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Trout Nation Posts

Thursday Two-fer

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BECAUSE I AM ENRAGED. Okay, for people who don’t live in the United States, you might be unaware of the fact that next Thursday is Thanksgiving here. It is a holiday that celebrates when the puritans got here from England and went, “Oh, crap, we should have brought more food,” and their American Indian neighbors came over and went, “Well, here, have some of this delicious food,” and the pilgrims were like, “Thanks. Have some of this delicious small pox!”

History lesson aside, Thanksgiving is important mostly because there is a big giant parade spectacle in New York City. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I kid you not, this parade is such a big deal over here that when I was a child I thought Thanksgiving was actually called Macy’s Day. So, yeah, giant parade. And while everyone waits for the parade in front of the big Macy’s flagship department store near Times Square, viewers at home get to watch musical numbers from current Broadway musicals and also The Rockettes. And this year? Sarah Brightman is going to be singing on a float. And at the end, Santa Claus gets there and is like, “It’s the holidays, Chumps!”

AND I’M GOING TO MISS IT. Why? Because my husband wants to have dinner with his family at noon. Which means we have to leave in the middle of the parade to get there! I’m going to miss it!

And I’ve missed it for the last few years to be at Thanksgiving dinners. I don’t even like turkey. Or smallpox. I just want to see the parade!

Sigh. If I had some of that spiffy new DVD-R or Tivo technology, this wouldn’t be an issue. But I don’t, because I’m cheap and afraid of change, especially when it involves machines with artificial intelligence.

I mean, if Tivo can learn that I like Family Guy, it can learn all of my weaknesses and strike where I am more vulnerable. You can go ahead and get murdered by your Tivo. I’m playing it safe right now and right here. I’m living for the moment.

Cue Da Yoopers…. Now.

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Today, in my neck (finger? palm?) of the woods, AKA the great mitten state, it is the first day of firearm deer season.

Perhaps I worded that incorrectly. The deer don’t have guns, nor are they made of guns, as I might have implied. But it’s the first day you can hunt deer with a firearm.

I did it again, implying the deer have guns.

Anyway, I’m not hunting. Why? Because I have a February deadline. That’s right. My JOB is getting in the way of what I want to do in my FREE TIME. The next person who says I don’t have a job can explain to my editor why all my emails are suddenly coming from a tree stand in the woods.

I was pretty bummed about the no hunting development. For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get my butt out there to kill a living creature, but to no avail. However, when I look out at today’s weather, I rejoice that I am not sitting in a blind somewhere freezing my carharts off.

It is snowing. Well, kind of. It’s also raining. So really, it’s snaining. Or rowing, I’m not sure. And it is miserable.

So, instead of climbing a ladder and tying myself to a tree in the hopes of spotting that elusive thirty point buck, I’m spending my morning at Fourth Coast, downing skim milk double lattes with sugar free caramel syrup and being, in general, warm and dry.

Alright, dear readers, what comforts dost thou turn to when the gales of November come wailing?

Cool, I just mixed faux Shakespeare with Gordon Lightfoot. My two favorite bards!

Something That Ticks Me Right Off…

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I hate when I can’t find the right music to write a certain project to. I’m knee deep in “Lightworld/Darkworld” and I’m trying to find the correct balance between new age, Enya-type music and industrial metal. The closest I’ve gotten is the soundtrack from “300,” which is great, but it’s distracting to keep thinking of Gerry Butler and his rock hard, chiseled abs. Mmm…abs.

Anyway, it’s frustrating. Nightwish is getting some moderate representation on my LW/DW playlist, and I’m crossing my fingers that Sarah Brightman’s 2008 album, which is supposed to be classical done to goth metal, comes out before I have to have all the books turned in. But holy moly, what do I do in the meantime?

Anyone have some good recommendations for music that says, “This is steeped in various mythologies, but mostly Celtic lore, and also there is lots of blood shed”?

Now, for your viewing pleasure, “Greased Lightnin'” done claymation style, and also there is a humping robot. NSFW, NSFChildren.

Things You Probably Shouldn’t Ask….

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My local RWA chapter, GRRRWA, had a fantastic guest speaker this weekend. A policeman. Not to sound like a five year old who just saw a fire truck parked at the neighbors house, but seriously, he was a real policeman with a gun and a taser and a badge and everything. No horse or motorcycle, but all the rest of the stuff.

Now, if you’re like me, you can sympathize with the urge to, when meeting someone in a profession you have very little knowledge of, ask as many questions as you possibly can, even if you sound incredibly stupid. I do this with the following people:

  • Pilots
  • Doctors
  • Football players
  • Members of our Armed Forces
  • Senators, state or otherwise
  • Meteorologists
  • Policemen
  • People who like to golf.

And I can’t stop the questions from flowing out my word hole. I asked him who cleans up murdered people. How much sweet, stinky weed you can get caught with before it becomes a felony. How they wrestle people down and handcuff them. What cops would think if Batman and Spiderman were real. I just barely restrained myself from asking if he’d ever been shot and if he would taser me so I could see what it was like.

Needless to say, I learned a lot. The most disappointing answer was that if Spiderman and Batman were real, they really wouldn’t be doing the police any favors, because the police couldn’t just pick up a guy wrapped up in a web and charge him with a crime they didn’t see. Which makes sense, I guess, but damn. I can’t believe I’ve lived my whole life as a lie.

Anyway, I was thinking. This is a golden opportunity to answer some burning questions I know people must have about being a writer. So, I’m going to attempt to do that right now:

Top Ten Answers To Questions Frequently Asked Of Writers:

  1. Not as much as you’d think, and certainly not enough to support my lifestyle, which is fabulous.
  2. You have to use stilts, because it’s up really high.
  3. Tomorrow.
  4. Yes, that does look infected.
  5. No, it would be foolish to remove the restraining bolt, as it is likely that your droid will just run away.
  6. Probably not more than six, just to be safe.
  7. A turkey sandwich, but then only with help.
  8. Family Feud reruns.
  9. Goal setting is EXTREMELY important.
  10. I say, tell the warden. Everyone loves a snitch.

I hope that helps clear up some of the mystery about what I do.

“Why didn’t we think of this before?”

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I kid you not, that is, if not a direct quote, a close approximation of what one of the vampires in 30 Days Of Night says while they’re hunting and killing the residents of a small Alaskan town.

This movie deserves some kind of award for most awesome vampires. I’m going to give it to them right now. “The Jennifer Armintrout Award For Excellence In The Field Of Spraying Blood And Vampires Being Thrown Into Giant Wood Chippers” is hereby presented to 30 Days Of Night. They also receive the lesser known, but just as prestigious, “Jennifer Armintrout Award For Best Film In Which An Enraged Mountain Man Resembling Hagrid Drives A Giant Saw Machine Through A Crowd Of Vampires”.

This was one of those movies where they would show some machine or vehicle and you’d be like, “Oh, I just know that is going to come into play later, and I cannot WAIT!” Like the huge wood chipper thing. I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering when, in a spray of blood and much flailing and screaming, a vampire was gonna get tossed into it. I was not disappointed.

I’m not even ruining key plot points here for you, because the thing is, the first fifteen minutes are like a road map to what is going to happen later. “Giant wood chipper? You know someone is getting thrown into that! Chainsaw you can drive? Oh man, that is going to be excellent.”

The only way this movie could have been better is if the vampires from it somehow got into the movie Across The Universe and they ate all of those stupid hippies. They’d be like, protesting the Vietnam War and giving a passing nod to the civil rights movement, holding hands and singing “All You Need Is Love” and BAM! Vampires. Eating them. Spraying their patchouli scented blood all over the psychedelic ground.

And during the previews, I almost wet my pants. Not because I sneezed too hard. Oh no. Because there is another Aliens Vs. Predator movie coming out this Christmas. Sorry, Johnny Depp, but the Yajuta top demon barbers every time. I know how my movie money is going to be spent this Christmas. Wisely.

That would be another good movie, if the vampires from 30 Days Of Night fought the Predators.

So, with all the tons of movies coming out in the next few months, what is everyone excited to see? My next must-see is “Enchanted”, the one where a Disney Princess gets sucked into real life.

Because, regardless of my enthusiasm for spraying blood and flying vampire chunks, I’m nothing if not a princess at heart.

Memory Lane… You Beeyotch.

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This morning, for reasons I won’t go into right now, I had to go back to my old high school for like, two seconds. And God bless her, the office lady remembered who I was. I was like, “What? That was like ten years ago,” and she said, “You look the same.”

Figuring I was on a roll, I went to, and am now blogging from, the coffee house where I spent a lot of my time trying to get picked up by college guys when I was a teenager. Granted, I’m no longer trying to get picked up by college guys, but not a lot has changed here. Everyone still basically looks miserable and/or too smart for their own good, the music is like, weird and obscure and sounds like something rejected from the reality bites soundtrack, and the air is so smokey I’m actually considering bumming a cigarette from someone just to get a filter between me and the roiling cancer on the air.

Actually, that’s a lie. I have my own cigarettes. I don’t smoke, but I do carrying around some expensive cigarettes as a status symbol. I like to go into pro-smoking establishments and sit down and take out my Dunhills or what have you and pretend to smoke one or two, leaving the pack out for all to see, as if to say, “Look how important I am. I smoke fifteen dollar cigarettes.” It’s just one of a number of little mind games I like to play with the world at large.

Anyway, in honor of my trip down memory lane, I’m going to post the top ten little known facts about coffee shops.

Top Ten Little Known Facts About Coffee Shops
1. Everyone knows that coffee shops are a good place to score weed, but what they probably don’t know is that it’s also a good place to score absinthe.

2. Coffee house etiquette demands that for every hour you spend loitering at the counter, you must wash a part of the barista’s car.

3. Ha ha, just kidding. Baristas don’t have cars. They ride bikes, because they’re hippies and they care about the earth and stuff.

4. Nearly all of the flyers on a coffee shop bulletin board contain nonsensical subliminal messages like, “Ear your cheese!” and “Snort that vagabond, Haley’s Comet!”

5. 98% of the United State’s supplies of corduroy and sweater coats can be found in coffee shops.

6. A recent survey revealed that most college kids spend more time at coffee shops than libraries, because it’s easier to pick up high school girls in a coffee shop than a library.

7. Also, you can smoke there.

8. The amount of nicotine in the air at an average American coffee house is enough to fuel a nicotine powered generator for thirty-six hours.

9. The least popular flavor of flavored creamer is chitlins with green pepper. The second least popular is “Gingerbread.”

10. All coffee house art is produced by a company in Yarlborough, CT, and is supplied to independent “artists” around the country to sell to unsuspecting coffee houses.

This stuff is all true. Look it up. But before you do that, tell me, what is the one place from your childhood you’d most like to return to?

Do You Want Flies With That?

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Alternate title: “I’d Like A Number Four With Large Flies.”

On Fridays, my husband is responsible for ferrying the child back and forth to school. In between school and home, he usually picks us up some lunch at the only fast food restaurant I will eat at. I will not name it because I am still loyal to them, but it rhymes with schmickschmonalds.

Well, today, as I’m enjoying my golden, delicious fries for which schmickschmonalds is so famous, I find…

wait for it…

a crispy fried wing. Not from a chicken. From a common house fly.

Very few things will gross me out to the point that I’m no longer able to eat. Once, when I was eating a piece of cherry pie my grandmother had made, I found a whole housefly baked into it. My grandma just wicked him away with her pinky finger and said “Eh, he didn’t eat much,” and I finished eating. Because I was raised by people who honestly believed the presence of bugs in your food was a funny, unexpected bonus. I think that’s because they grew up in the depression or whatever and they probably were used to eating bugs.

However, having worked at a schmickschmonalds, I know what happens when a bug falls into the deep fryer. KA-BLAMO! They explode, spewing their soon to be crunchy, golden guts all over the place. ALL OVER MY FRIES.

I just couldn’t finish. A whole fly, I can do. Fly parts… yeck.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever found in your food, either at a fast food place or a regular restaurant?

Happy Halloween!

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In celebration of/preparation for Halloween, last night I went to beautiful Fremont, MI, to speak to the locals about the dangers of vampires. Now, as I was already two-thirds of the way into my annual seven day Halloween candy binge, I left a few details out. So, for your Halloween reading pleasure, here are Jennifer Armintrout’s Top Ten Least Known Facts About Vampires:

1. Nearly all vampires will respond to some variation of “Hey, Dracula.”

2. Peanut butter, in lieu of wooden stakes, will work just fine to kill vampires, as most vampires have severe nut allergies.

3. Some people think that a house without curtains or visible outdoor lighting indicates that Amish live inside. Not so. Vampires dislike drapes and patio lights as much as the next evil creature.

4. Also, most Amish are also vampires.

5. The leading cause of all crippling stomach pain diagnosed in the United States in 2006 was “Vampire Related Anxiety.”

6. Broadway musicals about vampires rarely succeed, due to lack of support from the vampire community. This is because vampires prefer ice shows.

7. Vampires are known the world over for turning into mist and seeping across the country side. Every time you drive your car through some fog, you’re probably killing harmless baby vampires.

8. Vampires named Dave are usually stand up guys.

9. If you pay a vampire to rake your lawn, keep an eye on him. He’ll probably cheat you.

10. Sending a vampire flowers can be a troublesome endeavor, as a recent “Dutch Fever” epidemic has left most vampires unable to tolerate the sight of tulips.

Halloween Movie Recs

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Apparently, as an author of creepy books, I have some sort of occult knowledge of good scary movies. “Jenny,” people say accusingly, “You’re an author of creepy books. You must know something about scary movies that we don’t.”

Well, that is patently false. I only know as much as the next person about a good horror movie. If it scares me, it’s good. But, to paraphrase the theme from Different Strokes, what might be scary for you might not be scary for some. So, keeping that in mind, here are my favorite “scary” movies, perfect for this time o’ the year:

The Ring Some people find this movie a little so-so. I absolutely freak out when I watch it. I almost pee my pants when the phone rings for about two days after I see this. I guess to some people, like, young people, the fact that it’s already really outdated (what the hell is a video tape? Is that some kind of stone-aged entertainment device, like they dug it up at Pompeii or something?) makes it less scary. Well, I’ve got news for you, teenagers! In the olden days, we had to watch movies on VHS because we didn’t have Xbox and we had to make our own fun! Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, The Ring. Yeah, it’s a scary movie.

House Of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects You have to watch these two together, because watching just one by its self is unfulfilling. You have to watch them back-to-back to get the whole, awesome story. You know that trash house in your town? The one with the empty hanging flower baskets and broken down cars on the lawn and they keep their Christmas lights up and on all year round and maybe they don’t come outside much and when they do they look kind of unfriendly? Yeah, if you watch these movies, you’ll be even more afraid of those freaks.

Cube These people wake up and find they’ve been trapped in a labyrinthine prison of deviously booby-trapped cubes and the only way to escape alive is by solving a complex mathematical equation. WHAT?! WHO THE HELL DOES THAT KIND OF THING? HAVE THEY NO SOULS?! Seriously, that is TERRIFYING. Whoever thought that up is a twisted person who should probably not be trusted to babysit for children. Man. People thing Saw is a scary movie, but Jigsaw could take a page out of whoever made the cube’s book. Sawing off your own leg is not scary. Math… math is scary.

From Dusk Til Dawn This is one of those movies where you’re like, “Wait, what is this? Is this a comedy? Is this a crime drama? Is this a retro-pop-culture-pastiche?” and then the vampires come. And they are awesome, evil vampires. Just like I like ’em. Awww yeah.

Now, since I have very little else to share today, I’m going to leave you with this, my new favorite commercial:

I Wish I Was In Charge At The IRS.

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If I was, they would not have frigging Swan Lake as their hold music. And it’s never just the whole thing playing all the way through or anything like that. It’s just the part where the prince sees the swans all dancing around on the lake. It’s Tchaikovsky, and it’s terrible.

It’s like a special kind of hell, actually. “Congratulations, you not only get to pay taxes, you also get to listen to wildly repetitive and mindlessly overblown orchestrations!

Next quarter, I’m going to tape a little note to my tax payment that says, “Please use this money to get new hold music, KTHNXBYE.”

So, imagine your own special kind of hell for me. What is the worst thing you could imagine listening to over hold music?