mizzmarvel: (family (tpatf) - icon_teahouse)
Before I left New York, I started a project in which I was going to read all the American Girl books and review them. When I stopped reading AG, Addy was the newest girl, so it was going to be an interesting mix of revisiting the old and jumping into the new. At the time, I lived 5 minutes from a library, which made procuring the books really easy.

I only got through the intro books, Meet ______, before I moved. Since I don't have a lot of interest in buying the whole series (especially since some of the books really suck), I scrapped the project. Maybe when I get my license and a car, I can get to a library again and start it. Until then, here are my notes on the books I did read, since some people have expressed interest.

Meet... )
mizzmarvel: (scrooge - iconomicon)
It's hard to explain what it's like to grow up poor. Obviously, you can talk about things like, hey, we had to drink dehydrated milk sometimes (word to the wise: avoid this at all costs) and buy clothes from Goodwill and on a few Christmas mornings we awoke to find only a single present each. And I think most people can understand the shittiness of that and sympathize, but when I try to dig down and try to explain how being poor makes me feel, it gets tougher.

I have a lot on my mind )
mizzmarvel: (donald's boys - ushitora_icons)
I've posted about this on Twitter and Facebook already (the latter mostly because I have relatives on there), but it's not every day that you Google random family members and discover a video of your great-grandfather getting interviewed for the Disney Channel.



What makes it especially gut-wrenching is that this is exactly how I remember him from my very earliest childhood. I've seen older pictures of him, of course, but it's like, "Oh, here's some guy who became Grandpa eventually." To see him as I knew him, to hear his voice after he's been dead for 15 years -- it was kind of overwhelming. In a flash, I could smell his cigar scent and see the chunky gold nugget wedding ring on his hand and the dark, wood-paneled home he and Grandma shared.

Also -- I may have talked about this before -- one of my very earliest memories has to do with the monorails he mentions being in the works. I was sitting on his lap, wearing red overalls with multi-colored numbers printed all over it, and he was pointing at this number and that, saying, "There's going to be a monorail this color and this color and..."

And it's kind of weird to think that, man, there are people who are so into Disneyland history that they care about this guy who I best remember walking around in his underwear.
mizzmarvel: (wonder girl adorable - mignolagraphics)
Three things to be happy about:

1. When I leave work now, there's still a bit of sunlight left, which is just enough to make the crushing weight of the world on my shoulders seem like it's not going to destroy me at any moment.

2. My birthday is in less than a week. Almost another full year of not wandering into an open manhole and dying!

3. Today I just felt kind of off-and-on tired instead of totally exhausted. This is actually something to be pleased about.

I'M SO GOOD AT OPTIMISM.

Actually, here's a funny story: when I was in high school, I came in second place in a Optimists Club speech contest. The topic was "the future," and every other speech was about how scary and depressing the future seems, considering current events and so forth. (The winner actually opened with a booming, foreboding, "HOMOSEXUALITY" as her opening entry of List of Worrisome Things, and for years my dad and I would continue to mock her awful, awful speech.)

Having seen the word "optimists" in the club name, I figured it was a clue and delivered a really lighthearted speech that poked fun at how easy people of my generation have it. And I referenced Fibber McGee and Molly, because name-checking pop culture phenomena I have no firsthand experience with is how I roll, which probably worked in my favor, since none of the judges were under 800 years of age. I still have the silver medal I won. I laugh every time I see it.
mizzmarvel: (christmas ducks - iconzicons)
The year I was five, I desperately wanted a Little Tikes dollhouse for some reason. Why? Who the hell knows. It looks totally unexciting now, and I already had an awesome, homemade dollhouse I had no intention of abandoning, but I think the lights turned on or something.

My parents, with three kids and one salary, pretty much laughed at me when I begged for it, but this was before the world crushed my heart into a lump of cold diamond, so I still had high hopes. Hopes that were launched into the stratosphere when my parents told me one day near Christmas that I was absolutely not to go into the garage.

Now, I was an abnormally good kid; my rebellions were few or mild. And even though they refused to answer my incessant demands as to whether they were hiding a dollhouse in there, I didn't even attempt to sneak in the garage.

However, I had to know. So a couple days later, I was alone playing in the backyard and -- to my mind, casually -- constructed a makeshift step-stool of crates and boxes up to the one window into the dark garage. Peering in while on tiptoe, I could just make out the giant Little Tikes box.

Unfortunately, what I hadn't counted on was my mom witnessing everything from the kitchen window. She called me inside and demanded to know what I was doing. I tried to deny it, and then switched my story to admitting to, okay, trying to look in the window, but I hadn't seen anything, really! My parents were furious with my disobedience, though, and announced that they were taking back the dollhouse immediately. I was crushed, and after that, the garage was no longer off limits; the box was gone.

Christmas Eve rolled around. Traditionally, that night was spent with my grandparents, when we opened presents from the family. (Christmas Day was when we opened gifts from Santa.) Present after present was opened, and finally all mine were unwrapped. Needless to say, no dollhouse. I had pretty much resigned myself to it at this point.

One present was left, though, and my dad brings in this big box for my baby brother Tyler, who was barely a year old. Since it was about five times bigger than him, my parents ordered me to help him unwrap it, which, whoa, salting the wounds a little, right? Glumly, I tore off the paper...it was my Little Tikes dollhouse.

Cue me losing my freaking mind.

Well played, Mom and Dad. This is still my very happiest Christmas memory.

Later, I ditched the lame plastic family that came with the house and made it an awesome Barbie condo and temporary puppy hospital.
mizzmarvel: (ouch)
Part of me wants to do a commentary on my earliest piece of fanfiction (not counting my one Gargoyles fic from when I was 14 and thought plagiarizing half of it was probably okay). Because hey, it's been almost ten years at this point, and maybe I'm mature enough not to read cringe and get all insecure when I read it and make fun of how awful it is.

Maybe.

I can't even remember the plot off the top of my head, but it was certainly X-Men: Evolution, because I loved that show so much in high school. And it definitely included shades of Pietro/Rogue, because I shipped the hell out of that pairing for God knows what reason. (Also: Scott/Rogue. Only that one had basis in canon.) Also, I know I reference a Weezer song. Ohhhhhhhh, high school!

I'm sure it's all kinds of brilliant.

oh boys

Aug. 28th, 2010 11:19 am
mizzmarvel: (wonder girl adorable - mignolagraphics)
In third grade I had these friends, Kevin and James. We used to play X-Men together every recess. They split the guy characters between them (Kevin was Cyclops, James was Gambit and Wolverine) and I was all the girls.

One day, we were headed out to the field when we started talking about how tall we were. Our heights were big points of pride back in third grade; it was also the last time in my life I can remember looking forward to weighing more.

"I'm five feet tall!" Kevin proclaimed proudly.

"Me too!" James boasted. "Maybe even more!"

"I don't know how tall I am," I said, a little hesitant and ashamed. How had they outstripped me by so much? "Four-something."

We got to the tree that always served as our headquarters. James saw a branch that'd be really awesome for Wolverine to break in half. The problem was that it was still connected to the tree. He made a jump for it, didn't even come close, and tried again. Then Kevin joined in. They were like a pair of monkeys, hopping and swiping futilely for the banana.

I studied the branch and finally just stood up on my tiptoes and grabbed it in one easy motion. I held it out to them silently, eyebrows raised, and they just stared.

I don't think they were actually five feet tall.
mizzmarvel: (billy batson ;_;)
It's not that I want to go back to college; I just want to feel the way I did in college. I remember a sunny day when I woke up, stared at the ceiling, and realized with shocked clarity that not only was I not depressed for the first time in forever, I was actively happy.

I have never been happier than when I was in college. Even when I had a big test or a paper on the horizon, I never had nervous stomachaches. I was in the best shape I've ever been in because I had the motivation to get out and take walks. I got plenty of sleep, and I wrote for fun, and I went out and did new things occasionally. It felt like I knew what I was doing, or I was at least better at tricking people into thinking I did.

And, I don't know. It was the closest I've ever felt to being a fully functional person.
mizzmarvel: (garth loves food - thepresidentrix)
This morning, I woke up vaguely mad at my roommate because she was a jerk in a dream I only fuzzily remember, but then she responded by handing me a piping hot McDonalds hash brown (and a ketchup packet, because she knows me so well) as a total surprise. She has totally redeemed her(dream)self!

I have a long-standing love for McDonalds breakfast, but I only indulge myself once or twice a year. When I was a kid, I had it a lot more often. Every Sunday, my dad would pick up some for my little brother and I on his way home from his weekly AA meeting -- a sausage biscuit with cheese for Tyler and a couple hash browns for me. Unfortunately, since Dad attended the 6 AM meeting and this was the weekend, that meant that when we woke up, our food was stone cold. But even though I was left with chilly, congealed-greasy fried potato patties, they were still potato products, so I ate them.

One weekend, I was a little slow on eating my second hash brown, and my brother asked me if he could have it. I told him no, I still wanted it, and he responded by shoving the whole thing in his mouth right in front of me...and our dad.

This triggered one of Dad's famous "I AM SO UPSET BY THIS I WILL NEVER LET IT GO" tirades. All day, it'd be things like, "You want to watch TV, huh? LIKE KENZIE WANTED THAT HASH BROWN?" Or, "You're hungry for dinner? LIKE THAT TIME YOU WERE SO HUNGRY YOU ATE YOUR SISTER'S HASH BROWN?"

He was freaking pissed for seriously the whole day. I think Tyler got so frustrated that he cried. And of course, being the loving sister, I reveled in it. Yes, yes, emotionally abuse him some more!
mizzmarvel: (tiana/naveen ftw)
'Round about sixth grade, I developed an elaborate daydream in which I'd be at Disneyland, alone for some reason, and happen to run into Prince William, incognito and in line at the Dumbo ride. Yes, this was all meticulously planned. I wish I could say that I did something awesome, like help him escape paparazzi, but he just found me intriguing for SOME MYSTERIOUS REASON (a running theme with me). And his mom -- who was alive at the time I came up with this brilliance) -- thought I was completely charming.

We become penpals and he even comes to visit me before the school year is over, and he and his mom and Prince Harry PICK ME UP AT SCHOOL for some outing and my entire class sees and is SO AWED. Over the years, our penpal relationship becomes something more, and of course he proposes marriage and I accept. The climax of this whole scenario was my ultra-detailed imagining of him and I being interviewed on 20/20 (because I was fucking IN LOVE with 20/20 at the time) by Barbara Walters, in all her soft-focus glory, about how I was so worth abdicating the throne for.

The 20/20 interview segment became a recurring theme in my shameless fantasies. I think that element was actually more important than whoever happened to be head over heels in love with me (for no particular reason).
mizzmarvel: (penguins - not jamie madrox but could be)
One of the great loves in my life is Gatorade.

Seriously, during junior high, I pretty much lived on the stuff. Well, maybe not entirely. I've made a pie chart to illustrate my consumption of liquids from the ages of 12-14:


I'm really stupid.

At the time, a liter or so of Gatorade was usually $1, so my father didn't mind so much buying them for me by the truckload. It's not like he could judge, being addicted to Dr Pepper, and hey, at least Gatorade pretended to be healthy. Because it was fully of electrolytes! And...carbs. And sugar. And water!

I think during my thirteenth year, I had a long-term red stain ringing my mouth from near-constant chugging of the Fruit Punch flavor. It was my favorite, followed by Glacier Freeze, Lemon Lime and Alpine Snow (now discontinued -- INJUSTICE). Sometimes, I'd even stop by 7-11 on the way home from school and a Big Gulp of fountain drink Gatorade, knowing full well that I had about ninety bottles waiting for me. I liked to mix it up!

One summer, Gatorade was having an under the cap prize contest, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that between my little brother (the second most ravenous Gatorade consumer) and I, we won at least 30 hats, CD cases and other little prizes. We sent away for none of them. The satisfaction of a delicious Gatorade was prize enough. Also, we were lazy and didn't need fourteen Gatorade Frost hats.

Eventually, my love affair with Gatorade cooled down. When, I'm not entirely sure, but it might have been the summer before high school, when I mysteriously lost like twenty pounds. I hardly ever have it anymore, but when I do, it's like being time-warped back to 1997. A much better 1997, where I have more money and clothes that fit and fewer crippling self esteem issues. Also, a waist. And it's awesome.
mizzmarvel: (ducklings + chaps = YAAA)
I complain about my family, but I'll say one thing about them -- they're supportive as hell. They've never blinked an eye at whatever interested me, be it reading comic books or studying archaeology or waking up early for Saturday morning cartoons all the way through college. I think they just don't see the point in judging me for something so trivial, and if it makes me happy to collect Baby-Sitters Club books, then dammit, my mom's going to comb used bookstores looking for the ones I'm missing.

They're really awesome that way.

It also helps that there's a strong thread of geekiness in many of them as well. They exposed me to the things that were important to them, and I took it and ran. And while, say, my dad didn't realize that reading Foxtrot to me every Sunday would lead to him having to buy me armloads of paperback comic strip anthologies ten years in the future, I can at least blame everything on them.

For example, here's some evidence of where my comic book and Disney obsessions may have originated. Large pics ahoy, dial-up beware.

Comics )

Disney )

In conclusion, how could I not turn out this way?

saxomaphone

Dec. 8th, 2009 11:25 pm
mizzmarvel: (watchmen babies - hinksia)
At some point, my father nicknamed me Stampy (because of how loud my steps are when I walk up stairs) and my brother Little Bobo (for a reason now lost to history).

The two of us should have started a Simpsons-based rock filk duo called Stampy and Bobo. Or at least sued the creators of the show for inspiring this.
mizzmarvel: (ugly betty fiver - noeffingpostage)
They were filming Ugly Betty near my office today. I saw Michael Urie, and also America Ferrera falling down in a hot dog costume. Hooray for New York!

But in more serious news, apparently Reading Rainbow will cease airing on PBS this Friday. Though new episodes haven't been made since 2006, it'd been airing in rerun form, but no longer!

I can't express how sad this makes me. Not that I've seen the show in the last decade, but the concept of a world without Reading Rainbow is just depressing. It was a constant presence in my childhood, particularly during the summer. I'd wake up, eat breakfast while watching the 'bow, then run out into an already-hot morning to play in the sprinklers. It's just a very summer entity to me (which I paid homage to in my BSC fic Trampoline), and I guess it's appropriate that it's ending in August, but still. It feels like the last chapter of my childhood (pun unintended) is coming to an end.

Also, while I give full credit to my family for instilling a love of reading in me, Reading Rainbow helped. It did a good job of reading to me when my parents didn't have the time, and I also got into several books through the show. It really was one of those rare kids' shows that was educational and totally entertaining.

So, thanks, LeVar Burton! Thanks, Kelloggs and viewers like me! Thanks, Reading Rainbow! You'll be missed.

(But don't take my word for it.)
mizzmarvel: (indiana jones)
Some of you people who don't know what Legends of the Hidden Temple is, I am shaking my head at you. Not being part of the Nickelodeon generation, I can buy, but those of you around my age -- not having cable is no excuse. This is why you should've befriended kids who had Nick! This is just common sense, people.

Legends of the Hidden Temple was, as far as I'm concerned, the single greatest Nick game show of all time. Now, I know this might be a controversial statement -- Double Dare is a classic, I know a lot of people who were really into GUTS, and I have a soft spot for Wild and Crazy Kids because I was in an episode. (Not as a contestant -- I'm in the front of a crowd standing behind the hosts in one episode. It is the achievement of my life.)

But LHT is by far my favorite for one simple reason -- it combined athleticism with learning. On other game shows, if you were fast and willing to do weird things, or if you just played video games decently (Nick Arcade transfixed me as a child, because even at the time the custom games on that show looked incredibly crappy), you could succeed. In LHT, you actually had to answer history-related questions to earn extra time. These questions weren't brain surgery (for some -- I remember screaming at the TV, "It's Alexandria, not Alexanderville, you moron!"), but it still made paying attention in history class useful.

Plus, the temple (the final obstacle course) always included 'artifacts' like King Tut's hat or whatever, and while I doubt that sparked many kids' lifelong interests in Egyptology, I appreciated the effort. Olmec (which I always envision as Ol' Mec), the talking Olmec head with a knack for trivia, was especially impressive, probably introducing a lot of kids to their first vague concept of ancient Central American cultures. When popular culture's concept of archaeology is rooted firmly with Egypt, this is important.

And of course, then there were the times the Temple Guards suddenly jumped out from behind a tree and made kids pee their pants. Okay, this was every episode. God, I love the Temple Guards.

(Now I feel bad because I cannot construct plot to save my life right now, but ramble on about a show canceled fourteen years ago, why yes, that I can do.)
mizzmarvel: (calvin & hobbes)
[Poll #1442381]

God, I wish I could have been on this show and won a) some Sketchers, b) a rad BMX bike, or c) a trip to Nick Studios in Orlando, Florida.
mizzmarvel: (charlie brown - no boys allowed)
When I was tooling around Wikipedia earlier, I made a very sad discovery: In 2008, Knotts Berry Farm closed the Peanuts Playhouse.

Well, okay. Sad for me.

Well, okay. Not really sad for me.

Cut because it got long )
mizzmarvel: (namora is golden age gorgeous)
When I was in high school, I actually used to write quite a bit, which is interesting considering that I currently spend more time staring blankly into space than writing fiction of any sort. But back in the day, I was actually capable of writing, like, novellas, which is sadly unimpressive.

But unlike a lot of teenage girls, I think, I didn't write Mary Sues...mostly. My heroines were definitely self-inserts, and had a definite sense of wish fulfillment, but...hmmm. Well, they had a definite theme? Here are some samples:

1. Luna is an average teenage girl with a prettier, better-liked older sister. She meets this hot older man at her aunt's mental home funeral; he seems very interested in her for no particular reason. It turns out he is a VAMPIRE who has been stalking her family for years for some reason? And he makes her a vampire too because he loves her (why -- no idea)? And everything is great and they have lots of sex until her brother-in-law kills her. The end. (P.S. Her sister's name is Phoebe. I WAS A GENIUS.)

2. Spider is an average teenage girl (BEST NAME EVER, Y/Y?) with a prettier, better-liked older sister (I think she was named Sunshine). She meets a hot teenage boy who is only somewhat older(-looking) than her. For some reason he has dinner at her house and Sunshine and their parents are all, "Clearly he is here to court Sunshine!" but he ends up telling them all off and making Spider look at him with heart eyes. In private, he then tells her that he loves her (for no apparent reason) and he makes her into a VAMPIRE (surprise!) and they run away together.

..but that's not all! Nine months later, Spider has a baby and apparently this is mega-awesome special because how can two dead people have a living child? So they NAME THE CHILD 'LIFE' --yes-- and then leave him on the doorstep of her parents' house and that's how it ends. The end.

3. Arella is a princess of undetermined age who has a sister -- younger this time, and named Atara -- who is prettier, wittier, and much more beloved than her, so Arella is locked in her tower most of the time. (Did I mention this was a fantasy?) One day a dragon -- that's right -- comes by and is all, "Fuck y'all, you killed my peeps! King, give me your daughter and maybe I won't kill everyone." So the court is all, "O NOES NOT OUR BELOVED ATARA," until it dawns on the king that he has two daughter, and one is uglier. Yay!

So he hands over Arella, and she flies on the dragon's back all the way to the mountains, where it turns out that he's not just a dragon, he's a dragon-shifter, and oh, while you're at it, why don't you call him King Dragon-Shifter? And he's really hot and wants to repopulate the dragon race, so why don't they have lots of sex? Oh, and he loves her for no apparent reason. The end.

So clearly, the trend is that my plots were SO AWESOME. But seriously, we have a plain, not particularly talented, socially awkward girl with a weird name who is swept off her feet by an out-of-her-league hottie who is totally into her for some inexplicable reason. That sounds eerily familiar somehow. The only thing I can't explain is the more perfect sister -- I don't have a sister, and my brothers certainly don't fit this bill.
mizzmarvel: (harry's manwink - entwashian)
SAMPLING OF SHOWS I ADORED AS A SMALL CHILD

1. Bosom Buddies - This show was about two attractive young men banter and dress up in women's clothing all day! Thus, it might be one of the origins of why I like slash. It was canceled two years before I was born, but thanks to weekend reruns, I've seen every episode.

2. Mr. Belvedere - I was in love with Wesley T. Owens. He was my first fictional character crush (after Uncle Jesse). I also probably acquired my love of cardigans from watching this show 9348394834 times.

3. One Day at a Time - One of my earliest fantasies of fame involved me getting to guest star in an episode of ODT. I'm glad I didn't find out until much later that it hadn't been produced since around the time I was born, or else I would have died of a broken heart.

4. Small Wonder - Dude, when Vicky the robot's back got opened and we could see all the blinking lights and whirling parts? I thought it was the greatest special effects in television history. I was sitting on the edge of my seat that time she went swimming and short-circuited. Why hasn't there been a reunion special for this masterpiece?

5. Happy Days - I think I got into this because I thought the name of Henry Winkler's character was Fozzie.
mizzmarvel: (mary raspberries - poisonivory)
I've been reading this children's/YA book nostalgia blog recently, and it definitely has taken me back to the good old days, when I thought Forever... was shockingly graphic. And granted, I haven't read a Judy Blume book since Summer Sisters first came out (and I didn't like it much), but reading about the books again reminded me of something:

I didn't like most of her heroines.

Again, it's been a long time since I read her novels, but I strongly remember thinking almost all of her heroines were complete morons. By design, I think, most of them were depicted as average students, but that's not what bothered me -- I've never looked at grades as a measure of intelligence, and at the height of my reading Blume books, I was going through a deep depression that caused my own grades to really plummet. But the girls, for the most part, seemed to make wild leaps of logic that made no sense, did embarrassing things when taking two seconds to reconsider, or were so incredibly passive that I wanted to punch them in the head.

I didn't have such a problem with the male protagonists, but then, there were fewer of them, and I guess I expected better from the girls because I was one. (Though, God, I hated Fudge. I related too strongly with Peter, I think, in that I also had a terror of a little brother who got away with things because he was younger.) But the girls made me feel embarrassed to be a girl, sometimes, in that this was apparently how girls were supposed to see themselves.

Which is probably part of the problem. If I read these books now, I'm guessing I'd probably like the heroines a lot more, but at the time, they just seemed silly and hopelessly naive. At that age, life was Serious Business and I had already experienced too much to be naive. I couldn't relate to most of these girls, so I hated them even as I enjoyed the story itself.

I do remember really liking a few of them, though. Sally from Starring Sally J. Freeman As Herself came across as more of a pistol than anything else, and I remember being shocked that she made up stories in her head to entertain herself too. Rachel from Just as Long as We're Together and Here's to You, Rachel Robinson was a character I identified strongly with in that she was a logical worrier like me. She was also one of the only -- if not the only -- Blume heroine who was gifted scholastically. There were also a few books I only read once or twice, so they were exempt from my disdain.

Hmm. Maybe I should reread these books so I really have a clear sense of them again.

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mizzmarvel: (Default)
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

January 2012

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