Friday, October 28, 2011

No Church In The Wild: An Advice Column

I just broke up with my lover because he wanted to go backwards from being involved to dating. He has some serious mental/health problems (which I have never minded supporting him about). He says he is like - fucked. And needs 6 months+ to try to get a handle on his shit. Also maybe he wants to fuck other people. He doesn't want to put me on hold til then. Chances we will ever reconnect?

Hopefully there's no chance! Dude sounds like bad news. His mental breakdown just HAPPENED to coincide with a desire to fuck other people? FLAG ON THE PLAY. I know we'd all like to use the insanity defense every now and then (last night I ordered a pizza and I feel guilty about it today but I was perfectly sane when I did it, you know?) but its bullshit most of the time. Unless it's used to avoid the death penalty or an overly-severe punishment for a non-violent drug offense, in which case it's legit even if it's a lie. The system's broken!

Make a clean break from this joker. He didn't have the guts to actually dump you, so he blamed his brain and even tried to keep you in his pocket to fuck later. If you're still hoping to reconnect after that, YOU are the one who is crazy. (I'm not being glib here, I'm seriously saying you should seek out a medical health professional. Maybe he'll be hot!)

In my last relationship, I didn't even get break-up sex and the last sex she had was with someone else. This seems to be a pattern with me. I'm loyal and faithful but unforgiving. Relationship over. In analyzing this, I believe I give the impression that I don't give a damn. I'm no romantic and I don't believe in anniversaries, holidays and all that horseshit. They make no effort to hid that they cheated on me like they did it on purpose. Have you ever met a woman that would match my profile?

Let me get this straight: you don't want to be romantic (or apparently put much effort toward a relationship at all) but you still demand fidelity? Why? What's it to you? If anniversaries and holidays are horseshit, why isn't monogamy? Who the fuck are you to deem that? Why are you doing all this DEEMING, man? Ease up on the deeming.

There's an old saying: "Your girl vindictively fucks someone else once: shame on her. Your next girl vindictively fucks someone else too: you must have strange expectations about relationships." It's as true today as it was when Ben Franklin wrote it in 1991. Take his advice to heart, even though THAT Ben Franklin was just some guy my dad knew.

I still wish I could help you out, but my new dating site, is still under construction. I've just got a piece of clip-art and a midi file up there while I meet with venture capitalists. But I heard there's a dating site for Ayn Rand fans, so maybe you could start there while you wait for me to develop my algorithm. And if you run into Sean Parker, mention my name, okay? Thanks.

"Change it to It's cleaner."-Sean Parker

If someone went for almost 16 months without having sex and had zero prospects for the immediate future, what would you tell them? Some have said it's not that big a deal. Others are more honest and think it's a grim scenario at best. You?

I was at an airport recently and through a series of wacky events my luggage got switched with Rick Santorum's. Weird, right? Anyway that day I found out what a Fleshlight is. Have you heard of them?

But seriously, Ross--I mean, whoever you are--16 months is not so bad. Hell, I went without sex for almost fifteen years! I'm sure as soon as you learn to walk and reach the next level of cognitive development you'll be knee deep in pussy. Just mind that soft spot on the top of your head.

I'm still kidding, buddy! Think about it this way: in the olden days, King Arthur only let his Knights of The Roundtable get laid once a year. Hard to believe, right? THAT'S BECAUSE I JUST MADE IT UP, THOSE GUYS GOT LAID CONSTANTLY. You're doomed. Donate your genitals to science before they fall off from lack of use. Thanks for writing in.

Got a problem? Hit me up here. Use the "ask anonymously" option please. Previously: "One hundred monkeys in a room with one hundred typewriters will eventually have sex with each other."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BLOGGING THE HUNGER GAMES pt. 22: That Awkward Moment When

So! First post after everyone (including me) agreed how bored they were! YIKES! Here goes nothing! Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 22

Katniss wakes up, thinking she's back at home, in her bed with her family. Psyche, you're in a shitty cave with Peeta! That's like when you're waking up and you half-dream that there's some really good food in front of you, like Chinese food, and then you reach for it and there's nothing there...and also you're in a cave with fucking Peeta.

He tells Katniss that he woke up and found her in a pool of blood. He bandaged her up, with what I am not sure (“Your bra.”-Peeta) and now proceeds to help her gain her strength back. ROLE REVERSAL! All in the space of like, 20 pages! There's a raging storm outside, and Katniss guesses that the Gamemakers are doing it to juice up the fight between Cato and Thresh. She tells Peeta what happened with the latter dude showing her mercy and Peeta mentions that they should hope Cato kills him so they don't have to. Seems crass, but I was thinking more or less the same thing. I don't like agreeing with Peeta, it makes me feel dirty.

Hearing Peeta talk about it gives Katniss her most human moment yet; she realizes that she doesn't “want anyone else to die” and is full of profound rage at the Capitol. But she doesn't say anything, for fear of like, bears ravaging their cave in retaliation or something. Could happen! Hover bears, maybe!

Later she asks Peeta about the area of the arena that seems to be Thresh's domain, he tells her it's an endless field of tall grass with a “sinister feeling to it.” So obviously we'll end up there sooner or later; Chekov once said if there's a field of tall grass in Act II someone has to run through it in Act III. Or mow it. Peeta's fear of the field (c'mon buddy, if there's grass in the field, you know?) causes Katniss to unfavorably compare him to Gale. Peeta grew up in a house that always smelled “like baking bread” whereas Gale graduated from the university of hard knocks, with a BA from the Kennedy School of Paranoia. He'd see the field as a risk but also a potential reward—and wouldn't, we gather, be as much of a pussy as Peeta is being. She wonders if the revolutionary rhetoric she and Gale used to toss around would “shock” Peeta.

Wait, wasn't Katniss the one having a political awakening like two chapters ago? Wasn't she finally realizing what Peeta and Gale meant when they trashed the government? I've got whiplash over here. Katniss's level of awareness and political savvy changes from paragraph to paragraph; she's like an Occupy Wall Street protestor. PEETA IS THE 1%!

I've been saying for a while that The Hunger Games will be a pretty good movie, but I might be wrong. Because here, Peeta thinks about food and Katniss guesses that the sponsor well dried up with the cost of those roofies. That prompts Peeta to earnestly beg her not to risk her life for him. Unsure of how honest Peeta is but realizing at any rate that this drama will make for good television, Katniss launches into soap opera mode. “Maybe I did it for myself, Peeta? Did you ever think of that?” she says, maybe throwing a glass of water emphatically. But then, finally, she starts thinking of what would happen if Peeta died, and is overcome with REAL emotion. Let's back up and go over what happened in that fucking paragraph again:
  1. Peeta either made a real confession about his fears and feelings for Katniss or is faking really well
  2. Katniss realized the potential for audience manipulation and began to fake-react to Peeta
  3. Her fake acting brought out actual emotions and the line blurred for her and us as to what she feels
It all starts to clear up in a sec, but as an actor how do you play that scene without coming across as A. far too ambiguous for mainstream audiences or B. ridiculous? It leads to a “real” kiss, real in this case meaning that neither of them is deathly ill and both of them are approaching human emotions for once. Katniss feels a stirring in her chest, but obviously isn't sure what to make of it. ("Is my hard-drive overheating?"-Robot Katniss) Still, she's ready to table the ambiguity for a hot minute and do some more smooching.

Then Peeta notices her head is bleeding again, and the moment is ruined. Cockblocked by your own bleeding head, ain't that always the way? The next day the rain continues to pour and Katniss and Peeta are starving. She guesses that Haymitch and the sponsors want more than physical intimacy (which is weird, why wouldn't you just want MORE PHYSICAL INTIMACY, it's television!), and she wonders how to draw Peeta into such a conversation. And then point-blank asks him when he started crushing on her. Very smooth, Katniss.

So Peeta's “how long I've loved you story” is long and a little weird. Like, it turns out Peeta's dad used to love Katniss's mom. And his dad told Peeta that on the first day of school. COOL THING TO TELL YOUR SON! “Your mother was actually my second choice.” But she left Peeta's dad for a coalminer. Haughty child Peeta was like “Father, why ever would a woman forsake thee for a mere peasant?” And Papa Peeta says Katniss's dad had a lovely singing voice, and that's what won him the girl. That's what did it? Well, chicks love Michael Buble, so. Anyway that first day of school Katniss sang, and Peeta's been crushing on her ever since. (Holy shit, what if this book ends with Katniss becoming a pop star?) A bamboozled Katniss continues to try to square the increasingly circular romance:

For a moment I'm almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we're supposed to be making this stuff up, playing at being in love, not actually being it. But Peeta's story has a ring of truth to it.

A ring of truth as loud as a fucking belltower am I right? Peeta confesses to essentially stalking Katniss for her whole life and tells her she just hasn't been paying attention (“Go back and look at your family photographs. I'm in ALL OF THEM”).

“I am now,” I say.
“Well, I don't have much competition here,” he says.

That's not true! Have you heard Katniss talk about how “huge” Thresh is? But anyway, instead of feeling like she needs to put on a show, Katniss suddenly wants privacy. Oh my! She says “You don't have much competition anywhere,” goes in for a kiss, violins swell, rockets take off, etcetera.

But just as our lovers embrace, something lands outside the cave. Katniss snaps into killmode (which probably doesn't diminish Peeta's excitement level) but it's a gift from Haymitch: a whole fucking feast with like, unlimited breadsticks and salad and shit. Okay.

So I sort of feel like the “hunger” theme of this book is underdeveloped. I mean, yeah, in the feast is the same stew that Katniss raved about on TV before the games, which gives it the illusion of coming full circle, but Katniss hasn't really been that hungry so far, has she? You sort of get the sense it was worse for her outside the games, when she had to provide for her mother and sister and to a lesser extent Gale's family. The only other significant “hunger” thing I can think of is the time Katniss's “hallow day” foreshadows Rue's death. The rest of it has just been feasting on wild turkeys and mint leaves and berries. Some hunger, eh?

Monday, October 24, 2011


  1. John Boehner (orange facepaint, glue on tears)
  2. Slutty John Boehner (subtract shirt, add orange chest paint, smoke cigarettes, pronounce it "boner")
  3. Sarah Palin (tell people you are going to come to their party and then don't go) (revised from the 2010 version of the costume where you go and then leave halfway through because you can "help the party more" that way)
  4. Slutty Barack Obama (say to a girl in a low, sultry voice: "Yes. We. Can." Extra points: be really good at foreplay but terrible at actually doing the deed)
  5. Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (stumble around the house breaking shit and falling)
  6. Guy Who Compares Everything To Hitler (someone pours him a drink: "Jeez, you're like the Hitler of the bar, bro)
  7. Robot Kanye West (Kanye shades, spout lots of cryptic Illuminati stuff in autotune voice)
  8. Robot Jay-Z ("I guess I got my swagger.exe downloaded!")
  9. Miranda July and/or Annie Clark (for curly-haired white girls with big eyes: just be really neurotic all night)
  10. Slutty Miranda July and/or Annie Clark (read some of Miranda July's short fiction aloud or take off all of your clothes and throw them in the party host's freezer)
  11. Dr. Who (just kidding, don't do this, shut up about Dr. Who)
  12. The Dark Knight Rises (batman suit, fake or real erection)
  13. "Pregnant" Beyonce (wear a fake baby bump, drink excessively, drop baby bump occasionally, get on the phone and yell at surrogate)
  14. Julian Assange (sexy gray wig, look at everyone else's phone)
  15. Rupert Murdoch (less sexy gray wig, same behavior)
  16. Member Of The 99% (just be yourself, you are the revolution! Eat the rich candy!)
  17. Slutty Member Of The 99% ("Fuck capitalism! Oh, is your name not 'capitalism'?")
  18. Dead Osama (it's still too early for Gaddafi, like I would even avoid Santana costumes lest someone get the wrong idea, but you can have at this one, I think)
  19. Slutty Dead Osama (beard+bikini. Say things like: "Are you one of my 72 virgins? No? Good. I'm sick of those prudes.")
  20. NYPD Officer (pepper spray)
  21. Slutty NYPD Officer (Axe body spray)
  22. Slutty Avengers (this is more of a party idea, everyone dresses as an Avenger and fucks each other)
  23. Slutty Large Hadron Collider ("Hey girl what do you say we smash our particles together at high speed?")

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No Church In The Wild: An Advice Column

How do I get out of the friend zone? Like my friend says that it's not that she doesn't like me, it's that she feels that she sucks at relationships and she doesn't want to hurt me. And I mean, she could be lying, but let's assume it's true. What do I do? How do I say, "Fuck that, let's fuck" without actually using those words? Also, this is private because she follows you and I don't want her to know it's me.

See, now Hollywood would have you believe that friends these days can't get their mouths off of each other's genitals long enough to have "I suck at relationships and don't want to hurt you" talks. But you and I know different, don't we? Also, if you try hard enough you can communicate during oral sex. Especially if you and your partner know Morse code. But I digress.

The friend zone is like a desert, where the sand is made of tiny blue balls/blue labia and every few miles you stumble upon an oasis: she asks you to zip up the back of her dress, she gets drunk and falls asleep on your shoulder, she tells you how handsome/pretty you are. But they're mirages, and you fall gratefully on your face expecting wetness and instead it's just the blue ball sand. That metaphor worked out better than I expected. Anyway.

I'm not sure if you are looking for a relationship or one of those aformentioned Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake mouth/genital situations but either way--you're in the boring dessert of no sex relationship and you'd like a way out. Totally understandable. Here's what you do: keep hanging out until he or she feels like taking her clothes off. That's it! Like, it's just an entropy thing, I think. Sooner or later, people bang. One hundred monkeys in a room with one hundred typewriters will eventually have sex with each other. And hold on until then.

Unless she's lying, which is probably what she is doing (sorry). But hey, she follows me? Who is she? I'll talk you up to her.

What advice would you give to someone who is recently out of a job?

First off: I'm sorry to hear that. It sucks that that damn socialist Obama gave your job to the terrorists. But really, I hear this economy is picking up, so it's good that you held onto a job until now--your stint of unemployment should be short if you keep up on sending out your resume and all that. Can you collect benefits? Do you have a savings? Even if not, I think you'll be okay. And there is a silver lining to this, because in the meantime you get to live on The Fringe!

Recently I've been catching up on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which is a show for which I will always have a fond place in my heart. See, in 2007 I was living very scrappily in a cockroach-infested apartment in what white people politely called "A scary-ass murderhood" in Philly. And it was awesome. For a while I worked at this weird Korean Barbeque where we drank plum wine all day and fucked up everyone's orders (a girl told me I ruined her father's birthday) and the chefs napped on the floor of the dining room between lunch and dinner. Then I worked as a caterer and had enough awkward experiences in a few weeks to supply an entire season of Party Down (one time I catered an event FOR A DOG). And every night Christy and I would go home to our apartment, shoo the roaches out of the sink, and do things like mix popsicles and vodka in a blender. We fried most of our food and just threw the used grease out the window. One night we also threw some of our clothes out the window. And then threw up (PARTY TIP: If you throw up wine and Doritos, for a second you worry that you've lost your internal organs). It was the fucking best.

It's Always Sunny represents that lifestyle very accurately, and in season 6 Danny Devito's character Frank coins a term for it. Living "fringe-style."

[Dee and Dennis run into Frank at a public pool]
Dee: Where'd you get that towel?
Frank: I borrowed it fringe-style from that guy over there. I gave him a bite of my hot dog, and he let me borrow his towel!

Living Fringe used to be exclusively for college students and recent grads, as well as a certain subset of elderly urban hippies and the poorest, ugliest gay dudes. But thanks to the recession, The Fringe is open for anyone, free of stigma! See, for a while I was laboring under the feeling that I wasn't living up to my potential. It was keeping me off The Fringe. Pride, I guess, is what it was. I was using my blender for fruit smoothies, not vodka slurpees. Lame! Then I started reading the signs at Occupy Wall St. protests. I saw guys who graduated at the top of their class at Yale or Brown and had applied for 100 jobs and were still unemployed. So much for my supposed potential, you know? It's kind of liberating! The Fringe is welcoming me back into it's loving arms. Join us!

We need to ride this recession out, is what I am saying. FRINGE STYLE! No use pretending there are opportunities out there for us right now, buddy. There will be in six months, maybe a year. But not right now. If this is depressing you, you're not on The Fringe enough. Do you want a bite of my hot dog?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

BLOGGING THE HUNGER GAMES, pt. 21: Have Fun At Dinner

Last time Katniss told us a boring story about a goat and then date-raped Peeta. What? Sort of. Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 21

OK so Katniss doesn't actually date-rape Peeta. She leads the horse to the roofies and then doesn't take the plunge. Just pretend that makes sense. She drugs Peeta and then sets about preparing for her battle tomorrow, is what happens. But it does get kind of weird when Katniss climbs into the sleeping bag with him and tries to absorb all of his “fever heat.” Yeah, you do that girl. I'd tell you what the warmest places are, but you already know. You SO already know.

She thinks about what her mother and sister will be doing tomorrow and we get a little background info on the Games and how they look to the outside world; Katniss says that given how late they are in the fight, school will probably be canceled so kids can watch the likely bloodbath. Nice. She assumes her mother and sister will go the square where they can watch on the big HD screens, and takes comfort in the fact that they'll have support from the community, come what may. The essential purity and goodheartedness of poor people is a nice little undercurrent in these books, one that filmmakers would do well to emphasize come March 2012. (Sort of in the way filmmakers emphasized post-9/11 unity in Spider-Man. “You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!” Never mind that the Green Goblin was one of us too, but whatever guy, it worked at the time.)

Then she thinks about Gale (remember him?), and how he will be feeling while he watches tomorrow, and how he's BEEN feeling watching “all this kissing.” She wonders if there's any romantic potential there, if when Gale talked about running away with her it was all “practical calculation” or if there was “something more.” STORY OF YOUR LIFE, EH KATNISS? When Suzanne Collins does this “wandering narrative” thing and keeps changing topics quickly like this, it's a lot of fun to read. When she lingers on a story about a goat for ten pages like last time it's just irritating. That fucking goat.

In the morning Katniss gives Peeta a long, fake kiss and wipes away a fake tear. So when Peeta finally goes “No, Katniss, my feelings were real!” what is Suzanne Collins going to do? Is Katniss going to reevaluate her every gesture (for the fiftieth time) and conclude she really meant them all along, too? Is our little robot finally going to discover Human Love? Anyway, she leaves Peeta's side and heads along the stream to the arranged spot where her magic cure for Peeta's leg wound is supposed to appear. I wonder what the other fighters “need desperately.” A chill pill for Cato? A few character details for Thresh? Along the way Katniss permits herself a little swagger, bitching about her blown eardrum and musing that once she wins she'll be able to “pay someone to hear” for her. And then she arrives at the battlefield.

(This chapter is a fist-biter. That's a technical term for what happens to you, the reader, when Katniss gets sliced in the forehead with a knife and you bite your nails, and then Clove tackles her and you bite your fingers, and then Clove gets all Joker on her, talking about carving her mouth off, and then suddenly your hand is on your own mouth, protecting it from Clove and her jacket full of knives. Yeah, we will get to that part in a second.)

Katniss hides in the bushes, surveys the area and wonders where the backpacks could be. She's also wonders where everyone else is. There's a lot of stuff that we don't know where it is! (I'm writing at 1am, can you tell?) Then a table rises up from the ground, four backpacks sitting on it, each marked with a district number. As usual I am struck by the aesthetic choices favored by the capital. Putting each prize in a backpack? Sitting them all on like, a dining room table? I wonder if the film version will try to fancy everything up. Magic bubbles sitting on gold columns! Anyway, the Capitol is the least-creative totalitarian regime ever.

"Just give us a hovercraft or two and we're good."-The Capitol

And then Foxface, that bitch, comes running out, grabs her backpack, and bails before anyone has time to react. Katniss realizes that by only grabbing her own pack, Foxface has guaranteed that no one will give chase, and she's so blind with jealousy over Foxface's superior strategery that she charges into the fray without thinking. She hears a knife coming at her (how do you hear a knife coming?) and deflects it with her bow. Then she sends an arrow at the thrower, Clove, and gets her in the arm. But the next knife catches our hero in the forehead (AHHHH) and slices her eyebrow open, and suddenly blood is flowing into Katniss's eyes. FUCK. And then Clove tackles her to the ground. DOUBLE FUCK.

So Clove pins Katniss to the ground, which would ordinarily be kinda hot, but she opens her jacket and shows Katniss an array of knives and says she promised Cato she'd give the people a show. “Why so serious?” Clove says, not really bit basically, and then she talks some trash about how Peeta is going to die and how they killed Rue (she's a talker, but it's her last scene so give her a break) and then says she's going to cut off Katniss's pretty lips. YIKES. Just as her knife reaches Katniss's face, she's lifted into the air. THRESH EX MACHINA, WOOOO!

The huge dude from Rue's district, heretofore unseen, has Clove in his Thresh-hold. That would so be his signature move if he was a pro-wrestler, by the way. (“Thresh has Triple-H in the thresh-hold! Can you believe the audacity? Elbow to the sternum!” I used to watch a lot of wrestling as a kid, and in my head the color commentary is just the words “audacity” and “sternum” over and over again.) And to hear Katniss rhapsodize about how massive he is (ladies) he probably should be one; I'm not sure what help he is in the agricultural district (maybe he pulls the plow!). He starts shouting in a kind of vaguely Hulk-like voice (he only misses a few articles here and there, like Collins was going for the brute thing but didn't want to go too far with it) and accuses Clove of killing Rue. She denies it, but soon he's thrown her on the ground and bashed her head in with a rock. DAMN, SAM!

He turns to Katniss and asks what Clove meant by suggesting she and Rue were allied. Katniss quickly explains the partnership and the burial and is moved to tears by memories of Rue. She begs Thresh to make it quick. But there's a certain honor amongst theives, and he says he will let her go this time, which will make them square. Katniss thinks appreciatively of the way people have bent rules for her as she grabs her pack and runs (remember Peeta's insinuation that Katniss doesn't realize she gets special treatment?). Thresh grabs his own and the one for Clove and Cato (ha!) and they flee as Cato finally breaks through the trees. Damn Cato, where the hell you been?

Katniss runs and runs and bleeds and bleeds, and back at the cave she finds a hypodermic needle in the pack and quickly stabs it into Peeta's arm. Then she dies. Or maybe just passes out. We'll see next time! Hey, that was quite the chapter!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ASK NICK SULLIVAN: Letters To Esquire's Fashion Director, Answered by Zac Little

I like stylish watches, but don't own one. I have skinny arms and smaller hands, so I can't ever find anything that looks good. Any suggestions?

Greg Stengel, St. Louis MO

First of all, Greg, count your blessings that your hands are smaller than your arms. Disproportional Hand Disorder is no joke, and literally tens of people every year suffer from its weirdness. In fact I'm on the board of HAND-JOB, a 501(c)3 non-profit that seeks employment for those stricken with DHD. They become minor-league outfielders, steady-cam operators, and bouncers at upscale nightclubs. We also provide them with t-shirts that read "You Know What Big Hands Mean, Ladies..." It's god's work, and I'm proud to help out there.

As for your problem: may I suggest a friendship bracelet instead? You know, one of those gnarly Indian-looking ones! I was at a state fair last week and I saw a few on sale (thirty five cents each!) and I was struck by how dope they were. Almost as dope as friendship itself!

What, if anything, can be done to salvage a pair of suit trousers once the cuffs have begun to fray? And if I retire the trousers, can I continue to use the jacket as a blazer?

Nathaniel Walker, Los Angeles CA

Two words, four syllables: CUT-OFFS. The extra syllables are silent, and they're for the pockets hanging out the front. Also: "retire the trousers" sounds like a quaint euphemism for fucking. I like it. "Evening, madam. What say you we retire our trousers at my manor post-haste?"

My birthday is coming up soon, and my family members asked me what I wanted. I want to tell them a tie, but which one? I have two suits in different shades of gray, and five shirts: pink, white, solid blue, and two striped white shirts.

Seth Rosenberg, New York, NY

This question makes it sounds like there are only like, five ties in the world to choose from. And I would expect nothing less from a man who only owns two suits and five shirts! Step up your wardrobe game, Seth!

Also: don't you hate when family members ask what you want for your birthday? Don't they know you well enough to just know? Or are we just like, alone in the universe? Is that what it is? Are we completely trapped in our own heads, forced to make do with whatever scant and random human connections we may stumble upon? Is man fundamentally unknowable? Get a black tie.

Please help! I have bought my fiance a new trench coat for his birthday, but at what length should the trench hit his legs?

Dorothy R. Nederman, Washington DC

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you are the first juggalette to write in to this column, Dorothy. Big ups to you for that. Also, big ups to you for not just getting your ninja the standard case of Faygo and a beej for his big bday. Big ups all around. You are definitely using your bowling ball, and probably spending mad chedda. Living by the hatchet! I hope that ninja reciprocates in your neden.

Trench coats are badass, and I bet your mans is going to look like a straight pimp in that shit. As a rule, the trench should stop a few inches above the hem of an average pair of JNCOs. He should keep it open enough to see a hint of his wallet chain, but you knew that part already. Thanks for writing in, much clown love for you. FORKS DOWN FORKS UP MY NINJAS!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Now that Katniss and Peeta are reunited the sex jokes can resume at full force. In this chapter, Peeta has a fever. And the only prescription is for MORE KATNISS. (They'll get better, I promise.) Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 20

Katniss kisses and coaxes Peeta into swallowing (wait for it) the broth, lets him fall asleep, and then attends to her “own needs.” With Peeta sleeping right there? What if he wakes up and catches you in the act? She realizes she can't retreat to the trees and tries not to feel resentful of the way teaming with Peeta has made her weaker. This is a total marriage metaphor, right? Katniss used to be single, now she's “tethered to the ground” and masturbating (maybe) in a cave. But she says she's going to trust whatever instinct led her to him. Hmmmm.

When he wakes up, he tells Katniss to take a nap while he keeps watch. “Are you going to do weird stuff to my body while I sleep?” is what Katniss SHOULD ASK, but instead she just does as he says. And wakes up in the late afternoon, pissed that he let her sleep that long. Why? (“I didn't want to miss all the staring at nothing!”-Katniss) Later Katniss looks at Peeta's wound and realizes it's getting worse.

Other stuff happens: we learn that the nameless girl from D2 is named “Clove,” so okay, that's fine. Then Katniss makes Peeta some soup by heating water with really hot stones that have been out in the sun. OK, nifty! (But the length of the description of said stone soup is out of proportion to my interest in it; it's an escalating problem in this chapter.) Then Peeta asks Katniss to tell him a story. Uh, what? You're an adult, Peeta. The only way this works if if you ask for a sex story. And he doesn't, so Katniss tells the most boring story ever—there is no sex or even making out in it at all!—about how she got a goat for Prim. She shot a deer and traded it and then bought a sick goat and Prim nursed it back to health. That's the whole story, but it takes like fifty pages. I'm exaggerating but I'm not, really.

Then another announcement is made and Katniss walks to the mouth of the cave to look at the sky. The head Gamemaker dude announces that tomorrow, in the clearing where they started, there will be a backpack for each district containing within it something each of them “needs desperately.” Knowing Katniss will go for his sake, Peeta immediately protests and threatens to drag himself there, or try and get killed, if she leaves. More marriage metaphors! Don't go out in the world without me, baby! And she reluctantly agrees not to go, but knows that Peeta will die in a day or two if she doesn't.

AND THEN, oh man, and then. Katniss walks to the stream to wash up and another sponsor gift floats down. She thinks Haymitch somehow gathered the resources for the kind of medicine Peeta needs, but it turns out to be small vial of “sleep syrup.” Um, Haymitch sent her roofies. Katniss realizes she can use it to put Peeta out of commission for a while. But are we sure that's what the sponsors intended it for?

She goes back and tells Peeta she found him some berries for dessert and starts feeding him what is basically “Forget-Me-Now” jelly. He figures out what's happening on the last spoonful and Katniss holds her hand over his nose and mouth and he glares at her as he passes out. Katniss is such a badass! Wait, why do I think this is cool?

And then she (presumably) attends to her own needs again.

Stray Notes & Questions
  • This is the not-at-all-charming and totally irritating way Suzanne Collins brings up the Peeta/Katniss romance now: Peeta does something in which he references how much he loves her, and Katniss thinks, “Oh, that's right, we're supposed to be romantic. Boy, Peeta sure is good at faking this.” Repeat x 1000.
  • Why “Clove” do you think? Is it because she seems deadly but it's really just an old wives' tale? Or are cloves actually dangerous? I was never clear on that. Is it OK to eat them if you cook them? Is Clove going to burn to death?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BLOGGING THE HUNGER GAMES, pt. 19: Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

And we're back! So, lots of you turned out in the comments to reassure me about the deflating twist we just experienced. To you, I say: WE SHALL SEE. But hey, that was a good discussion, dudes! Keep it up! Previous entries can be found in the directory (which I have now updated).

Book 3: The Victor

Hmmm, I wonder who that will be...

Chapter 19

Katniss sits in her tree and considers the implication of the literal game-changer she just heard: with only six fighters left, the Gamemakers have decreed that there can be two winners provided they are from the same district. Now, two of the six contestants don't even fit that description: there's the so-far entirely unseen Thresh, who is from Rue's district, and the girl Katniss somewhat bitchily calls Foxface. No help for you dudes, sorry! This rule change is an almost totally transparent assist for Katniss and Peeta, in other words (unless Cato and the girl from his district have been banging for the Capitol cameras back at basecamp), and Katniss she probably has Peeta to thank/blame for it.

The star-crossed lovers...Peeta must have been playing that angle all along. Why else would the Gamemakers have made this unprecedented change in the rules? For two tributes to have a shot at winning, our “romance” must be so popular with the audience that condemning it would jeopardize the success of the games.

Much like some of the more insufferable pivot sections of Twilight, it's hard to know where Katniss ends and Suzanne Collins begins. (Also: In the comments last time Suzette wondered how “star-crossed lovers” would have made it all the way into the Panemian zeitgeist. I'm guessing it didn't come attached to Romeo & Juliet, since one of the big draws of that play is that THEY DIE. So the phrase is just some cultural shrapnel left over from the cultural and physical wars that have resulted since. Does that work?)

What would be great is, now that we're stripping away plot elements, is if Katniss would clear up her own feelings about Peeta. Like if she'd say, right now, “And the truth is, I don't find him attractive. He's a goof, and probably uncircumsized and that would be weird for me.” Because then we could focus on the media angle and the false perception of their relationship and Collins could do some fun commentary about the shiny object of “Katniss & Peeta” distracting from the evil machinery of the Hunger Games. As it stands now, there's so much blurry ambiguity that Katniss and Peeta's true feelings are the only thing you can really latch on to.* And I don't really care about that!

(*Katniss deliberately smiles after hearing the announcement, making sure the moon is lighting her face for the cameras. Her smile is prompted by a genuine thought about Peeta, but it's the thought that he “wasn't a threat” all along. STUFF ABOUT THIS THAT IS AMBIGUOUS: 1. Whether Katniss feels affection or just relief 2. How exactly Katniss wants her gesture to be perceived by the public 3. How the public actually IS perceiving this whole situation 4. Whether the public view of Katniss/Peeta is making them question the motives and effects of the Hunger Games or if it is just adding a level of tabloid enjoyment to the whole amoral proceeding 5. How Peeta feels. At least a few of these things should be clear for it to make any sense, but none of it is. So the potential social criticism/parody elements of The Hunger Games have kind of fuzzed out of our grasp, and now we're just wondering if we should be Team Peeta or not. Boring!)

The next morning Katniss cautiously sets out tracking Peeta after a ridiculously long train of thought in which she retraces his every move so far, only to conclude that he's just probably somewhere along the stream she's been to a few times. Before she sets out, she starts a big fire “to confuse my enemies' minds.” For someone who is supposedly being cautious I wish she'd be more careful about redundant phrases. As she walks, Katniss wonders if Peeta will be willing to ally with her and again speaks in the voice of the author:

He's very hard to predict, which might be interesting under different circumstances, but at the moment only provides an extra obstacle.

“I'd enjoy that unpredictability in the sack, but when I'm trying to write a coherent setpiece—I mean, when I'm trying to walk down this stream, it's just annoying.” Eventually Katniss comes across some bloodstains on rocks, and hears a “hoarse” voice asking if she's come to finish him off (“Nay!” Katniss making a hoarse/horse joke, which would have been kind of great). She can't find Peeta until she realizes he's right under her (“Upskirt, baby!”-Peeta), having camouflaged himself to hide in plain sight along the streambed. It's “the final word in camouflage,” she says, which is the tagline for my new clothing line (we only make camo shorts and camo thongs), but it turns out our man is pretty badly wounded. Katniss sets out to help him, but first he quietly reminds her that she should kiss him for the benefit of the cameras. (“I also kept my penis under this convenient leaf flap, so...”-Peeta) She doesn't yet, though.

Instead she tries to roll Peeta to the water to clean him up, but can only get him to the edge before it's too painful for him. She gets his shirt off (ladies) and cleans the burns and stings all over it (never mind, ladies). Then she gets his pants off (come back, ladies!) and finds an oozing, festering, horrible wound (false alarm, ladies! Fuck, sorry). It's a bad enough wound that Katniss's first instinct is to bail. But she sticks it out, and if you like reading about pus, this chapter is for you! I'll skip the next few pages, but to summarize: pus.

There's a weird moment where Katniss wants to wash Peeta's “undershorts” and asks him to cover himself with a backpack while she does. He's like, “I don't care if you see my dick baby,” (Though he says “see me” which is kind of adorably quaint) and she's like “No, you're probably uncircumsized and that would be weird for me.” After getting him cleaned up, she tries to move with him and finds that he is not road-ready. Instead they take shelter between some rocks, and Peeta tries to bring up what Katniss should do if he doesn't make it.

Our hero is struck by her fear of such an outcome, and ends up kissing Peeta on his pretty little maybe dying mouth. Katniss immediately dismisses it as an “impulse,” but a few minutes later she steps outside the cave (my brain automatically starts scanning for Plato references when people step out of caves, but no dice) and a parachute lands with some broth. Broth? These things never fail to be underwhelming. When are you going to send Katniss a fucking UZI, Haymitch?!

But Katniss realizes the broth is a reward for the kiss, and that she'll need to put on a show for the rubes at home to nurse Peeta back to health. STRIPTEASE TIME, baby! No, she thinks back to the way her mother lovingly treated her father and tries to channel that, returning to Peeta and kissing him awake. He gazes at her contentedly, and she muses about what a good actor he is. IRONIC (MAYBE)!

Stray Notes & Questions
  • Stephenie Meyer never had trouble convincing me her narrator was stupid. But on both the romantic and political front Katniss is at once extremely perceptive and extremely dense. I don't have a read on her at all. Suzanne Collins can't sell dumb like S. Meyer!
  • Does the multilevel ambiguity bother you? Is the problem that I'm reading too slowly? Commenter Kim has a new website about YA fiction, which you should all check out, and in one post she discusses the case for reading YA fiction like you would any other form of Literature. That in many cases, it stands up to close critical scrutiny. I think that is certainly the case, but is probably not the case for The Hunger Games. Do you disagree? Come at me, bro.
  • Re: yesterday's Kristen Stewart story--watch this blog for updates. I'm following this story like whoa, guys.

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Church In The Wild: An Advice Column

Out of all the girlfriends I've had (four officially), my current girlfriend is ranked as only the 3rd most attractive girl I dated. To be fair, she is really hot and a total babe, but she doesn't have the same appeal of my other two hotter girlfriends. How do I avoid explaining this fact to her?

Um, by breaking up with her because you're a fucking dick who doesn't deserve a hot girlfriend? Yeah, I think that's the best way to go.

Seriously, who thinks like this? The only way rank-ordering your girlfriends is acceptable is if you're a Rain Main-type dude and you can't help it. Like, you roll off of her after sex and blurt out "That was the twenty-third best fuck I've had to date. I have eleven pubic hairs in my mouth. Your dog barked twenty-six times." But if we were dealing with that situation, if I were the Tom Cruise to your Dustin Hoffman, then keeping your feelings from your girlfriend wouldn't be an issue; you wouldn't be able to help yourself, and she would hopefully be understanding about it (and if she wasn't understanding, then, like, what is that bitch's problem? You're Rain Man!). So clearly that is NOT the situation. I am still the Tom Cruise to your Dustin Hoffman, but in terms of sex appeal, not in terms of Rain Man-ness. You're being a dick. And you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself, all right? And I mean Tom Cruise circa 1989 and Dustin Hoffman circa 2011, by the way.

Though have you guys seen the trailer for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol? It's so rad! I think Tom Cruise is back. I've said that like ten times though. I like the guy, okay? I'm sorry.

My boyfriend broke up with me because I have psychological problems (manic depression, anorexia), even though I warned him from the beginning that I did. How do I get over a guy like that?

Crazy girls are the hottest girls, and guys who don't know that are missing out. I mean, take my wife. No, don't take her, the men in the white coats already tried! But I wouldn't let them because she's great in bed. You see what I mean?

I'm sorry about the mental stuff you are going through. That's some serious ish (and I hope you're getting legit help). I think the way to get over this dude is to find yourself another dude who is just as crazy as you. Because then, after a while, your cycles will align and you'll be manic at the same time (translation: crazy, kinky, frenetic sex) and depressive at the same time (translation: slow, cuddly, lazy sex). Okay, it's possible I'm mixing up mental illness with menstrual cycles. Common mistake, am I right fellas? [Tim Allen grunting noise]

I'm in 10th grade. I like this guy a lot. I've never been in a relationship before in any sense, but I feel really strongly about at least trying to initiate something. I don't have any clue how, though. Do you have any advice?

There are lots of ways to initiate something, but you're in tenth grade so I'm pretty sure most of them are illegal. I'll tell you a secret though, kid: when it comes to relationships, guys are dumb. Just as dumb as women, in fact! A thing like that, eh?

Let's say this dude had feelings for you. How would you like him to approach the subject? Would you like it if he just came right out and said it? That would be pretty nice, right? GUESS WHAT: I guarantee you he feels exactly the same way about such a situation.

Romance has been clouded by years of fake gender politics and Hallmark cards and romantic comedies. Men are not from Mars, women are not from venus. Men have penises and y-chromosomes and women have boobs and vaginas, but the differences basically end there. Tim Allen is full of shit and grunting noises. And so is Whitney Cummings. Gender is an illusion (except for the penises/vaginas), you know? We're ALL confused by each other and would rather just hear if someone digs us; if you feel something, say something!

In other words I am suggesting that you walk up to this dude and say "I like you." Nerve-wracking, I know. But you won't have a heart attack (unless you have a prior condition! This blog entry does not make me liable for your death!) and in the end you will be glad you did it. (Unless you literally die.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BLOGGING THE HUNGER GAMES, pt. 18: Ascending Melody

So. Rue got killed. Whoa! I was definitely expecting an extended, Huck Finn-like bonding experience to take place over a few episodic adventures. But nope! Damn, how depressing would have like, The Fox and The Hound been if the Hound got a spear through the chest in the first ten minutes? But this is kind of a good decision. I mean, it's sad, sure, but it rescues The Hunger Games from reading like the novelization of an action movie based on a videogame. In this chapter alone Katniss feels a bunch of complex emotions and then has a minor political awakening! Take that, video games!

And then something incredibly stupid and cheap happens and kind of invalidates all the strides this chapter made. Ah, well. Previous entries can be found here.

Chapter 18

Dig the first two sentences:

The boy from District 1 dies before he can pull out the spear. My arrow drives deeply into the center of his neck.

There are like fifty cool things about this. First of all, it conveys the abruptness of the kid's death by almost putting the two sentences in the wrong order; we know he's dead before we know what killed him. That's how fast Katniss offed this mope! Second of all, it conveys the confusion of the whole scene: Katniss runs toward Rue who is under a net, a spear drives into Rue. Katniss is still calibrating exactly what is happening while she starts killing. Third of all, it's interesting and great that Katniss just barely acknowledges her own complicity in the murder. It's her arrow, but she doesn't say anything about shooting it. It's significant because in a few pages Katniss will call this boy her “first kill” and experience a measure of remorse. Here, it hasn't quite dawned on her.

(Of course, Katniss mentions off-handedly the two girls who died as a result of her little wasp prank, apparently not considering those to be murder. Well that is extremely fucking arguable Katniss! But ANYWAY.)

The kid yanks the arrow out of his neck and dies “drowning in his own blood” (My throat hurts now). A dying Rue manages to convey to Kat that there are no other attackers. That's pretty weird, right? This kid from District 1 managed to figure out that Katniss and Rue were working together and then set a trap for Katniss? Is that even what happened? It's implied later that he was affiliated with the main gang of Careers. But where are the rest of them? What's the point of traveling in a pack if you don' in a pack? I can't figure out if I like the semi-nonsensical out-of-nowhereness of this scene or if I find it too implausible.

And then Katniss and Rue have a tearful goodbye. Katniss sees that the wound is fatal and Rue asks her to sing to her. So she does, and at the end of Katniss's simple lullaby (“Deep in the meadow, hidden far away...forget your woes and let your troubles lay...”) Rue's eyes close and a cannon sounds. It's quiet and affecting and only a little heavy-handed.

My throat is tight with tears, hoarse from smoke and fatigue. But if this is Prim's, I mean, Rue's last request, I have to at least try.

She reminds her of her sister WE GOT IT. Katniss gets up and looks at Rue's helpless body, and even the “vulnerable in death” corpse of the boy from D1, and feels a surge of anger at the Capitol. She thinks of Gale's ravings in the woods and then of Peeta's desire to “show the Capitol they don't own” him (Peeta would totes be in a sleeping bag at Occupy Wall Street right now by the way, with one of those slightly crass “Debt=Slavery” signs, probably). And suddenly the political views of the men in her life make sense to her.

OK, so this is problematic, right? Gale and Peeta are her political influences? Couldn't it at least have been Cinna? Also, I mean, the original image we got of Katniss was that she was a political rebel too. When she was a kid her mother had to teach her to hold her tongue lest she slander the government in public! She was raging against the machine straight out the womb! But somewhere along the way, that got lost in the shuffle; Katniss was too busy to surviving to worry about big picture and/or Suzanne Collins was too busy writing to remember the early stuff.

Katniss gathers some wildflowers and arranges them on Rue's body, knowing that the Capitol cameras will have to show her funeral in some fashion. She's calling attention to the horrific violence of the whole affair, sort of, but decorating the other dead dude's body might have underscored that point a little better. Because this display will either make the viewers at home realize what a sad, evil enterprise the Hunger Games are OR it will make them extra hungry for Katniss to get revenge.

Suzanne Collins seems to be skirting that line too, because Katniss wanders aimlessly through the woods, mired in depression but nonetheless resolute in her conviction to kill anyone who should cross her path. She blames the Capitol, but the Careers are a good enough substitute on which to project her rage (for now?). She walks on, and soon a gift from a sponsor floats down in front of her: a roll she recognizes as originating from Rue's district. Wow, a piece of bread! Is there a gun hidden inside it? No? What the fuck?

It's a thank you from Rue's people, and Katniss is grateful even though she recognizes that it was probably intended for Rue and then hastily re-gifted. Way to be classy about it, Kat! She's totally the kind of girl who does an awesome job at getting shitty presents on her birthday. “Oh, a t-shirt with sequins that spell 'Key West'! Thanks, grandma, this is so cool!” She thanks “the people of District 11” out loud, which is a real suave diplomatic move. Then she goes to bed “the bread still locked in my hands.” I'm kind of worried she's going to drop it, aren't you? I've been falling asleep with drinks in my hand a lot lately, so that's probably why.

The next day Katniss is depressed and has to drag herself around. She has the aforementioned realization that she killed someone, and is then deeply troubled by it. Not to pile on, Katniss, but you should also feel bad about the girl that you reduced to a pile of swollen flesh and pus! She builds a fire and cooks a few birds, hoping to lure a few Careers in. Again there's the slightly awkward but mostly interesting balance between her supposed infinite sadness and obvious bloodlust. It's necessary, story-wise, but is also fairly believable, character-wise.

And Collins has been generally good at necessity/believability balance, so far. AND THEN WHOOPS: Katniss climbs a tree and starts to fall asleep, but there's an announcement. One of the Gamemakers explains that there's been a rule change, and if two people from one district are the last ones standing they'll BOTH WIN.

...Are you fucking kidding me? The basis for most of the tension in this book has NOT “will Katniss win the Hunger Games or not?” It's been “When Katniss inevitably DOES win the Hunger Games, will she have to kill Peeta to do it?” All the ambiguity of their relationship* was pointing toward that one moment, which obviously won't happen now. Suzanne Collins just pulled the rug out from under us. WORST TWIST EVER.

("Does Peeta love Katniss?" is not very interesting, right? But "Will Katniss kill Peeta without ever coming to a full understanding of his feelings for and gestures toward her?" is SUPER INTERESTING! Now all we have left is how serious his crush is. "[JERKING OFF HAND GESTURE]"-Alice Cullen!)

Stray Notes & Questions
  • UGH! Did that shit make you as mad as it made me?
  • When Katniss says goodbye to Rue, she does the three-fingered kiss-blow thing everyone did for her at the Reaping. It's a pretty great callback, especially when you consider that it's been over 200 pages since it last happened. I like that Suzanne Collins trusts in the intelligence of her audience a little. Above huge betrayal aside, I mean.
  • This week's new record is Feist's “Metals.” Remember Feist? She's back! In pog form! No, but really, the album is OK. Sometimes it sounds like she just walked back and forth in front of a microphone (the variation in volume is ridiculous) wailing (much like the tail end of “The Reminder” a lot of this record is Feist indulging in her worst impulses, singing-wise) but “The Bad In Each Other” is a pretty good tune.
  • I'm going camping for a few days, so this will be the last post until Sunday-ish. Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2011

BLOGGING THE HUNGER GAMES, pt 17: A Tree, Swayed By Wind, Moved

Last time I argued that the Hunger Games was devolving into a videogame. Over the next two chapters, Suzanne Collins (at least starts to) proves me wrong. Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 17

Remember that Andy Samberg-and-Will Ferrell song “Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions”? It was a pretty effective pop artifact that I'm surprised people don't talk about more. I mean, I knew already that action heroes walking away from explosions was ridiculous, but I think of that song EVERY TIME I see that sort of thing now. A little piece of the melody ends up in my brain, followed by a shout of “JJ Abrams keyboard solo!” And then I laugh inappropriately, because by then the hero is inevitably comforting some half-blown up friend or pretty woman. Anyway, I even thought of that dumb song when I read this chapter, because most of it is Suzanne Collins making the consequences of being near an explosion painfully clear.

Katniss gets knocked on her ass by the exploding food pyramid (was her destruction of it supposed to be a weird commentary about nutrition?) and then shields herself from raining shrapnel. She tries to stand up but finds herself cripplingly dizzy. She also realizes she's gone deaf, and is bleeding from her ears. YIKES. Paralyzing dizziness, deafness, earblood. This is several of my nightmares all rolled into one. This is a nightmare California roll. (I used to work at a sushi place, so sometimes my nightmares involve literal California rolls, too.) Katniss is understandably worried about her situation.

I can't get caught out here on my hands and knees.

Unless Peeta's the one who finds you BOW CHICKA WOW WOW anyway Katniss makes it to the bushes where she hid before just as the Careers run back into their blown-up base. Cato is tearing at his hair and beating his chest with his fists. Now, I barely know this character. I don't even know what he LOOKS LIKE! And still, I hate him? I can't wait for Katniss to put an arrow in his eye or balls or neck for some reason, which is confusing for me. I mean there are plenty of people I'd like to see get an arrow in the eye or balls or neck, but I usually at least know why I want that. Maybe I hate him because he doesn't understand cause and effect? I mean, he had the mines set up around his food stash, and now he's upset that they went off! I guess the implication is that they exploded too much—they should have been able to kill a person and leave the food intact. Still, I feel like congratulations are in order for the kid from District 3 who really wired the shit out of that trap, right?

The boy from District 3 only has time to turn and run before Cato catches him in headlock from behind.

A congratulatory noogie?

I can see the muscles ripple in Cato's arms as he sharply jerks the boy's head to the side.

Oh, okay. Night falls and the Careers go off to hunt and Katniss stays chilling in the bushes for a while. Her hearing is starting to come back in her right ear, but not her left. Dude, Katniss, my ears were rang for TWO DAYS after a TV On The Radio concert, but eventually I was good, so don't worry yet. Katniss stresses about Rue and counts the remaining fighters. There are eight total, though I'm still only vaguely aware of five, so I guess we've got three redshirts to knock out in the next few chapters. Katniss speculates that they'll probably be running little ESPN-style interviews with family members of remaining combatants now, which is a nice little detail. Also: I hope the producers were smart enough to get some b-roll of Peeta running on a foggy beach. That shit is sports-TV gold.

In the morning Katniss wakes up and is able to walk, so she heads to the rendezvous point with Rue. She has difficulty adjusting to only having one good ear; her description of the insecurity it creates on one side reminds me of walking home in Philadelphia when I'd have a hood or winter hat on, when I'd constantly feel like someone was about to jump me from behind. That sounds homophobic, but actually it's only racist. You only need to worry about gay dudes attacking you on South Street, am I right Philly? Pat's and Gino's! Wawa! Some of you know what I'm talking about.

Rue hasn't returned to the meeting place yet, so Katniss waits in a tree for most of the day. She cleans herself up and braids her hair while she waits and gripes about her rumbling stomach, which she can't seem to satisfy despite dipping into her rations a few times. What you need is some PEETA BED I mean pita bread, girl. It's the unleavenedness, I think, that makes it so satisfying. She goes on and on about having a “hollow day” and what that means, and it's obviously a bad omen but I'm pretty sure that's all it is? Are “hollow days” real? I mean I have had days where it seemed like I was hungry all the time but I think it's because I was bored and there was a lot of leftover pizza. I don't think there's a scientific principal behind it.

Eventually she decides to go looking for Rue, but first she does a little agriculture-y trick by spreading some mint leaves around. She knows Rue will know the mint leaves aren't from that part of the arena and will thus know Katniss was around. That doesn't seem 100% though, dude. Maybe spell out “Hi Rue” in the leaves, just to be safe? (I'd be so terrible at Hunger Gaming.)

Then Suzanne Collins has a pretty gnarly set-piece which is only hampered by the fact that all of it takes place in literally half of a page. THERE IS A THING CALLED SUSPENSE, okay? But what happens is Katniss hears a Mockingjay sing Rue's song, then a few more, and knows she is near. Katniss starts singing back, but her song is punctuated by a scream. “YO YO YO FUNKMASTER FLEX WITH THE REMIX, KATNISS AND RUE YOU HEARD? SHOUT OUT TO DRAKE!” Just kidding, it's Rue screaming, and Katniss runs and finds her under a net in a clearing, and as soon as Katniss clears the trees a spear comes flying out and stabs into Rue.

AYAYAYAY! I did not see that happening! Whoever did this is going toe RUE THE DAY okay you know what let's just stop here.