Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You are sooo middle class; or, BSC #87: Stacey and the Bad Girls

Ah, stretching to make a plot…So, it’s the first day of summer break, and Stacey is an IDIOT. Oh, wait, sorry, she’s trying to figure out what to do with her summer now that she’s no longer in the BSC. Well, she starts hanging out with her “new best friends” that she met through her boyfriend, Robert. And her new friends mark Stacey’s house as the no-parent zone, and clean out the pantry and generally make a mess. So, Stacey is sentenced to a summer job. She gets a job in the room-that-lets-parents-shop-without-screaming-children at Bellairs, the department store where her mom works. [Time out: both she and Logan have jobs at places that don’t pay under the table. THIRTEEN YEAR OLDS have jobs with steady paychecks. How on earth were they able to get working papers? Only one place—McDonald’s, which lasted pretty much 4 shifts spaced over two months—hired me before I turned 16. No other employer would touch anyone under 16. So, I find that whole premise a little…unbelievable.] Well, her new BFFs meet her after every shift to go shoplifting. I mean shopping. Well, Stacey suspects the truth, but she trusts them because her boyfriend is friends with them, and apparently, she’s never known anyone who shoplifts, DESPITE SPENDING THE FIRST 12 YEARS OF HER LIFE IN MANHATTAN. I mean, come on, you know Laine, etc. had some hangers-on trying to impress her by pinching lipsticks. And, though it makes her uncomfortable, Stacey lets her BFFs buy stuff with her employee discount. [I’m still not sure why that makes her uncomfortable. It’s not even unethical. It’s certainly not against any rules…I bet her mom does it all the time. Whatever.] And big surprise: they returned the stuff for full price. Which is super shady, and Stacey’s all, “That’s not cool, but I’ll forgive you cause you told me about the U4ME concert, and I’ll forgive you when you all ditch me in the monster line for tickets, because I’m really lame and needy for being so ‘sophisticated.’” The final straw? They sneak booze into the concert and Stacey gets busted with them. And they don’t stand up for her! (Probably cause they’re drunk off their asses.) Well, this incident makes Stacey realize that she misses the BSC, and maybe they’re not really babies, but she is. A whiny little cry baby. Who needs to seriously shut up about her stupid boyfriend and her awful clothes.

Subplot: Dawn’s second cousin comes to stay chez Spier/Schafer, and is miserable and a pain. And Dawn finds out that her CA-BFF’s mom has the black lung. I mean lung cancer. So, she’s thinking of going back, but isn’t talking about it with anyone.

This one was after my time. I picked it up cause the cover’s hilarious (and I can’t figure out—again—which one’s supposed to be Stacey). It shows a group of girls all grunged out, flannels and all, at a concert, except for a girl in a baggy sweater seven seasons too old, who probably is supposed to be Stacey. Anyhoo. I find it so weird that ANM added real things to later books, like mentioning “grunge” and MTV. And, I know things have changed a little, but I still find it hard to believe that the head cheerleader is friends with girls with crazy hair and black lipstick. In my middle school, that never would have flown. Nor at my high school, but that’s a different story all together.

And ANM’s ghostwriter, does a really transparent job of explaining how Stacey knows what’s going ahn with the BSC even though they’re on the outs. See, Claud reads the BSC notebook to Stacey over the phone, and that’s how she knows what’s going on with the others. And here I thought I could enjoy a book without the mandatory “isn’t it amazing how different we all are” chapter. Nope. Oh, and Stacey talks like an IDIOT in this book…She’s all acronyms and bad slang and pseudo-valley girl. Ugh. Shudder.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Show, don’t tell; or, Kristy’s Great Idea, graphic-novel style

Okay, so this one’s a little different, but I had to post about it. I picked up the BSC graphic novel this weekend, and it is AWESOME! Seriously. The story is pretty much exactly the same as the original Kristy’s Great Idea, but it’s amazing what taking out stilted prose can do for a story. Sure, some parts are still a little unbelievable. But it’s really fun. The drawing is really cute, and the story just moves along. Highly recommended.

So, wow! I’m really psyched that so many people are really into what I’m doing here! And I’m really flattered by all the great things people are saying about my blog. I started this whole thing up as an experiment, and I never thought so many people would be interested. So thanks for reading! And thanks for commenting and mentioning me on your blogs and all that. I’m going to try to be really, really good at posting every week [and I’m thinking about all the offers to guest blog] now that people other than my friends are reading.

Coming tomorrow or Thursday: Stacey and the Bad Girls…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Haiku for Little Pete

Jackie Rodowsky
He cannot help the messes
Walking disaster

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We are baby-sitters, not magical flying boys; or, BSC #12: Claudia and the New Girl

So, I totally loved this book the first time around, even though I’m not entirely sure why. Was it my artist phase? Maybe. Had I recently split with friends? Maybe? Anyway…

Enter Ashley Wyeth (no relation to Andrew Wyeth, Claudia asked). She dresses like a hippie, always wears work boots, has three holes in each ear (and wears different earrings in each hole, because ANM is obsessed with that particular fashion statement) and is an ARTIST. In Chicago, where she used to live, she studied at the very, very prestigious/famous/selective Keyes Art Society, and she has no time for anything but her art. And she thinks Claudia has talent (and for some reason, I keep hearing Dr. Allan Pearl say, “I do, indeed, have talent”).

So, of course Claud gets a MAJOR girl crush on her and pretty much blows off school, babysitting and the BSC. She and Ms. Art School (“I think that the secret of sculpting inanimate objects is making them look animated”) start spending tons of time together “in the field” looking for inspiration for a sculpture exhibit. Ashley picks a fire hydrant that’s “almost noble,” and suggests that Claudia either pick another inanimate object or sculpt a concept, none of which appeals to Claudia…finally, Claudia snaps and realizes that she’s not ready to commit all her time to Ashley and art, and reconciles with the BSC. And manages to get an honorable mention for a half finished bust of Little Pete. And manages to patch things up to friendly acquaintance with the Ice Queen.

Secondary plot: Jeff starts getting into trouble and it interferes with Dawn’s baby-sitting.

You know, for being “the best friends you’ll ever have” and for being “so different it is amazing,” the BSC can be ultra-mega bitches to any outsiders. Sure, the have non-BSC friends that only show up when the club is fighting, or someone needs to have a tragedy, or a date, or a class project…you get the idea. And sure, Ashley’s a mini-version of the 80s archetypal superbitch who’s so focused on her career at the expense of everything else in her life, but the girls didn’t exactly jump to welcome her…And they get sooooo petty when a club member steps out of their prescribed position (Mary Anne’s makeover, anyone?). They eat and mess with Claud’s stash, and then leave nasty little notes all over her room…Seriously, girls…whatever happened to starting rumors on the bathroom walls or public humiliation?

Oh, and the fashion? They keep mentioning how super WEIRD Ashley dresses. The girls who admire Claudia’s ridiculous combinations think a girl dressing a little hippie is weird. Now, I’m not big on the hippie love, but I subscribed to YM in late 80s, and the hippie look was in, big time. You have to wonder: don’t these girls ever see any older teens? Kids back from college? There have to be a few Ivy Leaguers home for the summers; this is a rather well off town in Connecticut. Also, Claudia’s “sophisticated” look: “a very short pink cotton dress, white tights, and black ballet slippers…hair way over to one side where it was held in place with a piece of pink cloth that matched the dress.” Um, sounds like a five-year-old going to Sunday school, to me. Now, maybe with black tights, it would have been fairly Edie, but white tights?

Plus, Ashley? Shut up. Thanks.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

the little things that make me happy

Well, my life is finally getting settled in my new locale...I have internet (and cable!) and I finally switched my cell phone to a local area code. So, I investigated the BSC collection at one of my local libraries, and I declare this library to be AWESOME! Okay, so I know I'm a dork, and I librarian on top of that, but it was sooooo nice to see the BSC books (all library-bound, so not falling apart) on shelves (not spinning paperback racks)and IN ORDER!!!!!! Yes, they shelve the books in order, not strewn about and requiring a scavenger hunt for a particular book...So, I brought a few home with me, and I've started reading Claudia and the New Girl, which was one of my favorites growing, barring natural disaster or major illness (or major procrastination cleaning sprees), regular postings will resume THIS WEEK! Yep, my current plan is for regular postings on Wednesdays, with random rants, celeb spottings and haikus whenever I feel the urge...

Speaking of random celeb sightings, I see the actress who played Jessi on the BSC tv series in random places (well, not in person, but you know what I mean)...She was on the shaken baby ripped-from-the-headlines episode of Law & Order: SVU, and a whole bunch of other Law and Order shows/episodes. And I also saw a picture of her in the Brown alumni mag. Now, I didn't go to Brown, but while I was working at the library there, I used to get the alumni mag (as a perk?), and she was in the big graduation issue...They always have a big article on commencement with tons of pictures, many of which feature the highly visible (and often famous) and active alum community. Well, she was in one of the group shots of the audience...and of course I was all "that can't be here" but I looked her up on IMDB and then in the alumni directory, and yep, it was Nicole Leach.

Oh, and the other day, I caught the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa becomes a baby sitter because she and her friends are obsessed with the "Babysitter Twins," and they show a book with the alphabet block logo...heh.