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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–,, 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.

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?