Twilight Thursday: Twilight Chapter 2 or Vampires Do Not Go Up to 11

I have to admit, this chapter was less painful than the first one. Kind of like how the second strip of a bikini wax hurts less than the first one because your brain has already shut down. My brain has probably gone into survival mode already. Positive signs. Anyway…


When we last left our heroes, Bella was driving and crying over how much she hates her life, the rain, and whatever else might make the poor life choice of coming within 10 feet of her. She opens Chapter 2 with this:

The next day was better…and worse.

Do tell, Ms. Swan, do tell. She regales sitting with a large group at lunch, some of whom, she’s deigned to remember their names. Okay, that’s a positive. Then that positive came to a screeching halt. She got called on in class, whacked some kid with a volleyball, and worst of all? Edward cuts school.

But when I walked into the cafeteria with Jessica – trying to keep my eyes from sweeping the place for him, and failing entirely – I saw that his four siblings of sorts were sitting together at the same table, and he was not with them.

Hold on, hold on, let’s back up a minute. She started out sitting with a big group at lunch. Now she’s back in the cafeteria? Or do they have two lunches? If that’s the case, hobbits must run the joint. Ms. Meyer’s prose is as clumsy as her heroine’s extremities. Flashbacks only work if they’re obvious. It wouldn’t have been a huge challenge to start at the beginning of the day. I’m not sure what she was trying to accomplish by establishing Edward and the hair were out gallivanting around town before Bella actually realizes it. And that’s just the content of the sentence.

The sentence construction makes me want to start a utensil fight. Or just stab Bella in the eye. It’s one thing to know the rules and then break them for the sake of character building or narration. This does not qualify. At least it wasn’t in passive voice. Then I really would have to get out the cutlery. Now that we have returned from our unnecessary flashback, it’s time for Biology!

I held my breath at the door, but Edward Cullen wasn’t there, either.

He wasn’t at the door? What is he, the Biology class butler? Though having him hide behind the door and scare the shit out of her would have been hysterical. Oh, wait, she meant he wasn’t in class. Maybe he did get that schedule change after all. The hair was pissed.

After more whining about how a boy may, gasp!, like her, she offers this nugget of exposition:

I had never been enormously tactful; I had no practice dealing with overly friendly boys.

Yeah, duh. You can put the stick down, Stephanie. We get it. She only has eyes for tall, dark, and dead over there. I can’t argue with the lack of tact. Girlfriend has all kinds of issues up in there. We *finally* make it to the end of the school day and Ms. Swan is off to the grocery store because her father can only cook “fried bacon and eggs”. It looks like we’ll make it out of the parking lot safely, right? Oh, no, no my children. Safety is merely an illusion.

I saw the two Cullens and the Hale twins getting into their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn’t noticed their clothes before – I’d been too mesmerized by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins…It seemed excessive for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time.

Apparently, money buys you a shiny Volvo. Really? Couldn’t it at least be a Lexus? Maybe we could even spring for a Mercedes? Also, it’s implied that it’s a sedan. There are 5 of them. Who cares what they’re wearing. I want to know how they determine who gets shotgun and who gets the bitch (middle in the back) seat. That would be so much more entertaining.

The last sentence is where she really gets me. They’re so pretty! And rich! It’s all too much! I’m going to make wild assumptions about pretty people who dress simply and drive a shiny, moderately priced car! [insert eyeroll here]

When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, stuffing them wherever I could find open space.

So, if there really isn’t any food in the house other than bacon & eggs, what’s taking up all the space? Dare I ask what’s in the cabinets? No, no, it’s all better if I don’t know. She gets dinner started, goes upstairs to check her email, and has no fewer than 3 messages from her mother. Of course, Mom is freaking out about everything from forgetting a top to Bella not replying to aforementioned emails.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the whole “child raising the parents” trope drives me insane. Mom makes scatterbrained look like a compliment. Dad can’t cook. Bella is responsible for remembering when to pick up dry cleaning from 3 states away and also whipping up a good steak & potatoes. It’s a cheap way to give the teenage protagonist some kind of autonomy. How about this instead? The parents function like actual adults who have raised their child in a where s/he has developed the agency on his/her own. Family dynamics are difficult to navigate when the main character is a child or teenager. Hell, family dynamics are difficult to navigate in real life. I’m much more willing to accept the parent(s) as minor characters. If you *have* to cut the parent(s) out of the picture, kill them in a car accident. If it ain’t broke…

Then, for funsies, she whips out Wuthering Heights as a little light reading. Again, the child makes so much more sense now. Nice to see you again, AnaBella. Over her perfectly cooked meal, her dad makes his positive thoughts known about the band of sexy vampire children. Her response? “They’re all very attractive”. Because that somehow will make the situation better? It’s not like he was ranting at you. Oy. She makes the point that she has to wash the dishes by hand. Perhaps scrubbing the floors or polishing the silver is on the docket for tomorrow night. I think a mouse or two might be looking for some work, too. At least we get a break from every inane detail for the rest of the school week. For the moment, I can put the fork down.

CinderBella spends her weekend cleaning, homework-ing, and talking shit about the local library. The first practical thing she concerns herself with is the gas mileage on the truck. I suppose practically had to butt in sooner or later. And then…

He’s baaaaaack!

I kept my head down and glanced up under my lashes.

As opposed to where? Your spleen?

Finally, he speaks:

“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice…”My name is Edward Cullen”.

I imagine Edward sounding something like this:

With that in mind, he laughs soft enchanting laughs and we FINALLY get a reason why Bella’s whiny ass (and the rest of her) moved to Forks in the first place. Her mom got remarried. Really? That’s it? I was really hoping my mental institution theory was going to pan out. Bummer. However, the mental institution has an excellent curriculum because she’s “already done this lab” and her teacher infers she was in “advanced placement”. Only if it’s the kind that involves padded walls. A girl can dream.

Through the entire conversation, Edward never simply speaks. He murmurs and mutters through most of it. Of course, fangs can make enunciation a bit of a challenge. They’re also, apparently, a hindrance to speaking at a normal volume. There is also, clearly, no other way to communicate dark and sexy but by mumbling. If I can’t understand you, maybe I missed the fact you just used a really terrible pick up line.

Instead of drinking every time Bella flushes, blushes, or turns some other shade of red, we drink when a semi-colon appears. If you’re reading the source material along with me, I apologize to your liver in advance.


 

Hope everyone enjoyed this week’s commentary and maybe even had a good laugh. I live to serve, faithful readers. Have to start prepping myself for next week. Breathe in, breathe out…

XOXO!

 

Twilight Thursday: Twilight Chapter 1 or Forks are for sticking in eyes

Alright readers, here’s a little something fun for you. I am attempting a feat so great, so masochistic, I must share it with the Internet. I was hilariously entertained and inspired by this series of blog posts. She had me laughing so hard I was crying at certain points. I thought “why not try that myself?”. Amazon hooked me up with all 4 books in the Twilight Saga (and a saga it will be) for about $10. Every Thursday, I’ll be posting my commentary on a chapter. And we’re off…


The book opens with a quote from Genesis. Considering my first thought upon opening the book was “Dear God help me through this”, it’s appropriate.

We begin with this little gem from the first page of the first chapter:

It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.

Why hello there, passive voice. As someone who purports to have a degree in English Lit, Meyer should know that passive voice is reserved for work based emails where you’re trying to call someone an idiot without calling them an idiot. It is from this I infer Ms. Meyer has never held a job which requires passive aggressive emails.

Bella then declares that she’s moving to Forks (in active voice), a town she just said she hates, of her own accord. Alright, I’ll go along with motivation TBD. After a paragraph long description of how one gets to Forks, she mentions again how much she hates the joint. This is less than a page after the first mention of moving. Heard you the first time, Stephanie. Right before Bella almost faceplants getting off the plane, passive voice strikes again.

Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too.

They have an awkward conversation about the origins of the truck Charlie has procured for Bella. Charlie mentions the previous owner, Billy Black, whom Bella doesn’t remember.

“He used to go fishing with us during the summer,” Charlie prompted.  That would explain why I didn’t remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.

Da fuck? Really? Granted, I’m not one to enjoy hanging out in a boat skewing a water dweller for sport, but I wouldn’t class it as “painful” or “unnecessary” on the memory scale. Unless “fishing” is a euphemism for ol’ Billy whipping out his trouser trout for all to view, Bella can calm the hell down. She gets in the house without falling up the stairs and settles in.

It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just  few tears escape. I wasn’t in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I had to think about the coming morning.

We’ve now hit Page 9. Meyer has once again whacked us over the head with the fact Bella doesn’t want to be there. Then why the hell did you go in the first place? There better be an epic reveal by the end of this chapter. And no, because without it there would be no plot otherwise doesn’t count.

You know in situations where you meet the parents and all of a sudden the kids make more sense? I finally saw where Ana (50 Shades) gets her penchant for self deprecation even though she’s the definition of attractive in North America. Here’s how Bella so eloquently describes herself:

Instead, I was ivory skinned, without the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite the constant sunshine. I had always been slender, but soft somehow, obviously not an athlete…My skin could be pretty – it was very clear, almost translucent – looking – but it all depended on color. I had no color here.

So you’re skinny with alabaster clear skin and somehow that’s an issue? Bitch please. Of course, none of this would be complete without:

Good luck tended to avoid me.

*facepalm*

Meyer then goes on to contradict herself in fewer than 3 sentences:

Finding the school wasn’t difficult, though I’d never been there before. The school was like most other things, just off the highway. It was not obvious that it was a school; only the sign which declared it to be Forks High School made me stop.

So if it wasn’t hard to find, how was it “not obvious” that it was a school? The term not hard to find typically implies something is easy to identify based on location. Yet the sign made her stop. Whatever you say, hon. Bella did follow it up with this comment:

Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain link fences, the metal detectors?

I wasn’t aware high schools in Phoenix also doubled as mental institutions. Unless, of course, Bella did actually escape from a mental institution. That would make so much more sense.  Bella meanders her way into the office and remarks that a woman wearing a purple tee shirt makes her feel overdressed. It begs the question what exactly is the dress code at this school / not mental institution? I guess she left the orange jumpsuit in Arizona.

Bella goes off to class and observes there are, in fact, other white chicks at this school. Go her. Then, once again, the child mimics the parent.

I flushed tomato red.

At least she hasn’t hit crimson or garnet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. She has, of course, read every book in her English curriculum. Because, you know, Phoenix standards are far, far superior. For those keeping score at home, it’s page 17 and I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why she moved there in the first place. In the next class, after a snarky comment or two about other classmates trying to help her, she trips over herself again.

At lunch, we have the Cullen clan with a side of snark. Oh joy! People whiter than she is. *slow clap* The quintet are introduced as Emmett, Jasper, Edward, Alice, and Rosalie.

Strange, unpopular names, I thought.

I’ll concede that Emmett and Jasper are less common names. I fail to understand how Edward, Alice, and Rosalie are “strange”. I don’t think hicks name their kids after 18th century children’s book characters or British royals. I get that Meyer is trying to set up the fact their names were mainstream, or close to it, at the time. If she really wanted to hit “strange”, she should’ve read a few more baby name books first. Imogen and Asher, I’m looking at you. Bella meets Edward’s eyes and here we go again:

I bit my lip to hide my smile.

I know when a dude looks at me like he’s going to rip my head off and snack on it,  it always gets my no-no bits tingly. Enough of that, time for the next class!

Next to the center aisle, I recognized Edward Cullen by his unusual hair, sitting next to that single open seat.

It’s awfully polite of Edward to give his hair its own seat. Not sure where the rest of him ended up, but wherever that was, it provoked the AnaBella hat trick:

I looked away quickly, shocked, going red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch myself on the edge of a table.

The hair offered no comment.

Once again, the class is something she already studied. Way to go Phoenix public schools! Though apparently they don’t like their students to stay in shape as they only require 2 years of P.E. vs. 4 in Forks’ main center of secondary learning. On page 26 out of 28:

Forks was literally my own personal hell on Earth.

I’m going to ignore the misuse of the word “literally”. I will, instead, direct Ms. Meyer to this video. You’re welcome. Enter my mantra: Why the hell did Bella willingly move to Forks in the first place? We’re a page and a half from the end of the chapter. I’m sure the reveal has been totally worth the previous 27 pages.

My wait proved to be in vain. Bella catches Edward trying to escape from the biology class. The hair, however, was perfectly happy with the schedule. The chapter ends and we have Chekhov’s interstate move. I have, by the grace of God, survived the first chapter.

Only 113 more to go…

XOXO!

Of books and writing good ones

Writing has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Even when I was a kid, I would write stories  based on my favorite books. I’m one of the American Girl generation. When the American Girl of Today dolls were released (now called “Just Like Me”), they came with blank books for you to write their stories. I was all over that. I think I still have it somewhere in my parents’ basement / uber expansive library. When we moved from Virginia to Georgia in the days when the Internet was still a luxury, I wrote a *ton* of poetry. I had no way to connect with my old friends except through physical letters and expensive long distance calls. Kids these days will never understand that *shakes cane*. Writing was the only way I could express my feelings. Going back and reading what my 12 year old self wrote, I was in a deep depression. I just didn’t understand what it was at the time. I met one of my closest friends through blogging *bows head for the passing of Teen Open Diary*. I still kept my creative writing close. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a few times. I took a playwriting class in college. I’ve dabbled in longer works. I love creating new characters and seeing what happens to them. Plot has always been a bit of a sticking point for me. I’ve got a whole bunch of characters, but I can’t make them do anything.

I’m a big fan of the Writing Excuses podcast. Across the board, they recommend reading A LOT, ideally in the genre you’re looking to write. Any series with the major architecture of the desired book is fine. After much throwing at the wall and seeing what stuck, I’m looking at a 5 novel collection with each book told from the POV of each major character. I love the idea of a major story arc. That said, I haven’t a clue how to go about it. I put together a list of series I’ve enjoyed with an overarching plot. I’ve also taken suggestions from the audience (Boy). They all have a fantasy element, either traditional or modern. My list currently includes:

1. Harry Potter (duh)

2. NewsFlesh triology by Mira Grant (reread).

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (new read).

4. Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer ( My “how to write a really crappy series” case study. I only made it halfway through the first one last time. Major Deities help me).

5. The Caster Chronicles by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia (reread-ish. I’ve read the first one, but not 2 & 3).

In the spirit of learning more, feel free to jump in with a series, regardless of genre, that’s worth a read. Ideally, it would be a series between 3 and 5 books. I would also prefer books with multiple POVs, but not rehashing the same story just from a different perspective. That said, I’m willing to try pretty much anything.

On that note, back to my coffee and Book 1 of the NewsFlesh trilogy (Feed, if you’re curious).

XOXO!

Of Muppets and bouffants

Day 2 of ClusterFlake 2.0

We still have power! Hooray! We were madly charging any and all electronic devices last night. The worst of the ice & sleet came through last night. It’s since turned into freezing rain and snow. Work is officially closed today and I’d be totally shocked if they open up tomorrow. Officially, they’re “evaluating conditions in the morning” to see if they’ll be open or not. They’re aiming for a delayed opening, but again, I’d be shocked if that happened. There’s literally a half inch of ice that’s getting covered by snow. Boy’s office & my dad’s office have already declared they’re closed. We would’ve ice skated to Waffle House this morning, but it was just too windy and wet. I hate wind. I would fail epically at living in Chicago.

In my vast amounts of free time yesterday, I watched Top Chef Season 4, worked on my French, read a little bit, and fiddled around with an updo. I’ve had my hair short (chin length or shorter) for 6 or 7 years now. It’s just now a tiny bit longer than chin length. I’ve been wanting to try a bouffant for a while. It’ll take some refining, but I got it mostly how I wanted it. I was impressed I got it to work with such short hair. My hair is thick & curly which lends itself to all kinds of creative updos (I hate the way that looks written down. Gah). The one thing I forgot is a fancy updo can be rough on the scalp. I managed to give myself a headache from the bobby pins. Ouch. It’s nice to have an alternative to low pigtails or some kind of headband to keep it out of my face. There’s a fine line between keeping it elegant and looking like a parody of the 60s. I’d like to keep it on the side of elegant as much as possible.

And I think this nicely sums up how I’m starting to feel.

XOXO!

Of the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’ve fallen a bit off the blog radar. Fear not, loyal readers! I’m back.

The good:

*Day 2 of my new management level position. Rapidly discovering how much basic information I’m missing, but I’m getting there. My boss is being super patient with me. And he did warn me about this.

*I’m reading more for pleasure. I finally gave in and started reading 50 Shades of Grey. With a red pen. Hilarity has ensued. There was many a moment where I was yelling at the book and / or to Boy in the next room with painful examples of what bad fanfic can do when released to the unknowing public. I missed my calling. I should’ve been an editor.

*10 weeks & 4 days until I’m mobile again.

*Got my hair trimmed and redyed. I feel about a million times better about how I look. And I’ve dyed several pillowcases pink in the process.

*Saw Butch Walker on Saturday night. He put on a great show, as always. I was happy to get another shot at seeing him live.

*I put glittery stickers all over my laptop. Because you’re never too old for glittery stickers.

The bad:

*One of our kitties passed last week. We’d had her for over 10 years and she hadn’t been doing well for a while. It’s always sad to say goodbye.

The ugly:

*Working up the courage to clean my bathroom. The CDC would have a field day in there. ‘Nuff said.

*My family at Christmas. Again, ’nuff said.

I have a longer, more philosophical post brewing. But for now, enjoy the Cliff Notes version.

XOXO!