Friday, August 29, 2014

So, hey. Guess what?

I'm not actually dead, y'all!

I know, you're probably thinking, "Bitch, I don't care. You totally abandoned us, and left us bereft of snarky goodness." And you would totally be right in thinking that. I am a bad, BAD blogger, and I apologize.

So, just what the hell have I been up to, then? Here's a quick look at my my meager excuses:

  • Most of my time has been taken up by being in charge of getting this built
           Still not totally finished, but the hard parts are done.

  • Taught my six-year-old niece how use a level and a miter saw while working on the set. She is my Mini-Me.
  • Obtained this injury
I know, right? I'm kinda proud of it.
  • Got in SO MUCH trouble with my friends for letting the above happen, and now they all feel like they have to babysit me. Hmmph.
  • Had a totally fantastic geeky time with said friends welcoming Doctor Who back

  • Followed by a rousing game of this
Highly recommended

  • And then a delightfully girly talk with one of my goddaughters and another friend's daughter. They are BSC ages, btw, and I love these girls to death, and they really are mature, but I would have a terribly hard time leaving them completely in charge of other children.
  • And that brings us up to this week, which, in all seriousness, is my Holy Week. You might think I'm being facetious, but I'm truly not. Ready?
          College football is my religion.

           True facts, y'all. I'm not a follower of the "real" religions. This is what does it for me. I have all the same fervor that a tongue-speaking snake-handler has. I just curse at players and refs, and the only animals involved are mascots. My team is the Longhorns, but I love ALL college football. I will watch literally any game that is on, anytime. And everyone knows that the first full Saturday of college ball (which is tomorrow) is the day I call my Christmas. I'm looking at approximately 17 hours of football related viewing. I can't wait!

So yeah, that's what I've been up to. I've enjoyed my break, but I miss writing the blog. So, I'm looking at starting back up again next week. Not everyday, there are still theatre type things that must be done, but a few times a week.

BUT, before then...don't forget that Monday, September 1st, we have what is sure to be a cinematic masterpiece, the Lifetime Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story coming up! And you know I'm going to be live tweeting the shit out of this. So join me, won't you? Preferably with an alcoholic beverage of your choice.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Boo. And. Bullfrogs.

Bleh, bleh, bleh.

Y'all, I am a sucky blogger. Two real posts this week? What. The. Fuck?

This week got surprisingly busy. And really, I'm heading into a really busy time. Plus, we're going into MY personal holiday time of year. Not religious, but the same fervor.

So what am I saying? Am I just leaving you hanging, like Dawn loves to just up and leave the BSC? Well, hell no! I just can't promise any sort of consistent schedule, for probably the next couple of months. But I'll still be here, reading and blogging away. It's what I do. And I know ya'll have become addicted to me and my blogging charms.


So, thanks for sticking with me. I'm really loving doing the blog, and knowing y'all think way too hard about fictional characters along with me.

And in case you're curious about what I'm doing away from this, follow along on the Twitter. I'll probably be all over that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

BSC Mystery #5: Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic

By Ann M. Martin, ghostwritten by Ellen Miles. Published August 1992.

Y’all, this book. I don’t even know. Is it really so much a mystery, or a mind-fuck?

Mary Anne wakes up from a really weird dream. She’s a very small version of herself, on a porch she doesn’t recognize, with two older people she also doesn’t recognize, holding a kitten, calling for her Mama. Mary Anne, that is, not the kitten. She doesn’t know what the dream means, but it bothers her all day.

The entirety Stoneybrook Elementary is working on a really kickass project. They’re having a Heritage Day, and every class in the school is doing something different. Some are doing skits, some are learning songs, one is even doing a historical Stoneybrook newspaper. Y’all, I would have been all OVER this shit. Hell, I still would.

Charlotte’s class is doing family trees, so when Mary Anne sits for her, they go through a big box of her family’s history, with photos and all sorts of things, including a diary of her great-grandmother’s. Fuckin’ A’, Charlotte! I’m like, genuinely excited for her. Mary Anne is, too, but it also makes her a little sad. She realizes she knows nothing about her own past and family like this.

But does she take the obvious path, and talk to her father about it? WELL, HELL NO! She is a member of the BSC, after all. She does remember her dad taking some boxes up to the attic when they moved in, and so decides to head up there and snoop around. And she finds what she’s looking for quite easily. She finds pictures of her parents wedding, which is cool. And then she finds an album of baby pictures of her, which she’s never seen before. And later in the album, she sees pictures of herself with the old people from the dream! Say what?!?! Time to move on to the box of correspondence.

So, yeah, it’s a whole bunch of letters from her maternal grandmother, Verna Baker, in Iowa, whom she has never heard of. And oh, yeah…Mary Anne totes lived with them for a year after her mother died. Mary Anne is so shocked by this news, that her father could just give her away, that she can’t continue reading anymore.

She does get back to them however, and learns that her father did at least want her back, even though the Bakers don’t want to return her to Richard. There seems to have been a bit of a fight, but of course, Mary Anne ended up back in the ‘Brook.

Mary Anne is so traumatized by all this news, that she is totally out of it in the rest of her life. And of course, she just doesn’t tell anybody. Because she’s ridiculous. Her friends all know something is up, but don’t press her. They probably think Tigger lost a whisker or something, and don’t want to deal with her waterworks.

She finally decides to tell Logan, and is waiting for him to call her back. The phone rings, so she picks it up, but so does her dad. So Mary Anne just totally listens in. I guess it’s a good thing, because the caller just happens to be Verna Baker. She tells Richard that her husband died the week before, and they were both upset at him not seeing Mary Anne before he died. So now she wants Mary Anne to come to Iowa. Richard says no, and Verna says she won’t take no for an answer. Damn.

Mary Anne, of course, bursts into tears. Dawn comes in, and so Mary Anne finally tells her, and they talk about it all night. Mary Anne wonders if her grandmother has any sort of legal claim to her. And she eventually ends up telling Kristy and Claud, and then Logan and the rest of the girls.

After having to take Charlotte to a parent-child picnic (what exactly does Mr. Johansson do that keeps him so busy?) and seeing all the kids with their moms, Mary Anne fucking finally works up the courage to talk to her father. ABOUT DAMN TIME! And what do you fucking know? It’s no big deal! Richard is surprised to hear her asking about her grandparents, and to find out all she’s learned in her snooping, but he’s not mad or upset or anything. Just tells her what she needs to hear.

When his wife died, Richard was so devastated, he knew he couldn’t take care of Mary Anne very well. So he did ask the Bakers to take her for a while. But once he was better, he wanted Mary Anne back. There was a custody battle, but it didn’t go badly. Everyone really knew it was right for her to go back. But everyone also agreed it would be too painful for the Bakers to see Mary Anne again; she’s so much like her mother. Which doesn’t make a bit a sense. Why did they want to keep her in the first place, then? Anyway, Verna isn’t trying to take Mary Anne back, she simply wants to see her.

A few days later, Richard gives Mary Anne a letter written by her mother, to be given to her on her sixteenth birthday. But Richard thinks it’s the right time now. It’s a very nice letter, and Mary Anne cries, of course. But now I’m going to get all judgey here on a dead woman. You were well aware you were dying, and all you left your baby daughter was a three-page letter to be opened sixteen years later? Nothing to help her through the time until then? Yes, I may be a terrible person, but it’s what I wonder. Whatever, Mary Anne’s happy, and thinks she’d like to plan a trip to Iowa.

So, the kid plot is all about Heritage Day, and various kids working on various projects, with various sitters helping them. Here’s one bit that bothers me. The Pike triplets learn about Old Hickman, and are utterly fascinated, even dragging Stacey to see his gravestone. They act like they’ve never heard this story before. What? I know Buddy was the main kid in #29, but the triplets were the ones who busted the damn trunk open, and Mallory was the one finding everything. Did her brothers really know NOTHING? And they even bring up Sophie a few times later on, so it’s not like they’re acting as though that storyline never happened. But it’s just said the painting was found in Stacey’s attic. No mention of Mal. Of course not. Ann hates Mal, after all.

o   Can we just talk about how ridiculous this whole thing is? Did Mary Anne seriously have NO curiosity about ANYTHING before now? Was she really so worried about upsetting her father a bit to learn about her family and history? Who doesn’t ask a few questions before they’re thirteen, even without having lost a parent or something? It’s all just SO fucking weird to me.

o   Mary Anne has never even been to her mother’s grave! WTF?!

o   So, I consider this (weird) storyline pretty big in Mary Anne’s whole storyline. And it comes up again. So I find it very strange that they chose to put this in a Mystery book, which I doubt was as widely read as the regular series. I have no numbers to support that, though.

o   Just…the coincidences for everything to line up just right for this book simply kill me. To go from Mary Anne’s dream, right to Heritage Day, right to her grandmother’s call. All together in a span of few weeks? Whatever.

o   Jessi puts Mal’s hair into a bunch of tiny braids, telling her it will look really cool after she sleeps with them in. Does that work very well with curly hair? It makes my super straight hair frizzy, so I don’t know about it working with Mal’s. We never hear how it turns out.

o   So, what did y’all think about this? If they fuck this up, I will lose my mind. You don’t mess with Meg Murry, bitches! I do love Frozen, though; I just don’t have kids, so I haven’t heard it 10,000 times.

Monday, August 4, 2014

BSC #56: Keep Out, Claudia!

By Ann M. Martin. Published August 1992.

These outfits are all shockingly close to those described, so keep
that picture in mind.

And now, for a Very Special Episode of The Baby-sitters Club.

Everyone rejoice! The BSC has new clients, the Lowells! And when Mary Anne sits for them, she is utterly charmed by Caitlin, Mackie, and Celeste, who are dressed just perfectly, and ask a lot of very curious questions. Mary Anne lets them watch the evil TV (!), but I guess because they’re looking for Leave It to Beaver, it’s not a problem. Mary Anne helps Celeste draw, but looks up when she hears the older two giggling. They couldn’t find the Beave, but there are a couple of Asian kids onscreen. Mary Anne doesn’t get the funny, but just shrugs it off.

Mary Anne had such a great experience, Claudia is really looking forward to her own job at the Lowells’. She even arrives ten minutes early. But when Mrs. Lowell opens the door, she gives Claudia the big once-over, and is obviously displeased. Claudia figures she must just be dressed too wildly. She turns on the charm to compensate, but Mrs. Lowell seems reluctant to leave. Once she finally does, Claud gives Caitlin and Mackie a snack. After they eat, they run screaming through the house, the complete opposite of the little angels Mary Anne made them out to be. They’re rude and demanding the entire job.

The next time Mrs. Lowell calls the BSC, she asks to speak to Kristy, and asks her if she can have any other sitter than Claudia. Bitch, please! Claudia is crushed and confused, of course, and starts questioning her sitting skills.

So in lieu of Claudia, the club then sends out Jessi to the Lowells’. But when she arrives, Mrs. Lowell won’t even let Jessi through the door. She gets one look at Jessi, and says she made a mistake; she doesn’t actually need a sitter that day, and shuts the door. Jessi is quite upset, and cries on her way over to Mal’s house.

Everyone is totes confused as to what the hell is going on. Mary Anne is scheduled for their next job, but Kristy asks if she can take it instead, to get to the bottom of it.  She prepares very carefully, even wearing a skirt. But after giving Kristy the customary once-over, Mrs. Lowell seems quite pleased with Kristy, and welcomes her in. Kristy tries to find out what is going on, asking if there have been any problems, but Mrs. Lowell just insists the kids adored Mary Anne, and gets cut off by the kids before she can give an excuse for the Jessi brushoff. Kristy tries some gentle probing with the kids, and they call Claudia the “funny-looking one.” Charming. Then they just about choke to death when Kristy tells them about a sitter they never saw, who happens to be African-American. Through their sputtering, Kristy manages to get something like “that’s why Mommy didn’t like her.”

So, it FINALLY occurs to one of them as to what might be happening. And Kristy does something I thought she was fundamentally against. She actually chooses to talk about her problem to the adults in her life!


So she tells her mom, Watson, and Nannie that she thinks the Lowells may be racist, and explains everything that’s been happening. And they can’t deny that it does seem to appear that Kristy’s suspicions are right, even though she desperately wants them to tell her she’s wrong.

When Kristy tells the BSC of her suspicions, everyone is horrified. A racist in our very own Stoneybrook? Claudia, who has apparently gone thirteen years without experiencing any racism herself, is particularly scandalized and hurt. But Jessi’s all, “Eh, it happens. Been there, done that. It sucks, but you shouldn’t be surprised by that shit.” I’m sure you’re all well versed in 90’s VSE’s in TV shows and books, so I’ll spare you the ensuing conversation.

Claudia then talks to her family about what’s going on! What is happening? Good job, girls! Janine informs Claudia about the Japanese internment camps during WWII, and Claudia is shocked that that could happen to her own people in her own country.

THEN, that racist bitch actually has the nerve to call for another sitter, this time specifically requesting a blonde-haired, blue-eyed sitter. Bitch has balls, I’ll give her that. Despite having two in stock, Kristy tells her they’re all out. She suggests Logan, who is a boy, and Mrs. Lowell quickly shoots that down. Kristy tells her she’d do it herself, but she’s sitting for her adopted Vietnamese sister. Mrs. Lowell tells her she doesn’t need a sitter after all.

I’m going to speed through the B storyline, because I really don’t love it. Thanks to the Rodowsky boys, Claudia gets a Great Idea™. Kristy, wtf is going on here? You’re majorly slacking in the idea department lately! But I still love you from earlier, so I’ll let it slide.

Claudia’s idea is to have the kids form a band, with all the kids in town, of course. A few of them actually play real instruments, the others can play kazoos and “drums”, and a few will sing. It’s decided they’ll learn songs from Annie, so the Perfect Perkins girls totally own this shit. After they’ve done a fuck ton of work, Jackie decides what they actually need to be learning is all the songs from Fiddler on the Roof. They also need a name, and he comes up with All the Children. And they’ll put on a show! I should have been counting how many different shows the kids put on throughout the series.

The Lowell kids are part of All the Children, but when Mrs. Lowell hears they’ve changed the program to songs about Jews, she quickly pulls them. On the day of the performance (which of course goes GREAT) however, the girls see Caitlin and Mackie watching forlornly, and disappearing quickly.

o   Their naiveté in taking so long to consider racism is actually kind of sweet, I think. And so different from later Jessi, who jumps to the racism conclusion so quickly, including thinking her own BFF is suddenly prejudiced. Not Jessi’s finest moment.

o   Kristy sits for her brothers and sisters, since everyone else in her family are busy. Her mom and Watson are out “looking for a day of peace.” Seriously, Watson? I know Karen is a handful, and it does seem like Karen and Andrew are always there, but they’re really not. You only get to see them a few days a month. So maybe save your “days of peace” for when you actually don’t have a chance to spend time with your children. Yes, I’m being totes judgey.

o   Is everyone in Stoneybrook so damned charmed by children? The band practices in the Newtons’ backyard, and you can hear them from all over the neighborhood. I would personally be calling to file a noise complaint. And get off my lawn!

o   During their VSE discussion, they all come up with reasons as to why someone like the Lowells might not like them. Mary Anne starts fucking crying because she’s afraid skinheads will come after her because some of her ancestors were Russian. Jesus, Mary Anne. Get it together.

o   Y’all, I love Bustle, but this article got a bit of a side-eye from me. OBVIOUSLY we haven’t all forgotten about all of these series. However, I do admit to having not even heard of some of these, and to also forgetting I actually have some of the Pen Pals series. They’re seriously ridiculous. So maybe tomorrow…