Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ew, biology; or, BSC #33: Claudia and the Great Search.

Ugh. It’s hot. And I’m watching Howard’s End while typing this, so forgive any slips into Merchant Ivory speak.

First of all, Claudia describes Stacey as funny and sweet, and I was all “LIES! ALL LIES!”

Anyway, in this book, Claudia’s an idiot. Big surprise, right? After Janine wins some award for being a good student, Claudia’s in a funk. She feels that she doesn’t fit in with her brainy family. So she goes digging in the den and finds HARDLY ANY BABY PICTURES of her. And she finds A LOCKBOX! THAT SHE CAN’T OPEN! So she just knows that she’s ADOPTED. Like Emily Michelle (you know, Kristy’s Vietnamese sister). So, she decides to investigate. And she can’t find a birth announcement in the local paper. So, she decides to hunt down her birth parents. I shit you not. She finds three announcements for girls born right around her birth that she doesn’t know. And she decides to contact the parents to see if she’s their daughter (um, is it just me, or if you were giving up your baby for adoption, would you really place a birth announcement? Cause I wouldn’t.). And she’s all worked up. Finally, she talks to her parents, and they tell her she’s not adopted, that they were too busy (and were pictured out after baby girl the first) to take baby pictures, and they placed both birth announcements in a paper that went out of business. Oh, and the lockbox is full of emergency cash (SWEET!). La, happy ending.

Subplot: Emily Michelle is having troubles. She’s having nightmares and freaking out about being left. Plus, she’s way behind other kids her age with talking and playing and things we now refer to as developmental objectives and the like. So, Claudia helps her learn colors and matching and stuff. Cause that stuff’s on Claud’s level. (Ouch!)

This book is sooooooooooooooo lame! Everyone, I think, entertains notions of being adopted when they feel that don’t fit in, but seriously? She’s taking it a bit too far, don’t ya think? And her clues? For someone who reads so much Nancy Drew, she should know better.

And I love how her “wild” clothes are actually something you’d wear in elementary school, like animal prints. For example,

“I, on the other hand, was dressed in one of my usual wild outfits—a very short black skirt, an oversized white shirt with bright pink and turquoise poodles printed on it, flat turquoise shoes with ankle straps [which I want! Turquoise Mary Janes!], and a ton of jewelry, including dangly poodle earrings. My long hair was swept to one side in a high ponytail held in place with a huge pink barrette.”

Classy. And really kinda juvenile, if you think about it…

{Heh. "A woman and not a lady?" I love costume dramas. And I seriously want both Helena Bonham Carter's and Emma Thompson's wardrobe in Howard's End.}

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

People who’ve been dumped like to pick fights; or, BSC #34: Mary Anne and Too Many Boys

This is one of those books with the really obvious ties between the cover and the title; there are seven boys (only two of them not sitting charges) with Stacey and Mary Anne on the beach. Yep, TOOOOOOO MAAAAANNNNY BBBBOOOOYYYYS!

So, this is the second trip that Mary Anne and Stacey take to Sea City as mother’s helpers for the Pikes. Sounds like a fun vacation, baby-sitting for too many chilluns. But there’s CONFLICT on top of all the regular sitting duties. Oh, yes. Conflict.

1. Vanessa, who’s 9, like the boy at the Ice Cream Palace, who’s 12. So, she leaves him poems as a secret admirer. But he thinks it’s Mallory who likes him, and he likes her (yeah, right. Wooing boys while whining like a little baby). When lil’ Sylvia Plath finds out he thinks Mal is the admirer, she overcomes her broken heart to send a final poem without revealing her identity. Funniest part: Mary Anne actually thinks for a few minutes that a 12-year-old would like a 9-year-old. [oops. Before my auto-format fixed it, I accidentally wrote lick instead of like. Eeeew.]

2. Toby and Alex are back! Who are they? Oh, yeah, they’re the guys that Stacey and Mary Anne were into the last time they were in Sea City. A year ago. They like hung out a couple of times. So, Stacey thinks that her thing with Toby is more important than Mary Anne’s, cause Stacey’s never done a nice thing in her life…Seriously, why are they all friends with Stacey? She’s bitchy to all of them, totally blows them off for boys, thinks her shit’s more important. And anytime she does anything mildly nice, she rubs it in their faces. Whatever, bitch. Then Stacey gets dumped (Hah! Comeuppance!). And turns into a mega bitch. Surprising, that.

3. Mary Anne feels torn between Alex and Logan. She likes Alex, but she feels guilty, cause she’ll love Logan forever…or something. And after she has a great date (CHEATER!) with Alex, she’s all do I love Alex? Or do I love Logan? Seriously. But then they tell each other about the significant others, and have a fine old time…they’re FRIENDS! Ah, no one ever sat down with Mary Anne and told her that it’s not love unless you want to make out, not just hang out. But everything’s okay in the end.

4. Um. That’s pretty much it. Oooooh. Conflict.

Yeah, so I sometimes forget that ANM, in her attempts to make Mary Anne come off as sensitive, naïve and quiet, turns her into a 50-year-old woman. Boring, lame and prissy.

Oh, and the single funniest part of the whole book? Dawn’s flying to Cali for a few weeks, and her traveling clothes consist of, I shit you not, “a beautiful Laura Ashely dress and she had swept her long blonde hair back in pearl barrettes.” Um, this doesn’t sound very California casual to me. More like New England stuffy to me, and I’m from New England. Why not slap her in a pair of Tevas and some Eddie Bauer or Talbots if you really want to make the whole Cali thing completely implausible. Aside from which, who travels like that. Jeans, sneakers, hoodie. Those are traveling clothes, especially for a cross country flight.


This is what something like what she might have worn. Casual. (Borrowed from http://www.dltap.ca/pages/50215en.htm)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A triple-emergency club meeting; or, BSC #3: The Truth About Stacey

The truth about Stacey is…she sucks? I’m still not sure what the title of this monstrosity refers to. We all found out about her diabetes in the first book; even her ex-(but soon to be current again)best friend Laine knows by this point. Is the truth that her parents are in DENIAL? Cause wouldn’t that be The Truth About Stacey’s Parents? Is it that she cares about the BSC and doesn’t want to have no friends? I don’t understand you, Ann. Why can’t your titles make more sense? Sure, some of them are blunt to the tune of big brick. But others just mystify me.

So, in this book we find out that Stacey was diagnosed with diabetes soon after Stacey’s parents found out that they couldn’t have another kid. So, they spend all their time and money trying new doctors for Stacey. Which she hates. Cause it uproots her life and she misses tons of school. We also get some more details about…[yawn[…when Stacey first got sick. We also learn that Stacey never told Laine because her parents kept it a secret, and this whole thing makes no sense whatsoever. They’re all ashamed or something? So, none of them rely on their BEST FRIENDS for help or support or company in the hospital. I just don’t get it.

So, this is all happening in the background, because the main plot here, despite what the title may lead you to believe, is that the BSC have some serious competition for sitting business in Stoneybrook. The Baby-sitters Agency have lots of older sitters and can stay out late. Run by two 8th graders who kind of work as a staffing agency, the agency connects parents with sitters. So, the BSC start losing their favorite clients to this new business. In response, they develop Kid-Kits (an actually cool idea), and they decide to recruit some new, older (13-year-old) members. Which is a bust, cause the Baby-sitters Agency sends moles to sabotage the BSC. Which is both predictable and kinda funny, cause Kristy gets snowed. Anyway, the BSC persevere and beat the Agency by not being irresponsible sluts that smoke. And by not being typical high school girls.

And Stacey, with the help of Dr. Johanssen, finally convinces her parents to lay off the doctors. And she makes up with Laine. So everything’s coming up Stacey. And, as my brother so succinctly noted, this whole thing makes no sense. What kind of plot was this?

Okay, a few funny notes from an otherwise bleak moment of my reading:

+You know the girls are “bad” cause they chew gum all the time. Oops, I guess I’m “bad.”

+The BSC think that high school seniors are DYING for baby-sitting jobs instead of, say, slopping out Orange Juliuses [I’ve never had to spell that before.] at the Washington Mall. Or any other job you can get that pays more than like, $3 an hour that you can get once you turn 16.

+New York is sooooo expensive. This “expensive,” in fact:

“A small Tab [heh!] and a small popcorn, please,” I said.

“That’ll be a dollar seventy-five,” replied the boy behind the counter.

I gulped. I’d forgotten how expensive things were in New York. At the theatre in Stoneybrook, you can get a soda and popcorn for ninety-five cents.”

Yeah, right. Maybe in the 70s. But I’m pretty sure, even in Connecticut in the late 80s, theatre treats were more than that. Like $3 bucks, which is what I vaguely recall from ice rink concession stand with “Push It” blasting through the PA…ahh, please excuse the flashback…Rick Astley…[SLAP!] Right. Sorry. Suffice it to say that this seems a little cheap, even for 1986. Correct me if I’m wrong, though.

+Okay, the major “fashion” thing that stood out for me in this book is a Stacey moment, not a Claudia one. So, as examples of “unusual” and presumably sophisticated clothes and accessories, Stacey mentions:

“the dinosaur on my beret, red sneakers covered with beads and glitter, leg warmers covered with footprints, plastic butterflies in my hair. For two week in New York I even wore red lace gloves with no fingertips.” Now, with the exception of the gloves, those are all pretty, well, standard 80s fare. In fact, one might think that a number of them were pretty…juvenile. Not particularly wild or sophisticated. And the gloves? Give me one girl over the age of 2 in the mid 80s that didn’t try to rock at least some element of Lucky Star/Desperately Seeking Susan-era Madonna’s style. And fingerless lace gloves were ALL OVER THE PLACE then. It’s not like she had purple hair, which was a lot less common back then.

I hate you and your delusions of style, Stacey. And your fluffy blond hair.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Random Ohmigod!

So, I watched a movie at work today (don't ask) called "Kids are Patrons Too," and one of the kids in it was totally Claudia. Not the actress that played her, but an incarnation of her. Seriously, it was this Asian girl, somewhere between 10 and 12 (I could be totally off, as I suck at guessing ages. I once carded a 45 year old woman, cause I thought she might be in her early 30s), and her hair was in a side ponytail, and she was wearing giant white sunglasses with black lenses. And she was wearing a baggy graphic-print shirt AND 5 inches of beaded bracelets on each wrist AND long beady-necklaces. You know those big plastic beads that you can get a the craft store? Those beads. It was awesomely Claud.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hey all

Due to some stuff in my non-Stoneybrook life, there probably won't be a regular update this week. I may have some time for a random posting later in the week, but I'm not sure. I'll be back next week with...The Truth About Stacey, a book which my brother, upon reading the back, said, "This is the most ridiculous premise for a book ever." Which pretty much sums it up. Anyhoo, I just wanted to let everyone know, so they wouldn't have a nervous breakdown when their Wednesday morning procrastination/time suckage method of choice didn't show up on their favorite blog...[snicker].

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Also commercials for razors; or, BSC Super Special #8: Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake

So, the time has come for my first Super Special recap. So, the simplest way to do this is to go through each of the many plot lines. Oh, and the title of this books should have been Ann M. Martin Hates Mallory, too.

The basic premise is: one of Watson’s distant relatives wants to leave him a big-ass cabin on a lake in Mass. He’s not sure, so he’s taking his family, the entire BSC and a couple extra kids to the cabin for two weeks for a test run.

The BSC stories:

Mallory: She sucks. The whole time she has problems with bug bites. So she goes around with a towel under a hat and a bug net? I’m still not sure how all that worked. But she complains and whines the whole time, and everyone is embarrassed by her. (Because heaven forbid they show concern that a friend of theirs is having a hard time.)

Jessi: She meets a boy who’s cute, but she feels all guilty, cause she’s absolutely positive that her sort-of long-distance boyfriend isn’t looking at other girls. [Remember Quint? She met him in the New York super special, and he’s older and a ballet dancer who’s studying at Julliard. And he’s straight. I’m so sure he’s waiting around for his Connecticut “girlfriend.” Have you seen the movie Camp? Cause I’m picturing him like Vlad, getting very, very lucky as the only straight boy for miles. So yeah.] Turns out that she doesn’t really like Daniel, and he has a girl back in Boston [whose name is Carol, cause he’s dating a thirty-year-old secretary. Odd name choice ANM. S’all I’m saying.], so all of Jessi’s stress is stupid.

Kristy: She finds a tiny mototboat and learns how to drive it [when I was thirteen, there was no way I was allowed to drive a boat without an adult with me. Just sayin.’] Oh, and she creates a trip journal and nags everyone to write about how cool the lake is, all in a transparent attempt to get Watson to accept the offer.

Dawn: Is an idiot. She is obsessed with a non-existent lake monster and finding the “mystery of Shadow Lake.” Well, she sorta finds one, and is a complete flake thinking she sees monsters and ghosts all over the place.

Mary Anne: babysits a lot. I can’t remember any other part of that plotline, so it must have been really exciting.

Claudia: She decorates the little boat to enter in the boat parade. As the lake monster.

Stacey: She and Sam finally hook up, after he pesters her to no end, cause apparently he’s 5, not 15. And seriously, what 15 year old will date a 13 year old. Not gonna happen. I don’t give a shit if she’s a sophisticated New Yorker.

Um, Karen, Hannie Papadakis and Nancy Dawes find a house in the woods and turn it into a cliché, while David Michael, Linny Papakakis and Nicky Pike try unsuccessfully to build a fort. Seriously, why would you bring this many kids on your vacation? Are you feeling okay? Do you need to lie down? How about some Valium? Would that help curb these self-destructive urges?

Emily Michelle: is a baby. She has no plotline, silly.

Oh, and for some twisted reason, they bring Boo-boo. The crazy cat. Why? Why not have somebody check on the cat? Or send it to a kennel? Who brings their crazy cat? And this is coming from someone who is way too attached to her cat.

In the end, Watson decides to keep the cabin. Hooray.