Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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

This was before the mysteries got really out of control and the babysitters were, like, taking down mafia bosses and whatnot. They're good babysitters, Ann, I'll give you that. But you are pushing it with this crimefighter thing, for real. But this one didn't involve any jewel theives or deranged model wannabes (do you remember this book*? Looking at the cover makes my head explode a little.) This is a nice, simple story about Mary Anne's dad losing his marbles after the death of his wife and shipping Baby M.A. to the midwest and then never telling her about it. Okay, maybe not nice, so much.
Looking at this cover makes me think that the whole bowl-cut thing she rocked for the second half of the series was not a wise choice. But seriously, how suspenseful is that cover? She's got a frikkin' Maglite. You know shit's going down if there's a frikkin' Maglite involved.

So apparently Mary Anne lays out her clothes the night before. Unfortunately for us, she laid out "a pink sweater and chinos, with these cute little boots [she'd] just bought." She guesses that you could say her style is "basically pretty preppy." Also pretty boring, M.A.

"Dawn's room was kind of a mess that day. Clothes were flung all over the place. Her jewelry was scattered over her dressing table, and I counted about seven different shoes littering the floor. 'How can you even have any idea of what clean clothes you have?' I asked, shaking my head [in a disapproving schoolmarmish fashion, I'm sure].

'Oh, I know just where everything is,' said Dawn. 'For example, I'm thinking of wearing my denim skirt today [I sincerely hope it does not have a frayed hemline, but I suspect that frayed hemlines are the height of California Casual], and it's hanging on the closet doorknob. And with it, I'll wear my turquoise necklace [add some coral and antiqued silver and you'd have yourself a fan, Schafer], which is behind that book.'"

She should try my method.(That is, oh, maybe one-sixth of my necklace collection. I need to hire someone to follow me around whispering "recession" in my ear at all times, particularly when I'm at Target and those bastards are brazenly flaunting jewelry collections with names like 'global', 'tribal', 'wannabe hippie shit'**, etc.)

Mary Anne had Sugar Snaps for breakfast. Dawn had Healthi-Os. I just thought you'd want to know.

According to Mary Anne, Claudia is a really sophisticated dresser. "For example, that day she was wearing a lacy white top over a solid white bodysuit [I'd like to imagine she was wearing this one instead], a black mini skirt with white polka dots on it, lacy white leggings [I checked Urban Outfitters for an example but ended up getting distracted by these, which you know she would love], and red high-tops. Plus some really outrageous black-and-white jewelry (earrings and bracelets and necklaces [pile it on, baby, you got that]) that she'd made herself out of papier mâché. Claudia's an excellent artist. You should see the portrait she once painted of Tigger."

I'll pass.

"'Stacey and I went to the mall today, and I got the cutest jumpsuit,' [Dawn] said. "It's turquoise, with a wide black belt. Wait'll you see it.'

I didn't say anything, and she just kept on talking. 'Stacey got the same one in pink. I think we're both going to wear them to school tomorrow. Or would that be dumb? Like we were trying to look like twins?'"


Finally, let me introduce you to an insult so scathing it practically [write in something funny here; I can't do all the work].
Yeah. You heard her. "Stacy doesn't know a cactis when she sees one." You can use this. Next time you're at a party and someone drops a drink, just shake your head sadly and say "[Drink Dropper] doesn't know a cactus when [s/]he sees one." When the person you're speaking to asks "huh?" just roll your eyes and walk away. You will be known as a Woman of Mystery. Trust me, works every time.

* photo credit to dibbly-fresh. I bet you thought this was going to be some sort of sassy remark, didn't you.
** hey! Target! Need a marketing mastermind?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hipster Claudia Would Love This:

photo by AJ Fosik (check out the entire collection of beer sweaters here).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

#65: Stacey's Big Crush

This entire book was an exercise in secondhand embarrassment.
Jessi is feeling the secondhand embarrassment as well. If there was a thought bubble over her head, it would read "oh honey no." But Stacey is beyond help. She's wearing a green bow in her hair that matches her dress. She's probably had her hair recently re-permed. She's probably wearing Love's Baby Soft. All in all, she is a hot mess pining over a substitute math teacher who looks like a Ken doll and is following a white tie dress code at a damn middle school dance. Dude, seriously.

I can't help you, McGill, so let's move on.

"She's also one of the two fashion plates of the BSC. The other? Hrrrmph. Yours truly. Okay, I know it sounds snobbish, but all I'm saying is that Claud and I are the most clothes-crazy of the members. We like to follow new trends (and set them, if we can). Claudia likes experimenting more than I do, though. She can throw together the wildest hats and vests and shoes - stuff you wouldn't dream of wearing - and look sensational. She loves to wear her hair in different ways and is crazy about wild-colored barrettes."

It does sound snobbish, Stacey, it does. (See, it's funny because if Claudia had said that I'd be in complete (effusive) agreement. These are the jokes.)

"Then I thought of something extremely important. My clothes. [Validation! I knew thinking about my clothes was extremely important - thanks, A.M.M./Ghostwriters!] I had gone to class wearing an oldish pair of stretch pants and an oversized turquoise men's shirt. Not awful, but not spectacular. There was no way I'd make the same mistake the next day.

I rifled through my closet. One by one, I looked at my best outfits.

Long red gown? Too dressy. Stone-washed jeans (with a knit top)? Too [cobrasnake] casual. Paisley-print stirrup pants? Too faded.

I started the process at 4:35. By 5:05, I found myself staring at a short, rayon challis tank dress my mom had ordered for me. It was navy with white polka dots. The fitted top taped down to a flared skirt, with white buttons down the front. It was feminine, yet comfortable-looking. Absolutely perfect."

Stacey says that she can't wait to tell Claudia about her outfit. Claudia, being fairly practical, is like "Stacey, chill out, this is crazy talk." You can't help her either, Claudia.

"When I told her I was thinking of wearing thong sandals, Claudia suggested instead the new white sneakers I'd just bought, made of eyelet canvas with lace shoelaces.

'Ooh, good idea,' I said. 'Now, what scent does this outfit go with? Should I wear Lauren, or is that too, like, twentysomething?'

'I think it's fine,' Claudia said. 'But, uh, don't forget, Stace. This is a class. Wes is a teacher.'"

I'm not even sure I have it in me to continue with all the navel-gazing and pining Stacey does over the course of this book. It is absolutely hilarious to read from a - to quote Stacey - twentysomething perspective. I wish I could remember what I thought of it while reading it as a kid. Anyway, I'm resorting to a bulleted list, because the fashion (and quotes) just kept on comin' with this work of art.
  • "From my secret psychological study of Wes, I had reached an important conclusion. He preferred dresses to slacks. So on Friday I wore a light, springlike sundress."
  • "I vowed to myself that the next day, Friday, I would wear pants to school for the first time in two weeks. Who cared if Mr. Wesley Ellenburg liked dresses? Besides, how did I know how he felt about clothes, anyway? I had completely misjudged his feelings about me, hadn't I? By the next morning, I had begun to have second thoughts. Maybe I hadn't misjudged Wes's [sic] feelings. Sure, he was a twenty-two-year-old man, but that was still young. Everyone knows boys mature more slowly than girls. Maybe he was confused. Maybe he found it too hard to talk about feelings. Maybe he liked me so much he couldn't find the words to say so. I wore the polka-dotted tank dress to school that day."
Oh girl. I have a book for you.
  • "It was Friday, a half hour before the Spring Dance. Mom and I had gone shopping at Bellair's after school. With her employee discount, she had been able to buy me one of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen."
  • " I stood in the bathroom and admired it. It was a calf-length silk/cotton dress with pastel floral print, a scoop neck, and a shirred skirt that was slit to above the knee on one side . . . Then I checked my makeup in the mirror, slipped on my bracelet and silver hoop earrings, and stepped into my flats. I pulled my hair back and fastened it with a ribbon. I was ready. 'Watch out, Wes,' I said to the stunning blonde in the mirror."
  • "See you at the dance Friday night. Those words kept repeating in my head. He had said them to me. I know it was a harmless statement, but he didn't have to have said it. He could have said 'see you in class,' which had been what he usually said. But no. He had specifically mentioned the dance to me."
  • what Jessi wore: "an indigo blue unitard [of fucking course] with a matching open-mesh oversized cardigan."
At the dance, Stacey makes an ass of herself, to put it plainly. She asks this poor man (god, he's three years younger than me) to dance to some slow song, and he tries to be polite and says that he's winded, maybe the next song. And she actually responds "the next one might not be so . . . slow."

I die.

So of course he has to awkwardly explain to her that 22 and 13 are more different than she thinks, he's a teacher, etc. Finally. But he totally creeps me out by starting off with "Stacey, you are a brilliant, talented, attractive girl . . ." Seriously, is that at all appropriate within the context of that conversation? I want this Miss Carr wannabe kicked out of Stoneybrook Middle School before someone gets pregnant.

And how glad are you that that stupid plotline is done with? And the equally stupid Eyes Wide Shut thing? And can we talk about the sheer homicial rage on Chuck's face at the end of Monday's episode*? That was pretty intense, huh? Would you say that it was more or less OH SNAP inducing than the "I killed someone" scene from All About My Brother?

* and how hot is that Home Video song?**
** and how much do I love asterisks?