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Mystery Chair

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And now, the story of the mystery chair:

As some of you know (and some don’t), the house I live in is the house I grew up in. After my mother and I moved out of it, onto our separate lives, the house stood empty. After six years, I purchased said home from my mother and my family and I moved in and promptly started taking down the ugly wallpaper and sponge painted borders that had tormented me through childhood (the faux-stone plastic paneling in the living room was particularly hideous).

Part of this remodel involved the basement, as I previously mentioned. And in this basement lies the Mystery Chair.

I don’t remember ever seeing the Mystery Chair in our home as I was growing up. My mother has no clear recollection of it, either. But, when we went into the house after it had stood empty for six years, we found the Mystery Chair sitting, alone and forlorn, in the basement.

The Mystery Chair is an arm chair that looks as though it originated in that “different colors of rough, waffle-woven, homespun yarn in pastel colors as upholstery is a glamorous idea for any living room furniture” phase of the nineties. The shape is squat and modern, the colors don’t match anything. It is too big to remove in one piece; it is wider than the only door to the basement.

I have three theories about this chair, and how it got into the basement without us knowing or having a hand in it:

 

  1. Someone broke into the vacant house, pulled up a section of floor, carefully lowered the chair down to the basement, then replaced the floorboards and relaid the carpet in such a way that their deed would not be noticed upon casual inspection of the floor, but would make a great impact when said hideous chair was found.
  2. The chair has always been there. Wrapped up in our own lives and every day drama, the chair stayed, neglected, unnoticed, until such a time as all of our crap was moved out and we were forced to confront the reality of the chair. Furthermore, the chair was placed in the basement prior to the construction of the house, which was built around the chair.
  3. Some point in our basement behaves in the same manner as the area around the event horizon of a black hole, and all the particles of the chair popped into our physical space when they disappeared from another location. For example, the chair may have been in our neighbor’s house before its particles winked out of our known dimension and rematerialized in an area with a greater attractive force, ie, our basement. This black hole theory would also explain the disappearance of my REM Monster Tour t-shirt with Michael Stipe looking romantically angsty and defeated on it that went suddenly missing in high school.

Any way you slice it, I don’t want to get rid of this chair. Is it ugly? Yes. Does its sudden appearance baffle me? Most certainly so. But it is the most comfortable chair ever to lovingly cradle my flat, white butt. Which opens up a world of paranoia all of its own:

  • Is the chair’s comfort a plot to ensnare me, helpless, before the television to watch episode after episode of E! True Hollywood Story? Is it actually a sophisticated hologram beamed into my family room by the television networks to guarantee that I will be watching?
  • Is the chair actually a demonic entity, lulling me into a false sense of security before one day successfully draining my soul and feasting up on it as I writhe in agony, tormented by visions of my misdeeds?
  • Could the chair have been placed here by aliens as a calming amnesiac device to remove all memory of the horrible experiments they subject me to nightly?

All I know is, I don’t want to get rid of this chair. It is a part of me, as I am a part of creation, all of the earth and sky.

So, Where’d The Line About Splitting Muff Go?

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Thanks to Brynn Paulin‘s husband, bless his awesome, awesome soul, I found myself last night squashed into a packed theatre beside Cheryl Sterling, Bronwyn Green and Brynn, watching Sweeney Todd two weeks before it hits the big screen.

I must, at this point, explain that this will not be a fair and objective review. This review will be handled by rabid Sondheim and Sweeney fan Jennifer “Green Bitch And Critical Bird” Armintrout, and not by a normal, sane human being who saw a movie.

[insert fire truck noises and running around the room in an endless loop]. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. After all the horror I experienced reading about the production of the movie– rumors that ranged everywhere from “they’re cutting the ballad” to “that dude from Oingo Boingo that Tim Burton likes so much is completely redoing the orchestrations”– I could not be more relieved at the end product.

First of all, yes. They did cut the ballad. Or, more accurately, they cut the lyrics. The music is still very much there, interspersed throughout the movie. Some other cuts they made, that, if I had known of them before going to the movie would have enraged me, were most of the beggar woman’s “Alms” refrains, “Kiss Me,” and a huge chunk of the Wigmaker Sequence, which basically boiled down to Sweeney telling Anthony to go pretend to be a wigmaker, which he does. A few lines and lyrics were changed here and there, and strangely the harmony and melody to the choruses of “A Little Priest” is changed up, but it all WORKS. It makes no sense at all, but the leads are clearly non-singers, the cuts made should be considered heresy, and the blood is orangey and fake. BUT IT WORKS.

Please, if you’re avoiding seeing this because you love the play, please, go and see it anyway. It truly was a worthy adaptation.

Hofftacular Spectacular Continues… JEN vs. THE HOFF!

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Today, my friends, is an epic day. Today, I engage The Hoff in figurative combat. Today, is Jen vs. The Hoff. Today, we see how I, a mere mortal, stack up against that shining beacon with wings of tenderness, David Hasselhoff.

Let’s start at the beginning. A very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A B C. When you prepare for imaginary battle with El Hoff, you begin with

The Basics
Names
Jennifer Armintrout. Fits perfectly in place of the words “Jesus Christ, Superstar” in the song “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” Has eighteen letters.
David Hasselhoff. Fits in place of the words “Jesus Christ, Superstar” if you stretch the first syllable of “David” out a bit. Has fifteen letters.
ADVANTAGE: Jen

Initials
Jen: JLA Also stands for Justice League Of America.
Hoff: DMH Stands for Hoffski.
ADVANTAGE: Hoff

Body
Jen: Flabby I don’t like fruit.
Hoff: Terrifically sculpted/cuts a dashing figure in lifeguarding trunks But slightly hairy.
ADVANTAGE: Hoff

Vocabulary
Jen: Has used “verisimilitude” in a sentence, successfully. No one knew what it meant.
Hoff: Coined the phrase “Hofftastic”. No one knows what it means, either.
ADVANTAGE: Draw

Personal Style
Author Photos
Jen: Brooding, in graveyard Also, taken by Jill Welch, coolest photographer on the planet.
Hoff: Grinch-who-stole-Christmas-style-sneer-over-sunglasses pose Not taken by Jill Welch.
ADVANTAGE: Jill Welch

Worst Outfit
Jen: Little House On The Prairie style dress. Wore it in Kindergarten. Never got over it.
Hoff: Piano key scarf and light up jacket. Wore it in Germany to sing above the Berlin Wall. Germans went crazy crazier.
ADVANTAGE: Hoff

Fly Ride
Jen: Your mom A green Dodge Neon, actually.
Hoff: KITT Effeminate talking car.
ADVANTAGE: Your Mom Hoff.

Career
Page Counts
Jen: Usually around 400. Above or below, depending.
Hoff: 270. Not counting bibliography, discography, television resume and other assorted end materials.
ADVANTAGE: Jen

Fight Scenes
Jen: Vampires getting killed in creative ways. In book four, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Golems in a giant throw down.
Hoff: Transvestites chase him out of a New Zealand bar. I’m not joking, it’s in his book.
ADVANTAGE: Jen

Australia Thinks:
Jen: I’m okay. My book did pretty well there.
Hoff: is indispensable Prime Minister John Howard allegedly said “You’ve got to stay for the economy, the spirit and the soul of Australia.”
ADVANTAGE: Hoff. Also, Australia. Everyone wins!

Internet Presence
Jen: Hasn’t checked her MySpace in weeks. Has also forgotten her Facebook password.
Hoff: King Of The Interet. See videos below.
ADVANTAGE: Hoff

World Records Held
Jen: Unofficial record. For most times accidentally poking one’s self in the eye.
Hoff: Official Guinness World Record. For most watched television show ever (Baywatch).
ADVANTAGE: Hoff

Well, there you have it. The Hoff is cooler than me to the tune of 7 to 3. Jill Welch made an impressive showing in her absence.

I’m off to nurse my wounds– and by that I mean “miraculously heal them with the power of Hoffski”– and get some work done whilst waiting for the Crow’s Nest to open so I can get me some breakfast.

Keep it real, y’all.

We Now Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Hofftacular Spectacular…

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I realize that I failed in my mission to bring you All Hoff, All Week, but circumstances beyond my control (*cough* Amtrak *cough*) destroyed my dreams of a Wednesday Hoff post.

Enter now my nightmare.

Mr. Jen’s mother, hereby referred to as MIL, had taken the train to Texas for a wedding. Amtrak’s screwy schedule, however, planned to leave her stranded in Chicago for several hours before her connecting train. Mr. Jen would then have been forced to pick her up from the local station at 11pm. “Well,” thought Mr. Jen, with his usual stroke of genius, “Why not make a family day of it? We’ll take Jen Jr. out of school and head to Chitown. If we get there early enough, we’ll be able to take in the aquarium before picking mom up at Union Station. Her train comes in at 2:15, so we’ll be well out of the city before rush hour!”

Great idea, in theory. The reality of this plan was something altogether more horrific.

Driving to our destination went off relatively hitch-less. Except for the part that went something like this:

Mr. Jen: How many Great Lakes are there?
Jen: Five.
Mr. Jen: I thought there were only four.
Jen: No, there are five. HOMES, remember? Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Mr. Jen: Where the heck is Huron?
Jen: I have no idea.
Mr. Jen: Look in the glove box. There’s bound to be a Michigan map in there somewhere, right?
Jen: Okay… [Screaming. Lots of screaming]
Mr. Jen: What?!
Jen: WHY IS THIS IN HERE?! [holds up hand to reveal finger, impaled through the tip by the biggest GD fishhook she’s ever seen in her life]

Other than the bizarre non-fishing related fishing hook accident, everything went pretty well. The aquarium was fun. I saw a Komodo Dragon. Until this year, I’d never actually seen one. Then, I see two in one year. Whatever. And I could watch the sharks all day.

At the aquarium, we get a call. “The train is delayed. It’ll be in at 3:45.” Great, more time at the aquarium!

We leave the aquarium, full of awe at nature’s creature and also hungry for sushi. I gaze wistfully at the art institute– this is the third time in a year that I have been in the city without visiting Un Dimanche Apres-Midi a Ille de La Grande Jatte– but my mission was clear. By now, MIL was chugging into the station. It is also, unfortunately, almost four o’clock and Union Station is teeming with people. We struggle to find a parking spot and haul rear for the Amtrak terminal. Once there, we found that the train was delayed again. Until 5:45.

Have you ever been to Chicago? Have you ever been to Union Station? You know that scene in that movie with the staircase and the shooting and the baby carriage? Yeah, that kind of exciting stuff doesn’t happen. It’s boring. Especially for a child. Especially for my child.

We ended up at a diner. We made that last until 5:45. We went back to Union Station . The train was delayed. You see the theme.

Long story short, the train came at 9. Seven hours later.

By then, full scale blizzard. We bunked down in Portage, Indiana, at the Days Inn that time forgot, where I prayed all night that we wouldn’t be killed by The Hills Have Eyes-esque mutants, and made it home the next day.

That is why there was no Hoff yesterday, or today. Tomorrow, Hofftacular Spectacular will resume, with much gusto.

Now, off to sleep, and never visit Chicago again.

HHTV: The Hasselhoff Channel. All Hoff, All The Time

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I come to you today with two Hofftastic videos from the man himself. The first, a commercial for some internet company, in which Hoff declares himself King of The Internet. Bow, worthless plebes, your new master demands supplication! Bow! BOW!

Tune in tomorrow for an in-depth review of El Hoff’s autobiography, and don’t miss the rest of the Hofftacular Spectacular, all this week, right here.

Hofftacular Spectacular!

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Hear ye, Hear ye! Today, December 4, 2006, shall remain in history a holy day! A day of mystery and wonder, a day all shall look on in remembrance and awe! Today begins the five day Feast of The Hoff, the Hofftacular Spectacular.

It all began Thursday last when, whilst visiting an ailing friend’s bedside, I became possessed of a powerful urge to own David Hasselhoff’s staggering work of literary brilliance, “Don’t Hassel The Hoff.” I did then beseech my puking friend thusly: “Get up, bitch, we’re going to Barnes and Noble!”

With much protesting and great dramatics, my ill companion did roust herself and managed to cloth herself in some sweat pants that we might make the journey to yon B&N.

Oh, but my heart did race all throughout that thirty minute drive! My palms did sweat and I might have dropped an f-bomb or two at cars keeping a snail’s pace in traffic. Finally, finally, we reached our destination. I raced inside, my emetic companion lurching feverishly behind me.

“I need the David Hasselhoff book!” I sang out in anticipatory chorus as I approached the gleaming beacon of the information counter. “I need it real bad!”

The booksmith looked at me with something akin to admiration tinged with fear. “I’m afraid we’re sold out. But we do have the Chuck Norris autobiography, ‘The Secret Of Inner Strength,’ if that helps.”

“No!” I cried, the Hoff-hungry demon in my breast crying out for satiation, “I already have that one! I need the Hoff! How can you be sold out?”

“There are other silly people in the world, Jennifer,” a woman in the employ of the great B&N commented, and I reluctantly conceded that point.

Such an admission did not soothe my raging Hoff fever. Meanwhile, a fever of a different sort afflicted my companion. “Jen,” she begged, her eyes bright with sickness, her brow beaded with sweat from the exertion of not emptying her stomach onto my dashboard, “Take me home or I’ll kill you.”

“No!” I cried, gripping her shoulders and giving her a hearty shake. “I will not give up so close to the end of our quest!”

But she would not be swayed, and all the long journey back to her apartment I did employ my cell phone to contact other area bookstores, in vain. The Hoff’s popularity thwarted me at every turn, when each store on my speed dial informed me that all of their copies had flown from the shelves.

Finally, I reached the bottom of my alphabetical list. A Waldenbooks, in Portage, Michigan, had the cherished tome. “Donna!” I exclaimed in glee, “Save a copy for me!”

After leaving off my feverish friend, I once again took up my cell phone, to contact another of my most dearest and trusted allies. “Jill,” I shouted, my wonder and rapture emanating over the cellular waves as surely as raindrops disturbing gentle spring puddles, “Do you want to go on a wonderful adventure?”

I raced to her side, finding her as excited and ready for our quest as ever. Once again I made the interminable trek across town, wailing and gnashing my teeth at every delay. But soon enough we reached our destination. The Hoff was within my reach.

Every step I took across the parking lot brought me closer to my Mecca. My heart beat its self fearfully against my ribs. Closer and closer I came. Every second seemed infused with the holy importance of my task.

Donna, the smiling, helpful book peddler, seemingly unaware of my heightened state of agitation, rang my most radiant of purchases and slid the venerable tome into a plastic bag; the Hoff’s tan glowed through the white of the bag.

“Wow, you’ve really been looking for this, huh?” she observed, finally noticing my mania. “Who’s this for?”

Confusion! As if I would hand such a treasure over as a mere gift. This book was a thing to be cherished, perhaps willed to future generations after my passing, but it would not leave my hands! “It’s for me,” I stuttered, barely able to comprehend this world, where such a treasure would be callously given away.

“Oh.” Donna appeared perturbed at this, but it mattered not. I possessed the book of my desires! I had Don’t Hassel The Hoff!

My fingers itched to caress the pages. My mind worked like a hamster in an improperly weighted wheel as I drove to my destination. When I arrived, I pulled the book of Hoff from its plastic prison. Freed at last, the shocking blue and orange of the cover blazed with a godly light. The culmination of my efforts was upon me! A tear crept from my eye as I lifted the cover for the first time.

And my eyes landed on the word “Hofftastic.” And I realized that anything I really, really think I desperately need on a day when I’ve had only one hour of sleep the previous night is probably something silly that I could do without.

However, dear reader, you’re about to benefit from my insanity. Right here, all week long, it’s a Hofftacular Spectacular. A week-long celebration of the Hoff, from Monday to Friday. Every day, a new and Hofftastic post will bring you one step closer to a deeper understanding of El Hoff (for our Spanish speaking friends) or Hoffski (in Russian).

The week will include a review of the Hoff’s masterpiece of literature, Hoff quizzes, Hoff quotes and of course, plenty of Hoff eye candy. And, as if that weren’t enough, at the end of the week, tune in for “Jen vs. The Hoff,” which I can assure you will be a bloodbath.

Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell them, one and all, to come, come see the amazing, the astounding HOFFTACULAR SPECTACULAR!

Actual, Honest To Goodness Book News…

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I got the red team go on book four, so that’s taken care of. The even better news is that Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls’ Night will feature a sneak peek of my next series, Lightworld/Darkworld. More on that series to come later.

The really awesome thing is that this is the first time I’ve had a sneak peek of anything in the back of one of my books. It’s pretty exciting.

That’s about all I’ve got for today. Keep it real, yo.

PS. There is a doctor on Dr. Phil (not Dr. Phil) whose skin is so perfect and glowing that he looks like a vinyl doll. Also, I love when Dr. Phil gets so mad that he shakes, and today is a show about obesity in children, so I am in LUCK.

Frankly, Mr. Jen, I Don’t Give A Damn…

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Because Tez Miller called my husband Mr. Jen, I will now call my husband Mr. Jen. It’s like Mr. Turkey, only made of human meat instead of turkey meat.

Things have been crizazy at the Jen and Mr. Jen house. On Monday night we had two completely unrelated deaths in the family (one on his side, one on mine), at almost exactly the same time. It would have been more easily explained if they were riding together in a car or a plane or a hovercraft, but they both just happened to die on the same night, at nearly the same time. I think this is conclusive proof that DEATH is getting closer and closer, alerting me to my mortality with his creepy sense of humor.

Whenever I am faced with just such a weird occurrence that reminds me how very enormous the universe is and how very small and insignificant I am, I watch Gone With The Wind.

Gone With The Wind is really the cure for anything that ails me. Bad day? Gone With The Wind. Slammed my hand in the car door? Gone With The Wind. Syphilis? Penicillin and Gone With The Wind. G ta the O ta the Ne With The Wind.

I don’t know exactly why this movie is such a comfort to me in times of philosophical distress. Maybe it’s the transformation of Scarlet from vain, shallow, manipulative wilting flower to vain, shallow, manipulative tough as nails bitch that cheers me. Maybe it’s the highly unrealistic depiction of the Old South as a world of gleaming white houses and weirdly happy slaves. Maybe it’s Clark Gable’s fake teeth. I have no clue.

Anyway, in the interest of being, you know, interesting, here is some trivia, culled from various spots on the internet, that may or my not be true. In fact, let’s make this interesting. I will plant three fake items of trivia in this list, and whoever makes the first correct guess as to which ones are fake will receive something from me. You know. In the mail. It probably won’t be exciting or even that cool, but you’ll feel like you’ve won something, and that’s pretty much all that counts, right?
Oh, and don’t go cheating and google this stuff. This is like the SATs here. The internetz is seriouz bidness.

Totally True (except for 3 things) Gone With The Wind Trivia


  1. In Margret Mitchell’s first draft of “Gone With The Wind,” the character we know today as Scarlet was named Pansy.
  2. The interior sets for the film where constructed without ceilings. They were added with matte paintings.
  3. Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to be nominated for and win an Oscar, did not attend the Atlanta premiere of the film due to high racial tensions.
  4. Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie, is still alive.
  5. Scarlet’s twin beaus from the first scene of the film were brothers, but not actually twins.
  6. Vincent Price auditioned for the role of Ashley.
  7. Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler, because he thought the movie would be a huge flop.
  8. If its box office receipts were adjusted for inflation, Gone With The Wind would be the fourth highest grossing movie of all time.
  9. Because of the size of the dresses and the aspect ratio of the film, some scenes of Melanie and Scarlet were shot from the waist up to disguise the fact they weren’t wearing the hoop skirts that would have put them too far apart to be in the same shot.
  10. Gone With The Wind is a banned film in Thailand.
  11. Margret Mitchell was paid $50,000 for the rights to her novel, and received an additional $50,000 when the production company dissolved.
  12. The derogatory “N-word” was removed from the script when its use offended the African-American actors working on the film.
  13. Vivian Leigh was billed fourth in the film’s credits, until she won the Best Actress Oscar.
  14. The wretching sounds Scarlet makes after digging up the turnip in the famous “With God as my witness…” scene were dubbed by Olivia de Havilland, as Vivian Leigh couldn’t fake a vomiting noise.

Where Is All Of This Coming From?

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SPAM email. For so long I have been without it.

I used to have an AOL account. I got tons of SPAM there. By tons, I mean almost three hundred a day. That’s not an exaggeration. If I missed checking my email by one day, my inbox would have reached its limit.

So, I changed my personal email to a hotmail address. For almost two years I have been blissfully SPAM free.

Then, out of the blue, it began arriving. It started with the obvious ones: “Twin Asian girls get nasty” and “Wanna see pics of my wife?” I kicked them to my junk folder. Then, they started getting a little more creative. To escape the wrath of the junk folder, they started misspelling key words the filter would now be looking for. “Hrorny Teens Fiznuking!” and “Secksy MILF takes it all!”. BAM. To the Junk Folder.

Now, they’re getting deviously creative. “Your phone has been busy all day. What’s going on?” I see that subject line and I don’t even look at the address. I go, “Oh, that must be one of my many close and important friends. I wonder what is wrong with my phone.” I open it and there it is, a link to 100% Free Girl On Girl Action.

I can’t figure out how this happened. Conventional wisdom would say that if I’ve been visiting a lot of porn sites and entering my email to join them, that would bring on an onslaught of SPAM. But– and this will shock many, I’m sure– I don’t look at porn on the internet. I don’t go to porn websites, I don’t google for porn (Food porn doesn’t count. Who doesn’t love a full color photo of a glistening rack of baby pork ribs, fresh from the barbecue? Stop looking at me that way. I am not ashamed). So, where is all the porn coming from?

Who are these people– MILFmaster69@yahoo.com, CrizazyChic89@gmail.com, etc– who are so desperate for me to see pornographic material that they would try and trick me into looking at it? Do they feel they are doing me some kind of service? Do I, through my various emails and blog posts, come across as so thirsty for titillation of any kind that I will die like a desert traveler, my t-shirt tied to my head for protection from the sun, holes worn in my jeans from the constant abrasion of the pitiless sand, my lips blistered from sunburn and windburn and sheer dehydration, if I do not see girls go wild?

Of course, I know it’s nothing I did. SPAM, like Scabies, pops up suddenly and is hard to get rid of. You don’t know how you got it, but you’re pretty sure it was that airline blanket that you knew you shouldn’t use, but it was just so cold and your air vent seemed to be stuck in the open position. Someday, the glut of SPAM will be cured, but until then, why, Lord, why was I stricken with such an affliction.

I’m sure everyone else gets SPAM, too. Share with me, if you will, your favorite porno mail subject line.