April 6th, 2010

I headed back into Fox Studios yesterday to talk with Brian Sullivan on Fox Business — who is a big rail fan. Here’s the clip. According to my mom, I bang my fist on the table too much – what can I say, I’m used to having my hands occupied by a keyboard. Without one I’m lost.

April 2nd, 2010

What do you say about the worst horror movie you’ve ever seen in your life? A lot, after a vat of coffee and around 30 Easter chocolates. To celebrate¬† in the cinematic awfulness with me, click here for the latest Horror Chick column, in which I discuss Birdemic: Shock and Terror. And for God’s sake be sure to watch the clip — there really are no words to describe this thing without seeing it for yourself.

March 11th, 2010

melissa Jauntsetter PicI love traveling. Plop me in a foreign country with a map and a day or two of unscheduled time — there’s your true manifestation of contentment. But one cannot always be jetting around the universe, particularly when one spends 89% of one’s waking hours glued to a laptop and grumbling about how friggin slow one’s Internet connections always seems to be.

So for the vicarious thrill of traveling without actually leaving my computer, I read — what else — travel Web sites. Like this one. Jauntsetter.com is an extremely cool site aimed at women who consider traveling a vital personality trait. This week the Jauntsetters That Be kindly asked to interview me about my travel stories — to read it click here. And I stand by my assertion that the best meal in the world comes from a mall food court.

March 5th, 2010

I have a confession to make: Sometimes I write in a state of total rant. This is hardly a surprise to anyone who’s read this blog frequently. These rants are the definition of reactionary writing — that is, they are simply exhalations of pent-up emotion, and aren’t necessarily indicative of any careful logic or reasoning. Do I believe and stand behind what I say in these rants? Sure. But I also recognize that I’m not necessarily “right.” It’s all a big subjective cesspool of human interpretations, this Internet game (and life in general) — there IS no “right.” Plus, being “right,” at the end of the day, really isn’t all that fun. Far more fun is stirring up strong opinions from others, and inciting debate, and getting people to FEEL something. Inspiring people to talk about topics they’re passionate about (even if it’s how much they collectively loathe you) — that really is one of the things I love most about being a writer.

Yes, this is all leading up to something. This. Read and interpret at will. My Godsend boyfriend asked a good question: “How can you put something like this out there, without any control over what people think?” Well, a few years back I had a revelation: People will form judgments and opinions of you. It’s what we inherently do as a species. They’ll judge what you say and do and talk about it with so-and-so and Oh can you BELIEVE she did this and that she is such a blah blah blah and on and on ’til we die.

So given this state of affairs, you might as well be the fullest, most self-expressed version of yourself. And if you’re someone who likes to stir things up every once in a while, so be it. And people will form opinions and talk about how you’re so dead-on, or how you deserve to have your eyes gouged by rabid ostriches and your tongue stabbed with a fork etc etc etc. And it’s all “right,” and it’s all “wrong.” ‘Cause Lord knows, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

February 18th, 2010

I’ve made no secret of my feelings for Lori Gottlieb. Ever since my response to her “Settle for Him Girls” piece two years ago, I’ve strapped on the view that her Atlantic article-cum-book-cum-potential-chick flick is nothing more than the fallout of a woman unhappy with her life choices, who felt compelled to mold those crappy choices into a societal trend in order to find some inner peace. It’s a classic case of Misery Loves Company — only packaged into a self-help treatise and marketed to every (upper middle class, white, educated) unmarried woman over 28.

The Book Version of Gottlieb’s soul-stomping “settle” doctrine hit bookstores earlier this month, to torrents of controversy. I’m certainly not the only one brimming with distaste for this self-serving “dose of tough love” from a woman who talks about her past relationships with all the tenderness of a septic tank repairman. Plenty of other writers have taken her argument down with a hunting rifle, pointing out that the analysis is wrong, the “trend” of the unmarried thirtysomething isn’t much of a trend, and the whole thing conveniently fails to take into account that individuals are (gasp!) responsible for their own happiness, married or no.

To be fair, the one male response I’ve seen to the book hailed it as a valuable purveyor of “tough love” for single women (though on that point I’ll say: Why the fuck would I read a “here’s what you have to learn about getting married” manual written by a woman who’s been too critical of every man she meets to ever get married?).

Yes, there are grains (specks) of truth in some of Gottlieb’s analysis — relationships and perfection have no place together, and long-term commitment is not about checking off boxes and creating some childish simulacrum of “The One” you formed while watching Disney movies. And yes, the author has learned a thing or two about how to deal with backlash, such as by writing “Screw you, I’m not embarrassed for wanting a husband” screeds in the Washington Post.

But even now, she’s missing the point — yes, there are women out there criticizing her for seeking to pair up. But such criticism is easily dismissed as irrelevant — human beings seek companionship, male and female alike, and she is writing for a group of women who, by virtue of their reading this book, want to be in a relationship, whether or not it’s politically correct. The real danger in Gottlieb’s so-called “advice” is that is that it’s a call to worship false idols — it’s a relationship guide completely about the “wants” and “needs” of a single individual who has, through her actions, utterly disqualified herself to show anyone else how to beget a loving and functional relationship.

Gottlieb is quick to blame feminism for her relationship woes — it’s a convenient scapegoat. But feminism didn’t fuck up her love life — she did that all on her own. Read the rest of this entry »

February 2nd, 2010

I hit the Fox Business studio yesterday to talk with Brian Sullivan about Obama’s plans for high speed rail. Just imagine if we could get around the U.S. without having to sit in some airport purgatory breathing re-processed air and downing earwax-flavored food. Yeah, I can’t really imagine it either.

January 22nd, 2010

Behold today’s guest editor for The Infrastructurist. Look mom, aren’t you glad I did that whole law school thing?

Infra Guest Editor

January 13th, 2010

There are a couple types of bad movies. Well, 2 types really. There are movies that are simply bad — bad acting, bad plot, bad dialogue, bad effects, or simply an overall melange of badness that seeps through every aspect of the film. Then there are bad movies that are incurably bad, but still manage to be entertaining — “good-bad” films, I like to call them. A lot of monster/ghost/vampire movies fall into this latter category — they manage to be bad but still somehow good, since you have something to root for. Disbelief can be willingly hung from the rafters, and you can lose yourself in the total silliness of a giant anaconda doing its damndest to eat Eric Stoltz (my favorite good-bad movie of all time).

The thing is, when a movie TRIES to be good-bad, chances are it winds up transcending bad into pure awful. Which is what happened with Daybreakers, Willem Dafoe or no. To read my Horror Chick review, click here.

January 4th, 2010

Happy Non-2009! Congratulations on surviving with sanity (presumably) intact! O brave new year that has such capacity for craziness in’t! (With apologies to Aldous Huxley, and Shakespeare for that matter.)

Given that we’ve moved on to a new decade, the editors at The Awl have been running a fascinating “End of the ’00s” series by more writers than I can count. So I took the opportunity to rant about the decade in horror movies, from Saw to Rob Zombie to chicks with chainsaws. Since the rest of what happened in the aughts — pop culture’s soul-killing descent, the economy tanking, the labor market hemorrhaging, the steady decline of the U.S. as a superpower — was just too depressing. To read the latest Horror Chick, click here.

December 15th, 2009

Oh well — at least I’m under Brian Williams and Katie Couric:

Notable Quotable Awards for 2009: Nominees for Long Live Camelot Award

UPDATE: Turns out I won this shit. At this point, nothing to do but laugh. It’s what Mary Jo would have done! (Have a blast with that one, right wing.)