Here Piggy, Piggy: Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year this year goes from February 5th – March 5th. I will be posting 9 of my favorite fictional pigs from film and books.

Yes!

Years of the Pigs are 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2031. Pigs are realistic, treat themselves well, they are a bit materialistic, hard workers, energetic, and enthusiastic.

Pigs are most compatable with Tigers, as they provide protection and security. They also do well with Rabbits and Goats.

So now onto the countdown.

9) Pigling Bland from The Tale of Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter

Pigling Bland is sent away from home when there are too many piglets to feed. He and his brother Alexander are headed to market, but Alexander loses his papers and is sent back to the farm. Pigling finds them afterwards and tries to go after him. He ends up running into a farmer who invites him to stay the night at his home. Pigling agrees but is unsure to trust him. After the farmer goes to bed, Pigling discovers another pig there and the two try to escape over the ill anf far away.

***Pigling Bland***

Pigling is a stickler to the rules, kind, caring, intelligent, and all he wanrs os the simple life. He aids Pigwig in her freedom and uses his wits to save the two and escape tp freedom.

For more on Beatrix Potter, go to Bookish Thank You

8) Madmartigan Turns into a Pig from Willow

A prophecy states that a child born with a birthmark will dethrone the evil sorceress, Queen Bavmorda. To stop it from coming to pass she imprisons all pregnant woman to kill them and their children. One child is born and smuggled out, ending up in a village of dwarves. She is found by Willow Ufgood who goes on a quest to try and bring the child to humans to raised by them.

***Madmartigan***

When we first meet the handsome, mercenary Madmartigan, played by Val Kilmer, he is a metaphorical pig. He only cares about himself, is after woman, and just looking for that next pleasurable thing (and freedom from the raven’s cage they put him in.) But as he goes with Willow, we see him change to be a better person. And then the evil sorceress tries to turn him into a pig, but our hero isn’t out for long. He’s saved in the end by Willow, and then takes the baby to raise and care for.

7) Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Fern saves the runt of the litter from being made into morning’s breakfast and is given him, Wilbur, to take care of, him staying at her uncle’s farm. She loves her pig, but soon grows up and doesn’t seem to care for the pig anymore. Fern’s uncle and aunt decide it is time for him to be made into dinner, but poor Wilbur doesn’t want to die. He has befriended an amazing spider named Charlotte and she sets out on a plan to save him.

***Wilbur***

Wilbur is an adorable pig and friend. He’s there for Charlotte and even after her death, cares for her spiders and the generations to come.

6) Henwen from The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and film The Black Cauldron

In The Book of Three, Taran is a young boy who wishes to be a knight and fight for his country. He is an orphan that has been raised with former sorceror Dalbean and knight Coll. His job is to be the assistant pig-keeper and care for Hen Wen. But to his chagrin, there is more than meets the eye. Hen Wen is an oracular pig and needs protection from the evil Horned King. When he shirks his duties, she is kidnapped and he sets out to save her, meeting a whole cast of other characters.

***Hen Wen***

Hen Wen is a sweet pig that has an amazing power to see the future and reveal where the black cauldron is hidden, the very thing the Horned King desires. She also is fundamental in helping Taran become a man, him learning a lot of humility, responsibility, and that actions-or lack of them-can have serious consequences.

For more on Hen Wen, go to A Hidden Wonder

5) Piglet from Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

In the Hundred Acre Woods, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Gopher, and Owl go on all kinds of adventures with their boy, Christopher Robin.

***Piglet***

Piglet is Pooh’s best friend and always there for anyone. He is scared of a lot of things, but his fear doesn’t keep him from being the most loyal creature in the woods. Even when Owl tries to take his house for Eeyore, Piglet doesn’t stop them-but is willing to give it up for his pal. From taking part in Pooh’s schemes to being there for all-he’s a wonderful pig.

For more on Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

4) Porky Pig from Looney Tunes

Looney Tunes is a collection of silly shorts and fun cartoons.

***Porky Pig***

Such a big part of my childhood, he had to go on her. I can’t remember what it would be like without the stuttering-that’s all folks.

For more Looney Tunes, go to Nobody calls me Chicken: Chinese New Year 

3) Lester from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic by Betty MacDonald

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle-eccentric, childcaretaker, pirate bride-is back with her upside down house, more animal friends, and more tonics and cure-alls for children’s bad behavior. Yes, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows kids and has a chest full of all kinds of tonics and cures for bad behavior such as: I-THOUGHT-YOU-SAIDERS, TATTLETALERS, BAD TABLE MANNERS, INTERRUPTERS, HEEDLESS BREAKERS, I-NEVER-WANT-TO-GO-TO-SCHOOLERS, and WADDLE-I-DOERSThese are amazing books that I grew up read and just LOVE!

***Lester***

Lester is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s pet pig and he is adorable, sweet, kind, caring, and has the best table manners. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lends him out to families who’s kids are awful eaters. He is polite, clean, charming, and helps with household chores. Once you have him in your house you won’t want him to leave!

2) Hamm from the Toy Story Series

I’m sure all of you know the plot to this, but just in case…When you were a kid did you ever think that your toys came to life when you were gone and moved around on their own? Well in Toy Story they address the question that every kid was wondering and say, “yes, they do”.

Whenever Andy leaves his room his toys come to life. These toys are lead by a cowboy named Woody (Tom Hanks). As the family is moving, Andy’s birthday party is moved up and he gets lots of space type things, including a new space toy, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). Woody becomes jealous as he is demoted from Andy’s favorite toy, and everyone in the toy chest is going ga-ga over Buzz. One day Woody accidentally knocks Buzz outside Andy’s window. He and the other toys believe that Woody killed him, the other toys believing he did it on purpose. Woody is saved when Andy takes him along on his family’s trip to dinner. While his mom is filling up the tank who should show up? A very angry Buzz seeking revenge. Buzz survived the fall and snuck into the car. As the two fight, Andy and his mom leave for the resturant. Woody hatches a plan to get them there as well,  but they are unfortunately picked up by Andy’s next door neighbor Sid, a sadistic toy torturer. During this time period Buzz has a breakdown as he realizes that he is not a real spaceman, but just a toy. Now it is up to Woody to pull Buzz together and for the two of them to figure out a way to get back to Andy before he moves and is gone forever.

***Hamm***

This wisecracking, sarcastic, tough piggy bank was one of my favorite characters. I loved it so much that I got my own Hamm piggy bank and still use it. He hilarious, fun, and such a childhood and adulthood favorite.

For more Toy Story, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

1) Miss Piggy from The Muppets

The Muppets were a variety show with a colorful cast of characters.

***Miss Piggy***

Miss Piggy was the best. She was my ultimate favorite character as a child. Beautiful, charming, forceful, powerful-and won’t let anyone treat her bad. I have to admit I loved when she would karate chop someone and “hiya-ed” more than I probably should have. She was such an influence on me and my personality. The best!

For more on The Muppets, go to T.N.T.

For the 2018 post, go to A Dog’s Life: Chinese New Year

For the 2017 post, go to Nobody calls me Chicken: Chinese New Year

For the 2016 post, go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

For the 2015 post, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

For the 2014 post, go to A Horse’s Tale: Chinese New Year

For the 2013 list, go to Snakes on a Post: Chinese New Year

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For more book-filled posts, go to BYOB: Bring You Own Book

 

There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

BookLifeNoBoredom

There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Day 23) W is for Weather: Choose a book where the Weather plays a major role

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum

I was first introduced to The Wizard of Oz because of the film. It was one of my mom’s favorites and we would watch it over and over again.

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I first read the book when I was first in my early teens, and was surprised how much of her journeys and the things she had to go through were taken out of the final production.

Say What

I then went on to read the whole entire series, 14 books. Out of all of them, the best of course is the first: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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I love this book and have read it over and over again.

Overandoverreadabookoscarwilde

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The story of The Wizard of Oz follows the adventure’s of Dorothy Gale as she, and her dog, Toto, are accidentally transported by tornado from her uncle and aunt’s home in Kansas to the magical land of Oz.

When she arrives, it turns out that she has crushed the Wicked Witch of the East with her house. The Munckins and the Good Witch of the North (not Glinda) are so thankful for her help in stopping the evil witches control of their land, they give her a banquet, but all Dorothy wants is to go home.

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They tell her to follow the yellow brick road to the Wizard and ask him for help. The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy a kiss on the forehead to protect her and gives her the silver shoes the Witch of the East was wearing. Yes silver. They changed the color in the film as they wanted them to stand out.

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Dorothy continues her way to the Wizard when she comes across the Scarecrow who has just been made that morning. He comes along with her as he hopes to get a brain.

They later find a woodsman made out of tin, rusted in place. The tin man used to be a real man and feel in love with a munchkin girl. She lived with a witch who cursed his ax, so when he tried to cut down a tree, he cut a limb. He had one made out of tin, and this continued until he was completely made out of tin and no longer wanted to marry the girl as he has no heart. He joins the group in the hopes of getting a heart and they continue on.

They run into a Lion who knocks them all aside and out of the way. He tries to get Toto, and Dorothy comes up and smacks him on the nose. It turns out that the lion is just a coward, trying to be tougher than he is. He comes along with the group to try to get some courage.

They continue on their trip and run into a poppy field. As they journey through it, all but the Tin Man and Scarecrow fall asleep.

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They save Dorothy, but can’t carry the Lion out. However, when they reach the other side the Tin Man saves a mouse who turns out to be a Queen. She helps them by getting her mice to carry the remaining group out.

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They continue to the Wizard, where they are forced to wear green glasses; entering the Emerald city of Oz. They each go see the Wizard, but he appears in different forms: a beautiful woman, fireball, giant head, a horrible beast. He tells them he cannot grant them anything, until they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Not good

They head out to get her, although they don’t really want to kill anyone, but here we go. When they leave, the glasses are removed and it turns out that the things they thought they were wearing that were “green” were actually white.

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They head out to find the witch, but she spots them with her telescopic eye. She sends wolves to kill them, but the Tin Man stops them all. She then sends out crows out to kill them, and peck them up; but the scarecrow stops them. Then she tries to send bees, but the Tin Man destroys them. Next are the Winkies, but the Lion’s roar, scares them off. She then uses the golden cap to send for the Winged Monkeys.

The monkeys destroy the scarecrow and the tin man; carrying off the lion, Toto, and Dorothy. Dorothy becomes her slave, and the Lion is put in a cage.

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The Witch wants the shoes, but can’t do anything to Dorothy while she is wearing them. The only time Dorothy takes them off is when she bathes and sleeps, water and the dark being the two things that frighten the Witch the most.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The witch tricks Dorothy out of one of her shoes, and Dorothy, so angry, throws water on her. She melts.

The Winkies are so excited to be free they help repair the scarecrow and the Tin Man. They are extremely good at metalwork and ask the Tin Man to return to rule them.

The group now face the problem that they don’t know how to get back to the Emerald City as they were carried by the monkeys. They call the Queen of the Mice, but she tells them to use the Golden Cap to call the Winged Monkeys.

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Dorothy now controls the monkeys, and they take them to the Wizard. The King of the Monkeys reveals they were put under enchantment by the sorceress, Gayelette, when they played a prank on her and her fiancé. Dorothy can use them two more times.

They return to Oz, only to discover that there is no great Wizard.He tells them his story about how he came in a balloon and everyone thought he was a Wizard, and he just continued with it; having no one see him as he didn’t want them to know he was a fraud.

He thinks about how to grant everyone’s request and has them each return the next day to help them. First he makes a brain for the Scarecrow out of bran, oats, etc. He mixes it with water, and using pins puts it in his head.Then he makes a pillow heart, and cuts the tin man placing it in; re-soldering the body. For the Lion he makes a disgusting mixture and has him drink it. All that is left is Dorothy.

suspicious Hmm

The Wizard decides to make a hot air balloon for him and Dorothy, leaving the Scarecrow to rule in his place. They then decide to set out, but Toto chases a cat and Dorothy takes off after him. The balloon goes off as the Wizard can’t go back down, he doesn’t know how to really work the balloon. He flies off….but don’t worry he comes back in book 4, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

They use the cap to call the Monkeys, but they can’t travel out of Oz. They then are told by one of the Emerald City’s soldiers that the only thing left to do, is see Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. They head out having to pass a forest of fighting trees.

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They then pass through a china town, that is a town made purely out of China figures. Dorothy tries to take one with her, but she begs to remain in her town where she can stay alive.

Then they pass through a jungle ruled by a horrible spider beast. The Lion destroys him, and they ask him to return and rule them.

Afterwards they see an impossible mountain to cross, and use the last call to the Monkeys to see Glinda. Glinda sees the shoes that Dorothy is wearing and tells them that they can take her anywhere. Glinda asks for the cap and uses her first call to send the Scarecrow back to Oz, the second to send the Tin Man back to the Witches castle in the Winkies’, and the Lion back to the Jungle. She then frees the monkeys.

She tells Dorothy all she needs to do is click her heels three times and she will be home again.

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As she travels, Dorothy loses her shoes. She runs home to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, glad to finally be home.

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Here are a few things I noticed this time that I hadn’t really thought of before.

  • Even though the scarecrow is “brainless” he is the smartest in the bunch always coming up with the ideas of what to do next. Whether getting himself off the pole, outwitting the Kalidahs, crossing a river, etc.
  • Brains are the only things worth having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man.” Pg. 26 How true.
  • The Tin Man says he is “heartless”, but he is careful not to even step on a bug, and cries at the idea of hurting or killing anyone.
  • Dorothy is just a little girl, but is incredibly brave and strong. She faces all kinds of trials to get home, when she sees the Lion attacking her dog, she immediately goes to protect him, etc. That’s a lot for a child to go through and not give up and hardly ever cry. She even defies the Witch by feeding the Lion secretly at night.
  • The Lion is a “coward”, but the first to go and help his friends.
  • Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on the Earth the more experience you are sure to get.” Pg. 123
  • True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid…” Pg. 123

A fantastic book and one that I just love to read many, many times. Don’t try and take it away.
TakeMyBooks

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Earlier this month, we had a tea party and each had to create our own table. The theme was shoes to represent the journey we had been on through the year. My friend and I decided to do The Wizard of Oz.

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This is our table. For cups we did Mason jars in Gingham ribbon as people in the Midwest don’t use glasses, but mason jars. Each person who came got a poppy hair piece and red sparkly heart ornament. I put two black and white straws in each cup, with red shoes made out of Swedish fish. In the center we have a runner that is decorated like the yellow brick road. In the middle I put books for height and color, with the one standing up being none other than my copy of The Wizard of Oz. We had sparkly shoes, but they weren’t ready yet so I substituted my own to place everything on the table.

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My friend then painted a scene of the Emerald city, the glasses we choose being similar to the design of the city in the book illustrations.

And lastly, King Monkey

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I choose to make the monkey out of black and white striped socks as those are what the Wicked Witch of the West wears in the film. I don’t make monkeys really that much as I am rather slow sewer, but if you are interested I learned from this video and she sells Sock Monkeys. She might make you a winged one of your own if you request it.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

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For more on The Wizard of Oz go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

For more tea parties, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more on Llyod Alexander, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more Oscar Wilde, go to Austenland

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So as Dorothy really wants to go home throughout the book:

“I cannot understand why you would wish to leave this beautiful county and go back to the dry, gray, place you call Kansas.’

‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

Leaving me to choose the song: Home For the Holidays. The music was composed by Robert Allen, while the lyrics were written by Al Stillman.

I choose the version by Karen Carpenter as I think it is one of the best.

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For more Karen Carpenter, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

For more Christmas Carols, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

So I love the ’80s!

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I’m not even from that decade but love it as much as one who is.

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And one song that describes my feelings is 1985.

Come on kids, I can think of worse things then to be stuck in 1985. The ’80s rule!

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And as this year marks the 30th anniversary of 1985, let’s review just how awesome a year it was.

And I truly mean it

80s rule!

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On January 8th, Journey rereleased Only the Young which bounced to the top of the charts.

For more Journey, go to Any Way You Want It

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On February 4th, Bug Hall was born. Bug Hall became a huge star for us girls living in the ’90s. He was extremely cute, and still looks good today. He starred in The Little Rascals as Alfalfa, as Adam Szalinski in Honey We Shrunk Ourselves. Where he really became famous to tweens was in the show Bug Juice, then going on to be Jack Downey in Disney’s DCOM Get a Clue. From there I kind of lost track of him, but no doubt he was very influential to my childhood.

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On February 9th,  David Gallagher was born. He was in Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish and tons of TV shows from CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, to even Bones. But what he is most famous for and in where he most affected my childhood? As Simon Camden in 7th Heaven. When I was growing up watching this show I had the hugest crush on him and just loved him. I have yet to review it for my Life as a Fangirl posts, but it is definitely coming soon.

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On February 15th, The Breakfast Club was released into theaters and finds a place in our hearts. I already wrote a long post on it in Don’t You Forget About Me.

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For even more on The Breakfast Club, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

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On February 20th, Simple Minds released Don’t You Forget About Me. 

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On February 25th, Tears for Fears releases Shout.

For more on Tears for Fears, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

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In April, Take on Me by a-ha was released in the U.S. It became one of their most famous songs.

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On April 12th, Girls Just Want to Have Fun starring Sarah Jessica Parker, was released. Parker plays an army brat who loves to dance and competes for a spot on TV as part of a Chicago dance crew. In this fun film she has to work with a partner that is her total opposite, and against a wealthy manipulative girl.

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On May 30th, Huey Lewis & the News recorded The Power of Love, the song they wrote for the film Back to the Future.

For more on Huey Lewis & the News, go to But It’s Alright

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In June, Guns ‘N Roses debuted as a band. I love, love, love them. My favorite songs from this group are Sweet Child o’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle, and Paradise City.

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On June 6th, Good Enough by Cyndi Lauper is released as a marketing tool for the film The Goonies, of which Lauper was musical director and head of the soundtrack.

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On June 7th, The Goonies was released in theaters. This film follows a ragtag group, “the Goonies” as they hope to find hidden treasure in order to save their families’ homes.

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On June 28th, Pale Rider directed by and starring Clint Eastwood premiered in theaters. Aw Clint! He’s so dreamy!

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On July 3rd; Back to the Future opens in theaters and ends up being the highest grossing film of 1985 in the United States and the first film in the successful franchise. Of course I had to write a post on it, Back in Time: Happy 30th Anniversary Back to the Future.

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For even more on Back to the Future, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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On July 20th, John Francis Daly was born. He has starred in quite a few things, but to me will always be Dr. Sweets from Bones.

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On July 24th, The Black Cauldron, the film based on Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain series, makes its theatrical debut.

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For more on The Black Cauldron, go to A Hidden Wonder 

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On August 1st, Jefferson Starship changes their name to Starship and releases their hit We Built This City.

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On August 9th, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is released and is easily one of the funniest movies of my childhood.

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On September 3rd, the wreck of the RMS Titanic is located by a joint American-French expedition.

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On September 7th, St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) by John Parr is released.

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On September 24th Growing Pains premiered. I’ve already written about my love for it in a previous post, Fandom Love, but this was one of my all-time favorite shows growing up.

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On October 19th the first Blockbuster opened. I don’t care if this is the age of Netflix and streaming. I miss going to the store and picking out films from the really old to new releases.

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In November of 1985, for the first time Big Bird’s thought to be imaginary friend, Aloysius Snuffleupagus was shown. Snuffleupagus was always one of my favs.

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On November 13th, one of Foreigner’s greatest songs was released, I Want to Know What Love Is. This is my song.

For more on Foreigner, go to Old Fandoms and New Fancies

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On November 18th, the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuts in 35 newspapers in the United States.

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On December 1st, Anne of Green Gables film, based on the beloved children’s book, was released. I love the book and this film as it was a perfect adaption. Miss you Jonathan Crombie and your perfect depiction of Gilbert Blythe.

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For more on Anne of Green Gables, go to Imagination

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On December 13th, Clue was released in theaters, with its three different endings. I haven’t reviewed as of yet for Horrorfest, but it is definitely on my list.

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Let’s take it away with 1985!

Debbie just hit the wall
She never had it all
One Prozac a day
Husband’s a CPA
Her dreams went out the door
When she turned twenty four
Only been with one man
What happened to her plan?

She was gonna be an actress
She was gonna be a star
She was gonna shake her ass
On the hood of Whitesnake’s car
Her yellow SUV is now the enemy
Looks at her average life
And nothing has been alright since

Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

Woohoohoo
(1985)
Woohoohoo

She’s seen all the classics
She knows every line
Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink
Even Saint Elmo’s Fire
She rocked out to Wham
Not a big Limp Bizkit fan
Thought she’d get a hand
On a member of Duran Duran

Where’s the mini-skirt made of snake skin
And who’s the other guy that’s singing in Van Halen
When did reality become T.V.
Whatever happened to sitcoms, game shows
(on the radio was)

Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

Woohoohoo

She hates time make it stop
When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock?
And when did Ozzy become an actor?
Please make this stop, stop
Stop!
And bring back

Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 1985

Woohoohoo

Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV (woohoohoo)
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

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For more ’80s music, go to Rock You Like a Hurricane 

For more ’80s films, go to I’m Going Down the Tubes: Making the Grade (1984)

For more on anniversaries, go to Year of the Anniversaries

Back to the Fandoms

So yes, I’m back. I had to take a break for my Easter posts, but I’m back with my fandom posts!

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The Baby-Sitters Club

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If you were a preteen in the ’90s, chances are you were a fan of these books, TV show, or film. I was a huge fan of all three, even reading the spinoff series about Kristy’s stepsister, Karen. In these books they made middle school and baby-sitting sound so cool and fun. Reality check, it wasn’t as cool or as lucrative; but still I loved these books. I read them so much that these characters became my own friends in a way.

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The only thing I really didn’t like was the scenes of California. Clearly Ms. Ann M. Martin had never been to California, as she always wrote it in this stereotypical way. And to be honest it wasn’t just her. Every writer in the ’80s-’90s wrote about California as this sea of blonde, buff, or lean vegetarians. EXCUSE ME? Where are the Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, East Indians, African-Americans, etc? ALWAYS MISSING! And seriously? We are not vegetarians and do not always eat some of the weird things that they say we do. Plus in the book where they win the lottery and all go to California; they have money to go from Anaheim all over Los Angelas, but can’t spare a few hours to go to the San Diego Zoo as it is “too far”. Excuse me? San Diego is not that far for girls visiting from the East Coast and may never go to California again? I could see them freaking out if they wanted to go to San Francisco, Napa, Tahoe or Sacramento as that could be like half a day’s drive, but really? San Diego is “too far” as California is a “big state”.

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The other thing that bothered me was the lack of diversity. I know it’s Conneticut and they don’t have the same influx, but still. They act like Jessie is the first black girl to walk the face of the planet at times. Same for Claudia as first Asian.

The other issue I have with The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) as an adult, those issues of before were all from when I was a kid, is how they never, ever, go to an adult about the problems they have. For instance the grief Claudia faces over the death of her grandmother, when Kristy and Claudia are being harassed by phone calls, when Jessi suspects her friend of an eating disorder (eventually she talks to someone), when homes are being burglarized, deciding to try and catch counterfeiters, etc. I just think, geez that is horrible example to set for children.

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But even with their faults, I loved this series. I used to read a book a day and owned almost the whole series. I had a hard time with the books after Dawn leaves the BSC for good, as I felt it just lost it. I didn’t care for Abby coming on to the series as I hated her character. I also disliked the Claudia left behind in seventh grade storyline, the breakup between Claudia and Stacey over a boy, Mary-Anne and Logan’s complete breakup, the fire that destroys Mary-Anne and Dawn’s house, etc.

So now to the characters:

Kristy Thomas is the creator of the club, deciding to invite her best friend Mary-Anne, along with old friend Claudia, and new girl Stacey. She is bossy, opinionated, a know-it-all, show-off, sports nut; but good friend. Her parents are divorcred, as her father left at a really young age. She has a 17-year old brother, Charlie, who’s only role in the series is as a driver; 15-year old brother Sam, prankster and Stacey’s boyfriend for a bit; and a 8-year old brother, David Michael. Her mom dates a gazilionaire, Watson Brewer, and they whole crew move into his mansion. She then gets a stepsister, Karen, who is the star of the spinoff series, and a younger brother Andrew. Her parents end up adopting an orphaned Chinese girl, Emily Michelle. Now a lot of people speculate about Kristy’s uninterst in boys as being secretly gay; but I never saw it that way. As all the girls dated and had these huge crushes, I liked how Kristy just wasn’t really interested in anyone, and when she does find a guy, who ends up moving too fast for her, she breaks it off. I liked this thread as it showed we all mature at different rates, and just because all your friends have a boyfriend, doesn’t mean you need one too.

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Next we have Claudia Kishi. She is Japanese and not very good in school, a fact that sucks as she has a genius sister. Claudia is an amazing artist and fashionable, not always wearing actual everyday wear, but rockin’ her looks.

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She is best friends with Stacey who is also very interested in fashion. Claudia, Mary Ann, and Kristy grew up across the street from each other and became good friends. Claudia matured before them, and stopped hanging out as much, but when Kristy proposed her idea, she jumped in and brought along Stacey. Claudia had a few interesting storylines. One of the ones I enjoyed a lot was when she began working with Emily Michelle, who was having issues with learning her colors, shapes, etc. Claudia feels stupid a lot of the time as she constantly compares herself to her sister, but I liked that thread as she realizes there are different types of intelligences as she may not be good with one thing, but can do well with another.

Stacey McGill was originally from New York. She was diagnosed with diabetes, which was viewed the same as the plague, causing her and her family to move to Conneticut when a job opened up. I never understood the reason why diabetes was viewed as so appalling, but I liked how they dealt with it in the series. Stacey was constantly having to take care of her diabetes and deal with the temptations and fact that she couldn’t always have exactly what she wants. She was a fashionista and quickly bonded with Claudia. In book 13, she moves back to New York; but luckily by book 26, she was brought back. She was always dating boys, having multiple boyfriends and sometimes having problems arise with them. The storyline I thought was interesting was when she starts dating Robert, star basketball player. Here she has a conflict of issues as she finds out that it is not always easy to juggle boyfriend, friends, and other commitments. Along with the fact that people don’t always meld together as well as you hope. She ends up leaving the club for her new friends, and has to come to terms that these aren’t the same people she hung out with before, and won’t view things the same way. It had a sort of PSA announcement, how the group gets in trouble and she learns that they aren’t as true, BUT, instead of having her old group take her back, she has to slowly regain their trust, making it very real.

Mary-Ann Spier was quiet, mousy, didn’t like confrontation, sweet, and a crier. She lost her mom at a young age and was raised by her father for most of her life. She is best friends with Kristy, but when the crew break up over a disagreement, she meets Dawn and becomes her best friend as well. They find out that their parents used to date and bring Mary-Ann’s dad with Dawn’s mom; ending up stepsisters. Mary-Ann is the first of the group to have a serious boyfriend, Logan Bruno. Now a lot of people hated their relationship, but I liked Logan, until the end when the writers changed him completely. He was kind, caring, and I liked the two of them together. They did have the stupidest fights though. Mary-Ann freaking out over a surprise party, fighting over a way to study, her not wanting to go out but stay home and read, etc. Now the storyline I liked the most was the one where Mary-Ann gets a new look. What’s stupid is that everyone is upset she didn’t consult them, or whatever; but I liked how the meek little Mary-Ann took such a big risk showing that people can change.

Dawn Schafer grew up in Anaheim, CA; the home of Disneyland. She has a younger brother, Jeff, and all seemed well until she was twelve and her parents divorced. They moved all the way to Conneticut, where her mom was originally from. The family are all blonde, vegetarians, and don’t eat processed food or sugar; trying to say that is how all Californians are (wrong! Ghirardelli Square anyone? Or the Jelly Belly Factory?) Anyway, as mentioned above, her mom and Mary-Ann’s father get together, moving into their house and making the two friends stepsisters. Dawn is also eco-friendly and very opionated and sure of herself. Because of her always spouting I am rock solid in my beliefs, I liked the Dawn and the Older Boy and Dawn’s Big Date. In the first book she meets an older guy who turns her into his project, trying to meld her into what he thinks is better. Dawn, having a big crush on him, starts changing her ways. She does the same thing in Dawn’s Big Date, when Logan’s cousin and Dawn’s pen pal, Lewis, is coming to visit. She feels unglamorous and starts decking out in Hot Topic-like fashion. I liked these two stories as I thought they aptly showed how you can think you know yourself and that you are unchangeable, but in reality can still be susceptible to insecurities. After leaving in Conneticut for a while, she misses California too much and spends half her time in CT with the other half in CA. After a little of this, she moves home to CA for good. I missed her from the series, as after that shift it was never the same again. She received her own spinoff series, The California Diaries, which was supposed to be gritty but was often very soap opera-y.

Mallory Pike is brought in when Stacey leaves. She is the eldest of 8 kids, and unlike the other members, eleven years old. What she lacks in years, she makes up in experience. She was a pretty boring character as her only traits was that she liked reading and wanted to be a writer, and hated having such a large family. The storyline I liked with her was the one when she baby-sits the Arnold twins, making a ton of money for a mall trip. I liked this story because it gave her depth (for once) and also the shopping trip at the mall made her seem as one of the group instead of a young hanger-on.

Jessi Ramsey was brought on with Mallory. In book 14, when Mallory is being tested, she meets and befriends Jessi. I liked Jessi more than Mallory as she had a bit more depth. The only thing I didn’t like was the way everyone acted about her being black. They made it seem like she was the only black person in the area, like they had never seen one before. Now I can buy they are a mostly white population at that school, but don’t they watch TV? Movies? It felt like the “Dual Spires” Psych episode.

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She was a ballet dancer, and unlike Mallory actually had words of wisdom instead of complaining. My favorite storyline of hers was when she was chosen to be Sleeping Beauty in Sleeping Beauty ballet. That was a good mystery and brought us into the Black Swan (less dark though) underside of ballet.

Besides these books I watched the show, of course.

And I loved the people chosen for the characters. I thought they were perfect and way better than the movie.

I also read The California Diaries which were supposed to be more adult and have an edge. These were okay, although there were some things I really didn’t like. First, Dawn becomes a major tool and no longer someone you want in the series. I did like the Sunny parts, her mom gets diagnosed with Cancer and how she acts when dealing with all the changes was extremely realistic. I loved the Maggie storylines, as she battles insecurities, anorexia, cutting, etc. It was a little strange how she went from the before free spirit, rebel to the type-A perfectionist, though. They add in Ducky, who I could never figure out if he was gay or just metro. The big thing that bothered me was that these 13-year olds were all dating high schoolers. Didn’t their parents think that was a bad idea? I mean why would a 16-18 year old want to date a 13 year old unless they only wanted one thing? Come on girls, stop being stupid. On a whole it wasn’t bad, often their drive to “make it real” just made these depressing situations.

So The Baby-Sitters Club wasn’t perfect, but when I was a kid it was the thing I wanted to read all the time.

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The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

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I am a huge fan of fairy tales, especially the Brothers Grimm.

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The amazing stories in this are just so much fun and full of adventure.

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I used to read this all the time to escape life and live within these incredible tales.
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I bought the complete set one year and read the tales over and over again.

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There are so many amazing tales, that asking me to pick my favorite would be impossible. I have written on them in the past, and there  will be plenty more to come.

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For more on The Brothers Grimm, go to If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome

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Captain Planet

I loved this show so much as a kid. Captain Planet was awesome, with his team of teenagers. For those of you who weren’t watching TV in the ’90s, this show was about Gaia, “Mother Earth”, choosing five teenagers from all over the world to help fight pollution. There was Kwame from Africa with the power of Earth, Gi from Asia with the power of water, Linka from Russia with the power of Wind, Wheeler from New York with the power or fire, and Ma-Ti from South America with the power of Heart. When all combined their powers they brought forth Captain Planet.

My favorite character was Wheeler as I loved his red hair and fiery attitude.

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I also liked that he didn’t always agree with everything they were spouting. Like when they said you should only have one kid, he said I don’t think there is anything wrong with having big families. Besides that he was such a fun character as he was always out of the box and doing the unexpected.

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The Nanny

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Ah, The Nanny. This was a hilarious show that I loved to watch as much as I could. It was actually based a lot on Fran Drescher’s life. Fran Fine is a Jewish girl from Queens, NY. She works in a bridal shop, until her fiancé dumps her for some bimbo and kicks her out of the job. She becomes an Avon Lady, and accidentally applies for the job as nanny for widower, millionaire, British, broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield. He has three children: Maggie, who is the eldest and completely insecure; Brighton, a prankster who hates all nannys; and Grace, neurotic and precocious. She is hired and finds herself the spice this family needs.

Yep, her unconventional ways, awesome clothing, big hair, and Yiddish are hilarious, endearing, and all around fun. Plus she has the best logic for getting around diets.

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Also in the home is the British, sarcastic, bulter (sorry Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they had him first). He and Fran become best buddies, and he is an all-time favorite character of mine as he has the best one liners.

There is also Ms. C.C. Babcock that has a HUGE crush on Maxwell, even before he was a widower.

And of course Fran’s mother,

I love this show. Why did it have to end?

For more on The Nanny, go to Pizza Power

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NCIS

NCIS

My friend Diana from high school loved this show. She was always going on about it and telling me how awesome it is. After being pushed by her constantly, I decided to give it a look and of course fell in love with it.

The show is similar to the other crime shows that I am a fan of, but this time it covers the military. When crimes occur involving any branch of the military they call in their police force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The team is lead by Leroy Jethro “Gibbs” Gibbs, (Mark Harmon). The rest of his team is the funny, alternative, unique, and awesome Abby Scuito the forensic specialist and Timothy McGee is the tech wizard. They had Caitlin Todd, an awesome character, but she was killed and they then brought in Israeli Masaidd agent, Ziva David that I absolutely hated.

But my all time favorite character was Anthony Dinozzo. The Italian, handsome, funny, and sarcastic agent.

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The main reason I loved him was he was a huge movie buff that was always quoting things, just like me. And no one ever knows what he’s talking about, just like me.

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For the previous post, go to I’m So FANcy!

Stay tuned for part 12

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For more Back to the Future, go to Where Were Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For more quotes, go to Let It Go

Adventure Time

Adventure

So let’s do it!

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I know some of you are thinking, what? Books?

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Yep:

I mean think about it:

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Where else can you go through time, space, and all over the world?

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Nowhere except in a book.

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So:

SeizetheBook

And go on an adventure!

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For more book-filled posts, go to Dream Location, Dream Guy

For more Lloyd Alexander, go to Helping Hands

For more on Supernatural, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Cat Lovers All Know This