Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hobbit Heartache, Chapter 11: A Night that Shan't Be Remembered

While Jessica is super attracted to Frodo, she finds herself sometimes wishing he had a moustache. 

I think that part of the reason why Hobbit Heartache, the Sweet Valley High/Lord of the Rings erotic crossover parody, has resonated so much with the general public (Google Analytics tells me that "Hobbit Heartache" has been Googled not once, but MULTIPLE TIMES) is that it's something everyone can relate to. Everyone. I don't think I know more than 30 or so people who can't relate to the timeless love story of a Spring Break in Middle-earth. But through research, I have been able to identify the demographics in which Hobbit Heartache is the most popular with.

Moms love Hobbit Heartache. I think it's because it's the original Fifty Shades of Grey, only with more hobbits and hair, which makes it naughtier. Moms tell me that they enjoy Merry the best, because his erotic tendencies provide the best book club discussions. 

 . . ."Being blind did not always bother Merry. In fact, he could recall one particular rousing occasion in which he spent an entire evening blindfolded by the hairy hands of Huge Bracegirdle. He had been forced to crawl on his hands and knees for hours at a time, feeling his furry skin contract with goose flesh as it was tantalized by quail feathers, porcupine quills and a leather hat. It was some of the most thrilling thirteen hours of his life . . " Chapter 8, The Land of the Elves

(He's obviously still thinking about that leather hat.)

Party people obviously love this shit. It speaks to them. They just get that Spring Break-kind-of mentality, where you just want to bake in the sun all day long, drink brandywine until you puke, wake up naked wrapped in a giant spider web, throw on some burlap clothes and do it all over again the next day! Party People tend to identify the most with heavy drinker Samwise or the ambiguously promiscuous Bilbo.  They also want Jessica and Frodo to HOOK IT UP. 

(Is it true what they say about Bilbo and those forty Elves?)

The Elderly enjoy Hobbit Heartache because it is the classic tale of good versus evil. They hope that good will triumph over evil and that we will all learn several life lessons along the way. The Elderly enjoy the characters of sensible, one-piece wearing Elizabeth and also the dashing, Nazi-hating Georg von Trapp the best.


(Nazis don't exist in Sweet Valley, but if they did, Elizabeth would probably talk some sense into them.)

I'm just guessing on this one, but I don't see any reason why a prisoner would not enjoy this story. 

Groups in which Hobbit Heartache is not popular with:

Medical personnel sometimes become angry with Hobbit Heartache because it can be seen as promoting unhealthy life choices. A Cuban cigar is partially smoked by a high school student in one pivotal scene. Characters skinny dip freely without the slightest mention of sunblock application. A horse is roasted and consumed without a trained Dwarf Chef bothering to ensure that it was properly cooked. Honey is used as a sexual balm. Nurses and doctors still like the book, sure, but they wish that it might be a bit more responsible. Medical personnel appreciate Mr. Jaworski, the chaperone, the best. 

(But they all secretly have a thing for bad-boy Bruce.)

LOTR fans sometimes get a little angry when they purchase the book thinking it's a companion piece to  the LOTR novels, when in fact, I have never read or seen anything related to LOTR. They do not appreciate that Frodo is unaware that he is related to Bilbo and is pursuing a romantic relationship with him. They do not like that Samwise is harboring a hidden addiction to brandywine. And they do not like that the Sweet Valley High characters are now in Middle-earth. Diehard LOTR fans do not have a favorite character, because I have ruined them all. 

(You can't tell me they're not happy together.)

I think it might be something about the "turning her life's work and masterpiece into erotic fanfiction" and "defamation of character" that might have an effect on their enjoyment of Hobbit Heartache

(Can't win em all.)

But hey, this chapter goes out to all the PARTY PEOPLE OUT THERE! Come join the gang as they travel to Dwarven for a night of brandywine, roasted horse, and yes, perhaps some sexual-related interactions. Gimli awaits!

Gimli: Always DTF.

(Down to feast. That guy can feast like no other.)

And if you're so very confused about all of this and want to be in the know, well, what better way to spend your summer than inside reading erotic fanfiction chapters on the computer? Get caught up here or here (or just talk to me. I have like 20 copies in my room):

Chapter 1                         Chapter 6
Chapter 2                         Chapter 7
Chapter 3                         Chapter 8
Chapter 4                         Chapter 9
Chapter 5                         Chapter 10

Warning: Actual NSFW artwork below. (My first true NSFW tag! I should really stop crying wolf about that.)

I'm pretty sure Zak was thrilled to have some actual erotic content to work with. Erotic content and hobbit vomit. I think he handled it tastefully, no?

Chapter Eleven
A Night that Shan't Be Remembered

Frodo stood at the wooden gates of Dwarven peering inside at the din. Dwarven was inhabited by sixty or so stocky and misshapen dwarves, and by the looks of it, they were all present and dancing wildly in the town square. The sun had just barely set, yet the dwarves looked as if they had been rejoicing for many hours' time. Sweat dripped off of their faces and traveled the very short distance to the earth.

“Holy cow,” said Winston, staring with his mouth agape. “They look like they’re on acid.”

“ . . . Or cocaine,” added Bruce, his sheep manure-brown eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“Acid? Do dwarves ingest corrosive agents?” questioned Georg. “It seems like it would lead them to a world of indigestion.”

“They appear as if they have an unlimited supply of brandywine,” whispered Samwise, clutching the gate bars. “How wondrous.”

So stood the weary travelers in silence for a few moments more, taking in the frenzied scene before them.

“Well, are we going to stand here and watch these freaks party, or are we going to join?” asked Bruce, ending the hypnotic moment.

“Yes, Bruce is quite right. Let us enter Dwarven and I shall find my old friend Gimli to see if we can beg hospitality for the evening,” proclaimed Bilbo, marching through the four foot high gates of security.

Frodo followed warily, overwhelmed by the madness. The jarring songs of kettledrums and copper whistles filled the air and a naked dwarf lady danced by and blew Bruce a kiss.

“Bilbo Baggins, you son of a whore! Have you come to feast?” a gruff voice suddenly rang out into the air.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The First Time I . . . Tried Zumba

Zumba: Shatter your self-esteem while you salsa!
I am a fitness class enthusiast. I try to attend a class almost everyday. Kickboxing, strength training, cardio boot camp, booty camp, core classes, step, even pole dancing. I gladly try them all. You could ask me to go to a new cardio class consisting of lugging full buckets of water around a room with the last 20 minutes spent holding a squat, all in complete silence, and I'd probably say, "Sounds good. Buckets provided or do I bring my own?" And that's because I really like fitness classes.


That said, there's always been one (1) fitness class that I just couldn't bring myself to try. And that class was Zumba.

While I'd always very much enjoyed the voyeuristic thrill of watching people do Zumba, I had no interest in trying it myself. Even though everyone always looks like they're having a blast (Zumba's tagline is, in fact, "Ditch the workout, join the party!"), I just never woke up with the urge to tackle, as Zumba Canada puts it, "one exhilarating hour of caloric-burning, heart-racing, muscle-pumping, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements" all while enjoying "Latin flavor and international zest." I want to wake up, do hardcore cardio until I think I'm going to puke, and then go to work and drink my coffee.

Sans Latin flavor.

Zumba instructors also usually wear extremely brightly colored pants, and for some reason, I don't like this.

So I was pretty comfortable with the fact that Zumba would never be a part of my life. Zumba would be like that weird branch of your family that you meet once at an awkward family reunion and never speak to again or that can of pumpkin pie filling that just sits in your cupboards for six years untouched. You know it's there, you'll probably never interact, and that's just fine.

And then one day EVERYTHING CHANGED. My fellow fitness class enthusiast and co-worker/dear friend Christina and I discovered in horror that our beloved morning cardio class had been replaced indefinitely by a Zumba class.

shock Pictures, Images and Photos

(thank you rocky6655 from Photobucket for making the gif I always hoped would exist)

Our dismay was real. This was quite possibly the worst news that I had ever heard, EVER. One of my first thoughts was, "Who would DO this to us?!" and I was completely serious while thinking that. Christina might have cried. I don't really know because I blacked out for a good five (5) minutes. When I came to, we had a long conversation discussing the pros and cons of us trying Zumba.

Pros: Not having to change our gym morning routine, perhaps rediscovering our sexuality through salsa music and the merengue
Cons: Brightly colored pants, Latin flavor and international zest at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday mornings

In the end, we decided to suck it up and give Zumba a try.

But god dammit we were not going to wear the pants.

"Oh my gosh, weren't you guys nervous? Zumba involves so much muscle-pumping, heart-racing, Latin-inspired dancing!" you might ask.

No. Well, I mean, yes. Trying new things is always a little nerve-wracking. But Christina and I know our way around a dance floor. We often dance for many minutes at a time in our office. On my resume, I have "BORN TO DANCE!" as one of the fun tidbits in the "About Me" section. You know what? I'm just gonna say it we're GOOD dancers. Whenever we dance, people will usually comment upon it.

Comments like:

"Oh wow."

"Well, that's not a very practical move."

"I'm confused about what it is you two do for a living."

"Where do you find such shiny pantyhose?"

"You go girls!" (Thanks, Christina's Mom!)

So no, it wasn't exactly the dancing part we were worried about. It was just that Zumba seemed so . . . intense. So extreme. So full of sassy strutting. So middle-aged homemaker wanting to find her inner sexy Latina goddess.

(photo source)

That's a lot to think about at 8:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

Christina and I spent the next week discussing how many shots we should take pre-Zumba class (ultimately deciding on 8 each with a water bottle chaser) and alternatively, both trying to think of elaborate excuses that would get us out of going to Zumba. When Tuesday morning came around, I texted Christina to tell her that no, I didn't care if she hadn't gone to the bathroom in six days, WE WERE GOING TO ZUMBA, BABY!

And off we went.

There were five of us in the class. Christina and I were the youngest of the bunch, with the eldest being a man who looked about 75. Every single participant looked tired. I looked downright haggard. Christina looked angry, but that may have been due to her alleged extreme constipation. It was plain to see that there was a serious lack of international zest going on in that fitness room. As the instructor, a young, toned, tanned, lithe Latina, looked out at our sluggish group, you could tell she knew she had her work cut out for her. Our class might be able to tackle a few awe-inspiring, heart-racing moves, but it wasn't going to come easy.

Our class was going to be a little less this:

And a little more this:

The class started with a simple step-touch, side to side. Easy breezy. Christina and I gave a knowing nod to each other. We got this.

Then the hips started. And then the arms, each rotating in a windmill-like pattern at different speeds. My brow began to furrow. Then the instructor did some kind of move that involved extending her arms in front, bending over, jiggling her butt at a rapid speed, all with flexed abs and a blasé, you ain't seen nothing yet smile. It was kind of nuts. It was something I imagine Beyoncé doing on a daily basis, even when she was pregnant. It was a move that right away I knew I would never master, not even if I practiced for eight hours each day and purchased brightly colored pants. Christina and I stopped in our tracks and just stared.

The time was 8:03 a.m. 

Things went quickly downhill from there. It seemed that my pre-teen years of mediocre tap dancing strangely did not translate to the Zumba floor. Each move would start out okaya basic grapevine. A chasse. A mambo or two. Got it. Bring it on. But then we'd add some "Latin flair"a hip bump. A shake of the rump. A sassy head nod. Whirling, fancy-free arms. My brain simply did not compute.

I felt like I had suddenly morphed into Gerry Fleck, Eugene Levy's character from Best in Show, forced to dance despite being born with two left feet.

"I can't dance, I can't dance; I was born with two left feet!"

Each song was a different Latin music genre and brought its own set of challenges/minor indignities. There was one song that seemed entirely devoted to jiggling our behinds/inner thighs as fast as we could while giving sassy shakes of our heads. I was, of course, positioned directly in front of the 75 year old man for the entire duration of this song. And it's not like I'm against butt jigglingon the contrary! I encourage it! But I think it takes a special kind of person who is okay with shaking their butt on command at 8:00 a.m. Maybe I'm just not that type of person. This revelation surprised me.

Beyoncé is obviously that type of person.

But onwards we went! We Zumba'd our way through "Waka Waka." Through "Tempted to Touch." Through the salsa. The merengue. Christina and I massacred them all with our own special combination of club-foot grace and wooden-hip sass. I tried not to look at her because I knew once we started laughing, we wouldn't stop. It didn't seem to help.

But the thing with Zumba is that no matter how awkward you feel, eventually you start to relax a bit. The music is kinda fun. If I called things "saucy," I might use that to describe Zumba tunes. I found myself starting to think things like, "Hmm, maybe I could add a little hip pop here; yeah, that'd be nice," or "My rhythmic butt movements would sure look sweet in a pair of spandex fuchsia pants." I might have even complimented Christina once in a burst of confidence: "Work it, gurl!"

But there is always a price to pay for hubris. Each time a cocksure thought like that would pop into my head, I would promptly catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And each time, it was the worst feeling in the world.

Christina and I didn't look like this:

We didn't even look like this:

We looked, every time, almost exactly like this:


During the hour long class, I mastered the art of locking eyes with our sexy Zumba instructor at the most awkward of moments. Moments with my face twisted in an enchanting grimace, concentrating on my rumba. Mouthing obscenities. Shooting dirty looks to the 75 year old man who was Zumba-ing better than I was. Staring in horror at each new move demonstrated. For the first half of the class, she would offer me encouraging smiles and "You can do it!" pity thumbs-up. Eventually the smiles faded and the thumbs-up stopped. By the end, I felt we had reached a mutual, unspoken agreement to avoid direct eye contact.

Do I blame her? No. It was self-preservation. Would you actually want to encourage something that looked very similar to this?

No. Don't even pretend you would. You would not.

Our hour with Zumba was a very long hour. Entire work days have flown by faster. Battles have been fought and won in the span of our salsa song. And during that hour, it seemed like everyone in the gym decided it was the perfect day to pause by our class window to take a gander at us "dancing."


Each time I looked out the window a new person was there. The gym manager, standing with a clipboard and nodding attentively. The cleaning lady, taking a break from her tasks. Potential gym-joiners taking a tour of the facilities and staring, mouths agape. Gym-goers I hadn't seen in months. I'm pretty sure an ex-boyfriend was there, delighting in the scene. And I'm even more certain that whenever I go for my next interview, the boss will remark, "Say, didn't I see you in a Zumba class three years ago? You were doing a body roll and crying, correct?" and I will be forced to remove "BORN TO DANCE!" from my resume.

 . . . On second thought, NO. Dancing is in my blood and they CANNOT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.

Shakira, Shakira.

Thirty hip bumps later, our hour mercifully came to an end. Christina and I jetted out of there, anxious to reach the solace of our usually non-butt jiggling office. It took awhile before we could discuss what had taken place in that room. We reassured each other, "Nah, you were really starting to get the hang of it by the 10th song," and "I really enjoyed your interpretation of the rumba." And then we just laughed and laughed.

My personal recommendations for improving Zumba? Remove the mirrors. All of them. Turn off the lights. Put black sheets over the windows so no one can see in and watch. Offer optional blindfolds for the participants. Change the class time to 3:00 a.m. to catch the post-bar crowd. I think I'd kill Zumba after prepping with a night of heavy drinking.

Q & A:

Was Zumba the workout for you? 

No. Not at all. Not even a little bit. No.

Do you hate Zumba?

Well . . . I might have hated it a little bit. But I don't want you to think I'm trashing Zumba. I know lots of people who LOVE it, have a blast doing it and are able to lose themselves completely in the music. And that's awesome. Whatever makes you want to workout is the right choice for you. And I will say that Christina and I laughed waaaay more at ourselves during our one hour class than in any other fitness class I can recall. So that is certainly something. Right?

Will we return? 

Probably not. Give me push-ups. Give me jumping jacks. Make me run, do agility drills, burpees, whatever. Just please don't make me salsa dance.

Do you still consider yourself a good, all-around dancer who can comfortably dance in all genres?


Sassy and sexy readers, have YOU ever tried Zumba? What was the most awkward you've ever felt at the gym? Is there a certain physical activity that you refuse to try? Is salsa dancing in front of strangers your personal nightmare, or just mine?  Please share and don't forget to include pictures.