as being based on real emotions that Stephenie Meyers has experienced, rather than fantasized about. Reading Twilight The Big Book Of Manly Things Vol 1 wasn’t outright horrifying, or a complete waste of time. It was mostly just DULL, since the writing isn’t good enough to carry 500+ pages (seriously? Who the hell edited this?) and calling the plot basic is an insult to the months 18 year olds spend wearing fatigues and doing push-ups.

The book isn’t bad– it isn’t bad-bad– it is just incredibly mediocre.