Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alpha Consumer Guest Post

Here's my Alpha Consumer guest post. Yes, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel has now been co-opted by the U.S. News & World Report, baby!

Review roundup

Moolanomy and Bargain Babe.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Giveaways Are Sexy

J Money of Budgets Are Sexy reviews the game and runs a givewaway

I still don't know whether to hug or punch him, but needless to say it was damn entertaining.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bargaineering review

Bargaineering's review continues the hot streak of positives from the personal finance blog community:

You have tips for getting into free movies, getting free swag (scamming banks no less), and all sorts of other little hacks. And all throughout the tips, his writing is funny and entertaining.

So, my recommendation is that you should buy the book, read it, and then return it. It would put a smile on Phil’s face.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tucker Max talks

I spoke with "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" writer/producer Tucker Max. Here's what he had to say.

On his press tour to Tempe: "I was only in Tempe for seven or eight hours. I hooked up with two girls. It was nice. Tempe was ridiculous."

On what he looks for in a girl: "If a girl wants to hook up, she has to be cute, kind of. I do not want to deal with nut jobs. I have been doing this for seven years now, and I have run into more than my fair share of nut jobs. You just kind of learn to sit back and observe. It's pretty easy to figure out the basic components. I'm pretty good at sussing out crazy."

On what he thinks women want from him: "That's a really good question. It's f*cking weird. Here's the irony: I got famous by writing stories about hooking up with drunk girls who I absolutely do objectify. Now that I'm famous, all the girls who come to me to hook up objectify me worse than I ever objectified women. I've had girls literally roll off me and text over their phone, "OMG, I just f*cked Tucker Max." They'll steal a piece of my clothing and show their girlfriends. I'll f*ck a girl who will give me a script or something to read. I would never, ever sleep with a girl to get her to read a script."

On what's in his upcoming book, "Assholes Finish First": "It's mostly stories from the same era as 'Beer in Hell.' It covers ones I either didn't write up at the time or didn't put up for some reason or another."

On what it's like to pick up girls now that he's rich and famous: "There's a fundamental difference in going out and picking up a girl and having a girl come to you. Now it's not only do I not have to work for it, the question is 'who,' not 'if.' "

On how he's nothing like David Duchovny's character in "Californication:" I think that's very much an extension of Charles Bukowski. The Duchovny character is depressed, sad, pitiful and angry. I'm absolutely the complete and total opposite emotions. I'm all about happiness, joy and fun, all that kind of sh*t. We're totally polar opposites. Saying similarities exist between us with drinking and hooking up is like comparing 'The Sopranos' with 'Throw Momma From The Train.' "

On his detractors: "I just think I have to be grounded and self-assured. It never even occured to me I should listen to those people. Ninety percent of the criticism has nothing to do with me. They're protecting their own issues onto me. Why should I care about someone else's f*cked up life? I don't give a sh*t. Most people who don't like my stuff (and protest) are crazy. I think 'CSI' sucks but I don't, like, write blogs about it and protest it. What's so funny is the haters are obsessed with me. These people know more about me than my f*cking friends and family. When you hate something so much you're obsessed with it, it doesn't mean you hate it. Something else is going on there. These people are kooks."

On the actor who played him in the film: "He actually takes the character new places and is better than me because he's a lot more likable; a lot more redeemable. Friends will tell me, 'Due, you're not this cool. You're not this fun to hang out with. Dude, I would actually like you more if you were like that. You're just kind of a dick.' "

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Caliente Hot 5

My next signing is at the University of Arizona BookStore at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. The Arizona Daily Star's Caliente featured the signing as one of the Hot 5 events of the week.

CanadianFinanceBlog Raves

Tom Drake of CanadianFinanceBlog hands over some Maple Leaf love for the book:

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is an easy read, with most of the tips coming in at about two pages. Phil’s writing is cynical and sarcastic, which I guess I should have expected coming from a movie critic. I’d recommend this book to anyone who can enjoy the humor without taking it too seriously. I really hope there’s no one out there that actually tries to accomplish all 100 dirty little money-grubbing secrets!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fabulously Broke's Review

Canadian PF blogger Fabulously Broke in the City writes a brilliant review:

3 Things I loved about the book

1. It’s written like an archive of a blog. Short, bite sized posts, just a couple pages each topic. A solid read. And the corners are nicely rounded, and the paper is of a good weight to hold and read.

2. Phil’s writing was really witty. And I don’t say that lightly about anyone who writes a book because I’m one picky mofo when it comes to tongue-in-cheek literature. (Did you really get rejected by publishers 12 billion times? Ouch, yo.)

3. This was not a dry, boring personal finance or frugality book. But if you can read in between the lines while throwing grains of salt over your left shoulder, the overriding message of the book is: don’t spend money frivolously and don’t live on credit but use it wisely to gain the most rewards both of which I am down with.


Bonus: In the review, she even describes how to get the book for free!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Two Dollars Review/Giveaway

My Two Dollars gives the book another endorsement:

Overall, a great read that is both entertaining and educational – I recommend it to all my frugal friends!

FreeMoneyFinance Wraps Up Its Excerpt Series

On Friday the site excerpted the sodas chapter. I'll admit the comments are probably funnier than anything in the book.

Quad City Times Writes About The Book

Kay Luna of the Iowa newspaper gives Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel a nice little mention:

The point is, young people - especially those struggling to pay for college - need all the help they can get in the money-saving department. So I giggled when I saw a story about this new book called "Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets."

It's written by Phil Villarreal, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star who says he was inspired by his time spent as a student at the University of Arizona. His tips in the book are geared toward that college age bracket and are not really viable for "grown-ups."

For instance, he talks about pouring milk - leftover from his cereal bowl - back in the jug for reuse. Eeeuuuuwww.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review: Jennifer's Body

Guess I'm a Diablo Cody sycophant, because I loved "Jennifer's Body." All the complaints I read going into the film -- that it was too self aware, the dialogue was too cutesy and funny for its own good and that the plot was inane and predictable -- were exactly the reasons I loved the movie.

I hate to be the guy who comes out and complains that few understand this film like I and the small cadre of supporters do, but screw it, I'll be that guy. This movie thrives on its intended level of "Scream"-style horror comedy, blazes through its running time and had me laughing throughout. I suspect a subliminally orchestrated mass takedown of screenwriter Diablo Cody, who some whined undeservedly took home an Oscar for "Juno." The inexplicably negative reaction to the movie reminds me of the hateful burning of Kevin Smith's "Mallrats." Not that "Jennifer's Body" comes anywhere close to the majesty of "Mallrats," but at the risk of sounding like a right wing radio George W. Bush apologist, I'll declare that history will look back fondly on this movie.

Enough about how others reacted to the movie. I'll spend the rest of the time here gushing about what I loved:

*I loved Megan Fox. In her first true lead role, she handles the character of maneater Jennifer Check with aplomb and nuance. She owns this sucker thoroughly, and if she ever evolves into a respected, awards-flirting actress, this film will be the launching pad that made that happen. For the first time she proves she has a real talent other than uttering attention-drawing press junket quotes. She sells Cody's verbal gymnastics with skill and conviction, and shows excellent range, displaying viciousness, seductiveness, insecurity and misery, sometimes all at once.

*I loved Amanda Seyfried. As strong as Fox is in this movie, Seyfried is twice as great. Through "Big Love," the disaster that was "Mamma Mia!" and a few spot roles, she's always been strong, but Seyfried carries the crucial beating heart of the film in her bespectacled doe eyes. A lost, desperate soul hopelessly in love with her too-aware user of a best friend, her cheekily-named character Needy Lesnicky (props for Cody for not going overboard and replacing the "i" in the last name with "oo") grounds the film just enough to prevent the antics from skidding off into "Scary Movie" territory.

*I loved that the movie made dirty jokes about tampons, PMS and periods. These are jokes male screenwriters wouldn't have been able to pull off, and Cody not only uses her feminine license but makes the jokes stingingly funny rather than gratuitous.

*I loved Cody's writing. Sure, everything in this movie seems like second-string pop-culture referencing wordplays that didn't make the cut for "Juno," but guess what -- Cody is apparently so damn good that her fifth-string material could still best 90 percent of what passes for high school-set horror flick dialogue. Sure, her characters don't talk the way real people talk. Her stylized patter this time out got me as giddy as "Brick," a movie everyone gushed over.

*I loved how deliberately awful the special effects were, and how the characters poked fun at the silliness of projectile vomiting and demonic levitation. Her characters are aware they're in a movie without being aware you're watching, if that makes sense. Cody hits the same notes Quentin Tarantino did in "Inglourious Basterds," and he gets worshipped while she's reviled. Not fair.

*I loved the bit that takes place during the end credits, set to Hole's "Violet." The triumphantly vengeful tone of the epligoue helps underline the movie's underlying message of the dispiriting lie of outward beauty, humankind's fallacy of overlooking flaws in blind pursuit of that hypnotizing quality, brought to life with the sick dynamic of how groupies and celebrities exploit one another.

"Jennifer's Body" doesn't fulfill the promise Cody displayed in "Juno," but if the release order of her films had been reversed, this movie would have been given a much better chance of success by the tastemakers. Now Cody will probably face the Richard Kelly stigma of being a flash in the pan who fell into obscurity. But Kevin Smith faced a similar obstacle and overcame it with the magnificent "Chasing Amy," and Kelly, well, hopefully "The Box" will at least be OK. Cody, here's hoping you've got a "Chasing Amy" in you to make the doubters make like Jennifer Check and eat their hearts out.

The Centsible Life Review

Kelly at The Centsible Life adds to the cacophony of raves. She writes:

One of the most entertaining frugality books ever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finance for a Freelance Life review

Mrs. Micah at Finance for a Freelance Life does some reviewing. She's also running a giveaway. An excerpt:

And lying about any number of things (oh the lies he comes up with), would make me feel worse about saving the money than I would about spending it. This book is not a reliable life guide.

What it is, is hilarious.

Villarreal keeps you guessing–sometimes it’s hard to tell whether he’s recommending one of his tips or writing about it because it could work and he finds it hilarious to think of someone trying it.

Some of his tips are quite good and sane, though approached with his quirky style. For example, he has great tips for getting around ATM fees (commonsense stuff, but something to remember). Or he recounts calling the hospital after his second child’s birth and asking for 25% off the bill if he paid in cash. The hospital agreed. No hassle, simple call.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Financial Methods review

Financial Methods reviewed the book. Excerpt:

If you like shock value with your money-saving tips, then check out Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel. You will end up laughing out loud!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New review: No. 1 with a Missel

Rebecca Missel over at Shtetl Fabulous, whom I've known since my Daily Wildcat days, is the latest to review the book. Excerpt:

The section of the book that I would seriously consider implementing, societal judgment be damned, was the portion covering Finance. Villarreal offers such logical suggestions of avoiding ATM fees, paying down debt and taking advantage of rebates.

He even manages to challenge fiduciary stereotypes while bringing an element of humor to the art (or tedium) of coupon clipping, “It saddens me that coupon clipping is viewed as the pastime of the desperate housewife…Here and now I want to start an effort to reclaim coupon clipping for men everywhere. I want Harley riders to start keeping plastic, accordion-style coupon holders in the back of their hogs. I want UFC fighters to tout the benefits of $1 off Raisin Bran coupons after bouts. I want John Wayne to rise from the grave, visit a Circle K, and push a buy-one-get-one-free Thirstbuster card over the counter.” Classic.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Eastside Barnes & Noble Tucson signing

It went well. Filled all the seats and sold a lot of books. Next up, University of Arizona BookStore, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

Photobucket

Friday, September 11, 2009

About Last Night....

Mysterious Arizonan night ranger Deuce of Clubs checks in with a revealing deconstruction of last night's wild protests. An excerpt:

Even though their signs had exactly the look I would be going for if I were staging a fake protest to get publicity for my book (right down to the frowny face and comical misuse of the language and its punctuation), it was obvious from their actual frowny faces that these were genuinely pissed-off folks. They were wary when I approached but, as I've always said, you can get away with almost anything as long as you have a black bag and a purposeful step. When I pulled out my digital recorder to talk with them for a few minutes and snap some photos, they didn't even ask who I was or who I was with (though the answer would have been—and always is—"Barth Gimble, Fernwood 2 Night, howyadoin?")

The four women told me they'd all worked together as servers. So what's their beef with the book? Well, they all admitted right up front—CAREFUL, THIS WILL SHOCK YOU—that they hadn't read the book. (A bookstore employee later mentioned that one or more of the ladies had been in the store the previous day. Research!)

Protesters

If not for these interesting folks, last night's signing in Scottsdale wouldn't have been nearly as cool.

protesters

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Poorer Than You reviews SOASS

Stephanie at Poorer Than You delivers a great review of the book. An excerpt:

While the tips range in stinginess and ridiculousness (with the last chapter obviously winning in both categories), the book is truly funny throughout. Just ask my boyfriend, who had to endure my giggles and donkey-braying as I read the book. (But don’t ask my boyfriend if he thinks the book is funny – he’s such a tightwad that he just thinks the book is accurate.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Protests at tomorrow's Scottsdale signing?

The Barnes & Noble rep writes:

We've gotten a lot of calls on your event after the Republic article. Several have threatened never to shop at B&N again because we are promoting illegal activities. One lady came in and threatened to picket the event. Anyway it should be fun. Its a strange time we live in.


7 p.m. Barnes & Noble on 90th. Please come, especially if you're a protester.

Phoenix New Times profile

The New Times rings in with a nice feature.

Tucson Weekly plays nice

The Tucson Weekly made my Friday signing one of the picks of the week, and keeps it positive! (Scroll down).

Ginger Won't Snap

She mentions the book in her post Things I'm Digging.

Arizona Daily Wildcat profile

The Daily Wildcat ran a nice profile. One problem: I haven't had a signing at the UA bookstore yet. That's going to take place Sept. 29 at 4:30.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The book giveaway that barely was

Thanks to Tracy of MyMoneyStory for running a book giveaway. And congrats to the one person who entered and won.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First review of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

Thanks to personal finance blogger extraordinaire Fiscal Fizzle for being the first reviewer of my book, and setting things off on a positive tone.

He writes:

If sarcasm, fun with money, and an open mind are in your vocabulary, you won’t find a more unique personal finance book than this one to enjoy.

Awl love

Choire Sicha of The Awl posted an excerpt of my book. The commenters weren't into it, but that's to be expected. Either my money-saving humor repels you or intrigues you. There's little middle ground.