Monday, April 27, 2015

“Time sure flies when you’re eating chocolate.” BSC #78: Claudia and Crazy Peaches (1994)

In which Claudia thinks the world revolves around her and her actions.
Peaches and Russ, Claud’s aunt and uncle, are moving back to Stoneybrook now that Peaches is pregnant. They move in with the Kishis for a month while waiting for their new home to be ready, and Peaches constantly wants Claudia to do things with her, even encouraging her to not do her homework. After Claudia gets in trouble after Peaches takes her out for a midnight pizza and doesn’t leave a note, she and Peaches snap at each other, both saying some hurtful things. When Peaches miscarries a short time later, Claudia thinks their fight was the cause. She and Peaches make up and Peaches and Russ vow that there will be other pregnancies.
Meanwhile, Natalie Springer from the Little Sister books is a new client for the BSC, who try to force friendships between the friendless Natalie and the neighborhood kids. Eventually, Claudia helps her write some friendship rules and she starts jumping rope with Charlotte and Becca.
I will be adding a vlog to this post when I post the next entry, so check back. It’s just really awkward creating a vlog entry in someone else’s house. Plus, I don’t have my crazy peaches!

Interesting Tidbits
The cover: Claudia and Peaches were way ahead of trend with their phony ‘staches:

Oh, and this actually happens in the book, down to the outfits and mustaches.
Claudia’s motto: If you can’t eat it or wear it, paint it. What does that say of her junk food art? And the fact that, two sentence later, she says she paints clothing? I think there’s a flaw somewhere in her logic. Maybe that should read: Even if you can eat it or wear it, paint it.
Mrs. Kishi tells Claudia to come straight home, as she has a phone call expected at 4pm. In an earlier book, we established that Kristy and Bart have time to watch two movies and do homework before dinner, so school must get out pretty early at SMS. Oh, well, this is Stoneybrook, where the theory of relativity really gets stretched. Time is extremely relative here.
Heh. Claudia says she’s ‘slogging through Jell-O trying to keep up with everyone, simply because it’s Monday morning. I feel like that this morning, or anytime I have to do a clopen (close the store one night, open it the next morning.)
Claudia’s uncle Russ  “isn’t Japanese. He’s American-American.” I think it is interesting how, when you have a clear ancestry and/or recently immigrated parents, society makes a point of saying so, yet the rest of us are just American. (This also has something to do with race, not just ancestry. I was writing a report not long ago about the Yukon and the problems in the native villages with drugs and alcohol, and writing Native Canadian a bunch was really weird, yet we don’t think twice about Native American or African American.)
I think the title quote is Claudia’s real life motto.
Peaches actually has a really cute method of telling Claudia she’s pregnant. She says that Claud needs to put her on the list of BSC clients. Even though she doesn’t live nearby, she’s obviously listened to Claudia when she talks about her life. It’s kind of sweet. (Plus, she IS moving back to town.)
There’s something really funny about Claudia listing all of Stacey’s crushes in chapter 2, but I can’t figure out WHY. Maybe it’s the pot calling the kettle black? I think she left a few out, though, as the list seemed short.
Claudia’s cleaning when the BSC shows up for their meeting, and they all have some kind of crack to make about that. Shannon’s is the best: “Claudia, who are you trying to kid? I know that’s not a real vacuum cleaner.” (Claud aims it at her, so Kristy tells her to put her weapon away.)
Oh, good night. Claudia calls the BSC to tell them Peaches is moving back to town, and they all have advice or words to say that are completely going with the one-dimensional nature the BSC starts to take on at this point in the series. Mal suggests a journal; Jessi suggests classical music. Kristy wants to help Peaches stay fit and active while Shannon suggests speaking French to the baby so it becomes bilingual. (Wouldn’t Japanese be a more fitting choice, honestly?)
Claudia spelling! Frase, inventted, describ, Nataly, sollid, awile, sugested, freind. Oh, and she’s not kiding.
Claudia and Natalie play ‘Lovely Ladies,’ Karen’s favorite game, but Natalie doesn’t really know how to play. It’s really sad that she really wants to play this game because she’s heard Karen talk about it, but never seen it played or anything. We all know a little girl like Natalie…and some of us were that little girl. (I did love it when she said that Pierre—the name of her poodle in the game—was also her first husband’s name. That’s hilarious to me as an adult, but where in the name of all that’s holy did Natalie ever hear something like that?)
Umm, why is Mrs. Springer so happy that Claudia is willing to let Natalie come over and help clean? I think Natalie must be so much happier because she has a ‘friend,’ but Mrs. Springer must realize that hanging out with 13-year-old Claudia isn’t the same thing as Natalie having a real friend her own age. It’s actually kind of similar to #77, when Dawn is keeping an eye on Whitney while telling her they’re friends. The difference, of course, is that at age 12, Whitney had a lot more in common with Dawn than Natalie and Claudia have in common. Whitney wasn’t a ‘pity friend,’ like I think when I read about Claudia being willing to spend all this time with Natalie.
It’s sort of cute that Russ won’t let Peaches help unpack the car because the doctor told her not to lift anything too heavy (as in, Peaches says, a piano or a bus.)
Peaches takes Claudia baby shopping, which she enjoys. What gets me, though, is that they don’t just buy furniture and a swing and stuff like that. They actually pick out clothes and bedding. (Peaches’ bedding pattern is hideous.) Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until they’ve moved into their own house to buy stuff like that? I mean, what’s the point of having the crib sheets if you can’t even set up the crib yet. Also, knowing that Peaches will eventually miscarry, she can’t have been too far along in her pregnancy. It seems to be putting the horse before the cart. I know plenty of people who don’t even tell people they’re expecting until they hit 20 weeks.
I see Natalie’s logic when it comes to friends. She thinks that she can’t be friends with someone because they already have friends. She can’t be friends with Haley or Corrie because they are usually with other people; Leif and Lindsey who live on her street are BFFs, so she can’t be friends with them. It’s hard to be shy and socially awkward, especially when you start with the mindset that you can’t join an already-made friend group. When I was Natalie’s age, my two best friends were the new girls who moved in that school year, because they didn’t have friends and neither did I.
Stacey suggests that if all their babysitting charges were like Natalie—stopping by and calling all the time—they’d have to wear disguises and hide out in order to have privacy.
Mary Anne really enjoys the knitting lesson she gives Claudia…because Claud is terrible at knitting. Sounds perverse, but she just likes seeing Claud not be awesomely perfect at something artsy the first time around. (Although knitting is more craftsy than artsy.)
Oh, and then MA and Claud make really bad knitting puns…so bad that I’m not even going to repeat them.
Peaches may be fun, but she’s really a bad influence. She quit her job even though she’s barely pregnant, but she gets bored sitting around. She keeps getting Claudia to help her with one caper or another by telling her “you can just do your homework later.” A good aunt would help Claud with her homework so that it’s done and the two of them could get into mischief later.
It never occurred to me before that the art supply store in Stoneybrook is named Art’s to be punny. I thought that the owner was named Art.
When Shannon calls the Pike house, the triplets answer and they all want to say hi to her. Did they pick up the phone together, or did they find out who was on the phone and insist upon all getting on to say hi before giving the phone to Margo?
Shannon’s attempt to invite all of the other kids over and make them be friends with Natalie doesn’t work, and the BSC can’t figure out why. Natalie’s being extremely bossy the whole time; it’s like she doesn’t know how to act with the other kids. Some kids just don’t know how to do things without being taught; sounds like someone needs to teach her social skills a little.
I wonder if the BSC ever babysits for Natalie again after this book. I know she shows up occasionally, playing with Charlotte and Becca, but I don’t recall them ever actually sitting for her.
Claudia finally decides to help Natalie write some friendship rules so that she knows how to behave with her friends. Proof once again that Claudia would make an excellent teacher.
More Claudia spelling. And Natalie spelling to boot! Claudia: freind, shar (share), misstaek, sory, meens. Natalie: freind (only sometimes…Claudia spells it wrong every time), lissens
Claudia: backwards suspenders (not going to ask why or how), tuxedo pants and tie dyed t-shirt; jean vest covered in safety pins and plastic charms (I had one like that…in 1986. When I was five.), jean skirt, red cowboy boots; baggy jeans with extra-long belt, white shirt, pinstriped vest, purple hightops, black derby with pink and purple band

Next: We get to start May with the seasonally-inappropriate Mystery #17: Dawn and the Halloween Mystery.

“Jeff powered through the kitchen on his way to his next rendezvous with chaos.” BSC #77: Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever (1994)

Ooh, boy, there might be griping on this one.
I applaud AMM and the ghostwriters for their efforts to bring knowledge to the general preteen girl population. And clearly some research goes into some of these books. But I am a former special education teacher who would love to someday adopt a child with Down syndrome, and I’m also a pedant. Be warned.
Dawn has a special new sitting job for 12-year-old Whitney Cater, who has Down syndrome. She’s supposed to be more of a companion than a sitter, and her parents tell Whitney that Dawn is there to be her friend, not her sitter. This basically leads to two things: Dawn spends the whole book noticing how many people stare at Whitney and being offended by it, and eventually, the whole sitter-truth comes out. Whitney, to prove she’s old and responsible enough to not need a sitter, coaxes some sitting clients out without permission and makes Dawn chase them and sort things out.
Meanwhile, there are two interrelated B plots (leading up to SS #12). Mrs. Barrett has gotten engaged to Franklin DeWitt, and the kids are unhappy about it. Mr. Schafer has been going on a bunch of dates with various women and his kids, trying to find a fit. Every date goes badly…until he gets back together with Carol and the two of them get engaged again as well.
Interesting Tidbits
Hahaha! Dawn’s describing her dad’s dating habits and says, “Dad is doing what Granny calls ‘playing the field.’” I can’t explain why, but it’s so much funnier that Granny says that. I guess it just sounds so slangy. Besides, when Granny was talking about it, it probably referred to when Sharon was dating, before she married Richard, and that just makes me think of…the Trip-Man.
The title quote is on page five, and I just really liked the way it sounded.
Things Dawn is not allowed to say, part 1: Mondo, as in “My father has a mondo phone bill. That’s someone’s pathetic attempt to try to make her sound young and California.
“Someday my frog princess will come.” Dawn’s dad is far funnier than Jeff, and he’s not even trying to be a comedian.
Maggie’s hair is always different, so today she’s got “purple raccoon streaks above the ears” and purple ribbon in her hair tail.
Jill is apparently a ‘seriously good’ surfer, despite the fact that in the last Dawn book, only Sunny and Dawn were into surfing and Maggie and Jill were not. Maybe the ghostwriter just took it as Jill didn’t need any more lessons?
Okay, here we go. It is Down syndrome, people, not Down’s syndrome. It was named after the person who first started studying it, a Dr. Down, not after someone who had the disorder. Therefore, no apostrophe. This is going to drive me NUTS all book long.
Also, I know that back in 1994 people sometimes still used the word retarded, but its constant use in this book sets my teeth on edge, especially this bit from Whitney’s father: “Practically speaking, it means that Whitney is retarded. She’s not very retarded.” Oy. OY. OY. I would be a lot less annoyed by this if they used the term mildly retarded (as Mrs. Cater does later) but that phrasing is just so offensive to me. In these days of political correctness (I know PC can go waaaaaay to far but a little bit is good), we would say that Whitney has a mild mental impairment. Mental impairment sounds better than retarded, and by phrasing it that way, you’re not saying what the child IS, but what she HAS. “Whitney IS retarded” is more offensive to me than “Whitney HAS mental retardation.” Kids with Down syndrome are people, not a condition. Catch my meaning? /end rant…for now
There’s this whole thing about how Dawn thinks Whitney’s face looks funny when she first meets her, but then as she gets to know her, she sees more similarities than differences. As an adult this made me roll my eyes (and be slightly offended…but I think that was mostly holdover offense) but then I realized that the 10-year-olds reading this book probably actually need to hear stuff like that.
What I DO like about this book: Whitney is your average 12-year-old. She interested in teen magazines and which boys are cute (including Keanu Reeves…say no more.) One of my favorite students when I was teaching was a girl a lot like Whitney who was—in 2005—obsessed with “Ryan from The OC” and wanted to marry him.
Clover Austin “lives at the top of her lungs.” Dawn says this also applies to Karen. I…like that phrasing. This book’s got some interesting language in it, once you get past the whole Down’s syndrome/retarded mess.
Oooh, I’ve never liked the “one person cuts it and the other person gets to choose the piece,” way of sharing. My sister figured out that I never could find the middle, so she always made me cut and always ended up with 2/3 or more. It’s actually not fairer that way.
Yay! We get Claudia spelling! Turth, Barettes, Dewits (can you tell who THIS job was for?) they’are.
This is kind of interesting. They always refer to Franklin DeWitt as Franklin in the text, but when Stacey addresses him, she calls him Mr. DeWitt. I guess it’s like how Aunt Cecelia is always called Aunt Cecelia, but she probably wouldn’t appreciate it if one of the non-Ramsey BSC members greeted her that way.
Interesting typo: I had to think a couple times about this one. The DeWitt and Barrett kids are grabbing things out of the fridge for a ‘smorgaspic’ (smorgasbord picnic, which seems like a horribly bad idea.) Lindsey warns Buddy to “watch it” and then it says that Bryan grabbed something out of the fridge. I thought at first they meant Buddy until I remembered that the littlest DeWitt is named Ryan. But then it becomes clear again that Buddy is actually the one who being referred to, because he’s the one standing in front of the fridge, handing things to Lindsey.
Barrett/DeWitt sandwich combinations: tuna and Oreo, peanut butter and potato chip, cole slaw and baloney, jelly and cheese. Have they been hanging out at the Pikes too much?
Okay, I changed my mind about Dawn’s dad being funny. The rest of his jokes are as bad as Jeff’s.
Dawn uses the word ‘ornery’ to describe Jeff. Not only is that one of my favorite words, it’s actually pretty accurate when Jeff starts acting up. He’s being a total shithead on a “family date” at the carnival because he doesn’t like his dad’s date.
The next date calls Dawn’s dad Richard. His name is Jack. (Obviously, ghostwriter got her dad mixed up with her stepdad.)
So the third date is the worst yet. Whitney joins them at a picnic and concert in the park, and the woman is openly disgusted by Whitney and extremely hateful toward her. Before that, Dawn had liked her.
Mary Anne goes for her sitting job and finds the Barretts watching Celebrity Mud Wrestling. She then asks the Barretts if they find the mud wrestling more interesting than she is. No offense, Mary Anne, but *I* would probably find Celebrity Mud Wrestling more interesting than her.
Oh look. Buddy and Suzi decide to set DeWitt traps, just like Claudia set mafia traps in the last book. Seriously, it’s time for a new shtick, people. Although I do have to laugh because they Vaseline-up the doorknob to the bathroom, and I’m currently reading Paper Towns, where they do the same thing in a more-convoluted revenge plan.
Also, why does Mary Anne let them get away with that? She also lets them put up mean signs, which harkens back to #76. Mary Anne needs to get more of a backbone with these upset kids.
Actually, the worst part is that the parents are so involved in their romance that they don’t even notice that the kids are fighting again or that Lindsey’s covered in baby powder and Madeleine in Vaseline.
While taking a Les Mis break (love that live, no matter how many times I see it), I figured out what was bothering me about this book—beside what I’d already griped about. Dawn seems to think EVERYONE is staring at Whitney and hating the way that her dad’s date did. For example, the two of them go to the Chanel counter and the woman is cold to them when they want to sample the perfume. Dawn assumes it has everything to do with the Down syndrome, but really. They’re twelve and thirteen and they probably don’t have Chanel money. The clerk probably would have behaved the same way if it were Dawn and Sunny at the counter, and now as an adult, I don’t blame her.
Dawn’s last family date involves a woman who has a daughter at Dawn’s school. Dawn kind of hates her, and worries that it’s the same Alana because Alana is such an unusual name. But wasn’t one of the surfer chicks in SS#5 named Alana as well? I’m not at home to be able to check. Maybe that’s just someone’s idea of a ‘California name’, whatever that means. Dawn actually muses that Alana is the new Jennifer: the name that everyone and their brother named their kid.
Oh, and Alana is apparently pronounced a-lay-nah, to rhyme with Paina (Alana the Paina), not a-lahn-nah, the way I imagined. (And every Alana I’ve ever known has pronounced it.)
Apparently, Dawn’s school has a ‘caf’. The only people I know who call cafeterias that are Canadian, which has me wondering about the ghostwriter.
And Alana is a lot more obvious about her contempt for the family date than Dawn is. Dawn is at least actually trying. Although she does get snippy that Alana calls her dad Jack…despite the fact that she’s calling Alana’s mom Kayla.
The one intelligent thing in the Barrett-DeWitt drama: the parents figured out that they had to buy a new house together, because then one set of kids didn’t see the other set of kids as intruding into their territory.
Dawn gets dehydrated while watching the Austins play with the hose, so she calls a water break. Daffodil thinks this is hilarious because they are already soaking wet.
Tofu-turkey-dog casserole. Even Jeff won’t eat it…
And Mr. Schafer and Carol are engaged again. Even Jeff falling out of his chair can’t ruin it this time. Although maybe if Dawn stole her dad’s credit card again….
Maggie: black cropped tank top, leopard leggings, black boots, leather jacket
Dawn: jeans and cotton sweater
New characters:
Whitney Cater (12)—33

Next week: #78, when I will be vlogging Claudia. Be prepared!

“This isn’t Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Bank.” BSC Mystery #16: Claudia and the Clue in the Photograph (1994)

I'm posting these three entries on very limited wi-fi access...links and such will follow!
The BSC decides to put together a book to entice Dawn to come back from California (since she went on a ‘six month’ visit in September and it’s now summer), so they give all the kids they sit for cameras to photograph a Day in the Life of Stoneybrook. Claudia takes dozens of pictures of the bank, just at the same time it’s robbed! Wow! And of course, the photos hold the clue to solving the robbery. The bank VP is in a lot of the photos and the BSC discover he’s wearing a watch and a pocket watch—which they figure out is just the hiding place for a key to a safety deposit box where he hid all the missing money. Claudia’s photos save the day…but in the meantime, the BSC fears the mob and contemplates circumstantial evidence.
Interesting tidbits
The cover: real film. So old school!

Janine starts the book by complaining that Claudia is photographing her while eating. Obviously she’s never met Tessie’s mom, who insists upon getting shots of everyone with mouths full of food. And absolutely everything else. (“Teah, you and your husband and kids get into a picture here. And Bee, you and your husband and kids get into a photo here. Oh, and Tessie and Teeki? You don’t have husbands or kids, so sit on that couch and I’ll take your photo together for the 700th time sitting in the same spot…”)
Janine is also, it should be noted, absolutely humorless about her work-study job.
The way we are introduced to the BSC: Claudia tries to take a picture that ‘capture the essence’ of each member. Stacey does ‘Vogue’; Kristy strikes a peace sign; Mary Anne covers her eyes, etc.
Actually the most interesting part of that is that Claudia and the rest of the BSC can tell who’s coming in by their tread on the stairs.
Heh. Claudia says that Franklin DeWitt sounds like one of the founding fathers.
What is it with Suzi Barrett’s name? Sometimes they spell it Suzy; sometimes as Suzie.
So ever since the Barretts had to give Pow away, they have amassed a small collection of dander-free animals, like a turtle and gerbils and fifteen fish (named after famous baseball players, so you know who named those.)
I really can’t believe that Mal would actually let Byron climb up on the roof by the gutter. It sounds like a very dangerous choice, and Mal’s supposed to be all responsible.
“Those new disposable cameras.” What I’ve learned reading the BSC the last two weeks: the dated references are the most interesting part of the books now.
Claudia photographs Janine in the bathroom. Isn’t that taking things a bit too far? My sister used to take pictures of people coming out of the bathroom as a way of annoying us. Come to think about it, I think that was 1994 or 1995. I wonder if she still has those pictures? Hmm….
The excuse for Claud to be taking 300 shots of the bank? She suddenly noticed a whole bunch of details in the façades on the front of all the buildings, and that was the most interesting to her. She also defines and pronounces façade for the readers. I’ve always loved when the BSC books would do it, even if it wasn’t as interesting as Lemony Snicket’s definitions.
Billy Blue is totally the Justin Bieber of Stoneybrook 1994.
Mary Anne describes the whole plot of ‘an old movie’ that basically mirrors this plot, but she can’t remember the title. I like the consistency that she’d have seen that—she seems to be an old movie buff (or at least an Audrey Hepburn buff, mentioning Roman Holiday and Sabrina). I wonder if this movie actually exists?
The title quote comes from Stacey making fun of Claudia’s assertion that she’s going to solve this mystery even before she’s sure she has anything useful in her photos. As Kristy points out, it’s not as if there was an armed bank robbery and Claudia happened to be photographing the front of the bank at that time. It was believed to be a bank embezzlement instead.
Stacey decides that one of the people in the photos must be a banker…because he’s wearing a pocket watch. I love when the BSC gets all their knowledge from old timey movies, TV shows and cartoons. Kristy: If he’s a banker, why isn’t he in the bank?
Claudia spelling: Becka, Sharlote, detectivs, thouhg.
Stacey suggests a few more alternative Nancy Drew titles: The Bank Robbery Mystery and Mystery at the Bank. Claud pipes up with The Mistery of the Missplaced Money.
Let’s compare the Newton kids to dogs! Jamie looked like a puppy angling for a treat when he looked at Stacey with a hopeful look in his eyes. A short time later, it’s stated that Lucy knows what ‘walk’ means…like dogs that go crazy when you say the word.
I like that, even though Charlotte and Becca are supposed to be all quiet and shy, they do get silly and wild on occasion. It’s more realistic that way, especially because this time they lose it because Charlotte said boogers. Oh, and then they keep going around and around in the revolving door at the bank, because what kid doesn’t love doing that?
Charlotte wants a safety deposit box…to keep her favorite Barbie in.
Wait a minute. It just occurred to me that Claudia was taking photos of the bank on Sunday, and that’s when the money was stolen. What kind of bank is open on Sunday?
Kristy tells Stacey off during their stakeout because she wants to say hi to Logan (who’s going into the bank.) First, blow their cover? Their cover is that they’re typical teenagers, hanging out near a bank. Saying hello to their friends would be perfectly normal for loitering adolescents. Second, she says he might be a suspect….even though there’s no way he could have stolen the money, since it was established to have happened when he was out of town.
Ha! Claudia’s photography teacher is ‘kind of cute for an old guy.’ One of my coworkers said the same thing the other day…about a guy who was around thirty years old.
Claudia suddenly realizes she has more bank photos on another roll of film, but while she’s developing the negatives, someone opens the door. Since no one else is home, the BSC decides that Mr. Zibreski (the bank VP and their #1 suspect) must be following them. He’s actually the head of the Russian mob and will have the BSC exterminated if they keep tailing him or uncover any evidence. Actually, they don’t quite go that far, but they’re pretty close. Only Shannon seems to think this is farfetched.*
Mary Anne’s a little obsessive with her camera. She took a whole roll of photos of Tigger playing with catnip, which, being a crazy cat lady myself, I completely understand. But she also took almost a whole roll of photos of Claudia…taking photos of the bank. That’s a little much.
It’s not until chapter 10 that it occurs to Claudia that the bank was closed on Sunday. She notices a light on in the bank and wonders about it. Yet there was no mention of this back when they were wondering whether a random lady with a baby carriage could have something to do with the theft (which, because of the manner of the theft, is determined to actually be a robbery at this point, not embezzlement.)
Claudia actually uncovers the baby in the baby carriage so she can make sure it’s really a baby…not a bunch of stolen money. This is the third time they’ve seen this woman walking around with the carriage, and well over a week has passed. Would the lady really still have the money in the carriage? If she was using it to carry stolen money, she would have ditched it a long time ago.
Sergeant Johnson is kind of an idiot. He tells some thirteen year olds that Mr. Zibreski is a suspect, then tells them not to tell anyone. He might as well just broadcast it on television. Teen girls aren’t exactly known for keeping secrets…not to mention that’s a total violation of police protocol. (C’mon, ghostwriter! Haven’t you ever watched a cop show?)
This is the second time the BSC has made a flip book out of pictures. I still like Shannon’s flipbook better. (Hmmm. Maybe Tessie and I should make a flipbook out of all those photos of us sitting on her sister’s couch?!?)
Claudia’s photo flip book hiding spot (in case she’s being tailed by the Zibreski Mafia, of course): under her gym clothes, in the bottom drawer of her dresser.
Oh look, more stupid traps…only they’re Mafia traps instead of burglar traps this time.
I stopped reading after chapter 11 so I could go to work—would have rather kept reading—but I didn’t stop thinking about the book. The problem with the photo project the BSC is putting together? It’s skewed wrong. The BSC gave cameras to a bunch of kids and told them to take pictures of whatever they saw in town. This leads to pictures of the triplets getting haircuts, a random bride getting married, and all kinds of other random stuff. What I think would have worked better is if the BSC members had taken the cameras and taken pictures of the kids. If you were Dawn, which would you rather see: A picture of the front window of Polly’s Chocolates, or a picture of Becca and Charlotte playing with Barbies? Mary Anne’s pictures—she’s photographing everyone else taking pictures—are probably the most interesting.
When they go to put the book together, all the kids are fighting…and it’s Jessi who takes charge, even though Kristy is there. I think that’s kind of interesting.
Claudia’s mom actually told her her ATM pin number, which is Claudia’s birthday. Not real smart.
The BSC gets all excited because they see a woman making a large number of withdrawals from the ATM, amassing a huge stack of money (which she ingeniously leaves sitting on the shelf next to the ATM so the BSC can see it, instead of, you know, putting it in her purse or something.) They think they’ve caught her making a withdrawal of the missing money. I was sitting there as they were congratulating themselves thinking:
1.    The biggest bill you can get out of an ATM is a $20; the BSC was assuming $100s.
2.    If the money were missing from the ATM, that would be a whole different money source than the bank. That would have been noticed.
Then Janine comes in and tells them basically the same things. I love her in this book; she’s the (only) source of logic and she keeps raining on the BSC’s parade when they think they’ve solved the case.
Claudia’s sign to keep people out of the bathroom while she’s using it as a darkroom? DARKR-*OM IN USE.
In order to get close-ups of her photos, Claudia takes photos of them. What makes me laugh though, is that they’re examining Mr. Zibreski closely, even checking to see if ‘he has a guilty look.’ Because that would stand up in a court of law: “Give him the chair, judge. He has that guilty look.”
Oh my gawd. Sergeant Johnson actually lets the BSC into the interrogation room with Mr. Zibreski because they figure out the final piece of the puzzle. This case should get thrown out of court right away because of all the investigational irregularities.
Ooh, bad pun. The newspaper headline after the mystery ends? Savvy Teens Find Key to Bank Mystery.
Kristy wants to find the lady with the baby carriage…so she can give her a BSC flier. I doubt she’d want Claudia babysitting for her after the stunt she pulled earlier.
*It’s actually Janine who opened the door. She totally lies to Claudia about it because it’s the second time she’s done it and she’s embarrassed.
Claudia: silky pink tank top, man’s white shirt, white jeans (NOOOOOOOO!) flip flops and barrette decorated with stars; jeans and Hard Rock Café shirt (is it an NYC shirt or do they have a Hard Rock in Stoneybrook? The most interesting part of those shirts, when they were popular, was seeing what location people had. When I was in fifth grade one of the kindergarteners in the class next door had one from the capital of Iceland, which I cannot spell.); lacy white shirt with big ruffled sleeves, deep green leotard, denim skirt, big black clunky boots; Sea City t-shirt and old shorts (for developing prints)
Janine: ratty pink robe and yellow hair turban (she gets understandably pissy when Claudia takes her picture while she’s brushing her teeth)

Coming next: #77

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“Oh, did I say Jessi is African-American? Well, she is.” BSC #76: Stacey’s Lie (1994)

This is where we learn just how much Stacey is her father’s daughter.
Stacey’s dad offers to take her on a two week vacation. Since the BF (Robert) is working the ferry on Fire Island, she decides to go there. Stacey doesn’t tell either her father or Claud (who comes on the vacation as well) that Robert will be there. Stace and Claud get into a giant fight over what Claud sees as Stace’s insensitivity. It turns out that Stacey’s dad is also lying to her. He says he’s been spending all his time with a male friend when he’s really been spending most of his time with his girlfriend.
Meanwhile, Vanessa and Haley get into a giant fight over the stupidest thing EVER. Anyone who’s read my fanfic knows how much I love those characters*, but I just wanted to smack them both.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: Hate, hate, hate Stacey’s outfit, although I’m not sure why. And isn’t Robert supposed to be all basketball-player tall?

Stacey says that she’s glad her mom works, because it distracts her from worrying about Stacey. It’s an interesting perspective, and probably pretty accurate, too. I mean the whole Truth About Stacey was that her parents were smothering her.
I guess I’ve never noticed it before, but there’s a lot of food in the Stacey books: probably more than is described in anyone else’s books except Claudia’s junk food and the Spier/Schafer household’s mixed meals.
Aww, Stacey says Robert isn’t as gorgeous as Jason Priestly. There’s a dated reference.
Stacey’s dad makes up for working a couple of hours into the night by giving Stacey some money and telling her to buy herself “a pretty, summery something.” How much do you want to bet that he told his (ex-)wife that on a regular basis? Remember, when they divorced, he complained about all the money she was spending.
Stacey’s dad’s name has been established as Edward, but he apparently goes by Ed.
Here’s the thing that kills me: Stacey’s dad tells her he’ll take her anywhere on vacation…even overseas. (Hope they have passports; they’re booking everything very last minute.) Yet she chooses Fire Island simply because that’s where Robert’s family has a summer house. I think Stacey’s dad is right when he says that they might be too involved and it’s not healthy at their age.
The ‘clever’ way the BSC is introduced in this episode? Claudia has drawn a caricature of the club and each person complains about the exaggerated feature Claud has emphasized. Stacey’s permed hair is too curly; Kristy’s too short. Unfortunately, you don’t get to hear about Mal’s giant glasses and someone else’s oversized head or something.
Ha! Claudia keeps telling Stacey she’s so mature for the way she’s handling being separated from Robert, and Stacey just has to keep putting on a fake smile. (Moral of the story: don’t lie to your friends.)
OH HELL YEAH! Stacey, her dad and Claudia eat babaghanouj along with other ‘Middle Eastern” foods. I forget what kind of restaurant we were at when I ordered that just because I liked the sound of it. (Of course, I also once ordered a pu pu platter because the name was funny.)
Hah! Claudia and Stacey also watch a ‘Johnny Depp movie’ because they think he’s cute (cuter than Jason Priestly? It doesn’t say). I just find him…creepy.
Chapter 4 includes a whole set of directions on how to get from Manhattan to Davis Park by train/ferry. Now I’ll know, if I ever want to go to either of those places.
Ahh, crappy puns. The house rented by a doctor is known as Bedside Manor.
I’m not even going to ask how Mal and Jessi got paying summer jobs.
Math? Mal and Jessi’s daycare group is divided into three smaller groups of five, five and seven. That should be seventeen kids, correct? Later, the kids are put into two teams of seven and eight…which is fifteen. What happened to the other two kids?
The reason for Haley and Vanessa’s fight? They bought the same swimsuit. When I was nine, I would have LOVED to have a matching swimsuit with my bestie. I could understand this fight if they were a pair of high school girls, but not out of a couple nine-year-olds.
I want to know how Vanessa can spike a beach ball with her head hard enough to get yelled at for it. Can someone demonstrate that for me?
I honestly thought there would be a longer wait until Claudia found out that Stacey only wanted to go to Fire Island because Robert was there.
Claudia’s art for the beach: building sand castles and photographing their destruction. I…actually like that.
Claudia wants Kristy to bring some supplies with her when she comes to Fire Island. (She, MA and Shannon are coming for July 4th.) Stacey suggests faxing her. I have to giggle at this for two reasons. First, they’re talking about how wonderful technology is when a fax machine is so dated now. These days, Claudia would have just sent a text to Kristy and gotten an almost-instantaneous response. Second, Stacey actually has Watson’s fax number in her address book. (The goofy part of me has all these really-wrong reasons for that just spewing out right now.)
I really don’t blame Claudia for getting pissed at Stacey. She keeps dragging her along when she meets Robert so her father doesn’t get suspicious. She keeps ditching Claud to spend time with Robert. Twice she promises to spend the night just with Claud only to a) run into Robert and invite him to join them and b) rush Claud along so she can ditch her and spend time with Robert.
I think it’s interesting that the Pikes all (at some point or another) find Vanessa annoying—she’s poky and dreamy and turns everything into a poem—but when she wants someone to help her pull pranks on Haley, just about everyone is on board. Nicky and Margo help her deliver a note signed ‘Citizens against Stinky Haley’ (I assume this is like the letter I once mailed my sister from an anonymous source telling her that her butt was too big...when she was about 5'0", 80lb and had no butt.) Later Adam delivers a box of shredded Vanessa-Haley mementos on Vanessa’s behalf.
Haley’s not exactly being angelic, either. She makes violent signs about Vanessa, but Mary Anne tells her it’s illegal to post signs without a permit. (Can you imagine if she filled out a permit form?! Reason: “I want to let everyone know my ex-best friend is a big jerk!”) Instead, she posts one on the Pikes’ fence—and gets water-bombed in reply.
Okay, Stacey is pretty much being a queen bitch by this point. Claudia’s mad at her because Claud treated Stacey to a meal but Stacey kept rushing her so she could ditch her. [See ‘b)’ above.] Stacey gets upset with Claud because she thinks she WAS being sensitive to Claudia’s family. After all, she could have ditched Claudia entirely!
Stacey? If everyone is mad at you (Dad, Claud, Robert), maybe it’s YOUR fault and you should accept that. [Robert’s not actually mad at Stacey…yet. But he does suggest that she should have handled things differently when Stacey says that everything is Claudia’s fault.)
Oh, now THIS is interesting: after Robert and Stacey ran into Dad and Samantha, Stacey and Dad went home and fought. Robert and Samantha actually ended up walking and talking together as well.
The ferry Robert works is called the Kiki. This is funny mostly because I watched General Hospital for the first time in a couple months today (while reading this) and kept shouting “Fake Kiki!” every time the new actress playing the character Kiki appeared on screen.
Kristy says Mary Anne and Shannon are waiting ‘on line’ as opposed to ‘in line.’ I don’t know if that’s a New England thing or just a New York thing.
Isn’t it amazing that Shannon has this much free time? They obviously enjoy her company, so why didn’t they keep inviting her to stuff after she goes back to being an associate member? I mean, even Logan gets to come along on stuff sometimes.
Claudia makes costumes so the sitters can all be in the parade together. Mary Anne plays the princess; Shannon, the lady-in-waiting; Kristy, the prince; Claudia, the jester; and Stacey, the dragon. Stacey says her costume was an obvious dig at her, but what do the other costumes say?
Ha! Kristy’s sword comes from the Snow White and the Seven Zorbs meet Captain Planet video.
Ooh, and Stacey’s dad and his girlfriend are also dressing up for the parade, making Stacey’s humiliation complete!
Oh, and now Kristy and Mary Anne are all telling Stacey she’s being a bitch, but she’s not listening. What I’d love is if these girls could actually talk like real teenagers. Claudia: You selfish ass. Stacey: You self-absorbed douche bag! (Okay, maybe that was just me and my friends.)
Stacey can’t understand why all of her friends—including Claudia—want to leave early. She’s not usually this stupid.
Haley and Vanessa’s fight sounds more like me and my sister as teens than Claud and Stacey’s does (minus the curses, of course.) The accuse each other of having big butts.
The ending of that feud is pretty stupid, too. Let’s just say that the BSC (Mal and Jessi) saved the day and leave it at that.
Yes! Robert actually does chew Stacey out. He does it nicely, but he points out she was really awful to just about everyone in this story. She lied to her dad, was horrible to Claudia, and put Robert and the rest of the BSC in a really awkward position.
LAAAAAAME ending. Blech.
Maureen McGill (Stacey’s mom): cream silk shirt and slacks, purple and gold striped apron
Stacey: blue tights, black ‘walking shorts’ (WTF are those?), blue t-shirt and black flats; one piece shorts dress (again, WTF?) in a gold, red and green print and tan flats; navy pants outfit (covered with sunflowers) with a high waist, cap sleeves, scoop neck and long, full pant legs; green leggings and sleeveless denim top; blue and white sundress with dropped waist and a sailor collar
Claudia: black crocheted vest, black shorts, ruffly white blouse, black platform sandals with white ribbons that lace up the calves (Claud LOVES those sandals); tie dye leggings and silk screened t-shirt with birds on it; denim jumper
Kristy: jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, ponytail (gee. sounds like what I was wearing today)
Samantha (Stacey’s future stepmother): gauzy flower-print skirt, crocheted top and gold hoop earrings
*The final chapter of April, which has Vanessa telling Haley to cut the crap (again! Only she listens this time!) should be published very shortly. As in, probably five minutes after I post this.
Coming next: Mystery #16

Oh, and in a couple installments, we’ll be vlogging our favorite sugar junkie.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

“I’ve got an important nap planned.” BSC Mystery #15: Kristy and the Vampires (1994)

I always like to warn you guys when I’ve never read a book before when I’m blogging it. We’re at the point where none of these books are ones I read when they first came out (with two exceptions, which I will note when we get to them), but before I started blogging, I went through and read about 2/3 of the rest of the series. If I didn’t read it, there was one of three reasons. Either neither of my local libraries stocked it (Super Mystery #1, Super Special #15), I ran out of time before I had to return it to the library (#76, which is my next read) or it just sounded stupid. That last one was the case with this one.
So anywho, Derek Masters is back in town, filming a TV movie called Little Vampires. Kristy and Claudia get jobs as on-set babysitters to supervise Derek and his brother Todd. Accidents start happening on the set…the kind that prove someone is tampering with things in order to hurt Derek. The BSC investigates and, unlike most of their books, they don’t really figure out who the suspect is and then gather evidence to prove it. Kristy puts two and two together at the last possible second and stops Derek from driving off in a car with a cut brake line. The culprit is this girl ‘with stringy hair and a rose in her button hole’ who was obsessed with the star of the movie, Carson Fraser, and thought Derek was upstaging him. She winds up in a mental health facility and the movie is a success…and I’m wondering why there was no security on this movie shoot.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: This actually happens in the book. Claire’s afraid of the vampires, so Kristy tells her to dress up as something scarier than the vampires so they’ll be afraid of her. I’m not sure why a vampire would be scared of a witch, but I don’t have five-year-old logic, either.

Oh, and of course Kristy’s shirt says “Little Vampires” rather than Little Vampires, and this is where the picture of Kristy on the covers comes from. And Mary Anne’s wearing her watch on her right hand again!
Kristy starts off with a Serious Case of the Caps, when she defines the first day of the story as The Day I Found Out It Was Going to Be an Interesting Summer.
Kristy first hears about the ‘movie’ in the newspaper, but David Michael already knew thanks to the Stoneybrook gossip chain. This is also how everyone else heard about it, so apparently, Kristy is out of the loop.
If it’s so far from Kristy’s house to Claudia’s that Charlie has to drive her to all the BSC meetings, how come Mary Anne the unathletic can ride her bike to Kristy’s like it’s no big deal?
Ahh, siblings. When Charlie drops Kristy (and Mary Anne) off at Claudia’s, he calls her Nerd-Brain and she calls him Mush-Mouth.
Claudia calls the movie Baby Dracula. That’s probably already been done at some point.
After ‘going back in time’ for the last book, I completely forgot that this was during Dawn’s visit to California. Shannon shows up at the first meeting and I couldn’t figure out why she was there. (As a side note, doesn’t Shannon usually spend most of the summer at camp?)
Chapter three is supposed to be all exciting because it’s Kristy’s first day on set and she’s learning all about what a movie set is like. It was actually really boring, full of new character names. We meet Missy the makeup lady; Carson Fraser, the bad actor who’s the star of the movie and his agent, Frank; Sheila, the publicist, Harry the director and Cliff the producer.
A general outline of the movie’s plot: Laddie Alducar, a vampire, moves to the US from Transylvania. He missed out on having a normal childhood, so he tries to recreate it by coaching little league and making friends with Derek’s character, but then his vampire-side decides to turn Derek into a vampire. Eventually, he decides to become a regular kid (I’m not sure how that happens; even the vampires in that Twilight crap couldn’t just magically become ‘normal’) and lives happily ever after. Sounds like something you’d see on the Disney Channel right around Halloween.
There’s this whole stupid thing about how Derek has grown a whole bunch and is clumsy because of it. He actually drops a Tiffany lamp that’s a prop for the movie, and that’s how we meet Zeke the prop master. My real question about this is that this is a TV movie that’s clearly aimed at kids. Those aren’t exactly high-budget pieces. Why would the prop master spend the money on a ‘one of a kind Tiffany lamp’ when you can get cheapy replicas in a lot of stores?
Claire’s afraid of the vampires on set because Adam and Jordan have been telling her scary vampire tales. Adam even prepared for the fact that Mal (and their parents) would try to talk Claire out of her fear: he told her that some people believe vampires are just made up, but she shouldn’t believe that because it isn’t true. After a boy in a vampire costume messes with her, she spends the rest of the day on various vampire repellants.
The mystery is afoot! First someone put something slippery on the floor so that Derek would slip. Then they replaced a pane of breakaway glass (which was supposed to be a window pane Derek gets pushed through) with real glass. Luckily, the pane breaks before Derek gets near it. The prop master gets fired over that.
Oh, this is so realistic. Kristy asks to see paperwork to trace the evolution of the pane of glass, and an assistant just lets her go through a pile of receipts. She doesn’t even ask who Kristy is!
Ha! The P.R. bitch* keeps calling Kristy by the wrong name.
*Obviously, Sheila from P.R. is supposed to be a red herring. She made a point of saying there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and then the next thing you know, all these bad things start happening on set. She seems to be determined to make sure that everyone in the whole country is going to be talking about this crappy TV movie.
Mrs. Masters says Derek can’t have any cookies before lunch. Yet the day before she let Todd have a soda even earlier in the day. I would think soda would be much worse than a cookie.
Next ‘accident’ on the set: Derek’s stunt double, Cheryl, crashes to the ground when her flying harness comes loose. Derek would have been doing that stunt if it weren’t for the glass incident. Later that day, Derek gets a card that says, “Scared yet? You should be. Get off this set—and stay off!” (We won’t discuss the fact that Kristy opened the envelope on that card even though it was addressed to Derek.)
Ooh, emergency BSC meeting!
Shannon takes notes at the meeting—originally, just for herself. She even draws up a list of suspects before sharing with the rest of the members. I guess she’s done enough BSC mysteries at this point that she’s drawn in.
It seems really unlikely to me that this set would be so unguarded. Various people are able just to walk on set and watch without any security clearance or anything. It’s one thing when Derek tells the Pike girls they’re okay because they’re with him, but they were able to walk up on set prior to finding Derek without anyone questioning their presence.
Shannon and Charlotte seems like a good pair since they’re both smart and apparently both enjoy playing detective. When Shannon suggests they tail suspects, Charlotte’s response is, “I’m good at that.” Then she goes and gets sunglasses for her, Shannon and Becca so no one recognizes them. (Of course, the sunglasses are all silly, covered in rhinestones or hearts. Charlotte’s eight, after all.)
Even funnier, when they show up on set, Claudia says, “I bet they’re playing detective. See the sunglasses?”
Oh yeah, there’s this whole thing about how Cokie keeps showing up on set and acting like she and Kristy are friends (BFFs for life, as one of my coworkers would say) in an effort to meet Carson. She throws a party hoping he’ll show up, and invites the entire cast and crew. Claudia and Kristy attend the party because Derek and Todd do, but of course Carson doesn’t show up. To make things worse, Derek drenches Cokie while doing a cannonball and then everyone who ate at the party gets food poisoning!
Mary Anne suggests Cokie could be the cause of the accidents because she’s so obsessed with Carson.
Wait. Why does Logan have a sitting job if not all the BSC members do? I guess he’s got more availability during the summer, but you’d think they’d give it to full members first.
Kristy and a few others try to go hunt down the source of the glass again, but the office of the company that provided it is so disorganized that they don’t even get to talk to anyone. They four of them end up laughing hysterically about it, but it sounds a little like my manager’s office.
Kristy decides Frank the agent must be responsible, because he looks like a villain: he wears black and smokes cigars. That sounds like something a little kid would think.
Kristy decides to talk to Derek’s limo driver while waiting for Derek on set. He’s the one who says the title quote.
I love how the BSC actually acknowledges that their sleuthing is getting them nowhere. Kristy only solves the mystery because she sees this girl who has been on set every day talking to the P.R. bitch and a reporter and realizes she’s related to the people who provided the safety glass that got switched. Later, she sees her covered in grease and she drops a repair manual for cars. Kristy’s able to piece together that she tampered with Derek’s limo just in time.
Isn’t it nice how various bad guys in these stories keep dropping incriminating evidence and not realizing it? If real criminals all did that, the police would be able to solve a lot more crimes.
That was one of the dumbest ones yet. I feel like I just wasted a whole afternoon.
Sheila (the P.R. bitch): gauzy pink blouse, silky black pants, pink heels and pink rhinestone clips; peach colored suit (this chick just loves the pastels; they also describe her wearing lavender pumps at one point)
Cokie: white ruffled peasant blouse, pink flowered skirt, high heeled sandals; pink mini dress, pink heels, pink nail polish and lipstick
Claudia: flowery jumpsuit
Kristy: shorts and t-shirt

Coming next: We’re going to do another book I’ve never read before but am actually looking forward to…because I heard Stacey acts like a selfish brat through the whole thing. Nothing against Stacey, but I kinda love when the BSC act more like real teenagers.

“Excuse me, this is an emergency high-tech consultation about the, um, flux capacitator.” BSC #60: Mary Anne’s Makeover (1993)

Ah, the BSC at its bitchy best.
Mary Anne sees a short haircut in a magazine that she thinks would look good on her. Her friends all pooh-pooh the idea of her changing her look, but Mary Anne decides to go for it anyway. The BSC members start being cold to her, so she distances herself from them and makes friends with a different crowd. They start a bunch of rumors that the BSC (and Logan) believe, making things worse. Mary Anne eventually makes up with the Dawn, from whom most of the BSC seemed to be taking their cues, and starts going to meetings again.
Meanwhile, Carolyn Arnold builds a ‘time machine’ that she seems to think is actually real. Marilyn teases her about it, but she takes money from various kids with promises of actual time travel until Mary Anne sets her straight.
Interesting Tidbits
Cover-time!: Mary Anne’s outfit should never come back into fashion. (Too bad it already pretty much has.) We’re also getting awesome bitch face from Dawn, Kristy and Claudia.

I think one day I’m going to go back through the BSC covers and see how many of the characters wear their watches on their right hand like Mary Anne does here. That’s typical of left handed people.
Ha! “[M]y kitten (who’s named Tigger and is furry and gray), my boyfriend (who’s named Logan Bruno and is not furry and gray)…”
Sharon-itis: gloves in the freezer, keys in the soap dish; salad tongs in the linen closet
Richard, on the other hand, actually brings a calculator to restaurants to make sure that his bill is correctly computed.
Mary Anne complains that she’s not allowed to have her ears pierced, yet several times she’s said she doesn’t want her ears pierced.
Carolyn’s spelling is tres Claudia: “Dangeris! Radiacotiv Plutonum Cristals”
Meeting fun: Kristy is teaching Jessi the proper ‘technique’ for catching Milk Duds in her mouth.
“That kid in Home Alone.” Gotta love dated McCauley Culkin references.
The jaw that launched a thousand ships. That’s how MA describes her jawline when she pulls her hair on top of her head while contemplating chopping it off. Oh, and Richard calls her haircut ‘spiffy.’
Given a choice of what she would do if she could travel back in time, Carolyn would babysit for her own parents. Marilyn would prevent Mozart from writing symphonies. Jessi would want to go back and see some ballet dancer.
More Carolyn spelling (she capitalized everything but I gave up after the title): Top Secret Chek List for Time Machin: flux capasitattor, warp consol, the hands from a brokened clock, unpluged telephone, old blankit, dish towl, some toylet paper, one curtain rod
I love when Richard and Mary Anne have one-on-one time. He’s not really a huggy-type dad, but he obviously does enjoy her company. He mentions during his and MA’s shopping spree that it’s hard to see her grow up, and calls himself an old grump.
Dawn says ‘ew’ to lobster in oyster sauce—yet she routinely eats fish and sometimes, even chicken.
The Schafer/Spier household eats Chinese food with chopsticks…everyone except Richard.
When Dawn hears about all the clothes Mary Anne got, she gets a hurt, tense look on her face. I’m trying to figure out if it’s jealousy that fuels her total bitch fest throughout the rest of the book.
Ha ha ha! Apparently, Sharon’s issues are catching. Dawn took the toothpaste into her bedroom with her when she went to bed at night.
Mary Anne messes with Logan’s head: He loves her new look, and she asks what was wrong with her old look, and suggests he thought she was ugly before. She lets him dangle and get all flustered for a while.
Ugh. Who needs enemies when you have friends like the BSC? I’m trying to figure them out. I get them not being shocked when they run into MA, because Dawn already told all of them she cut her hair off. But when everyone else is telling MA she looks great, why the hell are they telling her things like “We told you that look wasn’t for you” and “At least it will grow out” and sounding like she’s done something wrong and they’re pitying her.
Claudia spelling. She’s sitting for the twines again, btw. Lovly, Baithoven (that’s after she tried to spell Mozart three times), Sceintist (second try), loked, evning, confusd, buzness, brane, litle, livlier. She also uses whether for weather; principals for principles, lessen for lesson and pleas for please. Also, she spells Stacey wrong again.
Marilyn keeps teasing Carolyn. Carolyn’s time machine is in the basement, and she won’t let anyone come down to see it. Marilyn keeps suggesting that she and Claudia (and later, Stacey, Matt and Haley) go downstairs, which sets Carolyn off. At one point, this exchange happens:
            Carolyn: Don’t let them come downstairs!
            Marilyn: What? Let them come downstairs? Okay!
This is followed by Carolyn shrieking and Marilyn giggling. Later, she, Matt and Haley go spying on Carolyn through basement windows.
This is pretty good, too:
            Carolyn: Eureka!
            Claudia: Eureka?
            Haley: You need a vacuum cleaner?
Ah, Sabrina Bouvier. You know that someone, somewhere in the BSC-verse, knew and hated a girl with that name. Knowing that Cary Retlin and the Perkins girls are real people, it’s quite possible. I wonder how many of the other BSC characters are named after real people as well. (One of the early books is dedicated to the ‘real’ Margo and Claire, so I’ve always wondered if the rest of the Pikes were named after someone.)
A Separate Peace. I’ve always loved that book, but I never felt like I completely understood it.
The BSC may be being bitches, but Mary Anne isn’t handling things very well either. Instead of confronting her friends about stuff—which, admittedly is so not her style—she just starts skipping BSC meeting and avoiding activities by hanging out with Logan. This just fuels their idea that she thinks she’s too good for the BSC anymore.
Mary Anne muses about their ‘chicken Kiev’ lunch and where that name comes from. She figures that ‘unidentified leftover gristle with lumpy brown sauce’ is more accurate but means no one would eat it. See, we don’t need Kristy at a meal to be disgusted by the food, especially when she says it tastes like burnt flour and rubber bands.
The rumors about Mary Anne are so flippin’ stupid, but they’re so pervasive that everyone—including the BSC and Logan—believes them. Normally, Mary Anne’s clique would have her back and, with a crew standing tall against the stories, enough people would stop believing them and they’d go away.
Do you think it means something that Mary Anne dreamed that Kristy and Dawn were the evil king and queen? I don’t know enough dream theory to comment on that.
Logan wanted to go hang out at ‘the high school playground’ to check out Carlos, the guy Mary Anne was supposedly going to a dance with. What kind of high school has a playground?
Is it wrong that I love when Mary Anne and Dawn fight? I like it so much better than when they’re loving on each other and calling each other Sis. Mary Anne is one of those people who’s all meek until you push her buttons and then BAM! She’s ready to attack. MA tries to talk to Dawn, who is snide and surly. When Dawn mentions MA’s ‘boy haircut’ and ‘clown makeup,’ MA tells her to go choke on an alfalfa sprout.
Dawn says she wasn’t jealous of MA’s makeover, but just felt left out. I’ll buy that she’d have loved to come along, but you can’t tell me she’s not a little jealous. MA got a shopping spree and makeup…and she got to spend time with her dad, which is something that Dawn doesn’t get very often at this point.
It takes until chapter 13 for Mary Anne to point out that Mal and Jessi were just innocent bystanders in everything. Jessi had a sitting job for the Arnolds in chapter 4, and other than that, she’s only done the Milk Dud thing. And I’m not sure Mal has said a single word. I can’t find one.
Marilyn really is cracking me up here. When Carolyn finally unveils her time machine, she keeps giving away secrets like the sound effects are a tape Carolyn bought. Then she prepares to take the first time trip and makes Carolyn promise to get her home by dinner and asks if she needs anything special, like money or warm clothes.
I knew there was a book where Pete and Dawn went to a dance together! At various points through the series, he takes Claudia and Dawn to dances, dates Stacey and asks Mary Anne out.
Why the hell would Kristy wear heels?
MA, Dawn and Logan bring up the time machine at the January Jamboree. Pete wishes the time machine were real…so that he could go back and watch Super Bowl III. As Dawn says, bo-ring! Logan would go back to the day he first met Mary Anne (barf!) while Dawn wants to go back to when Sharon and Richard were in middle school and went to dances. It doesn’t say what MA would do, but I imagine she’d want to get to know her mother.
Mary Anne: teal stirrup pants (NO, MARY ANNE, NO!), pink turtleneck, snowflake print ski sweater; red, off the shoulder crepe dress with shirred sleeves, fitted bodice and flared skirt (I have never been able to picture exactly what this looks like. Maybe if I googled all those terms separately…), indigo cable sweater; floral paisley Lycra leggings and French terry top
Dawn: black dress with a sheer bodice (I hope the whole bodice wasn’t sheer…that’s a little too risqué for these books)
Kristy: dress and heels
Claudia: “flashy colored” lamé outfit (NO CLAUDIA, NO!)

Stacey: slinky evening gown