We’re Two Years Old! (Part One)

Posted on May 19, 2014 by


Ariel says: To celebrate two years of working on Bad Books, Good Times together, Matt and I are seeing each other in person for the first time in almost a year! And also doing this post! 

Matthew says: Ariel and I are both on vacations in real life this week (Ariel’s visiting friends and family in America and I’m visiting my girlfriend in South Korea) and have to take a blog vacation this week. So we’ll return to our regular schedule of Crossfire, Pamela, and House of Night next week, but later this week you’ll have more of us answering your questions for our birthday to look forward to! We got a lot of questions and decided to split it up into two parts, so don’t forget to come back later this week. Enjoy!

Questions About Us, The People Who Write This Thing

In what cities do you guys live? What do you do as a real job? How do you find time to put together the blog?

Ariel says: I’m was born and raised for part of my life in Trenton, New Jersey, but for the majority of my life now I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, which is most famous for being where the kids from The Magic Treehouse series are from as those of you who read our posts on the Dinosaurs Before Dark will surely remember. I now live in London while I finish up getting my Master’s degree in Information Systems and Technology, and I’ve been working at an incredible start up company for the past few months (and just renewed my contract until December wahoo!) doing some front-end web development, customer service, and now adwords and ppc management. I’m not going to give the name of the company, but I will say it’s in relation to dogs, which is my dream come true.

I break a lot of child labor laws in order to have time to write this blog. Every post you read is actually done by a seven year old who I pay in Skittles. Honestly, though, I have no idea how I find the time! It’s just become second nature to make it a priority, sometimes to a fault. Like “Oh I have this report due tomorrow and also a blog post to write. To do list: 1) blog post 2) report.”

Like Matt says below, knowing people are actually reading along with us is a major incentive, but also the thought of letting Matt down keeps me going on days where if I didn’t have a partner I might just be like, “Eh, fuck it, I’ll do it another day.”

Matthew says: I’m originally from the Chicago suburbs, but I live in New York now. I live in Brooklyn, like a goddamned hipster, in Bed Stuy, which people often have very amusing reactions to. My real job has nothing to do with books (bad or no). I studied English and Biology in college and wanted to find a job somewhere in between the two, and I now work as an editorial assistant in medical communications. Basically, pharmaceutical companies come to us to help them write presentations they give to doctors about new drugs they’re making, and I help edit them. And then I go home and write dick jokes for you guys. It’s quite a double life.

I’ve also previously interned and written for NPR, which I’m required to brag about at every possible opportunity.

As for how we find the find the time to put together the blog on top of working full-time (and previously college)… practice, I guess, and the fact that we have a lot of fun doing this. What Ariel said about prioritizing the blog over other, actual priorities is very true – this one time I had both an organic chemistry exam and lab report due the next day… and the first thing I did was write jokes about Hush, Hush. Writing this blog has made me a much faster writer (which helps for obvious reasons), knowing how many people read the stupid jokes I write every day is a pretty big incentive, and Ariel’s a hoot. Ariel and I work pretty independently, but we gain a lot of strength from reading each other’s jokes, critiques, and general snark.

How did you two meet?

Matthew says: Ariel and I met at a two week writing program at Kenyon College the summer before our senior year of high school, and initially started talking when we learned we had both written parodies of Harry Potter in our childhood (don’t ask to read them – they have not aged well). [Ariel says: Speak for yourself, I still laugh hysterically when I re-read my old HP parody.] [Matthew adds: I do remember Ariel’s was a lot better. I’m amazed she wanted to be my friend.] 

We kept in touch and wound up going to the same college, and eventually Ariel got the idea into her head that we should start a blog together, which was actually almost just about the show Awake. Yes, think about what might have been.

Ariel says: Oh my god, oh my god how could I have forgotten about Awake and how we almost wrote a blog about that. I never thought I’d say this, but thank god our friends started reading Fifty Shades and the idea evolved into making fun of bad books together. [Matthew adds: Our aforementioned friends all hated it and told us we’d hate it, and we interpreted that advice rather strangely.]

For those of you who don’t know, Awake was this show about a man who lives one life when he’s, wait for it, awake and another when he sleeps. Both lives began after this major car crash, and in the one life his son survives the crash, and in the other his wife survives, and each world has subtle differences. Anyway, I loved it and forced Matt to start watching it and we were like, “But what if we wrote a split review of Awake in kind of the same way that he has a split life. OMG.” As I said before, I’m really glad the idea evolved especially given Awake sadly didn’t make it past season 1. [Matthew adds: Coincidentally, Awake was actually just added to instant Netflix! You should definitely at least check out the first episode – it’s one of the strongest pilots I’ve ever seen.]

Do you find it harder to write this blog together now that you’re not in the same geographical location?

Matthew says: Not really, actually. Writing is kind of a solitary activity and Ariel and I rarely talked “business” even when we could hang out in real life. It’s a bit of a bummer that it bars us from expanding into video content, but we never found the time to do that even when we did have the opportunity anyway.

Ariel says: Matt we always talked about the blog when we were in person! If poor Marissa (best friend of the blog) read this right now she’d probably be like, “Are you kidding me??” Remember when we read Mandi’s review for our thesis class when we went to the pub after class? Guys, we did that once. Our professor was there and loving it. It was so much fun! [Matthew says: Hahaha, oh my god, that was hilarious. That was the time I said “Have you ever even been spanked?” in front of my thesis adviser. Yes, we talked about it a lot, but what I mean by “talked ‘business'” is that we never really had to meet up in person just to keep the blog running. Those were rarely things we couldn’t take care of with a simple Facebook chat, leaving us with plenty of actual hanging out time to drink and eat Chinese food and gossip about working in the writing center. We’re just like regular people!]

But I agree, it’s not harder at all! If anything, having the blog has made it easier to stay in touch. Matt is the only person besides my family I’ve skyped with since I moved to England.

Between life, reading bad books, and the actual blogging, do you find the time to read *good* books?

Ariel says: My idea of good books now are related to future career interests like web analytics and data analysis. Many of you probably are thinking, “Ew wut.” But I seriously devour these books and love finding time to read them.

I am reading one fictional work right now called Paint it Black by Janet Finch who wrote White Oleander (one of my all time favourites.) I will be honest, I mostly read it while on the toilet. I am 3/4 of the way through.

Matthew says: Commuting! I read so much more now that I have to spend an hour and a half on the subway every day. Before that, I dunno. Not as much as I should have. I look back on that time with great shame.

Ariel says: Did I say toilet? I meant commuting.

Questions About Beautiful Disaster, Crossfire, and Those Other Completely Interchangeable Erotic Romances

How did you manage to remain sane while reading A Beautiful Disaster? I’m trying to read it (not for pleasure just to make that clear) and I just want to burn the book. How did you manage to get through all of it?

Ariel says: I didn’t. I get really angry when I see pigeons now.  PTSD is rough (Pigeon Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

Matthew says: I didn’t read Beautiful Disaster (that’s my secret!), but for Walking Disaster, there’s a reason we only read one chapter a week. It’s not even because of the time it takes to write the blog; that’s as much of the book as I can take.

Do you think you could take Travis in a fight? (That is, of course, if he leaves the double glock wielding at home)

Matthew says: I notice you didn’t say I had to leave the double glock wielding at home…

Ariel says: There’s no way I could ever defeat Travis. As you probably already know, he was beaten up by his brothers when he was a child. How could anyone possibly compete with that sort of rigorous training?

Who is the better BFF: Cary, or America?

Matthew says: Cary, because at least he acts like he actually cares about his BFF. In between the orgies and what have you.

Ariel says: What is this 60 Minutes? That is a really hard question. I’m going to have to agree and say Cary as well. I think he was apologetic after his orgy?

Questions About House of Night, Because We Drew The Line At Twilight

If you were a vampyre and had an affinity for something (the elements, cats, etc.), what would you want it to be?

Ariel says: I’d have an affinity for London transport, so I would always know the optimal time to leave my flat to catch the tube and not be smushed into someone’s smelly armpit during my morning commute.

Matthew says: I’d like to have an affinity for snow. Because I grew up in the midwest and I never fucking want to see snow again in my life.

Questions About Goosebumps and Magic Tree House! That Has To Be The First Time Someone Has Ever Lumped Those Two Things Together

If you found a magic tree house that took you to any time and place, where would you most like to go?

Matthew says: I think Late Victorian England or Revolutionary War-era America would be interesting, but I might just think that because I’m a white male. So dinosaurs. The answer is always dinosaurs.

Ariel says: OMG DURING THE ERA OF LORD OF THE RINGS. But for real, I would probably choose the 80s, because after I watched I Love the 80s on VH1 a million times, I realized I would have had so much fun during that time. Or I’d re-live the 90s again! This time not as a child!

Pick the sexiest scene from one of the non-“romance” books you’ve read. So… Goosebumps or Magic Tree House.

Ariel says: Greg taking all those pictures in Say Cheese and Die – so erotic.

Matthew says: That time Greg got fat.

Questions About Other Bad Stuff!

Have you seen the live-action (My) Immortal Series? What are your thoughts on it, if you’ve watched it?

Ariel says: I haven’t even heard of the live-action version of this! I will investigate further if someone tells me it’s worth watching.

Matthew says: I still haven’t gotten around to even reading that! I’m the worst at being a bad art connoisseur!

What do you think are the benefits and flaws of dramatic readings, especially for bad literature like Master of the Universe or The Eye of Argon? Also, do you like to listen to dramatic readings?

Ariel says: The benefits only exist if they’re done well and are hilarious. The drawbacks are if they suck it’s pointless. Sorry, that’s a really helpful answer, but this is a pretty hit or miss area. I don’t usually listen to any official dramatic readings, but I have rarely laughed so hard in my life than when a friend of mine did a dramatic reading of a painfully terrible short story that someone in one of our creative writing classes had written about an epic night out where the main character and his friends got drunk. Or the time when my brother did a dramatic reading of My Immortal for me.

Matthew says: So, the first thing I thought of was “Dramatic Reading of a Break Up Letter”…

Which is hilarious, but it’s funny because the narrator plays the ridiculous content so straight. The pitfall I can see is that the reading is basically another level of joke in and of itself; a so-bad-it’s-funny text doesn’t necessarily make for a good dramatic reading. That being said, I did read a Cosmo Red-Hot Read to a group of 40+ people once, so they seem like perfectly legitimate forms of entertainment to me.

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