Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I like studying. And I like earning good grades; or, BSC #108: Don't Give Up, Mallory

Please, Mal. Give up.

Y'all better worship me for this. I could be watching Futurama with RNL, but nooooo. I'm sitting in front of my rad computer writing about the nerdiest retard in all the land: Mal.

Ah, the cover...Mal's teacher looks a bit like my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Fox. Yeah, and all the girls thought he was dreamy. Not just a clever name...



Also, the boys on the cover actually look vaguely age appropriate...sort of. I would've thought they were younger than 6th grade, but at least they don't look like they shave daily.

This book tries to shove three separate plot lines into 150 pages. It does not succeed.

"Plot" number 1: There's this whole thing about "Short Takes" classes. Apparently, "for several weeks at a time, everybody at SMS studies one subject intensively. It's usually a subject that regular classes don't cover." Right. So, this time around, everybody's studying kiddie lit. [Mainly so ANM can spew forth some bullshit in her little letter at the end of the book.] And Mal's wicked psyched cause she loves children's books. Seriously, it's mentioned in every fucking book in the damn series. And she's also psyched cause her teacher is going to be this hip young stud named Damien Cobb...I shit you not. Anyway, the class turns out to be a real bummer, cause Damien's favors the rowdy boys, and Mal isn't comfortable with a discussion style class. Or some shit like that. Finally, she confronts him and wins the day!!!!

"Plot" number 2: The entire 6th grade class does a week's worth of fundraising to raise money for some sort of gift to the school. Mal's in charge, and she sets up this whole FUN-raiser (I'm not making that shit up.) and there's going to be a different money-maker every day (every previous year, it was a week-long candy sale). And she finds out that a class a few years back had donated a grand to create a student lounge in the library, but it never happened. Blah, blah, blah, fake drama. Turns out the school had to use the $$$ to make some necessary repairs. And everyone's all outraged, cause the roof got fixed instead getting a new lounge. So, the 6th grade officers stand up to the principal, and they get him to agree to match funds. Typing this is boring me. You get the idea. They make enough money. I don't think I've read any book after this before, so I don't know if it ever materializes.

"Plot" number 3: Seriously. Sucks. Ass. Um, Buddy Barrett makes up a marching band so he can march in the Memorial Day parade. And instead of getting in trouble for making shit up, the BSC decides to put together a makeshift marching band for 50 million childrens. And they make instruments, but it sounds terrible, so they decide to hide kazoos in all the fake instruments. And the parade is a mess, cause there are too many kids and the parents are all irresponsible. And for once, the BSC bites off more than they can chew. Woo. Fucking. Hoo.

Now, for the fun(?) stuff...

  • Mal doesn't want to brag. But she does anyway. She's an excellent student. And she fucking loves to study. And write papers. And do homework. And she'll never get laid.
  • Mal's the only person to get straight A's on her midterm eval. And everyone's freaking out cause she's a braniac or something.
  • I have never heard the expression stair-step kids. I guess it means far too many children born too close together. Or, "We don't know how to use a fucking condom."
  • This book should totally have been called "Mallory Pike, Miss Know-it-all."
  • Has Justin and "his 'cutest boy in sixth grade' grin" ever made an appearance before?
  • "I knew that I had only a few more seconds before I would be tardy." Too late, already tard-y.
  • "When I went home that Friday afternoon, I wasn't walking--I was floating." And spewing forth terrible, terrible cliches.
  • Seriously, I can't include every example of Mal's nerdiful dorkitude.
  • Why would you think that "such a powerhouse person would be tall?" Ever heard of the Napoleon Complex? I got one.
  • Ah. The "best thing about [Logan] is he likes to baby-sit." Poor guy must not have much going for him then.
  • Pretzels and Cheez Whiz. Yum? Doubt it.
  • Claudia "was wearing denim overall shorts, a short black T-shirt, red-and-white pin-striped stockings that came over the top of her knees, red thick-soled patent leather shoes, and a black felt derby." I can't believe I'm going to say this, but this outfit almost works. Of course I could just be distracted by the shoes, cause WANT!!!!
  • I really need to read the book where they shove Claud back to grade 7. Because it all seems incredibly implausible. Would any school really send someone backwards in the middle of the year? Why not just hold the bitch back????
  • "Abby, the athlete, can usually be found in bike shorts, and a T-shirt, whereas Anna, the musician, would more likely wear a dress." Ah, yes. Because you can't be sporty and dress well, and you can't dress comfortably or be moderately hip if you're a musician.
  • Have we ever met Megan Armstrong, the Korean girl, before?
  • You want to know about Damien? Here: "Our Short Takes teacher stood at the front of the classroom. He was dressed in a collarless white shirt, jeans, and a black vest. His sun-streaked hair looked great with his deep tan and gleaming white teeth. Was he cool? Totally." Not.
  • So, when Mal finds out her class will be discussion based, her "stomach sank. This was starting to sound more like a debate class than a literature class." Just wait until you get to college, sweetie.
  • Maybe he's not calling on you cause he can tell you're a dork with no imagination. Just an idea.
  • "Claudia wore shorts and a rainbow tie-dyed T-shirt. Her hair was pulled into a thick pony-tail held by a matching tie-dyed scrunchie." Soooo much tie-dye. It hurts. Also, I totally saw Claudia on my way to a Wizards game the other day! Asian-American, side ponytail, terrible clothes. Amazing.
  • Also, no one ever asks the parents before setting up the "marching band."
  • Good sitting involves tricking the kids into doing what you want. I had forgotten about that.
  • They make up names for the fucking cardboard instruments. Names like "google-blaster" and "snorkaphone."
  • Um, can the class secretary really decide on a class activity while keeping it secret from the rest of the officers? Don't think so.
  • Oh, yeah. Mr. Cobb went to Princeton. As he keeps reminding us...
  • Oh, and there's this whole Women's Studies 101 thing about one of the class officers acting all meek and wimpy around the boys so they won't think she's too aggressive. Yep, that's about the age girls start playing dumb for the boys.
  • Mal thinks boys might be more confident because they have it easier.
  • Vodka and Canada Dry Bitter Lemon = awesome! [Not actually in the book, but in my tummy!]
  • Dude, if you can't talk to your friends, you're in big fucking trouble. I recommend therapy. It's fun!
  • Are there any meetings that aren't "emergency meetings" in the 'Brook?
  • Two grand won't go very far in building (or furnishing) (or decorating) a student lounge.
  • Yeah, Sandra's kinda right. Boys won't like her if she acts like a brain. Just ask Pelle Carlberg.
  • "Pile on Stacey!" Ah, BSC lezzie action.
  • Gawd. Notebook entries are wicked boring.
  • Do they really need to mention that Norman is a fattie every time he shows up?
  • Okay, I think the ZuZu's Petals (a flower shop in Stoneybrook) name drop is prolly a shout out to the lame-o It's a Wonderful Life, but I got all excited, like, "Isn't that Wife-y Westerberg's name?" Cause I've been obsessed with Paul Westerberg since right around the time I gave up on these books.
  • The class discussions are "so one-sided. Boy-sided." Oh, Mal, you're so clever. Good one, Dave. You're a legend, Dave. [Sorry, I'm kind of a lot obsessed with Flight of the Conchords right now. And listening to them. Right now.]
  • Sandra is complaining cause her feet hurt. Cause she's wearing chunky two-inch heels. In sixth grade. Also, those don't sound too bad. It's not like these crazy stilettos.
  • Mr. Cobb's a dick. And he went to Princeton!
  • I think Mr. Kingbridge (that's the SMS principal) has been watching the beginning of Say Anything too much. You know, "Hey world, check ME out." Well, he's all "Yes, we can! Just watch us!"
  • The parents just leave their kids for the parade without checking to see if anyone is there to watch them. They are BAD, BAD parents. Shame!
  • I think Mal's already been indoctrinated by ALA. She's all "the balance between boy books and girl books."
  • So, so sad. Mal's first B.

Yeah, this book was so fucking bad, I had to break it up into two nights. And drink. Mmm. Delicious drink.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Algebra is so balanced and logical; or, BSC #76: Stacey's Lie.

First of all this book should totally have been called "Stacey is a Selfish Fucking Cow." Now, I know she's usually selfish and inconsiderate in general, but this book positively revels in her assitude.

To the cover!



Yeah, this kind of thing had nothing to do with my ridiculous expectations of teenage boys. Not at all. (To be fair, I didn't read this way back when, but it is exemplary of romance in the BSC. Just sayin'.) Also, it's another case of the little cover blurb having very little to do with anything. The book is mostly about Miss McGill being an asshat to her alleged best friend, Miss Claudia Kishi. Sure, she's keeping secrets and lying and acting all around shitty to everyone she's ever known, except Mr. Perfect Boyfriend. So, yeah. It should have been "How many people will she hurt?" or something to that effect.

Let me explain. Yep, it's another overly complicated plot in which not much actually happens. And, in some kind of miracle, someone (actually two someones!) in the BSC goes on a vacation and doesn't do a single minute of babysitting!!!!!!!!!! And the BSC takes a week off!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!! First of all, in a feat bypassing years and buckets of labor laws, Stacey's boy-toy Robert gets a job working on the Fire Island Ferry (I almost wrote "Fairy" because I am terribly, terribly mature. And I still think of Fire Island as almost as gay as P-town.) So, they won't be able so spend any time together over the summer. Sad face. But then, Stacey's dad wants to take her on a two-week vacation, to her destination of choice. So, instead of cashing in and going someplace cool or exciting or different that she might not ever have a chance to see otherwise, she decides to go to Fire Island so she can scam time with her boy. Yep. And her dad lets her invite Claudia, who is wicked psyched about it. So, the trip commences, and she doesn't tell Claud or Dad about Robert being there. Stacey gets up early to walk Robert to work ON THE FIRST FUCKING FERRY OF THE DAY. Then she meets him every time he has a break. And drags poor Claudia along. ("Legend, the legend, the thiiiiird-wheel legend." All book long. Seriously.) And then things get messy with Claud and Stace, especially when Stacey starts cutting her time with Claud short and abandoning her to roll with Robert. Yep. Oh, and then Stacey and Robert, while on a romantic nighttime walk on the beach, run into Mr. McGill and his new paramour while they're on a romantic nighttime beach stroll. And Stacey throws a fit that her dad lied. Because she is a fucking hypocrite. Oh, and Robert dumps her at one point because he wonders when she'll start lying to him like she does to everyone else. Heh. Oh, and because the parents in these books are certifiable, the rest of the BSC (well, minus the junior officers, of course) come out to Fire Island to celebrate the Fourth of July. And they all hate Stacey, too!!! Finally!!! But Stacey and Claudia make up at the end of the book. Boo.

Oh, and there's this uber-lame subplot. Haley Braddock and Vanessa Pike have a huge fucking fight because they both got the same bathing suit. Yawn.

The finer points:

  • [I also kept singing "Pretty Deep" by Tanya Donelly while reading this book. Look up the lyrics, you'll understand.]
  • There's this weird thing at the beginning with Stacey's mom making dinner, when she "picked up her favorite knife and started slicing the skin off the chicken." Yum. At least she's wearing a "cream-colored silk shirt and matching slacks [and] a purple-and-gold-striped apron." I can't say I have a favorite knife. I like to be an equal-opportunity cutlery user. Or something.
  • Here we go: "The next morning I got up, pulled on a pair of blue tights, black canvas walking shorts, a long-sleeved, blue T-shirt, and a pair of black flats. I piled my blonde perm up on top of my head and fastened it with a blue stretchie tie." But wait! After looking out the window, "I ripped the stretchie [Fucking a, ghostwriter, they're scrunchies. Duh.] from my hair and let the curls fall around my shoulders. I took off my clothes [oooooooh!] and changed into my new one-piece shorts dress [WHAT THE FUCK IS A SHORTS DRESS?!?!?!?] with the gold,red and green Aztec-style print. I slipped into a pair of light tan woven flats and I was set to go." Both outfits are giving me the twitches.
  • Robert the Boyfriend "isn't exactly model-gorgeous like, say, Jason Priestly, but to me his is simply adorable...His smile just finishes me. It makes me melt, completely." Um. Okay. It finishes her, does it? Sounds vaguely dirty to me. Only vaguely. But still.
  • Damn! She blew her savings on a marble chess set with pieces shaped like Civil War soldiers for her dad's Father's Day gift.
  • Stacey's dad to Stacey: "How would you like to go buy yourself a pretty summery something to wear to dinner tonight? I'll take you to the Lion's Lair." Tiff, to herself: "Is she his daughter or his mistress?"
  • [Also, I don't think it's a real place.]
  • Oh, Stacey. "After an hour or so of looking around, I settled on this super cute flowing pants outfit in a sunflower print against a navy blue background. It had a high waist, cap sleeves, and a scoop neck, and the pants were long and full." It sounds...[gawd, I hate quoting Michael Stupid Kors] very mother-of-the-bride.
  • While fantasizing about going to Paris, she sees herself wearing "a great red beret with something super stylish." That's specific. She decides to save Europe for later, perhaps her honeymoon with Robert. Yup. She needs help.
  • Oh, they go to Davis Park on Fire Island. Which, breaking pattern, is a real place.
  • Some comic relief! "Claudia knows how to personalize a look. She'll combine clothing in a way you might think would be disastrous and instead of disaster she ends up with perfection. [Wow, that sentence is awkward.] For example, today she was wearing a long, black, crocheted vest that fell to her knees over a pair of black shorts and a white blouse with ruffles at the collar and cuffs. Her hair was in two long braids tied with black and white ribbons at the ends. On her feet were black sandals with a thick platform sole and white ribbons which laced around her ankles...The outfit might sound crazy, but it looked great." If I hear that one more time, I might start to believe it. Wait, no I fucking won't. It looks terrible!!!!!
  • Claud (and her parents) get less than a week's notice about the trip. And no one thinks that's odd.
  • "Oh, did I say that Jessi is African-American? Well, she is." So, so nonchalant. So classy.
  • Stacey is just positive that Mal will be a knockout one of these days. I, for one, am not convinced. Also, Stacey is monumentally fucking condescending. In addition to being a bitch. And a liar.
  • What kind of community center pays two eleven-year-olds to be counselors?
  • Mmmm, falafel.
  • Are there really no cars in Davis Park?
  • OOOOH, DRAMA! Claud finds out that Robert's there on the ferry! Drama on the first fucking day! Woo!
  • How is an eleven-year-old getting a paycheck? How could they get working papers? The fuck????
  • Ah, easily "resolved" fights.
  • Meeting Robert before he has to report to the first ferry [It is entirely too hard not to type "fairy."] "What a great way to start the day!" Ass early. Which is when I get up, and I it's all I can do to make it out the door fully dressed and with all necessary keys.
  • There's this whole thing about how Mr. McGill is always hanging out with his friend, Mr. Majors. Holy shit, did I want them to be gay for each other.
  • Claudia winds up spending tons of time by herself working on photography projects and sitting at a pizzeria. Her best friend sucks. Ha ha, mine doesn't!
  • Claud totally calls her on it! "But it feels as if you're just killing time with me until you can see Robert again. And that's not a great feeling." But bitchy Stacey doesn't change her evil ways.
  • Claud about Mr. McGill: "He sure loves Mr. Majors." Heee. So, so gay for each other!!!!
  • Ah, early 90s fashion that is clawing its ugly way into the present: "I pulled on a pair of green leggings and a sleeveless denim top. Claudia wore a pair of wild tie-dyed leggings and an over-sized T-shirt she'd designed and silk-screened herself. She'd painted a flock of birds flying diagonally across it." Okay, so maybe it's not entirely trendy now, but it's pretty damned close.
  • Can teenagers eat at the restaurant in the Casino?
  • Wow, Robert's crazy about Stacey. And she thought he just like-liked her.
  • Also, there's a bunch of shit in this book about the technological miracle of the fax machine. I fucking hate faxing. Just set it up so I can email it. Bitches.
  • "I was there in time to see the boat pull into the dock. Robert spotted me from the upper deck and waved. I waved back. (It was so romantic. I thought about long ago days, and sailors coming home from the sea. I imagined myself as Robert's true love, waiting on the dock to greet him. I could easily picture myself in a long white skirt, with ribbons in my hair.)" So...lame...it...hurts. Also, way to romanticize a situation that didn't always end so happily. Ever heard of a widow's walk, sweetheart?
  • What kind of adult offers to take a couple of thirteen-year-olds (sans parents) on a romantic evening sail? Asking for trouble.
  • Stacey's big romantic sail outfit? A "white and blue sundress with a dropped waist and square sailor collar." Cause she's starting kindergarten soon.
  • Mr. McGill is going to a party at Stu Majors's house, and he looks all guilty after talking to "Stu" on the phone. Soooo. Gaaaaaaay.
  • Hee! I used to love Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
  • Haley makes up really violent anti-Vanessa signs. And Mary Anne doesn't stop her. The hell? Then she lets her hang one of the signs on the Pikes' fence.
  • "I wondered if I was to blame for what happened with Claudia. [YES!] I was only trying to keep her happy by spending time with her. [Spending time thinking about being somewhere else.] It wasn't my fault everything had gone wrong. [Actually, it is.] I hadn't meant to hurt her feelings. [Well, it's all okay then, isn't it?] I'd cared about her feelings. That's why I was in this mess to being with." No, hon, you're in this mess because you are a selfish little twat.
  • When we met Mr. McGill's lady friend, Samantha, my first thought was "Damn, it's a woman."
  • Good to know that Stace caught the liar gene from Daddy. But he's an adult, and he's your father. He can lie to you all he wants.
  • Stacey calls Claudia "pigheaded and selfish." Cough. POT. Cough. KETTLE. Cough. BLACK. Cough.  Got that frog out of my throat.
  • So, Claud wants them all to be in this costume parade for the 4th. And she sticks Stacey with the "most ridiculous" costume: "That morning, Claudia had tossed a green dragon costume onto my bed. It was made out of her green jumpsuit. She'd taped triangular green spikes to the back, leading all the way down to a spiky tail made from Claudia's green scarf...blah blah blah." She had a green jumpsuit and didn't make a Dr. Rockzo costume? Criminal. Stacey finds wearing it humiliating. Of course. Heaven forbid she find a sense of humor.
  • I love when ANYONE in these books shows any common sense. Robert: "I think maybe we've been spending too much time together. We're kind of young, and maybe we should be seeing other people." YES!
  • Claud's showing (and selling) a bunch of her pix at a little gallery/shop in Davis Park. And all her pix have retarded titles, like "That's the Way The Castle Crumbles." (Oh, they're all of sand castles.)
  • Why would anyone ever think that Stacey was perfect?
  • There's a bunch of bullshit make-up talk. "Oh, I'll never fuck you over for a boy again!" "Oh, I overreacted to your being a megabitch!" Hugs! [Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.]
  • Stacey & Robert go on a double date with Dad & Samantha. Awkward much?
  • The book ends terribly. "And that's no lie!" SMACK!!!!!!

Phew.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Keep your panties on...

Update forthcoming...I've been having some computer probs, and I have a very different schedule as of last week. So...I should have time this weekend to do an update. And I'm definitely thinking about the offers for books...And the feasibility of getting then or whatever...

And seriously, keep your panties on...You're nasty. Yeah. You can't do that here.