Friday, April 29, 2011

On Baby-Sitters Club Super Mystery #last: Prologue

Okay, so first, a note: The characters, places, and situations created for the Baby-Sitters Club series are the property of Ann M. Martin and Scholastic. (If they were mine, you know Stacey would have a venereal disease by now.) Everything that isn't real life and isn't Ann M.'s is mine, and if you violate my copyright, I will cut you. On with the show.

Mary Anne.

Saying that I'd gotten the hell out of Stoneybrook nearly fifteen years ago would be overly dramatic. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to cut all ties with my family and my friends in the Baby-Sitters Club; there was no drastic schism. There was just the normal drifting apart that happens to teenagers when they start discovering themselves and following their own paths.

It just so happened that my path involved wriggling out from beneath the overwhelming influence of my friends, my boyfriend, my father, and my small, conservative hometown and finding some room to breathe.

So returning to Stoneybrook to watch my dad and stepmother renew their wedding vows wasn’t as unpleasant a prospect as you might think. I was kind of looking forward to hooking up with my BSC friends, back together for a weekend after years scattered across the country. And I was really looking forward to spending time with my dad, whom I’d been neglecting, and reconnecting with Sharon and Dawn, whom I’d been avoiding entirely for obvious reasons.

I can’t say I expected the events of the weekend—I’d figured the real excitement would involve dresses and flowers, not wedding favors and mysterious cars. But bring these seven girls together and drama is bound to crash the party.

And now I’m writing it all down in a spiral notebook. I guess old habits really do die hard.

Coming up: A sugar-free reunion.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On a shameful new project

Okay, so if you've been noticing the recent dearth of posts and thought, "I bet she has a big project coming up that she's going to announce any day now," you're right! Yay you! (If you've been thinking, "I bet she's totally slacking off": also correct.)

Blame Facebook. (Blame it for everything anyway.) A friend linked to a story about the recently released sequel to the Sweet Valley series, revisiting the beloved characters ten years later. (General consensus: It's nice to see the girls again, but Francine Pascal seems to Try a bit much to turn them into spicy adults.) That led to the inevitable discussion of what the Baby-Sitters Club girls would be up to a decade later. That led to the following conversation:
FOLKS. Oh, my God, you're so funny! This is so good.
ME. Wow, that's really flattering. Thanks.
FOLKS. No, I mean, this is really good.
ME. Thanks.
FOLKS. No, I mean really, really good. Better than the real thing, probably.
ME. I--
FOLKS. I would totally read that book, if you wrote it.
ME. Well, I--
ME. No, you don't.
ME. Jesus, okay, okay!

Word for word, I swear.

Anyway, the upshot is that I'm venturing into the realm of what I will deny to my dying day is fan fiction: You're getting the Baby-Sitters Club, fourteen years down the road, one chapter a week. I'm going to try to post chapters Thursday evenings, and if I don't, someone e-mail me or something. Or e-mail Erin. This is her damn fault anyway.

Coming up: Mary Anne should know by now what she's getting into.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the tragedy next door

Okay, so while I was writing that last, lighthearted post, north Alabama was being demolished by more than 100 tornadoes. I literally had no idea it was going on--our home is completely untouched, and all evening we barely felt a stiff wind, while video shows a tornado tearing through town just north of us. Debris from Tuscaloosa has been found in Birmingham. Fifty-three people--at current count--have died. Entire towns--Hackleburg, Point Pleasant--no longer exist.

I have absolutely no idea what to do. (I'm kind of worthless in the face of natural disaster, it would seem.) But the Magic City post does, thank God, and I encourage you all to follow Wade's suggestions for donating money and, if you're local, time and in-kind items. Those of us lucky--and let's stay with "lucky" and not "blessed"--to avoid that kind of injury need to step up and do whatever we can to ease the way of those who weren't so lucky.

On elaborate millinery and gin o'clock

Okay, so monarchy doesn't do much for me. Weddings I can take or leave. And I haven't really paid that much attention to the British royal family since Prince Harry took over as The Hot One. But what do I love? Pageantry. And hats. And this Friday is going to be the unofficial inaugural International Pageantry and Hats Day as the once-hot Prince William marries the patient and enviably lanky Kate Middleton.

Now, I'm not going to actually be watching the proceedings--ain't no way I'm getting up at 3:00 a.m. to watch news coverage of the not-wedding part of a wedding, and I won't be able to watch the blessed event itself from my desk at work. But I will be enjoying a scone and a cup of tea in the couple's honor, and I will be assembling every available household item into a fascinator that can be seen from space and wearing it to all of my Friday meetings.

In the meantime, here's what will entertain one:

- News coverage of the wedding day by the BBC

- Kate Middleton for the Win. (Why is my champagne hand empty?)

- The honest-to-God, absolutely for-real Queen of England's Twitter feed.

- The Go Fug Yourself recap of Lifetime's original romance, Mother, May I Sleep With Royalty: William & Kate: The William & Kate Story: Inspired by True Events.

- My plans for my own eventual wedding, including a dancing archbishop, a leapfrogging groom, and the now-hot Prince Harry.

And now one must retire to pour oneself a drink and find curling ribbon and feathery cat toys to adorn one's hatband.

On birtherism, misogyny, and… math

Okay, so I'm not sure where it comes from. A few things, probably: a little blowback from all of the attention to Obama's birthplace (note: It's Hawaii. Let it go), a desire to discredit Sarah Palin any way possible, a love for absolutely anything salacious and conspiratorial. But the idea that Trig Palin is not Sarah's son but her grandson is for some reason picking up volume that seems impervious to logic.

An overview: Trig Palin (the one Sarah allegedly made) was born, as far as available evidence shows, on April 18. Tripp Palin (the one Bristol allegedly made) was born December 27 of that same year. Unless Bristol celebrated pushing out a six-pound baby by immediately getting' down and getting pregnant on the first try, and then promptly delivered a 36-week baby who weighed in at more than seven pounds, Trig can't be her kid. Math + biology. If you want evidence even solider than Obama's certificate of live birth, math + biology should do it.

There are two things that bug me about this controversy. One is the aforementioned math + biology issue. I love biology, and I particularly love math--if you want to discard math to support some wacky conspiracy theory, I'll be bugged. And the other is that I'm now forced to defend Sarah Palin. Do you know what that's like for me? Don't you like me? Why would you want me to do that?

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Mashup Monday: Hair-whipping edition

Okay, so for some reason, folks are hating on Willow Smith, probably because of her connection to the rather wacky Will Smith family. Maybe because of her interesting sartorial choices. Maybe because her debut single centers around the incisive lyrics, "I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth/I whip my hair back and forth." It hardly seems fair--she's just a kid. But still, if we're looking purely at the "I whip my hair back and forth"-to-other lyrics ratio...

Thom Yorke? Thoughts?

Thom Yorks/Willow Smith - Whip My Hair

I knew you'd take her side.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

On Friday on Fallon on Friday (on Sunday)

Okay, so here's the backstory: Rebecca Black is a 14-year-old girl in California who's into music. A friend of hers told her about this vanity record label in LA, Rebecca thought it sounded cool, and her mom coughed up $4,000 to produce a music video. The song, "Friday," has since gotten millions of views on YouTube, and charming critiques have gotten thrown around using words like "the worst song ever."

First of all: Not the worst song ever. Hardly. Not in a world where "Yummy Yummy Yummy" went gold.

Second: It really is bad.

Third: The Jimmy Fallon video above is really funny, mostly because they brought in Stephen Colbert, Taylor Hicks, the Roots, and the New York Knicks dancers for their own (let's admitted, pretty crappy) performance to... mock a 14-year-old girl.