Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Being Robert Pattinson's Sister...

has to suck. Not only is making out with him frowned upon, but I'm sure she has friends that want to hang out (or move in) with her, just to catch a glimpse of her gorgeous brother. However, what must stink the most is acknowledging the fact that your bro is prettier than you. It's okay, Lizzy. You would have to be Giselle or some other super-hot model-esque type to NOT have Rob eclipse you (pun intended) in the beauty department. The man isn't normal. He's downright pretty, so it's okay that you look a little trollish standing next to him...we all would!

Sex and the City 2 Trailer!

I loved the first movie, and I hope the second is just as good. May 28th, 2010 is the release date, and I will be eagerly antcipating catching up with Charlotte, Carrie, Miranda and Samantha, but I certainly could do without any Miranda/Steve naked scenes. That was a little TOO much SATC for me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who Wants to Buy Me This Shirt for Christmas?

The perfect shirt for me, the English major who sucks at Math! I wear a Women's size Medium, thank you very much! This site (http://www.mentalfloss.com/) has so many fun shirts, and I think I may be turning many of their images into classroom posters. It will at least require some of my 8th graders to look up the terms in order to get the joke. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Out, out, damned spot!" Ha, ha!

Perfect! This beats my "raining cats and dogs" example
Extreme exaggeration - hyperbole

Great vocabulary poster for our tone and mood words.
Nothing like beating a dead horse with this final shirt....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reality Show to Begin Filming in 'Twilight' Hometown

Forks, Washington is definitely on the map. If you haven't heard of this small, Washington town then you've been living under a rock. MTV reports:

"We already looked at how the franchise saved the small town from economic hardship. And documentary filmmakers recently turned their lenses on the logging community for the film "Twilight in Forks," which will be released on DVD alongside "New Moon." So it seems like the next logical step is a Forks reality show, right? Anyone?

A casting call has gone out for Forks residents (yes, you must permanently live in the town!) to try out for a proposed reality show, reports the Forks Forum."

There's no telling what the reality show will cover, but I know I would watch it. It may seem pathetic, but I'm very interested in visiting that area and would love learn more info about it! How about they host a reality show in which they plant Robert Pattinson in a remote part of the forests around Forks, and have rabid fans call upon their survival skills in their quest for RPatz? That might be too brutal and bloody for cable television!

Brittany Murphy Dead at 32

Hollywood is losing young stars left and right. From Heath Ledger to DJ AM, it seems like every time you turn on your TV or computer, you are hearing about another star passing away. Brittany Murphy was in great movies like 'Clueless' and '8 Mile', but what is so sad about her passing is that we will never know what she would've accomplished down the road. I'm sure she had plenty of opportunities to add to her resume. I'm sure we will find out what caused her cardiac arrest, but until then, lets just wish her family our deepest condolences. I'm sure this Christmas will be most tragic and heartbreaking for them! Click on the pictures below for a link to Entertainment Weekly's photo montage of Brittany's most important roles.

Digital Books Can't Do This:

Digital books are all the rage this holiday season, from the Sony Reader to Barnes & Noble's Nook - they are THE hot item for book lovers. I also have a digital reader that my husband scoured Lubbock for last year. He woke up every morning, calling Target to catch their next shipment of Readers that had been sold out for weeks and weeks. I love my Reader. It is slim and light weight and currently has over 300 titles in it. I can put it in my purse and read while waiting in the long check out lines at the grocery story, or while getting my oil changed.

However, that does not mean that I have given up paper books. I love the feel of the pages, the weight of a big book in my hands, and yes....even the smell of them is enjoyable. The reason I know that paper books will never be completely obsolete is because of the pictures I'm sharing with you below. It's been four years since my grandfather, Joe Mitchell passed away after battling cancer. Four years later, I still think about him every single day. The holidays make it doubly hard to not think about him. For Christmas it became a sort of tradition after I was in college to buy him books. You couldn't tell by looking at the big, burly man that he loved to read, but he did -especially Westerns and I would buy him three or four every year. When he passed, I didn't know what I wanted to take of his to remember him by. My mother took his rough flannel shirts that would scour my cheek when I would give him a hug, and my sisters each took things that meant something to them, but I took one book. One. It was the last Western that I bought him, and I don't know why I only took that book, because he had a huge collection by the time he died. I found out two days ago why I did pick that lone, solitary book.

I was pulling out books from my cabinet, in a vain attempt to organize my chaotic shelves and stumbled across that ONE book. Grief is a funny thing. It ebbs and flows like the tide and come crashing down on you like a tsunami. I sat there, with that book in my hand, piles of books and papers around me and began thumbing through the pages. I hadn't even opened his book until that moment. Inside, there was nothing that would matter to the casual observer that happened to pick it up in a used bookstore, but to me, those pages contained my Pawpaw. I found coffee stains, and greasy smears from his fingers and it brought me right back to his living room and I could see him laid back in his recliner, book propped up on his belly, probably snacking on Spanish peanuts and having him a cup o' joe while reading into the wee hours of the night. I stuck my nose deep into the pages and I could SMELL my grandparent's home. A smell that can't be described and can never be duplicated. I sat there for a long time, crying like a baby (much like I'm crying now as I type this) and it dawned on me the power that paper books can have. No digital book can imprint memory like a paper book can. How lucky am I that I have a tiny piece of my Pawpaw to keep on my shelf and visit whenever I feel the urge?
It doesn't look like much. It isn't even a hardback book and probably only cost me ten bucks whenever I bought it for him, but to me, it's priceless.
His coffee stains made me laugh out loud, then cry like a little girl. I guess my klutziness isn't all my own, eh, Joe?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lily Collins as Katniss Everdeen?

I may be fed to the Muttations for recommending this actress as Katniss, but I recently saw The Blind Side and thought that Lilly Collins did a fantastic job in that film. She is beautiful and striking, but also possesses the athletic build that would be needed to play Katniss Everdeen. I know that it is so difficult to cast Katniss because she is such a prominent figure in our minds. We have a certain image of Katniss and it will be EXTREMELY difficult to find an actress that fits the mold that millions of readers have structured. What do you think? Would Lily Collins make a great Katniss Everdeen? Yay or Nay?

Remember the hoop-lah after Robert Pattinson was cast as Edward Cullen? I do! I was one of the naysayers but eventually learned to love Catherine Hardwick's choice for EC. I can't imagine anyone else as Edward, and would disown the franchise if they recast him for Breaking Dawn. So before you shoot me down, picture Lily Collins with a bow and arrow, dodging balls of flame and avoiding the deadly stings of trackerjackers!
Want to read more opinions for who should play Katniss? Check out this post!

'True Blood' Casts Were-panthers, wolves

HBO's True Blood has recently cast the roles of Alcide and Crystal, both prominent -panther/wolf characters in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse Series books. This must mean that the new season will begin developing the story lines Harris explored within the Were world. I like how True Blood only uses certain aspects of Harris's plots because I found the books to be a bit underdeveloped. There was TOO MUCH going on within the books and so many opportunities to explore plots that were only touched upon and then left to wither and die. However, I do hope that this season will leave in the Sookie/Eric dynamic that is prevalent in the books. (Shower scene...HELLO???)

*Lindsay Pulsipher as Crystal

*Joe Manganiello as Alcide

"Books I Regret Reading" @ goodreads.com

The Twilight hatred continues as it tops Good Reads blog post about the "terrible books you wasted your precious time reading". I however, found that many of my favorites (The Time Traveler's Wife, Middlesex, The Lovely Bones, Tess of D'Urbervilles) make the list! What does this say about my reading preferences if main stream society typically hates what I love?

Rob Patz 'Remember Me' Audition Tape

The trailer for Robert Pattinson's soon-to-be released film Remember Me ran before the showing of New Moon. Rob looks amazing in the film and is playing a troubled man with daddy issues. I can't wait to see it! Check out Rob's audition tape:

Secrets from New Moon

Chris Weitz shares little details he's put into the film in this slide show from Entertainment Weekly. I think I will be seeing the film for a FOURTH time this holiday season, just to see for myself if I can spot the secrets. Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This Post is for Twilight Fans 18 & Up!

So we know that I'm a little kooky about Twilight, and I found my niche in the the blog Twitarded, because that is literally what I am about the series: Twitarded. It fits me so well. The gals that run the blog are witty as hell and cuss like sailors. They say all of the stuff I can't say on my blog because I review YA fiction, and guess what, that lures young adults to this sight. Oh, well, I can curse in my head all I want to, but typing it will just have to go to my friends at Twitarded.
Back to my point, I was reading their blog today (which has become a sort of indulgence for me) and commented on a recent post "Seven Deadly Sins of Twilight". If you haven't read this post by Jenny Jerkface, you need to do it...NOW! It totally described me during my Twilight-induced high after reading all of the saga books (excluding Breaking Dawn) during my Christmas break of 07'. I was a pathetic loser. It was literally like I was on drugs. All I thought about was Forks, Edward, Bella, and the Cullen clan. It made me remember all of the gooey feelings that come with first love and all that jazz. It made me want MORE! MORE! I tell you! I was also sort of depressed after finishing the books, because I didn't want my Edward Cullen experience to end. So I read them a SECOND time all within a week of finishing them. It was really *bleeping* pathetic. I experienced each and every sin mentioned in Jerface's post. All seven. Hard. As I totally diverge off of the intended path of this post, just know that I more than related to Jenny Jerface's experiences and felt compelled to leave a comment, which led me to a discovery that I shamefully admit is adding more fuel to my Twilight fire: FAN FICTION.
What is "fan fiction" you ask? Well, let me tell you that I had NO CLUE until I began reading the many posts that described how so many of Twitarded's fans have succumbed to Fan Fiction's sweet call. Fan Fiction is a website in which fans can submit their own fiction using the characters from Twilight. For example, if you wanted to know more about what happened during the honeymoon scenes of Breaking Dawn that Stephenie Meyer left to the imagination, then (lucky for you, and lucky for my lack-luster imagination) there are PLENTY of fan fiction posts that GO THERE. Oh, yes, they GO THERE AND EVERYWHERE else you can imagine. If you are ready to go down the sinful path that is fan fiction here are two resources to get you started. I'm like a vampire porn dealer now:
1. http://www.fanfiction.net/ - you must create an account, and then go to Jenny Jerkface's page to see a list of her favorite posts here:
2. Once you are hooked on the temptation that is fan fiction, try this saucy story that is pretty forkin' intense. Go to http://www.twilighted.net/, create an account and choose search, "NC-17 & Breaking Dawn" and it will take you to 'The Honeymoon'. Holy Cow, it is very DETAILED, and I am a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books, so I didn't think any type of "vampire love" could embarass me. I was wrong. I'm thoroughly embarassed! Good luck getting out of your pjs and removing your laptop from your lust-filled face this weekend...hee, hee!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jessica Simpson Dating Billy Corgan? Ewwwwwww....

Dear Jessica Simpson,
Billy Corgan is old. And bald. And creepy looking. He reminds many of Uncle Fester's love child, so why in the world would someone who just finished up a fling with nappy Tila Tequila pique your interest? I know that breaking up with Tony Romo had to be hard, but honestly, he is laughing at you right now. This is not adequate rebound material. Is this the best you could scrounge up in Hollywood? Seriously, Jess? Seriously?

Your Concerned Texas Fans...or those of us who sorta used to like you whenever you were with Nick Lachey and on Newlyweds, but we won't remind you of how royally you screwed that up.

Hunter Parrish as Peeta Mellark?

I've blogged before about the frustrations I have with the lack of information out there concerning The Hunger Games movie. Why is Lionsgate holding out on us? Do they not realize that their is a huge fan base for this book that will double if they would only give us a little bit of information? Every soul that I have peddled this book on to loves it, and with the hype that is surrounding all things "teen" and especially teen fiction, why, oh, why are the marketing execs of this film not capitalizing on this wave of teen love? Anywhoooo, I digress. I meant to show you a few pictures of this hot actor, Hunter Parrish that has been seen on the HBO series Weeds. Don't you think he would make a swell Peeta? Peeta has to be hot, but not pretty boy hot. I think Hunter fits into both of these categories.

Please, Lionsgate, at least release a name or two of actors for Katniss, Peeta or Gale. Sheesh, even a name for Haymitch would at least give me something to mull over until the summer of 2010 rolls around.

Click HERE for a full list of casting suggestions! A great list of potential castings for you to critique...BE NICE! ;)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

My two daughters give me great excuses to see children's movies in the theater. I love Disney, and I've been a fan of Disney princess movies since I could walk. The Princess and the Frog was a beautiful and cute movie that both of my daughters (and myself) enjoyed. Read the review from EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum. She does a much better job of writing the review than I would!

Entertainment Weekly's Review of The Princess and the Frog (Give an "A" Grade)
Young viewers of The Princess and the Frog won't give a croak that the marvelous new 
 adventure from Walt Disney Animation Studios has been created using the same hand-drawn, 2-D techniques that entertained those viewers' Bambi-loving grandparents more than 65 years ago. But adults should: This old-fashioned charmer holds its own beside the motion-capture elegance of Disney's A Christmas Carol, the engrossing stop-motion universes of Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, the CG-enhanced genius of Up, the wonder of 3-D technology, and, indeed, the unique, hand-drawn Japanese artistry of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo as the year's deepest, most affecting, and most inventive movies.

Still, for the greenest or the grayest in the audience, the inclusive story of a resourceful African-American girl in 1930s New Orleans who kisses a frog with unexpected, funny results is its own reward: This A-level, G-rated entertainment is a fresh twist on the classic fairy tale about a handsome prince temporarily out of commission due to a malicious magic spell, a royal catch requiring the smooch of the right kindhearted, risk-taking heroine to restore him to his waiting throne. (As an added benefit, the smoocher gets to stand alongside her royal as his princess.) Only this time, the kiss that the lovely heroine, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), bestows on frog-bodied Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) backfires. He ends up in the same shape that he hopped into — and Tiana turns amphibian too. The patient, beautiful, hard-
working, entrepreneurial young woman is particularly irked because she has no desire to be a princess at all; what she really wants to do is open her own restaurant.

Great swampy mess! The race to restore happily-ever-after order involves a jazz-loving alligator named Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley); Ray (Jim Cummings), a bebopping Cajun firefly; Dr. Facilier (Keith David), a shady New Orleans gent who dabbles in dark arts; and Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), ancient royalty of the bayou magic world with the power to undo Dr. Facilier's treachery. And this being the Disney kingdom under the beneficent creative rule of veteran directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) and composer Randy Newman (Cars, Toy Story), the frolic also includes songs of gumption (''Almost There''), mischief (''Friends on the Other Side''), optimism (''When We're Human''), spiritual uplift (''Dig a Little Deeper''), and 
 the love of something up above — in this case, an evening star (''Ma Belle Evangeline'').

But while little kids laugh at the froggy humor (summed up in the excellent, repeated punchline ''that's not slime you are secreting — it's mucus!''), the firefly antics, and the cute sight of a fat alligator wailing on his trumpet like Louis Armstrong, adult viewers are rewarded with something more moving — a Proustian remembrance of the durable 
 power of Disney at its old-school best. The filmmakers trust in story over special effects, and character over celebrity voices (there are almost none here, save for a brief cameo by queen-of-all-she-surveys Oprah Winfrey as Tiana's saintly mother, Eudora). They steep the movie in colloquial American culture. They offer a sophisticated musical experience (ragtime, zydeco, gospel, Tin Pan Alley) 
 accessible even to the youngest ears. And in doing so, the creative team behind The Princess and the Frog upholds the great tradition of classic Disney animation.

The Princess and the Frog happens to introduce an African-American heroine, a Disney animation first. The story also 
 happens to be set in an idealized New Orleans of an earlier time, a city whose historic beauty and cultural importance will forever be 
 filtered by contemporary adults through grimmer awareness of the natural and man-made disasters of Hurricane Katrina. It's all the more effective, though, that this Big Easy of a movie needs no overt mention of Katrina to move our hearts, and inserts no overt lesson in the history of civil rights to distract from the groundbreaking matter-of-factness of Tiana's equality. What matters is that Tiana triumphs as both a girl and a frog, that dreams are fulfilled, wrongs are righted, love prevails, and music unites not only a princess and a frog but also kids and grown-ups. A

A CAKEWRECK of My Very Own...

I don't consider myself a picky or high maintenance consumer. Actually, I'm more of a pushover. I once left a salon with the worst haircut known to man, near tears, and I told the chick who mutilated my hair that I liked it, just so I wouldn't hurt HER feelings. I'm a wuss about all things that involve me, but I've undergone a transformation since having my daughters and I actually take up for my kids. No, check that, I will mess a fool up for my children! I'm like a lioness, or whatever you call a big, bad mama lion. So when the United Bakery on 82nd and Frankford here in Lubbock, TX, tried to pass this craptastic cake off as what I ordered, I went ballistic! Does THIS PIECE OF CRAP look like the Emerald City to you? Our theme was the Wizard of Oz, yet this is more like the WIZARD OF BLOB. The crappy cake was free, but it didn't stop me from making a scene.
Seriously? It looks like a drunk munchkin decorated it. HORRIBLE.

The ONLY Skit Worth Watching From Lautner's SNL Performance

I love Twilight, but I'm not that rabid of a fan to lie to my readers, so I will honest when I say that Taylor Lautner's performance on SNL wasn't as great as I thought it would be. Not because of Taylor per se, but because of the craptastic writing. I'm not sure who is writing the stuff at SNL lately, but it isn't as good as it used to be. SNL does have a tendency to go through slumps, but this slump has lasted entirely too long. Most of Taylor's stuff was "ehhhh" and there wasn't too much that made me laugh out loud. However, I did enjoy this skit, and of course, it involves Twilight.

Happy Birthday, Taylor Swift!

Taylor turns the big 2-0 this year, and I guess I should be happy for her, but all she does is make me feel like a loser. When I was celebrating my 20th birthday, I was home for the summer after two years of college under my belt, and trying to round up buddies to go drinking. Just a tad different than what Taylor will be doing on her BD, I'm sure. Okay, I'm finished feeling sorry for myself...Happy Birthday, Taylor and please know that you are in good company. My youngest daughter shares a birthday with you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

'The Truth About Forever' by Sarah Dessen

So I'm a few years behind on the phenomenon that is Sarah Dessen. She is one of the most popular YA Fiction authors and has several bestsellers on the shelves of your local bookstore. I was introduced to Sarah through reading her newest work, Along for the Ride and fell in love with her writing style and her ability to create dynamic characters. I've had Dessen novels on my shelves for several years, but have only had a few of my girls pick them up to read. I haven't promoted them very well, but that trend will soon change!

I took home her 2004 hit novel, The Truth About Forever over the weekend, and couldn't stop reading it! I've yet to read a book with so many thoroughly developed and lovable characters. If you love well-crafted love stories that lack the cheese factor, then give Sarah Dessen a try. Her books involve much more than teen romance, as they are true-to-form, coming-of-age novels that any of us who have passed through the awkward (and emotional) teen years can identify with and appreciate. Here is a synopsis of the novel from Sarah Dessen's website.

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She's stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she'll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father's recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother's open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic,insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in awhole new way, and really start living it.

I can see why The Truth About Forever is an ALA 2005 Teen's Top Ten pick and the New York Public Library Book For the Teen Age 2005 . Check it out and see for yourself!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taylor Lautner to Host SNL This Weekend!

Sorry I've been M.I.A. this week. I've been doing my job lately, I guess, and I haven't had the energy to blog. My students participated in my annual Greasers vs. Socs Relay Rumble this week, and at the end of both days, I was bushed! If you haven't read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, get on top of that, stat! We had a blast with the different challenges, and I would love to post pics of my students racing, but the different privacy laws I have to follow are a pain in the ass! Sorry. Anywhoo, I have great news to brighten your weekend! Taylor Lautner is hosting Saturday Night Live on the 13th. Not only do I get to enjoy celebrating my daughter's 4th birthday, but I will also have a night of Taylor and Twilight spoofs to look forward to this Saturday. Yippeeee!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Reason I Can't Help But to Like Taylor Swift...

White girl can rap...sort of:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Top 10 Reasons EW Readers Hate 'Twilight'...Pffffftttt!

Entertainment Weekly recently compiled a slide show of images from Twilight and New Moon with reader comments explaining the different aspects of Twilight that they hate. Again, I really think people are not reading these books that claim to hate the series. Click on the picture for a link to the slide show...what is that song by Mary J. Blige? "Don't Hate on Me" or something like that?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FORKS, Washington - 1000% Increase in Tourism...Ya Think Edward Has a Part in This?

Um, I'm a little hesitant to admit around my husband that I would rather take a vacation to Forks, Washington, than to say, a beach some where. Silly, I know, but apparently, I'm not the only Twilight fan that wants to see the town where Bella and Edward's love blossomed under " a near constant cover of clouds" and rain. The UK Mail reports:

Forks, in Washington, is the setting for a story about the romance between vampire Edward Cullen - played by British actor Robert Pattinson - and Bella Swan - acted by Kristen Stewart.

The movies - based on a series of books by U.S. author Stephanie Meyer - have captured the collective imagination of film goers around the world, sending them to Forks in search of the reality behind the fiction.

There were more visitors during June and July than in the whole of 2008 - unsurprising as Twilight fans can fully immerse themselves in the town's association with the film's characters.
They can visit Bella's school, Dr Cullen's hospital, the police station and have their picture taken with the Forks sign.

Local shops sell 'Bella Burgers' and a Twilight-themed restaurant is set to open.
The coastal town of Port Angeles is where Bella and Edward enjoyed their first date at Bella Italia, fans can eat mushroom ravioli and drink a glass of blood-red 'Twilight wine', produced at a local winery.
There is also the opportunity to visit the Quileute Indian Reserve, home to Jacob.

At La Push, visitors can experience traditional Native American culture, listening to stories and taking part in activities which include drumming classes.

Forks has even created a Stephanie Meyer Day in honour of the author, which falls on the date of Bella’s birthday - September 12.

Tourists are not only attracted by the Twilight link - the Olympic Peninsula region is sandwiched between the Olympic mountains and Pacific Ocean.

It is an area of natural beauty, boasting saltwater shores, alpine meadows and lush valleys.
The peninsula is also home to the temperate Hoh Rainforest and thrill seekers can kayak or raft on the River Hoh.

I want to go! Who wants a Bella Burger and then drive on down to the Quileute Rez? As my fellow Twihards would say, I would be "squeeee"ing all over this town! Check out the "OFFICIAL" tourism page for Forks, Washington check out the Twilight tours the town offers, and other cool places you can visit.
As Eric would say, "La Push...it's La Push," and then I (er, I mean, Bella) would say "Okay I'll go if you'll stop saying that." Can't you just hear the waves rolling in?

Dr. Carlisle Cullen works here.
The now-famous and internationally known (on the microphone) Forks High School sign. Home of the Spartans (and the Cullens).
The people of Forks have a great sense of humor. This sign is in the parking lot of the Forks Hospital.
The face of Forks High School.


Anytime I search the web for more info on Suzanne Collin's addictive series, I hear nothin'. Crickets. Silence. Until today, when what to my wandering eyes did appear, but a little blurb, with hope in the New Year! Okay, poetry isn't my forte, but what I'm trying to say is that the THIRD BOOK in the series now has concrete release date! Whoot-whoot! Scheduled to release August 24th, 2010, we still have a few months to wait. Oh, what will happen to Peeta, Gale, and our beloved Katniss? I MUST KNOW NOW *head spins***eyes roll in back of head*** sorry, for a moment I lost my frickin' mind! I love this series! I'm so EAGER, ANXIOUS, NERVOUS, ZEALOUS, and twenty other adjectives that I can not think of about the release of the third installment. Let the countdown begin...over 8 months! 8 months! I will take a deep, cleansing breath, because I used to think the release of New Moon would never get here, but it came and went, and I will at least have Eclipse to get me through until August.

Barbie! Do You Recognize These Beauties, Girls of the 80's?

While shopping for my daughter's Christmas toys last night, I saw this little beauty and squealed with delight:

BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS! I was five the Christmas Santa brought me this rockin' Barbie. Mattel now has a collection called "My Favorite Barbie" that highlights the most popular Barbies of each decade. I also found another favorite:

My husband didn't understand why I was gushing and jumping up and down in the aisle, but Barbies were the only toy I requested from the time I was five until I was twelve, then I still played with my little sister's Barbies for a few more years on the down low! Check out the Barbie and the Rockers commercial below. Ken's mullet is SEXAAYYYY!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Edward is a Stalker, Bella is a Wimp, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda!

Sheesh. New Moon opened a whole new can of worms for the Twilight Saga by calling national attention to the books and their "anti-feminist plotlines". Entertainment Weekly seems to be beating the crap out of Stephenie Meyer this week! Check out this article about Edward and Bella's love having "all the earmarks of an abusive relationship as defined by a national domestic violence group". Sheesh. Some people are taking a FANTASY FICTION book way too seriously. Teen girls are not morons (well, don't get me wrong - there are a few dipsticks in the pan, but those gals don't read, anyways). I teach them EVERYDAY, and they know more than you might think. Girls can read a book and understand that the relationship portrayed by Bella and Edward is a fantasy. Trust me, because I have so many of my female students lamenting that they "will never find a guy like Edward", and I honestly tell them that (aside from the obvious vampire characteristics) his gallant behavior is very hard to find. I don't think I'm 100% feminist in everything that I do, but I'm a college educated woman who can take care of myself without a man. However, I LIKE for my husband to take care of me, to look after me, to protect me, and to be JEALOUS of other guys possibly giving me the eye every now and again. Edward is the man that girls crave to find because he does all of those things for Bella (and then some). That doesn't mean that girls honestly believe that they will find the same qualities in a real-life boyfriend. Have you hung out with teen boys lately? It will take you all of 30 seconds to realize that they are NOT EDWARD. Teen girls know that, and it pains them! Critics, let the Twilight scrutiny go. Why can't we all bask in the sparkly glow of Edward and the yummily-cut abs of Jacob, who btw, is not built like your typical teen boy, anyhow, so he should't be considered a "teen", per sey? Didn't he and Bella agree he was 32 or something? Game on!

Twilight Pisses People Off....

It's no secret that I regularly browse Entertainment Weekly's website and comment on the stuff I find interesting. However, I made a comment yesterday on an article that explored the novel Beautiful Creatures (I posted it on the blog here) and the article's author asked readers if we thought BC was the next Twilight. I'm copying and pasting the comments from the EW site so you can see my comment and then the aftermath of my opinion! Whoa! People are such jerks about this series. As my friend Rod said, "literature snobs" are such a-holes...note "James", "Kelsey" and "Anonymous" after my comment (Lenzi). I would like to take these book snobs and smack their dorky asses across their lemon-sucking faces. Just sayin'. They probably can't identify with teen love because they never experienced it in high school, what with their homeschooling and back acne. I need to chill out, but condescending nerds like that irritate the piss out of me!

Lenzi Mon 11/30/09 9:26 PMBeautiful Creatures is NOT the next Twilight Saga. It was okay, but not something that will spread like wildfire. The reason Twilight is so popular is because it is an enthralling read, and will leave you dopey and craving more. Beautiful Creatures did not do that for me. Lena and Ethan’s eternal love was not convincing…in fact, it seemed rather boring and way too much work. For all of the Twilight bashers, I’m not sure why such hatred and negativity exists for the series, but pull the cobb out of your butt. As a middle school reading teacher, I’m thankful for Stephenie Meyer. I have girls (and boys, too) that were not readers before being sucked into the Twilight Saga, that are now clamoring for more books. Twilight helped them figure out that reading can be fun and enjoyable. So stop raining on my middle schoolers parade!

James Mon 11/30/09 9:34 PMTwilight is crap.
Your middle schoolers should be reading something with a better plot, characters, themes, and writing.

anonymous Mon 11/30/09 10:05 PMI don’t know what the deal with English/Reading teachers thinking that gives them an edge on Twilight opinion, but if anything, that makes me think worse of your education if you think Twilight is “enthralling.” The literary equivalent of pop rocks and cola? Sure. “At least they’re reading”? Sure. “My opinion is better than yours because I teach it”? There are bad apples in every profession, dipstick, who’s to say you’re not one of them?

Sarah Mon 11/30/09 10:33 PMI don’t get why some people think that their OPINIONS are somehow “fact”. Everyone is entitled to love what they love, and hate what they hate. And I’m talking about both Twilight fans and non-Twilight fans. I’ve seen both sides act as though their opinions are “absolute truths”, which is ridiculous. They’re OPINIONS.

Kelsey Mon 11/30/09 11:47 PMI’m sorry, but isn’t it your job as a “middle-school reading teacher” to get kids interested in good literature? If you can’t make the material enticing and get your students to relate to it, then I’d say you’re probably not that great of a teacher. But hey, why get the kids to eat their veggies when it’s easier to be lazy and feed them french fries?

Jane Mon 11/30/09 9:39 PMI would hope there’s never another “twilight.”
Twilight is such an overhyped, piece of garbage.
HOWEVER, If there were a film company that would make another YA book , one that’s actually GOOD (like Harry Potter), into a movie, they could have a hit.
Or they could follow Twilight’s footsteps and promote the hell out of it until we’re all forced to succumb to the power of the teenyboppers.
I’m hoping that once the twilight movies end (2011!!),
That some new amazing YA Books will hit it big, and ones that actually deserve the praise.
Twilight just milks off of shirtless men and cheesy merchandise.

Click here to read the rest of the article and the comments. It is crazy how many people are out there that blatantly hate something that is doing a lot of good for my teen readers (and even for people who have been out of their teens for quite sometime)! I know many of my friends have started reading again because Stephenie Meyer showed them they can enjoy a book. I have literally HUNDREDS of students who regularly read because of Meyer's series. As for "Kelsey", who suggests I should be teaching them quality literature, has she ever tried to make a room full of hormonal 8th graders read Charles Dickens or Jane Austen??? Child, PLEASE! "JAMES", "ANONYMOUS" and "KELSEY" can suck a big, sparkly fat one!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Twitarded...Where Have You Been All My Life?

I love Twitarded. It is a fan forum for Twilighters that are not in junior high or going through puberty. Today's post had me laughing until I wanted to hurl, so that's something I think I should share whenever possible. Check out this hilarious video that makes fun of Twilight, and will stay with you for days to come...

Warner Bros. Already Shopping 'Beautiful Creatures'?

This article by Nicole Sperling of Entertainment Weekly's website is claiming that the book Beautiful Creatures that I reviewed HERE has it's movie rights optioned to Warner Brothers. Very interesting! It seems like movie studios are trying so hard to find the next Twilight, but I already told how I feel about that comparison in my review. You can't compare apples to oranges people! There will never be another Twilight Saga, that is of course, unless Stephanie Meyer plans on adding to the franchise. Oh, and Nicole, books have had "trailers" for quite some time now...how long have you been writing about literature for EW? Hmmm....

Warner Bros. on the hunt for the next 'Twilight': Is it 'Beautiful Creatures'?
by Nicole Sperling
Categories: Books, Deals, Film
Tomorrow marks the publication of Beautiful Creatures, a young adult novel from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl that centers on a mortal high school boy living in Gatlin, South Carolina and his love for a very strange girl with some mysterious powers. Her name is Lena Duchannes and she’s trying her best to conceal her powers. Sound intriguing? Well the publishing world has been very kind to Beautiful Creatures with glowing advance reviews. (Little, Brown, the publishers behind Twilight are behind this book.) Hollywood has also been interested in it for some time and the book’s rights have just been optioned by Warner Bros. for writer/director Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers) to develop. Erwin Stoff (The Blind Side) is producing. The book doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow but Amazon and other booksellers have been offering pre-sales on it for some time. Here is the link to the book’s home page and its own trailer. (Who knew books had trailers?) So tell us readers, have you heard of this tale? Does it interest you?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why 'Smart' Women Love Twilight - Washington Post Article Explains...

OH, Man! Finally an article from a 'smart' chick who explains why Twilight is addicting for everyone, even those of us (like myself) who have college degrees and are not 13. My degree is in English, minor in Secondary Education (and an over-indulgence in British Literature...have nearly enough credits in that era of lit to have a double major, but Brit Lit isn't a very marketable degree, so not gonna pay the extra dough to finish it out). Monica Hesse of The Washington Post calls out all of you haters, and dares you to not get sucked in to the Twi-hard madness!

'Twilight,' the love that dare not speak its shame
Good, smart, literary women tried to resist the romantic-vampire phenomenon. And then, alas, they bit.

By Monica Hesse
Thursday, November 19, 2009

We know. You hate "Twilight." You don't want to hear anything more about "Twilight." That's why this is not another story about the "Twilight" or "New Moon" mania, nor will it rhapsodize on the vampire craze, nor does it contain any interviews with Robert Pattinson.

This is a story about shame.

All across the country, there were women who managed to avoid Stephenie Meyer's series about a star-crossed human/vampire teen couple. (Vampire Edward lusts for mortal Bella, but also for her blood; the books are less plot than endless yearning). They resisted the first three books -- refused to read them, didn't know they existed -- and the lunacy that was "Breaking Dawn."

"Twilight" came for the tweens, then for the moms of tweens, then for the co-workers who started wearing those ridiculous Team Jacob shirts, and the resisters said nothing, because they thought "Twilight" could not come for them. They were too literary. They didn't do vampires. They were feminists.

Then something happened: the release of the "Twilight" movie, which last year introduced $384 million worth of audience members to Kristen Stewart as mortal Bella and Pattinson as lust incarnate.

"Prior to 'Twilight,' my favorite books were by Anthony Burgess" and Ayn Rand, says Jenny West, 32, who had never heard of the series until she saw ads for the movie last year. "I bought 'Twilight' [the book] with the full intention of ripping it apart." Then she read it. In one night. Bought "New Moon" the next day. "I was kind of horrified with myself, and I had to keep going." When she finished the last book, she reopened the first one and started again.

She founded the blog Twitarded, to process what had happened to her. She and co-Twitard Debbie Connelly were last spotted soliciting donations to win a charity benefit date with Peter Facinelli, the actor who plays Edward's dad.

Beware the dark side

People, be warned. "New Moon," the "Twilight" movie sequel, opens on Friday. Everyone is vulnerable.

One minute you're a functioning member of society, the next you're succumbing to the dark side, wondering how deep you're willing to go -- and what that longing says about you.

In "Twilight," Edward Cullen waffled between wooing and eating new girl Bella Swan. He chose love. In "New Moon," the darkest installment of the series, Edward becomes convinced that his girlfriend would be safer without him, so he dumps her in order to protect her and then vanishes. Bella, catatonic from the pain, finds solace in Jacob Black, the devoted friend who has just learned he is a werewolf, and their relationship grows deeper, and this description is utterly, utterly useless because none of it gets at what the "Twilight" series is actually about, which is being 17.

It's a time capsule to the breathless period when the world could literally end depending on whether your lab partner touched your hand, when every conversation was so agonizing and so thrilling (and the border between the two emotions was so thin), and your heart was bigger and more delicate than it is now, and everything was just so much more.

"I noticed in that first week of reading that I was feeling things I hadn't been able to feel in a long time," says Lauren Ashlock, 27. She'd avoided the "Twilight" series ever since the 2005 release of the first book, because when she saw the passion of so-called TwiHards, she thought, Wackos.

She relented last year only because she wanted to be an informed hater. She snuck the books into her house, at first reading them in the bathroom so her husband wouldn't laugh. The floodgates opened. "I'd locked away a lot of emotions," she says. "I'd numbed out." It had been a terrible year, with unrelenting job stress, and yet suddenly she was feeling alive again.

The behavior that followed will make perfect sense to someone who has read "Twilight" and seem bat-crazy to anyone who hasn't: Ashlock got three dogs and named them after "New Moon's" werewolf pack. She and her husband traveled to Forks, the two-bit town in Washington state where Bella and Edward fictionally live. When the Ashlocks have a child, they will name it from the novels: "If it's a girl her middle name will be Renesmee, and I don't care if you hate the name because I love it."

The people who have not read "Twilight" do not get it. Worse, they think that what happened to Ashlock could not happen to them. They're so smug, talking about how they once read a chapter of "Twilight" in a bookstore and the prose was just awful. Meyer never uses one adjective when she could use three, and most of the time that adjective is a hyphenate combining "dazzling" and "chiseled."

The people who have not read "Twilight" think they are astoundingly brilliant when they point out the misogynist strains of the series, like how Bella bypasses college in favor of love, like how Edward's "romantic" tendencies include creepily sneaking into Bella's house to watch her sleep, like how Bella's only "flaw" is that she is clumsy, thereby necessitating frequent rescues by the men in her life, who swoop in with dazzling chisleyness and throw her over their shoulders.

In response: We know. We know.

The women who have succumbed to "Twilight" have heard all of these arguments before. They wrote those arguments. This self-awareness is what makes the experience of loving "Twilight" a conflicting one, as if they had all been taught proper skin-care routines but chose instead to rub their faces with a big pizza every night.

A love most 'exquisite'

It's embarrassing, to love something you wish you hated.

Witness the progression experienced by West's mother, who agreed to read the books after her daughter's site went gangbusters:

E-mail 1:

How many times does Bella describe Edward's face as "exquisite?" . . . and that whole scene with Bella riding on Edward's back as he races through the woods . . . cooooorny.

E-mail 2:

Dad and I just finished watching "Twilight" and I must say we both liked the movie.

E-mail 3:

I have a serious problem with ["New Moon"]. My problem is I can't put it down.

E-mail 4:

Where the heck is Edward? The suspense is killing me!

Oh, Mrs. West. Welcome.

Witness the downfall of Sarah Seltzer, a freelance literary critic who also writes for a reproductive rights Web site:

"I wanted to write about the abstinence subtext," Seltzer says, which is why she read the books to begin with. She planned on questioning the allegorical "abstinence only" theme that runs through the series. "But the books are kind of hypnotic, so it's very much that while you're reading them you're sucked in, and then you take a step back and you think, this is kind of troubling. She jumps off a cliff because she misses her boyfriend?" What?!

"New Moon" shows Bella at her most pathetic, and so the grown women who love "Twilight" have methodically come up with rebuttals to the accusations that the character is anti-feminist. Perhaps her single-minded desire for a relationship is actually a Third Wave feminist expression? Maybe it doesn't matter that she's choosing Edward over everything else, as long as it's her choice? Maybe her wish to become a vampire is really a metaphor for asserting her rights over her own body?

Is Bella regressing or progressive? The past or the future?

And Edward -- Edward might be imperfect, might be too possessive, but then why does he still seem so insanely dreamy?

"I remember when the movie first came out," says Mindy Goodin, 36, a special needs teacher in Stafford. "I remember thinking," whoever that boy is, "he really needs to brush his hair."

How things have changed. Recently, when Goodin's 10-year-old daughter wanted to lash out, she did so by yelling the words she knew would cut her mother to the core: "I don't even think Robert Pattinson's cute, anyway!"

For mothers of tweenage girls, there are added complications. Is it sweet or twisted to share the same crush as your 14-year-old? (Taylor Lautner as Jacob. Ahhhhhhh. Only 17. Ewwwww.) How do you reconcile cooing over an on-screen relationship that, if your daughter had it in real life, might be worth a restraining order?

What women want

It's just a movie. It's just a movie. It's just a movie.

It's just a movie -- well, movie and books -- but it's a movie that's come to represent such big things, from the future of girls to what women really want (they want men who will shut up and come to watch "New Moon," and not ask how many points they're getting for the evening).

Men feel perfectly comfortable slathering their chests in greasepaint and screaming like half-naked ninnies at football games, but women too often over-explain their passions, apologizing for being too girly or liking something too trashy.

The grown women of "Twilight" will no longer apologize. They will go to those midnight "New Moon" screenings.

But as for telling them how silly they're being, how Edward is not real and neither is Jacob, how their brains are rotting and their sense of reality is being distorted and this obsession is crazy, just crazy? There's really no need.

They already know.

Fire by Kristen Cashore

Kristen Cashore's first novel, Graceling, is one of my favorite YA novels and her second novel, Fire, is a worthy companion. The novel is a prequel to Graceling and is set in the land of the Dells, where fantastic creatures and beautiful beings called "monsters" coexist with humans. "Monsters" are essentially human but possess great skills, powers and beauty. Fire, a beautiful maiden with blazing red hair, is part monster/part human who finds her gifts of beauty and mind control more of a burden than a privilege. Fire's talents are needed in the kingdom her father removed her from upon the day of her birth, to protect her from the men her beauty can drive into madness. Unable to reject the King's request to appear before the royal family, Fire journey's to the Kingdom of the Dells and along the way, uncovers shocking secrets about her past and the future threats that could rob her of any future in the Dells.

My summary of the book is entirely inadequate because Kristen Cashore has once again created a gripping novel that weaves a tale with so many intricate threads, it's impossible to give her writing a worthy review. The world she created in Graceling is just as compelling and magical in Fire, and I enjoyed learning the origins of the evil Graceling, King Leck. I'm hoping she will release a third book that reveals his rise to power and what became of Brigan and Fire. Fire was romantic and full of action, and I was easily wrapped up in the magical world Cashore creates with her wonderful use of imagery. The men in Fire's world are not your typical hero's painted in novels that involve romance and action. Just like Po in Graceling, I found myself rooting for both Archer and Brigan, and at times, even King Nash with his pathetic puppy-dog love for Fire.

Yes, there were a few things I found too similar to Katza in Graceling; traits that I wish Cashore wouldn't have bestowed upon Fire - like Fire's want to prevent herself from ever having children. If Fire was accepting her talents and beauty and embracing them as "gifts" (the shift she begins to make towards the middle-end of the novel), then why wouldn't she want to have children...especially after finding true love? It's confusing that the two heroines in Cashore's books have to abandon their basic rights as females to be considered brave and worthy of respect. Other than that discrepancy, the novel is supremely fabulous and also worthy of many Young Adult Fiction awards just like its predecessor, Graceling. Check out the book trailer for Fire below!