Up and comings and down and dones

Oh, life.

HA. You thought I was going to quote the entire opening to REM’s Losing My Religion, but I’m NOT because that song is NOT the boss of me, and I’m singing it in my head anyway because the lengths that I will go to. The distance in your eyes.

headdesk

And so anyway.

If you guessed that what follows will have nothing to do with this preamble, congratulations. You know me well.

FIRST. Up and comings!

This Saturday, August 18th, at 1pm, I’ll be meeting readers (one hopes) at Indigo Dix30 in the Montreal area!

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This is my first Montreal appearance, and since MEM is set in Montreal and all. It’s a whole thing. You should come and take selfies with me, or whatever.

SECOND. The down and dones, but still super excitings! I am so happy that my PBS interview finally aired, as well as my Great American Reads recommendation spot, and the primary school age Bethany who stayed up to watch Masterpiece Theater is finally in awe of me! Like, LOOK.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Such fun. And hush, yes, of course I’m gonna share the vid as well!

First my spot!

And finally, the interview!

Some day I’ll be able to share the footage from my Books Are Magic event in Brooklyn, during which I had an awesome conversation with Jenn Baker, but alas. It is a huge file and I have zero idea how to share it well. One day! xx

We Need To Talk About Jurassic Park

“Now we all know the thirteen stripes are for good luck, but why does the American flag have exactly 48 stars?”*

Hi, and welcome back to I will be your immediate bff if you use random, well-placed, hopefully obscure Simpsons quotes.

For instance, last time I was at a not-my-book-event and someone said, “Don’t you hate pants?!” and I almost kissed them on the mouth.

But on to super important things.

I recently(ish) saw the latest Jurassic Park movie – which my son exasperatedly keeps reminding me is Jurassic World, but like, shuttup, kid, you’ve been on earth for like a minute and stuff existed before you – and since it was only slightly better than the beleaguered third Jurassic Park film (you know the one where Tea Leoni won’t stop yelling and running despite no fewer than four people immediately being brutally destroyed by dinosaurs and an expert telling her to not do that)…. it feels like we need to finally talk about Jurassic Park.

But first: a walkabout. (This is me, friends.)

#5’s first and most egregious offense was using Jeff in the trailer when…it literally showcased the entirety of his involvement. Sucks to your asmar, jerks.

Secondly, it … wasn’t super smart. Again, it’s no worse than Jurassic Park 3: The One With Tea Leoni, but since that was the previous Definite Worst One, that’s not saying much. Like, what the franchise has going for it is that each movie has some additional trajectory or revelation, usually to do with raptors. A big issue with #3 (and something that happened in #5) is that, while that “something necessary” is still present, it largely became a horror/monster movie. I mean, the big, ridiculous mouth in the plane scene? Who. Why. How come.

Also this:

Jurassic-Park-3-7

I mean.

::deep breath::

Okay, but we were supposed to be talking about #5. Wait no, we’re supposed to be talking about the whole franchise.

Things Jurassic Park Does Well:

(1) Characters: First of all, shout out to B.D. Wong for holding it down as the scientist/innovator who is really not tryna worry about the consequences, yo. He is singlehandedly handing the planet over to ever-wilder dinos, and I love it.

The fact that there are always kids, and they’re always smart. Unrealistic? Sure. But since these kids are always in the proximity of the scientific community involved in bringing dinos back to life – and since they never cease to be kids – I’ll allow it.

Full disclosure: they didn’t really do great with Dallas Texas Ranger’s character tbh. She has a complete lack of backstory, actually, which. Huh. And I literally cannot remember if Dallas is her first or second name, help me out. I can’t be arsed to google.

(2) Have a bleak enough view of humanity to sell that yep, we’d still be doing this, even after what the world saw in the first movie. Going into #4, I was like, HOW. WHY. And then, as soon as it started, I was like, naw this tracks.

Reasons Jurassic Park Is Ludicrous:

And it’s not because Michael Crichton never really explained how we got from point dna in amber to point dino egg.

My issue with JP is the completely self-aggrandizing, narcissistic assumption of dinosaurs’ preoccupation with humans. 

Like. We are just REFUSING to live in a world where a dinosaur might pass us by because we are simply not sustenance enough to warrant the effort. We will not ABIDE the concept that if LARGEST POSSIBLE DINOSAUR had scores of its natural food source available and had NEVER SEEN A HUMAN, it might not recognize us or be interested in investigating our existence, much the way we don’t stop every bug and destroy it in creatively grotesque ways knowing we would need to eat them nonstop for hours to be sated.

WHO HAS TIME TO HUNT HUMANS?! Whom?!

It’s the same issue with like every skynet movie. Artificial intelligence would SURELY immediately turn homicidal and try to kill us because WE ARE THE MOST INTERESTING MAN ALIVE.

I dunno.

I’m over it.

In conclusion:

(1) Jurassic Park

(2) Jurassic World

(3) Lost World

(4) Fallen Kingdom ties with Jurassic Park 3.

I will likely switch second and third place for the rest of my movie-watching life.

*The opening line of this post had literally nothing to do with the title or the topic, and I can’t honestly defend its inclusion. Stream of consciousness, kids.

Hey, Bethany. Stop hitting yourself.

Once upon a time, I cried laughing when I realized I’d saved a gift set of Burt’s Bees products for dang’on ten years because why wouldn’t I do something like that. It looked nice. Therefore I did not open anything, but kept it for the SPECIALMOMENT. Only when I opened everything. Yeah. It was borderline rancid. I took rather a good talking to when I admitted this on Twitter. Particularly when I got to the part where I still wasn’t throwing certain items away, but I WILL acquiesce and let the citrus-basil-something-or-other lotion go and I guess it’s not a good sign that it’s brown and wasn’t it like a pale orange when I first got it? But I tried it and it didn’t burn very much so I think they were overreacting. And also maybe just wanted my goodies.

That was before today. Today, I’m…mildly concerned. For myself. And my hoarding tendencies. And I’m only gonna show you these things because ….. hmm. I’ll get back to you on the ‘why’.

So as we do every couple years, the hubs and I have been purging our storage closet. This helps me deny my tendencies. Until you go through the “keepsake” box of the things too important to get rid of (so they get put in these bins and then the bins get neatly stacked so I win at life and oh no, this sounds like something from an episode of the show who shall not be named). And in my HIGH SCHOOL keepsake box? Aside from every letter/note passed even though I have to think a long time to remember about 25% of the note-givers. ::facepalm:: WHY is history so hard for me to part with? What accurate portrait of myself do I think my descendants will have by reading notes from people I CANNOT AT THE AGE OF THIRTY REMEMBER?!? Come on, son. Snap out of it.

But please remember. The following items…are from the high school box.

What you’re lookin’ at: a bag (an empty, run-of-the-mill this-is-what-your-purchase-came-in baggy from Sanrio); an opened sleeve of tissues; a small notebook.

What you’re not lookin’ at: the unopened Pochaco printer paper, still in pristine condition…and still being kept; the Pochaco coffee mug…which is obviously in the kitchen cabinet; the unused Keroppi stationary which I gave to my son to keep from having to throw it away.

Mama had a problem. I also came upon these tiny rubber stamps from the same store. O_O I feel like I need to remind you that I’m now thirty and these things were still taking up room in my house. …And that I did throw those pictured items away but only after taking pictures and herein immortalizing sweet mercy of heaven I see the problem now!

But you’re like, hey, even though you’re pretty sure this stuff was purchased in 1994 or 1995 which means you weren’t in high school, you were in junior high so. Close enough.

Come’ere, honey. There’s more.

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I was not in high school when I used this. Actually – full disclosure – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this before in my life. But in all the times we’ve purged before, this was important enough to save a place. [Short break for tear-shedding.]

IMG_7497

YOU GUYS?! THIS IS A NEWSPAPER CUT OUT OF A PAULY SHORE MOVIE ANNOUNCEMENT. (Okay, I’m not at all ashamed that I love that movie and In The Army Now and junk but for TRUE?!) MAN. HELP ME, OBI-WAN! YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE!

I mean, yes, at this point I’m like, BETHANY. Getchu some help. PLEASE. But do you wanna know the thing de resistance? DO you? Are even prepared for this?

 

……

 

IMG_7502

Oh. What’s that? You’re not sure what I’m showing you?

IMG_7503THAT IS A SLAMMER.

AS IN POGS AND SLAMMERS.

WHY HAVE I BEEN SAVING AN EIGHT BALL SLAMMER?!? You guys, this is my final blog post. I’m turning myself in. I can’t even right now.

Forget the scented drawer satchel from my favorite Victoria’s Secret Garden collection that I hoarded somewhere OTHER than the drawer as though not putting it in there would save the scent until I was ready. #dead

Forget the hospital wristbands I collected from other people and I have no idea what they are for or the date because WHAT DO I NEED THIS FOR?! #dead

NONE of that is the breaking point.

I. HAVE. A. SLAMMER.

#DECEASED

Whoops, I’m Crying

I just had the frustrating experience of seeing that someone’d hosted a “favorite cartoon theme song” poll and that all the voters had failed epically. ::points to the door, eyes closed:: GET. OUT.

So, seeing as this is the most recent display of wickedness witnessed, I knew what I had to do. I had to correctly identify the best ones. Part of the problem, I think is buttoning down the era. I’m 29 and when I say childhood, I mean MY childhood, not my 25yo brother’s. Yes, four years makes a difference in cartoon-ville. If you take the late 80s out or go as far as mid 90s, you’ve ruined it.

Without further ado, the top five (because three is just stupid):

(5) Darkwing Duck

This one secures its rightful place for two reasons. (1) In 1991, everything had to be funk-ay! If you couldn’t do the running man to it, was it really cool? Ask yourselves that question, friends. This might even be classified with early hip hop. ::ducks:: (2) The super hardcore “Let’s get dangerous” is said BY the duck, WITH the slight lisp. ::shakes head:: Awesome.

(4) Gummi Bears

This one? Seriously, this was an era where jingle singers took their jobs *deathly* seriously. Was one vocalist enough? NO. Hit those harmonies! I mean, does he take it up or does he take it UP? Now let’s take it down a notch and let those synthesized instruments carry us. Now bring it home, guys!

(3) Ducktales

Aaand my husband and I sing this on something of a regular basis. It’s pretty nectar. (“Did you just make that up?” – “It’s a volleyball term.”) NOT PONY TAILS OR COTTON TAILS, NO DUCK TALES!

(2) Jem

As you can tell, we’re getting to the good stuff here. Pretty sure they need to play this on the radio. I’m still singing songs from this show and from the cassette tape that came with my sister’s Misfit doll. Man. I can’t even pretend. This. Was. Our. Jam. Couple of years ago, I started watching this show from the beginning? Man. WHY was I not doing it ironically. (Because it rocked.)

(1) David the Gnome

“It was an act….of whiiiimsy.” No, for real. I might cry. All ridiculousness and half-joking aside. ::straight face:: This is the most magical, beautiful, wonderful thing ever. In every wish… and dream… and happy home, you’ll find the kingdom of the gnomes. DO YOU HEAR THAT? That is PRECIOUS! (Um…Christopher Plummer narrated. So.) O_O

 

::sniffle:: I’m glad we did this.

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

I must learn to enjoy even what cannot be shared. Amazing, poignant, illuminating moments that words cannot translate. I think this must be more of a problem, not because I’m a writer, but because I’m a documenter, a historian in the loosest sense of the word. I think it’s that part of me that’s most tied to having an audience. I document for the people I love or will love, so how can I be satisfied with the inarticulate-able?

Having said all that…I shall now attempt to record an account of what transpired yesterday.

Maybe it had to do with the Indian girls named Unwanted. I don’t think so and it wasn’t on my mind, but I won’t pretend to know exactly what my mind is up to. (And not just because that would disregard 99% of the basis for psychology and sociology.) Anyway, I’d been writing in my wip and suddenly decided I wanted to know the title, which hadn’t come to me yet. I started with looking up famous quotes (and not so famous) about memory. (It’s relevant.) By the time I got distracted and turned my attention elsewhere, I had some lovely half-phrases that would make an effective title – just not mine. Anyway, eventually I was attempting to go to bed.

I just remember saying to Josh, “I almost want to call it Keepsake.”

Keepsake is the only thing I ever remember my godfather calling me. I remember walking up the aisle to greet him after attending a service at his church and he would hug me to his side and say, “Hi, Keepsake.” He died before I became an adult and no one has called me Keepsake since. Which part of me appreciates. But the other part misses it.

I guess my mind applied it to the news story after the fact because when I read it, I was heartbroken. Maybe more honestly, I was stunned and sort of incredulous. As in I don’t understand how that is possible. I can’t speak for my siblings, but I think our parents made it clear that we were individual to them. I remember in the computer room there was a poem hanging that my mom wrote after giving birth to my sister, Anastasia. My sister, Jen-the-twin, has always been Bubble to my dad. We didn’t run together, let alone feel unwanted. The disparity between a girl being literally named Unwanted and my godfather replacing my name with one that meant I was treasured is too great.

Can you imagine their socialization experience? Being called that? If we can pretend the disdain ends with the name, which the article makes clear is not the case. (Little girls die from NEGLECT?!) I never remember thinking, “When he calls me Keepsake, it means I am treasured, that I am something to be set apart.” But I never thought, “I’m not.” And I never thought it had to do with appearances, thank God. Because when in high school, I was pretty much alone with my dad and no one thought things like, “Hey, she’d probably like to go to the salon”, I might have questioned whether I still was. It made no mention of achievements, either. He just meant me.

And of course I never got to tell him that I think he is a huge part of who I am. Even though I’ve only just started thinking about it as an adult and without discrediting the household I actually grew up in, that one word seems to have made a huge and lasting impression, subconsciously or otherwise.

Now I have a title and more than that. A lot of people believe, I’m sure, that writers are constantly funneling their own lives into their work. I guess on the most molecular level I could agree – once again, I can’t know what my mind is doing all the time – but only insofar as we all agree on Locard’s Exchange Principle. (I’m gonna assume we’re all forensic technology nuts.) But this is the first time that I am using something that is a big part of me, and in a deliberate homage. And I’m really excited about it.

 

Movies I Loved As A Kid

Labyrinth, Willow, Neverending Story, Neverending Story 2, Return to Oz, The Secret of NIMH, Beauty and the Beast (not talking about the cartoon, btw), Flight of the Navigator, The Boy Who Could Fly, Starman (which of course we then watched as a television series and loved), Not Quite Human, Dream A Little Dream…

Seriously, you guys. Recalling my favorite 80s pastimes? Science fiction. was. king. At the least, fantasy elements made even what on the surface appeared contemporary enchanting. And yet SHOCKINGLY development was woefully absent in SEVERAL of my favorites, I’m realizing. Plot and characterization were debatable or incomplete. The money was almost always on concept.  Which is surprising seeing as (almost) everything was based on a book. The Secret of NIMH was particularly depressing in its unfinished-story-ness. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the animation of the 80s and I suppose I always will since it was my childhood brand. I take old school animation so much more seriously, despite the apparent flaws in story construction. There was still more going on, the plot was never thin….just…not quite resolved? What I mean is the story elements were intriguing whether or not they went the distance as far as logic flow. (NIMH is a prime example. So much to love there, despite the unsatisfying anticlimatic resolution and lack of explanation.) Or maybe I’m just prejudiced? Maybe I’m becoming the delusional aging belle.

This strikes me – what I could love despite ridiculousness – because it is *not* how I experience novels. Films I experience to be convinced, whether intellectually OR emotionally. It doesn’t have to be both. And literature, yeah no. You make sense or you get put down, my friend. I will never claim to love a book like that because I would never *finish* a book like that.

Which reminds me. Logan’s Run. AWESOME concept, awesome dystopian elements (Caroussel! Sandmen!) Zero explanation of the world, zero explanation of who was in charge, calling the shots, programming the central computer or the inexplicable-wheelie-robot on the way to the sanctuary that didn’t exist. What HAPPENED? HOW did no one related to the film production go, “Oh, wait, this makes none of the sense.” And yet, like all the others, it totally makes you wanna read the book because you just know it’s gotta be amazing sci-fi that just got bare-boned on its way to film.

Invaders From Mars

I can’t figure out if this is a kid’s horror film or if they seriously thought this would appeal to everyone. Oh 80s. You’re so difficult to understand!

I’m afraid to rewatch the ones I was honestly obsessed over. I remember there being depth and complexity (::cough::SecretOfNIMH::cough::). I remember being so emotionally gratified. I know it can’t all be a lie, but LORD. The ones that sucked (not the experience but seeing all the failings) truly suck.

What I love (or maybe the explanation for my lifelong love of it) is the fact that even the stuff meant for kids was allowed to be dark and eerie and all around awesome, whether literally or thematically. You know, like children in danger. O_O Even when they claim it’s comedy, there’s something dark about it. (Dream A Little Dream, Heathers) Yeah, whiny angst seemed to peak in the 80s,too…spunky girls were a dime a dozen and they all seemed to have the same intonations and strange dialogue tags…but aside from the funky dialogue. Yeah.

Abyss, Cocoon. Sorry, they had to be mentioned and I LURVE them. But I shall go before I just start making a list of everything I ever watched ever.

Fair or Unfair? UNFAIR!

(Re title: remember that tv show?! Same host as Double Dare.)

Time moves on and you can’t fake it.

My soon-to-be seven-year-old is done with his homework. This means he immediately drops to the floor where his dinosaurs and wild animals are waiting. In less than a half a minute, he is whispering non-stop. As an adult, I want to say “whispering non-stop to himself” but the cool thing about being his age – his age in particular because he has yet to develop his internal voice and therefore says everything out loud at some decibel – is that he’s totally not talking to himself.

He is the dinosaur currently riding the tiger whose head was clearly designed to go on a panda but craftily painted with stripes and sent to the wild cat section instead. He is talking to the soon-to-be-felled rhino or the triceratops. Sure, he’s doing both sides of the conversation plus action sounds as he rolls from his stomach onto his side, but that’s not what’s holding my attention.

I’m a creative person, right? I write new(ish) worlds and grow characters and relationships therein. So why can I not get lost in the battles of my son’s dinosaur/wild cat/occasional lego humanoid fantasy? I can be creative in my head or aloud, in a scripted role. I cannot be amused by whispering “pew” sounds intermixed with short, punchy dialogue. (I know. I’ve tried.) Even if I play along with him, I get bored pretty quickly. It’s lame.

So, for my next prayer request, I want 24 hours without my interior voice. I’m sure there are other aspects of childhood development that come into play here, so this may be a royal disaster and I may just suffer a series of comically tragic interactions with authority figures who mistake my new situation for evidence of sociopathy…but that’s a chance (I think) I’m willing to take. I want to play with dinosaurs, darn it.

THE BIG REVEALZ!

But not yet. (This is called building suspense.)

So speaking of PC games – they’re basically all I play (except I love Dr. Mario and I used to love Mario Kart). So my husband bought me a CSI game last week.

Me no likey.

Not sure why I would hate the television show and then want to play the PC game. Have I also mentioned that I own and have played (and replayed) all three Law and Order games and the Criminal Intent game? Okay, the CI game I didn’t finish replaying, I’ll admit. A few reasons. But FIRST. This is NOT a criticism. I love everything Law and Order does (other than liberally apply their heavy hand of bleeding heart liberalism to Olivia’s character especially and also being totally ridiculous when it comes to portraying EVERY Christian as the inevitable perp or at least having some horrible scandal. Grow up.)

Wait, where were we. So the things about the CI game. I am NOT saying that Vincent phoned it in for his character’s voice. But he may have recorded it while lying on his back. Seconds after waking. Or having been administered a Quaalude. And on top of that, his character does this bad posture slothful glide for some reason, which only adds to the whole blah-zay of it all. Which is NOT to call it blah! I’m just saying, one *could* ask what the hell. But not me. >.>  <.< And the cases themselves are pretty fun, though one might say it’s really about busy work and puzzle solving – but I mean this isn’t Ender’s Game. The trajectory of the game can’t really honestly be determined by or personalized to the player. Can it?  There’s also one instance in the game where there is no way (as far as I could tell after playing three L&O games previously) I could have known what the next move required/what resource was suddenly and inexplicably available – and had to go to a forum.

So, long story short. Hubby bought CSI game. Had him return it. #Nothankyou #Iamloyal

So REVEALZ.

And guess what that wheeled robot is all about?! The game over which I was obsessed yesterday (and in yesteryear)!! And yep. You really can’t go home again. Graphics were bright like I remembered….and also not JAMAZING and smooth like I remembered.

So the backwards cap is a forward cap. The backpack is a camera. The mansion is a school (which I totally remember because he passes the library, the principal’s office, etc but come on – it’s totally a mansion). The big wheel mechanism only applies to 1 of the 5 robots. The paint gimmick relates to the plot AND the mechanics of one of the robot. It came out in 1989, not the 90s. (Though they did repackage it in 1995, I can tell by the box art that we had the original.) Aaaaand the husband found it by doing that needle in a haystack search he suggested I do. Well. Technically, he found it after googling something like “90s pc game robots with paint”.

And what game could possibly entertain both a 7 year old and a 14 year old?! Right. But I think you can see the trend in the kind of games my father bought us.

#win

What Do Tigers Dream Of…

If you’re anything like me, you have vivid images from the past imprinted on your brain and trying to derive enough clues to create a fruitful Google search drives you to the brink of insanity. You all remember when I finally figured out that daggone Robots game. Or finally finding images for Where In TIME Is Carmen Sandiego – which isn’t really the same because I knew what it was called, just couldn’t find images to share. Which reminds me: my memory of the smoothness and general appeal of the graphics may be just as false with regard to this next bygone PC game.

So today I tried again. There’s this recurring… reoccurring… I’m sorry, are both of those words?? …. playback in my head. I used to play this game – possibly educational – wherein a teen boy (possibly with backwards cap but definitely 90s) follows/hunts/chases robots around this mansion. They all roll on one big wheel and there’s …. something with paint? And the point of the game is… something about…. something. Or other. And I remember it being all bright and flashy and pretty and floppy disk newness but I could be wrong and it could be early CD-ROM and also it could be just as ridiculous as Carmen Sandiego, but I don’t think so. HELP.

For the last time, Google - it is NOT Luigi's Mansion

I have just spent way too much time typing in variations of “[floppy disk] [cd-rom] [90s] pc game where kid [with backwards hat] [with backpack] follows [hunts] [chases] robots [on wheels] around mansion”. No luck. NO LUCK. Now my husband wants me to write “90s pc games for kids”….because the only better than finding nothing is finding a ridiculously enormous haystack through which I could riffle without even knowing the NAME.

Seriously help.

Srsly.