Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
To say I am not a morning person is like saying Simon Cowell is just moody. If it were up to me nothing would begin before 10 a.m., certainly nothing so mundane as a job. Alas, the rest of the world does not share my owlish ways and I am forced from bed each morning at
6:00 6:10 6:20 6:30 (the snooze button is the devil). At the butt-crack of dawn there are only two things that get me going: a shower and music. These days the water must be warm, but not hot—it’s already too hot here—and the music must be fast and loud. I dock my iPod onto the speakers in the bathroom, hit shuffle, and get in the shower. Sometimes I’m awake enough to pay attention to the actual songs, sometimes it’s all I can do to keep upright and not drown. (P.S. If this ever happens, my love, please, please put some clothes on me before the paramedics arrive. Thx.) Anyway, today it was the latter, but apparently my guy was paying attention because he burst into the bathroom, laughing his head off.
“This is on your iPod?”
“Uuuhhhh—yeah, I don’t know how this got on there, must have been on some old CD I had. I’d forgotten all about it.”
Lie. Straight up. I love this song. But, alone, in the car with the windows up, where no one can hear me sing it at the top of my lungs. This, my friends, is iPod shame: those little gems in our music list that we would deny to the death we love, while secretly putting them on replay for hours. Cheesy, overly sentimental, ballads and rock anthems alike. We know they suck, but something about them—the beat, a lyric, the memory invoked of that guy with the supersexy shoulder tattoo that summer after senior year—won’t let us send them to music purgatory where they belong. Whatever the reason, we all have them.
In no particular order—because they pretty much suck equally—these are my three (that I will admit to on a public forum anyway):
Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins-- This song is an over-the-top 80’s cheesefest, but when Phil croons the lines “when I’m in your arms, nothing seems to matter, my whole world could shatter, I don’t care” I swear my heart squeezes.
Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett—Need I say more? But it reminds me of hot summers with friends by the pool.
Straight Tequila Night by John Anderson—For this one, I have almost no excuse, other than I was young, this is Texas, and I loved to two-step. Ugh, seeing the video only makes me cringe more:
Tell me, what’s in your iPod Hall of Shame?
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Last week I drove past a pie place with a big sign out front that read "Fill Your Pie Hole!"
Stepping in for our regularly scheduled Contest Wednesday (to return next week, pinky swear!). Plus, I need an outlet for my new TV obsession. And, if you're still not watching, why not??
Okay, here goes...
Episode 6: Queen Bee-atches-- Summary and Review in
500 620 words or less
The least you need to know: Jake (Matty’s best friend and cheerleader Lissa’s boyfriend) kissed Jenna!?! It was awkward…
The Set-up: In fair Palo Verdes, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge (okay, just since the beginning of school, but in teen years that’s ancient) break to new mutiny when Jenna’s mom forces her to “rush” the KnickKnackers—a junior league type mother-daughter charity org wherein, as Jenna so eloquently puts it, “mean girls don’t grow up, they just get older.” Of course, the event is at sadist Sadie’s (And wow, I just made the connection when I wrote that—wonder if that’s deliberate, because awesome. Character naming kudos, Lauren Iungerich!) house and her mom is the lead older mean girl who ultimately decides if Jenna’s mom makes the club’s cut. Ooooh, conflict.
The Sagging Middle: Not to fear, Matty is also present and accounted for, bartending. There’s a sweet moment when he tells Jenna she looks nice, but it’s all too soon kiboshed by Sadie and he never gets a chance to answer Jenna’s request to hang out. Jenna is concerned that Jake squealed to Matty about their kiss, but Tamara (Jenna’s BFF #2) assures her guys don’t talk. Except, dundundun, Jake is also working the party, and after seeing Jenna and Lissa at the same time, becomes a nervous wreck, blurting out his lip-lock indiscretion to an unsuspecting, and now charmingly flustered, Matty. Let the cock-blocking begin—on the dl, of course.
Meanwhile, Jenna and Tamara, convinced that Sadie is the author of the infamous “care-frontation” letter, snoop in her room and abscond with what they think is her diary, but turns out it’s even more personal: Sadie’s food journal complete with caloric intake, missteps and, more importantly, weight, recorded daily. Jenna’s dilemma: return it or take revenge on her nemesis, tit-for-tat styles.
Not surprisingly, her neurotic school counselor, Valerie, is no help, since Jenna is squeamish about blackmail, and prescribes a cat fight as the best solution, though off school grounds, of course. In the hallway, Matty is feeling out Jake for details on the kiss, but in a totally I’m-not-interested-only-trying-to-help-my-best-bro-out kind of way and convinces Jake to let sleeping dogs lie (lay? GrammarGirl, help me!) with Jenna. I love jealous Matty--though, this kind of serves him right.
Back at the ranch, Jenna and her mom have made it to the next rung of the KnickKnacker gauntlet. Then, in a rare moment of serious after-school-special drama, we see Sadie in a emotional confession to her non-sympathetic mom on the trials she suffers with her battle of the bulge. It’s actually quite a heartbreaking and revealing moment, but in the end she still deals with her pain by inflicting it on others. So after deliberately sabotaging Jenna’s mom, Sadie rightly deserves Jenna’s blackmail: KnickKnakerdom for her mom or the journal goes viral. (Also, Ashley Rickards pitch perfect imitation of “You’re Welcome” is amazing!)
Final Act: Sadie obliges and Jenna returns the journal determined to wield the power of kindness, instead of cruelty. Also, Sadie didn’t write the letter. Jake decides he might be into Jenna after all and a mad, undercover texting race ensues between him and Matty for a 1x1 request with her. Unfortunately for Matty, Jake’s the only one who gets a text back. Uh, oh. Powershift in the relationship. Dundundun.
Best Teen Speak: “Mo to the Fo”
Best Jenna/Matty moment: Although Jenna isn't in the scene, when Matty tries to convince Jake (but really himself) that the kiss with Jenna meant nothing and she probably isn't thinking about it or Jake at all. Right?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Over the course of the years I have become an author’s worst nightmare: the fickle reader. Between the magic-behind-the-curtain that daily life requires and my own writing, I have so much less time than I’d like to devote to reading. So, like a kindergartener with ADHD, there’s a very limited window of opportunity for a book to grab my attention and keep it. And because I’m a writer, it’s even tougher for an author to make me forget the mechanics of storytelling, to stop my inner editor from mentally rewriting sentences and picking apart plot holes.
A lot of writing books exhort the importance of the first five pages (there’s even a book called The First Five Pages devoted to it) because that’s about how long a writer has to hook a fickle reader like me. In May, I’d picked up a copy of The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han based on a blog recommendation (and because it sounded like a memoir about my fifteenth summer). The first few pages started out well enough, a breezy read, with a hint that some of my favorite elements (i.e. romantic yearning, an ordinary girl, lost soul hero) were involved, but nothing that was going to keep me turning pages till 4 AM. Until I got to, sure enough, the very last paragraph of page 5 and Ms. Han hit me with this:
Conrad was the older one, by a year and a half. He was dark, dark, dark. Completely unattainable, unavailable. He had a smirky kind of mouth, and I always found myself staring at it. Smirky mouths make you want to kiss them, to smooth them out and kiss the smirkiness away. Or maybe not away…but you want to control it somehow. Make it yours. It was exactly what I wanted to do with Conrad. Make him mine.
Hook. Line. Sinker.
People, I stayed up till 4 AM, hiding under the covers with my book light, until I’d finished. Got up, drove straight to my local bookstore on the way to work, bought the sequel, It’s Not Summer Without You, and stayed up again until the wee hours. Then lathered, rinsed, repeated the next day with the final, just-released conclusion, We’ll Always Have Summer.
This is what a great storyteller does: poses a worrisome question--will the ordinary girl make the lost soul hero, Conrad, hers?—and then dares you to put down the book until you know the answer. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the series, but suffice it to say, this question worried me enough that I got only twelve hours sleep over three days. So worth it.
This series is superb. One of the best—and tensest—love triangles I’ve ever read. Seriously. I usually pick my horse right out of the gate in a love triangle, but this one had me rethinking my choice until about mid-way through the final book. So much so that when I had about thirty pages left till the end, I became so nervous and excited to know how it would turn out, I couldn’t take the anxiety and had to walk around the block before finishing it. I’m not kidding.
If you haven’t read the series, I dare you to pick them up and see if you can make it without skipping ahead to the end to know.
What was the last book you read that gave you goosebumps you loved it so much and stayed up all night to finish?