Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hitting on Girls in Bookstores: A How To - Part Two

This is the second part in a series of Hitting on Girls in Bookstores: A How To. Click here for Part One.

The Approach: A Definitive Guide to Aisle-Stalking Your Potential Significant Other... That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex.

Part II: Aisle-Stalking

Aisle-stalking is exactly what it sounds like; you're following them up and down the rows of books hoping they'll take notice of you (in a way that won't involve being pepper sprayed like a UC Davis student). Could this person be into you? Are they checking you out because they're into you? Or are they looking over their shoulder because some freak is following them? Hopefully this part of the guide will clear up any confusion you might have.

The Easiest Way to Tell if Someone is Trying to Bookmark Your Heart (Checking You Out):

They are peering at you from behind a book. Let's use some logic here: they should be reading the fucking book. If they were really reading the book and were really interested in it then they wouldn't be looking at your peek-a-boo spots at all. If they're making eye contact? Then you're about to have intense coitus (that's Latin for banging).

Three Extra Easy Ways to Tell if She's Into You:
  • She walks past you more then three times (you are being aisle-stalked).
  • She asks you if a book is any good (this is the verbal equivalent of a hand-job for the literary person).
  • She open mouth kisses you (not likely to happen).

Three Extra Easy Ways to Tell if He's Into You:
  • He keeps looking at you.
  • He keeps looking at you.
  • He keeps fucking looking at you*.

It really is that easy. But... there are several observations that need to be made before the person is approached.
  • Pay attention to what books they're picking up or carrying around with them. Make a mental note on all of them. You may need them for conversation later, and for things to yell during sex ("Oh my God I love Suzanne Collins too! I'm almost there! Jonathan Strange!").
  • Are they drinking coffee and sauntering about? Then they plan to be there for a while. You can relax knowing that you have time to apply this guide to them.
  • Did they come in with anyone? If they came in alone you're in good shape. If not forget it.
  • Are they wearing a neat hat? People who wear neat hats are cool.
After applying these questions to your Potential Soulmate** you'll have a distinct advantage over any other gentleman callers.

Are you ready to approach the person now? You might be but you aren't. We need to avoid any messy stabbings accidents that might occur. It hurts to get rejected. Or to find out later that the person you're hitting on is bat shit insane. This leads us to...

Part II-ish: Where to Aisle-Stalk

You have to shop for your New Potential Interest by book section. This is critical. That girl looking at the calendars? Yeah. She's a complete nutball. You know how I know that? NOBODY BUYS CALENDARS IN A BOOKSTORE (that's why they're always in the bargain bin--and the bargain bin shoppers are not the sanest, either). Girls, you see that guy checking out the manga? COMPLETE LOSER (he's reading manga, duh).

If there is one thing that needs repeating it's this: FICTION LEADS TO FRICTION. The best place in the bookstore to meet anyone is in the fiction section. It's often the largest section and more people shop in it than anywhere else in the store (this will make following the person easier). Also, people who read fiction tend to be normal. Cat calendar owners tend not to be normal. Below is a breakdown of where to meet someone in the bookstore and whether or not you should approach.

Untitled document
This person will be great at Jeopardy.
No danger. Approach.
This person is probably into roll playing. You will have mind-blowing sex.
Slight danger. Approach at your own risk.
Young Adult
They’re underage. Turn around before Chris Hansen from MSNBC pops out from behind a display.
Large amounts of dangerous.
They’ll probably want to talk about your mother. Do you like your mother? Exactly.
Very dangerous. Emotionally unapproachable.
Fiction leads to friction.
No danger. Approachable.
Your bookstore has a science section? Where are you? Europe?
N/A. Go to a brothel you European bastards.
This person is almost out the door. You should have approached them in the young adult section, pervert.
No danger. Unapproachable.
That's it for Part Two. Hopefully you have a keen understanding of how to aisle-stalking someone now and what to look for. Stay tuned for The Approach Part II: First Impressions & Pickup Lines... That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex which is Part III of Hitting on Girls in Bookstores: A How To.

*He's freakin' into you, already. Ask him if he's read the book you're holding.
**Why have just one soulmate? Sure, shoes come in pairs, but doesn't everyone own more then one pair of shoes?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bad Pickup Line Tuesday

Another new feature of HOGIB! Welcome to Bad Pickup Line Tuesday. This weeks bad pickup line is Harry Potter related.

You: How do you feel about winning a Triwizard Tournament?
Them: What?
You: You'll get a stiff wizard out of it...

Not too dirty, not too clean. Sure to anger any fan of Cedric Diggory. It is bad. Very bad. Use it at your own risk.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Literary Crush of the Week #2

I'm crushing on Beth Griffenhagen this week. She wrote Haiku for the Single Girl and I'm probably the only guy on the planet who plans to order it, devour it, and then take the book out for dinner and a movie and then ask it up for coffee.

I'm going to put my bookmark in her book of poetry, basically.

Beth also has a neat blog and most recently a trailer for her book was released:


Thanks for being my crush this week, Beth. Please ignore the guy sitting in the tree outside of your domicile and get back to writing more great haikus. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hitting on Girls in Bookstores: A How To - Part One

I've been approached by some tweeps (that's Twitter people in internet lingo) to write about how to pick up girls in bookstores. I figure I should write something since "how to hit on the bookstore girl" is the number one search term for reaching this blog.

The very first rule is: don't hit on the cute bookstore girl. She's an employee and gets it all the time. I know she looks hot in her smock while she stocks the new books, but this guide is for hitting on the person that shops at the bookstore. That way if you screw up the chances of running into them again are slim and you can still shop there.

The best part about this guide is that you don't have to be a reader. Matter-a-factly: you can be really fucking illiterate and still pick someone up after reading this guide. If you are illiterate and you are reading this guide then I assume... wait. Let's just get started, damn it.

Hitting on anyone is easy. Conversation with a bookish person is more difficult. That makes conversation more important than The Approach. It needs to be covered first so you have a good understanding of what to talk about after hitting on the person.

Part I: Topics of Conversation

So, you both like books and are both in a bookstore so you figure you can mosey on over to your eye candy and start talking about literature, right? WRONG. You can't. In the United States alone over 280,000 books were published last year. You think you've both read the same books but you haven't. Thank freedom of speech for that one and keep smacking yourself on the head for not letting republican congressmen hold more book burnings.

So what does one converse about with the person they're currently aisle-stalking? That'll be easy with The Five Fail Safe Topics of Conversation You Can Have in a Bookstore That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex that I have outlined below.

The Five Fail Safe Topics of Conversation You Can Have in a Bookstore That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex:

  1. Claim to be an avid reader. It doesn't matter that the last book you read was ten years ago in high school. What matters is that you have the mindset of a reader. This means you love reading. I meet people all the time who just love to read but haven't read a book in a year. They consider themselves readers and gosh damn it you are too. The chances of you both having read the same books in high school are extremely close so go with those. It'll seem like fate when it turns out that you both read Shakespeare in English class so long ago. 
  2. Read Twilight if you're a guy. That's right. You have to read all of Twilight. A majority of girls have read Twilight and love it. This is an easy in and will give you a subject to talk about. If she's Team Edward then you're Team Jacob and vice versa. You want to disagree with her so you can have a nice back and forth instead of her just walking off because you both agree that Jacob is Bella's one and only. If she's not a fan of Twilight call Edward a pedophile (he's 107-years-old and dates an 18-year-old). If she laughs at that call Jacob a pedophile because he falls in love with a baby in Breaking Dawn. Is she still laughing? Then talk about how everyone in the book is a pedophile except for the cop father who is completely inept at catching all the pedophiles running around the town. If she doesn't know anything about the books go to step three.
  3. Read Harry Potter if you're a girl or a guy. Everyone has read Harry Potter. Even the people who claim to hate it have seen the movies. This is another easy in book that you can discuss. Watch the movies if you want to cheat, just be aware that the movies leave out a lot. Use this magical line if you've only seen the movies and are faking your love of all things Potter: "I love the books but the movies just leave out so much." The Potterhead WILL go on a rant and start pointing out the key differences between the two. There. Done. Now sit back and listen to them talk about the damn books they got tricked into reading. Congratulations, you're one more step closer to getting into their Hogwarts.
  4. Recommend The Catcher in the Rye. Are they holding a book? Great. Walk up to them and tell them if they like that book and haven't read The Catcher in the Rye yet then they should. It doesn't matter what book they're holding; The Catcher in the Rye is like the Kevin Bacon of the lit-universe. The best part is that just about every reader has read it and has an opinion on the book. If you haven't read it yet you can read the Wikipedia article on it. You should take either of these two stances on the book depending on what the other person picks: 
    • "Holden Caulfield is an immature little douche of a lit character." 
    • "Holden Caulfield is a brilliant, but troubled, immature little douche of a lit character."
  5. Mention that you love Reading Rainbow. Repeat after me: "LeVar Burton got me into reading. He is my personal hero. I follow him on Twitter." Using this line will give off the vibe that you are friendly to all races and have had a somewhat stable childhood.*
There you have it. The Five Fail Safe Topics of Conversation You Can Have in a Bookstore That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex. Next week I'll discuss The Approach: A Definitive Guide to Aisle-Stalking Your Potential Significant Other... That Could Lead to Mind-Blowing Sex.

*EXTREME WARNING: Using this line on men will cause them to get extreme boners (not just regular ones). Using this line on women will cause their underwear to immediately fall off. After using this line both of you WILL end up banging in the Barnes & Noble restroom. Don't forget to wear a condom.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Postmortal - a review

The Postmortal - Drew Magary - 384 pages
"No argument could be made against my profound interest in not dying."
If a book could make a sound then The Postmortal would make a satisfying crunch. Not a foot stepping on dead leaves crunch; a first bite of Cap'n Crunch crunch. Peanut butter crunch at that because peanut butter crunch is better and The Postmortal does what Super Sad Love Story failed to make me do: laugh.*

The Postmortal is written from the perspective of a white 29-year-old male blogger from the U.S. named John Farrell (I could not relate to John at all because I am a white 28-year-old male blogger from the U.S. and that's completely different). The story unfolds through links, musings, stories, news articles, and whatever John Farrell (if that is his real name) feels like posting to his untitled blog.

When we join John he is talking about the Cure (not the band). John goes to a drug dealing type doctor to get the Cure. I write drug dealing type doctor because the Cure is illegal in America. It soon becomes legal through that zany thing known as legislation**, though, but not after several "Cure Doctors" are killed.  What does the Cure do? It cures mortality. Once a person takes it they can live forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.

Here's the problem with the Cure, though: a person won't die of old age if they take the cure, but everything else can kill them. Bullets? Cancer? Religious whackos? Cap'n Crunch overload? Yep. All deadly to postmortals.

We continue to follow John's blog postings (and he's really clever and funny and I can only imagine how handsome of a man he is because mostly all male bloggers are) far into the future as the world becomes over populated and starts falling apart. There's explosions, terrorist attacks, religious zealots, love, the killing of pregnant women, and a lot of dark humor***.

The dark humor is the shining point of The Postmortal:
I assumed it was a terrorist attack. I mean, it was a terrorist attack. But I thought it was, you know, a terrorist terrorist attack.
It's a little bone chilling to realize that I understand that line of logic, as confusing as it will be to someone fifty years from now.

The best part of Drew Magary's book are the parts of John Farrell's love life that we get to glimpse. John starts out as a divorce lawyer and goes through several life long relationships (for a blogger the man seems to get around a lot) before the book ends.

As in all things important the biggest question ends up being Twilight related. Drew Magary has raised a lot of arguments against the idea of eternal love. And let me tell everyone right now: Drew Magary has killed the idea of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan and their eternal love and it was so, so, so, so sweet.

Could you be with the same person for the next 100 years? How about a thousand? Imagine having the same arguments about money with the same spouse for the next one thousand years. Could anyone do that? Can love last that long? Would you eventually strangle them because they drank the last cup of coffee and didn't make you more and you'd been telling them for fifty years that this is a major fucking problem for us?

Edward: I'm getting tired of cleaning elk blood out of the carpet.
Bella: Well, I'm getting tired of you letting a werewolf run around with our tart of a daughter.
Edward: Oh, here with go AGAIN!

I really enjoyed The Postmortal. More people need to be reading this book. Not because it's funny, or a trendy future dystopian novel, but because it's relevant to our pizza-is-a-vegetable now culture. The one question we all need to ask ourselves is: do I deserve immortality? What have I done lately to earn it? The answer is: not much. No one has earned it. And that makes this a sad present and The Postmortal an even bleaker future.

 *Yes, I am comparing a book to another book and using a breakfast cereal as a comparison point.
**Pizza is a freakin' vegetable. 
***Honestly I got this book confused with events of the past decade. Had it not been for the Cure postings I would've gotten it confused with an actual blog describing current events.
End note: Here's a fun quote from Babylon 5: "Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal."
End note 2: I went this entire review without comparing it to the movie Death Becomes Her. Wahoo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Literary Crush of the Week

I have not been shy about my love of Alison Espach's The Adults. I called her book emo and then suggested that it go cut itself (that's high praise I swear). Alison is my very first Literary Crush of the Week and she's all the more deserving for it because of her slightly defunct blog.

Alison (I love how me and her have never met but that we're both on a first name basis) has the greatest blog post about the cheap SyFy movie 2010: Moby Dick :
I've been teaching fiction writing for about four years now, and one of the questions I'm most frequently asked is, "What is bad dialogue?" I never felt like I had an adequate answer until I watched 2010: Moby Dick.
This can only mean that Alison is a reader and watches SyFy Channel and knows bad dialogue when she hears it. I bet she even knows the difference between their, there, and they're. And. That. Is. Hot.

Try not to gawk.

Congratulations, Alison, on being my Literary Crush of the Week. Try not to feel too dirty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Defining Bro Lit

If we're going to call Matched or The Adults Chick Lit, or redefine Pride & Prejudice and all of Jane Austen's* books as Chick Lit and put it in the Chick Lit section and condescendingly call it Chick Lit: I now call into usage the word Bro Lit to label what most non-reading males "read".

Hemingway was alpha as fuck.
The first step in any twelve step program is to admit it: I am a guy and I read Chick Lit. It doesn't bother me that some of the books I read are intended--clearly intended in bright pink book jackets and big swoopy title letters--to be read by women only. What bothers me is the subsection of men who only read Bro Lit and call them normal books while calling what I read vagina material.

You are not reading normal books anymore, guys. You haven't been for a while. You are now reading what I--and hopefully more people--will condescendingly call Bro Lit. Because Bro, no brah reads Curtis Sittenfeld, that's totally beta.

What is bro lit:

I need a subsection on GoodReads for Bro Lit. I need an author to come forward and say "I am alpha as fuck and I write Bro Lit, bro" (hopefully Martin Amis). I need a trending topic on Twitter about Bro Lit: "Bro, your brain is your strongest muscle, read #BroLit ". I want to walk into my local gym and overhear two guys doing bench presses while discussing American Psycho's themes of consumerism and all the while talking about how awesome Patrick Bateman is because he's the most epic brah ever, bro, and he gets all the bitches with his epic abs**.

Eventually we will all find common ground. We can start calling Chick Lit fiction again. We can go back to a time before Patrick Bateman was a hero to the bros because he worked out and banged hookers. Hopefully we'll all be readers again and I can read The Man of my Dreams in peace without being considered girly. One day the bros will be discussing Jane Austen while the girls talk Bro Lit over hot wings and beer because equality, bro, equality.

If all else fails... I'll just start hiding the pink book jacket somewhere.

Note: I know the title Hitting On Girls in Bookstores might make it seem like this blog is about picking up girls, but it's not. It's about relationships and romance and dating and awkward glances. It's not about actually picking up chicks.

*I really take issue with this. As both a guy and a fan of Austen's work.
**This has actually happened to me. Well, minus the consumerism bit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Matched - a review (kind of)

Matched - Ally Condie - 400 pages

No. No, no, no, no. I'm not suppose to like this book. I'm supposed to say "This book is a fad that The Hunger Games started". I'm supposed to think "Cassia Reyes is an amalgam of Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan and that one chick from Parks & Recreation (the evil one with no expression on her face ever)".

No. No no no. I am not suppose to want to read the sequel. I DO NOT WANT TO READ THE SEQUEL.

See, what'll happen is that I'll be out and someone will bring up the book and it'll be another Twilight moment for me: "Wait. You're a guy and you read Twilight? What the fuck is wrong with you? That book is for teenage girls; you're a 28-year-old man."

Bella Everdeen
Cassia Reyes is a teenage girl living in some far off future where A-murrica doesn't exist. The Society has replaced it. The Society does everything by statistics. The Society figures out what people should eat, where they should live, how long they should live, and who they should be Matched (mated) with.

Cassia gets Matched with her best friend Xander. That never happens. It's statistically impossible, apparently. Cassia and Xander are both happy until Cassia sees a different guy pop up on her Match dot com profile; a boy she knows as well. Dunh dunh dunhhhhh.

His name is Ky and he is mysterious. That's all you need to know about Ky because that's all you're going to find out about him.

Cassia starts to fall for Ky, Ky starts to fall for Cassia, and Xander is as clueless as one of those guys on Cheaters. The Officials are onto Cassia and Ky, though. Oh boy are they onto them. The Society is an all-powerful government and they love to spend time tracking two canoodling teenagers. Because that's what governments do.

Matched follows the J.J. Abrams formula that I love so much: DON'T EXPLAIN A FUCKING THING. That way it'll gnaw at me until I finally cave and read the next book that will NOT EXPLAIN A DAMN THING. That way I can read the third book and finally find out that Locke was in a wheelchair. Wait, wrong medium and wrong story. I meant find out that the Society is actually governed by snoopy teenage girls. That'd be a heck of a plot twist, right?

Yes, I liked it. Yes. I will read the sequel. And yes, I'm going to squeal like a little girl when the third book comes out.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winter Reads

Every year at about this time I reread the same book to get into the holiday spirit: American Gods. Weird choice, right? I suppose it could be A Christmas Carol, or I could reread How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but neither of them involve zombie wives and computer gods and the word fuck. And Neil Gaiman's description of snow is so much more better than Dickens'.

Snow, thought Shadow, in the passenger seat, sipping his hot chocolate. Huge, dizzying, clumps and clusters of snow falling through the air, patches of white against an iron-gray sky, snow that touches your tongue with cold and winter, that kisses your face its hesitant touch before freezing you to death. Twelve cotton candy inches of snow, creating a fairy-tale world, making everything unrecognizably beautiful...
The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, winter day, with snow upon the ground.
I'm not knocking A Christmas Carol; I watch the Patrick Stewart version of it every year. Like Shadow in American Gods, though, I am hoping for snow. I want it. It completes the holiday season. It means scarves and hot chocolate and rock salt. It means I have no risk of seeing butt crack since everyone is covered up; even though I risk a traffic accident while driving in it. That makes snow my favorite inclement weather and American Gods my favorite winter read.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ready Player One - a review

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline - 384 pages

Note: This review contains 80s slang and a few Internet acronyms.

I'm a little late to the 80s themed party on this one but like Zack Morris I have a damn good excuse. One of them being that I was reveling in the nostalgia that is Ready Player One. Where else am I going to read a book that references John Hughes movies, D&D, Joust, Zork, The Breakfast Club, Rush, and Wargames? Not on MTV that's, like, totally for sure.

Here's the 411: the OASIS is a huge online virtual world where you can be anyone you want and look like anyone you want and do whatever you want. People live their lives in the OASIS: they go to school there, they work there, and they have, err, Internet relations there. James Halliday is the inventor of the OASIS. He's like a nerdier version of Bill Gates but is so eccentric that he leaves his entire fortune--and control of the OASIS--to the person that can find the Easter egg he left hidden within it. Not only that but Halliday was obsessed with the 80s and now everyone is too; the answers to his clues can only be found in the movies and music and literature and games of that era.

This is where Wade Watts (known as Parzival in the OASIS) comes in. He's a student and a grunter: a person that hunts for Halliday's Easter egg. Other notable grunters include his BFF Aech, his crush Art3mis, and the evil Sorrento of the IOI. The IOI has an army of grunters who hunt specifically for the egg and serve as the bad guys of the novel.

Wade is just a po' trailer park boy from Oklahoma at first. But when he discovers the first gate the real race to find Halliday's fortune begins. Wade is ace. He's smart, he's insightful, he's funny, and he acts like a kid from the Goonies decade and not 2044 (the actual year). He's like John Cusack in Sixteen Candles. Or Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me. He's just a cool cat like Ferris Bueller. Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

Is anyone getting tired of my 80s lingo and references yet? What starts out as a quirky adventure with changing landscapes, amazing online battles, and nostalgia galore gets bogged down by the one thing it has going for it: the 80s.

Wade's adventure starts out fast paced but towards the middle of the novel the descriptions of 80s music, TV shows, video games, and movies; they start to slow down the plot and become repetitive. I didn't mind the trip back in time but sometimes the plot needs to move forward. Often times events would happen but were then interrupted by Wade talking about 80s stuff.

I understand why the public is going nuts for this book: it doesn't mention Iran, nor does it bring up Obama, Hermain Cain, health care, gas prices, Occupy Wall Street, etc. This is escapism fiction. This book comes in the form of John Candy flipping pancakes for Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck. It's a look back at a nicer decade and a look forward to the hopes of escaping the current one. It just could of been done better.

Favorite line:

I tend to ramble in real time. When I have to type out everything I want to say, I come off as less of a flibbertigibbet.

Reminded me of:

Care Bears. It's cute but I need to get back to reality.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gravestone by Travis Thrasher - a review

Note: This is the sequel to Solitary by Travis Thrasher. My original review of the first book is here.

Chris Buckley still has problems in Gravestone. Boy oh boy does he have problems. He needs a job, he needs to find out who murdered his girlfriend, he needs to know if he can trust this guy claiming to be his cousin, he needs to know if he can trust the sheriff, and there are bullies that keep confronting him in the restroom at school. There's a lot going on; it's like The Empire Strikes Back but set in North Carolina and instead of Imperial Walkers and Yoda we get an old lady in a hotel on a hill that's protected by birds.

Oh and Chris' other problem is that he stabs a preacher to death and pushes him off of a cliff. Don't worry. The evil Pastor Jeremiah Marsh pulls a John Locke and shows up later at church seemingly fine. He's the least of Chris' problems, though; there's a secret tunnel leading to his bathroom that some sort of creature has been using to get into his house to terrorize his alcoholic mother.

So things like girls should be easy for Chris to figure out, right? No. No no no. The real mystery in Gravestone are the girls in Solitary. Chris doesn't understand them and they can be worse than a pastor that comes back to life after you go all stabby on him:

"I need to avoid any and all hot dark-haired chicks from here on out until the end of my life."

Good luck on that, Chris. It's the dark-haired ones that are always interesting and always hot. Especially the ones that show up wearing Pixies shirts and share a lot of similar interests. That would be Chris'
potential girlfriend
friend girlfriend friend Poe in this instance. Poe is an emo girl with a car and a plan to investigate Chris' girlfriend's murder. Too bad Poe has her own drama going on: drug possession charges!

Doesn't Solitary, North Carolina sound like fun? All the adults keep their mouths shut and the teenagers are stabbing people, kissing each other, investigating murders, walking around dark underground tunnels... it's enough suspense and mayhem to drive a person mad.

But I do keep ranting and raving about these books to every person I meet. It's the mystery. I watched Lost for years to figure out what's going on and I'm reading Solitary Tales for the same reason.

Thrasher created Chris Buckley, planted him in Solitary, and surrounded him with weirdos. I can't wait to see where he takes all of them. I hope Solitary sinks into the earth like how Sunnydale did in Buffy. Or maybe the whole town will turn on one another like in Needful Things. Or maybe Thrasher will spare me a bad ending and go with a happy one (doubtful). Either way I look forward to it.

Favorite line:

"Hey." The universal word for teen boys everywhere. This can mean many things. It can be a sign that we're alive, or it can mean that yes we've just crashed our car into the tree, or it can mean absolutely nothing.

Reminded me of:

The hatch from Lost. Because what the heck is going on out here in the middle of nowhere?

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