Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy birthday to me*; or, BSC Portrait Collection: Claudia's Book

*It's not my birthday; that's a line from the book. Sorry for any confusion.

I don't even know where to start with this one...Maybe with the freaky little clowns on the cover.

Kinda giving me nightmares...and I'm not even asleep!

Yeah. This book doesn't really have a plot. At all. The idea is that Claud has to write her "autobiography" for school. So, she recalls a few choice anecdotes that are never otherwise mentioned. Like the time she spent at a special school in Stamford. Wait, what? Don't worry, I'll go back to that one.

So, I figure the easy way to do this one (because I am nothing if not lazy) (and self-deprecating), is to give you a brief summary of the different events that Claud covers.

Big event #1: The Kishis get another baby.

Don't worry, even Claud's not stupid enough to think she can remember being born. But Janine? She remembers A LOT. Especially given that she was only 3 1/2 when Claudia was born.

Lucky us, we get an anecdote about pre-school wonder-trio Claudia, Mary Anne and Kristy putting their hands in wet cement. Yay.

Big event #2: Claudia's sixth birthday "party" hits a speedbump.

So, Claudia liked kindergarten. [I hated kindergarten. But that's another story for another therapist.]

On the last day of said kindergarten [damn, I hate typing that word!], Claud distributes invitations to her upcoming (as in a few weeks away) sixth birthday party. It's going to be all circus themed. Or something. Only nobody RSVPs, AND the only people who show up are Mary Anne and Kristy. So Claud's all crying and heartbroken, so all the parents (and Mimi) and Mary Anne and Kristy all throw together a little surprise party to cheer up the wee artist.

Big event #3: Claudia loses a tooth (but finds the truth).

Circa second grade, Claud is scared to lose any teeth because she thinks that the Tooth Fairy is a monster that eats teeth (and even yanks 'em if she's really hungry). (Oh, and all the kids in 2nd grade are apparently obsessed with losing their teeth.) But the C-dawg falls or something and knocks one of her teeth loose and then she has to have the dentist pull it. And she catches her mom in the act of being the notorious T.O.O.T.H. And then Claud realizes that *SPOILER* [NOT REALLY] Santa and the Easter Bunny are also made up. And she feels all sad and grown up. Yeah.

Big event #4: Claudia IS the new girl!

So, after a decent year in third grade, Claud really starts to lose her shit, academically speaking, in fourth grade. Halfway through the year, she winds up transferring to a special school, the Stamford Alternative Academy, where she gets a lot of special attention, etc. And she really starts to do well in school, but she's crazy depressed and anti-social and does that BSC thing where she pre-dumps Kristy and Mary Anne rather than let them "outgrow" her or whatever. Finally, she gets so depressed that her parents let her go back to Stoneybrook Elementary School. And we all know how well that worked out for her.

Big event #5: Claudia goes to the beach. Seriously. (With the Thomases.)

So, the summer when the girls are eleven, Claudia joins the Thomas (post-Mr. Thomas, pre-Watson) family for a trip to the beach; Charlie and Sam are both playing on a baseball team that's in the playoffs or something. In this little bit, we learn that the Thomases don't have much money, and Kristy has to be really responsible. Or something. Oh, yeah, cause Kristy has to watch David Michael all the time. Blah.

So, that's the general picture. Now for the rants!

  • "But as usual, I'm jumping into the middle of things. I guess that's because I see things not as having a beginning and an end, but as a big picture spreading out all around me with me (of course) at the center." Seriously. That manages to sound both stupid and pretentious. Quite a feat.
  • "I'm smart, but, well, school and I (except for art and maybe phys ed) just don't agree." Me neither, actually.
  • "Because I also have, well, an appreciation for what some people call junk food. But then, some people call wonderful works of art junk, too, right? Even Nancy Drew books! It's all in how you look at it." Okay, I've never heard the high/low art dichotomy used as a pro-Twinkie argument before. Also, even if you love Nancy Drew books, you know they're not great works of art. Not that they have no value, or aren't enjoyable or well-made or whatever. But not "wonderful works of art." Heh. "Art junk."
  • Ah, yes, the notorious "fascinating parental fact." Sometimes, though, you just don't want to know. Trust me.
  • Yes, I'm sure that "being smart and laid-back and looking totally together is the result of all those sprouts and tofu!" Oh, wait, though. Dawn's not laid-back! Damn, there goes your sales pitch.
  • Apparently, Claudia knew what an art show was when she was young enough to draw all over the bathroom. Prescient!
  • Holy fucking retardedness, Batman! When she was in kindergarten, she drew a fucking butterfly as her self portrait. Proving once again that huffing while knocked up is a baaaaad idea, Mrs. Kishi.
  • Outfit! "An enormous shirt and patchwork vest over striped leggings." How edgy! How...exactly what she wears in every fucking book.
  • In a mighty presumptuous move, Claud titles her autobiography "An Artist's Life."
  • Dumb bitch can't even spell the name of the state where she's lived her entire life.
  • Well, duh. Of course you don't remember being born or being brought home from the hospital.
  • I always thought Mimi was a nickname, but, according to Claud's birth announcement, her name is Mimi Yamamoto. So, Claud calls her grandmother by her first name. Even as a kid. Kinda weird.
  • Heh. Toddler Janine has a mullet.
  • One of Claud's earliest memories is from when she was four and a half or five. Which seems kind of late, no? [Though I know jack shit about kiddie development, so I could be totally off.]
  • On the first day of kindergarten, Kristy "looked around the room, folded her arms, and said, 'Not bad.'" The fuck? How old was she when she started school? 30?
  • Ah, undiagnosed ADD. Excuse me, ADHD.
  • L'il Claud outfit! "I was wearing black tights and my tall black rainboots and my red jacket with the brass buttons. I had a T-shirt with a lion's head painted on the front and I wore that under the jacket. I thought it made me look like a lion tamer." Um, is she wearing any pants? Or just the tights? Sure, Nancy Sinatra and Edie Sedgwick could pull it off, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for a five-going-on-six-year-old.
  • Janine, on the other hand, was wearing "a [wait for it...] Laura Ashley flowered dress and white tights and flats." So, I'm totally trying to determine the rules for the BSC drinking game. And I think part of it should be "drink twice when someone wears Laura Ashley."
  • L'il Kristy's idea of "party clothes?" So glad you asked. "Kristy was wearing navy blue shorts with a matching camp shirt, white socks, and her best sneakers."
  • There's an elaborately contrived reason for no guests. Lame.
  • I don't remember everyone being obsessed with losing their baby teeth. It just happened. I enjoyed it personally, cause I'm a sick fuck.
  • The illustrations in this book totally fucked with me. First of all, Claud looks like a different kid in each picture. Then she looks younger when she's supposed to be older and vice fucking versa. Seriously. Weak.
  • Some more "clever" homemade devices for deterring intruders. Yay. Still not amusing when the "intruder" is a creepy fairy.
  • A 3rd grade teacher that wears "business suits?" Hmmmm...
  • Claud's 4th grade teacher is both black and southern. But I thought Jessi's fam were the only black people in town?!?!? And the Brunos were the only southerners!?!?! My world is falling apart, much like when Claud realized that the tooth fairy was her mom.
  • Claud gets tested for learning disabilities!!!! But I would've gotten a second opinion if they came back clear. Cause, not bright.
  • Okay, a couple of things really bothered me about the whole special school thing.
    • One, I would think Claudia would kind of like a school that didn't make her feel stupid all the time.
    • Two, she threw a teenage hissyfit about going to school, and she alienated all the kids and didn't even try to make friends.
    • Three, did she really think that the two girls across the street wouldn't have anything to say to her if they went to different schools?
    • And, finally, is it really better to go back to the school where you were doing terribly, have to spend all kinds of time outside of school getting tutors and getting extra attention, and still not do well? Wouldn't that be worse for her self-worth? And she couldn't be in the same classes as her friends as school progressed, so what good would being at the same school be? Lunch period? This whole interlude really bothered me.
  • Also, these girls talked EXACTLY the same at eight as they do at thirteen, and it's all ridiculous.
  • Claudia never like Mr. Thomas. How convenient.
  • I don't think I ever went away with another family when I was a kid, except with my extended family. I don't think that counts. But these girls are constantly travelling with other fams. Crazy, crazy parents.
  • Claud's the only one who thinks the hotel at the beach is run down. Ha ha, Kristy's family is poor. And Claud's a snob.
  • Also, Claud's acting like Kristy's all grown-up, taking care of David Michael. At eleven. Wait a minute...isn't that how old Mal and Jessi are?
  • Of course, the written autobiography inspires some lameass art project.

Wowza. That sucked Cartman's balls.

One more thing: Mary Anne is one fugly kid.

See ya after Christmas, suckas!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Uh-oh, am I getting mushy here?; or, BSC Mystery #9: Kristy and the Haunted Mansion

Crap. Terrible. Horrible. Vile. An abomination. Worse than watching Zac Efron and Shia LeBoeuf getting the business. From each other. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you another "mystery" with absolutely no mystery. And awful writing. Aw, you missed me!

Is it just me, or does cover-Kristy have an unusual area? Seriously. From the waist down, that is a dude.

Also, where the hell did she get an oil lamp? And how are they standing in the rain but staying perfectly dry? Is it magic? Yeah.

Okay, so here's the deal. Bart and Kristy apparently joined baseball forces and created a mutant team: the Krashers (get it? A combination of the Krushers and the Bashers? Aren't they from Clever-Clever Land?), and said Krashers are playing against some team from some other town. They're all piled into a van, driven by Saint Charlie (aged 17), heading home from the game (which, described in some really boring words, they won) when they get caught in a terrible storm! Oh no! And they're lost! And then they can't turn around, cause some bridges wash out! And they see a house! And they decide to ask for a phone! And they interrupt a bunch of freakies doing the Time Warp! Oh, wait. I think that's the movie version. (P.S.-Kristy is Brad and Bart is Janet.) No, so they see this big "scary" house, and they go to the little cottage by the entrance. And a "creepy" old guy gives them, food blankets, and keys to the big house up the hill. But there are no phones. (Um, way to be all 1850s there, gramps.) And they spend the night there, despite rumors of the house being haunted. Or something. And they learn about a sad tale of a missing girl (Dorothy) and foiled romance and blah blah blah. And the rain clears up in the morning, and "they" fix the bridges (damn Illuminati!) and Kristy and Co. head on back to the 'Brook. Oh, and everyone was way worried about them. The end. Oh, wait, no it's not. They realize that the missing (presumed dead) girl from the house actually runs the sewing store in Stoneybrook. And they go to her to get the skinny. Turned out she wigged about eloping and wanted to be a free woman so she kind of faked her own death and traveled the world or whatever before settling a few miles from the heartbroken man who still pines after her from the caretaker's cottage at her father's old home. Yeah. See, no real mystery there.

Right-o!
  • Here's what I don't get...Why didn't they just park somewhere and sleep in the van. Sure, it would've been a little crowded, but still! Instead they stayed in a big empty house at the invite of a complete stranger.
  • Kristy thought the old guy was creepy because his "eyes had no sparkle" and he says things like "I'll see you in the morning...God willing." Sweetie, he's creepy because he lets a vanload of kiddies stay in his big old house in the middle of nowhere. And he doesn't have a phone. And cause no one can hear you scream and no one knows where you are. Just sayin'.
  • "A hundred bottles of pop on the wall?" Really? Even in elementary school, I sang "beer" there. Also, in Connecticut, it's not "pop." That's a Midwest thing.
  • Heebie-jeebies are not the same thing as everyday anxiety or apprehension, like pregame jitters. Sorry. More like "the creeps" or "the wiggins" or "the freaked-outies" which I totally just made up.
  • "Once again, I'd had an idea that saved the day. I don't mean to sound conceited, but that happens a lot." If you don't mean to sound conceited, Kristy, just shut the fuck up.
  • How did Jackie Rodowsky make in on the "all-star" team? Huh? I smell contrivance.
  • Also, since when is there a girl Basher?
  • "A rain-out is better than losing." Kristy, Kristy, Kristy. [Shaking head sadly.]
  • "Stacey also dresses like a model, in outfits I couldn't even begin to imagine wearing. Like lacy purple leggings with big floral tops, or black miniskirts with little cowboy shoes." First of all, huh? Little cowboy shoes? I don't know what those are. Also, anyone who can imagine wearing these outfits should be taken out back and beaten with their little cowboy shoes.
  • As for Claudia, she "might wear a hand-painted silk scarf to top off a polka-dotted jumpsuit, for example. Or two handmade papier-mâché earrings that look like little donuts, with a third that looks like a cup of coffee." Just, yeah.
  • "That fateful day, as Mallory might say, if she were writing one of her stories." And if she were a terrible, terrible writer. Which, let's face it, she probably is.
  • Ha ha. Kristy's afraid of lightning! "This fear of mine is a deep, dark secret. Everybody thinks I'm fearless..." I really doubt that anyone thinks she's fearless. Most people prolly think she's afraid of boys.
  • For a bunch of kids that grew up in small town New England, they are surprisingly afraid of big old houses. If you thought every big, run down house was haunted, you'd think 60% of the town was haunted. Dumbasses.
  • I had to ask RNL what a "passel" was. Ah, fake folky dialogue.
  • Um, you've got the whole house to yourselves (theoretically), and yet you feel compelled to put the food (apples and bread) in the kitchen? Rebel a bit! Put it in the dining room! Eat in the living room! Live on the edge!
  • "Those darn chills." That would be the heebie-jeebies.
  • Fucking backwards talk. I really doubt any kids would bother with that. Takes too long.
  • Why would Bart's dad call Claud for info? Why not the Brewer-Thomas household? And how did he get her number? Does Bart's fam use the BSC? So confused.
  • Oh, yeah, at the beginning, during the standard intro to the BSC, Kristy imagines various members as 80-year-olds, sitting in rockers. Boring. Now, if she had described them as various Golden Girls, maybe I would've been into it.
  • How would (little) kids in Stoneybrook know about supposedly haunted houses multiple towns away?
  • I really doubt a 6-year-old could read an old-timey (1930s) diary. First of all, cursive. Second of all, faded ink. Third of all, I have trouble with it, and I've worked in fucking special collections and archives.
  • "Karen was gazing up at Dorothy's portrait. 'Women didn't have it easy back then, did they?' she asked. 'I mean, she wanted to get out of her father's house, and the only way was to marry this guy.'" Wow, Karen just may be the first 6-year-old ever to get an A+ in Women's Studies 101. Also, it was the 30s, not the Middle Ages. Not saying it was perfect, but women could even vote by that time.
  • Oh, Claudia. "She was wearing white knee-length jean shorts, white Keds, and a tie-dyed T-shirt she'd made the weekend before. It was a beautiful one, with spirals of yellow and green and purple, and she was proud of it." PS-it bleeds all over her skin and jorts (that's the new way of saying jean shorts--fake copyright RNL and TMW, but you can totally use it) when she goes out in the rain. Oops.
  • So, everybody's all freaking out, cause the Krashers have been missing for a few hours, right? But you'd think they'd be used to people disappearing, cause it happens every other fucking book.
  • So the girl on the Bashers? Patty? She wants to be a carpenter and ride a motorcycle when she grows up (*cough* baby dyke!). And then be the president. Yeah.
  • Heh! One of Bart's favorite things to do is "be with Kristy." Maybe Kristy does put out!?!?
  • "Bart gave me a gentle smile and touched my hand. 'You're a pretty awesome person, Kristin Amanda Thomas,' he said." And now we're in a Danielle Steel novel.
  • Oh, yeah, the guy in the shack/cottage/whatever is Dorothy's ex-fiancé.
  • I've always pictured Dawn's room as pretty neat, and the idea of Sharon telling Dawn to clean her room seems a little...off.
  • All the BSC write notes for Kristy in the club notebook, to show her how much they missed her. When she hasn't even been gone twelve hours. Because they're a little crazy.
  • Jessi's note says: "Being lost with eight kids has to be the baby-sitting adventure of all time!" Um, what about getting shipwrecked? Or snowed in? Or lost in the woods? Or running a day camp for every child on the planet with no adult help? Bitch, please.
  • There are a lot of Mets fans in these books. Which is borderline odd.
  • "Missing, without a trace!" For a few hours!
  • Of course Claud makes a sign: WELLCOME HOME, KRASHERZ! That Claud, she's so street.
  • They only order two large pizzas for seven girls? Are they all on Stacey's diet?
  • Ah, yes. The single most clichéd moment in all juvenile literature. All the characters saying "Anchovies!" in disgust.
  • Kristy wants to get Dorothy and the caretaker together again. Guess all that time with Bart turned her into a romantic.
  • "I know it was wrong to let them think I was dead [also, isn't that illegal?], but it was the only way I could see for me to take control of my life." Yep, in the 1930s.

Wow. I'm a little rusty here. But I think it's all coming back to me now, like that bad Celine Dion song.

***

So, I'm going to try to get back on a regular posting schedule, but things are still going to be a bit crazy in my personal life, and my supply of books is entirely different (and less reliable) here in my new locale, so there might be some weeks without. Also, holidays coming up. So eat it, much like West Virginia did in the Backyard Brawl last night! Go Panthers!

Friday, November 30, 2007

All in a muddle

Okay, update. Things are still really crazy for me, but I am trying to get a post done. I'm hoping it'll be up sometime next week.

In the meantime, continue to amuse yourselves with verification word fanfic.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Update-y goodness

Okay, so I am officially moved. However, I don't have internet access in my new place yet. So....updates are still on hold. Hopefully within a few weeks, I'll be able to post again. Alas, Mal's Cooties will have to wait, too. I didn't have time to write anything up between the packing and moving and tying up loose ends, etc. So, who wants to start somethin? Huh? That's right!

Also, the Red Sox get a major "Well allllriiiiight!" in the style of Wykked Sceptre.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I am insane. No, seriously.

I've had some big news since my last post. Namely, I'm starting a new job on Halloween. And it's about 500 miles away. And I have just about two weeks to plan and execute the move. So, my posting for the next few weeks will be irregular at best. So, keep checking back!! But don't expect too much. I have a ton of shit to do. But I do plan on getting "Mallory's Cooties" posted at some point next week. So there!

(And go Sox!)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The summer was going to be all right, after all; or, BSC #55: Jessi's Gold Medal

Rereading this book, I discovered what might be the epitome of "even more boring to read about than it is to watch." [Even worse than NASCAR, RNL.] Synchronized swimming. Yep.

Even the cover is boring.



See?

The people in the background are seriously freaking me out, though. Are they kids? Adults? I just can't tell.  And there are some rad hats in the audience. Oh, and Jessi's supposed to be the graceful half of the pair, but white girl's form seems a little better here. Her name is Elise.

Yeah, so this is another book that tries to make up for its sheer dullness by adding far too many inane subplots. Just a warning. I'll try to muddle through it for you. [Look at me, being all self-sacrificing...]

It's spring and it's hot. [Fuck you! It's October and it's hitting 90 here. Sorry. Digression.] Jessi wants a pool. Instead, her fam decides to get a membership at the Stoneybrook Pool Complex. And then there's the upcoming SMS Sports Festival; everybody but Mary Anne and Mallory want to compete in an event. And the gym classes are doing a swimming unit, so each class walks over to the pool to go swimming. (Outdoors. In the spring. In New England. Don't care how warm the air is, that pool better be heated.) Um, and during the first swimming class, the synchro [That's what the cool kids call it. And by cool, I mean really lame.] coach spots Jessi's dance training and asks her if she wants to join the synchro team. Jessi's into it [what a hobby slut!], and even has to switch her lunch period around. And she gets partnered up with Elise, who's a swimmer of the racing persuasion.  And they're all going to be in the Sports Festival as a team, then the pairs will compete against each other. Follow me so far? Well, they're working hard, and if this were a movie, there'd totally be a training montage with some sort of peppy power-pop. Meanwhile, the other girls are trying to figure out what they're competing in, and Kristy challenges Alan Gray to the obstacle course. Oh, and because the Summer Olympics are going on (during the fucking spring, while school is still in session, cause...likely), and all the kids in town are kind of obsessed, Jessi comes up with yet another "great" idea [that is actually monumentally dumb]. Yeah, the BSC decide to have a mini-olympics for the kiddies. And they're all giddy and over-enthusiastic, right? Oh, except for Charlotte and Becca. And Andrew, cause he can't do anything [perhaps because he's only 4????]. So, all this is going on, and Mal accidentally sprains her ankle while trying to pretend to sprain her ankle to get out of the Sports Festival instead just copping to the fact that she doesn't want to/is afraid to participate. And Charlotte and Mary Anne talk it out and decide that they're angry that they can't participate because they're klutzes/shy/whatever. Oh, and there are multiple chapters describing the sports festival, making me wish again for a montage. And Kristy beats Alan. And Mary Anne works the refreshments. And Jessi and Elise, who think they're gonna totally lose, win the gold medal. Of course. Um, and the mini-olympics are a success. And Jessi and Elise both decide that neither really loves synchro. Elise is never heard from again. The end.

I think that's all the big stuff that happened. Here's the little stuff:


  • I think every other Jessi book starts with Jessi in ballet class. And then she doesn't have anymore for the rest of the book.

  • Oh, this is the book with the sweating vs. glowing cage match.

  • One of Jessi's heroes is Misha Baryshnikov. Apparently, they're so tight she calls him by his nickname. [From his IMDB bio: "Boyishly cute, diminutive and strong as a bull, but as graceful as any gazelle or swan, Mikhail Baryshnikov is a household name even to non-balletomanes." Heh.]

  • "Gracefool" does not equal "graceful" with a French accent.

  • Actually, Jessi, your professional career would not last the rest of your life. Just sayin'.

  • First on the list of things that come with being a pro 'rina? "Watching what I eat. (Have you ever seen a fat ballerina?)." You'd think she'd be working on that already.

  • Jessi's dad laughs like Darth Vader. I mean, James Earl Jones.

  • Is a/c really bad for dancers? It's better than getting dehydrated when it's really hot. And I've never been to a ballet performance that wasn't climate-controlled.

  • Kristy wears her visor backwards at the BSC meeting.

  • Jessi knows the word "dietetic," but she eats two bowls of cereal for breakfast? I'm so confused.

  • Ah, an outfit: "At that meeting, [Claudia] was wearing these sharply creased, pastel-green [sometimes, I think they just throw in random hyphens to fuck with me], cuffed shorts; a wild Hawaiian shirt tied at her waist, with vibrant colors that perfectly picked up the green [but those colors shall remain nameless, to hide their shame]; and sandals with crisscrossing ankle straps to her knees [how many fucking sandals like that does she have?!?!?]. Her hair was swept to one side and held in place with a long, fake-flowered barrette that looked like a Hawaiian lei."

  • I always forget that supposedly, Dawn's house was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

  • Oh, yeah. All that "gross" food that Dawn eats. Like "whole wheat, unsalted sesame crackers." That's the best you could do? Not seaweed, or steamed lentil loaf or something that at least looks a little odd? Crackers that sound like they'd be delicious? Especially with hummus? Probably not a good example.

  • If Jessi goes pro, she's going to move to New York. Shocker!

  • The Sports Festival is mostly track and swimming. Two sports which will never be mentioned again. Cause it's the 'Brook.

  • The BSC are all shocked that Mary Anne doesn't want to get involved in Festival. Because they've never, ever met her before.

  • Claud wants to find an event that's "not too embarrassing." Huh? [Then, she goes and enters the "backward race," which is totally a fake sport.] What would be embarrassing? The "naked run?" The "confess your love while tripping over hurdles" race? The "match the kid with the STD" contest? I don't get it.

  • Blah, Alan's a jerk, he's immature, crush on Kristy...[yawn].

  • They're really taking entire gym classes and making them walk to the pool complex? And, conveniently, it's only a five minute walk each way? Still, permission slips? Liability? Anyone?

  • OH MY GAWD!!!! THE BOYS AND THE GIRLS HAVE SWIMMING CLASS TOGETHER!!! AND MAL'S WEARING A BABYISH BATHING SUIT!!!! IT'S THE FOURTH HORSEMAN!!!! THE WORLD IS ENDING!!!!!

  • Jessi thinks she flunked her swimming test so badly that she'll be put in..."remedial swimming." The fuck?

  • Becca gave each other "high-fives, low-fives, and as many different kinds of fives as [they] could think of." I miss Scrubs; the Todd would've come up with some awesome fives.

  • This book is full of "startling revelations" and "Maybe there was something I could do about it..." moments of fake drama. Fork...pointed...at...eyeball...

  • The stakes in the Kristy-Alan showdown? A week of 'personal service'...Um, yeah. That could be...um...dirty...if one's mind took it in that direction. Which mine totally didn't. Not even close. No internal jokes about blowjobs in the broom closet during study hall. Nope, none at all.

  • Again with "I was expecting an easy job" whining.

  • I will not repeat really stupid pun-innuendos. I will not do it.

  • I have never thought that synchronized swimming looked easy.

  • Why are they all so pushy in this book? They're all about trying to get the holdouts to join the sporty fun.

  • Fuckin' Claud. Extpretion is nothing at all like the word "expression."

  • There's a fake Olympic coach named "Spuds Diamond."

  • Okay, so the Sports Festival is on a Wednesday, right? And there are tons of parents there to watch the competitions. Don't they have to work? Can all these people duck out all day in the middle of the week to watch a stupid sports thing? Can I work there?

  • Since when does Kristy sprint? And why isn't she on the track team if she's that fast?

  • Oh, yeah. I think Claud thinks the Sports Festival is a fashion show: "She was wearing electric-pink track shorts with a turquoise racing stripe, a matching top with cut-off sleeves, brand-new high top track shoes with no socks, and floral-print suspenders." And a barrette shaped like the Olympic logo. I don't even know where to start. That outfit is too tacky for the Fly Girls, back in, like, 1990.

  • No, Mal. Nothing in this book even remotely qualifies as exciting.

  • And ladies? Kristy's had a ton of shit ideas. You just ignore those.

  • They have all these consolation prize type awards for the kids at the mini-olympics, and they're so full of shit.

  • Kristy is a bitch. During her week of "personal service," she makes Alan call her ma'am.

  • Ever notice that none of the BSC 'rents ever say, "No, you can't have fifty million children over here. I will not be responsible for that many kids in my yard."



A little bit of wisdom from this book? "You know, they're just kids, but sometimes you can really learn things from them." And sometimes, you're just projecting. And sometimes, you're trying to drag a lesson out of a really stupid story. The end.

Next week, I think I'm going to do Get Well Soon, Mallory! Mainly because I want to make terrible mono jokes.

***

Also, if I were to write something BSC-related beyond this blog, like an essay or a book or something like that, what would you want my opinionated ranting to be about? Throw some stuff out there...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

He's mostly interested in girls; or, BSC Mystery #15: Kristy and the Vampires

Wow, this book was asstarded. Seriously. I know, I know, all the mysteries are pretty much dreadful, but that doesn't numb the pain caused by reading this shit opus.

Even the cover is stupid:



Yeah, this actually happens in the book (pg 115, for those checking). The witch? That's Claire, who's scaring the vamp so that it can't scare her anymore. (There's this whole thing about Claire being absolutely terrified of the "vampires" on the movie set. So, Kristy decides to "cure" her, and she and MA come up with a "solution." Claire can dress up as something scarier than a vampire, something that the vamps will be afraid of, so they won't bug her. Seems to me like that might actually make the problem worse and not really address her fear or whatever. Ugh.) Mary Anne actually looks fairly 1994. But Kristy? She looks FREAKY! And the quote monster strikes again! See how her shirt says "Little Vampires," quotes included? Lame. Plus, I think all the vamps in the movie are supposed to be kids or teenagers, not in their 30s. And dressed like kids, not Dracula. Yeah...

So, the really stupid plot. Yep...Well, they're shooting part of a TV movie in the 'Brook. Derek Masters is one of the stars, along with some more famous guy named Carson Fraser. The movie is called Little Vampires, and it has a stupid, clichéd plot (just like this book!). See, there's a foreign exchange student from Transylvania named Laddie Alducar [first name short for Vladimir, last name an anagram of Dracula...SO STUPID!!!!]. Turns out, he's a vamp and he's been sent to recruit kids to be vamps [Sorry, I've watched far too much Buffy and Angel, hence the overuse of the word "vamp.") But Laddie starts to be all sad, cause he's missing out on being a normal kid. Then more vamps show up to help with the recruitment drive, and there's a big action-y conflict scene before the happy ending, in which "Laddie ends up staying in America and becoming a normal kid." [But is he still a vampire? How does that work? Where does he live? There are more plot holes in the movie than there are in this lameass book.] And Kristy gets hired to watch Derek while he's on the set (and Claud gets hired to watch his kid brother Todd on the set when Todd's shooting--he's got a bit part). And there's tension between the Derek and Carson and all sorts of movie activities. And then there are a bunch of accidents which may or may not be aimed at Derek, but Kristy is convinced (and convinces the BSC) that Derek's in danger. So, they start to follow suspects and blah blah blah. And Kristy lucks upon the right suspect just in time to save Derek's life; this weird girl who's obsessed with Carson Fraser and cuts the brake lines in Derek's chauffeur's car in an attempt to keep Derek from outshining Carson. I'm still not entirely sure what her motivation was, or why she was trying to kill a little kid, but there ya go. Overly complicated plot? Check. The BSC finding a mystery where one may or may not actually exist? Check. Lots of red herrings? Check. The BSC opting to avoid police involvement, even when they think that someone's life is in danger? Check. Me wanting to put my head through the window? Check. Yep, it's a BSC Mystery.


  • "The Day I Found Out It Was Going to Be an Interesting Summer." Aw man, Kristy's caught a case of the caps!

  • Um, apparently David Michael's hair "has these soft little curls that are the envy of all my friends." What? Gotta love details thrown in tp give the characters more, well, character.

  • Kristy's dad "was never very involved as a parent, and I guess that's partly why he left--he just wasn't interested in being a daddy." I really hate how all that stuff about Kristy's dad just gets tossed off like that. Either leave it out, or at least kinda deal with it.

  • So, when did Karen and Andrew start living with Watson every other month? That seems even more complicated than the previous arrangement.

  • More "Nannie's a character" bullshit. "She goes bowling, to aqua-aerobics classes, poker tournaments--you name it, she does it." How about taxidermy? Bank robbery? Running a drug cartel? Just checking...

  • Kristy reads a Beetle Bailey comic strip to children. And they are apparently amused by it. I wasn't aware that anyone under the age of, like, 75, finds that shit amusing. And she reads a comic strip to them???

  • Heh. Mary Anne wonders if Cam Geary might be in the movie.

  • Oh, and they don't mention that's it a TV movie until a ways into the book.

  • Ever notice how the BSC are always running so they won't be late for meetings?

  • The movie's being shot in Stoneybrook because the Masters family suggested it "as the perfect small town setting."

  • Stacey "still has that urban flair." Kristy should totally write copy for the Newport News catalog.

  • Heh, Carson Fraser is on a show called Miami Beach, USA. As opposed to Miami Beach, Greenland, which is totally my favorite show.

  • Does a wardrobe lady really wear "a long gray smock with lots of pockets?"

  • There are lots of boring descriptions of how boring it is to be on set most of the time.

  • And apparently, they let anyone hang out and watch the shoot. Even when they're shooting inside the elementary school.

  • Kristy has finally found her scene! "I fit right in, fashion-wise...Just about everybody...wore jeans, or shorts, and ratty T-shirts. That outfit, plus maybe a baseball cap, was practically the uniform for the set."

  • Part of the tension on set comes from Derek pretty much always outperforming and outshining the movie's "star," THE Carson Fraser.

  • There is a shit ton of exposition about how Derek has grown a few inches and has gotten a bit clumsy. Seriously, like a page and a half of the book, just dedicated to that.

  • Actually, there's a ton of useless exposition pretty much all throughout this book. Whoopee.

  • Sheila Mayberry is the PR Bitch for the movie, and she's aiming to have everyone in Hollywood talking about the movie. Yes, the TV movie. That's right, the made-for-television movie.

  • The director gets pissed that Derek messes up a shot at the very end, and they'll have to reshoot it later. Did they only budget enough time for one take of each shot? For a movie with kids? I learned in Filmmaking I that you always budget for multiple takes.

  • I'm not sure why Kristy decides that she "owed it to Claire to help her get over her fear of vampires..." Ah, lack of believable motivation...In a BSC book? Never...

  • When Todd's thirsty during one of Derek's scenes, Mrs. Masters tells him to go get a soda. Todd is only four. Later, she tells Derek he can't have a cookie before noon. Someone's not very consistent.

  • Accident #1: Todd breaks the glass that was supposed to be the breakaway glass from Derek's scene! Only it's real glass! Derek could've been seriously injured! The propmaster gets booted over that one.

  • Kristy talks her way into one of the production offices, and some woman shows her receipts and paperwork and shit. The fuck????!!!!??? Who's gonna let some random kid take a look at production paperwork? And don't they have a production secretary or something similar who'd be in the office? Argh!

  • The scenes between Carson and his manager are like watching Entourage, Jr.

  • The only thing clumsier than Derek is the foreshadowing in this book. Slam!

  • Accident #2: Derek's stuntwoman's harness breaks during a stunt! And she falls! And Derek would've been doing that stunt if it weren't for Accident #1!

  • Oh, the crazy Carson girl? She wears a rose in her buttonhole every single day. Because she's actually an old-timey gentleman. Or, I'm guessing, because she's fucking crazy.

  • Kristy opens an envelope addressed to Derek. Her excuse? "Now, ordinarly [sic] I would never open somebody else's mail, but in this case, something told me that I should." And lucky for her hunch, it's a threatening note for Derek! Blah, she tells his mom, who tells his agent, and they both tell her not to worry. But she does anyway! And now it's a mystery! For the BSC to solve!

  • Stupid emergency meetings.

  • Of course, it never occurs to any of them to CALL THE FUCKING POLICE if they think some kid's life is actually in danger!

  • At least sixty people on set? At least is right!

  • I think Shannon is the least insane member of the BSC. Sure, she has her moments, too, but she's generally the most reasonable member of the crew.

  • Is there really a perfect day for blowing bubbles? I think any day is a perfect day for blowing bubbles.

  • I'm really not feeling this whole Charlotte=detective persona. I really don't buy it.

  • The three motels on the outskirts of the 'Brook? The George Washington, the Sleepy Bear and the Kozy Kabins. The first sounds like a B&B, the second sounds like a hunting lodge in Montana, and the third sounds like budget accommodations in the Poconos. Why not a Holiday Inn? A Best Western? Why always trying to be clever?

  • Heh. Cokie Mason's totally trying to get in Carson's pants, even acting all buddy-buddy with Kristy on set.

  • "Cokie minced up to us on white high-heeled sandals. She was wearing a white, ruffly peasant blouse that was pulled off her shoulders and a pink flowered skirt. She looked ridiculous." That doesn't sound any more ridiculous than most (all?) of Claudia's outfits, and quite a few of Dawn's and Stacey's, too.

  • So, Cokie throws a party for the entire cast and crew (obviously trying to get Carson to show--and he totally doesn't! Burn!)...And everything is decorated in pink, Cokie included. And everybody gets food poisoning!!! Hee!

  • "Claudia was looking great in a loose, flowery jumpsuit." I don't think there's enough fire to burn that image out of my head. [I'm picturing a floral version of Janeane Garofalo's jumpsuit when she was the B-Minus Time Traveler on The Ben Stiller Show, just so you know.]

  • Seriously, why would some company voluntarily just give info about their customers to a bunch of nosy girls?

  • Carson's manager looks like a villain, "since he always wore black and loved to puff on those huge cigars." Do you ever get the feeling that the BSC learned everything they know from movies that would show on Turner Classic Movies?

  • No, Kristy, trespassing in someone's trailer is not a "great idea." It's a fucking stupid idea. A really fucking stupid idea.

  • Yeah, Kristy goes snooping in Carson's trailer.

  • Ah, the director likes Mal's look, sending us all into a collective flashback to California Girls. Even the ghostwriter got sucked into that vortex.

  • After an uneventful week, Kristy starts to think the "mystery" was all in her head.

  • They get all "what if we don't solve the mystery before he goes back to California? We can't protect him there!" News flash! You probably really couldn't protect him if a real criminal was after him, not just some crazy fangirl!

  • In fact, the BSC are dealing with the dumbest "criminal" ever, as she highlights the relevant evidence in a book and drops it in a convenience store.

  • The climax and resolution here really are the stupidest set of coincidences ever. It's not really "solving" a mystery if you luck upon the crime and the criminal just by being there and being paranoid. Just sayin'.

  • Oh, and she wants to kill the kid for stealing scenes from her stalkee. The hell?

  • She winds up in "Hidden Acres, a private Massachusetts facility for emotionally disturbed adolescents." Hidden Acres, eh? Perhaps yet another fictionalization of McLean?

  • Oh, yeah. The Masters fam hires Dawn to set-sit for Derek in Cali. Wooo.

  • The book ends with a really lame "memory book" with all sorts of news clippings about the movie. Yippee.



Dude, this one was painful. Really, really terrible. I think maybe I died a little inside while reading it. It was that bad.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yes, a therapist; or, BSC #85: Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO!

So, this is the first Claudia book after the Stacey fallout. And it's also the return of the notorious Ashley Wyeth (you know, from Claudia and the New Girl?)...In fact, that's supposed to be Ashley with Claudia on the cover:



Before you ask: yes, Claudia is wearing a fucking tux. And, yes, it's pretty similar to the description of the outfit she wears to her first radio show. (Did I spoil that for you? Or did you figure it out from the really fucking obvious title?) I totally used to wear formal wear to my radio show. [Yes, I was a DJ in college. So, if you were listening to 92.1 WPTS-Pittsburgh between 1998 and 2001, you could have listened to me! Go back in time and tune in, dammit! I did a show called Radio Porn. And I went by the DJ name "The Tiffinatrix." I didn't make it up; it was one of my ridiculous college nicknames. I think I came up with the show name, though. The station on the cover actually looks kind of like the studio at PTS. Ah, memories.]

So, plot. Claudia's feeling sorry for herself, what with no best friend and no prospects on the boy front. So, she decides she needs a hobby. She rules out a few stupid ideas, then enters a contest to host a children's radio show on WSTO, Stoneybrook's radio station (I'm a little confused about the station actually...I think it's kind of a community station, but it's run like a commercial station. Probably doesn't matter too much, just me being picky. Wait, isn't that why you read this blog?) And she wins! She will run a show called "For Kids Only" with the second place winner, the aforementioned Ashley. So, they have a show. With kids on as guests and talent and such. Oh, at first, they don't really work well together, but they manage to get it together. (Not sure how.) And they sort of help keep the station afloat.

Subplot: Kristy is fucking annoying. Like, surpassing Karen levels of annoying. Yep. She's obsessed with getting on the show. So she auditions with a whole bunch of shitty skits and plays until she and the Arnold twins hit upon a decent idea: kid lit Jeopardy. Seriously wanted to kill her. In fucking painful ways. Over and over again. I'm never really a big Kristy fan, but my hate for her in this book knows no bounds.

The hits!


  • Mmm, chipped beef with cream sauce. That recipe needs a euphemism. Like "colonial beef" or something less descriptive.

  • Dawn asks "Who wants to watch you chew up murdered mammals?" Cause she's never eaten meat at all in this series. Ever. I keep waiting for her to break into "Meat is Murder." ["The flesh you so fancifully fry..." etc.]

  • Logan and Mary Anne are making a mix tape together. I think they misunderstand. You're supposed to make a tape for that special someone. And they, in turn, will make one for you...But a couple making the mix for themselves? I'm not familiar with that, and I'm a bit obsessive about mixes.

  • Gulp is right. "I was wearing a backward T-shirt, overalls I'd made by sewing together two halves cut from different pairs, and mismatched socks. It was my "deconstructionist" look. You know, like the art movement? Those paintings that show you the parts of objects rearranged in interesting ways? Well, that was the idea, anyway. Cool, huh?" No, Claudia. Not cool. Fucking ugly. Heh, Janine calls Claud's look "Frankenstein's jumpsuit."

  • Computers hate Claudia. Yep.

  • Claud changes clothes before her sitting job: "jeans and a button-down men's shirt over a stretch top." A stretch top? That's descriptive.

  • Oh, yeah. Mal tells a bunch of stories about the Oogly Oogly Beast, a monster neat freak. Actually kind of clever, until Kristy steals and butchers it.

  • Claudia claims not to be boy-crazy. My ass. She and Stacey (both of whom claim to have zero luck and only a passing interest in the males of the species) keep talking bullshit like that.

  • Claudia's list of (mostly) ridiculous potential hobbies:

    1. Tuba

    2. tap dancing

    3. cooking

    4. corr Chorrus

    5. Swiming

    6. dramma club


  • She rules out cooking after she fucks up an omelet in the fucking microwave. Sweetie, that's not cooking. Not hobby-style cooking, anyway.

  • Why does Claudia think she might want to join chorus or drama club? She's never had any desire to sing or act before...

  • Since when does Jessi take "all kinds of dance lessons?"

  • Wow, this book name drops the Saddle Club books.

  • Claudia thinks that tofu tastes like "eating warm socks." Who marinated the tofu in warm socks? I'm looking at you, Sharon...

  • LUV? Not again.

  • At this point in the story arc, Claud and Stace have started saying hi to each other at school.

  • Wooo! U 4 Me!!!! [Screaming like a fucking nutjob.]

  • Okay, this "kids' show" is aimed at children of all ages, from little kids to like 14 and 15 year olds. Which seems like a rather broad audience. Just sayin'.

  • Wow, even in Stoneybrook DJs are annoying.

  • While writing her application essay, Claud consumes "a Milky Way, a box of Peppermint Patties, two Chunkies, and half a bag of Cape Cod potato chips." Holy shit. I got fatter just reading that. It's like she's a 15-year-old boy! Or Cartman. [BTW, Cape Cod's are the best fucking chips on the planet.] And how did she not get sick?

  • "Here is my idea of a great host for a kids' show:" = worst intro ever. Where's the hook, Claud?

  • Also, your essay is not terribly humorous.

  • How the hell does Claud know what a Pulitzer is?

  • How many kids really have radio experience? Especially kids between the ages of 10 and 14? And how many of them live in Stoneybrook. Cause I don't think the number is very big.

  • "An old, moldy, good, and goldy...the Beatles..." The fuck?

  • Woo! Route 95, my old (and hopefully future) stomping grounds.

  • Claud suddenly thinks Janine's great, cause she's the only one of the Kishi fam who's happy for Claudia (at first, anyway).

  • Charlie agrees to drive Claud to the radio station. Does this kid have anything better to do than to shuttle a bunch of 13-year-olds around?

  • Kristy waltzes in with Claud and acts like it's her fucking show. Bossy doesn't even begin to describe the obnoxious here.

  • Hee, Ashley's dressed all normal.

  • An intern (who is apparently paid!!! Though it's only a pittance?) is assigned to help Claud and Ashley.

  • Wow, they get a tech staff? I ran my own boards...

  • Apparently, Ashely has changed, and she no longer thinks that art is the ONLY FUCKING THING WORTH DOING WITH ALL HER TIME. Or something.

  • Ashley makes fun of Claud's spelling. Heh.

  • Oh yeah, Kristy even tries to commandeer the planning session for the show. You know, the show that Claudia and Ashley are in charge of? The one that Kristy has nothing to do with? [I know I'm ending with prepositions, but fuck it. If Claud doesn't have to spell in a way that vaguely resembles what she's trying to convey, why should I have to follow my MLA closely?]

  • Claud keeps using the SMS Express computer. Why doesn't she just use Janine's?

  • One of the reasons for the contest was to fill up some air time without paying. Ashley's all sorts of offended that they're being "used." Whatever, chickie. You're getting good experience, you're only 13, and it's gonna be fun. Suck it up. You don't have student loans. Or any expenses, really. Hmm.

  • Kristy's ideas for segments on the show are terrible, goody-goody shows. Like segments about fucking babysitting. Dumb bitch.

  • Plus, unscripted lameass skits? Bad idea. You have to prepare a little more before an audition. And what makes you think you can come up with dialogue anyway? Just go play some softball.

  • Also, music jokes ("some unknown key. Q maybe") only work if the character telling the jokes has anything to do with music. Ever.

  • Yep, another mention of I Love Lucy. And a list of random talents from random kids.

  • Even though Claud knows she'll be on the radio and no one will see her, she indeed wears a tux to her first show: "Anyway, I wore the coolest tuxedo I'd recently bought in a thrift shop, including a silky, piped shirt and a bright red velvet cummerbund. I removed the shoulder pads from the jacket [do tux jackets usually have shoulder pads?], which made it really slouchy (I love that look). Then I bought a pair of white socks with silver glitter [wait, what? She bought them when? When she got the tux? When she was getting dressed? So confused!]. I decided to wear a pair of red sneakers to match the cummerbund. I swept my hair up and fastened it with a rhinestone barrette in the shape of a musical note." Wow. I think she's destined for a future as a backup dancer at the Tonys circa 1982.

  • To fill time, Claud waxes all wistful ON THE AIR about her ex-best friend. You remember Stacey?

  • Mal's handwriting looks really different in this book.

  • Reading about Kristy forcefully taking Mal's character is truly painful. And monstrously cringe worthy.

  • Without his "small stipend" from WSTO, intern will have to drop out of college!!!!!

  • They have an advice segment on "For Kids Only." It's a call-in show. And it's boring.

  • Heh...the Arnold twins totally shoot down Kristy's ideas. "That's pretty stupid." Hee.

  • I realize they have no budget, but they live close enough to New York that they shouldn't have to limit their children's author search to Connecticut.

  • A band called the "Curious Quartet" made up children playing the banjo, the tin whistle, the Jew's harp and the washboard? Really? No, really?

  • A parent makes a huge donation to the station as a thank you for the girls giving her kid good advice. And the station is saved! Wahoo!

  • Oh, and Stacey and Claud talk about how they both hope they can be friends again. Ah, foreshadowing.



The end!

Again, no idea what's coming up...

Monday, September 17, 2007

I, Stacey McGill, was a victim of the winter's first snowball; or, BSC #70: Stacey and the Cheerleaders

Yeah, I decided to check out what led to last week's awesomeness. I couldn't find the book immediately following at either of my libraries, so I decided to go in the opposite direction.

Is it just me, or does Stacey actually look thirteen on the cover?


And I think that's supposed to be Charlotte, who's never even mentioned in the book...I have no idea who it could be otherwise, especially since Stacey doesn't actually babysit in this book. [Sweet.]

This book is totally plot-tatastic! What happens? Well, it all starts with RJ Blaser, Stoneybrook Middle School's star basketball player, hitting on Stacey by hitting her with a snowball (talk about mature!). Well, she goes out with him once, and meets all the cool kids (the "Group"). And she totally hits it off with a different basketball player, the infamous Robert. So, they start dating, and Stacey starts hanging out more with the popular kids, including the titular cheerleaders. And when there's an opening on the squad, Stacey auditions. But she doesn't make it, because she's too good and she'll make the others look bad. Oh, and there's this whole thing about the b-ballers and the c-leaders breaking rules and getting special privileges and shit. And Robert quits the basketball team in protest. Oh, and Stacey begins to see the BSC as more and more immature. Whee!

AND there's a subplot, but it's not terribly interesting, and it's a total stretch tying the subplot to the actual plot. See, Shannon's having some issues with her kid sisters. Tiffany has become mean and sullen and bitchy (hmm...something to do with the name perhaps?), and she's torturing their sis Maria. Turns out she's acting out cause Shannon's crazy achiever girl, and Maria's super-swimmer, and Tiff is just a fuck-up (I feel that, sister). But Mary Anne & Claud figure out that she needs a hobby, something that she loves and can actually do. So, flowers and plants. (And Stacey realizes that she doesn't really love being a cheerleader and she doesn't want it for the right reasons. Blah.)

Gimme a L-I-S-T!


  • Since when does SMS have a popular crowd? And why have none of them EVER BEEN MENTIONED BEFORE????!!!!!! How friggin' big is their school anyway, that an entire (pretty sizable) group of kids has never come up before?

  • I hate Stacey's capital letter affectation. You know, "the Group," "McGill Family Drama," "the Big Question," you get the idea. The totally fucking lame idea.

  • Fashion on the first page? Yes, please! Stacey's wearing her "new plum-colored corduroy pants and white down jacket." Yeah, I can picture her in a white puffy coat.

  • Seriously? Multiple guys who are over 6' in 8th grade? Don't think so...

  • "Even I had started going to the games, and I'm no jock." Um, if you were a jock you would be playing a sport. Maybe you might want to rethink that sentence.

  • Stacey thought that RJ was talking about fowls, not fouls. Because she's been smoking Claud's drug of choice?

  • They go to see a movie called Mall Warriors II. It's kinda like Home Alone crossed with Dawn of the Dead. (That's the Romero set at the Monroeville Mall, right?)

  • But when RJ "asks" Stacey out, he says it like this: "Did you see...the movie?...Good. We can see it Friday night. It's playing in town. Okay?" Somebody's a little full of himself.

  • Um, Stacey's trying to say that (one) she's not boy-crazy, but merely "boy-interested" and (two) she's hard-up on the dating front. I call bullshit on both counts.

  • Fuckin' "LUV."

  • Her ridiculously high standards? Get this: "Just a gorgeous, smart, considerate guy who takes my breath away and happens to love me even more than I love him." The fuck?

  • Dude, you're fucking thirteen--maybe lots of LIKE is what you're supposed to have, instead of LUV. You don't want to be that girl that only ever dates and then marries the guy she started dating at 13, do you?

  • Also, Stacey seems a little more interested in dating RJ to get in with the in-crowd than actually dating the guy...Classy!

  • Um, why not just say "likes" instead of this?

  • The phrase "go steady" appears in this book many, many times. I haven't heard that phrase in many, many years.

  • "I know it sounds weird, but I had an urge to go sit with Sheila. The Group seemed to be having such a great time at their table. Besides, boys were there, including RJ." Yep, Stacey's starting to get that itch to leave the BSCers.

  • I really need to read the book where Mal gets mono. Cause I'm really, really curious HOW she got mono.

  • Dawn's back in Cali in this book, and Mary Anne talks about her like she's dead. "Dawn loved blue chips." Sad face, puppy-dog eyes, etc.

  • Claud was wearing "baggy wool men's pants, gathered at the waist by a black leather band [um, I think it's called a belt]; a white tuxedo shirt with rolled-up sleeves; Capezio-type flats with mismatched white and black socks; and a glittery bow-tie barrette in her hair. On someone else, the Look [fuckin' caps again] might be too formal, or just plain weird. On Claudia, it was fabulous." Doesn't sound too terrible, though it's a little Charlie Chaplin for my taste.

  • Okay, RJ actually eats lunch with the BSC one day. Why?

  • Stacey's big date outfit: "a black-and-white plaid unitard with tankstyle top, covered with a black, over-sized cotton knit jersey." I do not understand this outfit at all. And I can think of no more frightening combination of words in English than "plaid unitard."

  • The date with RJ? Kind of a dud. Nothing in common, blah blah blah. But it's better when they run into the Group.

  • She's afraid to tell him about her diabetes. She lets him think she's on a diet. And she lets him make fun of it, too. He's a charmer!

  • Woo!!!! Stacey & RJ run into Sabrina Bouvier at the movies!

  • Actually, RJ's pretty much a dick.

  • Some of the Group make fun of the BSC, and it makes Stacey a little embarrassed.

  • She really notices Robert while on the date with RJ. Like I said, classy!

  • Apparently, Robert sets off a "Cute Alert. Four alarms." Um, cheese alert, all over my keyboard.

  • Not cheesy enough? How about "a smile that should have had a DANGER sign on it."

  • My single favorite part of this book? "I wondered what Corinne was thinking. What would I have thought if I were Corinne? Claud was rummaging around for snacks, wearing an outfit that suddenly seemed a little weird (a sequined vest over a man's white shirt and bell-bottomed spandex pants)." Weird? She's dressed like a reject Fly Girl! Also, Jessi is acting like a four-year-old, though Stacey says she's acting like an eleven-year-old.

  • I didn't realize that the SMS teams were the Chargers.

  • Somebody mocks the BSCers for having a sleepover. Heh. (Rightfully so, at least for calling it a sleepover.)

  • Stacey's always worried that her new, popular friends will make fun of her for hanging with the BSC.

  • The Group have a slang expression that doesn't really make any sense. A "nine-one-one." Yeah..."It's like calling nine-one-one because you're about to die from excitement? You know?" No, bitch, I don't know. That doesn't make any fucking sense. Especially since, used in a sentence, the phrase is used to describe a person. "Robert is a real nine-one-one." So fucking lame.

  • Hee! Stacey's "definitely pretty enough" to be a cheerleader, according to some of the cheerleaders.

  • "I'd never seen real live cheerleaders before I came to Stoneybrook. My school in New York City didn't have them. Cheerleading was frowned on. Girls preferred having their own teams to cheering for the boys." Wow, Stacey went to a progressive school in NY. Also, none of the other schools they played had cheerleaders? She's never been to a pro sports game? Or watched a parade?

  • Stacey really only wants to make the squad because it's the cool thing to do at SMS.

  • This is also the start of Stacey being late to meetings...Because she has better things to do.

  • Stacey hates gym, cause it's in the middle of the day and she gets all gross...um showers? We had showers starting in middle school...

  • "People have the wrong impression, just because they sit together and act like a clique. We sit together and we're not so bad." Thank you, Stacey, for pointing out (though inadvertently) that the BSC are just as exclusive as other cliques.

  • I keep waiting for these girls to realize that you can have separate groups of friends and it's okay. They don't have to get along, and you don't have to hang out with them for the same reasons! Broaden your horizons, girls. Please. I'm bored of your little group dramas.

  • Why does Stacey have Danskins?

  • Jessi's a ballet dancer. Maybe she's not the best person to help you come up with a dance routine for cheerleading tryouts?

  • I want to write for the Connecticut Journal of Hair Disorders. It sounds peer-reviewed. Maybe it'll count toward professional publishing?

  • Stacey's all worried about a "hair kink" before her date with Robert. Yep. And her date outfit? She wears a "pair of new jeans with a brand-new white cotton cardigan with gorgeous floral embroidery and a scalloped, crocheted neckline. On my feet [not again] were suede ankle boots." I can't figure out if she's wearing a shirt under the cardigan or not. Racy?

  • She's blown away, cause Robert wears cologne.

  • Stacey decides to tell Robert about the whole diabetes thing, and he's really understanding. Cause he's perfect, remember?

  • Tonight, in the CAGE OF FURY! MARY ANNE THE MEEK vs. TIFFANY THE TERRIBLE! Oh, wait. It's just Mary Anne's sitting job. Damn.

  • Robert is a cool dancer. A fact which Stacey learns while at a rock concert in Stamford on a date. At thirteen.

  • They double date with Mary Anne and Logan. Why doesn't that keep happening in the next book? It would make sense...

  • Who knew Stacey was a born cheerleader? She's outshines everyone. Big surprise there. These girls never suck at anything.

  • Claud thinks she'll talk Tiffany into being an artist. Way to force your own interests on someone there...

  • There are competing editorials in the SMS paper...one pretty much saying Stacey and Robert are fuckers, and one (by Stacey and Robert) defending themselves. And it's all very out of place.



This lameass ending doesn't even begin to hint at the awesomeness to come.
Weak.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A treacherous dance of balance and skill; or, BSC #83: Stacey vs. the BSC

Oh my fucking gawd. This book was fucking awesome!!!! Stacey actually makes sense!!!! And totally tells the BSC off for being stuck-up, exclusive bitches!!!! Amazing!!!!!! [Full disclosure, the book sucked up until the end, when Stacey tells off the BSC. But the ending totally made it all worth it!!!!]

But first, the cover:


Um, since when is Claud a prep? She has a sweater tied around her shoulders in (quick title page verso check) 1995? And Dawn's rocking the Farm Casual look, more so than California Casual. And Mary Anne is kind of the stylin' one, huh? Also, it seems like Mal's watching a different movie than the rest of the girls. Oh, and this never happens in the book. They don't go to the movies...Hmm...Also, note the hateful stares from the rest of the movie theater patrons!

Right, so the plot of this one is pretty basic. Stacey's spending more time with her boyfriend Robert and his crew. And she keeps showing up late to BSC meetings, and she asks the other BSCers to cover her jobs so she can roll with her new friends. And she finds the BSC more and more annoying and embarrassing. [Rightly so.] And she totally fucks up while sitting for the Newtons, cause she spends a bunch of time on the phone with Robert, rather than tending to a sick Jamie. Oh, she throws a party for her new friends (well, Robert was supposed to have it at his house, but his parents said no), and the only member of the BSC she invites is Claudia. And she has a balls to the wall fight with the club, during which she simultaneously quits and gets booted.

There are two subplots, kinda. One, the BSC are having a talent show, starring the kids in their neighborhoods. Whoo. And Charlotte's all nervous for her upcoming piano recital, so Stace convinces her to be in the talent show to ease her jitters. But, in an act of avoidance, Stacey breaks her promise to Char and doesn't show at the talent show (though she makes it up to Char later and goes to her piano recital).

Let the awesomeness commence...


  • The book opens with Claud painting the "suggestion" of Stacey. She decides to call it Anastasia Fantasia. Cause, yeah.

  • For somebody actually from New York, Stacey calls it the Big Apple entirely too much. I was always under the impression that only tourists/bad journalists said that.

  • I'm terribly relieved to know that Stace has "seen abstract art before."

  • Did you know that "Claudia is very chic, but she does have a habit of talking with her mouth full." Mmm, hawt?

  • I hate how every description of Claud has some variation on the "I have no idea how she's not a complete fatass, what with all the junk food" theme.

  • There's a reference to "the new Jason Priestly movie." Perhaps they're referring to this. Nice...

  • Oh, and "Claudia has a cool attitude about guys." In this book, especially Kristy and Mal and Jessi are retards when it comes to guys. (It's kinda understandable from the young 'uns, but Kristy's acting like a fucking 6-year-old.)

  • Yes, they're acting immature, but calling it "LUV" hardly ranks as grown-up, Anastasia.

  • Stacey and Robert "spent some time together on Fire Island the summer before." [You know, I get the whole "frozen in time" thing, but I have issue with adding real time to that, then asking me to ignore it..."last Christmas," "last Halloween," "last summer." Just say "that one time." No mindbending feats of suspension of disbelief necessary.][Also, Fire Island? Maybe it was growing up in the 80s and early 90s, but I still tend to associate Fire Island with 80s gay culture. Just sayin'.]

  • Robert is "perfect." At least this early in the book. Seriously, ANM set up a generation of girls for guaranteed disappointment on the guy front.

  • Kristy occasionally wears cords, and the ghostwriter occasionally throws in some sort of year-appropriate slang and/or fashion.

  • Mal and Jessi really come across as 11-year-olds in this book. 'Bout damn time.

  • Stacey, adults don't find "TRUE LUV." In fact, only preteens believe in "luv."

  • Dawn "doesn't lecture. (Well, not to us. She does sometimes go overboard with people she doesn't know so well.)" Um, last time I checked, Dawn was the lecturing-est bitch ever, even to the BSC. (And she lectures a waiter and the BSC later in this damn book.)

  • Another example of a crappy imitation of a Kentucky accent.

  • Apparently, not all boys can be wonderful. Shocking discovery.

  • I think there are multiple mentions of Polo, the cologne by Ralph Lauren (right?). However, it just says things like "The place smelled as if the walls had been washed with Polo." So I'm not positive if that's what they're talking about...

  • Stacey's logic: Mozart had bad hair, therefore he is relatively unimportant in the scheme of history. I can think of better reasons, but that works.

  • Everyone assumes it's an emergency when Stacey wants to find someone to cover her Friday night sitting job at the Pikes'. No one thinks maybe she wants to go out with friends. On a Friday night.

  • Who wears (ironed) "crisp, turquoise, light-wool slacks" out for pizza with a group of friends? Especially at 13? It's not like she didn't have time to change after work or anything.

  • Wow, Stacey has lots in common with her new friends...other than kids. Which, you gotta admit, is pretty much the only thing holding the BSC together most of the time...

  • Dawn spies on Stacey. Because Stace wasn't totally honest about why she needed somebody to cover for her. And Stace remembers the last time a friend spied on her, five years earlier. Which, yeah. They're a little too old for that.

  • Also, "with her hood, her six-foot knit scarf, her down coat and L.L. Bean boots, she looked like Nanook of the North."

  • I agree with Stacey's new friends--the BSC totally take themselves far too seriously.

  • Stacey's all confused. Could she really be outgrowing the BSC? Yep. Took her long enough.

  • Mary Anne has a new sticker on her backpack: "A smily [sic] kitten with huge eyes, surrounded by fuzzy hearts and the words I [HEART] MY KITTY." Um, cute?

  • Stacey's shopping list for the mall consists of the following items: bra, corduroy pants (on sale), ankle socks, Breton red cotton baseball cap [the fuck?]. Can she really afford all that on her baby-sitting "profits?"

  • Ah, "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin. I think I sang that in chorus in 7th grade. Or some year.

  • Yeah, Kristy pretty much acts like an eleven-year-old boy when they're out at a restaurant.

  • "He was being kind." How old are you Stacey? 50?

  • Hee...Robert likes "metal and alternative." Hee! But Stacey thinks that "house music works better at a party." Seriously. A middle school party with house music?

  • Speaking of mature, Stacey refers to the land of "El Barfo Grosso."

  • Kristy's an ultra-mega bitch in this book.

  • I sincerely doubt that everybody at a middle school party danced. Not everyone dances at middle school dances.

  • Stacey's got a MILF!!! "She didn't look too dorky. In fact, a lot of the guys danced with her (including Robert, of course)." Hee, Stacey's mom has got it going on...

  • In stead of confronting Stacey about the party, Dawn & Mary Anne just show up with a passive-aggressive invitation to hang out...

  • Claud is rightfully pissed that Stacey put her in an awkward position (that has nothing to do with Imminent Death Syndrome).

  • I really didn't think of the noise a harmonica makes when I read "WWWAAAAANNNNNK!" Just pointing that out.

  • One of the talent show acts is Claire Pike doing a veil dance while Byron plays harmonica and Adam plays the spoons. Bizarre, no? And vaguely wrong...

  • Damn, Charlotte goes a lot crazy when Stacey doesn't show. PS-I hate that whole "almost-sisters" thing they've got...

  • Stacey has two "ex-best friends" now.

  • I have to transcribe some particular bits of the fight. Cause it's fucking awesome. Truly amazing.
    "Like what?" I shot back. "Like a person who wants to have a life outside the Baby-sitters Club? Like someone who goes out with other friends from time to time? You're all like that, somewhere inside. Maybe you need to grow up and find out..."

    [Various BSC members whining and insinuating that Stacey is, in fact, the immature one.]

    "This is not a discussion!" I replied. "This is a firing squad. I can't believe I'm sitting here and taking this. You don't want to be my friends. You want to control my life."

    "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard," Kristy said.

    "Yeah, well, anything you didn't think of is stupid. I'm tired of your bossiness, Kristy. And that's not all. I'm sick of the meetings, week in and week out. And the rules. And the talent shows and fairs and contests and field trips and tantrums and stomach viruses and diapers and feeding schedules and sibling rivalries. I've had it! I'm thirteen years old! I want to spend time with kids who act my own age and talk about something besides baby-sitting."

    [YES! YES! YES! FUCKING A! SOMEBODY FINALLY CRACKED!!!! FOR THIS WEEK ONLY, STACEY IS THE AWESOMEST CHARACTER EVER!!!! FUCK YEAH!!!!]

  • HEE!! I'm still brimming with joy from Stacey's rant!

  • And then Stacey's relationships with her new friends get better and more real, and actually function somewhat like real, moderately mature relationships! It's a shocking development in the BSC universe.

  • Seriously, the end of the book fucking thrilled me!



Enjoy it! Bask in the euphoric glow of someone verbally bitch-slapping these stupid twats! Have a good week, dwelling on the (limited) awesomeness that is Stacey.

[My spell check suggests Awesome St. as a corrected spelling of "awesomest." I want to live on Awesome St.!]

Monday, September 03, 2007

The gym was beautifully decorated; or, BSC #38: Kristy's Mystery Admirer

This book is truly ridiculous. (And chock full of boring Krushers v. Bashers "action.") Yep. And features some truly mind-blowing temporal inconsistencies that result in a few confusing explanations...Intrigued?

The cover:



Notable really only because it's actually got Shannon on it...She's wearing her school uniform, and, in a rare bit of continuity, it's the same one she wears on the cover of Kristy and the Snobs! Wow...someone was actually paying attention. Kristy's wearing her uniform, too. I can't quite figure out what's supposed to be on her sweater, though.

The really retarded plot: Kristy gets notes from a secret admirer. Aww. They're all pretty sure that the notes are from Bart. Awww. Then the notes start to get kinda creepy, and Kristy thinks that they're either from Bart (who is suddenly now a psycho) or from a real psycho who is coming to get her. Then, in a big shocker (especially given the heavy-handed foreshadowing earlier in the book), it turns out that Bart did send the love letters, but Cokie Mason sent the psycho ones! Dun-dun-duuuuuuuh!

The mildly retarded subplot: The Krushers beat the Bashers. Then the Bashers beat the Krushers. Then Kristy and Bart decide to have a World Series (I may have the order wrong here. I kinda stop paying attention when ANM starts describing softball games. Cause, boring.). [How can it be a "world series" if there are only two teams in the "league" and both teams are in the same town? Dig? Sure, if they want to declare a "champion," I can understand that. I guess. Sort of. Anyway.] And the Krushers win the world series. Woo. [Not nearly as exciting as when the Sox won.]

The list:


  • Get ready to have your mind blown! So, it's almost Halloween, and the BSC have to explain what happened with Cokie "on Halloween" to Stacey because she was back in New York then. Now, they don't say "last Halloween," but Halloween hasn't happened yet, so it has to refer to a Halloween that's already passed, right? But here's the kicker! Stacey was back in New York in 8th grade, right? So the Halloween with the big Cokie drama was in 8th grade. But they're STILL IN 8TH GRADE!!! So, THERE ARE TWO HALLOWEENS WHILE THEY'RE IN 8TH GRADE!!!! HOW CAN THEY HAVE A (SCHOOL) YEAR WITH TWO HALLOWEENS???!!!!??? I'm so fucking confused!!!! Could it be a rip in the time-space continuum? Is it magic? A time machine? I just don't understand!!!

  • Reading about softball is really boring, and I just don't give a shit.

  • Kristy moans a bunch in this one about Charlie's car. It's a ride, bitch! Don't whine!

  • Heh, Kristy has to wear field hockey kilts in gym class. We got to wear our regular gym clothes during the field hockey unit.

  • Bart thinks Kristy should wear skirts more often. Trying to change her already? [Shaking head disappointedly.]

  • Bart's a guitar player in a band? Since when?

  • [Seriously, sometimes she describes these bitches like they're much older than 13.]

  • Nannie is a "special grandmother who doesn't act like a grandmother at all. She goes bowling, wears pants, and has tons of friends." Wait, regular grandmothers don't wear pants? Or have friends? Or go bowling? Seriously?

  • Claudia's "clothes are so distant...She is always wearing things like Day-Glo high-top sneakers, cut-up jeans, off-the-shoulder sweat shirts (sometimes torn), and friendship bracelets." Um, friendship bracelets as the epitome of cool accessories? It's just braided string! And I'm pretty sure I started wearing them in elementary school. Also, have you noticed how many hyphenates make up Claudia's and Stacey's respective wardrobes? It's kind of a pain to type.

  • Ah, yes, another tossed off reference to the absent Mr. Thomas.

  • "I think boys are dweebs, except for Bart, Logan (Mary Anne's boyfriend), and the boys I sit for." Convenient, that. (And grammatically suspect.)

  • Oh, yeah! Claud's leg, post-break, hurts when it's going to rain...

  • They stretch their dues awfully far. Just sayin'. One dollar a week per girl is only $7 a week, and it has to cover gas for Charlie, supplies and toys AND part of Claud's phone bill. Yeah. Even on cheaper 80s prices, that seems like a pretty tight budget.

  • Did you know the BSCers, excluding Claudia, "have to hide out in closets during personal calls, hoping nobody is listening in on an extension?" I didn't. What, they can't just bring the cordless into their room? Or the whole phone? If they can reach a closet, they can prolly reach a room with a door.

  • In a shocking turn of events, sometimes the Kilbourne family doesn't remember to get their mail until after dinner! Crazy!!!

  • "Dear Kristy, I think you are beautiful. And you're the nicest girl I know. I would like to go steady with you. I wish I could tell you this in person. Love, Your Mystery Admirer." Awww...somebody's lying to Kristy to get into her pants...

  • The envelope has hearts and flowers all over it, so Kristy thinks the note "looks like it's from a girl." To which Shannon replies "A girl who wants to go steady with you? Kristy, grow up." So many gay jokes...where to start?

  • "We sat in the shade because it's not good for babies (or anyone, really) to get too much sun." Wow, Stacey's so smart!

  • Hee! "Dearest Kristy, I can't stop thinking about you. Maybe I'm in love with you. I don't know. [How fucking romantic!] I've never been in love before [Because you're only 13??? Maybe???]. You are as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain. Love, Your Mystery Admirer."

  • Okay, so my copy of this book is missing a page, and I think all I really missed was Shannon bonding with some of the BSC girls at a Krushers game. And I was happy.

  • Dawn likes bad puns. [Smack.]

  • "They made us look like jerks so we made them look like jerks." Pretty much the story of every Halloween in Stoneybrook.

  • "Nannie is a character and I love her." Lazy, lazy writing.

  • Heh, the first freaky note: "I love you, I love you, I love you, but beware. Love is fickle. So are friends. Watch out for your mystery admirer."

  • Jessi and Mal wax all nostalgic about dressing up and trick-or-treating. Um, I'm pretty sure I was still trick-or-treating at eleven. Maybe would've played it all "I'm too cool for this," but I was totally into it.

  • Also, the Pike kids are budding capitalists. Notice how they find ways to charge for everything?

  • Why don't the BSC ever think that Cokie could be behind the notes? You'd think they might have figured it out, rather than assuming kidnappers and psychos.

  • The stupid Krushers cheerleaders dress up as the Three Stooges for the World Series. They couldn't think of any better threesomes?

  • Kristy is so distracted by the notes that she forgets to call a BSC meeting to order!?!?!?! Amazing!

  • The second creepy note rhymes! "Violets are blue, blood is red, I'll remember you when you are dead."

  • In true BSC style, Kristy decides not to tell her parents about the notes: "Should I tell Mom and Watson about the danger I was in? I wondered. No. They might think I was crazy."

  • Shannon thinks maybe Bart might be trying to sabotage the Krushers by sending the scary notes, so all the girls start giving Bart the silent treatment. Without confronting him or asking him or anything. Then he gets all pissy, but Kristy won't clear things up until he shows up at her door. Now that's mature...

  • Stupid Claire tantrums.

  • Heh, Buddy Barrett hits Shannon in the head with a softball. [Which still fucking hurts!!!! They're not that soft, and Kristy should fucking know that.]

  • Awww, Buddy has a crush on Shannon...

  • Kristy can't say "love letters" to Bart for some reason I can't figure.

  • Again, Kristy doesn't think of Cokie when Bart asks if she has any enemies...

  • "Everyone fingers him as a likely suspect." Um, that doesn't really sound like Kristy talking...

  • Kristy actually thinks someone's going to kidnap her for Watson's money. Then she gets offended when Shannon suggests that a kidnapper would more likely go after one of his bio-kids, as opposed to one of his step-kids.

  • Yeah, Cokie brings her friends to the World Series? Why? It's never really explained. Imagine that.

  • Cokie gives herself away in response to Kristy saying she and Bart are planning to spend their lives together. She's bragging or something. I'm still not entirely sure why.

  • One of Cokie's friends is named Bebe. Yup.

  • Stacey calls Cokie a sewer rat, because she "still thinks in New York terms half the time." Really, she hasn't lost all the New Yorker in a matter of months? I'm floored.

  • Kristy and Bart wear lobster costumes to the Halloween Hop. (And they win the prize for Most Unusual Costume. Whoopee.)

  • Karen thinks that "when girls went to dances they wore beautiful gowns and ribbons or maybe pearls in their hair. And jewelry, lots of jewelry." Shut the fuck up, you dumb little girl. Nobody likes you.

  • Kristy likes slow dancing. And Bart kisses her on the cheek. And she thinks she might be in love. Which is confusing, because she's not really that into him in the books after this...She's pretty ambiguous about him, actually. But in this one, she's in love. My ass.

  • I sincerely doubt that sixth grade boys are really that fucking different from 8th grade boys.

  • Kristy writes a note for Cokie, from her "mystery perspirer." LAME.



Phew.

This book was mad boring. Too much about kiddies playing sports and Kristy being a paranoid freak. Ugh.

[I had "Pyscho Killer" stuck in my head for most of the second half of this book. Mainly because of the sheer number of times they used the word "psycho" in this book. Yep, it was one of those weeks.]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Liking a guy is so weird; or, BSC #59: Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)

Let me just get this out of the way: Mal is fucking retarded. Seriously. Even if I didn't already think she was a waste of literary oxygen, this book would have convinced me.

Now, let's discuss the cover:



1. Mal's not hideous-looking, but those fucking glasses turn her into a 60-year-old single man who spends all his days in short-sleeved polyester shirts. Damn.
2. For gym uniforms, those ain't half bad.
3. Okay, the blond? The most crushed upon guy in my sixth grade class had that haircut, AND he did that thing where he spiked the hair at the part. [I can totally picture it, but it's kind of hard to describe.]
4. That one kid's shorts are wicked short. Did he get stuck with the petite size?

This book has a plot. Sort of. It's just really fucking lame. In case you couldn't tell from the super-retarded title of the book, in this one, Mal hates gym class and thinks boys are evil. Oh, excuse me, pains. Sometimes, I really wish these bitches could've cursed like longshoremen. It would've made the books sooooo much more interesting. So, gym class (which Mal hates already) goes co-ed, and she acts like a brat. She hates volleyball, too, and thinks everyone who's trying is being mean and picking on her. So, she sits out a bunch and gets detentions. And in a sort of subplot, lots of the male children in the 'Brook are acting particularly bad or something. So, Mal concludes that gym class turns Stoneybrook boys into nightmares. Again, she's a friggin' idiot. And the ending? Mal discovers that she's good at archery (thanks to the dreaded gym class) and makes the archery team, an activity that is never heard from again. And everything's hunky dory, with apologies to Bowie. So, so stupid.

There is a lot to destroy in this little Permabound package:


  • Mal starts off the book by talking about vocabulary words. And, hate!

  • Does playing with a Nerf ball really count as playing ball inside the house?

  • Poor, poor Byron. "He's not as athletic as Adam and Jordan." Also, Mal can pick him out of the triplets "just from the way he slouches." Ah, indie rock god in the making.

  • Um, Mal, you're their sister! You should be able to (fairly) easily tell the triplets apart!

  • Can I blame these books for my tendency to find accents hot?

  • Mal's description of Ben: "By movie-star standards, Ben isn't a hunk or anything. (Even though I think he's totally adorable. [That's good, you're actually attracted to your friggin' boyfriend.]) He has reddish-blond hair, sort of a round face, and freckles. He's tall. And he wears glasses. (Which makes me feel less self-conscious about my glasses.) Yeah, that's really selling him.

  • Mal keeps calling her siblings geeks.

  • Dude! Typo! "leavfjing" is supposed to be leaving. Hee.

  • Mal is deluded; she thinks that Ben's brothers are always perfect. Cause she sees them how often?

  • "Until I met Ben, I thought making a cake from scratch meant you started by opening a box of cake mix!" Yeah, your mom's got a giant litter of children. Heaven forbid she make cake from a mix. You poor neglected girl. Bitch.

  • "Jessi isn't stuck-up about her dancing. Not at all. Everything about her is very normal." Thanks for clearing that up. I was totally worked up thinking she'd be stuck up about her dancing. [Also, is a 10-year age difference between the oldest and youngest kid "very normal?" Not saying it's freakish or anything, but it's hardly 2.54 kids-style normal.]

  • "Claudia was waring a pair of soft, balloony, purple pants ["Can't touch this...do do do-do do-do" you get the picture.]; a neon green long-sleeve leotard top [um, where's the rest of the leotard?]; a wide, red braided belt; and a pair of soft, red ballet shoes." Yeah, purple, neon green and red, all mixed up in one nasty, fugly mess. Oh, and according to Mal, "If I wore an outfit like that, I'd look like a lunatic. But not Claudia. She looked like a fashion model." Nope, I can't even see her and I want to burn my eyes out with lemon juice and salt covered hot pokers.

  • Wow, an actual example of "California casual!" "For example, today she was wearing black stirrup pants, a long, fleecy red-and-pink rose-print top and black high-top sneakers." Doesn't really sound very Cali to me.

  • Okay. This is...yeah. "I fished through the jumble of clothes until, way in the back, I found a one-piece denim jumpsuit. It had been a present for my last birthday. I never wear it. Not because I hate it or anything. It's just not me. It's a little too high-style or something." Okay, for someone who bitches and moans about looking like ass and being treated like a baby, you'd think she'd want to wear something more high-style.

  • Mrs. Pike actually considers letting Mal stay home to avoid gym class. The fuck?

  • Okay, their gym uniforms aren't that bad! Baggy shorts and a white shirt? It's not like they have to wear the polyester hot-pants/jumpsuits that my mom had to wear in the early 70s!

  • Aunt Cecilia irons Jessi's gym clothes. And Mal tries it out, too. Dumbass.

  • Pinnies? I always thought they were pennies. You know, the colored mesh things to differentiate the teams?

  • Mal ducks and runs away from the ball and doesn't try at all. And then she wonders why everybody on her team hates her. Plus, 10 people on a volleyball team? Are they rotating people in and out? I'm so confused...[I used to play volleyball, so some of this shit totally bugged me.]

  • Okay. Why do these bitches always expect their baby-sitting jobs to be easy? If a parent says the kid's all kindsa wound up, you might want to listen. That doesn't mean that it'll be a cakewalk for you! Plus, if you don't like it when the kids are all crazy, why sit at all????? "Oh, that kid's never any problem..." My ass!!! If you do soooo much sitting, then you shouldn't ever be fucking surprised when kids are bad! They're fucking kids!!!!!

  • Okay, not every boy in gym class is all crazy competitive. Also, some of the girls are. So, shut up Mal! Your stupid theory is fucking dumb!!!!!

  • Also, very little in middle school matters in the long run, not just gym class.

  • Suck it up. So, you hate volleyball and you hate gym class. You're hardly the only one. Just do what you need to get through it and shut the fuck up, you stupid twat!!!!!

  • Mal's first detention. Awwww...

  • Ben and Logan are different. I see. *cough* (GAY!)

  • Ben keeps waiting for Mal after detention. Isn't that sweet?

  • Logan thinks all the kids are being monsters, but he can't see that only the boys are being monsters because he is, in fact, a boy. And a boy who likes boys, at that.

  • Logan flirts by hitting. So do I.

  • Mal can't believe that Jessi kinda likes volleyball.

  • Mal's theory: "American boys from Stoneybrook were the biggest pains on earth." As opposed to European boys from Stoneybrook? Also, she recognizes that boys from Kentucky aren't pains--I'll buy that.

  • Mal never even considers that "benching herself" and getting detentions might hurt her gym grade. Asshat.

  • Aw, Ben thinks about Mal. A lot.

  • One of Mal's punishments=awesome. She has to wash all the smelly pinnies in the home ec room after school.

  • G.I. Joe! Knowing is half the battle!

  • Mal hides all the detention notices from her parents, and they're not nearly as pissed as my parents would've been. Hiding the fact that I was getting detentions would have resulted in severe punishment.

  • Mal and Ben trade brothers for an evening. AND THEIR PARENTS GO ALONG WITH IT!?!?!?!?!

  • Mal's crazy surprised when the Hobart boys are crazy at her house, and her brothers are well-behaved and polite at the Hobarts'. My theory? Mal makes boys into monsters.

  • Mal finally talks to her gym teacher about the problems she's having. And the boys' gym teacher asks the boys not to pick on Mal anymore.

  • Okay, supposedly neither Mal nor Jessi has ever done archery before their archery unit in gym class. But wait! Wasn't there some mention of archery at Camp Mohawk? Hmmm...



Phew. So much crap. Shut up, Mal.

The end.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Baby-sitters Club is special that way; or, BSC #27: Jessi and the Superbrat

So, this is the first mention of Derek Masters. Yep. All of a sudden, there's a famous kid from the 'Brook. And he shows up from time to time, sure, but this is another great example of the random Stoneybrook-ites...

Cover fun? First of all, there are two different covers, but literally the only
thing that's different is Jessi's head!!!! It's freaky!!!!


Okay, her shirt is a little different, too. And it's still wigging me out!!!!

Also, one of the twins is wearing a t-shirt that just says "Skating" on it! Hee. And is it just me, or does Derek look like a very small man as opposed to a little boy?

Mmmm, acid washed.

So, in this book, Stoneybrook's own child star moves back to town while his TV show, P.S. 162 is on break. [It took me years and years before I figured out what P.S. stood for in this context. See, I grew up in the suburbs? Where public schools--actually, all schools--have names. The school on Head of the Class was the closest thing I got to NYC public schools, and that one had a name, right?] And Jessi winds up sitting for him a bunch. Oh, yeah, and he has trouble adjusting or whatever, cause the kids are all mean to him cause he's famous. And there's this one kid who does especially nasty shit, and his name's John, but Jessi calls him the Superbrat. And Derek finally starts making friends, blah blah blah. And, it turns out, DEREK WAS JOHN, AND JOHN WAS DEREK!!!!! DA DA DAAAAAAA!!!! Yet, Jessi doesn't get all pissed about him being a little dickhead to his classmates, cause it's all better now. Oh, and then he has to move back to L.A. to shoot a made-for-TV movie. Bye for now! See you in a Super Special!

And the subplot? Jessi decides to audition for a performance of Swan Lake at the Stoneybrook Civic Center [Um, how is Stoneybrook such a small town, yet it has a fucking civic center??? And apparently, performances there get written up in the New York papers? Yep. I'm a little confused about just how much of a "small town" the 'Brook is...] And she makes it through the first two auditions, but then, all of a sudden, she doesn't really care about ballet and decides that she's going to take up modeling and acting...She even calls a bunch of agents in Stamford. But when she lands a role as a swan maiden, she gives up the charade and is all OMG! BALLET IS THE ONLY THING I'VE EVER CARED ABOUT!!!!! DENIAL? WHAT DENIAL?

Yep, that's the basic idea...Here are the specifics:


  • Blah, why do all the books either start wicked boring like "I have feelings. Listen to them!" or "Ooh! Look at my crazy life!!!" Why can't they start the book like a normal book????? Why is it all, "Oh, my sister's freaking out!!! But it's not what you think!!! It's a "clever" plot device to introduce a new character!!!!"? Huh? Why not just something normal???

  • "I also found myself another best friend." Um, that was fast...And that's a really callous way of saying it, no?

  • The inner city school on P.S. 162 includes all different kinds of kids. Of course it does! It's a show for kids! And it's a sugar-coated image of the real world! Sound familiar, ANM?

  • Oh, the most popular kid is "smart, funny, and good-looking." Ah, remember when you thought that was how people got to be popular?

  • So, the character Derek plays? He's the nerd, Waldo, who is officially a member of the Biggest Cliches Ever club: "He's got weird, spiky hair and he wears this pair of thick black glasses and he's an incredible science whiz. You know, one of those kids who lives and breathes science, but put him in the real world and he can barely tie his shoes..." You get the drift. He's also the comic relief on the show. Of course.

  • I can't figure out if the teacher on the show is actually named Miss Pedagogue, or if it's Waldo being "clever." It's probably just the ghostwriter being "clever."

  • Becca keeps saying L.P. instead of L.A. And it's not funny.

  • Blah, Jessi's wicked psyched that someone who doesn't currently live in Stoneybrook is on TV. And she can't believe no one's told her before! Maybe because it hasn't come up?

  • "That Monday, for instance, she had two French braids pulled back and wound into one. [Huh?] She's also a wild dresser. [Yes, Claud is a crazy piece of furniture.] At that meeting she was wearing a bright pink T-shirt, a short red flouncy skirt, and underneath the skirt she had on black footless tights that she had rolled up to mid calf." Rolled footless tights? For real? Also, bright pink and red together? Equals risky and she's probably not pulling it off.

  • How convenient...Jessi's job with the Braddocks is taking up less of her time!

  • Stupid fake French accent!!!!

  • "This may sound corny, but every once in awhile in class my overwhelming love for ballet just comes flooding into me." Gee, Jessi, you forget that really fucking frequently.

  • Gack! More fake French accent!!!! NO MORE!!!! [Actually, that is the last mention of Jessi's ballet classes in the book. Huh.]

  • Apparently, a lot of dancers from New York will be auditioning for this show. Yet New York is soooo far away or something.

  • Also, all these girls can act out scenes from A Chorus Line. At like, 11, 12, 13, & 14. Yet none of them are musical theatre nerds, just ballet dancers...Hmm...

  • What kind of 8-year-old (other than Dakota Fanning, however the hell old she is) talks like this: "Nicky's a great guy."? Huh? Derek sounds like he's in his mid-20s, talking about a guy he dumped.

  • Oh, and Mal goes all kindsa retarded around Derek, talking like she's in high society, or she has a giant pole up her ass, take your pick.

  • Damn, I hate the little kid insults!!!! I know I say that, like, every book, but I don't care!!!! They are stupid!!!! And they keep showing up!!!!

  • Kristy's handwriting looks really odd in this book.

  • I fucking hate Karen, and her desire to be A STAR!!! I desire to smack her in the mouth. So, now we're both disappointed.

  • Jessi's mom types her resume for the audition. Even at 11, my mom would've been all, "I'll help you, but I won't do it for you." Yep.

  • Would the dancers auditioning really wear flashy dance gear? I really don't know, but I would think that would distract from the dancing?

  • Since when is Mal the voice of wisdom? "And she said I shouldn't let my fears stop me from doing what I wanted in life." Dude, is she the next Dalai Lama or what?

  • Yes, little kids can be so mean. But so can pre-teen girls. And teenagers. And adults. And me.

  • Actually, no matter what you do, Jessi, there will be a group of bitchy girls (and/or boys) tearing you apart. It's not just ballet.

  • Derek's trying to lure Jessi to L.A. Yep.

  • Really? You think modeling and acting will be less stressful than ballet? Really? *cough* (Dumbass!)

  • The BSC decide to throw Derek a going-away party. And they decide to make it a breakfast party, which is actually not a horrible idea. But they totally should've served bacon.

  • Why can't you have cake at a breakfast party? I've eaten cake for breakfast on many mornings...

  • "Modeling can't be as nerve-racking as ballet." Actually, it can. And even more cutthroat! Woo! New season of ANTM coming soon!

  • "'I'll make you a star, kid,' he was saying. He lit a cigar and slapped me on the back. 'You've got the face. We'll plaster your picture in every magazine across the country." Um, this is how Jessi pictures the exciting world of modeling? And in Connecticut at that? Yeah, someone's been watching too many movies on AMC.

  • All the BSCers are wearing robes at the party, but they refuse to wear curlers (Kristy's idea. Cause, yeah.).

  • "Nothing's fair in love or ballet." Or having to read these stupid books. Yikes.

  • Oh, and if it's such a big deal performance, how on earth can Jessi fit rehearsals in around dance class, school, AND baby-sitting. Good to know that the whole thing just disappears after this book!



The end.

Thanks for all the nice comments wishing for me to get better. I'm sure none of them were at all selfish, wishing that I'd come back and entertain you. Hee. I'm feeling better, but I'm not 100% yet. So, if I wasn't as bitchy as usual, that's why.